24 Mar 2017

Through the Ashes (The Division: Book Two) by Connie L. Smith

The war has begun. The battle’s unfolding. And victory feels so distant…
The Essenced had prepared and trained, but never imagined the true horror of watching demons tearing through the Division to invade the realm. Every claw is horrific—every snarl disgusting—and the responsibility of keeping that vile terror from expanding beyond the battlefield’s borders rests in the teenagers’ hands. They thought they were ready for that challenge…
But then their confidence is shaken when a deadly new weapon emerges from the enemy’s arsenal, and well-kept secrets from the Essenced’s angelic superiors begin to surface.
In the midst of the carnage, can the teens find the strength within themselves, and among themselves, to grasp victory in blood-tainted hands?

Excerpt
Rightfully interpreting the sudden urgency of her hold, he soothingly traced his hands up her back and through her hair. “I’m not going anywhere.”
After pinching her eyes closed against her fears, AJ reopened them and pulled back to give him a hard, unblinking stare. “You’d better survive this war, Julius. If not, I’m gonna get Clint to yell at you. I’ll write an angry speech and everything.”
He smirked at her words, even chuckled. “Yeah, I didn’t think you’d let something as tiny as death get in the way of arguing with me.”
“I’m serious,” she insisted with a glare that contradicted the smile hinting on her lips.
“I know you’re serious, and saying how heartbroken you’d be if I died would be much too normal to fit into your ‘you better survive’ lecture.” He shrugged lightheartedly. “Truthfully, I’d have been a little disappointed had you chosen that angle.”
She kept the harsh expression, but had to keep wrestling back her grin.
“And you might as well go ahead and smile.” He tapped the right edge of her mouth with his index finger. “I can see it practically begging to spill out.”
Finally caving, she let her smile blossom, but rolled her eyes in mock irritation. “I’m still serious. You better survive.”
“I’ll survive if you will,” he softly told her while his right hand trailed over her brow, down her cheek, and to her neck.
With a hum of agreement, she collapsed against his chest and hugged him with all the strength she could spare.
Tugging her closer, he gave her a whole new wave of strength to dip into.
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Connie L. Smith spends a decent amount of time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Much of her preferred music is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and her MA in English and Creative Writing.
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22 Mar 2017

One Dark Lie by Clare Chase

One Dark Lie by Clare Chase
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 12 December 2016
Series: London & Cambridge Mysteries #3)
Publisher: Choc Lit Ltd (Death by Choc Lit imprint)

The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder …
After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.
When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay.
As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide …
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Clare Chase writes mysteries set in London and Cambridge featuring crime-solving couples. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University. (It’s currently being turned into posh flats …)
After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.
She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.
One Dark Lie is her third novel with Choc Lit. Previous titles are You Think You Know Me and A Stranger’s House.
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Giveaway

A fantastic prize going to one winner!!!
paperback copy of A Stranger’s House (the first Ruby Fawcett and Nate Bastable Cambridge mystery),
a sweet treat from Hotel Chocolat and
a Cambridge key ring.
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21 Mar 2017

Cover Reveal: Hard to Love by Sandra Jones

Hard to Love by debut author S Jones
Release date: 3rd May 2017

Leaving a safe, predictable relationship and falling straight into the center of a whirlwind was never part of Emily's Plan.
But from the moment the stranger's hand takes her by the wrist, she is thrust into a world and feelings that she cannot resist.
Torn between her head and her heart, she quickly realizes that fighting her attraction to Chase Newman is an impossible task. He's a man who always gets what he wants and with his sights set on Emily, she doesn't stand a chance. A one night stand will never be enough though, when she wants so much more than that.
When secrets and lies threaten to destroy the trust between them, Emily starts to question her own decisions. With doubt and suspicion plaguing her mind.
Is what they have worth fighting for? Or will the truth tear them apart?

20 Mar 2017

A Bed of Brambles by Sam Russell

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Draymere Hall #2
Release Date: 11th March 2017

Hettie and Alexander are back, and this was never going to be a conventional love story. No bed of roses. Proud, passionate and wilful, they are alike in so many ways. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it? Or it could be a disaster…both carry scars, and old wounds have a habit of causing new hurt.
Physical attraction draws them together but hearts and minds can be thorny. One thing is certain, together or apart their lives will move on. Alexander and Hettie’s clashes of spirit will only be part of the story.
Second chances. New beginnings. The opportunity to make things right. Or to make the same mistakes all over again. Unless fate takes the future out of your hands…

Praise for Sam Russell

‘Russell delves into her characters’ minds exposing their innermost thoughts, fears, and desires’
‘The author's ability to flesh out a character into a believable human being is what sets a great book above the rest’
‘Sam Russell's beautiful writing draws you right into Draymere alongside Hettie, Alexander the horses and dogs, and keeps you there’

EXCERPT

Her sharp green eyes slipped over him as she scanned the arrivals hall. He noticed the dusting of sun-freckles across her cheeks and his heart clenched as he waited. He needed to read her face, to believe she was back for good. Her gaze swept around again, and this time their eyes connected. For a suspended moment it felt as if his heart stopped beating, and the pit of his stomach fell.
Then she grinned at him.
The suitcase swung into her legs at her sudden change of direction. He waved, and she abandoned the case and ran at him. He lifted her off the ground and pressed his eyes shut, not trusting himself to speak. He felt her breath warm on his neck.
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Sam Russell was born in London, but it was her family’s move to the countryside which ignited her passion for writing and love of the rural life. She worked as a groom and trained as a riding instructor, teaching in the UK and abroad before returning home and marrying a farmer.
Sam ran a livery stables from the farm whilst raising their three children. Her writing, which was a hobby while the children were young, took off when they flew the nest. She was encouraged to write and publish her debut novel, A Bed of Barley Straw. Her latest book, A Bed of Brambles, is the second novel in the Draymere Hall Series.
When she’s not writing, Sam will be out and about on the farm with the animals and the dogs. You can read more of her story on her Rustic Romance blog.
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A signed paperback copy of the book (UK only)
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17 Mar 2017

Interview with Silent author, David Mellon

David Mellon (SILENT, March 18th, Merit Press)


Can you tell us a little about your latest book SILENT?
Adi, a girl from India inadvertently ruins the plans of a sinister stranger named Coal. In return he takes her twin brothers from her and proposes a wicked game to find them. He gives her a watch with four riddles hidden inside and takes her voice from her for good measure. It’s June of 1914 and World War One is beginning. Things get messy.

What inspired you to write it?Before I started writing this book, I was a painter. My pictures were largely influenced by fairy tales and illustrations from books that I read as a child. I read a lot of fairy tales. Years ago, I stumbled onto a copy of Italo Calvino’s wonderful Italian Folktales. Story #31 was called Silent for Seven Years. In it, an exhausted father curses his sons, “The Devil take you both!” he says. And sure enough the Devil does. The boys’ dutiful sister goes off in search of her brothers. Adventures ensue. The fairy tale was like a catalogue of classic fairy tale tropes, filled with weird and wonderful imagery. I won’t go into it all here but my obsession with this story went on for years and ran the course from paintings to illustrated Children’s book to screenplay and finally, with the help of several semesters of writing classes at UCLA Extension, it became this book.

Is it part of a series?
I’m afraid the sequel is clawing its way up out of my psyche as we speak.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

At various points I had pictures of Daniel Day Lewis, Adrien Brody, and Donald Sutherland above my desk for Coal. All too old, of course. Nowadays? James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Foster, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Tom Hiddleston? So many different ways to go. Adi? That’s going to be a challenge. She’s out there though, somewhere.

What made you want to become an author?
See question 2. I was perfectly happy painting. Something happened.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
I wouldn’t want you to think I don’t love modern book covers as well, but, how about the 1900 edition of Andrew Lang’s Grey Fairy Book. Or Love is Enough. 1873 by Ellis and White. Cover designed by William Morris.

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
Stuart Little by E.B. White. Ignore those movies and sit down on a summer afternoon and see what the deal is with this book. All about longing and growing up and hoping for that thing to come along around the next turn in the road. Not to mention, E.B. wrote the most beautiful descriptions of place that anyone’s ever put on paper.

Who, or what, inspires you?

Birds in the trees.

Where is your favourite place to write?
Depends on the day. My office. Undergrind Coffee on Robertson. My front patio.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Hm. Let’s see. Hard to do better than To Kill a Mockingbird. Or Room With a View, maybe.

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
Alexandre Dumas. If you think there’s anybody who’s lived that’s better at plotting than Dumas, read Count of Monte Cristo, Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers and we’ll discuss.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. (Do I have to explain?)

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I was roommates with Andy Kaufman. (I was young.)

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.

Village Green. Trees in the morning, trees in the evening, trees all day long. 

David Mellon grew up in Denham Springs, a little town on a river in south east Louisiana. After attending San Francisco Art Institute and California Institute for the Arts he graduated from Art Center College of Design with a degree in Illustration. After years of painting pictures and drawing storyboards for film and tv commercials he discovered UCLA Extension Writers' Program where he was nominated for the 2016 Allegra Johnson Prize. Silent is his first novel. He's been a member of SCBWI since 2011. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Judith.
Visit David's website for more information, FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

13 Mar 2017

Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon



Going Down in Flames (Going Down in Flames #1) by Chris Cannon 

Published by Entangled Teen
Published on June 30th, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads Entangled Publishing
If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution. Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on. Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention. Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules. At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.


Bridges Burned (Going Down in Flames #2) by Chris Cannon 

Published by Entangled Teen
Published on January 19th, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Goodreads: Goodreads Entangled Publishing
Don’t just fight the system…burn it. Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking… But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally. Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.



Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames #3) 

Published by Entangled Teen
Published on April 4th, 2016
Goodreads: Goodreads Entangled Publishing
Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon. The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life. She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.


Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames #4) by Chris Cannon 

Published by Entangled Teen
Published March, 2017
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
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Bryn McKenna has it all. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting in the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparent’s want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire. If she doesn’t say “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.


Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance.
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10 Mar 2017

REVIEW: Dead Hope by Nicky Wells

Dead Hope by Nicky Wells
Genre: Thriller/Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 23 February 2017

Cat Hope doesn’t want to go to prison. She needs a job, and she needs it fast: judge’s orders. Caught in a drugs raid while trying to dull the pain of her parents’ deathaversary, Cat is serving a ‘rehab’ sentence under a new identity in the deepest depths of rural nowhere.
Kay Mahon, office worker by day and hacker by night, is on the run from a past life that he’d rather not remember.
When their paths cross, they discover that the night that derailed Cat’s future nineteen long years ago also changed the path of Kay’s life. Confused and intrigued, they begin to investigate the truth behind the deaths of the successful rock star couple Jackie and Adam Hope. Little do they know that their quest is putting Cat in grave danger.
After Cat goes missing, Kay finally puts the pieces together. But how is he going to find Cat and her abductor in a place as big as London before it is too late?
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REVIEW
Dead Hope is one of those books that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat desperate to know what's going to happen. I know I was.
I warmed to the main character, Cat Hope, almost immediately. Even though she was something of a spoilt brat to start with, this is the story of how she finds her true self. I guess you could almost call it a coming-of-age tale (even though Cat is in her late twenties). 
Kay, mister cool in every sense of the word, is one of those characters you'll swoon over. Even though he clearly has issues of his own, you'll find yourself desperately wanting everything to work out for him as well. I loved how the two interact throughout - they bounce off one another perfectly. The story concluded brilliantly, tying up all those loose ends I was really curious about.
Not only is Dead Hope really well written, it's the kind of story that'll leave you wanting to read more of Nicky Wells' books. I'm intrigued to see what else she has in store! 

About Nicky Wells
Love & Thrills
Nicky Wells writes captivating romance and breathtaking thrillers featuring famous (or infamous!) feisty heroes and extraordinary villains. DEAD HOPE is her eighth book and the first published novel in her “Wake Up Dead” themed thriller series, with the next two books scheduled for release through the course of 2017 and 2018. Nicky has previously published seven works of romantic fiction both with US publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, and independently.
Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. She loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s hopelessly addicted to reading crime novels by the truck load.