Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review ~ Impressions of You (Book 1: The Impressions Series) by Christopher Harlan



Impressions of You
(Book 1)
by Christopher Harlan

From the outside Wesley Marsden has it all: wealth, good looks, and a genius level IQ, but these qualities hide the depths of his complexity. While he’s a man who’s strong, confident, and in control, he’s also a man obsessed with solving a family mystery and dealing with personal demons that have plagued his relationships for years.

Mia Careri is a special needs teacher; a woman who’s devoted her life to the care and education of other people’s children. Funny, beautiful, and intelligent, she has a job she loves and close friends who are like her family, but something is missing. A slew of failed relationships have her yearning for that connection, that feeling of intense love – the perfect man to have a future with.

When by chance or by fate, Mia and Wesley encounter one another in the most unlikely of settings, they realize that they might be each other’s salvation. As their fates collide over the course of a few months, neither of them will ever be the same again.

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“…whenever two people come into contact, no matter how briefly, they leave an impression on one another; that they exchange something by coming into contact with one another, even if it’s something as small as a few particles that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye.”

The synopsis for the book pretty much wraps up what the story is about, so let me just jump right in with my thoughts because I don’t want to give anything away…..

Impressions of You is Christopher Harlan’s debut novel, but you would never have guessed it by the amount of shear talent displayed within the pages of this book.  Well-written with well-developed and extremely likeable characters along with a plot that flowed so effortlessly, I swore I was reading a book from a seasoned author.  This story consumed me and I devoured it in a day only stopping for a few brief hours of sleep so that I could continue appreciating the astounding story that was unfolding before my eyes.  Everything about this book, from the HOT and incredibly sexy cover to the captivating and engaging storyline was pure perfection and I am so happy that I decided to purchase this book and give it a chance.

A rare gem in the Indie world of books, Christopher Harlan has knocked it out of the park with Impressions of You and I can’t wait for the second installment from this incredible author.

4.75 stars




Author of the contemporary adult romance Impressions Series - the first of which, Impression of You, is set to be released November 1st, 2016, with two more books to follow.  In addition to being an author I'm also a lifelong reader, and when I'm not typing away on my laptop, you'll most likely find my face buried in a book. I was born and raised in New York, where I live with my wife of 11 years, and my two wonderful children.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review ~ The Slug that Saved Christmas by Clifford James Hayes


The Slug That Saved Christmas
by Clifford James Hayes



Fans of quirky, irreverent yuletide humour will screech with delight at Clarence the slug’s Christmas adventure! A rude letter from a greedy child makes Santa go a bit bonkers - but it’s Christmas Eve and the elves are desperate for someone to deliver all the presents! The Elf Doctor comes up with a completely mad plan to save the day - and soon the fate of Christmas depends on one giant slug! Will Clarence save the day, or will everybody’s Christmas be a slime-covered nightmare?

PLEASE NOTE: This book contains a bit of 'toilet humour' - the book has been tested on kids and grandparents (who generally love this kind of naughtiness), but the author requests you observe the above before buying ... if the occasional word like ‘fart’, ‘poo’ and ‘bottom’ offend then please do not purchase!

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It's days before Christmas Eve and Santa receives a nasty little gift demand letter from a greedy little boy that sends Santa into a crazed mental break down - and let me tell you it was bad.....really, really bad.  With Santa unable to deliver the thirteen billion, eight hundred and sixty-two thousand, four hundred and sixteen presents by 6am Christmas morning, Elf Doctor, Elf Wizard and Mrs. Claus come up with a brilliant way to save Christmas without involving the elves or any other Christmas animal (which would break the rules defined in the Elf Handbook).  How can it be done, you ask?  Only Santa can perform such a Christmas miracle, right?  Well, not this time.  With the magic of Christmas, Clarence the Slug will save Christmas and deliver all the presents to all the children all around the world.  Well....kind of.

The Slug that Save Christmas was a really cute story that children and adults alike will enjoy.  The author, Mr. Hayes, took the traditional Santa Christmas story and twisted it in a fun, quirky and unique way that had me laughing throughout.  Truly a fun read to get you in the holiday spirit.  The only thing that would have made this a spectacular read would be some cute illustrations to go along with the story.  Regardless, this is one book that should be on your holiday reading list.

4 stars


Clifford James Hayes is an occasional author and independent publisher, and has to date written and illustrated over a dozen books in different genres (children's’ tales, historical fantasy, comedic science fiction and biographical).

His ‘day job’ is running his graphic design business (www.hayesdesign.co.uk) where his specialism is the design of books and cd/albums.

Inspirations for his books include Roald Dahl, Monty Python, Rik Mayall, Spike Milligan and (most importantly) the mad outpourings of his young daughter, Poppy - to whom all his books are dedicated.

For more info please get in touch via www.hayesdesign.co.uk

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Fated Destinations: A Romance Collection from Crimson Tree Publishing

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Fated Destinations: A Romance Collection
Authors:  Susan Harris, Peggy Martinez, Kendra L. Saunders, Julie Wetzel, Kelly Risser, Melissa J. Cunningham, Sandy Goldsworthy

Published:   December 27th, 2016
Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre:  Contemporary, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Romance




Synopsis
Escape from the everyday with this set of 7 all-new travel-based romances from award-winning authors. These exciting stories span the globe (and beyond!) to tell stories of love and intrigue in exotic locations. Take a mental vacation today with the Fated Destinations box set.

A Royal Problem 
Jessie is tasked with saving a set of jewels from pirates that attack her cruise ship. She jumps overboard and swims for shore, knowing only that she must find Lord Marcus at the majestic castle in Ospioria…

Mandatory Vacation 
When workaholic Natalie Olsen is forced to take a vacation by her new boss, she books a cabana at the private island resort of Hibiscus Cay. But instead of relaxing, she finds herself intrigued by the handsome resort manager who seems to be hiding something…

Guide Me Gently 
Alyssa Monroe always dreamed of escaping to exotic locales as a photographer, so she’s thrilled as she sets off for Dasia Island. But only one guide is willing to take her deep into a forbidden forest… a sexy, tattooed local who sets her blood on fire and gets her camera finger itching.

Hawaiian Sunrise 
Betrayed just before her wedding day, brokenhearted Jamie rents a bungalow on the beautiful island of Maui. Will the tour guide who shows her the island also be able to show her how to trust again?

Jessie’s Girl 
After she lost her mother to cancer, Maxine Fox threw herself into drugs, drink, and partying to cope with the loss. When she is expelled from her third school, her father decides to send her to a catholic private school in Ireland. But tattooed bisexual Max is probably not going to fit in easily…

Prisms 
The invitation was to a diplomatic peace ceremony on the desert planet of Quassdar. But Quassdar is also known for its steamy sex magick rituals, and it seems like Griffin may have gotten things a little bit mixed up…

Ashes Overboard 
For graduation, Aubrey Sheppard’s fiancé gave her a dream Caribbean Cruise vacation. The only problem is, their relationship ended before the ship ever set sail. Now Aubrey—an inexperienced traveler—sets out alone, nervous and unsure. A shared cab ride introduces her to someone new, who’s also trying to move on with his life…

Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

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About the Publisher
Our Commitment to Our Readers:
At Crimson Tree Publishing, we believe that our readers deserve to know ahead of time what they are reading. We do not believe in censorship; we believe in the right to know. Every reader, no matter what their age is, has certain boundaries they don’t want to cross. Currently there is no consistent rating system in place for books like there are for movies, music, and video games. We believe by offering a wider range of disclosure about the content of our books, we will give parents, and readers of all ages, a stronger sense of comfort according to what lies between the pages. With that said, we will not deem whether a book is appropriate or inappropriate for any particular age range. Our disclosure is simply for you to know what is in the book, and we leave it up to you to decide what you are comfortable with reading.

Our Commitment to Our Authors:
At Crimson Tree Publishing, we believe our authors, who create new and amazing literary worlds, deserve to receive a large share of the profits that their art creates. We also believe that our authors deserve the support of quality editing, breathtaking covers, and the power of a strong marketing presence behind them. As authors ourselves, we know that your writing comes from your heart and, in a sense, is a part of you. We will carefully protect that part of you and work hard to keep your creative vision alive.

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Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • winner will receive a mystery box from Crimson Tree Publishing.
Giveaway is US Only.
Ends January 1st at Midnight (ET)
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review ~ Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh


Leopard at the Door
by Jennifer McVeigh
Expected Publication Date:  January 3, 2017
Published by G.P. Putman’s Sons Books

Set in Kenya against the fading backdrop of the British Empire, a story of self-discovery, betrayal, and an impossible love.

After six years in England, Rachel has returned to Kenya and the farm where she spent her childhood, but the beloved home she’d longed for is much changed. Her father’s new companion—a strange, intolerant woman—has taken over the household. The political climate in the country grows more unsettled by the day and is approaching the boiling point. And looming over them all is the threat of the Mau Mau, a secret society intent on uniting the native Kenyans and overthrowing the whites.

As Rachel struggles to find her place in her home and her country, she initiates a covert relationship, one that will demand from her a gross act of betrayal. One man knows her secret, and he has made it clear how she can buy his silence. But she knows something of her own, something she has never told anyone. And her knowledge brings her power.

Note from the Publisher


Quick Take: LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is at once a historical survey of the Mau Mau Rebellion, a bloody and brutal uprising that the author researched in her travels to remote areas of east Africa, and a story of blossoming love and hope amidst the hostile backdrop of a nation at war. Rachel Fullsmith grew up in Kenya at Kisima, her British parents’ sprawling up country farm. When her mother died suddenly, the twelve-year-old was abruptly sent back to England for a proper boarding school education and a “civilized” life. Six years later and her schooling finished, Rachel boards a ship for Kenya to reunite with her father and her beloved childhood home. But after her arrival Rachel quickly learns that the Kenya of her dreams is slipping away. Her father’s live-in companion, Sara, is a controlling, intolerant woman and the farm has changed dramatically without her mother’s loving hands to manage it. Her distracted father is disturbingly accepting of Sara’s casual cruelty toward Africans who for years have served the family and worked the land. Kenya’s political climate is growing more unsettled by the day, with the Africans pushing back against colonial control. But most frightening of all is the rise of a secret society known as the Mau Mau that is gaining momentum as it works to unite native Kenyans to overthrow the whites. Struggling to carve out a new role in her home and her country, Rachel enters into a secret relationship, a potentially scandalous affair that forces her into a bold act of betrayal. Rachel must decide who she is truly loyal to and realizes that nothing is simple—in love, as in conflict “the lines of right and wrong have blurred.” Her life is in imminent danger and it will take every ounce of courage she has—along with the intervention of those who love her—to survive. Jennifer McVeigh weaves them into a haunting story that exposes the best and worst of human nature. The result is an illuminating tale of self-discovery and a vivid reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit. 

Historical Angle: British Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion spanned eight deadly years, from 1952 to 1960. Contrary to public perception, just thirty-two European settlers died in the uprising, and another two hundred British soldiers and police were killed. In contrast, over eighteen hundred African civilians were murdered by Mau Mau and a reported twelve thousand Mau Mau rebels died, though the real figure is likely closer to twenty thousand. More than one thousand Kikuyu men were executed for Mau Mau offenses, far more than the 346 convicted murderers. It remains the largest scale state execution in the history of British imperialism.

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Leopard at the Door had me captivated from the very moment I opened the book to start reading.  With the author’s beautifully descriptive writing and lyrical prose, I had no problem visualizing the story unfolding before me.   The author did an outstanding job at researching British Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion and I applaud her for bringing her readers a very thought-provoking and enlightening story done with a manner of sophistication and exquisiteness which made this a gripping and compelling read.

Jennifer McVeigh is an incredible storyteller and Leopard at the Door shows her talent in an absolutely stunning way and in the process, brings to light a disturbing and horrific conflict that occurred in the past that some readers might not have known about.  This story not only pulled me into Rachel’s life, full of forbidden love, treachery, and horrific loss of life, but also the sadness of bigotry, betrayal, and upheaval which kept me in its grips until the very end.  If you love and enjoy historical novels, then this is a must read.  

4 stars




Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002 with a degree in English literature and went on to work in film, television, radio and publishing.  She left her day job to do a Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and then wrote The Fever Tree.  She lives in London with her husband and three children.







Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ THE SOUND OF RAIN by Gregg Olsen



The Sound of Rain
by Gregg Olsen
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (December 13, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1503941965
ISBN-13: 978-1503941960 



Former homicide detective Nicole Foster has hit rock bottom. Driven off the force by her treacherous partner and lover, she’s flat broke and struggling with a gambling addiction. All Nicole has left is the dream of a warm bed at a homeless shelter and the haunting memories of three-year-old Kelsey Chase—whose murder case ended her career.

As Nicole obsesses over the old facts, she realizes everything about that case felt off: a disinterested mom, a suicidal pedophile, and too many questions left unanswered. When the little girl’s grieving father begs Nicole for help, she’s drawn back into the investigation…and given one shot at redemption.

But the deeper Nicole digs, the more evil she uncovers, including betrayals that hit painfully close to home. Will a shocking discovery be the key to finally getting justice for Kelsey and resurrecting her own life?





Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People,Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).



Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter


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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway ~ ABSOLUTE TRUST (True Heroes #3) by Piper J. Drake



ABSOLUTE TRUST
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: True Heroes, #3
On Sale: December 20, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $6.99 USD
eBook:  $5.99 USD


Hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the dogs who always have their backs. ABSOLUTE TRUST is the third book in a high-adrenaline romantic suspense series from Piper J. Drake.

LOVE IS THE GREATEST RISK OF ALL

After multiple tours of duty, Brandon Forte returns to his hometown on a personal mission: to open a facility for military service dogs like Haydn, a German shepherd who's seen his share of combat and loss. It also brings him back to Sophie Kim, a beacon of light in his life . . . and the one woman he can't have. But Forte's success means he's made enemies in high places. Enemies who are now after Sophie . . .

When Forte enlisted and left without saying goodbye, Sophie did her best to move on. But with her first love back in town, looking sexier than ever, she's constantly reminded of what they could have had. Then after he risks himself for her, Sophie realizes she'll have to put her life in the hands of the man who broke her heart, knowing the danger—and the sparks between them—could consume them both.

Sophie Kim must’ve come directly from work because, under her very sleek, black trench coat, she wore a matching pencil skirt. Three-inch red heels popped in contrast to the severe black of the rest of her outfit. Which did all sorts of things to him. Naughty things. The kind of things that were so good that they were really bad. Especially when a woman was off limits.
“Hey! Is that the new guy?” Sophie slowed her approach, keeping her gaze locked on Forte’s face.
She’d been around tiny dogs all her life, but she’d spent enough time at Hope’s Crossing Kennels over the last couple of years to have learned how to meet the much bigger dogs in Forte’s care. Training working dogs was his thing. Or in Haydn’s case, retraining.
Always a work in progress.
Sophie had been here when Forte had come back from active duty, too battle weary to continue deploying. She’d helped him with the accounting when he’d established Hope’s Crossing Kennels and had generally integrated herself into the private world he’d created for himself, Rojas, and Cruz while they all rebuilt lives for themselves.
Sophie’s bright smile faded as she waited for him to answer. She always sensed when he got too caught up inside his own head.
“Yeah.” Forte came to a halt and murmured the command for Haydn to sit.
Instant obedience. Despite his injury, surgery, and current need for recovery, the dog was as sharp as he’d been on active duty. The mind was eager, ready to work. The body, not so much.
Sophie’s smile renewed, the brilliant expression stopping his heart, the way it had every time he’d seen her since they’d first met way back in high school. She came to a stop in front of them, barely within arm’s reach. “He must be doing well if you’ve got him out here for some field work.”
While they spoke, Haydn watched them both. Then he sniffed the back of Sophie’s hand, which she’d been holding conveniently within reach.
Usually, he preferred if a person asked to be introduced, but this was Sophie. If she’d approached anyone else, she’d have requested permission to say “Hi” to the dog. But between the two of them, everything was an exception.
It showed how well she’d come to know the way he worked in the last few years. He’d changed with every deployment. It happened. And she’d adjusted and accepted those changes in him without a word when he came back. She was the steadfast, forever friend.
He’d never told her why he’d left in the first place or why he’d come back. She was so good at just accepting him that she might never know. And he was a coward for not telling her.
“What’s your plan for him?” Sophie glanced down at the dog, now that he’d sniffed her hand. “Haydn, right?”
 “Yeah.” Forte cleared his throat. “He’s got a couple of weeks of physical therapy first. Then we need to coordinate with the Air Force on his adoption.”
“Ah.” Understanding in one syllable. She had the kind of caring heart to fill in the gaps when something went unsaid. “His handler didn’t make it.”
Part of why Sophie was one of the only people Forte felt easy around was because she got it. Only needed to explain once. And she listened the first time. Sometimes no explanation was required at all.
 “Where’s your car? We’ll walk you.”
“Right across the street.” Sophie jerked her head in the direction of the small parking lot.
They headed over, Sophie falling into step next to Forte. She didn’t try to take his hand or tuck her own around his arm. They weren’t like that. Besides, she knew he didn’t like to be all wound up with a person when walking out in the open.
 As they approached her car, Sophie juggled her shopping bag to pull her keys out of her purse and triggered the trunk.
“Need help?” Forte came up alongside the car, scanning the area around the parking lot out of habit.
“No worries.” Sophie lifted the trunk door and carefully placed her shopping bag inside the deep space, leaning in to move things around to where she wanted. “I need to make sure this is arranged so stuff doesn’t shift. It's delicate!”
He was not going to admit to anyone, ever, how much he was willing to stretch his neck to catch sight of her backside while she was leaning over.
Haydn sniffed the side of the car. The big dog was very engaged, his relaxed attitude changing to a sharper set of movements. Forte tore his attention from Sophie.
Haydn had detected something out of place. Something wrong. Forte’s stomach tightened into a hard knot. Nothing wrong should be anywhere near his Sophie. It didn’t matter that they were in a sleepy town on the edge of a river in the middle of a peaceful country. It didn’t matter that there shouldn’t be any real danger here.
Haydn deliberately sat and looked up at Forte. It was a clear signal. One Haydn had been specifically trained to give as a military explosives detection dog.
Shit.
“Sophie. Step away from your car.” He’d explain later. Be afraid later. Rage. Worry.
Later.
She popped up from the trunk. “Huh?”
“Do it.”
They had to move now.
She complied, thank god. He gave Haydn a terse command, circled around to grab Sophie and get more distance. He steered her across the parking lot toward a big dumpster. It’d serve as good cover. Then he reached for his smart phone.
They got a couple of yards away, and Sophie craned her neck to look back at her car, even as she kept moving with him. She always did as he asked immediately, but she had a brain, and she insisted on explanations after she complied. “What—?”
Behind them, the trunk hatch came down with a solid thunk.
Forte let out a curse and grabbed her, pulling them down to the ground and rolling for the cover of other cars as an explosion lifted the entire driver’s side of her car.





THE SERIES

EXTREME HONOR, #1
ULTIMATE COURAGE, #2
ABSOLUTE TRUST, #3





Piper J. Drake (or "PJ") spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre.

PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

PJ's romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.



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