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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

DEEP COVER


The Book

Deep Cover by Leslie Jones
Book 3 in the Duty & Honor series
Genre: romantic thriller


About Deep Cover:
The next action-packed romantic thriller from the author of Night Hush and Bait…

On a secret assignment for MI-5, British SAS soldier Trevor Carswell is deep undercover with The Philosophy of Bedlam, a home-grown anarchist group responsible for several museum bombings. He's on the brink of unearthing their motives when Scotland Yard foils their latest attack. Desperate to escape, the Bedlamites take civilian hostages — among them, a woman Trevor never expected to see again.

American political analyst Shelby Gibson is stunned when she recognizes Trevor, her one-time lover, brandishing a shotgun in the lobby of the August Museum of Modern Art. He's the last man she'd ever trust, but Trevor is no criminal, and he may be her only hope of getting out of the building alive.

With the woman he once loved in serious danger, Trevor will risk everything to get Shelby to safety, even if it means blowing his cover. As they search for the truth behind the bombings, Shelby and Trevor expose the powerful, desperate man pulling the anarchists' strings...and the half-century-old secret he'll kill to keep quiet.
Source: Info in the About Deep Cover was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):
    iBook Buy   Buy from Google Play

Excerpt:
June 10. 11:58 p.m.

Canary Wharf, London

“You’re asking for trouble.”

Trevor Carswell ignored the uneasy voice. He watched the long black limousine creep into the construction site near the north dock of Canary Wharf, in the shadow of the tall HSBC building. The huge cranes at the dock sat as silent sentinels this time of night. He moved out of the shadows so the limousine’s driver could see him. Eric Koller followed him. The limo changed direction and eased to a stop forty feet away. The driver killed the engine and flipped off the headlights.

Trevor stayed put. He could feel Eric’s anxiety pulsing behind him. The construction site seemed eerie and a fitting place for this meeting. A jaw crusher sat perpendicular to two ten-foot stacks of gravel; an equally tall pile of long pipes hemmed him in on the other side. Nothing moved. Even the hum of the few cars still out at midnight seemed far away.

After an endless minute, a man emerged from the front passenger seat and walked toward them.

Eric tensed up, muttering something.

“…dangerous….”

Of course it was dangerous. This whole mission was dangerous; but insisting on meeting the brains behind the anarchists who called themselves the Philosophy of Bedlam was doubly so. A calculated risk. It was a good sign that the man had agreed to meet, but that didn’t lessen the pucker factor one whit.

Nor did the fact that he had the cell’s leader at his back.

The man from the car stopped a few feet away. “All right, Eric?”

Eric nodded, but didn’t come forward. “No one followed us, Mr. Smith. It’s all gravy. This is Trevor Willoughby. Like I told you, we fought together in Northern Ireland back in the day. He’s sound.”

The man frowned. His short, compact body looked soft to Trevor. Neat hair stopped well above the collar of his starched white shirt. The creased wrinkles in the shirt told Trevor he’d worn a suit jacket today. “So what’s the purpose of this meeting, Willoughby?”

“I meet the man I’m risking my life for. I take his measure, or I walk.” As he had when he’d been undercover as a new officer with the Special Air Service, he dropped his voice into a growl. Rough. Threatening.

Mr. Smith continued to scowl. Trevor supposed he was trying to look threatening, but his attempts were laughable.

“Very well,” the man said finally. “Our focus is the ridiculous trappings of a corrupt society. People need to wake up and realize how much government money is spent on useless pastimes like making movies instead of feeding the poor.”

Trevor feigned outrage. “On that we agree. It’s bollocks that faux celebrities warp public opinion. They’re not the gods they pretend to be. They’re just stupid, self-centered fools. But it’s been proven time and again that socialism doesn’t work.”

Mr. Smith’s lip curled. “Socialism is just another form of bondage. A privileged few ruling sheep. We’re for Great Britain shaking off the blinders, so our people realize government does not have their best interests at heart. Skewed policies keep Britons as little more than slaves.”

“We don’t need a government to control us,” Eric said. “It’s long past time the English butt out of our business and let us live as we want. In Ireland and everywhere else.”

“I hear you.” Trevor nodded to show he understood. “Now, how about the meeting I asked for? I talk to your boss. I thought I made it clear. I don’t deal with flunkies.”

Mr. Smith widened his arms, turning his palms up as if to say, “Here I am.”

Eric frowned. “Jaysus, Trev. You’re gone in the head. Stop messing about.”

Trevor’s lip curled. “Not bloody likely. He’s just a kiss-ass. I want to talk to the real Mr. Smith.”

Both the man and Eric shot Trevor startled looks.

“What makes you think—”

“He is the—”

Trevor cut a hand through the air, effectively stopping both men. “No. You’re not. I want to talk to the man in the back of the limousine, not the lackey in the front.”

The man stilled. Trevor read the indecision on his face.

“Now. Or stop wasting my fucking time,” he snapped. His mission hinged on finding the brains behind the brawn. If Eric’s cell fell, another would simply rise to take its place.

Finally, the man shrugged and walked back over to the limousine. The back window rolled down, and the man bent over to speak to whoever was inside. When he returned, he jerked his head at Trevor.

“He’ll talk to you.”

Trevor stalked past him, Eric and the man following. The driver exited the vehicle on an intercept course. Massive shoulders and bulging biceps declared him the muscle. He put out an arm, halting them.

“Just him,” he said, pointing a sausage-sized finger at Trevor.

Annoyance flashed across Eric’s face, but he obediently wandered to the bonnet of the limousine and lingered there, lighting up as he waited. The flunky returned to his seat in the front of the limousine.

“Arms out,” the driver said, voice and face expressionless.

Trevor raised his arms and suffered the man to pat him down. He found Trevor’s .380 and stuffed it into his belt. Jerking his head, he led the way to the back and opened the door. Trevor ducked inside, settling into the seat directly opposite a man sitting in the deepest shadows.

Trevor could barely make out the graying blond hair and lines on the fifty-ish face. The unwelcoming stare. The real Mr. Smith had a slender build and wore an unbuttoned suit coat.

“Always a pleasure to meet Eric’s friends.” The cultured voice rolling out of the darkness contained an undertone that wasn’t British English. Trevor strained to identify it.

“So who’s the suit? He looks like a bloody bureaucrat. Come to think of it, so do you.”

The man’s dry chuckle held little humor. “He’s no one of consequence. My accountant. And I assure you that I am no bureaucrat. Just a man who sees a problem that needs repairing. Now. To what do I owe the honor?”

Trevor leaned forward, looking directly into the man’s eyes. He seemed vaguely familiar, but Trevor couldn’t put a name to the face. “I make it a habit to know exactly who I’m working with before I risk my life. No exceptions.”

“An understandable precaution.” His tone suggested he did the same.

“So precisely who are you? Why would a suit want to dismantle our government?”

The man’s voice grew icy. “As far as you’re concerned, I’m Mr. Smith. Consider me the money. As for as anything else, my reasons are mine alone.”

Trevor sat back, dropping his voice even lower. “Well, that bloody well explains nothing.”

Mr. Smith tapped his fingers on his leg. “I’m meeting you as a courtesy to Eric. Don’t overstep your place. You’re easily replaceable.”

“Untrue. Each person in your cell brings his own expertise to the table. Safecracker, arsonist, hacker. I’m the only explosives expert.

Your last bloke blew himself to bits, I believe?”

The head of the joint MI-5/SAS task force, Brigadier Lord Patrick Danby, had informed Trevor that the dead man was the only clue to finding the anarchists. They identified him through dental records as Jing-sheng Qiū. He had been a textile mill worker in Leeds before moving to London and joining the Philosophy of Bedlam.

Mr. Smith slashed a hand through the air. “An unfortunate turn of events.”

Unfortunate? A man had died. A terrorist, to be sure, but Smith’s callous disregard for Qiū’s life vibrated in the quiet of the limousine.

“The man knew shite,” Trevor said, burying his disgust.

“I trust you will not make the same mistake?”

He forced himself to laugh. “Not bloody likely. Pipe bombs are some of the most dangerous to use. Even something as small as static electricity can set them off. As Eric tells me, Qiū was fifty feet away when it exploded, and the shrapnel still killed him. I prefer plastic explosives. PE-4. Stable until detonated.”

“And you can acquire this?”

“Already have. My question is, why should I waste it on you?” Trevor had to walk a razor wire to learn who the head of the snake was, and to be accepted as an anarchist.

Mr. Smith nodded. “A fair question. Let’s just say I have certain interests in the weapons arena. Government agencies scrambling to stop terrorist bombings won’t be searching for me.”

He was an illegal arms dealer? Maybe that’s where Trevor had seen him—on a wanted poster. He sat back in the soft leather. “So this isn’t about ideology for you. Just money.”

Mr. Smith laughed. “There’s no such thing as ‘just’ money, Mr. Willoughby. Now. I’ve answered your questions. You answer mine. Do you support the anarchist philosophy of my Bedlamites?”

The cover MI-5 had given him was rock solid. No one here knew he was Trevor Carswell, British SAS. Trevor had known what lies he would tell before he insisted Eric introduce him to Mr. Smith. “I don’t give a shit what your anarchist philosophy is. I want to bring the government to its knees. Starting with the bloody National Health Service all the way up to Her Fucking Majesty and Parliament. If you’re the real deal, I’m in.”

“Why?”

“That’s none of your business. Just be assured I’ll do what needs doing.”

The man stared at Trevor for a moment, then picked up a file folder from the seat next to him. “But it is my business. I, too, make a point to know with whom I’m dealing.”

He opened the folder and flipped up the top page. “Trevor Willoughby, born April 23, 1980, to blue-collar parents. The oldest of five children, which kept your parents poor. Spent your teenage years getting into fights. Vocally critical of the disparity between the social classes. Joined the Provisional IRA in 2004, left in 2005 to join those trying to reestablish the Saor Éire, which failed. Was there not enough action for you, Mr. Willoughby?”

Trevor didn’t answer. So far, his cover was holding.

Mr. Smith shrugged, and flipped to a new page. “Married in 2011, divorced in 2012, when you caught your wife cheating. You beat the man half to death and spent eighteen months in prison for it. Daughter diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia while you were being detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure at Gartree. National Health Service wouldn’t cover the cost and you couldn’t. Daughter died last year.”

“All right,” Trevor gritted out. “Enough.”

Mr. Smith put the folder back on the seat. “You’ll get your chance with the NHS, Mr. Willoughby. But I have something else in mind, first. Are you interested?”

“Bloody hell. Yes.”


Books In The Duty & Honor Series:


Meet The Author

About Leslie Jones:
Leslie writes military suspense with a dash of romance. She loves alpha heroes and strong heroines. She is truly grateful to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their dedication and sacrifice. It is because of them that we sleep well at night.

She's been an IT geek, a graphics designer, an Army intelligence officer and an Army wife. She draws on her military experiences when she writes.

She's lived in Alaska, Korea, Belgium, Germany, and various other exotic locations (including New Jersey). Moving every few years made her an expert in relocation. Thankfully, she's been stable in one state for more than twelve years now. There aren’t many who understand her love for the raw, primal beauty of the Southwestern desert. It teems with life. It boils life down to its essence. Survive, or don’t.

She's a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Desert Rose RWA, where she served on the Board of Directors from 2012-2014. Her novels are available from HarperCollins Publishers, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency in New York.

She's a wife and mother, and splits her time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Cincinnati, Ohio.


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Friday, 19 February 2016

THOUGHTS OF STEEL #BlogTour


Two of the characters from the first thing I wrote became the protagonist and the antagonist for my book, Thoughts of Steel. I finished the book as a freshman in college and sent it out to publishers in all its horrible glory. I felt goddamn good for completing the book, but overlooked the whole part where it was supposed to be good.

Rejection after rejection led me to think that maybe something was wrong. I gave up on the book and moved on to other things. In the meantime, I discovered a project called Dargonzine.org. I joined and have published a handful of stories with them thus far. One day, something possessed me to go back to Thoughts of Steel. I found that I liked the story, despite it being poorly written and without much character depth. I must have had a soft spot for it. I sent it to my mentor for Dargonzine.org and he tore it to pieces like he does with everything I write. And it did both the book and me a whole hell of a lot of good.

I spent weeks revising the book, filling my cardboard characters with flesh and bone, restructuring the plot so that it actually worked. Eventually, I had something that I not only liked, but respected as a cohesive work.

I do know that I came up with Phalax and Zeraskyr first, then just needed some kind of conflict, so I found one. It all started with those two, then it morphed into Thoughts of Steel.

I did have a real defining moment for the story though. I was working at Panera, a freshman in college. Dishes, hundreds of them, came back to my sinks dirty then went up to the servers clean… okay, just somewhat clean. I had gotten stuck in a way. I still had more to write, but I didn’t know where I was going. Suddenly, as I was rinsing a bowl, it hit me. I understood why I was writing the book in the direction it was going and what was supposed to happen next. The series was born after that, paving the way for two more books following Thoughts of Steel.

I write in revelations, having that “ah-ha” moment well before I really need it, allowing me to never really get stuck. I think I’m gifted that way, and am sure that gift has paid off in Thoughts of Steel.


The Book

Thoughts Of Steel by Keith Edward English
Book 1 of The Ruination Gods series
Genre: fantasy


About Thoughts Of Steel:
The world turns cold as steel when it begins to die, and the divine will answer for the plight of man...

Life, as the inhabitants of Zepzier know it, ends as things of myth become a harsh and terrifying reality. Everything that Phalax, a battle-hardened defender of the kingdom of Cavia, has cared for begins to slip through his grasp as nightmares begin to plague his world. When he loses everything, he is left with nothing but a need for revenge, and the road to vengeance will be paved by the blood of both friend and foe.

Phalax once upheld justice. Now, right and wrong have no meaning to him, and morality has no bearing on his actions. He worships no gods, not even those who imbue him with incredible power. He will murder the enemy of his homeland and leave no threat standing. Nothing will stop him--no mortal, no demon, no god.
Source: Info in the About Thoughts Of Steel was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):
      iBook Buy   Buy from Google Play  

Meet The Author

About Keith Edward English:
Keith lives in Stockton, CA, teaching Krav Maga at American Martial Arts Academy. He enjoys a nice cigar on rare occasions but cannot exist long without good beer. He absolutely loves metal and rock, In Flames and Lamb of God his musical bread and butter. Besides teaching Krav and headbanging to metal, Keith also enjoys the outdoors, its furry and feathery inhabitants, drawing, and spending time with his loved ones.



Tuesday, 16 February 2016

DARKLY, DEEPLY, BEAUTIFULLY Release Day Party


The Book

Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully by Megan Tate
Book 5 in the Ceruleans series
Genre: urban fantasy YA


About Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully:
DARKNESS HAS FALLEN, AND SHE ALONE WILL SEE THE LIGHT. 

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them. 

But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward? 

Pulling a single thread impels a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself. 

All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end. 

But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all. 

In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?
Source: Info in the About Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):


Excerpt:
I kissed Luke then. I kissed him. Like I hadn’t kissed him in more than a week – since before London, since before Hollythwaite, since Barcelona: when we’d been just a regular couple on a city break, wrapped up in each other. Through the kiss I heard his sigh, the release of emotion. And then he pulled me to him, onto his lap, and I kissed his lips, his jaw, his collarbone, his shoulder, and he kissed my lips, my earlobe, my neck, my –

‘No!’

My robe had slipped, exposing my back, and I struggled off him and wrestled with the fabric entangled at my waist.

He stood up. Put his hands on my shoulders. Said my name with so much tenderness that I had to stop. Had to look at him. The room was steamy, the glass doors occluded. No one could see. Only him.

‘Trust me,’ he said.

I did.

Slowly, he turned me. I steeled myself as he took it in, the brand I now wore. Non Serviam. I will not serve. Emblazoned on my back in the form of angry, jagged scar tissue.

When I felt his lips on the nape of my neck, I jerked in shock. But his hands on my hips held me still as he traced the path of the scar, one kiss at a time, from its very top to its termination just above my bikini bottoms.

‘Beautiful,’ he said.

I turned to him. He smiled up at me.

Sinking down so that we were both kneeling, I said, ‘How could you…?’

‘How could I not?’ was his answer. ‘I was there, Scarlett. I saw what you did for your mother. That scar: it’s beautiful.’

‘But it’s a punishment, Luke. Because I sinned. That’s not beautiful. It’s dark. Wrong.’

‘No! Don’t you say that. Trying to save your mother – that could never be wrong. If I’d had the chance, I’d have done it. My mum, my dad, Cara… I’d have saved them all. And you. I would always save you.’

His eyes were glistening, and I lunged for him and hugged him hard.

‘So stop hiding it from me,’ he finished, his voice muffled in my hair. ‘Please. Because I love that scar on you so goddam much.’

I nodded into his shoulder and he squeezed me.

It was calm in our little haven. Still. Warm. Nothing existed but Luke and me. We held each other for a long time, drifting in the haze.

And then Luke sat back and said, ‘So, you and me. We’re good?’

‘We’re good,’ I told him. Then I frowned and added: ‘For now. You know, Gabe, the Fallen: I have no idea what we’re getting into.’

‘Me either.’ He reached out a finger and drew, in the condensation on the glass door, a little lightbulb. ‘But whatever lies ahead,’ he said, ‘it has to be better than living in the dark.’


Books In The Ceruleans Series:


Meet The Author

About Megan Tayte:
Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in a village of Greater Manchester. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.


Giveaway



Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: SHADOW STUDY


Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Narrated by Gabra Zackman
Book 1 in the Soulfinders series / Book 4 in the Study series
Genre: fantasy


About Shadow Study:
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands — and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job — and his life — are in danger.

As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

A CHRONICLES OF IXIA NOVEL
Source: Info in the About Shadow Study was from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130758-shadow-study on 03/02/2016.

Buy Link(s):


My Thoughts:
Like any other author, Maria V. Snyder has her ups and downs. I love the Yelena Zaltana trilogy! The Opal Cowan one however... not so much. In fact, that one was a disappointment. But, it seems that the author has gotten her groove back, because this book is a very good start to a fresh new trilogy in the Yelena Zaltana world!

So the world building and the chracter development had been established long ago. And those books were such a success that Maria V. Snyder decided to write this new trilogy, to the joy of all her fans! (including me!) And this book has the same of that fantastic world building and character development. I liked reading about old characters I loved in the previous serieses in this world. It's like meeting old friends again. Had I had a chance, I would have re-read my old copies of the Yelena Zaltana trilogy and the Opal Cowan trilogy before reading this book. As it is, I had to pause for, like, a minute or two to remember who Fisk was. Anyway, it all came back to me eventually, and the world of Yelena Zaltana bloomed once again in my mind's eye! Wonderful reading experience!


Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 4
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = 3.5
Plot = 4
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries


Books in the Study series:
Book 1: POISON STUDY Book 1.5: ASSASSIN STUDY Book 2: MAGIC STUDY Book 3: FIRE STUDY Book 3.5: POWER STUDY Book 3.6: ICE STUDY Book 4: SHADOW STUDY Book 5: NIGHT STUDY Book 6: DAWN STUDY


About Maria V. Snyder
Maria V. Snyder
Meteorologist turned novelist, Maria's been writing fantasy and science fiction since her son was born. Maria has won numerous prizes for her writing including the Golden Leap Hall of Fame, Wirral Paperback of the Year Award, Compton Crook Award and the Salt Lake County Library Reader’s Choice Award. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list and earned her Master’s degree in Writing from Seton Hill University. Traveling is one of her biggest distractions from writing and Maria hasn't said no to a trip yet. She has visited China, Dubai, Malaysia, Europe, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada -- all provided wonderful fodder for her stories. Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
www.mariavsnyder.com | blog | facebook | facebook author page | google+ | google+ author page | instagram | goodreads


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Thank you!
Thank you to the publicity team for the review copy received.


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FTC Disclosure:
The paperback review copy of this book was received for free in exchange for an honest opinion. The audiobook and ebook copies of this book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 
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