*BLOG TOUR PLUS AUTHOR POST* – A Hundred Hands, by Dianne Noble (includes excerpt & giveaway)

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AUTHOR POST

I’d been doing voluntary work in India, teaching street children to speak English, and when I came home again had the idea that the journal I’d kept would be a good basis for a novel. Unhappily, agents and publishers thought differently and after 32 rejections I stopped submitting, sat back and licked my wounds.

The painful truth was that my writing just wasn’t good enough. After nursing my bruised ego for several months, I decided to write another book, also based in India, but with a different storyline. I joined two writing groups and took my work in, chapter by chapter, week after week. Their critique was merciless and within a very short time I felt tempted to abandon the whole idea. What? A writer? Me? However, the stubborn part of me persevered and bit by bit every chapter was re-written, every word checked and evaluated, until I had a complete manuscript. I trawled The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook to find agents or publishers who 1) dealt in contemporary women’s fiction and 2) accept unsolicited manuscripts. I discovered that they were very thin on the ground!

It took Conville & Walsh 17 days to refuse me and Curtis Brown 5 weeks. Some took months to respond, others never answered at all. It’s hard to describe how demoralising it is when everyone says no. You wonder if you’re totally deluded thinking you can write, and your skin seems to get thinner rather than thicker. Wine intake rises dramatically and chocolate goes through the roof!

When I received an email from Tirgearr Publishing my heart sank. I really couldn’t take another rejection. But it wasn’t! It was an acceptance and a contract. I don’t know how many times I read it, totally disbelieving that somewhere, someone (apart from me) thought I could write.

That was a year ago and A Hundred Hands will be my second book with a third already submitted. If anyone out there is writing and ready to give up, listen to me! Keep going! Join a writing group, not a cosy one with coffee and cake, but one who will critique your work, pull it to pieces, possibly reduce you to tears and then when it’s as good as you can get it, start submitting and keep going until you’re accepted.

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Excerpt

Polly was dreaming of the night they came to arrest David, hearing the pounding on the door.

But when she woke she could still hear it. It was real.

She struggled to untangle herself from legs and arms. Ran for the door, heart banging against her ribs. Behind her girls screamed with fear and she heard shouts from the boys’ room.

Struggling with the ancient bolts, she broke a nail, skinned her knuckles. Outside stood a young man.

He averted his eyes from her bare legs, addressed the doorframe. ‘Meester Murdoch?’

She sucked her bleeding finger, gave him a blank stare.

‘Emergency. Where is, please?’

What was he talking about? She shook her head but he pushed past her. A screech of wheels as a stretcher followed him. Small frightened faces peeped round the door.

‘It’s all right. Go back to bed.’ She tried to sound reassuring.

They rushed Finlay towards the front door. His eyes, those eyes which had looked at her with such love, were closed. The colour of his face resembled ashes. She reached out to him but they’d already passed. Please God, don’t let him die. She stood, frozen, the blood from her finger dripping on to the floor.

‘We are thinking heart,’ the man called over his shoulder, then they were gone.

She leaned against the wall. A heart attack. It had to be a direct result of Pushpa vanishing. He had been beside himself, totally distraught. She buried her face in her hands. Nimesh had died, for God’s sake, and Finlay had taken it in his stride. But Pushpa was different.

She slid down the wall till she reached the floor. How could she have got it so wrong again?

Blurb

Following her husband’s arrest, Polly is forced to flee her small Welsh village. While she is in India visiting an old school friend she meets an older man, Finlay.

She is hugely affected by the way he is trying to alleviate the terrible suffering of Kolkata’s children who live on the streets in poverty and deprivation. As she becomes more involved in the day to day work she begins to fall in love with him. Together they share the heartbreak and also the happiness.

Then something changes and Polly begins to believe Finlay is hiding the same dreadful secret she ran away from.

Buy links:

Amazon UK:   Amazon US:

Smashwords:   iBooks:

Kobo:    Barnes & Noble:

BIO

diannenoble

I think I became a reader before I could walk. While other people had childhood memories, I amassed a vocabulary. I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.

Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance. All good material for an author!

I always enjoyed writing and kept a journal whenever I travelled abroad, but it wasn’t until I retired I had the chance to write a book. My first novel Outcast was published as an ebook in March 2016 by Tirgearr – after 32 rejections! This has been followed by A Hundred Hands. Both books are set in India and are based on the diaries I kept when I did voluntary work one winter, teaching English to street children in Kolkata.

Web and social links:

www.dianneanoble.com

www.facebook.com/dianneanoble

www.twitter.com/dianneanoble1

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/dianne-noble-2/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Summer Review Round-Up 2016

Dear readers,

img_0166It may be Autumn, but we’re still clinging on to the end of Summer with our Summer reads from June, July and August recapped for you to check out. We hope you all had some great hols and had the chance to read a book or two!

One of the perfect summer reads for me was Alison Brodie’s THE DOUBLE, where the setting on a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur really grabbed me. A perfect read even if not on holiday as it certainly makes you feel like you are!

And, with many of our reads being dark, paranormal, sci-fi and HOT erotic, they’ll be perfect for warming up your evenings for the following months.

For more info on each book and our full reviews please click on the titles.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Caroline & Tina 🙂 ❤

Shannon 1Angelis Vampire Series by Shane North, fantasy, paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

SHANNON (book 1) Blurb: Shannon’s life is happy except for her nightmares, but when she watches her mom and dad being murdered by the monsters in her dreams, her life falls apart. Her best friend turns out to be a werewolf, the man she thinks of as her other father is the alpha male, and her long lost uncle is a vampire lord from Angelis. Angelis is in another time dimension, a world ruled by Royals, a pureblooded line of vampires with powers never seen in this time dimension. Angelis is a medieval world of castles, and ancient magic that her mother and uncle were forced to leave to save their lives.

Shannon’s journey leads her to follow her destiny and meet the love of her life. Destiny and her uncle lead her to find out what she really is, where she came from, and to become the strongest immortal to live. Shannon learns to kill quickly, and to love like there’s no tomorrow when she meets her mate from her dreams. Simon, an eight-hundred year old Viking has searched the world for his true love when he meets Shannon. What will Shannon’s uncle, Simon’s maker, have to say about this? A young woman from South beach, destined to overthrow the vampire council and rule the immortal race with the help of the ancient Shaman Neeb.

Shannon 2SHANNON’S REVENGE (book 2) Blurb: My name is Shannon O’Callaghan and I’m immortal. I live in an amazing world of time travel and magic, where vampires and werewolves are normal and I call them family A family some would say are monsters, but they love me unconditionally and it’s the life I was meant to live. My father was Connor O’Callaghan, a visionary that led the wolves to peace and prosperity. My mother was Callidora Angelis, a Royal vampire from another time dimension. Their love and life together are what made my life possible, but, it is also what caused their death. And, it’s their death that fuels my journey of revenge on those who stole my life.

This immortal word is controlled by The Vampire Assembly. The Assembly is an evil group of twelve who decides the fate of its followers. They are devils dressed like mortal men who kill with pleasure and live off of blood slaves they keep in their dungeons. They are evil, they are responsible for my parents’ death, and I will see them dead. My day for revenge is finally coming and The Assembly is mine to kill. Then and only then will I rule this land as their queen.

ReaganREAGAN’S DESTINY (book 3) Blurb: Death has arrived in earth’s time dimension. A foul stench filled Shannon’s nose, a smell of sulfur and death. This might have been a vision, but her power spiked as she sensed the source and moved towards it. Her life force surrounded her as her swords appeared in her hands. She gripped them tightly and stepped through a massive oak door. Before her stood a giant of a man.

His essence was black as coal, and his soul had long been lost to his dark side. His ancient leather armor looked old and battled; it smelled musty from the dried blood and looked dry and brittle. This had to be Kyran. Evil always had a dirty, unkempt appearance, and his aura was encircled with death. She could sense his blood was similar to Damon’s, and she knew she would take great pleasure in killing him someday. But what happens when Kyran is taken to earth’s time dimension by Neeb’s evil brother, seeking to kill the remaining royal Angelian family and end their bloodline forever.

In this riveting spin off from Shane North’s Angelis Vampire Series, an unknown Angelian is faced with death, her new life and the destiny the fates have planned for her.

FigsFigs by Tabitha Rayne, erotic lesbian menage/romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Two girls, some fruit and an office perv—what could possibly go wrong?

When Mae finally confronts the office perv, Rory, by taking part in one of his suggestive pranks with a fig, she starts a journey that changes the way she thinks and feels about her current partner, Janey. Janey lost her sight just before they met and Mae realizes she has been keeping Janey like a prisoner in her own home—safe, protected and unseen. After the scene with Rory, Mae decides to take Janey out and show her off to the world—something she should have done a long time ago…

Little does she know what a hellraiser her girlfriend can be.

Digital_Cover_ILLUS_2Sex Hell: A Love Story by Joe Canzano, comic fantasy, humour, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing–but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by a laughing demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid–or does she?

Sex Hell is an absurd comic fantasy about the confusion of relationships. How is love related to sex, and how is sex related to love–and do love and sex need to be related at all?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations

All that glistersAll That Glisters by C. J. Fallowfield, contemporary erotic romance, humour (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: The spin off to the best-selling humorous erotic romance standalone, The Temptress.

Hunter Donovan. He was everything I openly loathed, but everything I secretly desired.

Cocky, arrogant, and crude. When Hunter wanted something, he pursued, relentlessly, until he got it. And right now, I was his prey. The trouble was, I didn’t want to be added to his endless list of conquests.

Gorgeous, masculine, with a body made for sin. The most perfect specimen of male I’d ever set eyes on, and he knew it. The trouble was, I saw the pain he was trying to hide, and I wanted to heal him.

He wanted my body, but I wanted his heart.

Coco Barella. She was everything I openly desired, but everything I’d convinced myself I didn’t need.

Beautiful, sexy, and sassy, all of the qualities that I wanted in my bed. Compassionate, loving, and perfect, all of the qualities I didn’t need in my life.

I needed to pull her to me, but at the same time I wanted to push her away.

When the sexual magnetism between two people is so hot, that it can scorch everything around it to ash, who will emerge from the flames victorious?

A standalone erotic romance novel, which contains adult content and is only suitable for the over 18’s

Natasha BA Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure #2) by Natasha Blackthorne, historical, erotic regency romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Scorching Hot Historical Romance

Miss Miranda Jones is indisputably the most beautiful, elegant and sought after courtesan in all of London. She hides a past full of pain and rejection beneath an exterior of pride. She knows that noblemen put their own fickle interests first and cannot be trusted. Scorned by ducal father, she never needed or expected anything from a man, except his financial support. Luxurious living makes a soothing balm against the sting of the ultimate rejection.

Now she’s madly in love with a nobleman who cannot afford to keep her in such extravagant style. And she wonders if a courtesan can ever afford to indulge her own passions? Can she really gamble so capriciously on her own future and put the happiness of the moment above future security? Will her gentleman prove himself no better than any other nobleman that she has known?

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, has seen the men of his family destroyed through their obsessive need to possess beautiful women. He’d always thought himself immune to such unworthy drives. Now he’s fallen under the spell of Miss Miranda Jones.

Miss Jones’ high standards and past reputation foretells that she’ll be a most demanding mistress. Despite his relative lack of funds, Adrian is determined to work hard to protect and provide for her. Passion led this skeptical gentleman to declare himself in love. Yet as they enter a protector and mistress relationship, Adrian finds himself consumed with possessiveness. And he can’t help but wonder if is it true love that motivates him? Or is it the need to own her stunning beauty? He must find the answer before their tempestuous romance breaks both of their hearts.

A Most Demanding Mistress is part of the Fashionably Impure Series and is best read after Miranda’s Dilemma.

Reader advisory: This story contains frank sexual language and general bedchamber naughtiness. Abuse issues are alluded to in the backstory.

The General’s Daughter & Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash, books 1 & 2) by Heather Knight, post-apocalyptic, dark erotic romance suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

HKTHE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER (book 1) Blurb: Eighteen year-old Ilsa’s father, General Balenchuk, is one of the few men with balls enough to build a tiny island of civilization after a global catastrophe sends humanity to near extinction. He runs Bluefield Mountain with an iron fist, and he’s even more controlling when it comes to his daughter. Ilsa’s been dead inside for years—that is, until the person who hates her most takes her hostage.

When twenty-two year-old Talon Heinesman kidnaps Ilsa Balenchuk, it’s not just because the leader of a rival territory ordered him to capture the general’s daughter. Four years ago, her selfishness set into motion a series of events that resulted in his mother’s and sister’s murders. He’s buried his rage for four years, and now it’s time to mete out the punishment she deserves.

Their story sets Ilsa and Talon on a steamy, turbulent path full of danger, incendiary passion, and a bond so deep it could kill.

This romantic suspense novel contains dark, mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

STOLEN MELODY (book 2) Blurb: The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a HK1volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole persona of Melody was a corporate fabrication, and Imogen would like to forget that part of her past.

Ex-felon Axel Diehl is scouting ahead for a well-organized gang when he spots his fantasy girl. There’s no mistaking the small scar on her hand, those full lips, or that kick-ass figure. It’s too good to be true, and when the gang takes control of Sadie’s Bend he publicly claims Melody for his own.

Can sweet Imogen become the sexy Melody of Axel’s dreams? Can Axel give his poster girl the love she craves? Or will the violence of this new, post-apocalyptic world tear them apart?

This dark romance novel contains mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

THE DOUBLEThe Double by Alison Brodie, romance, mystery, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

BadNovember Rain (Bad Bloods #1) by Shannon A. Thompson, sci-fi dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

Beneath BrokenBeneath Broken (Imperfect Heroes #2) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary, military romance, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: He’s a clean-cut cop who loves a good challenge.
She’s a smart executive with no interest in falling in love.
It won’t take long for the flames of desire to scorch them both, forcing them to either douse the blaze, or succumb to the fire.

MASON
I don’t give up easily. My personality and training taught me that failure is not an option, and getting the attention of the beautiful executive president Harper Mathis is going to be my biggest challenge yet. But first I’ve got to find out why she’s so withdrawn. A woman that stunning must have secrets and I’m going to find out what’s hiding behind those baby blue eyes of hers. She’ll quickly see how much I love a good game of chase.

HARPER
I’ve gone through hell and am not ashamed to admit that I’m broken. Damaged goods. Used up and empty. I want nothing to do with men or love, especially not a cop and a veteran – one who puts his life in danger every day. I’ve been there, done that, and my heart has no interest in someone like Detective Mason Oliver. Even if he’s the hottest thing I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. I get the feeling Mason always gets what he wants, though. Well, he hasn’t seen my stubborn side.

Beneath Broken is book 2 in the IMPERFECT HEROES series and is for readers 18+.

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxThe Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense, mystery, drama (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

All That We Are Holly J GillAll That We Are (Trust #1) by Holly J. Gill, contemporary erotic romantic suspense, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: Holly knows that sitting behind her computer isn’t going to bring one of her romance heroes to life. And despite her matchmaking friend’s attempts, she’s still lonely, looking for her Mr. Perfect. Fairytales happen, right?

As a bestselling author, Ashton Noir doesn’t need anyone or anything in his life other than his imagination. That is until he comes across Holly’s Promotional Services’ website. Further exposure for his books can’t hurt.

Communicating through the Internet and then phone calls, professional interests turn personal. Realising they lack trust and confidence in different ways, can they have a future as a couple? Or are their dreams forever going to be their safe haven?

CaughtCaught by Lolita London, historical, erotic romance, erotica (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: A Lonely Doctor

His treatment for female hysteria calms his patients, and heats Dr. Thomas Winterbourne’s blood like nothing else. Unwed, and desperately lonely, he’s rejected the idea of marriage due to his singular desires.

A Thief

Jenny Marks feels no pity for the wealthy doctor who has more comfort than she has ever found in her nineteen years. She takes a job as his maid, intending on taking anything of value from him and any other upper class people that she can.

Caught

When Dr. Winterbourne finds her pilfering his mother’s jewels, he decides upon punishing her in the most scandalous of manners, unknowingly tying their fate together.

Mean GirlsMean Girls by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Adele Blackthorne is a big girl. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better.

BiancaHow to Capture a Duke (Matchmaking for Wallflowers #1) by Bianca Blythe, regency historical romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: One reclusive bluestocking…

Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.

One dutiful duke…

Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.

One fallen tree…

When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…

TVThe Virgin of the Wind Rose (A Christopher Columbus Mystery – Thriller) by Glen Craney, mystery, thriller (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

TIOHThe Image of Her by Lorna Peel, romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Rachel Harris had been abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England, then later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?

Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task, until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.

Then anonymous and increasingly frightening incidents begin and threaten to end their relationship. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s abandonment?

**REVIEW** Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3) by S J Sprague

THE ORGANIZATION! They’re back! But with a difference; instead of taking on corrupt cops, this time they have to investigate the killings of those connected to The Organization. WHO and WHY?

Following A Presence in Russell County (book 1) and Mulberry (book 2) comes the final book of the exciting crime thriller ‘The Organization’ series, Jesse Butterfly, by author S J Sprague.

jesse-butterfly-sj-spragueTitle: Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3)

Author: S J Sprague

Genre: Crime thriller

Date released: June 22, 2016

Length: 278 pages

Buy links: Amazon US and Amazon UK

Blurb: The housekeeper of a Supreme Court Justice killed … A Council member’s wife murdered … a lonely man hooked to oxygen found dead. The only thing they have in common is their ties to The Organization.

The Organization, created to bring out-of-control law enforcement to its knees, now find themselves the targets of a new kind of killer.

Racing to decipher cryptic messages sent from an Organization prison, the group brings all their resources to the battle before there are more deaths … and more names on a list marked with an X.

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

I have really enjoyed The Organization series, and book 3, Jesse Butterfly, is no exception. With an individual now seemingly targeting members of The Organization, and killing their loved ones, the heat has certainly turned up a notch or two, making for matters to become a little more personal.

In the two previous books, A Presence in Russell County and Mulberry, we have followed the Organization (usually ex-military) in gathering evidence against corrupt law enforcement officers and trialling them using the Organization’s swift methods. During this time we have followed major characters in Hollingsworth and Crogan (both ex-military friends) and Sam Biggers, a woman who was once harassed by a dirty cop which led her to lean on her online friend, Hollingsworth, and who later became a trained member of The Organization.

The team are now expected to do more than carry out surveillance and gathering evidence on suspected corrupt officers; they need to ascertain if there is a connection between the victims, find out who is behind the killings, and use their skills to bring them to justice. This full-on investigation is so much more than what they are used to. But, as the story moves on it becomes apparent that there is a connection with The Organization, meaning they had to carry out the detective work themselves.

Unfortunately, the clues can only begin to piece together once more and more crimes are committed, and therefore plenty of tension is built up. The reader is left wondering what will happen next and how will The Organization have enough evidence to link everything together.

Told in third person, one of my favourite aspects of Jesse Butterfly is just how often the reader can easily follow the actions of the killer. There are moments that I found more connected with what they were doing than The Organization. This gave the story an edge, depth and darkness which I loved.

There is a great deal of build-up and suspense which I found exciting and quick-paced at times. However, my one concern was that it ended abruptly. I would have enjoyed a longer period of intense action at the end as I felt that that was where the story was heading. I was a little disappointed at this point, but then the epilogue was a joy to read as each remaining character is mentioned in a paragraph of their own, allowing the reader to find out what the foreseeable future holds for them. This was a lovely way to wrap up the series; a series that I have enjoyed very much!

A copy of Jesse Butterfly was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

RussellCounty_WEB_FINAL_sm2You can also purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of A Presence in Russell County on Amazon.com ($11.99 for paperback and $4.99 for the Kindle edition) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.45 for paperback and £3.71 for the Kindle edition). It is also currently available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Mulberry_WEB.smThe paperback edition for Mulberry is now available on Amazon.com, the paperback edition is currently $13.99 and the Kindle version is $4.99. Also available on Amazon.co.uk , the paperback version is currently £9.39 and the Kindle version is £3.94! It is also available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Prices correct at the time of posting this review.

Please click on the book titles to read my reviews on the earlier books of The Organization! 🙂

If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at sjsprague01@gmail.com.

**REVIEW** The Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax

The Scottish Diamond is a contemporary, romantic suspense novella by Helena Fairfax, which follows on from Palace of Deception. However, both books can be read as stand-alones. With a little more darkness and mystery in The Scottish Diamond, we find Elizabeth and Léon in Edinburgh as Elizabeth’s life returns to the norm, after having to impersonate to be the royal Princess Charlotte in Montverrier (Palace of Deception), albeit with her bodyguard in tow!

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxTitle: The Scottish Diamond

Author: Helena Fairfax

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery

Release date: March 12, 2016

Length: 104 pages

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK & Amazon US

Review ***** (5* rating)

Although a romantic suspense, Helena Fairfax takes us on a darker mystery than we are used to with The Scottish Diamond novella. Now back in Edinburgh with Léon, her former bodyguard, Lizzie’s life has to return to her normal routine with working with her theatre production company, rehearsing and preparing for term time when the schools open up after their summer break. And, what a huge difference it is being back after spending the summer impersonating and covering for the Royal Princess Charlotte of Montverrier, with the beautiful scenery and a suspenseful meeting of her bodyguard in Palace of Deception!

Lizzie notices Léon’s faraway looks as he stares from her bedroom window, not to mention the intensity he radiates. Wild thoughts go through her mind about whether he will enjoy being in Edinburgh, or whether he even loves her enough to stay. To make matters worse, the play she is to rehearse for is the dreaded MacBeth. Isn’t it just a whole load of bad luck, especially to those performing it?

The superstitions worsen as Lizzie overhears suited men speak in the language of Montverrier, possibly mentioning Léon’s name. Is she being paranoid? Meanwhile, Léon is struggling to find work and failing at interviews. Everything seems bleak and solemn. The mood of The Scottish Diamond is in complete contrast to Palace of Deception in terms of the setting, the emotional closeness of Lizzie and Léon, and where Palace of Deception focussed on uniting the two main characters and their success, in The Scottish Diamond there seems to be something between them. The reader fears that they will be pushed apart, and feels the negativity that is swamping Lizzie.

“… the truth is I was frightened of discovering the truth – that he bitterly regretted coming to Edinbugh and he didn’t love me enough to want to stay. During the day there was a thin sheet of glass between us, keeping us apart. At night, though, it was different. Our barriers melted – but even then, there was an intensity to Léon’s love-making that was new, as though each time were going to be our last.”

For a brief moment, this feeling lifts when Léon finds work. Strangely, after having a conversation with some fellow Montverrians he is given the chance to protect The Scottish Diamond. With the diamond about to be exhibited, the previous guard gone missing, and Montverrians that appear to be following Léon, what will become of the diamond? And, what will become of Lizzie and Léon as they get tangled up in the whole fiasco?

Regardless of the fears and mystery that the story holds, one of the enjoyable aspects is knowing that it’s very handy (and HOT), having a bodyguard in Léon around. And, I love his protectiveness of Lizzie; his masculinity ready and waiting for any threat. At the same time, he also allows Lizzie to be independent with her work and doesn’t suffocate her.

Told in first person from Lizzie’s point of view, the reader shares exactly the same worries as Lizzie; the main hope throughout is that they both come out alive, and together! However, there are twists and ordeals to get through which will keep you turning the pages, desperate to find the outcome.

Suspenseful from the beginning, and increasingly as the story unfolds, you’ll love this short adventure that can be read as a stand-alone, or following on from Palace of Deception. It is a story to be read until the very end to be appreciated fully.

A copy of The Scottish Diamond was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out our review of Palace of Deception (which also includes an interview with the author), along with reviews of Helena’s previous books below:-

PALACE OF DECEPTION – review and author interview

The Silk Romance – Tina’s review

The Silk Romance – Caroline’s review

The Antique Love

A Way From Heart to Heart

**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ GirlsQuad (Book Two), A Best of Friends Series, by J A Heron

GQ1&2

GQ 2

GirlsQuad

 A Best of Friends Series: Book Two

By J A Heron

GQ2 Ebook

☆☆☆☆☆RELEASE BLITZ ☆☆☆☆☆

GirlsQuad –
A Best of Friends Series: Book Two
Author: J A Heron Author
Genre: Comedy drama
Release date: 12th July 2016
Word Count: Approx 88,577
Published by: Gone Writing Publishing

☆ IT’S TIME TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE AND DANCE ON THE TABLES ☆

Buy links

Amazon ~ myBook.to/GirlsQuadTwo

B&N ~ Link coming soon

iBooks ~ Link coming soon

Kobo ~ Link coming soon

Add to your TBR: https://goo.gl/R7qvwE

GQ 1

GirlsQuad

A Best of Friends Series: Book One

By J A Heron

#funread #bookstagram #amreading #comedydrama #womensbooks

£1.99/$3.00

Buy links

Amazon ~ http://smarturl.it/Girlsquad

B&N ~ http://goo.gl/Yk1B2I

iBooks ~ https://goo.gl/g8p2Pi

Add  to your Goodreads TBR ~ goo.gl/hxFEIU

Blurb

They say, ‘opposites attract’.

Some would disagree, but these four women couldn’t be more different if they tried.

These best friends have different lives, different aspirations and different outlooks on life and the way it should be. However, they do share a few common denominators – they all work together. Every day, they earn their living by working in a hair and beauty salon, where fun is the top style of the day.

They also live in the same little village; quiet, peaceful and where not a lot happens. They’re all feisty and love each other fiercely.

Follow these ladies through a journey that’s packed with fun, happiness and heartache. This story will leave you smiling, feeling happy and grateful for the life you have. GirlsQuad is coming for you, and you will be able to relate to at least one of these characters, if not all of them. Everyone has a friend like Clarissa, Brenda, Carla or Davina.

What is the most important thing in life? The answer is friendship.

About the author

Jane Is a self confessed coffee addict and chocoholic. Like most women, she enjoys nothing more than snuggling with a good book, a steaming cup of coffee with a few munchies on hand.

Jane lives in a small town called Burton on Trent, Staffordshire in the heart of England. This little town where she resides is famous for making beer, the home of Coors Brewery. She has called this  industrial town home, all her life. Jane is a mother, a fiancée and loves to write books of all genres. She believes in variety and loves nothing more than to try her hand at anything her mind conjures up. Her back catalogue includes:

Erotic romance ~ ‘Belleza’

Erotic romance ~ ‘Alias’

Erotic thriller ~ ‘30 Days’

Women’s comedy drama ~ ‘GirlsQuad – A Best of Friends Series: Book one’

Women’s comedy drama ~ ‘GirlsQuad – A Best of Friends Series: Book Two’

She is currently working on a dark horror, collaborating with another author, amongst other projects. Jane believes in her work, she believes in her stories and she hopes you will too, she will be bringing you lots more tales from the heart.

Stalker links

Facebook ~ https://goo.gl/jIuFLE

Goodreads ~ https://goo.gl/wejYGH

Google+ ~ https://goo.gl/1GeIC0

TSU ~ http://goo.gl/dc8gCC

Instagram ~ https://goo.gl/TS2i75

Pinterest ~ https://goo.gl/pJ9MdW

Tumblr ~ https://goo.gl/37DVME

Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/JAHeronAuthor

Amazon author central ~ http://goo.gl/8RpOV6

My website ~ http://goo.gl/yQsDK5

Wattpad ~ https://goo.gl/Ea1191

Blog ~ http://jaheron.blogspot.co.uk/

Teasers

GQ1 banner

GQ teaser 1

Brenda' Song

GirlsQuad 2 Teaser

 

Review Round-Up, April & May ’16

Hi readers, it has been a while since our last Review Round Up. Life certainly seems busy at the moment, and a little chaotic. With Britain’s EU referendum resulting in an ‘out’ vote, the government in turmoil with no real plan, and the weather just as changeable, I am sure many of us are looking for ways to keep calm and focus on other interests.

Tina has been working extremely hard with the Tamworth Litfest group, ensuring the smooth run of the Romancing the Word event, as well as setting up many author events over the next year. As a visitor to Romancing the Word, I have to say that it was a magical day for all – authors and visitors. It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Helena Fairfax, Pat Spence, J.A. Heron, Julia Ibbotson, S.J. Warner, and many, many more.

Meanwhile, I have taken some time away from the blog to build on the foundations of my family’s move to Scarborough. I have been volunteering at a local school, helping with reading, and joined a local Zumba class. Walking along the fantastic coastline and through beautiful parks and forests have also taken up weekends as we familiarise ourselves with this very beautiful corner of England. Another pastime has easily been taking my time as I have enjoyed photographing many a stunning view, and now with a new camera I am hoping to pursue this more too. And then, there is the Euro 2016 football tournament that I have been watching obsessively, as well as trying to fit in episodes of Outlander, Preacher, Outcast and Vikings!

Aside from this, we have our number 1 passion of reading some fantastic reads. Below you will find twelve reads from April and May that we have reviewed for you. From crime fiction, paranormal horrors and psychological thrillers to regency romance and erotic romance we hope, as always, that there is a little something for everyone. (Please click on the book titles for more book info and our full reviews.)

And please remember, whatever the weather, whatever the chaos find time to do a little of something you enjoy 🙂

Caroline & Tina ❤

Find us on Facebook and Twitter @areadersreviewb

bloqBloq by Alan Jones, crime fiction, thriller, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

This is a gritty crime novel with some sexual content.

Cheri ChampagneLove’s Misadventure (Mason Siblings #1) by Cheri Champagne, historical regency romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Miss Annabel Bradley refuses to accept life as a spinster. Her many years of pouring greedily over gothic novels has put her head in the clouds; dreaming and hoping for the love she reads about. She has always held a tendre for her best friend, Lane Mason, seventh Earl of Devon, but she does not want to jeopardize their friendship by telling him about those indecent dreams of hers. Anna, therefore, makes a life-changing decision; she is going to accept the proposal of the next suitor to ask!

Lane Mason is an average aristocrat; absorbed in life in general, and content with his status in society. Amid a frequently occurring moment of self-loathing, Lane shockingly discovers his feelings for Anna. Now armed with the awareness of his love for Anna, Lane decides to perpetrate a devilishly clever scheme. He will pay actors to abduct the two of them in order to give Anna an adventure like the ones she reads in her treasured books.

Lane’s plans go awry, however, when they are kidnapped in truth.

Mother coverMother by Alistair Cross & Tamara Thorne, psychological thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

The Con ArtistThe Con Artist by Kitty Thomas, dark literacy erotica (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Art. Obsession. Twisted possession.

When starving artist Saskia Roth meets Lachlan Niche, a local art collector and tech tycoon, she has no idea how her life is about to change. One act of desperation, one con gone wrong, and she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful man she fears and despises–or so she thinks at first. As lines begin to blur, her life as his captive becomes something more… something that will both transform her and destroy her.

Demon Kassidy Bell 3Demon (Kassidy Bell #3) by Lynda O’Rourke, paranormal horror, psychological thriller (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: After escaping the Bishop’s house with Ben Fletcher, Kassidy soon learns that there’s more to Ben than the eye can see.

Still running from the demons and police, her journey takes her north in a frantic pursuit to find Doctor Langstone, in the hope that Kassidy and her friends can remove the ever-spreading drug – VA20.

But will Kassidy get there before it takes over her mind and body, before she is snatched back to Cruor Pharma? Can she really make it, now that the demon, Doshia, seems to be travelling amongst her and her friends?

Vampires of Maze 3Vampires of Maze (Part 3) (Beautiful Immortals series 2) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal mystery thriller (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From Tim O’Rourke #1 bestselling author of ‘Werewolves of Shade’ (Beautiful Immortals Series One) comes ‘Vampires of Maze’ (Beautiful Immortals Series Two) a vampire and werewolf romance with a twist.

Witch, Julia Miller, has been sent by the Wicce to bring an end to the war that rages between the Beautiful Immortals. Joining a pack of werewolves, Julia must travel with them to a land unknown to her. Here she will learn the horrifying truth about the dark secrets hidden in the town of Maze.

To stay alive, Julia will not only have to figure out who to trust but also who to love. For Julia’s worst nightmares are about to get a whole lot more terrifying as she heads into the war raging between the vampires and werewolves where even her own magic abilities won’t be able to protect her.

LabyrinthA Labyrinth of Love and Roses (Touchstone #4) by Beth Barany, contemporary fantasy romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: From award-winning novelist, Beth Barany, comes another magical tale of romance and adventure — a sweet, Hallmark-like tale.

What if what you wanted got in the way of your destiny?

French MBA grad Lili Grenault needs to succeed at her last pitch meeting to fund her international green tech business. But her grandmother tells her to drop everything, find her one true love, and embrace her magical legacy by Beltane, in one week, or chaos and failure in her life will ensue.

San Francisco investor Brett Barnaby wants to find his great-grandfather’s gravesite in Amiens, France, one of the primary battle sites of World War I. Family legend says that purpose, greater mission, and perhaps even untold riches, will be unlocked when he finds that grave. But his search in Amiens brings up fear, anger, and dire warnings about some wild Green Man. He turns to local Lily Grenault for help.

Can these two independent freethinkers work together to prevent chaos from triumphing and find love in time in the labyrinth of roses?

Pieces Like PotteryPieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri, contemporary fiction, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

One Night in BudapestOne Night in Budapest (novella) by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Hermione’s in Budapest on a romantic weekend break. Or at least it should have been romantic—an unexpected break-up means she’s visiting the Hungarian capital alone. Determined to make the most of it, she goes on a night-time river cruise, the perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s beautiful sights after dark.

On the boat, cute Budapest native, Emil, serves her cocktails. They chat a little on the journey, engage in some banter, and when Emil asks Hermione out for dinner, she’s seriously tempted. But she’s a long way from home, by herself—is dinner with a complete stranger a good idea? Hermione decides to take a chance, and what follows is an unforgettable night which will transform her life forever.

Rebel warriorRebel Warrior (Medieval Warriors #3) by Regan Walker, historical medieval romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

His PrizeHis Prize (The Cleaners #1) by Doris O’Connor, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: It’s the choice of her life—submit or die.

When Susie Elliot stumbles into the middle of a clean-up, undertaken by none other than Ellis Reynolds, she expects her life to be over. No one disturbs this ruthlessly efficient killer and lives to tell the tale.

The man they call Ren has no time for tender feelings, but there is something about the curvaceous redhead that calls to him. Rather than killing her he claims her as his prize. One night should be more than enough time to get her out of his system. However, Susie’s submission means Ren has to confront emotions, completely alien to him. Killing is easy. This relationship thing is fraught with problems.

When his criminal activities catch up with him, loyalties are tested to the max, and Susie has another choice to make—walk away, or stay and accept the darkness within.

In His CornerIn His Corner by Vino Arno, contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb:

WORK OUT

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild work-out…

KNOCK OUT

Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stiches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…

**REVIEW** Pieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri

Pieces Like PotteryTitle: Pieces Like Pottery

Author: Dan Buri

Genre: Contemporary fiction, short stories, drama

Date released: October 2nd, 2015

Length: 179 pages

Buy Links: Amazon UK Amazon US

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

As a regular reader of romance novels, Pieces Like Pottery is quite a refreshing change from the romantic version of love as it delves into different variants of love, such as the love felt for a relative, a best friend and mentor, and even the love/pride we have for our career and the way in which it can bring us to care for others that we meet with regularly. There are certainly many ways to love, and to feel loss of a different kind, which is what Pieces Like Pottery explores within its nine short stories.

From reading the first story alone (The Gravesite) I found it to be thought-provoking and inspirational. I imagine the author to have philosophical viewpoints as I felt that is what comes across in the writing in some places, and it is also extremely emotional. As the reader continues there is more of the same with different scenarios which really do make the reader open their mind and consider life in a very deep and meaningful way.

I found Expect Dragons to be deeply moving. Not accepted by his own father due to his sexual orientation, James finds a lifelong friend in his teacher, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith also appears to be his mentor, teaching James about life as well as his academic work. Only now, James has one last chance to meet with his teacher before he dies. Little does James realise there is one last lesson in store. Told as a story with a beautiful lyrical poem it will be impossible not to react emotionally.

The book overall explores situations that are ‘bigger’ than us. Events that we have little or no control over. And then goes on to question why we worry about them once they have taken place. It explains how it is only how we react and learn from these events that we can actually control, and shows on occasion how we can sometimes allow trivial moments to take over our overall mood. Learning to grasp the important things and be patient with, or let go, of the more meaningless is something we all need to be reminded of sometimes. It is usually at times of loss, or thereafter when we reflect, that we notice this more strongly.

I’d recommend Pieces Like Pottery when in a thoughtful mood. Perhaps when needing a relaxing moment after a manic and busy time. It will certainly bring you back down to earth, help you reflect on your own relationships and possibly even empathise with those around you. As it does connect with its reader on a very personal and conscious level, I found that the section Breathe is exactly what you’ll need to do as it is a little heavy at times. Maybe this was due to my mood and mind-set at the time of reading as I found myself needing small breaks in-between the stories. However, no one can fault that it is written well and covers many scenarios in whereby we as people feel a sense of loss at times throughout our lives.

Despite the strong feelings of love and loss throughout, I find it ended leaving the reader with a sense of hope. This enlightened the atmosphere immensely, and I did leave Pieces of Pottery with a reassuring smile as I felt gratitude for all those close to me who have touched my life. The strong characters from The Ballad of Love and Hate made these feelings possible, and also provide a sense of patience.

This book is certainly worth a read and will provide you with a life lesson due to it’s realism, emotion and strength.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out an excerpt of Expect Dragons here.

AUTHOR BIO

Pieces Like Pottery Dan BuriDan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognised by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.