Friday, August 31, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 284 - Wind River Lawman by Lindsay McKenna, Lord of Vice by Erica Ridley

Wind River LawmanWind River Lawman by Lindsay McKenna
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While we are back in Wind River we are in a different location. I met the sheriff, Sarah Carter, in previous books but Dawson Callahan is a new characters. Both are really great characters. Dawson has the calm that Sarah needs and Sarah is the strong woman Dawson needs. This has it all. There is danger that through the two together, tension as Sarah is injured, and a budding and slow building romance. Great addition to the series.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Lord of Vice (Rogues to Riches, #6)Lord of Vice by Erica Ridley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These two are made for each other it just takes a lot to finally bring them together. I loved Bryony Grenville. She just was not typical of women in her time. Turns out that she is exactly what Maxwell Gideon needs. It was fun watching the two as they interacted. I very nice ending to the Rogues to Riches series.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in return for an honest review.

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

My Wonderful Wobbly Life by Charles Irwin - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

My Wonderful Wobbly Life
by Charles Irwin 


GENRE Memoir (Autobiography)



Having survived quite a few birthdays and had some interesting experiences, I wrote them down. That's how "My Wonderful Wobbly Life" was conceived. It was nearly born in 2004, but decided to hang on until 2018 to become 'Born again' Alleluia!!!!


Chapter 1 - SURVIVAL

“I’ve changed my mind! I’ve changed my mind! I don’twant to go.”

I have a vague memory of making this cry from a railway carriage as I was stolen from my parents by authoritarians.

I was five years old when the authorities decreed I had to be placed in a home for children. Their decision was final and all avenues of appeal against it were exhausted when my father, to soften the blow of parting, talked me into what he described as an adventure.

It was not until the train began to move and the realisation came I was leaving my parents forever, that I made my plaintive cry:

“I’ve changed my mind!” 

When I arrived at the home my world changed, never to be the same again. My loving mother and my fun-filled father were gone and in their place were grown-ups I did not know. I did not understand what was going on. There were lots of crippled children, but why was I there with them? Okay, I couldn’t walk very far without falling over. I shook uncontrollably most of the time for no apparent reason. I couldn’t speak very clearly. But, I’d been like this all my life, for me it was normal. So, what was I doing here? “

Check out my interview With Charles:

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Which mythological creature are you most like?
Pan - God of nature, the wild, shepherds, flocks, for mountain wilds, and is often associated with sexuality.  I feel an affinity Pan with his protection of nature and the appreciation of sexual beauty.
First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
A ration book during WW2, which I scribbled in with an indelible pencil.  The hand marks on my bum were there for a long time, almost indelible!
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Trust to my memory and look through the family photo albums.
Describe your writing space.
A room 3 metres by 4 metres, with well filled bookcase against one wall. Opposite which there are two desks, each with a personal computer and keyboard.  Between the P.Cs., is a printer while a floor to ceiling window makes a third wall, with mirrored built-in cupboards completing ‘The Study’.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Charles was born in London U.K. in 1932. During his birth the forceps slipped, resulting in brain damage to the motor control nerves of his right side and causing total body spasticity. However, his intellect was not damaged. Throughout his life the two adversaries, controllable brain and semi-controllable body, always needed to be balanced. After several years of work and study he became a Chartered Production Engineer. In 1971 he emigrated to Australia and became a senior examiner in the Australian Patent office. This autobiography illustrates the rhyme: “He started to sing as he tackled the thing, That couldn’t be done - but he DID IT!” Charles chronicles his journey from useless to useful, with humour and joie de vie. He pays tribute to friends who only gave him help when it was asked for. At a young age he recognized his psychic abilities and, by using lessons at the end of each chapter, shares some insights with readers




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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Single and Looking by Belinda Austin - Book Blast and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Belinda Austin will be awarding a $10 or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Daisy will turn 40 in eleven months and has never married. Her family figures Daisy is a loser because she is still in college trying to avoid paying off her student loans which have amassed over 22 years of a miseducation. And all Daisy has is a cat to keep her company. To make the crises worse, her cat begins talking to Daisy, when she is sober! The mess of Daisy's life is even kookier because the cat is cursing and smoking now and drinking more alcoholic beverages. Mm, there must be a connection to all this flowing alcohol, which may explain the bubbly in Daisy's brain. Her sisters and mother insist on setting Daisy up on six blind dates and all the men are named after liquor.

A heartwarming, LOL book that will make you smile.

Read an Excerpt:

Why would she listen to dating tips from a fixed kitty? In other words, Shakespeare was a virgin. The status of his privates was probably the reason the cat was an overweight, alcoholic, chain-smoker. “I don’t want to seem thirsty,” she said.

He raised a kitty eyebrow.

“In dating lingo thirsty means that I am desperate for a boyfriend or you know, thirsty for…”

“For a one-night lay.”

“Well that but more like for a meaningful relationship. And then there’s an online profile with a picture which needs to be posted on dating websites, and you know that I am not photogenic.”

“Your butt photographs very well,” the cat said. “Display that ass on the internet and your email account will explode with offers from all kinds of blokes.”

“Nor do I care to brag about myself,” she said.

“Well, if you don’t brag then who will?”

“Nor do I want to attract men who are only interested in one thing.”

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The cat plopped in front of the refrigerator, his big rump sticking up, blocking the door and waiting for lunch. He was stoned and drunk, having licked a bit of wine and sniffed catnip.

Daisy felt silly holding a newspaper over his head to smack the demon out of him. Shakespeare was sucking his paw, as usual when relaxing. He was the same old smelly cat, except for his mastering the English language and spouting forth lines from his namesake, William Shakespeare.

About the Author:
Belinda Austin writes Women's Fiction, Romanic Comedy, Humor, Psychological Thrillers and Suspense. She has a degree in Applied Mathematics and once worked as a Software Engineer. She was born in the Los Angeles Area and is an award-winning author. She is a Zumbaholic.

Belinda, also, writes Science Fiction and Fantasy under the name of B. Austin. She writes Historical Fiction under the name of Belinda Vasquez Garcia, along with Middle Grade Fiction.

She has occasionally dreamt or her cat, Shakespeare, talking to her in English. She once had a cat named Whiskey who used to sit like a human in a chair for half an hour or more with an empty beer can on his head, which proves that life often emulates fiction.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Musing Mediterranea by Beth Dangle - Book Blast and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Beth Daigle will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A trip to the Mediterranean—who wouldn’t be thrilled? Beth Daigle should be doing back flips as she prepares to escape her humdrum suburban life, but travel anxiety gets the best of her. This is a trip of a lifetime, something to look forward to, yet Beth is dreading it.

The daughter of an Italian mother and Greek father, Beth has always dreamed of visiting Greece and Italy. Her Type A husband, Tony, revels in planning every detail of their two-week vacation. The plan expands to include not only Beth and Tony’s two tween daughters, but Beth’s parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew.

As her family’s excitement mounts, so does Beth’s trepidation. She experiences serious anxiety about the flight itself, plus spending two solid weeks with her extended family.

Despite her worries, Beth manages the eight-hour plane ride to Rome, and the adventure begins.

If you’ve never experienced the beauty of the Mediterranean, or even if you have, Musing Mediterranean will take you there through Beth’s eyes, page by page.

Read an Excerpt


The moment we were all comfortably seated, we were inundated with food, in the best way possible. We didn’t order one thing; it was all brought to us. Whatever the chef was cooking was what was served, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Every plate was also a work of art: each was hand-painted, colorful, and artistic. And before we knew it, music filled the air when the owner’s niece took a microphone and asked all the patrons to join in on a sing-along.

The Italian blond beauty entertained us with her soothing voice, ethnic songs, and gregarious hospitality.

Her rousing renditions of both familiar and unfamiliar songs left us ready to sit back and enjoy the end of our memorable meal. Served family style, it was a meal that included five appetizers, five entrees, homemade wine, pear grappa, and five desserts. It was extravagant, yet unpretentious.

As desserts and limoncello came to the table, so did the owner–chef. Every bite that was served was natural and simply prepared, yet it was the most delicious food I’d ever eaten.

About the Author:
Beth Daigle is a lifelong New Englander residing north of Boston with her husband and daughters. Prior to settling into her role as a writer, Beth was a marketing professional whose favorite part of the job was writing. As a freelancer, Beth has enjoyed contributing to numerous lifestyle and home publications, yet she yearned for something more than a magazine article. Then along came Musing Mediterranean. Beth quickly became immersed in chronicling this travel event and articulating her perceptions of the places she visited, the people she met, the foods she enjoyed and the crazy moments she encountered. The idea that someone who may never travel to Greece, Italy or Turkey could appreciate this experience through Beth’s eyes became a driving force behind the story. Revealing her struggle with travel anxiety helped Beth move forward and embrace, once again, how very wonderful it is to travel the world.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Augustine.

Beth is a creative soul who finds joy in art, home design, gardening, reading, writing, a good laugh, and an even better television show.


Available at Amazon

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 283 - The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams, The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

The Stars Now Unclaimed (The Universe After, #1)The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something happened years ago and the galaxy changed. Before there were endless wars and the Pulse was supposed to story them. It did stop some but not all. Enter the Justified and Jane Kamali. They are trying to stop the Pulse from returning and doing more damage. The world building and back story are all excellent. There are also some interesting characters. While Jane is the main characters the group around her are well developed and diverse. The plot line follows an attack that is repelled but the ending leaves plenty of room for future stories set in The Universe After.

The Phantom TreeThe Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun mix of history and fantasy. It follows two women from the same time period - one who stayed and one who came into the future. It was a little slow in the beginning as it had to establish both world building and back story of the two main characters. Their lives are intertwined even as they are separated by hundreds of years. A interesting take on one character who disappeared from history when she was two and another who comes from the authors imagination.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Path to Passion by Nana Prah - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nana Prah will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Heir to his family’s global empire, branding genius Miguel Astacio turns everything into marketing gold. Only his best friend’s sister seems immune to his magic touch. Until Tanya Carrington comes to him to save her floundering nightclub. Miguel is ready to rectify past mistakes. But will his supreme sacrifice win the heart of the woman he loves?

Read an Excerpt:

Miguel and her brother had been close since the moment they’d met. It had taken effort to tamp down the jealousy she’d had of sharing her sibling with Miguel. “Thank you. But I’ll pay you for your consultation.”

He cocked both his head and brow.

“I don’t have the money now, but with your Midas-branding touch, I’ll be rolling in dough soon enough.”

She had missed his contagious laughter over the years. “I still won’t take your money. This is a favor to a friend. And his sister.”

Tanya bowed her head to hide the sting. So they weren’t even friends. Sure they’d spent ten years not speaking, but it sounded harsh for him not to acknowledge what they’d once been. She’d always wanted more from him, but hadn’t been able to get it, so she’d ended up with nothing. Now they’d be working together. Would she be able to keep her heart locked up and safe? Did she have a choice? She looked up to have his glorious eyes fill her vision, and for a moment, her hands itched to hold his face still so she could feel his luscious lips against hers just one more time. Maybe the need for his touch would go away if she indulged her whim.

About the Author:
Nana Prah first discovered romance in a book from her eight grade summer reading list and has been obsessed with it ever since. Her fascination with love inspired her to write in her favorite genre where happily-ever-after is the rule.

She is a published author of contemporary, multicultural romances. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s, over-indulging in chocolate, enjoying life with friends and family, and tormenting nursing students into being the best nurses the world has ever seen. Nana loves to connect with her readers on Twitter @Nana Prah and Facebook at Nana Prah, author.

Buy Links:

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Amazon CA:
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Contact Details:

Blog :

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 284 - Homeworld by Evan Currie, Finger on The Trigger by Delores Fossen

Homeworld (Odyssey One, #3)Homeworld by Evan Currie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fight with the Drasin continues. This time they are lead to Earth by a ship from the Block. Eric and crew are left with a fight they can only lose. This is fun to listen to but if I was reading it I would probably skim over half as it is full of technical information that just bores me to tears. Listening I just let all of that flow over me and concentrate on the actual action. I just finished and am off to get book 4. This is a very long series.

Finger on the Trigger (The Lawmen of McCall Canyon #2)Finger on the Trigger by Delores Fossen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This follows a familiar theme. You have the lawman (this time a Texas Ranger), a woman he has loved for a long time (Rachel McCall), and a child (this time still in the womb. There is tension, danger, misdirection, and romance all worked into an enjoyable story. This is book two of the series and while it will stand alone I was missing some of the backstory as I had not read book one.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 283 - Mission: Her Protection by Anna Hackett, Heart of a Dire Wolf by Carol Van Natta

Mission: Her Protection (Team 52, #1)Mission: Her Protection by Anna Hackett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This starts off with something out of your worse nightmare. Something is found that needs to be hidden away but before that happens it is triggered and people die. The devise gets away but one person survives. This has some very good world building and back story. I liked the characters. Both the main characters and the side characters were very well developed. There was a slight SciFi twist as the devise has a cloudy history and Team 52 has their headquarters right next to Area 51. Nice start to a new series.

Heart of a Dire Wolf: Ice Age Shifters Book 3Heart of a Dire Wolf: Ice Age Shifters Book 3 by Carol Van Natta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This time the Ice Age Shifter is the female and she is a very large Dire Wolf. What starts out as a simple rescue (if getting away from a group that want to sell you to the highest bidder counts as simple) and becomes much more as our two main characters (Skyla and Nic) try to find a safe place. Just as all seems well an old spell sends Skyla into more danger. I liked how Carol made this plot arc different from previous stories in this series. It kept my attention while adding to the world building and back story. Great additions to a fun new series.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 282 - Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch, Alien Intention by Cara Bristol

Barefoot in the Dark (Samantha and Rick Book 1)Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I met Rick and Samantha several years ago in books that were both entertaining and funny. He is a billionaire and Sam was a cat burglar. They met when she tried to steal from him. From there it was really a interesting romp as they played off against each other. I was happy to see them back but now that they are engaged some of the fun in the original book is missing. They are still a fun couple but with Sam out of the cat burglar business it took quite a bit of stretch to find the tension in the plot. The need to work in backstory also slowed the book down. Since this is book 1 I have hopes that the next book will return the nonstop fun to the series.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Alien Intention (Alien Mate, #3)Alien Intention by Cara Bristol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another nice entry to this series. I loved how Bristol built the tension as the story began. A mistake was made and it takes a tension filled and dangerous path to make everything work as it should. We get to see more of the characters from the first two books and there is more backstory and world building as the series progresses. It is a big surprise how Stormy and Romando make a really great couple considering Romando's past actions in the previous books. Now if everyone will just forgive a mistake in his past.  

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Match for the Marquess by Lillian Marek - Blurb Blitz andGiveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lillian Marek will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Decisions, decisions…

Should Lady Anne Milhaven marry the wealthy and handsome young marquess, or should she resign herself to living out her life in poverty and disgrace, exiled from the world she was born to?

Should Philip Tremaine, the new Marquess of Penworth, redeem his honor and marry the proud and beautiful earl’s daughter whom he has unintentionally compromised, or should he prove himself as dissolute as his contemptible family?

They are not fools, but marriage is only the beginning. Now can they learn to work together and thwart the vile plots of their scheming relatives?

A Match for the Marquess is the prequel to the Victorian Adventures series.

Read an Excerpt:

“That’s enough from you, Anne,” Mrs. Craddock snapped. “I should not have bothered asking you. You’ve always been jealous of Corinne. Now go to your room, and the next time I see you, I want you to be wearing your cap. And what have you done to that dress? Put on one of the others. Remember what you owe to our charity.”

Penworth had had enough. His wife-to-be was not going to be disparaged in his hearing. And she certainly wasn’t going to put that hideous cap back on her head.

He stepped into the room and struck a dramatic pose with his arms outflung. “Beloved,” he exclaimed, “our troubles are at an end!”

“My lord?” Anne spoke uncertainly.

“I knew that once he saw you again, the earl would love you as I do. He has agreed to our marriage, and the wedding can take place at once.” Penworth stepped quickly to her side and drew her into his arms. “Oh my darling, tell me that you share my delight.”

Anne looked up at him, and he saw the shock in her eyes change to uncertainty and then to amusement. “Oh, my lord,” she said, “my joy is equal to your own.”

At that Philip gave a shout of laughter. She was indeed quick-witted, and he doubted that her aunt could recognize the sardonic note in her voice. He pulled her close and kissed her soundly.

About the Author: When she retired after too many years in journalism, Lillian Marek felt a longing for happy endings and stories where the good guys win and the bad guys get their just deserts. Having exhausted her libraryís supply of non-gory mystery stories, she started reading romance novels, especially historical romance. This was so much fun that she thought sheíd like to try her hand at writing one. So she took her computer keyboard in hand, slipped back into the 19th century, and began.

She was right - writing romance novels is as much fun as reading them.


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 281 - Sharship's Mage: Omnibus by Glynn Stewart, A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale

Starship's Mage: Omnibus (Starship's Mage, #1)Starship's Mage: Omnibus by Glynn Stewart

Magic sends the ships through space one light year at a time and Damien Montgomery has that kind of magic. Too bad he has no one to help him get a job on a jump ship. With that as the beginning an interesting story starts as Damien takes a job on a freighter with problems. This has it all - a little romance, a lot of danger, great characters, and a intricate plot. This is another story by Glynn Stewart. I am finding all of his stories very well written and fun to read.

A Wolf Apart (The Legend of All Wolves, #2)A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vale has a unique take on werewolves in the series she started in The Last Wolf. I was lukewarm about that book but wanted to give the series a chance with book two. I found it a little to introspective for my taste. While the main character does generate some sympathy I never really got into the story. It just seemed to really drag on and on without the action I looked for. Check it out to see. Maybe you will like it much better than I did.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 280 - Primrose and the Dreadful Duke by Emily Larkin, Entropy of Jess Anastasi

Primrose and the Dreadful Duke (Garland Cousins, #1)Primrose and the Dreadful Duke by Emily Larkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oliver and Primrose are two great characters. There are plenty of laughs as the two interact. This has it all. Fun dialog, great characters, a budding romance and danger that the two of them have to solve. Primrose has already been visited by her baleful godmother as have her two sisters who we have yet to meet. A nice place to start this new series but more fun if you have read the first series featuring the baleful godmother and the gifts she gives.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Entropy (Atrophy, #4)Entropy by Jess Anastasi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have followed this series from the first book and looked forward to meeting all the characters again. This time Qaelan Forster gets to have the starring role in the story. It all starts when he brings the wrong woman home (wrong because she has the wrong father). From there he and the entire crew are off on another dangerous adventure. Turns out they have two problems they need to solve. First they need 80,000 clean credits and then they need to get face a pirate and get a ship. Great plot with interesting twists and turns and additional character building.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Rescued by the Captain by Laura A. Barnes - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura A. Barnes will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Abandoned at sea

When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea

Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?

Read an Excerpt:

As she was digging through the trunk her hand brushed across a book. Ivy pulled it out and realized that it was a book of poems that she had lost around the time Marcus left. She opened the first page and saw her name written across the page as she always did with her books. Flipping through the book, she noticed the pages that she had turned down at the corners of her favorite poems. The pages were worn and had been handled many times. Marcus must have read the book a lot. She came to the back cover of the book where a red rose lay resting against a poem that was handwritten in. The poem was written in Marcus’s handwriting inside the back cover. The title of the poem was:

Ivy My Love

Your love is like a vine
Forever clinging to my heart
It tangles up in between my jagged thorns
I try to break apart
To free myself from your love
But you have grown so heavy in my thoughts
I will let you go for now
For you need to grow wild and free
But I will return to you with my love
And our love will cling forever between the ivy and the

A tear slowly slid down Ivy’s face, followed by more. Ivy glided her fingers across the words on the page, feeling the power of them down to her soul. She wanted to ask Marcus about the poem but knew that she couldn’t.

About the Author:
I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon.

Book+Main Bites:

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 279 - Into the Black by Evan Currie, Witch World by Andre Norton

Odyssey One (Odyssey One, #1)
Into the Black by Evan Currie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is classic space opera/ military science fiction. The Odyssey is on its first space journey and is the first ship of its kind. On it’s maiden voyage it picks up what sounds like a distress signal and goes to answer. The rest you can guess. Even though it is a common theme there is something for almost everyone in the story. There is a lot of technical explanation for the tech fan. There is a lot of action for the action fan. There are new worlds for the pure science fiction fan.

While the plot is predictable the action is interesting. The world building is good but the character development is a little thin. It could be because there are so many characters and most play a major role in the action. As a result more time is spent on the action each is involved in than on developing a well-rounded character.

When the action came to an end there was not final solution to the problem. In fact the last page of the book pointed to a much bigger problem facing everyone. I do want to find out what will happen next so I will be looking for the next book. I listened to this as an audio book and while the voice for the male characters was spot on the voice for the female left something to be desired.

Witch World (Witch World Series 1: Estcarp Cycle, #1)Witch World by Andre Norton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the first part of the book where Simon Tregarth escaped Earth and came to a new world. The writing there lead the way to future fantasy and scifi books. After that I hit parts that moved to slow then parts that kept up a very fast pace. This is the book for my Science Fiction Book Club this month. We are reading some of the Grand Masters of Science Fiction and Andre Norton was one of the early authors chosen. I read the book years ago and it was interesting remembering how I reacted to the story then and how I reacted to it now. Then I was looking only at the story and today I was looking at how the bones of the story as impacted writing today. Norton was a trail blazer and Witch World was part of that trail.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Hostile Takeover by Cristelle Comby - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway

Hostile Takeover
by Cristelle Comby


GENRE: Urban Fantasy



P.I. Bellamy Vale isn’t your everyday investigator. Moonlighting as Death’s earth-bound envoy, he specializes in the weird, wacky, and slightly unhinged. 

When a mysterious beast savagely mauls random residents of Cold City, the police assume that these are the killings of a rogue wolf. But experienced private investigator, Bellamy Vale, is unconvinced.

Ordered by Death herself to investigate, Vale has no choice but to obey, for his boss is not someone to disappoint—if he wants to keep breathing, that is. 

With friend and computer hacker Zian, nosy journalist Candice Kennedy, and homicide sergeant Melanie Ramirez by his side, Vale has no choice but to end the killings or face the wrath of the demon who holds his life in her hands.



I was having a bad day.

The ugly thug facing me readied himself for the next swing. “What did you say, bastard?” His red-splattered knuckles were ready for the next round; my body wasn’t.

“I’m haffin a fah fay,” I managed to repeat through a mouthful of saliva and blood.

That made Julian Ragazzo, former welterweight boxing champ and top bodyguard to the city’s prime Italian Mafia family, smile. His wet beard glistened with sweat beads around stained teeth. Glad one of us was happy.

I took stock of the damage Ragazzo had already done. Broken nose, check. Split lip, check. Swollen eye, check. Broken rib, double check, and the list went on and on. It could have been worse. The injuries, though painful, weren’t enough to put me in the hospital. Sure, I’d hurt for a week or four, but I’d live to tell the tale outside of a body cast. I knew that, and Ragazzo did, too. This was a game we’d both played before … not that I’d gotten any better at it.

I caught a reflection of myself in the glossy surface of a cabinet door. My messy mop of brown locks was matted with blood on one side and the five o’clock shadow had a hard time concealing a fast-bruising chin. One eye was swollen shut and the other had a pale blue, haunted orb dancing amidst a sea of red veins. I was a mess, and not a hot one.

I closed my good eye and waited for the next blow. The bodyguard didn’t disappoint. A second later, he delivered a power punch and I saw stars. It didn’t help that I was tied to a chair and my already sore shoulders screamed in protest at the added strain. In a noise that only I could hear, my body cried out, ‘How in all the hells was this part of the plan?’ Fair question—it wasn’t.

In truth, there may have been a few glitches here and there. Like those two extra guards at the office building’s back entrance, plus that wrong turn I took on the fourteenth floor. Yeah, okay … the plan was just as screwed as I was.

Ragazzo followed up his haymaker with another kick in the guts. It would have ripped a scream out of me if I’d had any breath left for it. Instead, my lungs just took in short, choppy gasps I couldn’t control.

“Well, well, well … look what the cat dragged in,” taunted an Italian-lilted voice.

I recognized the lazy drawl and opened my good eye to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, Alonzo Vitorini, Cold City’s resident wannabe kingpin, stood near the entrance in a dark-green pinstriped suit. Shit, looking at his ugly get-up hurt worse than any of Ragazzo’s blows.

Vitorini sauntered into the room, smiling as he noticed my stare. “Like the suit?” he asked, doing a little pirouette to show off this walking insult to fashion.

I wasn’t going to reply, but the second my eye caught sight of the finishing touch, a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes, my mouth kicked into gear on its own.

“Al Capone called,” I wheezed out. “He wants his brogues back.”

Vitorini laughed, the corners of his muddy-green eyes wrinkling. Not sure if he was laughing at the crack or the fact that he was going to kill me for it in another minute or two.


Here is Cristelle's take on Building A New World

Building a new world
I’m sure you’ve already happened upon a book where the writer didn’t bother to spend time on World-Building. You were thrown into a city that didn’t feel real, filled with little things didn’t add-up. A world where you felt like an outsider all along, never able to engage fully with the story. Not a very pleasant experience, was it?
World-Building does what it says on the box. It the process writers use to define the rules of their world. It governs everything from technologies, political systems, geography, religions, cultures, technologies, and more. 
It’s especially important in science-fiction and epic fantasy stories. And with historical fiction, it means getting your facts straight.

The Main Categories
Each category requires different skills and depending on where your strength lies as an author, some categories may be better suited to you.
Imaginary worlds
This category equals total creative freedom. You want flying horses, you can have them. People terraforming asteroids to build golf courses, no problem. Anything goes in an imaginary world!
This is the category that requires the most creativity on the author’s part. It is also the longest to develop. Every last detail needs to be addresses and it all has to fit together and make sense.
Actual locations 
This one is for all those murder stories and money heists. For the boy meets girl romance and the biographies. Whether set in contemporary times or in the past, these stories are anchored to reality. 
There’s no room for creative licenses here; you need to get your facts straight. What material did they use to make cowboy boots in the Far West? When did England start to use gas lamps? If the train leaves the station at 6pm and it averages at 60mph speed at which time will it reach San Francisco?
Alternate realities
This category is a bit of mix between the first two. It is the home of Urban Fantasy, Dystopia and Uchronia. It can be everything’s the same as the real world, accepts vampires exists. Or it can be everything is the same except Nazis won the war.
This category requires author to find the subtle balance between what’s real and what’s imaginary.

The Writing Method
There are two main currents to building a fictional world.
Just like Tolkien did with the Lord of The Rings, you start by creating the world. You draw maps, populate the world with various races, and create languages and political systems. Once you’re done, you bring life to a bunch of characters and give them something to do.
You start with your characters, and built the world outwards. If your main character is the captain of a space ship, then it means that mankind knows how to build spaceships. What are they like? Do they travel faster than light? Who made the ships, was it the army or a giant corporate entity? What about the fuel and materials, which country makes them?

The Key Elements 
The main points that need to be addressed to fully build a world are:
GEOGRAPHY (locations, landscapes, climate, …) 
CULTURES (government, religion, laws, ethics, values …) 
SOCIAL CLASSES (divisions, social customs, …)
HISTORY (important battles, major political shifts, tensions, …)
MAGIC (limitations, rules, classes, …)
TECHNOLOGY (level, access, prices, restrictions, consequences …)

Showing Not Telling
This last bit is the most important of all. Once you’re done world-building, you will have a pile of data. It’s important not to spoon-feed all of that to your readers in the opening chapter. You don’t want them to choke on it.
The reveal of your universe needs to be slow and subtle. Not everything you imagined has to end up on paper. Focus on your character and how they see and experience the world. Ask yourself which details are necessary to make their journey understandable. 
It’s important to use a nuanced approach to reveal things as you go using the narrative.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.

Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

Official Website:
Twitter: @Cristelle



Cristelle Comby will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway