Friday, August 31, 2012

Review - E-Learning 101: It's not as tough as it looks by Liz Hardy

E-learning 101: It's not as tough as it looksE-learning 101: It's not as tough as it looks by Liz Hardy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ebook, 50 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by Liz Hardy
Source: Author for an honest review

Synopsis:
'E-learning 101 is an e-book that will cheer you on, while it shows you the ropes.
It’s just like having your own personal e-learning coach.

This e-learning resource can do three things for you.

1. Save you time – by quickly explaining how everything works (it’s much faster than guessing on your own).

2. Stop you worrying – by replacing your fears with action and progress.

3. Make you more confident – by giving you step-by-step strategies for dealing with the tricky parts.

E-learning 101 can help you if you’re:

• Somewhere between slightly nervous, and frankly terrified
• Frustrated with having to guess about what to do next
• Too busy to wade through enormous books about online learning
• Keen to make progress on your course right now.

In 6 short lessons, you’ll find the solutions to your biggest e-learning questions.
And you’ll discover that e-learning’s really not as tough as it looks.'


My Thoughts:
E-learning 101 is a precise read that will take about an hour or so out of your life but will reward you with the inspiration and drive to tackle an e-learning course with great success.

As technology and the internet starts to take over more and more of our lives, online learning courses are becoming more common and are a great way to become educated in a huge number of areas.

This book is a great resource for anyone new to online learning and 'self-paced' learning courses. It gives you small tasks in each chapter to get you focused and in control of your studies and also makes you think about reasons you procrastinate and waste time so that you can take charge and never miss a deadline.

There are also some great suggestions on building on online support network so you don't feel so isolated by not being in a physical class surrounded by other students.

I think this guide would be helpful to anyone participating in distance education, be it via an online learning format or even just by correspondence in another format as the majority of the pointers are useful to any student.

It is also full of gorgeous pictures of dogs in relevant poses which always gets a great 'thumbs up' from me!

Links:
Website:  ElearningTrainer.com, at: http://bit.ly/E-learning101E-book
Purchase Details: Amazon

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review - Intuition by Jayne Fordham (The Elite Series #1)

Intuition (The Elite Series #1)Intuition by Jayne Fordham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
340 pages
Published March 2012
Source: Author for review

Synopsis:
'Olive Morgan is not your typical psychologist. She can also access the memories of anyone she comes into contact with. After an explosion in a Sydney shopping mall, Olive is enlisted alongside a team of 'Elite' consultants. She joins Canan Jones who can attune to the emotions of other people, including Olive. Initially, she distrusts the agency, but when another explosion threatens more lives Olive has no choice but to use her skill to prevent another disaster.

Is terrorism really at play or is the agency hiding the real reason behind these attacks?

Olive wants to solve the case, but her personal life is suffering. Despite having a boyfriend, she feels a connection brewing with Canan, who has an uncanny way of making her feel calm when life becomes overwhelming...'


My Thoughts:
Intuition is about a group of young individuals who are recruited by a government agency to assist in solving a case. These individuals have also recently discovered they have certain psychic powers or abilities and are asked by the agency to use these unique powers in an effort to discover who is causing terrorist-looking explosions all over Sydney.

As the new 'recruits' start working together they begin to discover certain interesting bits of information about themselves and each other as well as how and why they came to have their unique abilities.

The main character, Olive Morgan, has the ability to see other people's memories just by touching them. At the time she is recruited to the agency, Olive has only newly discovered her power and is still trying to come to grips with what she is able to do. She is also in a bit of a dead-end relationship and has to battle with discovering how to handle her ability as well as work out what to do about the feelings she is beginning to have for Canan, who one of the other recruits.

It was a nice change to read a book set in Sydney, Australia and I felt a bit more connected to the characters and the events that occurred in the book because of them being Australian and due to being familiar with the places mentioned. I honestly can't remember the last time I read a novel that was set in Australia.

Intuition is a fast paced novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and had a hard time putting down, especially towards the end. I recommend it to anyone who is after a light read and enjoys a bit of the supernatural mixed in with a bit of action and suspense.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next instalment in The Elite Series when it gets released.

Links:
Amazon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Spotlight - The Eyes Die Last by Teri Riggs


On behalf of Sage's Blog Tours I am spotlighting the new book by Teri Briggs, 'The Eyes Die Last'.
Please read on for the book synopsis, author biography and some important links.



Book Synopsis:
The Las Vegas Mayoral race is heating up, and the incumbent doesn’t have a prayer. Wealthy real estate speculator Nick Campenelli, who wants to legalize prostitution in Clark County, and former pastor Louis St. Louis, running on a 'clean-up-Vegas-by-getting-rid-of-the-whores' platform, are the front runners. They’re also front runners on the suspect list for a string of murders. Kennedy O’Brien, four-year detective with cop blood running in her veins, and her partner Wilder “Wild Thing” James, a veteran, are determined to find the man who’s murdering prostitutes who work the wrong side of the street, and they don’t care how important or politically active he is. The killer is a man with a mission. He stalks the women before he kills them, leaving a “BEFORE” photo on their bodies, and sending an “AFTER” shot to the local news hound. Ed Hershey, an aging newscaster with just the right amount of grey in his hair, is determined to turn this story into a network gig, and his interference, along with the LVTVS legal team, are making Kennedy and Wilder look bad. Campenelli’s good looks and charm, and St. Louis’ vitriolic hatred of prostitutes are muddying the waters too, and now the killer seems to have taken a liking to Kennedy.

Author Bio:

Teri Riggs was destined to be a writer. As a small girl she didn’t read bedtime stories, she made up her own. Who needed Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs when there were so many great tales bouncing around in her head? When she grew up and became a mother to three little girls, she continued the tradition of making up bedtime stories. On the occasions she chose to tell conventional fairytales, Teri usually gave them a bit of tweaking here and there or added a new ending. Her girls loved it.
After her daughters had the nerve to actually grow up and leave home, Teri discovered she had a passion for writing and jumped right in. It came as no surprise she chose to write mysteries and happily-ever-after’s since that’s the genres she loves to read.
Teri lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, one of her daughters and two dogs that seem to think they rule the world. And some days Teri thinks maybe they do.
Teri still frequently tells herself stories as she falls asleep. The only difference now is she wakes up the next morning and turns her bedtime stories into books.

Links:
Twitter: @TeriLRiggs https://twitter.com/TeriLRiggs
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teri-Riggs/329379907142621
Amazon

Blurb Blitz - Wicked Allure by Leslie C. Ferdinand


Today I am excited to participate in the Book & Trailer Showcase Blurb Blitz for the new book by Leslie C. Ferdinand titled 'Wicked Allure'. Read on for the book synopsis plus a short excerpt.

I am also part of the Review Tour for this book so stay tuned for my review which will be posted on the 27th October.
 
 

Multicultural Erotic Romance with Adults Only Content, explicit language and some drug use.

What Does A Man Say to the Woman He Betrayed But Never Stopped Loving?
Three years ago, Zachary Steele refused to entertain thoughts of permanency with any woman. A hedonist at heart, he didn’t want to corrupt the much younger, Madigan DeLeon, by continuing his affair with her. With the hidden scars of his past, he didn’t believe in happily-ever-after. By the time he realized how much Madigan meant to him, he’d driven her away. Then, one night, after being clean for a number of years, Zach briefly falls off the bandwagon. He believes his lovemaking to Madi is a drug-induced hallucination. The resulting consequences tell another story.

What Does A Woman Do When the Only Man She’s Ever Loved Hurt Her So Deeply She Feared She’d Never Recover?
Three years after her affair with Zach so abruptly ended, celebutante, Madigan DeLeon, is thrust back into Zach’s life by her mother’s machinations. Brought home under the false pretenses of repairing her damaged relationship with her mother, Madi instead finds herself running a private sex club called Wicked Allure. Forced to confront her anger at his betrayal and grief at the loss of what might’ve been, Madi faces the realization that she’s never stopped loving Zach.
Can Two Broken Hearts Set Aside Anger and Betrayal to Find True Love Once and For All?
Searching the deepest recesses of their hearts, in a place where pride and pain has no room, Madi and Zach must decide if their bond is strong enough to take a second chance at love. Or if resuming their sexual relationship is an irresistible wicked allure and the ghosts of their former relationship will finally, and forever, sever all ties between them.


Excerpt:

“Oomph!”
The sound exploded from Zachary Steele’s mouth as he climbed into bed and collided with a warm body. He swore the room had been empty when he’d walked in. Frowning, he searched his memory, realizing he wasn’t certain if he’d been alone or not. He’d come in, amazed at how big his penthouse suddenly seemed to him. After gazing around, impressed by the sheer size of this one room, he’d laid out four lines of coke on the highly polished nightstand, snorted two, then went into the bathroom.
Once he’d returned to the bedroom, he’d turned off the lights and sat on the couch near the fireplace for a long while. He’d forgotten how long he’d sat in the gloom, as black as the void in his life. Seeing no good about ruminating on his past mistakes, he’d gotten into the bed, and found it already occupied.
Had he really gotten that wasted that he didn’t know where he was or who he was with? He was supposed to be at his apartment, but, while he had a familiarity with this room, it was unfamiliar as well.
He squinted, unable to see much in the darkness. Unsteadily, he turned and flicked on the bedside lamp. Two small lines of white powder remained. The room was spinning, the combination of coke and scotch buzzing through his veins. The thought persisted that something was off about his bedroom. The hunter green and gold décor didn’t seem right. Neither could he remember purchasing the paintings of correlating scenes from an African hunt that marched along the room’s long walls.
At the fuzzy edges of his brain, he knew those paintings and knew they shouldn’t be in his house. Hell, he wasn’t even sure how he’d gotten here. One moment he was dancing with Karolyn, his business partner, at her birthday party, and the next he was imagining he was floating above the crowd. Flying high.
He laughed, loud in the still silence of his surroundings. He sure as shit was flying high, but not because he’d suddenly sprouted wings.
“Zachary?”
Zach jerked around at the sound of his name. A voice went with the warm body he’d collided with. Not a voice. Her voice. Soft, sexy, curling through him like wisps of smoke. His laughter must have awakened her. His mind immediately rejected the notion that she was really in bed next to him. Madigan couldn’t be here. She didn’t even know where he lived anymore.
She was stirring beside him and sitting up, the sheets rustling with her movements. The lamplight bathed her honey colored skin with a golden glow. Exotically high cheekbones set in a delicate face attested to the melting pot of her heritage: African-American, Native American, with a smattering of French and Spanish. The black silk sheet she held around her breasts contrasted perfectly with her beautiful complexion. Dark hair hung past the graceful curve of her shoulders, cradling her lovely face in a cloud of thick waves. She appeared so fragile and vulnerable. Young. He drew his brows together, reminding himself that she was all of those things. He was the sonofabitch who’d thrown her aside.
Madigan’s topaz eyes were hazy, glazed. Zachary stared at her, baffled, a wild, primitive explosion of pain and sweetness, disbelief and hope bursting through him. Madi wasn’t a drug user, so she must have been plastered from the expensive champagne that had been served at her mother’s party.
No, that wasn’t right either. She hadn’t been at her mother’s party.
“Zachary, what are you doing here?” Even as she sat next to him, she swayed.
“You’re in my bed at my house,” he retorted. “I should be asking you the very same question.”
“I am?” She shoved a hand through her hair, biting down on her lush lower lip and glancing around at the splendidly furnished room with the high cathedral ceilings and wall of windows that had
somehow escaped his attention until then. A vast panorama of the night-darkened sky studded with brilliant stars stretched before them. “You should?”
Deep concentration furrowed her brow and she seemed lost, ethereally beautiful, a goddess of the moon who’d bewitched him an eternity ago.
“Are you really here, Zach?” she asked, her sexy-soft voice tinged with disbelief.
“I think so, Madi,” he said, the confession rumbling from deep within his gut. He wasn’t sure of anything at the moment. Not the place he thought was his home. Or the girl in the bed. “Are you really here?”
She giggled at the absurd question. Zach was sure she didn’t understand how removed from his mind he felt.
Her slim fingers released the sheet and nipples the color of wild cherries on firm, rounded breasts greeted his hungry gaze. “Now tell me if you think I’m really here,” she said coyly.
Zach fought through the confusion dazing his mind. While his penthouse was finely furnished, the rooms were smaller, reflecting a bachelor’s functionality that the opulence of his present surroundings lacked. Try as he might, he couldn’t force one iota of sanity into his brain, reeling over Madigan’s presence and his strange, but familiar surroundings.
He raised his gaze to her lovely face and reached out to touch her, almost afraid that she would evaporate but unable to restrain himself any longer. He’d fantasized about touching her for three years, ever since he’d forced her to walk away from him. Her skin was soft, warm, and fragrant. His fingers began to roam across her breasts, but then his hand suddenly seemed separated from his body, floating away, into the air, like it had been amputated. What the hell?
Right. He was flying. High. He could float away all at once or piece by piece. It didn’t matter. The pieces would be put back together after the coke and the alcohol wore off, just like a maddening puzzle that Madigan had always accused him of being. Swaying, he held up his arms and saw that he once again possessed both hands. All the better to touch Madigan. But she was gone, her being there as much a figment of his imagination as his floating appendages. Zach’s shoulders slumped, disappointment and defeat crushing the euphoria of having Madi with him again.
“Madi,” he said in a bleak, raw voice, hanging his head into his hands.



 
About the Authors:
 

Leslie C. Megahey and Shirley H. Ferdinand have been writing together since 1991. Under their Christine Holden pen name, five books were released by Berkley/Jove between 1998 and 2001. Their last book, Dearest Beloved, had a foreign edition in Dutch. They’ve appeared in New Orleans Magazine, the Times Picayune, RT Book Reviews, the Fort Bend Herald, Fort Bend Lifestyles, and the Natchez Sun. They were also included in Kathryn Falk’s 1998 How To Write A Romance For The New Markets and Get it Published and May McGoldrick’s Marriage of Minds: Collaborative Fiction Writing in 2000. They’ve made appearances on television stations in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Beaumont and Toronto. Leslie has also made an appearance on the Rachel Ray Show and is founder of Inside Rose Rich Magazine. They currently have literary representation with D4EO Literary Agency. This is the team’s first erotic romance.

Links:

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781057.Leslie_C_Ferdinand
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/WickedAllureByLeslieCFerdinand
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/RoseRichMag
Buy links:
Amazon
 
B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wicked-allure-shirley-holden-ferdinand/1109655130?ean=9781475010800
ALL ROMANCE:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cover Reveal - Blood Doll by Georgia Cates


On behalf of SupaGurl Tours, I am very excited to bring you today the gorgeous cover for Blood Doll, the third book in the Vampire Agape Series by Georgia Cates.



Isn't it pretty??

Here are some extra details for this exciting new release:

BLURB: Solomon Alexander has faced huge obstacles during his existence, but they’re nothing in comparison to the one he’s about to hit head on. As leader of The Savannah Compound, part of Sol’s new position in the Coven of Landra is to guide the transition of fledgelings, newly turned vampires. It’s his job to save the unsavable. Being a Landra is what he’s done for over a century and he’s damn good at it, but everything he knows, practices and teaches is threatened when he is forced to drink from Avery Ferrand, a Blood Jewel.

The Blood Jewel is enshrouded with mystery, but one fact is known. There’s never been blood more desirable or addicting than Avery’s and there are consequences for any vampire that drinks it...including Solomon Alexander. Although he adamantly denies his need to feed from her, Avery suspects he’s lying but she has secrets of her own about the night he drank from her. She wanted him to and now she finds herself being drawn to Solomon in a way she shouldn't. As Avery’s desire to be closer to Solomon grows, she finds herself considering something more dangerous than being found by the dangerous covens hunting her...asking Solomon if she can become his Blood Doll.

Author Bio:

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent thirteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author.

Blood of Anteros, Book One in The Vampire Agápe Series, was her first novel and it was released in September 2011. She decided to briefly step away from the paranormal genre to try her hand at a young adult contemporary romance when she wrote Going Under, but returned to the paranormal romance platform to complete the second book in The Vampire Agápe Series, Blood Jewel.

Her current works in progress are Shallow (A Going Under Novel) which will release on September 27th and Blood Doll (The Vampire Agápe Series #3), to be released in January 2013.

Georgia Cates Links:
Georgia Cates Blog
Georgia Cates on Facebook
Georgia Cates on Twitter
Shallow on Goodreads

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Trailer Reveal - Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan

A little while ago I was excited to bring you the cover reveal and special announcement for Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan.

As an added extra, I now bring you the new trailer for this interesting novella:


Further details on this book can be found on the Seventh Star Press website.

Cheers,

Michelle

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Third Excerpt - Pledged by Gwynneth White

Pledged

Today I am bringing you the third and final book excerpt for the upcoming new release 'Pledged' by Gwynneth White. This post follows on from the book synopsis and author information I gave you last month plus the First and Second excerpt teasers I have given you over the past couple of weeks.
This excerpt is to give you a bit of a feel for two of the other main characters, Caleb & Talitha.

Meet Caleb & Talitha:

Erin flicked her hair behind her ear and watched Caleb straighten his clothing. He took a deep breath and entered the hut. They followed right after him, drifting through the closed door as if it didn’t exist. Seth laughed, holding his hand up to Erin for a high-five  – until he noticed that Caleb’s Gefallen had also wafted into the cabin with them. Even though he had no idea how to defend Erin from a ghost, he stepped in front of her to protect her. But the wraith ignored them and sailed over to Caleb.

     A tall, blonde-haired girl with almond-shaped brown eyes was waiting for Caleb. For Erin, the recognition was instantaneous; it was Talitha. “She’s so beautiful!”

     “She’s okay,” Seth replied, looking her over critically. “But I don’t think Caleb’s here for her looks.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You said yourself that Caleb’s a good-looking guy. I bet he could have any girl he wants around here.”

Erin frowned; then she smiled as understanding dawned. “So, in guy-talk, you’re saying he loves her?”

Seth chuckled as he picked up Erin’s hand and put it on his heart. “Tell me what you’re feeling?”

Erin gasped at a disconcerting pulse thrumming in Seth’s chest, over-riding his own heartbeat. “It’s . . . no . . . It’s not possible.”

 “I’ll bet it is. It’s Caleb’s heart beating.”

“How do you know it’s him? It could be Talitha.”

“It started the moment I saw him. It’s like it’s there to stop me denying that he and I were once friends. And I was watching Talitha when he walked in. She smiled, and it felt as if someone had just shot a thousand volts through him.”

“It’s amazing you’re so connected that you can feel him.”

Seth wasn’t so sure he agreed; it made being here just a little too real.

Erin felt her own heart and could faintly discern Talitha’s heartbeat; it was nowhere near as strong as the thump in Seth’s chest, but then, she figured, she wasn’t in denial the way he was.

 They fell into silence as Caleb opened his arms to embrace Talitha. She draped her arms around his neck, twisting the dark curls tumbling onto his shoulders. He kissed the nape of her throat and ran his lips up her neck, over her chin to her mouth.

“This is awkward,” Erin murmured, looking away.

“You don’t say. All this way just to watch them making out.”
***
 

Also, don't forget to enter my Giveaway to be in the running for one of five ebook copies of Pledged. It's open until the end of August!
 

Michelle

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WWW Wednesday (22nd August 2012)


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

To join in all you need to do is answer the following three questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?



• What am I currently reading? Currently I am still reading Pledged (Soul Wars Saga, #1) as my main book as I started reading other books at the same time to break it up a bit. My giveaway for this book is still open until the end of this month as well which you can enter here.


• What did I recently finish reading? I haven't actually finished reading anything this week :-) My life has been unbelievably hectic over the past month with my CPA course starting again and work picking up for my personal business so I apologise in advance for the lack of review posts lately. Things may be a little sparse around here until I get through this last subject and then I'm free as a bird!!
• What do I think I'll read next? I am still hopeful that I will start reading The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals next.


What have you been up to this week?

Michelle

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review - Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Paperback, 532 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2011)
Source: Own copy

Synopsis:
'Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.'

My Thoughts:
So ok, for some reason it has taken me a while to get up the energy to finally review this book. For some reason it just didn't grab my attention like the first one did and kind of left me a little disappointed and, dare I say it, bored in some parts.

This instalment starts off with the aftermath of the break up of Anastasia and Christian. Anastasia is an absolute mess and still thinks of Christian practically every minute of her waking hours.

After a little while apart, Christian re-enters Ana's life with a new proposition. He wants to offer her a chance at the type of relationship she really wants and promises to give 'vanilla' a wholehearted attempt.

The main theme of this book centres around the opening up of Christian and the discovery of what has shaped him to be the person he is and why he has developed his dominant/submissive persona.

Ana is a much stronger and verbal person in this book but still grates on my nerves a little with the constant repetition of certain phrases and how she has a tendency to say way too much in her head instead of out loud. I found myself screaming at her sometimes to just 'Speak up!' rather than mumble to herself and this frustrated me quite a bit.

This book still centres around a massive amount of sex between Christian and Ana and by the end I was sick of reading about the sex scenes to tell the truth. I am definitely no prude and have an open mind about practically anything but I really did want more actual storyline and character development and less sex and found myself starting to skim over certain scenes. I felt like the poor girl just needed to be given a rest now and then.
Overall this book is a bit like the more mature sister to Fifty Shades of Grey as it has a much slower pace and doesn't contain as many jaw dropping scenes.

I was left intrigued by the ending of this one as there is a bit of a twist which I didn't see coming so I am interested to see how the story is developed in the final instalment.
Links:
Review - Fifty Shades of Grey (Book 1)
Amazon
The Book Depository

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WWW Wednesday (15th August 2012)


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

To join in all you need to do is answer the following three questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?



• What am I currently reading? Currently I am still reading Pledged (Soul Wars Saga, #1) as part of a blog tour. I am also hosting a giveaway for this awesome book which you can enter here.


• What did I recently finish reading? I recently finished reading Intuition (The Elite Series #1) and absolutely loved it. My review will be coming very soon.

• What do I think I'll read next?  I haven't really made my mind up completely but I think I may start reading The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals next.


What have you been up to this week?

Michelle

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (12th August 2012)




In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and is a weekly meme to show what books you have accumulated during the week.

So, these are the books I acquired this week (click on the covers to be taken to Goodreads):

For Review:
The Hour of Predators Kindly sent to me for review by the author Lane Stark.

The Keeper Supplied by BTS Tours as part of their book tour during September and October.


So, what great books did you get this week?

Michelle

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Second Excerpt - Pledged by Gwynneth White

Pledged

Today I am very excited to be able to give you the second book excerpt for the upcoming new release 'Pledged' by Gwynneth White. This post follows on from the book synopsis and author information I gave you last month and the First Excerpt posted last week.
This excerpt is to give you a bit of a feel for two of the other main characters, Sophia and Jared. Next week I will be bringing you the third and final excerpt so you can get to know the other main characters, Caleb & Talitha.

Meet Sophia and Jared:

Jared nodded at Sophia and Kezeah without any sign of recognition. With two of his Pledged up front and two at their rear, he marched them down the corridor to a flight of stairs. Once at the bottom, he ducked beneath an archway, opening onto to a gloomy, narrow tunnel. Erin, never keen on dark, claustrophobic spaces, took a deep breath and paused.
“C’mon,” Seth said. “The sooner we walk through it, the quicker we get to the other side.”
“What happens if what’s on the other side is even worse?”
“Then you’ll know for sure that the dead guys are leading this expedition,” Seth said, wanting to deny the painful burning in his heart that reconnected him with a cursed Jared. He grabbed Erin’s arm and pulled her into the passage.
They’d taken no more than two tentative steps along the uneven floor when Sophia stopped. “Commander, I am not walking through this snake-hole!”
Jared turned back to look at her. With none of the fear or diffidence Erin and Seth expected from a boy with limited to exposure to girls – especially beautiful ones – he answered, “Of course, my lady. You’re from Norin, where I understand you live in grass huts.” He gave a sardonic smile. “But don’t despair, you’ll soon get used to bricks. Even our own Outcasts have learnt not to flinch at the sight of them.” He continued down the passage.
     Seth’s mouth dropped at Jared’s rudeness; this was so foreign to the Jared he had seen just moments ago in his vision. It just added to his anger at Reuel’s Curse.
The Pledged at Sophia’s rear prodded her back; she gave him a fierce look and started walking.
For Seth and Sophia, both taller than Erin and Kezeah, negotiating the tortuous twists and turns of the tunnel was no easy matter. Stooping, cursing each time they bumped their heads on the rough ceiling, they struggled after Jared, but he kept up the merciless pace until they reached a dark staircase.
Her temper now as short as her breath, Sophia stopped walking and locked her arms across her chest. “Having just cracked my skull open, you now expect me to scramble up those treacherous stairs too. No doubt hoping I’ll fall and break my neck. Well, forget it. I’m not moving.”
“Sophia!” Kezeah whispered, jabbing her in the ribs as she stepped gingerly onto the first narrow step.
Sophia ignored her. “Only savages and rats live in places like this.”
     Jared’s eyes narrowed. “Savages and rats, you say, my lady?”
Sophia set her face into a cold stare, locking her hypnotic blue eyes on his.
He surprised her by holding her gaze. “I hate to disappoint you, my lady, but Lord Rustus, Lord of the Household, under the direction of the Overlord himself, has chosen your apartment. Surely you don’t question their judgment in this matter?” 
     “As a matter of fact, I do.”
     “In that case, I’ll gladly pass on your concerns. If that’s what you really want.”
“Enough, Sophia. This isn’t a fight you can win.” Sophia’s Guardian had joined them.

***

So, are you getting excited yet??? I sure am!

Also, don't forget to enter my Giveaway to be in the running for one of five ebook copies of Pledged.

Have a great weekend!

Michelle

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review and Author Interview - The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson

I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for the third instalment in the Dragonslayer series. Following is my review of this awesome book plus an interview with the wonderful Resa Nelson.

The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
236 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Mundania Press

Synopsis:
'In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago. Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.'

My Thoughts:
The Stone of Darkness continues the epic tale of Astrid and her journey as the Dragonslayer.
In this instalment, Astrid is on a mission to find out as much as she can about the black stone she removed from her foot the previous year. Astrid is of the opinion that this stone saved her life after she was bitten by a dragon but didn't die from the poison in it's saliva as she should have.

Throughout this book Astrid has to learn who she can trust to help her on her journey and finds protection and company in the form of the Iron Maidens along the way.

As with the other books in this series, it is refreshing to watch how Astrid grows as a person and to see her develop into a more mature and open minded woman.

This series is full of adventure and The Stone of Darkness has a plot that flows smoothly and keeps you interested until the very end. It was great to see some new characters introduced in this instalment as well as follow on with the lives of some of the original characters.

There is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of this book and I can't wait to see what happens next and how the author finishes off this series in the fourth book.


Author Interview:
I was fortunate enough to get Resa to answer some interview questions:

What was your inspiration behind ‘The Dragonslayer’ series?

Like a lot of writers, I use writing as therapy!  Many years ago, I'd been propositioned by a co-worker (a married man with two young children), which horrified me and hurt my feelings.  So I wrote a short story about it, except my story took place in a medieval type of fantasy world.  The story was published in a magazine, and response from readers was so strong that it made me realize they saw something more in the story that I couldn't see.  I decided that I'd expand the story into a novel only if I came up with an idea that I loved with my whole heart – otherwise, I'd be wasting everybody's time.  It took me about 8 years to come up with that idea.  Then once I started writing Book 1 (The Dragonslayer's Sword), I realized the world I'd created could support more than one book, and I began to understand the big picture.  And it all started with a bad experience and one little short story!  I also wrote a second story (which was also published) in my Dragonslayer world, and everyone is welcome to download a free PDF ebook of those original short stories to get an idea of what my Dragonslayer series is like at http://www.resanelson.com/files
Would you like to share one piece of advice you would give to other aspiring authors?

If writing is truly what you want to do (notice I didn't say “be famous” or “get rich” -- I'm talking about actually writing), then do not give up under any circumstances.  I've seen writers whose work was far better than mine never get published because they gave up too easily and too soon. 
If you weren't a writer, what else do you think you would you be doing instead?

My answer to this changes all the time.  I love sports and have a degree in sport management (which ironically is extremely helpful in my writing life).  Because the Olympics are going on right now, I think back to how much I've always loved the Olympics.  In ancient times, the Greeks told all countries that they had to stop fighting any wars during the Olympics.  The idea was to stop whatever you were doing and send your country’s best athletes to Greece to compete in sports.  I think that's one of the most civilized ideas ever.  So at one time I did think about pursuing a career working with the Olympics.
Do you have one particular special ‘writing place’ or are you fortunate enough to be able to write anywhere?

I've always been able to block out the world around me and focus on reading or writing.  So I can write anywhere.  The “real” world literally disappears – I can't hear anything when I’m focused and all I can see is my computer screen or sheet of paper (if I'm writing in longhand).  I've written short stories in waiting rooms, in airports, on trains, and on planes.  In fact, this year I finally figured out that I can write short stories during any down time when I'm selling and signing books at an event.  So far I've written four new short stories this year, and none of them have been in the comfort of my own home!
Are there any authors that have inspired you along the way?

Oh, yes, tons!  When I was young, my favorite authors were Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Agatha Christie.  I was also a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, and Louisa May Alcott.  Later, I fell in love with the work of Jane Austen.  As an adult, I became a big fan of Connie Willis.  In fact, that's how I rate the science fiction and fantasy section of any bookstore.  If they don't carry at least one book by Connie Willis, my opinion of that store goes down.  These I days I typically don't read in my genre unless it's something really remarkable, for example, the Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games.  Mostly I read mysteries and thrillers.  Currently, my favorite mystery writer is Harlan Coben because the heroic characters he creates are people I'd like to hang out with.  And his villains are really, seriously scary!
Do you have a favourite scene in the book ‘The Stone of Darkness’ (without giving the story away too much)?

Actually, my favorite scene is the beginning because it came from a conversation I had with a teenage boy after I'd given a presentation about The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1 in my Dragonslayer series) at a library.  He wanted to talk about dragons and how to fight them.  He felt very strongly that a good strategy might be to lie in wait with plenty of people armed with bows and arrows.  My feeling is that dragons have tough scales that overlap, which provide dragons with a type of natural armor.  But I thought this teenager's opinion was really interesting and valid.  I thought about what he had to say and kept looking for a way to write about it.  When I started writing The Stone of Darkness, it dawned on me that it would make a perfect opening.  So the action and characters at the beginning of this book are greatly inspired by that conversation, and I think often about the young man I met.  I feel like he's part of that book, which really makes me happy.  Every so often I ask people I meet in person if I can use their name for a character or use something we've talked about in a future novel.
Do you have any pets?

No, but I love nature and animals.  I have a balcony, and every year finches nest in a hanging plant of flowers that I buy just for them.  The planter hangs just a foot away from my window, so I get a great view of the baby birds, especially when they're old enough to exercise their flight muscles.  They're so cute!  I felt like an aunt to every batch of birds that has hatched on my balcony.  I even have a clip of some of the babies on YouTube at this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_0bPKmaVuo
What’s your favourite way to spend your spare time?

It depends.  If I'm exhausted, I love either reading or watching movies or TV.  If I have energy, I'm a big fan of going to museums, Broadway musicals, or ballet.  Or going to the beach.  Or traveling to other countries, because I want to learn about other people and their culture and customs.
What’s one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I have a science degree in physical education, which required me to take a course in human dissection.  I dreaded it and put it off until my senior year, hoping it would go away.  But it turned out to be one of my favorite classes ... especially after a hulky male classmate fainted, and I didn't!  It was fascinating.  We’re as different on the inside as we are on the outside.  One of the most challenging things about dissection was locating parts of the body that we knew were there – we just couldn’t always find them where we thought they’d be!
What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learnt about yourself since writing?

My novels often change me in ways I don't expect.  For example, writing the villanous characters in my Dragonslayer series has led me to feeling a lot of compassion for misogynists.  I used to despise them, but now I just pity them.  I never saw that coming.

Wow, I'm so excited that Resa's favourite author at the moment is Harlan Coben. He's been one of my favourite author's for years!

Author Biography:
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Links:
Resa’s website:  http://www.resanelson.com
                                                                       
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:  http://www.resanelson.com/files
Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871
Email:  ContactResa@aol.com
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at:  http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
http://www.amazon.com/Resa-Nelson/e/B002C78D2Q/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/resa-nelson

The Stone Of Darkness on Amazon

My reviews of The Dragonslayer's Sword (Book 1) and The Iron Maiden (Book 2)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Seventh Star Press 'Feel The Fire' Giveaway!


Welcome to Seventh Star Press’ Feel the Fire Contest! Easy to enter, easy to get a lot of entries, and you can win a Kindle Fire, Amazon.com gift cards/certificates, signed books, eBook bundles and much more!

Here are the parameters of this contest. All eBook, book, poster art, and art card prizes relating to Seventh Star Press authors directly, as well as the Kindle Fire, and the Amazon.com gift cards will be fulfilled by Seventh Star Press . eBooks from non-SSP authors featured in the bundles of the first three prizes (Grand Prize and prizes #2 and #3) will be fulfilled by the authors themselves. These authors assume all responsibility for fulfillment and delivery of their titles to the prize winners. They have been asked to deliver their eBooks in the week following the close of the contest at midnight on September 19th.

Grand Prize limited to US/Canadian residents only. Prizes #2-15 eligible for international entries.
Also, this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

This contest uses the RaffleCopter system where you can earn extra entries merely by liking the Facebook pages or following the Twitter accounts of various authors and some bloggers. We encourage you to get as many entries as possible and discover from wonderful new authors in the process!

And now for a description of the available prizes:

Grand Prize: Kindle Fire, plus 10 SSP eBooks of your choice (choose from any title in our catalog from authors Jackie Gamber, Michael West, Stephen Zimmer, H. David Blalock, D.A. Adams, R.J. Sullivan, and Steven Shrewsbury), as well as eBook bundle from participating non-SSP authors, including titles from Apex Book Company, Hydra Publications, Blackwyrm Publishing, LocoNeal Publishing, and more! (total of 29 eBooks, 10 from SSP and 19 in non-SSP bundle)
Participating Authors and Titles (other than SSP): Total of 19 eBooks in this bundle.
J.H. Glaze: 5 pack including The Spirit Box, Northwest, Forced Intelligence, and The Horror Challenge Volumes I and II.
James R. Tuck: Hired Gun:The Culvert City Crime Files and That Things at the Zoo: Deacon Chalk e-novella 1
Rachel Hunter: Empyreal Fate
Dianne Gardner: Deception Peak
Gwen Perkins: The Universal Mirror
Sara Harvey: Penemue Trilogy (The Convent of the Pure, The Labyrinth of the Dead, The Tower of the Forgotten)
J.M. McDermott: Last Dragon
Georgia L. Jones: Legends of Darkness
Christopher Kokoski: Dark Halo
Sheila Deeth: Divide by Zero
Ren Garcia: Sands of the Solar Empire
Aaron Drown: Path of An Arrow
Prize # 2: $25 Amazon.com gift card/certificate, plus 5 eBooks of your choice from the SSP catalog, and full eBook bundle of non-SSP authors (as described in Grand Prize). Total of 24 eBooks in this prize package.
Prize #3: $25 Amazon.com gift card/certificate, plus 5 eBooks of your choice from the SSP catalog, and full eBook bundle of non-SSP authors (as described in Grand Prize). Total of 24 eBooks in this prize package.
Prize #4: Your choice of 1 limited edition hardcover version from the following titles: Poseidon’s Children or Cinema of Shadows. Signed and numbered by author.
Prize #5: Your choice of 1 limited edition hardcover version from the following titles: Redheart, Overkill, or The Fall of Dorkhun. Signed and numbered by author.
Prize #6: Your choice of 1 limited edition hardcover version from the following titles: Angelkiller or Haunting Obsession. Signed and numbered by author.
Prize#7: Softcover of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#8: Softcover of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#9: Softcover of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#10: Poster Art from Matthew Perry and Bonnie Wasson: includes the ”Kissing Image” from Poseidon’s Children, and the “Elf Woman” from The Fall of Dorkhun. Posters are 14X20 and sent in cardboard tube.
Prize#11: 7 eBooks of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#12: 7 eBooks of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#13: 7 eBooks of your choice from SSP Catalog
Prize#14: Sets of 5X7 art cards from Poseidon’s Children, Angelkiller, Overkill, Redheart, and The Fall of Dorkhun plus 2 SSP eBooks of your choice from the SSP catalog .
Prize#15: Sets of 5X7 art cards from Poseidon’s Children, Angelkiller, Overkill, Redheart, and The Fall of Dorkhun plus 2 SSP eBooks of your choice from the SSP catalog.
To enter this awesome giveaway you just have to complete the Rafflecopter form here.

Good luck everyone!!!
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