The Mechanic by Tim O’Rourke **REVIEW plus 2 x GIVEAWAY**

Wow!! Released today, we have the thrill of hosting Tim O’Rourke’s New Adult sci-Fi romance ‘The Mechanic’. Not only were we privileged to read this fantastic story before its release BUT we are also excited to host a 2 x paperback GIVEAWAY. (Please scroll down for the blurb, our review and info on the giveaway, plus links.)

OKay, this is the blurb for 'The Mechanic'. I hope you enjoy it :) x </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The Mechanics were built to help people. They looked and behaved just like humans. But when the Mechanics malfunctioned and started to kill those who had given them life, they were hunted down and destroyed, until only one remained. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>When twenty-two-year-old, Hope Last, has a chance encounter with a mysterious man named Aidan Croix, an immediate and intense attraction forms between them. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Hope soon fears that Aidan is keeping a terrible secret and begins to suspect that he might not be human after all but the last of the Mechanic’s the world has been hunting for. But Hope knows that it isn’t just her heart but her very life, Aidan holds in his hands. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Written by Tim O’Rourke and hidden away in the ‘box’ beneath the stairs for many years, ‘The Mechanic’, is published for the first time as an Amazon Exclusive and available from July 31st 2014.

Blurb: The Mechanics were built to help people. They looked and behaved just like humans. But when the Mechanics malfunctioned and started to kill those who had given them life, they were hunted down and destroyed, until only one remained.

When twenty-two-year-old, Hope Last, has a chance encounter with a mysterious man named Aidan Croix, an immediate and intense attraction forms between them.

Hope soon fears that Aidan is keeping a terrible secret and begins to suspect that he might not be human after all but the last of the Mechanic’s the world has been hunting for. But Hope knows that it isn’t just her heart but her very life, Aidan holds in his hands.

Review

The Mechanic is a dark, exciting and mysterious sci-fi romance, with plenty of passion and curiosity to keep you tense and guessing until the end! Within the first few chapters alone the reader is introduced to the characters, is aware of the situation with the mechanics and is subjected to an incredible action sequence which does end in upset and controversy for some. As well as working out the stranger in Hope’s life, Aidan, there are also murders to solve and a cop to answer to.

The Mechanic is written from Hope’s point of view. The reader sees everything from Hope’s mind and knows her every thought. This creates a feeling of empathy and understanding for the reader towards her, and as we do not see from the others POV it is very easy to suspect and mistrust the other characters. This is great for the story and allows the reader to keep questioning who The Mechanic could possibly be.

Hope has recently been cheated on by her boyfriend, Jake, and feels so alone. She feels abandoned by her dead mother, and now once more by Jake. Betrayed and let down, Hope is vulnerable and empty until Aidan Croix enters her life. He changes her world.

Aidan has all that a fictional love interest should have with his good looks, infectious smile and sweet mesmerising stares. There is a profound connection between him and Hope that reaches way beyond the physical attraction. There were moments when I was captivated by his character, especially with the physical love scenes, and yet I couldn’t quite bring myself to fall for him completely as I was constantly questioning whether or not he was The Mechanic, a killer, the hunted. I felt like I was Hope’s conscience and yet where Hope allows his presence to fulfil her every moment of loneliness I would be more cautious.

To set the scene of the mood of the story we know that Hope lives in a more run-down apartment in the city, there is plenty of rainfall, and the thunder and lightning create an eeriness, a feeling of danger, tension and yet heightened passion. Yes, there is plenty of passion between these two characters!! Not hearing from Aidan’s point of view makes him more mysterious to the reader. But Hope drowns in him, longs for his touch as soon as he leaves her each morning, longs to be with him for eternity.

As Hope begins to wonder if Aidan is The Mechanic being hunted there is also a part of her that cannot live without him, she cannot be lonely again. She’s been left alone by her mother, her boyfriend, so Aidan is the one thing that she can hold on to. She begins to question if it is possible to fall in love with a machine, and could a machine fall in love too? Even if he is The Mechanic will she be able to give him up? She is torn.

Hope’s conflict doesn’t end there as she hears her friend’s, Ingrid’s, warning in her subconscious about Aidan, making her confused and frustrated. And to add to her confusion there is also the feeling that she knows Aidan from somewhere else, maybe from her past, or maybe he is a friend of a friend. Either way nothing is clear, apart from the sense of love that she feels for him.

As always Tim’s writing is very direct, easy to visualise and a quick read. And yet it packs so much on terms of plot, character and emotion. Even the setting, the 80’s soundtrack and mechanical descriptions, although not too heavy, were so interesting with the cogs, springs, etc and help create a dark and eerie mood which really adds to the story. I absolutely love it!

There were elements that even reminded me of The Terminator (movie) – the notion that a machine can have human flesh, blood, bodily functions as well as possibly developing feelings towards a human. Then there is the storyline that he is the only one left and he is being hunted down. (However, there is no time travel or end of the world scenario in The Mechanic.) I personally thrive on this level of excitement in a book and Tim O’Rourke is a genius when it comes to these fast-paced adventures.

I thought it ended brilliantly with great twists and wraps up with all questions answered. Without spoiling, it was quite surprising and emotional and ends with a slight possibility for a sequel (fingers crossed!!). Throughout the novel there are hints and clues as to what could be, and who The Mechanic is. If Aidan is The Mechanic, then he has possibly murdered and is now being hunted! How can Hope fall for him? Can a virtually human machine have the possibility of developing human feelings and emotions? Hmm, I think you’ll have to have a read to find out!


A copy of The Mechanic was received gratefully in return for an honest and fair review.

GIVEAWAY INFO


To celebrate the release of The Mechanic, A Reader’s Review Blog has been offered to host a paperback giveaway of two copies!!!

For a chance to win one of two paperback copies of The Mechanic all you have to do is add your name in the comments list below (or on our Facebook page) before Thursday 13th August 2014, when the two lucky winners will be randomly selected. Good luck, guys :)

If you simply cannot wait The Mechanic is also available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

~**SNOW IN JULY**~ by Kim Iverson Headlee ~ Excerpt, Spotlight and Giveaways!

Snow In July - Tour Banner

 

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Snow in July
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Young Adult Paranormal Historical Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – July 2014
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 386 pages/94K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER DESIGNER – Natasha Brown

 

Snow in July - Book Cover

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

 

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Snow In July - Full Sleeve

 

EXCERPT

FIFTEEN THOUSAND MEN and horses writhed across the valley below, appearing as toys in a children’s game.

Many might consider war a game, but Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre, knight of Normandy bound to the service of Duke William and commander of a unit in the cavalry reserves, did not number among their ranks.

Edward the Confessor, King of England via his Saxon father but Norman by his mother, was dead. This battle, raging near the coastal hamlet called Hastings, would decide the right of one man to wear the English crown: William the Norman, acknowledged by Pope Alexander to be Edward’s lawful successor; or Harold the Saxon, brother of Edward’s wife, the man alleged to be Edward’s deathbed choice.

Stroking his war horse’s glossy charcoal neck to calm her, Alain pondered Harold’s claim. It had to be true. This many men would not sacrifice their lives for a lie. Yet the vast majority of Harold’s supporters were Saxons harboring no wish to bear the Norman yoke. Perhaps such men might be desperate enough to fight for a lie that promised to restore Saxon rule.

A trumpet blared. He signaled his men forward, couched his lance, and spurred Chou to send her careening into the melee.

Harold’s shield wall, which had seemed impregnable, began to crumble under the onslaught of Alain’s unit, hastened by the desertion of men who no doubt decided they weren’t quite so willing to die. Their lord stood exposed just long enough for a Norman archer to sight his mark. Harold fell, screaming and clutching an arrow that protruded from one eye.

Harold’s supporters closed ranks around him, blocking Alain’s view and giving him more than enough to do as the Saxons redoubled their efforts to guard their lord’s body.

A familiar whirl of colors caught Alain’s attention. The saffron leopard prowling on a green field—Étienne! A Saxon knight, with a blue arm and fist blazing defiance across his gray shield, bore down upon Étienne with leveled lance. Étienne tumbled from his horse. He scrambled to his feet and retrieved his sword, putting it to good use on the Saxons surrounding him, although the knight who’d unhorsed him had already ridden in search of other targets.

Lance long since discarded and sword now rising and falling with fatal precision, Alain surged to reach his brother’s side. Protection of her youngest son had been their dying mother’s wish, and he had sworn on his own life to keep Étienne safe.

Before he could close the distance, another Saxon knight fought past Étienne’s guard to thrust a war-knife into his throat. Through the visor the knight’s eyes gleamed with startling, fathomless malice. Alain could only watch in stunned disbelief as he laid his hand upon Étienne’s chest for a few moments. Uttering a soul-freezing howl, the Saxon yanked out his seax and disappeared into the press with Étienne’s shield, denying Alain vengeance.

Shame and grief rent his heart asunder.

He had failed the two he loved most; failed them so utterly that he could never beg their forgiveness in this lifetime.

Pain slammed into his shoulder, toppling him from the saddle. Étienne’s body broke his fall. He tried to roll clear, but a spear through his chest pinned him to Étienne. His gut convulsed, and bile burned his throat. Blinding agony killed his struggle to free himself. Death’s stench invaded his nostrils.

He closed his eyes and waited for his final journey to begin.

 

Snow in July - Book Spine

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”

 

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GIVEAWAY PRIZES

• Ebook copies of Snow in July

(MOBI/Kindle file-EPUB/B&N file-or sent as a gift via Amazon.com/BN.com)

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GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

• 10 Autographed copies (US residents only) of the print edition

via Goodreads (scheduled to run July 1-31, 2014)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

 

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1-MINIBUTTON

REVIEW and SPOTLIGHT of *TOUCHED BY THE SANDMAN* ~ by Beverly Ovalle

Touched Sandman - Tour Banner

A Dream Lover

21463347

Erotic Fantasy Romance

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Book Blurb

~ A lonely woman’s torrid sexual dreams and fantasy partner await her as reality in another dimension.~

The sandman visits those that need him, assisting them to sleep. Until one night he meets a woman that he cannot help but return to time after time.

She is lonely. He comes to her as she drifts off to sleep, the man of her dreams. Awake or asleep, which is her reality?

He knows she is the one meant for him. He will find a way to make both of their dreams come true.

My Review

This is another sizzling erotic short from Beverly Ovalle, which is just the ticket to read if you are apart from your own dream lover or have a hankering for one! I’ve previously enjoyed the author’s previous works: Dragons’ Mate, Lightning Strike and the novella A Saint’s Salvation (click the book titles for my review).

This read packs a punch in terms of erotic scenes and inventive plot. The hero Aryne a being from another world, whose mission it is to bring comfort to those during their slumber, cannot resist paying Alainn lots of naughty nightly visits in her dreams believing that he has been lucky enough to find his bondmate. Alainn welcomes his visits (and who wouldn’t when they involve such a lover?), needing to be comforted and loved as she has never felt as if she truly belonged in this world… She has always felt herself a loner and been a bit of a dreamer at heart. Little does she realise that the silver eyed dominant hottie, whose visits she relishes actually exists and is not just a figment of her fevered imagination!

Aryne aches to make Alainn his , yet does not know how to, fearing that her touch could strip him of his powers or that she, a mere human, will not be able to cross over to his world, let alone survive there. What follows is a sweet but hot erotic tale involving a determined and dominant hero who will do what he can to make Alainn his.

I loved the erotic love making scenes between the couple, which are HOT and make me want to retire early with my dream lover! I also enjoyed the foray into Aryne’s home world and finding out the background to his race’s’ existence.

I recommend this read to lovers of erotic romance, where the hero is both sweet but dominant and the heroine is deserving of his love.

I purchased a copy of this book to read, enjoy and review!

Author Bio

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 24 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Having her own Dragons is expected as she is dragon crazy and anyone that walks in her house can tell. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines.  Her daughter Susannah visits to grocery shop in the pantry and to see what might be cooking for dinner.

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

Contact Links

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1-MINIBUTTON

 

 

 

 

*WEEPING ANGELS* by Cristy Rey ~ Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Four years ago, Frankie Rios walked away from her best friend and big sister, Iris. To Frankie, Iris died the day that she last rejected Frankie’s attempts at getting Iris alcohol and drug treatment. Rather than accept grief for her beloved sister’s loss, Frankie turned to her music. A renowned cellist, Frankie has managed to ignore the pain and suffering of losing the person she loved most in this world. With Iris out of her mind and out of her life, Frankie was able to move on…or so she thought. Until Iris really died.

Topher went to war in 2001 only to return two years later damaged and broken. Unable to reconcile the war vet with the boy he used to be, Topher gave up on life. When Iris Rios, his long-lost childhood best friend, dies from liver failure at thirty-two years-old, Topher is forced to confront his past. He must decide whether he deserves to heal. He must decide whether he will take that first step and then take another until he can recover what he lost: himself.

Weeping Angels is a story of grief carried and grief ignored. It’s about learning to love and moving on. Mourning someone once is hard enough, but mourning someone twice is unimaginably harder.

 

Weeping Angels

Cristy Rey

Goodreads

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release date: June 27, 2014

Purchase Links

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Excerpt

What Frankie says breaks me. It breaks me. And it’s not even about Iris or me; it’s about Frankie. Everything she said about Iris fills me in on years that I’ve missed. Even when I’d been standing right beside her, I was ignoring what now seems so obvious it’s blinding. Yet, for all the talk about Iris’s alcoholism and suicidal tendencies, what Frankie’s opened up about is herself.

I’m not even sure she notices because she’s so guarded. Never once has she reflected on what she’s said. She’s been stating facts, telling stories. That’s what she thinks, anyway. I know this like I know myself, because it’s what I do. I state facts and I tell stories, and what I’m actually doing is diverting attention from what’s going on inside.

Frankie’s all Iris this, Iris that, but what I hear is: I can’t live with myself because Iris was never happy and I couldn’t save her. It’s what I hear inside myself every minute of every day, and my heart breaks for Frankie and for me. What I do next comes so naturally that it scares the living shit out of me. I don’t let her leave. I hold her as close as I can because what I want is for her to be inside of me the way she’s let me be inside of her.

In this space and time, Frankie and I are one person. I’m angry with her. I’m aggressive about it, maybe even hurting her, but I reason that it can’t be any worse than how she’s been hurting herself by balling this all up for decades.

As much as I need her to be close, I want to push her away. I want her to leave and never come back. I want Frankie to take flight tomorrow morning, and I want to be the one to deliver her to the airport because what I’m feeling is something that I’m not ready to deal with. I tell myself to let her stay here, to give her this space from death that she needs. I’m surer now more than ever that we have an unbreakable bond, but I don’t want it.

We have right now and I need it right now, but I can’t want to have it tomorrow. I can’t want to have it ever again. It’s like being with yourself all the time, but only with the ugliest parts of you. It’s looking at all the broken pieces of your psyche and being forced to confront them.

That’s what Frankie is to me. That’s what she’s been to me all day if I cop to it. Maybe it was like that last night when I went out after her in the parking lot and walked her back to the service. Maybe it’s why I couldn’t believe that she could be out there alone with no one to hide her sadness from the world. I’m making up for it today, though. Right now, I’m making up for leaving her naked and on a slab for the world to pick apart. The more I hold her, the more I fear that I’ll never be able to let her go, but I keep doing it because she’s something worth saving and, if she can be saved, then maybe I can be, too.

My Review

A Beautiful, Raw and Intense Love Story

I am familiar with Cristy Rey, having read her Paranormal Romance Taking Back Sunday which I hugely enjoyed. Weeping Angels is an entirely different read, billed as Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance, it portrays an intense journey embarked on by two lost souls and deals with the raw emotions of grief, guilt, anger and pain. It is also a beautiful inspirational love story, unlike no other I have read, and I am awed by the versatility of this writer.

In Weeping Angels Frankie and Topher meet after Iris, Frankie’s sister, has died as a result of alcoholism. Frankie, a renowned cellist, has been estranged from Iris and her family for four years after Iris refused to seek help for her addiction and her family did not acknowledge that she had a problem. Frankie pours her anger and grief at the situation into her music, which in many ways has been her constant prop in the face of witnessing her once beloved sister’s slow demise since childhood. Despite qualifying and working as a lawyer after being discharged from the military, Topher has all but given up on life and struggles to cope with PTSD arising from a Traumatic Brain Injury. Topher used to be Iris’ best friend before he enlisted, having little to do with the reclusive Frankie who refused to party and was devoted to her music.

However Iris’ death draws them together. Topher gives Frankie first the physical and then the emotional support she needs and a strong bond develops. Yet Topher believes that he is broken beyond repair, too broken for Frankie, who has her own demons to deal with. Frankie too has issues, not least her guilt at the death of her sister and the anger towards her family who did nothing to help her sister deal with her addiction. With Topher based in Miami determined to protect Frankie from himself and Frankie living in San Francisco any future together appears doomed, unless the bond they formed is strong enough to overcome their distance and overcome the tangled emotions at play.

I was totally absorbed in the development of the relationship between Frankie and Topher. Cristy Rey cleverly portrays their innermost thoughts in chapters alternating between Frankie and Topher’s POV. Both are broken in their own way and their coming together does not magically make their problems go away. Instead their meeting offers them an opportunity to overcome their problems and embrace a future together if they are willing to chance it. I loved both characters, who display a great deal of strength despite the cards Fate has dealt them. I also loved how the author illustrated Frankie’s character and emotions though her relationship to her cello and how Frankie’s music helped strengthen their bond.

Weeping Angels is a beautiful, original and emotional read, which although will have you reaching for the Kleenex, is also an inspirational one. I strongly recommend it.

A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

About Cristy Rey

Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. The first book, Taking Back Sunday, and a short prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, are available now at online retailers. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Her first standalone, Weeping Angels, is available now, and her second, Heart Grow Fonder, will be out in winter 2014/2015.

Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.

Contact Cristy

Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Website

A few of Cristy’s other novels

  

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~**IRREVOCABLE**~ by Skye Callahan ~ BLOG TOUR (Includes Review, Excerpt and Giveaway)

Irrevocable BB 2

 

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An 18+ read. Warning: This isn’t your rainbows and love sonnets kind of romance. This story explores topics of abduction and slavery, and contains explicit scenes of graphic violence and (non-con/dub-con) sex.

I have been SO looking forward to reading this new novel by Skye Callahan. I LOVE dark reads for a host of reasons: the examination of the psychology of power; the preservation of self versus the desire of another to dominate and destroy; the erotic sex; the often taboo scenes and the plots where characters’ survival often rests on a knife edge, not forgetting the presence of the dark alpha anti-heroes, whose possible redemption, when faced with a woman who gets under their skin and makes them question their actions, fascinates me.

I was therefore delighted to be gifted a review copy of Irrevocable to participate in this blog tour. Let me say upfront, Skye Callahan does not disappoint on any one of the reasons I love this sub genre of romance. It is a FREAKIN” AMAZING read! Scroll down for the book blurb, a sizzling excerpt, my review and details on how to enter the associated rafflecopter giveaway, where you can win a paperback copy of Irrevocable and oodles of other great prizes! Tina <3

Irrevocable

 

SYNOPSIS

Sometimes when you can’t go back, the only way out is to descend into the darkness.

my Captor

When I woke in that place, I just wanted to survive. But survival came at a cost, for which they demanded my will and body.

my Master

With pain came acceptance. Fully-dependent on the man who claimed me, I learned to appreciate what I had-life and relative safety.

my Protector

I watched him spill blood and tend my injuries. With betrayal came a revelation.

The only way out was to bring them all down or die trying.

Goodreads

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SIGNED PAPERBACKS

US: $13.99 | CA: $17.99 | INTL: $26.99

EXCERPT 

Through the haze of sleep, I felt hands on me. Cold and rough. I thought for a fleeting moment that it might have been Kyle. Then, I remembered our break up. It had happened weeks ago, but maybe that part was the dream. My memory was fucked and I couldn’t latch onto a thought long enough to ride it out of the fog.

Too many hands. They groped and pulled—rough against my skin and digging into muscle and bone. I tried to retreat, my back pressed into a hard surface beneath me, and my nostrils filled with the smell of musk and damp stale air. I had no idea where I was, or how I’d gotten there. I kicked and gasped, trying to get back to the surface where reality lurked, shimmering in the distance, but just out of reach, like the sun on the surface of the water during a dive.

A hand latched onto my hair and held my head back. My eyelids were finally freed from the sticky muck that held me in semi-consciousness, and I opened them to find myself staring up into unfamiliar green eyes. I only held his gaze for a few seconds—if that—but it seemed like it lasted for hours as my brain fought to categorize the details. Its useless attempt to understand what was going on. The man clutching my hair had vivid green eyes, but they may as well have been black given the emotionless void they displayed. His hair was shaggy, brown with a mix of grey, the same colors that stood out in his unkempt stubble. As if he needed any help looking rough. He exhaled and his breath settled over my face, reeking of booze and cigarettes. The smell made me queasy, but I didn’t have time to dwell on that, as another set of hands tugged at my jeans.

My gaze traveled around the room, taking in the small crowd. At least half a dozen men surrounded the table where they had me spread out like a holiday feast. All dressed differently, from ragged tank tops to well-fitting dark button-down shirts, but they all projected an air of unchecked danger. Necks marked with tattoos, hands covered in callouses and scars. Scruffy faces accented their sneers and smirks, as they stood above me staring down with eyes starved of humanity and full of lust.

Apparently, they didn’t expect me to put up a fight, because aside from the hand tangled in my hair, no one seemed concerned with keeping a tight grip on me. Probably because they outnumbered me, and I assumed they would have no problem beating the crap out of me as I struggled. They’d downright enjoy it. Unfortunately, I didn’t fully consider how that scenario would play out. I bucked and managed to knee the one pulling on my waistband in the face. He grunted, but I can’t imagine I inflicted as much pain as his retaliatory blow to my ribs. I sucked in air and rolled, curling around the injury and gasping for each painful breath as the sickening throb exacerbated my confusion. 

teaser-7

My Review

Freakin’ Brilliant!

A freakingly brilliant read that kept me glued to my Kindle until the wee hours! I LOVE dark erotic reads and this ranks amongst one of the best I have read in a long time. Like others in the genre it contains explicit scenes of sex and violence (especially sexual violence) and is also deeply psychological as it examines the themes of domination, submission and sadism. It also contains a heart rending love story, hot love making, super erotic scenes and self-sacrifice. This particular dark read spotlights how far would you submit to survive and in doing so could you preserve your sense of self?

The heroine ‘Silver’ (whose real name we only learn towards the end of the novel) is abducted and taken to a ‘retreat’ run by the twisted megalomaniac crime lord Ross, who dabbles in the pleasures afforded by slaves alongside other illegal activities. Silver finds herself in the hands of Kirk to be trained as a slave. She is left under no illusions as to her new role, to be his sexual toy for him or his sadistic boss Ross to use as they desire. She soon realises that her only way to survive is to submit to the pleasure and pain Kirk her ‘master’ subjects her to. Yet she constantly rebels against this as she fears that to do so she will break completely.

Kirk is a conundrum to Silver and the reader, a cruel and harsh task master who is not pleased to find himself saddled with a difficult slave to train, but he will do what it takes to keep her in line, however painful it is. As they spend more time together however, Kirk occasionally reveals the existence of a softer side, but he will not deviate from his responsibility of training his slave. From this unequal relationship a strong bond develops between them, yet can Silver reconcile herself to her new role and can she survive in such a sadistic and violent environment which is overseen by Kirk’s boss Ross?

I LOVED Silver and Kirk. Silver is strong and feisty despite enduring so much and Kirk is a hottie who appears to be a monster, yet is far less of a monster than others within the world she finds herself in. The scenes between Silver and Kirk are intense and downright hot, but at times had me in despair and reaching for the tissues!

Aside from the hero and heroine, there are some other great characterisations, from the evil and sadistic Ross and Gabe to Miles, his second in command. Note to author – like other readers, I too would love to see Miles have his own book!

I will not say any more but the novel has an inventive and well-paced roller coaster of a plot, with many surprises, including a great twist. Lovers of dark romances will certainly want to add it to their reading list! A 5 star read!

A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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AUTHOR BIO

I’ve been coming up with stories for as long as I can remember, and in elementary school I began writing them all down. Ghosts and vampires, have always been my favorite beings to write about. Maybe it was growing up with a grandma who always told me about how she’d always rush home to watch Dark Shadows, and growing up reading and watching anything paranormal that I could find.

My debut, Fractured Legacy (Paranormal Urban Fantasy novella), was released on October 22, 2013, and the sequel Beyond the Divide is currently in progress and expected to release in early 2014.

I am also taking a departure from the paranormal world with a BDSM Romance, Bound and Unbroken, which will also be released in early 2014. I go where my characters lead me, and Eric and Lena decided that I needed a definite break from the paranormal.

When I’m not spending time with the voices in my head, I work in business consulting and hang out with my husband and all of our furry family members.

Random Stuff:

I LOVE Rum, but that’s probably not a secret.

I love sexy cars more than I love rum. My top picks would be a ’65 Mustang, practically any Bugatti Veyron, or an Aston Martin Vanquish.

I once based a character in a story on my husband, and the character died.

Don’t bother trying to figure it out, I never released that book.

I’ve never met some of my closest friends in person–some of them live on the other side of the world.

I never set out for anyone at work to know that I’m a writer, but now they buy my books, so it’s a good deal.

I’m not terribly good at being girly–I don’t wear makeup, only own 4 pairs of shoes, and I’ve never had a manicure.

I learned to handle a gun before I learned long division.

I cuss like a sailor unless I’m around my grandma.

While most of the people in my graduate research classes were buried in books, I was glued to the TV researching the evolving portrayal of “Indianness”.

I’ve seen Disturbed in concert 3 times.

I still have a crush on Jason David Frank (aka Tommy Oliver the Green/White Ranger)

I work with my husband and it’s the 3rd time we’ve worked for the same business.

If I’m not watching Top Gear, I’m probably watching something that was filmed before I was born. Currently, Dick Van Dyke is in my DVD player.

I have a phobia of crickets.

Should I throw you one hell of a fact if you’ve made it this far? I was diagnosed with PTSD two and a half years ago, and my doctor suggested that

I start writing again to help cope with the symptoms.

Where to stalk Skye:

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1gVX96i

Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/Hmwsrp

Twitter: http://bit.ly/HchK5M   or  @Skye_Callahan

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Heart of Eternity by N. Jay **REVIEW**

Heart Of EternityBlurb: When you are invited to dance with the muse of love, when you are driven to the edge by the pain of the past, when you hold the remedy for what ails you in your arms you will find yourself in the heart of eternity.

Set in the Blue Mountain’s town of Blackheath in New South Wales, Australia, the novel Heart of Eternity introduces two very different characters, Jay and Naida, who encounter each other at a challenging time in each of their lives. Their individual expressions of the feelings they provoke in each other give rise to a turmoil that could ultimately claim their lives. When two people understand so deeply the pain each other has faced will it force them into the abyss of darkness or will their combined need for healing allow love to enter both their hearts?

REVIEW

Heart of Eternity is a profound and interesting fantasy story, exploring the demons and inner light within two main characters in Jay and Naida. The narrative is beautifully written with the use of powerful and descriptive language. There is dark and there is light. But when they meet, will they really be whole? That is the key question and mystery of this short story.

From early on in the story the reader discovers the first of Naida’s conflicts. Being a sufferer of cancer she longs to exorcise her mind and spirit, instead of using more conventional methods, to make it easier and give herself more time. It’s almost like she feels that faith, hope and a positive mind will play an important role in her well-being. However, the conflict lies when her own father, an atheist, has long lost his faith and longs for her to seek out the medical and practical methods at hospital.

Meanwhile, Jay on the other hand behaves like one of the lads, encouraging dares, drinking, racing, being leary and flirting with many. He is a typical bad boy, with the good looks and the carefree attitude with nerve and a cheekiness about him. But Jay’s characters also holds an inner demon inside of him after suffering many bad and tragic ordeals. He has reached a point in his life where nothing matters and so he does as he pleases.

The story is told from the perspectives of both Naida and Jay, making the reader aware of both of their circumstances, feelings and their own esteem. I love this as the reader can gain an understanding of their thoughts and actions. Because of this there is a nice build up to the meeting of these two souls, albeit it is mysterious considering Naida’s vision of a shadowy figure, green eyes – without knowing who they belong to.

It’s obvious that they both have this deep connection and as they realise each other’s inner souls the reader longs for them to reveal all and, where possible, use it to help the other. Will Jay face his demon? If so, who will win? And will Naida deal with her cancer in a positive manner?

Naida’s Uncle Zachriel is a great supporting character with the patience and understanding to help Naida, and later Jay. He is the one who helps Naida look further and further into her soul where she finds a darkness within her. Without swaying her decisions either way he guides her and yet allows her to be independent and make her own decisions. He trusts her judgement and reasoning. Zachriel also encourages her to make more progress each time they sit and look within, once Naida had decided that this was the way for her.

Although a beautiful story I felt that the characters could have explored each other more. To really beef the story up it would have benefited from more romantic suspense and a physical love scene in order to allow the reader to really feel the depth of their feelings for each other. This would have made for a more emotive ending.

However, I did feel that as I continued reading the intensity and emotion did build up, crescendo-like (albeit gradually), until the very end. It is also at this point when I realised just how meaningful the title of the book is! Of course I’m not to spoil the story but the latter chapters were amazing to read and I thoroughly enjoyed them. It is great fantasy writing, especially the tension and conflict between Jay and his demon.

I would certainly recommend this read to young adults and over of whom are particularly interested in fantasy, but be prepared for a little paranormal.


A copy of Heart of Eternity was provided by the author, N. Jay, for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Heart of Eternity by N. Jay can be found at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

 

 

Spotlight on *The Warrior Queen # 1 in The Guinevere Trilogy* by Lavinia Collins

Guinevere’s Story

book oneThe Warrior Queen is the debut novel of Lavinia Collins. It is a historical/fantasy romance set in Arthurian Britain, published by Not So Noble Books.

Since childhood I have been fascinated by the Arthurian legends. I am not alone in this as there have been many books, films and television programmes which have time after time re-interpreted the story of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, his fellow knights and the quest for the Holy Grail.

The tale is rich in mystery, archetypes and moral and religious metaphors. I am also torn by the tangled relationships of what I consider the greatest tale of all time, in particular the love triangle between Guinevere, Arthur and Lancelot. Not to mention the magical power struggle between Merlin, Mordred and Morgana and the notion of chivalry represented by the Knights of the Round Table.

It is rare however, for the events to be portrayed through the eyes of Guinevere and I was therefore fascinated to learn of Lavinia Collins’ The Guinevere Trilogy, comprising The Warrior Queen, A Champion’s Duty and The Day of Destiny. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing The Warrior Queen soon, but wanted to share the cover and book blurb with you, kindly provided by the author, and provide the links.

Book Blurb

‘The Warrior Queen’ is the first instalment of ‘The Guinevere Trilogy’, a new series of eBooks that reimagines the famous story of Queen Guinevere for a modern audience.

When her people’s army is destroyed in the war with King Arthur, Guinevere is horrified to discover that her conqueror has demanded to have her as his bride. She arrives at Camelot angry and resentful, but quickly finds that the king who defeated her people in battle is not the brute she expected. Slowly, she gains a fragile happiness in her new home, but this is threatened when war comes again.

When her life is saved on the battlefield by a mysterious French knight, Guinevere finds herself caught between desire and duty, the longing for happiness in the new life she has, and her desire to be free and follow her heart.

This original re-imagining of a much-loved legend gives readers a new Guinevere; passionate, headstrong and fiercely independent. An immersive adventure through Arthurian legend, steeped in magic, passion and intrigue, this book won’t disappoint, ‘The Warrior Queen’ retells the classic narrative through the eyes of a queen determined to escape the bounds her society has placed on her, determined not to be ruled by the men who surround her, and determined to be master of her own destiny.

Links

Amazon UK:   Amazon US:   Remember – you can read a sample on Amazon.
Twitter @lavinia_collins   Blog: vivimedieval.wordpress.com

Other Books in the Trilogy

A Champion’s Duty #2 and The Day of Destiny #3

511iZ2ljEbL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_51+fCpDw9yL._AA160_View book blurb and purchase links on Lavinia Collins’ Amazon Author Page  Amazon UK    Amazon US