April 30, 2013

Happy Early Release Day: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

The Forgotten Ones

The Danaan Trilogy

Book One

is now available exclusively on Amazon!

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

About Laura Howard

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Connect with Laura:

April 26, 2013

Book Review: Vexed by S.K.Whiteside

Title: Vexed
Author: S.K.Whiteside
Release Date:
November 6th 2012 
Publishing Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly
Source: Received from the author for an honest review

Everyone has heard the story but not everyone knows the truth. Isis was ready to give up. Her mate, Osiris, we murdered by the very person he trusted most, his brother Set. Envious of his brothers growing power and his father’s affection, Set killed Osiris and scattered his remains across the lands of Egypt. With the love of her life out of the picture Set imprisoned Isis in attempt to claim her as his own. When she spurns his advances, Set locks Isis in a tower where she is raped, beaten, and left for dead…only she is immortal and death never comes.
With the help of some unexpected allies, Isis escapes and sets forth on a path of revenge. Vengeance will be hers and she makes it clear to her enemies that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

My Thoughts

Vexed by S.K. Whiteside is an interesting story. 
It's a new take on an old tale. 
It is a refreshing and intriguing read... but it really could do with some work. 

Sadly there were more than a few bumps with this story - it lacked reading flow, there was a lack of punctuation, sentences didn't make sense, and the font and font size changed so often it gave me a migraine.

Vexed has plenty of story potential, but it needs some help with the telling, a decent edit and perhaps even some restructuring because it really is all over the place; and for such a short read (193 pages) it took me forever to get through due to the poor formatting alone.

I don't care what I'm reading, bad grammar and messy sentence structuring is going to diminish my reading pleasure and sadly, for me Vexed was riddled with problems making it a dissatisfying read. 
2 stars :[

April 25, 2013

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Love Square by Jessica Ingro

Title: Love Square
Author: Jessica Ingro
Tentative Release Date: July 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Cover It! Designs 

A love triangle gone bad...

He was the one guy I couldn't get enough of. One look from him would make me melt. He was the one I always wanted to love me, but always seemed so far away. Now he stands before me and he's turning my world upside down.

At one time I would have done anything to be close to him. But will that anything include betraying the man I pledged myself to and that loves me faithfully?

Samantha Monroe had it all. Or at least everyone thought she did. A career on the rise, a gorgeous husband, great friends and a beautiful home. So why does she feel so alone and empty? When she reconnects with an old flame, lines are tested and compromises made in a quest for happiness.

Jacob Matthews always wondered what happened to Sam Monroe. When fate brings them together after all these years, he can't help but wonder if it’s meant to be. But when he meets his perfect woman, there is no doubt in his mind she's his soul mate.

Will the search for happiness cost them everything or will their love square show them what really matters?


Exclusive Excerpt:

**Disclaimer: This content is unedited and subject to change**

I awake and slowly blink the sleep out of my eyes. The sun is fading, casting dark shadows in the room. I turn my head to see I’m alone in the bed. Lying on my stomach, staring non-seeing into the room, I remember how exquisitely fucked I was just a few hours ago.

The feel of his hard body over me and his cock moving in and out of me, the sweat dripping off him as we both came. I feel myself get turned on all over again, and he isn’t even here touching me. Then I remember his muted words spoken right before I fell asleep.

“I want you to know I would have waited another sixteen years to be able to feel that with you again.”

I’m finding it hard to believe that Jacob could rescue me from the prison I’ve put myself in over the years, living the life of someone other than whom I feel I should be. Even if that is my true wish, wishes don’t always come true.

The hotel room door opens and Jacob walks in carrying a couple bottles of water from a vending machine, setting them on a side table. He looks yummy as he walks to the bed with a wide smile on his face. Sitting next to me on the edge of the bed, he bends down and kisses my shoulder and down my naked spine, stopping where the sheet lies just above my ass.

“Hey, sleepyhead.” He murmurs in between those drugging kisses. My legs start to stir beneath the sheet and I’m tempted to take another ride before I have to leave.

“Hi. If you keep doing that, you’re not going to be able to stop me from having my wicked way with you again and I need to leave soon.” I sigh with frustration.

“Maybe that’s exactly what I want.” Running a finger up and down my spine, he stretches out next to me.

“I’m sure it is, but I have stuff to get done before I’m back on the road in a few days. I warned you I didn’t have much time but I would do my best to make this work.”
“It feels like I just got you back, and now you have to go away again. I’d much rather see your beautiful face, instead of dreaming of it. Will you have time to sneak away again before you fly out?”

“I’m not sure. We’ll have to play it by ear. I don’t know how much I have to give you, Jacob. And I’m not just talking about my time either. I’ve been going down this lonely path for a while now and I’m not sure where it’s left me. Regardless of what we did today, I am still a married woman with commitments and responsibilities.” I hate bringing up this fact, but I need the reminder out there that this isn’t a fairytale. Its real life, and its messy.

He leans over and thoroughly kisses me before murmuring, “I know. And I’ll take whatever I can get with you. It’s better than having none of you.”
With that parting blow, he kisses me one last time, grabs his keys and heads out.

“Text me later, baby. I’ll be waiting.”

I sure hope I know what I’m doing, because it feels as though things are going to get extremely complicated.


Author Bio:
Jessica grew up in Central New York. She spends her days as a Security Analyst at an IT consulting company. She spends her free time reading books and developing ideas for her own stories. Writing is her secret passion that she’s been fostering since elementary school, when she wrote her first book about a puppy. Writing has always been one of her secret dreams and she can't wait to share her stories with the world.

She currently lives in New York with her husband and three dogs.

Author Links:
Web – http://jessicaingro.blogspot.com/
Email – jessicaingrobooks@gmail.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/JessicaIngroBooks
Twitter – http://twitter.com/uvrays1997
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8719144-jessica-ingro

April 21, 2013

Quickie Book Review: Captive In the Spotlight by Annie West

Title: Captive In the Spotlight
Author: Annie West
Release Date: March 1st 2013
Publisher: Mills & Boon Sexy
Source: Won a signed copy in a giveaway

Out of the limelight... Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he'll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.

And into the fire!

Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight "accepts" his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy's guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade....

My Thoughts

I am continually surprised at how much I enjoy Annie West’s stories; she definitely has the recipe for a good romance down pat.

Domenico and Lucy both have their flaws and are by no means innocent of keeping secrets, but the author portrays them with plenty of redeemable features and an undercurrent of simmering attraction - and a murder mystery to boot!
Captive in the Spotlight is a smooth and easy to read romance with characters full of depth and likability; it was a joy to read.  

Annie West
’s story writing sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end. 4 Stars ;]

April 19, 2013

Cover Reveal: Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Genre: Older YA Dystopian
Release date: TBD

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Chapter One

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.

The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.

My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.

Death and I glare at each other through my tears.

I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.

I’m ready to go. On the count of three.

I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.

A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.

Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.

Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.

It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.

My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.

 On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.

Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.

“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.

Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.

Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.

My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.

Gotta keep going.

“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.

I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.

      My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.

I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.

Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.

“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”

I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.

“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.

I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.

The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.

Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.

Did they need so many guards to capture me?

 I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.

The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.

To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.

“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.

“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.

 Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.

      They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.

Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.

I lose myself in thoughts of my father.

“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.

The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.

The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.

 I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.

“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.

They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.

What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.

“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.





Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.

“Lexi Hamilton.”

A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.

“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”

A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.

Click. Click. Click.

The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust - Blue

Gluttony - Orange

Greed - Yellow

Sloth - Light Blue

Wrath - Red

Envy - Green

Pride - Purple

 “Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”

Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.

“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.

He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.

Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.

I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.

“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.

He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.

“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.

I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.

“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.

 “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.

“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You can overcome anything… short of death.

 “You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”

A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.

“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.

“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Nothing,” I respond, confused.

“What color are they?”

“Turquoise.” I glower at him.

“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”

Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.

“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.

“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.

 “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.

“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.

“Let’s move,” Cole says.

I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

Author Bio: Abi Ketner is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

There is a meet the author event at 8-10pm (standard eastern time)


Twitter @abiandmiss.com 

Website and blog www.abiandmissy.com 
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17402117-branded

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