Amazing sci-fi shorts by Nicholas C. Rossis #free!

Nicholas C. Rossis is an amazing sci-fi, fantasy and children’s books author and a very giving blogger and person. I’ve read his entire body of work, including his two short-story volumes free and on sale till Monday, September 21. Read on for the book details and my 5-star reviews, and don’t miss out!

Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories FREE!

by Nicholas C. Rossis
Publication Date: June 28, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Pages: 124
Purchase Link: Amazon

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Ten speculative fiction short stories and flash fiction. The anthology includes the following stories:
  • Infinite Waters“: A woman seeks her future at a carnival. She discovers more than she expected.
  • The Things We Do for Lust“: Beware of time travelers bearing gifts.
  • James’ Life“: A man with nothing to look forward to but oblivion, discovers it’s not that easy to escape his life.
  • Two’s a Crowd“: Blood runs thicker than water. Especially when you spill it.
  • What’s in a Name?“: A trip to the tropics has an unexpected ending.
  • The Lucky Bastard“: How far will the luckiest man alive go to escape his luck?
  • A Twist of the Tail“: A confused woman meanders through a sleepy town. But not all is as it seems.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?“: A high school student just loves to experiment.
  • Sex and Dinner“: A timeless combination. Or is it?
  • Would You Like Flies With That?“: Nothing’s scarier than a supermarket.
  • The Hand of God“: Nothing has prepared a grizzly veteran for this meeting *.
    (* first published in The Power of Six)

My Review

Uplifting or dark. these stories make for an easy yet rich and satisfying read. I enjoyed Nicholas Rossis’ first short-story collection, The Power of Six, and had to try this second installment. Nicely tied together through one story that unfolds throughout the book, and seemingly diverse (which adds to the reading pleasure) the 9+1 shorts are rife with questions about the nature of reality and perception. Well-written, fast-paced, clever and thought-provoking. A great collection!

The Power of Six 6+1 Science Fiction Short Stories for 0.99!

by Nicholas C. Rossis
Publication Date: May 4, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 138
Purchase Link: Amazon

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Six science fiction short stories written by the award-winning author of Pearseus and Runaway Smile. This edition includes one extra story, written by Amos M. Carpenter, and “What’s in a Name,” published in Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories. 

The anthology includes the following stories: 

  • “Simulation Over”: How far can we trust our senses?
  • “For the Last Time”: The law of unintended consequences meets Merphy’s law during a man’s unexpected time travel.
  • “The Hand of God”: Nothing has prepared a grizzly veteran for this meeting.
  • “I Come in Peace”: an award-winning short story that poses the question: how far would man go to alleviate his loneliness?
  • “A Fresh Start”: If we were free to go anywhere in time and space, where would we choose to go?
  • “The Sentry”: What is a Sentry to do when the monster that steals away his family’s most precious possessions reappears?
  • “Big Bang”: A friendly game turns into much more in this short story written by Amos M. Carpenter.
  • “What’s in a Name”: A trip to the Tropics takes an unexpected turn. *
(* first published in Infinite Waters)
Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative

My Review

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Nicholas C. Rossis’ bestselling Pearseus series, I picked up this anthology, knowing that the short story format would make the book even more readable. I was right. I read the stories in one sitting (Simulation Over I had already read on Wattpad).

An all-powerful computer, an Adam Sandler-esque remote that enables time traveling, a real life/video game mesh, a willing host to an alien form of life, a haunted house/portal to the multiverse and a David-Goliath metaphor are Nicholas’ vehicles to portray his version of the Cartesian doubt: the fallibility of sensory perception. His main themes—ambition, greed, the need for human contact—all lead to questioning pure knowledge. What we see and feel is not necessarily the truth.

But if this concept sounds profound and philosophical, its delivery is anything but. The stories are very well written with surprising twists, rich detail (where needed) and a general light feel that makes moving from one to the next smooth and easy. What I particularly appreciated was that the main concept interconnected the stories, making this a seamless read. The writer’s choice not to bog the reader down with dozens of names for his stories’ characters also helped. All in all, I found this anthology a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.

About the Author

Nicholas Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats, one of whom claims his lap as home. His children’s book, Runaway Smile, earned a finalist slot in the 2015 International Book Awards.

Nicholas lives in a forest outside Athens with his lovely wife Electra, beautiful dog and two remarkably silly cats.

Author Links

Bloghttp://nicholasrossis.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis
Site: http://www.nicholasrossis.com
Pearseus Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pearseus
LinkedIn: http://gr.linkedin.com/pub/nicholas-rossis/0/b7b/122/ 
Google+ http://google.com/+NicholasRossis

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Discover the enchanting The Lady of the Pier trilogy

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I’m a fan of Effrosyni Moschoudi’s books. Nostalgia blends with romance and adventure in the fantasy novel The Necklace of Goddess Athena, but The Lady of the Pier trilogy adds a karmic paranormal element that binds worlds and eras in a beautiful tale. Top that off with the beauty of the Greek seascape, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. It is no coincidence that the The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb, Book 1 in the trilogy, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards quarter-finalist.

And now, both The Lady of the Pier: The Ebb and the upcoming The Lady of the Pier: The Flow are on a $0.99 sale. Don’t miss out!

What is The Lady of the Pier trilogy about?

The Lady of the Pier trilogy tells the stories of Sofia and Laura – two girls from two different worlds who have a mysterious connection. In book 1, although similar in some ways, the two stories are seemingly unrelated. In book 2, they begin to merge and in the concluding volume, The Storm, they become one story. The author recommends to start reading from book 1. The Storm is in the editing stage and will be published in December 2015.

For free excerpts, visit http://effrosyniwrites.com/books/

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LOVE WILL GO ON FOREVER, SEEKING A SECOND CHANCE.

BRIGHTON, 1937

Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a happy-go-lucky stagehand at the West Pier theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, her love for him is put to the test. Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, is fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love… or money?

CORFU, 1987

On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman? And how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?

Only 99c on Amazon!

Purchase Links: Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

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She won’t find peace until she finds redemption.
But it’ll take more than love; it’ll take two worlds, to merge into one.

BRIGHTON 1938

Laura and Christian enjoy a blissful summer, while Charles watches from a distance, waiting for the right time to intervene. This time, he’s prepared to do something truly vile as to leave nothing to chance. WWII breaks out, and Laura does her best to settle in a new life, having paid a terrible price. Will she find happiness at last, or will the past continue to haunt her?

CORFU 1988

Sofia arrives in Vassilaki brokenhearted over Danny. Just as a new boy comes into her life, the strange dreams start anew. Now in Brighton, she meets Danny again, but he blows hot and cold.  When she sees a female apparition on the West Pier, she finds out the locals call her ‘The Lady of the Pier’. Is this the woman in her dreams and why is Sofia the only one who can see her?

Official launch date: June 26, 2015

Available on preorder – only 99c for a limited time!

Purchase Links:  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

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The concluding part of the trilogy, The Storm, is currently in the editing stage.

It will be released in December 2015.

About the author

profpic 690x884 png 300dpiEffrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she often sat alone in her granny’s garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Through adolescence, she wrote dark poetry that suited her melancholic, romantic nature. She’s passionate about books and movies and simply couldn’t live without them, particularly the ones starring Robert Pattinson, who is the constant inspiration behind her vulnerable romantic heroes. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her British husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. Effrosyni is a proud member of the writer’s group, eNovel Authors at Work.

What others say about Effrosyni’s writing:

“Effrosyni layers her words on the page like music.”

~Jackie Weger, National Best-selling Author

“Ms. Moschoudi is proving to be a skilled storyteller who takes her readers on a wonderful ride.”

~David M. Wind, author of Queen of Knights

Connect with Effrosyni

Site: http://www.effrosyniwrites.com

Amazon Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni

Effrosyni at Enovel Authors at Work: http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/effrosyni-moschoudi/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/frostiemoss

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi

Alex by Sawyer Bennett (Review)

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A steamy sports romance, starring a bad-boy NHL star might be just what the doctor ordered for October. This one packs powerful psychological portraits of adults dealing with childhood abuse. Read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for an Alex Crossman/Cold Fury team jersey! This review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

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Alex

Cold Fury Hockey # 1
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing October 14th, 2014
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My Review

Alex is a machine. He plays hockey like a machine, he beds women like a machine (I used the other word in my Goodreads review) he socializes like a machine–as in not at all. Fans of Cold Fury, his team, love to hate him. He’s the MVP, as in the Most Valuable Prick.

But the team’s management want their star player to work on his social profile. Or else. Alex now has to deal with some social worker on a drug prevention outreach program. Life sucks. But the surprisingly young and beautiful social worker doesn’t, so he decides to show her both spaces he owns: the pitch and the bedroom. He even resorts to showing her his gentleman side: he warns her that he’s going to break her heart. Because that’s all he’s capable of, right?

Sutton Price knows very well what she’s getting herself into. But Alex’s abusive background, bits and pieces of which surface especially during their post-coital bliss, hit very close to home: she’d been there herself, only she chose the path of acceptance and forgiveness, and she wants more than anything to help Alex involve more emotions than anger, hatred and apathy. But when he gets there, fear and insecurity also creep in and mire everything. With his father always devastatingly present in his life, and a career with an expiry date he needs to focus on, how can Alex give Sutton what she needs?

This sports-themed NA romance had some surprising elements. First of all, it offered the male point of view as well. In the case of a damaged, withdrawn hero, especially if he’s in the star (rock or sports) category, it is not often that we get to see his mind at work with extra insight into his childhood; the source of all evil. Usually, his behavioral pattern is explained in the final stages of the plot through dialogue or revelations of a third party. In the case of Alex, however, not only he knew exactly what mindset he was in and what caused it, but we get a front-row seat to vivid scenes of his hair-raising childhood in the hands of a father destroyed by alcohol and his own demons.

The other element I appreciated was the presentation of the two different paths an abused child can follow in life: Sutton shared experiences with Alex, but she embraced her past in an empowering, creative way. But Sutton’s way, although acknowledged by Alex, causes further rift between them, as self-doubt and even envy tipping towards jealousy manage to further distance him from her. These subtle psychological insights made the book stand out from the lot.

The sex scenes are frequent and steamy, but they’re not there just to underline the hero’s prowess; they also help to move the plot forward as that’s where Alex’s psyche is gradually revealed.

Ms Bennett’s writing is efficient, adeptly delving into the characters’ true essence. The only thing that got to me was big chunks of narration revealed in the form of thoughts during an on-going scene, inevitably using past perfect. For example, someone would wake up and start getting ready for the day, thinking about what happened the day before. Quite a number of scenes were presented that way. Other than that, this was a smooth read.

If you enjoy reading sports romances with seriously hot, seriously damaged heroes, but want a deeper portrayal than just of their physical attributes, you should consider picking Alex up—pun intended 🙂

Sawyer BennettAbout the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Author Links
Website: http://www.sawyerbennett.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bennettbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950682.Sawyer_Bennett

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Burning Memories by Rory Keeling (Book Blast)

She’s an FBI arson investigator, he’s the fire chief. Together they set the small town of Pecan Creek ablaze. Okay, an arsonist lends a helping hand too… Brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

Burning Memories
Banks of Pecan Creek # 1
By: Rory Keeling
Releasing September 10th, 2014
Three Owl Press

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Ten years ago, he saved her life … and she’s never forgiven him for it.

Claire Masters never planned to return to Pecan Creek. After a suspicious fire killed her mother and sent her own life up in flames, she was ready for a fresh start – far away from the small Texas town.

Ethan Banks never asked to be the fire chief, but it’s the family business. Asking the FBI…and Claire Masters for help is the last thing he wants to do.

When a series of fires strikes the town, as one of the FBI’s top arson investigators, Claire reluctantly returns before the fires take a fatal turn.

Now the pair is forced to work side by side, and they’re reminded the heat between them has nothing to do with fire.

Buy Links: Amazon / Kobo

 
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Not quite as Southern as sweet tea…but pretty close. I’m the mom to two teenagers and two furry kids. My blood is probably 50% coffee. When I was in first grade, I convinced my teacher my mother made my father sleep in the barn. And the stories have just continued from there…

 
 
 
 

More grit than glamour: Adagio by Delancey Stewart

Book & Author details:
Adagio by Delancey Stewart
(The Company #1)
Publication date: May 6th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase Link: Amazon

 

My Review

Anna Glaser was not graced with an easy childhood, but grace she has. In spades. That is her only weapon to fight the misery of her life; becoming a prima ballerina is her sole focus. The rigor and discipline, the need for perfectionism soothes her troubled soul. So when the cold and calculating artistic director of the company she fought so hard to enter, suggests she should give him something more than her dancing, she hates him, but that being in line with how she knows life, she is willing to succumb.

Enter Cain Gilliam. The lead danseur is instantly smitten by the composed, withdrawn dark beauty. He sees that the director has designs for her outside the dance hall, and he is determined to intercept them. If only he was sure that that was what Anna truly wanted. And then it’s his own demons he has to keep at bay. But the stage’s wings hide danger in their darkness and soon Cain will have to protect more than Anna’s reputation.

I picked this book up from Xpresso Book Tours because of its dance theme. If you expect Center Stage though, you will not find it here. This story is dark. Not only because life-threatening danger lurks backstage but because both the protagonists have a dark side. Anna is not the sweet girl you will effortlessly fall in love with. She keeps barbed wire around her, making sure no one enters her personal space. She fights her feelings for Cain, and she rarely lets the reader peek into her soul. She gave me a hard time too. It was only toward the end that I started getting Anna, and maybe if I was given more of her backstory instead of snippets through dialogue, liking her would have come easier. Cain also lacked sufficient backstory to help me fully understand his sometimes too intense reactions.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Adagio. Delancey Stewart knows her stuff. The rehearsals and dancing were super realistic, you could even smell the waxed floor and feel the agony in your own muscles. The rest of the characters–Cain’s roommates and Anna’s only girlfriend–were fleshed out and endearing. The writing itself showed spurts of brilliancy; some metaphors blew me away.

Final verdict: a very readable book, expertly handling the theme, which I would have fully enjoyed had I been given deeper insight into the MCs’ psyche.

DancerinRestMotionGiveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway
–5x eBook copies of Adagio – INTL
–A 12×16 piece of framed art called Dancer in Rest and Motion  – US only (shown left)

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Official Synopsis:

The world of professional ballet is built on illusion. The illusion of perfection. The illusion of effortless beauty. The illusion of eternal love.

But backstage, few members of the Union Ballet Company suffer from such illusions.

Anna Glaser has dreamed of nothing but dancing professionally her entire life. And when she’s finally offered a position with Union, she takes it, giving little more than a passing thought to what she might have to give up in exchange. But Sebastian Kaplan, the director who gave her the chance, won’t forget so easily.

When Anna meets Cain, who has been dubbed by the local media as Union’s most eligible bachelor, she realizes that making a deal with the devil might mean that Heaven — in the form of a gorgeous dark-haired man — is forever out of her reach.

Dancers at Union know that something that glitters and shines under the stage lights can still be vicious and evil when the lights go down.

Adagio is the first episode in the series The Company – an engaging drama-filled ride through the darker parts of the ballet and the lives of those who live to dance.

*This book contains explicit content and is suitable for readers over 17

DelanceyAUTHOR BIO

Delancey Stewart writes contemporary romance.

Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a direct sales representative for a French wine importer. But she has always been a writer first.

A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader. She tackles all these efforts at her current home outside Washington D.C.

Author links:

 

 

Witty and original: Red, White and Screwed by Holly Bush

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Glenda Nelson is frazzled and hassled. A political strategist who sees her strategy blown to smithereens, a mother of two teens who can drive her up the wall, a daughter of decaying parents and an ex-wife of a serial cheater with a “it’s not what you think” attitude, Glenda has too much on her plate to have extra room for love. And when dazzlingly handsome, Chris Goodrich, singles her out, she has to try really hard to remember what’s it like to act womanly and even harder to open her heart and let him in. Could she still be clinging on the dream of her white knight turned philandering douche seeing the light? And will Chris be patient enough to handle her and her crazy life?

I really enjoyed this story. After reading numerous New Adult romances with fumbling heroes trying to get a grip on life, the harsh reality of a mother past her prime who learns how to reclaim her right to love and personal happiness was refreshing. Holly Bush’s writing is awesome. It reads like chick-lit: vibrant, witty, no-nonsene just like the heroine’s personality. I couln’t help but cast Amy Pohler and Greg Kinnear in the leading roles. Even the political lingo that at some points dominated the scenes instead of bogging me down, added to the authenticity of Glenda’s reality. (I’m Greek, but I have watched Spin City.)

There was one thing that I found over the top though: Chris was just too good to be true. I expected each time Glenda broke down and cried (she cries a lot!) for the other shoe to drop, some drama to ensue, but Chris stoically took everything and offered support and love. I couldn’t really connect his easiness with the fact that he is an artist fighting with disillusionment over his career path. I expected more conflict there.

That said, I recommend Red, White and Screwed for its wittiness and originality. A fun read!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for $25.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card!

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Official Blurb

Political strategist Glenda Nelson is having a meltdown. Her handpicked, very married Congressional candidate was just caught climbing out of the window of the Sleepytown Motel, and her philandering ex-husband seems to have the most to gain from the colossal scandal that follows. As Glenda attempts to salvage the campaign in a hotly contested race, conservative and liberal pundits pounce on the story to further their own agendas.

Glenda’s love life is nonexistent to say the least, that is, until she meets handsome artist Chris Goodrich. Chris’s easy-going, carefree outlook on life couldn’t be more different than the 90-mph crazy train that is Glenda’s, but the more time she spends with him, the more she craves his calming presence, his sexy smile, and his steamy embraces. Is Chris worth taking a chance on?

Between the pressure of full-blown spin control mode, rapidly declining job security, refereeing two teenagers, caring for aging parents, and spending hours on her therapist’s couch trying to get past her ex’s crushing betrayal, Glenda finds love and makes the long trek back to happy.

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Holly BushAuthor Info

Holly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England and recently released her first Contemporary Romance. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.

 

Author Links

http://www.hollybushbooks.com/

https://twitter.com/hollybushbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3378392.Holly_Bush

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holly-Bush/247399131941435?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

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(Review) Truly by Ruthie Knox

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Truly

New York Series #1

By: Ruthie Knox

Releasing August 5th, 2014

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This promo and review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours. Scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and read a highly readable excerpt of a “truly” empowering contemporary romance.

RITA finalist and New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off a steamy new series set in the city that never sleeps—alone, at least.

Cover

My Review

May is a Midwestern-girl, taught to behave, be nice and avoid all things that are not for “people like us”. Being quite tall (and feeling enormous) she considers herself more than lucky to be singled out by Dan, an easy-going, uncomplicated NFL quarterback, and she centers her life around him, even moving to New York, a frightening city hardly for “people like us”. But then he goes and does something unexpected, saying all things expected—wrongly—and May lashes out. In a gone-viral way. And then she’s on her own; broke, lost and, most importantly, not knowing who she is and what she wants.

Ben is on the mend. His hot-headedness made him lose everything on both a personal and a professional level, and now he’s got to find a way to stand on his own two feet. Maybe chatting up the tall blond girl with the deer-caught-in-headlights eyes, and appearing civil is just what he needs. Offering her his couch to spend the night and then become her tour guide in an effort to make her see the city he loves through his own eyes is way more than he bargained for. But he does it. And he loves it. It … not her, surely. Because if these two are to be together, they must not only step outside their comfort zone; they must make a record-breaking leap and re-invent themselves while at it. Can love be their launching pad?

Ruthie Knox is my queen. She’ll say she looks nothing like a queen just like the characters she creates are anything but royalty. Normal, everyday men and women, far from stunning and perfect. Ruthie is one of the Wonkomance ladies. All of their characters are faulty either internally or externally. (One of my favorite Ruthie characters is Sean from Flirting with Disaster, who stutters so much he won’t even pronounce Katie’s name.)

But writing-wise she’s the Queen of romance. I haven’t read anyone who’s delved deeper than her in her characters’ psyche. She’s capable of unpicking their long-ingrained threads of beliefs, prejudices, stereotypes thoroughly, slowly, expertly until they emerge cleansed and shed in a whole new glorious light.

All of her books are life lessons, and Truly is one of the most important. Mild-mannered, good-natured May with the faulty self-image is a character that will resonate with most readers. Instilling her love to self-doubting, perennially angry Ben is beyond sweet. Standing up to her life choices is beyond empowering. Ben is a chef, and him feeding May real, messy, calory-clogged food just to see her moan must be one of the most arousing, non-bedroom scenes I’ve ever read. Tasting New York as May experiences it beats seeing it through Carry Bradshaw’s eyes with a solid broomstick—dressed in a tutu (okay, that was an over-the-top Sex and the City analogy, but you get my point).

Have you guessed how much I loved this book? I laughed, cried and everything in between. Ruthie’s writing is a study on how not to write a single romance cliché. Heartwarming, funny, steamy hot, heart-clenching at times, and so gloriously real, this is a must MUST read.

Official Blurb

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?

Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21521738-truly-the-new-york-series

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Ruthie KnoxAuthor Info

New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-based romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award.

Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie also writes New Adult romance as Robin York. She moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website and drop her a line.

 

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TRULY

EXCERPT

(from Chapter One)

The bartender had begun cleaning the counter with a damp rag. He shuffled closer to her, sweep by sweep, and cleared his throat.

Nervous, May lifted her beer and drained it, realizing only with the last warm swallow what she’d done.

“Can I get you another round?” he asked.

This was it, then. Time to go.

But the line was behind her, drawn across the floor, invisible but there, and she didn’t want to leave.

She had to choose. Dan’s apartment or this bar. Before or After.

“Maybe,” she said. “Do you have a wine list?”

“I think we’ve got one somewhere in the back.” His disapproving tone made it clear that no one ever asked for a wine list here. Which, yes—she might not know Manhattan, but she knew bars—this was not the sort of place where you asked for a wine list.

“Can you look for me?”

“Sure.” He put his rag down and walked toward a door marked private. She saw him roll his eyes as he passed the guy.

The guy didn’t look up. He wasn’t interested in the bartender any more than he was interested in her. But his companion wasn’t here yet, and maybe wasn’t coming. He could talk to her for a few minutes, buy her a drink. It wouldn’t kill him.

May hopped off her stool, sucked in her stomach, and approached. “What are you reading?” she asked.

The guy canted the book so she could see the cover, but his hand covered most of the title. All she could read was the word Dying.

“Any good?”

He didn’t look at her. He was a bent, dark head, an ear, a declaratory elbow. When she heard a low voice, it took her a second to understand that it belonged to him. “They’ve got their mother’s corpse in a coffin in the back of this wagon, and they’re taking her into town to bury her. The youngest kid thinks the dead mother is a fish, but he also thinks she can’t breathe, so he bores holes into the coffin and right into her face.”

The bridge of her nose wrinkled. A totally involuntary response.

“One of the two older sons is going insane,” he added. “The other one’s broken leg is starting to rot, and the sister’s knocked up.”

A few beats passed. She tried to think of some kind of segue into normal conversation. The best she could do was “Yeah, but is it any good?”

“It’s super.” He injected the maximum amount of sarcasm into the word.

Sarcasm didn’t scare her. Her sister, Allie, had spent her freshman and sophomore years of high school dripping it all over everyone.

“I’m May.” She extended her hand.

He looked away from the book then, though not at her face. At her hand first. Then down at her shoes, which made him frown. She allowed him some leeway there, because she was wearing dark green leather flats with bows on the toes, and she didn’t like them much, either.

When he lifted his gaze, it got stuck on her breasts for an uncomfortable period of twelve to fifteen years. “Ben,” he told them.

This offense was harder to forgive. Men had been addressing her breasts since she was thirteen. Her breasts had yet to respond to this treatment.

I’m up here.

She didn’t say it aloud, but his head lifted, and he finally looked right at her.

He had sort of sleepy eyelids that went with his broad-planed face, his full mouth—a face that made her think of bear-taming and those male dancers in the tall black boots and flouncy white shirts who crossed their arms and stuck their legs out.

Slavic, that was it.

His eyes were brown, lighter than they should have been in the middle and rimmed with black. Weird eyes.

Weirder still, he didn’t seem embarrassed to have been caught boob-ogling, and he didn’t take her hand. She had to retrieve it from the air in between them and find a place to stow it along the seam of her pants.

“What’s with the jersey?” he asked.

“Hmm?”

“Season doesn’t start until next week.”

Oh. The stupid jersey. Not her breasts.

“Believe me, I know.”

“Plus, Einarsson is a douche.”

Right. That.

Even back home, she sometimes got flack about continuing to wear the old jersey of a quarterback who’d abandoned the Packers for the Jets, only to lead his new team to a Super Bowl victory against the old one. She might as well be sporting a pin that read, I support Benedict Arnold!

Still, douche seemed a little harsh.

Ben sat up straighter, his eyes refocusing on something over her right shoulder. He slid off his bar stool and raised a hand. May turned just as another man came off the last basement step and into the bar. A blond, good-looking man who actually knew how to smile.

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The Mariner’s Gift by Kaylie Newell (Tasty Book Blast)

Brought to you by Tasty Book Tours, Kaylie Newell’s, the Mariner’s Gift, is a summer read guaranteed to please. Zola seems confident and composed on the outside, but seeing her high school crush, Oliver, still gorgeous and sought after, brings all her teen insecurities to the surface. Yet a single kiss blasts sparks brighter than the fireworks lighting up the night sky…

If I’ve sparked your interest, read on to sample the book through an excerpt and…

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Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you least expect.

When LA Times journalist Zola Mitchell decides to head home to San Francisco in December, it’s to write a piece on the legendary Alcatraz prison. It has nothing to do with her high school crush Oliver Tworek, who’s recently moved back to start up a tour boat business to The Rock. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But when Oliver asks her to dinner, Zola can’t refuse. And when he kisses her under a display of Christmas fireworks from aboard his boat, she can barely remember her own name.

After twenty years, nothing seems to have changed. Oliver’s still popular and gorgeous, and Zola’s still…well, Zola. Behind the successful job, and underneath her shiny, new grown-up exterior, Zola still feels like the skinny girl from junior year English class. Will she ever be able to conquer those insecurities? And more importantly, will she ever get to know the real Oliver—the one who might just have a few secrets of his own?

 

Excerpt

“Zo?”

She smiled, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks. She hadn’t told him she was coming and hoped he wouldn’t be irritated. The thought of surprising him had seemed romantic and fun earlier. Now, with him actually standing there, wearing nothing but a pair of loose-fitting jeans and a sexy white t-shirt that left little to the imagination, she wondered if she should have given him some notice.

“Oliver! Hey.” She took his hand and let him help her over the side of the boat. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything. I know you’re working.”

His skin felt delicious on hers. He held on just a second longer than he needed to before stepping back to take her in.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You know I wanted to see you.”

He looked fantastic. And very much in shape. The old Coast Guard t-shirt fit just right across his chest, and was snug enough that his nipples, hard from the cold night air, could be seen under the fabric.

Zola caught herself looking and shoved the cookies at him, flustered. “Hope you like chocolate chip. They’re kind of a Mitchell tradition.”

“Thank you.”

A string of white lights hung behind him in the window, illuminating him like some kind of angel. But unlike any angel she’d ever imagined before. This angel made her want to discard her undergarments in the bay and tackle him headfirst.

Touching her elbow, he guided her toward the cabin. “You must be cold.”

“I really shouldn’t stay. I just wanted to say hello.”

He grinned. “I think you can probably come inside for five minutes, can’t you? I won’t bite.”

Really? At this point all she could think about was when he’d end up biting and where that might be.

She took the first step down, careful not to twist her ankle in the heels. They were too much for a casual visit, but who was she kidding anyway? She could feel him behind her and something about stepping into the cabin of the boat, which was so secluded and sexy, made her ovaries twitch. She had to bend slightly so as not to bump her head through the doorframe, then straightened to look around.

The small area was bathed in warm, yellow light from a miniature lamp in the corner. A table top tree under one of the circular windows smelled of pine and boasted shining glass balls of green, red, and blue. Dark, cherry wood cabinets rose from floor to ceiling on either side of her. There was a small bed and a tiny kitchen area, and next to that a workspace where a pile of papers was spread out. The boat was beautiful. It rocked seductively on the water, and even that didn’t bother Zola, thanks to the magic of Dramamine.

Something else was working its magic on her too. Maybe it was the temperature inside the cabin, warm and cozy enough that she felt the need to start unbuttoning her jacket. Or maybe it was the way Oliver stood leaning against the doorway looking at her. Like he wanted to be the one to work the buttons loose. His short, blond hair was messy and soft looking. His eyes not holding much back.

Zola laid her jacket on the bunk, trying her best to look composed and confident. When in reality, big, clumsy butterflies were bumping around in her belly. The air between them was charged. She knew he wanted more than just the kiss they’d shared the last time they saw each other. And she did too.

 

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Kaylie Newell lives at the base of the mountains in Southern Oregon with her husband, two little girls, two cats, and a mutt named Pedro who goes everywhere with her. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually watching a Channing Tatum movie or eating frozen waffles, or both.
 
 
 
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Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins (Review)

Blurb

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.

My Review

When doctorate student and bride-to-be, Elle Dupree, comes home one Monday evening, the last thing she expects is to kill a vampire. She had good reason though: he sucked her fiancé dry.

The next thing Elle knows is that she’s on the fast track to become a vampire slayer. She joins a team of vampire hunters employed by her fiance’s boss who has his own dark agenda. But Elle is more worried about her ex’s agenda as it turns out he’s not entirely dead, and he drags her into a nocturnal, sickeningly alluring world of unnatural beauty and nauseating vices that can seriously mess with a human’s head … and blood pressure.

Margo Bond Collins does a great job in this action-packed urban fantasy. Her writing is lean, and nothing feels out of place. The upbeat tempo is kept throughout the book, and that helped me stomach the gory scenes because a couple of time they toyed with my limits.

In fact, that’s the element that surprised me and not in an all positive manner. The title and official blurb had prepared me for a vampiric read on the lighter side, but this one was gruesome at times. Elle turns into such a vampire hater, she even resorts to sadism. To be honest, I’m not so sure I sympathized with her aims. After all, the vampires really did not do anything they weren’t asked to do, and then she goes after them guns blazing so, naturally, they react the only way the can to defend their, well, existence. I do admit, though, that this could be subjective. Ahh, vampires: old loves die hard… (literally).

But apart from sort of rooting for the vamps instead of the heroine, I must say I enjoyed this read—especially the clever writing.

Make sure you enter the giveaway for goodies!

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About the Author

 

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

 

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Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net

Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18366353-legally-undead

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Checked by Jennifer Jamelli

We all call our little fixations a case of OCD, but actually living with it? Well, Callie does, performing about a million different rituals just to be able to function and get by. Get to know Callie and her quirks in Checked, a comedic NA romance brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours. This is a juicy post with a book excerpt plus sample blog posts by Jennifer Jamelli, the writer, who has received treatment for OCD herself. A very unique suggestion!

Book & Author Details:

Checked by Jennifer Jamelli
(Checked #1)
Publication date: December 17th 2013
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
Checked is the first book in a new trilogy.

Callie spends countless hours staring at appliances to make sure they are really unplugged. She wastes obscene amounts of time checking for murderers in various corners of her house and entire sleepless nights performing pointless checking rituals. Then every spare minute is filled with inspecting doorknobs, chairs, floors, etc. for minuscule traces of germs. Oh, and she does all of this as she counts to three over and over again in her head. She does this every day. Without fail. Dr. Blake just doesn’t fit into her schedule. Until he does. Until Callie begins to trust him. Until she starts to need him. And want him. And . . .

Excerpt

Calista. That quiet voice pulls me around yet again.

I freeze. He’s looking at me. Sorrowful eyes…heavy…inconsolable. A tragedy in blue.

I can’t look away. I begin to feel a dull ache in my left side. {Damien Rice fills my head with “The Blower’s Daughter.”}

His eyes hold mine. They are relentless. The sharpening pain in my side weighs me down, cementing my shoes to their place on the floor. My lips part slightly as my body tries to remember to breathe.

In slow motion almost, he releases me, closing his eyes and clenching them shut. The blue eyes that open back up to me are hard, stony.

He swiftly spins his chair to grab the box of tissues on his bookshelf. Without meeting my eyes, he turns back around and holds the box out to me.

To help you out of here, he says in an almost inaudible voice. What?

Th-thank you, I stammer. I clutch my purse and take six slow steps toward his desk. Three steps at a time. One two three. One two three.

He stares past me, blankly looking at the door. I pull three white tissues from the box he’s holding and turn back to his point of focus. When I get to the silver doorknob, I quickly cover it with the three tissues spread out in my left hand.

And I’m out.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20261875-checked?ac=1

Purchase:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

AUTHOR BIO
Jennifer Jamelli has spent most of her life reading and writing; she holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English, and she is an 8th grade English teacher.

She also directs a musical production each school year. Her most recent show was Beauty and the Beast.

Jennifer lives with her husband and her four-year-old son.

She, like the main character in her debut novel, has a rather hopeless case of OCD.

Author links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7692031.Jennifer_Jamelli
https://www.facebook.com/jamellijennifer
http://jenniferjamelli.com/
https://twitter.com/JenniferJamelli

Jennifer Jamelli Blog Posts

Blog #1

I would like to take a moment to reflect upon the power of the following:  Zoloft, various cleaning products, and a mother’s love for a child.

Last night, my son threw up everywhere – on me, all over the couch, all over a blanket, on the hallway/living room carpet, on a bathroom mat, etc.  The items listed above are what carried me through this.

To be more specific, here is what got me through this predicament:

  • ½ of a bottle of carpet/fabric cleaner
  • ¾ of a can of Lysol wipes
  • 1 ½ bottles of Febreze
  • 1 bottle of carpet refresher
  • 1 package of baby wipes
  • 2 showers for me
  • 2 showers for my son
  • Several cups of laundry detergent
  • Lots of shower gel/bath soap
  • 1 regular daily dose of Zoloft
  • Most importantly, 1 happy, healthy smile on my son’s face this morning as he told me that he was feeling better

Now, there have been some casualties.

1.) The white blanket I normally have on the couch – it was my favorite … but it had to go.

2.) Two bath poufs

The fate of a bath mat, a stuffed animal, and a few pairs of clothes has not yet been determined.

Blog #2

All right . . . now that Checked has been out for a bit and more and more people are reading it (thank you!), I am getting more and more questions.

Do you do exactly what Callie does?  How much of this is true?

Are you having some sort of relationship with one of your doctors (seriously – heard that one!!)?  No!!

Okay . . . the book is a piece of fiction.  Callie’s life experiences and relationships are not mine.  I’m not Callie.

I’m not Callie, but . . .

I do spend a lot of time doing routines (much less since I’ve been treated, though).

I do check air vents and alarm clocks and door locks and stoves and curling irons and water faucets and, well, a lot of things.

I do like things to be clean.

I do count in my head.

I often take a few baths a day.

I am afraid of some cleaning products.

I do have music constantly running in my head.

I do throw things out if I find them dirty.

I did study English in college and in grad school (and I did spend hours and hours in college reading novels and writing papers).

I do fall asleep with the television on every night (but I have ESPN on – not a cooking channel).

I do at times check for murderers before I go to bed.

I do have a really supportive family  (We don’t have Girls’ Night, though.  Perhaps we should!).

I do hate blood . . . and needles (HATE them.  I pass out during blood tests – they have to put me in a special chair in a special room with special cartoon decorations that must be intended for two-year-olds!).

Okay . . . so Callie and I have a lot in common.  Same quirks.  Similar fears.  Alike minds.

Different lives, though!  Seriously!

Blog #3

Well, it’s Wednesday night, and I’m just about ready to go to sleep.  I just went through my house a few times, worked my way through my evening rituals . . . holding my fingers under every faucet to ensure that no water was running, inspecting every air vent for any blockages, putting my hand in the oven and on the stove to make sure they weren’t on (and if you are asking yourself whether I even used the oven or stove today, the answer is no) . . . and the list goes on.  And on.  And on.  And that’s only my night routine.  Not the one I do in the morning.  Not the one I do every time I leave the house.

But we aren’t here to talk about me or my routines; we’re supposed to be talking about Callie, the main character in Checked.  And Callie is in much, MUCH worse shape than I am in right now (I’ve been under treatment for OCD for about seven years – Callie is just starting).

Callie’s routines are very structured, very complicated, and VERY long.  She vacuums, dusts, straightens, and organizes.  She checks appliances, faucets, locks – everything in her house – over and over.   Every task she does, she has to do in a specific order.  If she messes up or is interrupted, she has to start all over again.

Her life is exhausting.  And frustrating.  And overwhelming.

What makes all of this even worse?  Callie knows that what she is doing is ridiculous.  She’s also embarrassed by it.  But she can’t help it.  She has to keep doing each task, going through with each routine.  Otherwise she won’t be able to sleep, or eat, or work, or do anything at all – she’ll just drown in worries that something horrible will happen because of her negligence.

There’s much more to say about this – about Callie and her condition – but I’ll save that for future blog entries.  I also will soon tell you a little more about her obsession with Dr. Blake . . .

For now, though, I’m going to sleep.  I’m going to post this tomorrow, because I’m already in bed . . . and if I get up now to get my laptop (I’m writing in a notebook), I’ll have to start my night routine again . . .