**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.

*Book Blitz & Giveaway* Kale’s Paroxysm by Nina R. Schluntz

Sage bookblitz banner

KalesParoxysm_WDTitle: Kale’s Paroxysm

Author: Nina R. Schluntz

Genre: M/M Romance

Date released: April 7th, 2016

Released by: MLR Press, LLC

Length: 311 pages

Blurb: Convinced Martin will come back, despite their volatile history, Kale embarks on a relationship that is perfect if it remains superficial; but Eli’s past is riddled with secrets and Kale’s obsessive nature drives him to uncover it all.

Kale has spent years in a volatile relationship with his ex, Martin. Convinced he will come back, even after a conflict that results in Kale being incarcerated and suspended from his law firm, Kale begins a no-strings-attached relationship with the man he meets in jail.

Eli has always kept his romances with men temporary. He hasn’t always been honest about being gay and he prefers to keep the secrets of his past hidden. Kale’s obsessive nature makes it difficult though, and soon their relationship is edging toward something more. Kale’s possessiveness appears to have no limits, nor do his fits of rage, and Eli worries, as Kale’s affection shifts from Martin to Eli, that he may become Kale’s next victim rather than his lover. 

Buy Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author bio:

KalesParoxysm authorHer husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. And their kitty, a rescued Abyssinian, is always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration.

Kale’s Paroxysm” is Nina’s first contemporary novel, but will not be her last. Visit her blog, mizner13.wordpress.com, for information regarding previous and upcoming publications. She also posts book and movie reviews for a wide variety of genres.

On Twitter: @mizner13

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amaranthine.mizner/

Website: https://mizner13.wordpress.com/

Publisher: http://bit.ly/23SXXRQ

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qJCuJ4

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1WPIlsW \

The author is hosting a giveaway for ONE lucky reader to WIN a $10 Amazon GC!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

**REVIEW** The Unfinished Tale of Sophie Anderson by Martyn J. Pass

If you’re looking for a short, contemporary romance, tear-jerker then please look no further. His first time at writing a romance story, author Martyn J. Pass has certainly hit the nail on the head with this tender storyline, and it’s beautiful but touching execution. Get your hankies at the ready for this MUST-READ!

The Unfinished Tale of Sophie AndersonTitle: The Unfinished Tale of Sophie Anderson

Author: Martyn J. Pass

Genre: Romance, contemporary, drama

Release date: March 17, 2016

Length: 133 pages

Blurb: Welding, a Jack Reacher novel and a night in with a bottle of red wine seems to be as exciting as Sophie Anderson’s life gets.

That is until a stint of on-site work brings Tom into her life. He’s been her foreman for years now but when they’re forced to work together for the first time, Sophie begins to see that happiness might have finally taken a chance on her and that the often overlooked manager might just be the man of her dreams.

But Mel, her best friend and flat mate, has a harrowing past that returns with devastating results and Sophie is forced to wonder whether happiness is real or just a fairy tale told to hide the bars and walls of a man-made prison.

Love, heat and passion are as much a part of Sophie’s tale as the grief and suffering which follows her every step. Expect to find her unfinished tale a real and painful journey into the life of someone who might be working a cubicle down from you or in the welding bay on the other side of the workshop. 

BUY LINKS:-

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

The Unfinished Tale of Sophie Anderson is one of the most touching, heartfelt stories I have read in quite a while. The storyline is extremely realistic, with believable characters and told in a very natural way.

Sophie spends most of her free time taking care of her best friend, Mel. After a miscarriage and an abusive relationship, Mel needed a friend to take her in and be there for her. The ever-loyal friend, Sophie, was her rock. However, aside from working as a welder, and spending an evening with a bottle of red with Mel, Sophie hasn’t spent a great deal of time thinking of herself. She seems to plod on and keep going, happy enough in her own shell, but lonely all the same.

Tom, on the other hand, is a divorced father who has been through young love, coming out the other side with nothing too much to show for it. He married young, and his relationship became humdrum, with both himself and his wife feeling disconnected from the other. Does the fairy-tale ever really last? He is honest enough to admit he has made his fair share of mistakes, i.e. taking her for granted, and this makes Tom even more likeable in my eyes.

Tom is Sophie’s supervisor, keeping himself in his office for the most part, but when a job comes up where they both need to be on-site, they find themselves spending time travelling together, talking and ever so gradually getting to know each other a little better. Their relationship starts as professional, to friends, and then grows into something beautiful.

Their feelings for each other grow gradually, with neither one expecting how they would become so close. In many ways it reminded me of my own experiences and feelings, especially when Sophie and Tom spend time together away from work and they are just getting to know each other personally. Tom is a very caring person, and I particularly enjoyed reading about how kind he was, when he not only looked out for Sophie, but also for Mel.

This short romance read can be read easily within a day. I couldn’t put the book down. It really took a hold of me, and my feelings for the characters grew just as much as their feelings for each other. It is beautifully and tenderly written with great care; a very gentle read, but with a surprising twist towards the end.

It has certainly left me wanting more from Sophie Anderson, as it’s lasting effects really will get to you. The reader will want to get to know more about Sophie’s past, and indeed what will become of her future. This isn’t a story that you will forget, and for that alone it is well worth the read and a high rating!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

*Cover Reveal* Wake Me Up by Justin Bog

Title: Wake Me Up

Author: Justin Bog

Genre: Literary Fiction, Crime, Family Saga, LGBT

Date released: January 6th, 2016

Published by: Gravity Records

Length: 324 pages

Wake Me Up

Blurb: A FATHER IS HAUNTED BY HIS PAST — HIS WIFE LIVES HER LIFE IN A RIGID SHELL — THEIR SON, UNTETHERED, DISCOVERS THE SECRET THEY SHARE WITH DEEPIKA, A VISITOR TO THEIR TOWN. 

I see all of these people. They’re living and breathing and acting on their basest impulses. I lay in a coma. They live. I hover over all of them, all at once. I can see my body, motionless, wired up, adrift. And I can find out why this happened. This is my story and I won’t remember any of it when—if—I wake up. But I’ll try to remember—I’ll try damn hard.” 

MIDDLETON, MONTANA—OCTOBER 2004—AN ELECTION YEAR

A small college town’s populace is tied, complicitly, to the brutal attack of a teenage boy by four of his classmates. Soon, heated rumors of a possible hate crime surface. Injustice is a hungry beast.

While Chris Bullet remains unresponsive in a coma, his skull shattered, he floats above dire circumstance. In this phantom state, compelled to witness his past once more, the family’s darkest secrets, hidden over generations, will be aired.

Author Bio

A member of ITW: International Thriller Writers group, Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest with his two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling. He is the author of the Suspense Magazine Award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition, and Hark: A Christmas Collection. Find Justin at http://www.justinbog.com and on Facebook at Justin Bog.


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinBog

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SwsfUv

On B&N: http://bit.ly/1PE9fkf

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/20KuQLi

cover reveal banner

*Spotlight* Whispers of Death by Alicia Rivoli

I had the pleasure of reviewing Alicia Rivoli‘s fantasy Enchantment series some time ago, with Mere Enchantment and Rings of Enchantment. Alicia is very creative and has a vivid imagination when it comes to fantasy, and so, although a darker theme, I am looking forward to reading her latest release, Whispers of Death!

Whispers of DeathTitle: Whispers of Death

Author: Alicia Rivoli

Genre: Fantasy paranormal, drama

Release date: September 2015

Length: 266 pages

Blurb: Haunted by Death, Amelia’s dreams feel ever so real with each passing night. Plagued by the sense of palpable fear, she continues forward with the demands of life at the forefront.

Death had been searching for just the right person that could help him regain his powers. After hundreds of years it seemed all hope was lost as those that died were now stuck in Limbo, forever suffering in pain and anguish. A ray of light appeared as a vision from a stranger led Death to Amelia, though making her a willing participant would prove to be difficult.

An endearing and supportive husband is something every woman would dream of and something Amelia has been blessed with, although nothing could have prepared them for what was about to take place. Their lives were turned upside down in the blink of an eye and their outlook of life, and death, forever changed.

A battle with Death can make one question even their most righteous desires, despite the fact that a common enemy had brought them together. Can Amelia ever find solace with her new knowledge or would death be the only thing that will bring her peace?

Journey on both sides of the veil as Amelia helps battle an evil that threatens to take away all that she has ever known and loved.

Excerpt teaser:

My heart beat wildly in my chest, I could feel the air around me go stale.  The taste of metal on my tongue alerted me to a static charge in the air.  A burst of lighting shot through the dark, followed by a thunderous boom.  I didn’t move.  Death stared at me, his dark skin matching his black cloak in the shadows.

 

   “Why are you here?” I asked bravely.

 

     His eyes grew even darker as he stared at me. “You already know why I am here.”  He walked closer, the air growing colder with his every step.

 

       I could see my breath in the air now.  The lighting streaked the sky above me, lighting the darkness, outlining the figure of the dark man.  He reached for me, his cold fingers traced down the bare skin on my arm.  The icy touch froze my blood, and my breathing became labored.  He was going to kill me.

alicia rivoliAuthor contact links:

www.aliciarivoli.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/AliciaRivoli

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

*Review Round-Up* Nov & Dec 2015

Hi readers, it has been a while since our last Review Round-Up, and so I do hope that you are all well and had a fantastic Christmas Holiday!

Although I have been reading a great deal, with a house move to the coast over the Christmas period, and having a short time without Wi-Fi it has taken me a little longer to write and publish blog posts. I have, however, been enjoying Scarborough (UK) life with walks along the coast, up the cliffs and around the castle remains, as well as visiting author Anne Brontes grave! Meanwhile, Tina has held up the fort like a true warrior with the amount of reviews she has posted, as well as assisting a local Lit Fest! Thanks, Tina ❤

We have quite a mix of genres from the end of 2015 to share with you, from dystopian sci-fi fantasies, to erotic paranormal romances, historical romances and a mystery chick-lit! Amongst them is also a gritty, Scottish crime thriller, Blue Wicked by Alan Jones, which we are currently running a giveaway on. (For more info on this, please click the title.)

As always, please click on the titles to view our full reviews and more!

Although a little later than usual we wish you all a Happy New Year x

Caroline & Tina 🙂

Peter WellsThe Man Who Missed the Boat by Peter Wells, contemporary drama (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him. How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us. Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure? In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences? In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.

Point vmpThe Point of Evil, Point Vamp: Book Four by Victoria Bliss, erotic paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Blood and sex were all he ever wanted until love gave him something worth living an eternity for.

Steve—who had been a womanizer in life and was even more so in death—prowls the Point using his vampiric wiles to get the blood and sex he craves. He’s always looking for his next meal and when he sees a tall, curvy beauty with a red scarf around her neck, he thinks he’s found it.

Eloise is different—she’s shy and needs encouragement, and Steve just can’t get her out of his mind. He has to take his time, get to know her and slowly seduce her. When she disappears, leaving only a note begging him not to pursue her further, he can’t help himself and ends up in the service of George Aquino, a vampire crime boss with a penchant for twisted and cruel torture and a dungeon full of prisoners.

A daring rescue, a difficult choice and love against the odds. Do you dare visit the point of evil?

The Point Vamp series

What is The Point? It is the hottest club in town for both Vampires and humans alike. It has a large dance floor and a bar like any other club but once you disappear behind the VIP only door you find out what makes The Point so unique. Sex, blood and lust all behind closed doors and only accessed by the chosen ones.

Now, you become a chosen one and get to see the sexy world behind that door.

Welcome to The Point.

Dariana30 Days by JA Heron, erotic thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Dariana Walsh is the daughter of a ruthless gangster and heir to his empire. Not only does she feel trapped, but she has many questions about numerous incidents that have happened in her life so far. Particularly, what happened to her mother? Her father sees her as his little girl, but she longs to be treated like an adult. He wants to shape her, to become more like him, but she resists, the only way she knows how…

One of Wilson Walsh’s men – Chas – is not who he seems. He was sent to infiltrate, earn trust and walk away with Wilson’s most treasured possession, his daughter. He has a plan to take down the most unrelenting man to walk the streets of East London.
Over the next thirty days, blood is shed, friendships are formed and amongst all of the pain and suffering, surprisingly, love blossoms.

In a sea of betrayal and violence… time and love know no bounds.

***Contains strong sexual and violent scenes ~ over 18’s only. There are strong, dark scenes in this book if you do not wish to read about violence, sexual violence or child abuse, then please do not buy this book***

Treagar's redemption coverTraegar’s Redemption (Woodland Creek) by Isobelle Cate, sci-fi paranormal time-travel romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Marcus Theodoric Treagar is a sabretooth with a curse that has him traveling through time, leaving a trail of dead bodies. Not only that, but as soon as he falls in love, he is wrenched away from that period and returned to 16th century Venice. To save the last remaining piece of his heart, he refuses to become involved again.

Until Paisley Halleran.

As the daughter of the shifter chronicler, Paisley Halleran knows that magick and the paranormal abound in Woodland Creek. With her adopted brother, Virgil Rowtag, they fight for every shifter’s rights in the area. When Paisley comes face to face with Marcus, who has been arrested for a murder he does not remember committing, she believes he is innocent. Marcus, on the other hand, knows he has finally found the woman truly meant for him.
However, not everything is cut and dried. Paisley unearths tragic secrets and lies that link her to Marcus. Not only will it show her whether Marcus is truly innocent or guilty of the murders in Woodland Creek, it will also spell the difference between staying with Marcus because she wants to, or letting him go because she has no choice. 

NaliniShield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh, sci-fi fantasy paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch – if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake . . .

Having rebuilt her life after medical ‘treatment’ that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.

But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness . . .

RavenscrestThe Ghosts of Ravencrest (The Ravencrest Saga #1) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, modern gothic, erotic horror, paranormal (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Darkness Never Dies …
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …
Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …
Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

Windward Secrets CoverWindward Secrets by K.A. Davis, paranormal horror suspense, mystery, chick-lit (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: At just over 67,700 words Windward Secrets is a fast paced mystery laced  with humour, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal that will make the reader gasp at times, and soften their hearts at other times.

When Claire McPherson booked Windward Cottage, for the annual reunion with three college friends, her biggest concern was whether they would like the weather-beaten, old Victorian on Cape Cod. Claire, Diane, Jill, and Caroline are in for more than a little Right and R. Windward Cottage has its own special powers of seduction. After 35 years of friendship they thought they knew everything about each other, but the old house draws confessions out of each and leads them unwillingly into a 50yearold mystery.

What was planned to be a vacation filled with fun, food, and reminiscing turns into one that will change their lives forever. Who or what is trying to frighten them? Only one woman’s stubborn determination keeps them at Windward Cottage when common sense tells them to leave. Fear, danger, and unexplained events connect the four women to each other and to Windward Cottage. Three of the women find their futures, and one finds her past.

Readers will recognize someone they know in every character as Windward Secrets heightens their awareness of the heinous crime of human trafficking.

Dream AlchemyDream Alchemy (Life and Shadow Series) by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley, dystopian sci-fi fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

goddessGoddess by Kelee Morris, contemporary, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Wife, mother, PTA president… Sex Goddess?

For Julia Nelson, it was only a faded tattoo, almost forgotten, like the sex-charged dreams that inspired it some 20 years ago.

For renowned, rugged-sexy archaeologist Dr. Ashland Stewart, it was his greatest discovery, the sacred emblem of an ancient goddess culture.

Two symbols, eons apart, yet exact duplicates. It must be a coincidence. But when Julia and Ashland meet, their connection is instantaneous, powerful, erotic.

Julia’s suburban life is safe and comfortable. She has everything to lose.

Ashland’s world is remote archaeological digs and flings with younger women. He’s sexually free but emotionally guarded.

Ashland awakens Julia’s long buried inner goddess with breath-taking passion and insatiable desire.

But their sexual adventure becomes increasingly perilous as their emotional barriers crumble. Will Julia risk falling in love and soaring to new heights, or will she return to her earthbound responsibility to her family? 

BlueWicked_Dark_300DPIBlue Wicked by Alan Jones, crime thriller, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: ‘Blue Wicked’ is a gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there’s a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

kris tuallaA Discreet Gentleman of Discovery (The Discreet Gentleman Series #1) by Kris Tualla, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Brander Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at twenty-three. Furious at his father’s betrayal, Brander leaves home to make his way as Lord Olsen, a ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ in 1721 Christiania, Norway. He intends to gain his own estate and begins buying the debt markers on Kildahlshus.

Baroness Regin Kildahl’s husband has gambled away her estate and sunk to more dangerous habits. She writes to Lord Olsen soliciting his help saving both her husband and her home. When her husband dies, Regin offers herself and her title to anyone who will redeem his gambling debts, unaware of Brander’s plan and circumventing his efforts.

The Hansen heir accepts her offer and hires Lord Olsen to deliver his bride. Brander’s choices are clear: give the widow and her estate to his younger brother, or claim them both as his own. But who would accept a deaf husband?

LachlanDiscovered (Forsaken Blood #1) by Em Taylor, sci-fi romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Lachlan Ethelred Mackenzie looks like an ordinary sexy university professor, but for over a millennium, he’s been one of a number of his kind trying to steer humanity towards the heavens. But humans are slow and stubborn.

It’s been a long slow journey since the spaceship from Vampyras experienced technical difficulty near Earth in 1006 and the Vampyrs had to abandon ship, and learn to survive on a planet filled with primitive beings.

It’s now 2061, and humanity is heading to Mars – perhaps now the Vampyrs can research space folding technology away from prying human eyes.

Psychologist, Doctor Kate Maxwell is excited about going to Mars—except for one thing – she’s terrified of the journey. A space accident when she was twelve has left her with PTSD and a fear of space travel. But when the handsome Professor, Lachlan Mackenzie becomes her cabin mate she finds herself falling for him all too easily. But why is he so reticent? He’s cute, single and seems altogether perfect.

Things are getting complicated for Lachlan. He’s falling for the sexy red-headed psychologist, his long-lost daughter is on board the spaceship to Mars and she has no clue what or who he is and it seems that the leader of the Vampyr council is plotting something. Lachlan has too many secrets and too many problems. And Kate is the only thing he wants. Can he keep his hands and his fangs away from her? Does he want to? And what will happen if she discovers his secret?

All hell is about to break loose.

This book contains scenes of an adult nature.

Sex Snow and MistletoeSex, Snow and Mistletoe (short story) by Laura Barnard, contemporary, festive holiday romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Melinda is already having a crappy Christmas. Forced to attend some snotty bitch’s wedding is not the way to start out the holidays. But when a car crash pushes her into the path of a handsome stranger she’s glad to follow his snowy, sexy and seductive path. But is he too good to be true? And will she make it to the wedding before her best friend loses her mind with worry?

Please note this is a short story of 10k words.

MirandaMiranda’s Dilemma (Fashionably Impure #1) by Natasha Blackthorne, erotic, regency, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Poised to become Mayfair’s most expensive and exclusive courtesan, Miss Miranda Jones finds her rise inexplicably blocked by a socially powerful nobleman. Scorned by her ducal father and determined to attain everything that life has denied her due to an accident of birth, she’s not about to let this arrogant earl stop her.

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, saw his father destroyed by a heartless, predatory courtesan. He has no time or patience for such exotic, expensive ladybirds. He’s far too busy restoring his family’s wealth and reputation whilst doing what he can to protect his friends from the clutches of all the scheming courtesans of London.

Then a moment of compassion turns intense dislike to breathless passion, and these two strong-willed, fiercely proud people are compelled to indulge in a brief affair. Each is convinced that they can satisfy their craving for the other without emotional risk.

But neither realizes that a little dalliance can be a dangerous thing.

Reader Advisory: This is an erotic historical romance and it contains frank sexual language and period appropriate sexual slang, frequent sexual scenes and descriptions and general bedchamber naughtiness. The characters discuss abuse issues from their backstories during the course of their developing relationship. For Adults 18 & Over Only.

Men of the BorderlandsThe Men of the Border Lands Collection, Volume 1 (Ménage Everlasting) by Marla Monroe, erotic, futuristic ménage à trois romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: (This collection includes three books from the Men of the Border Lands series, nearly 110k words total). MFM, erotic romance.

In Belonging to Them, while escaping slavery in the Border Lands, Heather hides in a trailer belonging to brothers Brandon and Bolton. They take her to their farm and prove they won’t harm her. Bolton quickly falls in love, but Brandon pulls away. After a wolf attack almost takes her from them, Brandon must realize he could lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

In A Home with Them, fed up with the reluctant men who have cared for her for five years, Jessie takes matters into her own hands. Wyatt and Kent worry that their kind of love isn’t what Jessie needs, but a tough life out in the Border Lands and a kidnapping show the men that Jessie belongs with them.

In Their Border Lands Temptress, after the year of catastrophes, Ronnie jumps at an offer of protection from a lifelong friend. When the safety becomes abuse, she runs. Brice and Garrett know she needs a man to protect her, and they are hell-bent to help her. When danger shows up at their door, Ronnie must decide if she’s ready for them to be more than lovers or if she’s too scared to let them into her heart.

The Border Lands are a dangerous place, but love and passion are often the keys to surviving.

** A Siren Erotic Romance

HMFHold Me Until Forever (Grayson Brothers #3) by Christina Phillips, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

*Promo w/Excerpt* 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.

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.

EXCERPT

From the short story “Expect Dragons

Between the two notebooks was a sheet of paper. At the top it read: “40 Tips for College and Life.” On the last week of high school, Mr. Smith handed out his college advice, the same college advice I was now holding. I sat and read through each of them.

            40 Tips for College and Life

  1. Life’s too short to not seize the opportunities with which we are presented. Always take the chance to do what you love when it comes along.
  2. Question authority.
  3. Question those who question authority.
  4. Don’t be afraid to see dinosaurs even when everyone else around you doesn’t.
  5. Be kind. Kindness can change things far beyond your wildest dreams. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s kindness that makes the heart grow softer.
  6. Walk barefoot through grass.
  7. Be quick to show compassion and empathy.
  8. Don’t dress like a bum all day long.
  9. Have a routine, but avoid being routine.
  10. Smile.
  11. We are all intelligent, thoughtful individuals. Don’t let others tell you something has to be that way. It doesn’t. The world is far too complex for it to have to be that way.
  12. Be conscious of the present. Time is your most valuable asset.
  13. It’s easy to doubt. Don’t be easy. Hold on to faith and hope.
  14. Love a little more. You can always love more.
  15. Don’t jump at the first chance to go out. There will always be another party. It’s college.
  16. Live with purpose.
  17. Not everything you do has to have a purpose. Folly can be quite satisfying.
  18. Don’t act like you know more than you actually do. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know the answer.
  19. Remember that the things you do know are of value. Don’t act like you know less than you do. Share your knowledge.
  20. Don’t spend each day only staring at a screen. Put down your phone. Close your laptop. Turn off your TV.
  21. Share laughter. There’s far too much that’s funny out there to take yourself too seriously.
  22. Share tears. There’s far too much pain and hurt out there not to take others’ struggles seriously.
  23. Enjoy music.
  24. Remember to get lost in your mind from time to time.
  25. Breathe slowly.
  26. Don’t be afraid to be alone. Everyone knows: “Not all who wander are lost.” Few realize: Not all who are alone are lonely.
  27. Take in the beauty of nature. Look around you. Don’t take it for granted.
  28. Take in the beauty of mankind. Look around you and see how wonderful your neighbor can be.
  29. Dance in the rain.
  30. There will come a time in college, and in life, when you are presented with decisions that compromise your values. Know how you will respond to those times before they ever happen.
  31. Have resolve.
  32. Share excitement when you’re excited. People that hold that against you are most likely projecting their own feelings of inadequacy.
  33. Remember to read, and something more than a blog. Pick up a book from time to time.
  34. There is only one you.
  35. Laugh hard, kiss softly, disparage slowly, and forgive quickly. 
  36. Eat fully, drink deeply, and always remember to give often.
  37. Decide what you believe, know who you are and live accordingly. Don’t apologize to anyone for that.
  38. But if you realize later on that you were wrong, admit it. Ask forgiveness.
  39. Maya Angelou has a great quote: “If I’d known better, I’d have done better.” We can only do the best we know how, but there’s no excuse for not striving to attain the know-how. And there’s certainly no excuse for not doing better once we have it.
  40. Expect Dragons.

           I stared at the list thinking about how influential Mr. Smith was in my life. At a time late in my high school career when I felt lost and alone, he inspired me to believe life was full of wonder and hope. Now, just two hours before, I found out he was dying. I placed the list back into its box and slid into the front seat of my borrowed car. It was 4:25 in the afternoon and I eased the car onto the I-84 heading east, on my way to say goodbye to my beloved teacher one last time.