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 The lead danseur is instantly smitten by the composed, withdrawn dark beauty.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:
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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:

 

 

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

Red-White-and-Screwed-Holly-Bush

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!

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Cover

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.

Buy Links

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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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Vibrant and heartwarming: Adam’s List by Jennifer Ann

Adam’s List by Jennifer Ann is a noteworthy New Adult contemporary romance. The review opportunity was offered to me by Xpresso Book Tours.

Jewels made a drunken mistake in her late teens, and when tragedy struck, she let guilt eat her alive. The vicious depression cycle she rode took her from days on end curled up in bed when she was “down” to crazy frat partying when she was “up”. And then she met Adam.

Sweet, handsome, supporting Adam with the infectuous laugh snuck right into Jewels’ heart and set camp for life. But when she disentangles herself from her messy life to attach to him, he drops the bomb. Two bombs actually: he has a deep, dark secret, and he’s not looking for love; only a friend to follow him to the trip he promised his dying friend.

Can Jewels evict Adam from her heart? Can he resist the funny, cheeky, gorgeous girl who helps him tick items off his list? And when his life-altering secret comes out, will their love survive? Will they, for that matter?

Both Jewels and Adam have way too much on their plate plus overbearing parents. Their getaway is a much needed escape from their lives. But it’s not without disastrous consequences that made me wonder if this book has a HEA. The young couple’s chemistry is off the charts, and their intimate scenes are hot but also so so sweet. In fact sex scenes were not needed to raise the heat level. The kissing moments are so expertly written and with such thoroughness and emotion they could easily suffice.

Adam’s List is as New Adult as they come. Vibrant, fresh, sexy, angsty, heartwarming, it’s got all the ingredients in the right dosage. The drama that’s gradually revealed also helps to raise awareness on an issue I won’t disclose because it would be a major spoiler, and that’s another plus point for Jennifer Ann. I enjoyed the writing. Partly effervescent, partly dark, it kept a rhythm that drew me in. This happened to be the second in a row book that I read where the couple tours New York (the previous book was Truly by Ruthie Knox which I reviewed here) and now I have such a huge appetite to visit a city that apparently is so full of life, it manages to istill its vibrancy into you. Yeah, that’s something I deparately need.

Thumbs up for Jennifer’s Ann, Adam’s List. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Purchase Links

Amazon

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Learn more about Jennifer Ann and connect with her here.

(Review) Truly by Ruthie Knox

Truly-Ruthie-Knox

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.

 

Author Links

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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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Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Paranormal romance) – Review

Black Rook, Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1

By Kelly Meade

Available July 15th from Intermix

ISBN 9780698165441

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Penguin | BAM

GoodReads

My Review

Brynn plucks up courage she doesn’t have to enter a loup garou town. The charmed pendant hanging around her neck helps as it covers her Magus smell. Because if the man she intends to stop from killing her father takes a whiff of her true scent, then she’s dead meat!

But killing a handsome loup on his turf to show to her demeaning father that she’s worthy to be called his daughter and save his life, proves to be a lot more difficult than she thought. Especially when she finds out first-hand that the loup are hardly animals, as she was brought up to believe, and definitely not the villains in an impending war that could lead to their extermination.

Rook is the third son of the run’s alpha, but as a black wolf he’s entitled to take his father’s place instead of his older brother who’s been training his entire life for leadership. Falling for a Magus and mating her will instantly banish any plans to become the leader. Does she mean that much to him and, most importantly, can he trust his enemy when his world is falling apart?

Although I’ve been on a paranormal hiatus lately, and I’m not a big werewolf fan, I enjoyed this book. Not much emphasis is laid on the actual shifting and animal form of the loup, but Kelly Meade manages to seep their human form with all the loup traits that give them their distinct behavior—from natural aggressiveness, distrust, loyalty and team-spirit to the acute sense of smell and the mouth-watering physique you’d expect of a loup garou.

Their physical differences from the Magi, the ancient, tall, slim and pale creatures, led to inevitable racism that turned to hatred when the loup numbers kept increasing. Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, the element of eugenics with a military intent, creating deadly killing machines, is part of the story and that in itself held great interest. Let’s just say that vampires are thought upon as pawns, but they develop their own lethal agenda.

Initially, the story was quite slow building as a number of characters with backstories had to be introduced, but the impending clash with the conflicts, twists and culminating drama towards the end compensates. There were parts especially where the vampires were involved that had me devouring the pages! Another aspect that’s worth mentioning is that the romance takes the back seat here. It’s slow and tentative with an explosive climax (pun intended) but it’s not the main driver in this multi-faceted story.

Clashing races, preternatural skills, power struggles, an intricate plot and a love that grows strong are the elements of this promising new series.

For a hearty excerpt, read the book’s first chapter as presented in my excerpts’ blog here.

Author Bio

Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the DeadAnother Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.

Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.

LINKS

Website: http://www.kellymeding.com

Blog: http://chaostitan.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KellyMeding

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelly-Meding/84164375745

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

Tumblr: http://kellymeade.tumblr.com

 

 

 

Mad Water by Nicholas C. Rossis (Epic Fantasy) Review

Yesterday’s crime. Tomorrow’s retribution.

My Review

The dictator might be gone, but the aura of Pearseus, if anything, darkens. Cyrus, the new ruler of the Capital, might have a purer heart, but his mind is equally addled. Gella teams up with Theo to fight Jonia, but their outlook couldn’t have been more different. Lehmor wants nothing more than to reunite with Moirah, but his trek takes him to a different realm where he uncovers a threat like no other. And when he spreads the word, instead of unity, deeper rifts are created.

In a planet rife with passion, ambition, envy and love, everyone has an agenda, feeling quite smug for pushing it forward. If they all knew what lurked in the shadows, they might be able to see the strings attached to all their limbs.

This is an ambitious series. As I noted in my review of the previous book, Rise of the Prince, it is not just about survival on a foreign planet and co-existing with other races. It’s a study in human nature with philosophical undertones—a thought-provoking tale. But that is not at the cost of the book’s readability. The action here picks up as strong personalities clash and devious plans are put into effect. Heroes of the past turn villains, distrust grows and not just of perceived hidden agendas but of the way their entire world is perceived.

What I particularly enjoyed in this book is that Nicholas C. Rossis assumes a take-no-prisoners approach in the language he uses. It’s as if the protagonists are finally taking position center stage for a bare-knuckled fight, and the reader can see every muscle twitch while they stare each other down. But what’s super exciting is that we know that the referees of these matches are not only invisible, but they’ve bet heavily on the fights they’re officiating.

Who will win? Even though foreign worlds with a multitude of characters are not my usual read, I can’t wait for the final installment of this exciting and stimulating series!

Make sure you head over to my excerpts’ blog to read a fantastic excerpt of Mad Water. Click here.

What people say about Pearseus:

“He simply tells a story of corruption, people struggling as pioneers seeking to do with what they have… The measure of this book is that the triumph is not a textbook description, but a sense of a living struggle.”

“A cross between Game of Thrones and Dune”

“Astonishing, intriguing, thoughtful”

“It will be hard to put this book down long enough to eat and sleep, never mind doing responsible things like going to work and taking care of the kids”

“[It] hits on those big archetypal themes of invasion, loss, leadership, death… and high tech. It gives the reader plenty of material for discussion.”

“Warning: May cause loss of sleep, lowered work productivity, and missed meals”

Nicholas C. Rossis bio:

Author. Avid reader. Web developer. Architect by training, holder of a PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh.

Nicholas loves to write. Mad Water, the third book in his epic fantasy series, Pearseus, was just published, while his first children’s book, Runaway Smile, is currently being illustrated. He has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories.

He lives in Athens, Greece, in the middle of a forest, with his wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is always sitting on his lap, so please excuse any typos in his blog posts: typing with one hand can be hard…

Book links:

• Pearseus: Schism, Book 1 in his epic fantasy series is available on http://amzn.to/1aDgXDA
• Pearseus: Rise of the Prince, Book 2 in his epic fantasy series is available on http://amzn.to/1jlXLj6
• Pearseus: Mad Water, Book 3 in his epic fantasy series is available on http://amzn.to/1wbajhP
• You can also read Books 1 & 2 (special edition) on http://amzn.to/RqjNbU and
• The Power of Six: 6+1 Science Fiction Short Stories can be found on http://amzn.to/1kKVduI
• Also available: Tao Te Ching (translated into Greek) on http://amzn.to/1ovrc4n

Web presence:

https://twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
http://www.nicholasrossis.me
https://www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis
https://plus.google.com/+NicholasRossis
https://www.goodreads.com/nicholasrossis

The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb by Effrosyni Moschoudi (ABNA Q-Finalist)


LOVE WILL GO ON FOREVER, SEEKING A SECOND CHANCE.

 

BRIGHTON, 1937
Laura Mayfield leaves London with her mother Ruth in order to pursue a new life in Brighton. She finds employment at the West
Pier Pavilion and soon falls in love with Christian Searle, one of the stagehands at the theatre. Laura aspires to a life of riches but this annoys and frightens the proud and insecure Christian, causing rows between them. When she is offered the chance to perform at the theatre, her love for Christian is put to the ultimate test. Charles Willard, a wealthy and arrogant aristocrat becomes fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly, causing Christian to become enraged. Will Laura’s desire for wealth throw her in the arms of Charles or will her feelings for Christian prevail?

 

CORFU, 1987
Sofia Aspioti, a Greek student from Athens, arrives in Corfu for her annual summer holidays at her grandparents’ house, relieved to escape her overprotective parents’ care for a while. She takes on a job at the local water sports pier and when Danny Markson, a larger-than-life British tourist flirts with her, she is initially worried that his advances will cause her trouble with her strict family. Yet, by the time she realises that she’s desperately in love, she finds she no longer cares. When Danny returns home to a village near Brighton, Sofia becomes haunted by a series of dreams about the West Pier and a woman dressed in black. As if cast by a spell, she takes to writing poems about a love that won’t let go. Who is the grieving woman in her dreams and how is her sorrow related to her own feelings for Danny?

My Review

After reading the enchanting fantasy tale of The Necklace of Goddess Athena, I marked this author as one whose books I won’t miss. The fact that this second attempt of Effrosyni Moschoudi cleared the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is a further testament to the writer’s talent.

Emancipated Laura finds love and her star shines brightly in Brighton in the ‘30s. Insecure Sophia finds love and a modicum of independence from her overbearing parents in Corfu in the ‘80s. Different places, different eras. But what binds the two girls in a common fate? And who is the lady of the pier?

As with Effrosyni’s previous book, I found myself immersed and mesmerized. The writer has an undisputed talent for creating vivid imagery through her amazing descriptive skills that managed to stay with me long after I’d put the book down. No, this was not one of the books that I speedread, needing to devour the story. Here, I needed to savor. I found myself rereading parts just to refuel a scene’s energy to keep it running in my mind longer, and I got withdrawal symptoms when I finally ended it.

It’s not just the two enticing stories, the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, the authenticity of the characters or the heart-warming dialogue; it’s what reigns over these. An inner glow, an inherent purity that emanates from the pages to create a sense of completeness, like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.

I’m so glad I’ll get to live the dream again in the book’s sequel, The Lady of the Pier—The Flow!

Highly recommended!

For an exciting excerpt of The Lady of the Pier, head over to my complementary excerpts’ blog by clicking here.

What other readers said about the book:
(Excerpts from posted reviews on Amazon.com)
 
“A passionate pearl”
 
“Addictively mesmerizing”
 
“I defy you to put this book down after the first chapter”
 
“I got withdrawal symptoms when I ended it”
 
“The writer has an undisputed talent for creating vivid imagery”
 
“A fantastic read. This author has the ability to draw you into the story”
 
“If you enjoy romance, take heed: The Ebb makes a perfect summer read!”
 
“A heartfelt story drawing you in and not letting (you) go until the last page. Fantastic!”
 
“The book has the same charm and nostalgic character as the Necklace of Goddess Athena, despite the genre difference. The author’s amazing descriptive talents shine throughout the book”
 
“It’s not just the two enticing stories, the breathtaking beauty of the landscape,
the authenticity of the characters or the heart-warming dialogue; it’s what reigns over these. An inner glow, an inherent purity that emanates from the pages to create a sense of completeness, like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.”

 

Purchase Links for The Lady of the Pier-The Ebb

 

BIO

frosso pic1 (1)Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She has a BSc in Computer Science and has worked for large companies for twenty years, mainly in the hotel and airline business. She’s been writing since childhood and lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. She’s passionate about books and movies and dedicates sufficient time on her weekends to enjoy a bit of both.

Effrosyni’s debut novel, “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, is a fantasy adventure of Greek myths and time travel that’s suitable for all ages. It’s been described as a “Rare Gem” by the Fantasy & Sci-fi Network and has reached Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales. The novel also made the shortlist in 2014 for the “50 Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading” from Indie Author Land.
Effrosyni’s second novel, “The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb”, follows the lives and loves of two young girls who’ve never met but are connected in a mysterious way. The novel is an ABNA quarter-finalist. It’s the first part of a paranormal romance that’s set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. Effrosyni is currently penning the second part of the series (“The Flow”), which she plans to publish in 2015.

To write “The Lady of the Pier-The Ebb”, the author drew heavily on her experiences as a youngster, holidaying in her grandparents’ house during the summer months in the Corfiot village of Moraitika. To see pictures of the locales that inspired the story, visit this link to Effrosyni’s Blog: http://dld.bz/dmHQp
In Goodreads.com, you will find downloadable free excerpts from both published novels by this author.

On her blog, Effrosyni presents the works of fellow indie authors with spotlights, interviews, and book reviews. She also posts her own content of various subjects, such as travel articles, inspiring personal accounts, tips for authors, and even some Greek recipes.

Connect with Effrosyni

Purchase Links for The Necklace of Goddess Athena

 

Strong voice, rich emotion: Struggles of the Women Folk by T.M. Brown (review)

Genres: African American fiction, historical fiction, women’s issues.
Themes: family dynamics, romance, perseverance

My Review:

This is the coming-of-age story of Georgie, a black woman growing up in rural Virginia in the 1940s. Striving to be good, all she wants is a peaceful life, but all she gets is pain. This becomes a suffocating pattern that she cannot seem to extricate herself from, and when she loses the one good thing in her life, again through deceit, she has no reason to live. But instead of letting go, she uses prayer as a balm to soothe her pain, and soon hope flourishes.

In a society rife with prejudice, stereotypes and an unabashed display of racism, black women are continuously victimized; not least from their peers. That was an element of interest in this book. And as the title suggest, this story depicts the struggle of all women folk; not only black women. I’m Greek, and around the time Georgie was growing up, my grandmother was giving birth in the fields, child after child, knowing that not all children will survive, a fact that gave birth to “Death shall claim his share”. The cynicism with which their harsh reality armed those women was carried over to their own children—not their cherished sons but their daughters. Maybe it was a way to reinforce them, make them stronger to face their own struggles, but in reality what was reinforced was their lack of conviction in their self-worth, their eternal victimization.

With a voice strong in its simplicity, T. M. Brown lays out a tale of deceit, betrayal and dark secrets and a young girl’s struggle to navigate in life through them. Although this is historical fiction, the message defies time and is still very relevant: perseverance and never losing hope.

Even though it’s overwhelmingly harrowing at times, this is a must read.

Get it now on:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

BARNES AND NOBLE

Excerpt

“Morning country bumpkins,” she said, same as usual.

“I don’t know why you have to be so rude to us every morning! What makes you think you so much better than us? How come we always gotta wait for you every morning? We workin in the same shop, doing the same stuff. Why you think you so much better than us?” I said as Miss Hazel and Sharon looked at me wide eyed.

“Look at you! Need I say more?” Regina smirked.

“No, you don’t need to say more, but I sure can. Like how you and Mr. Anderson been breaking dem springs on dat bed upstairs almost every night. Iz dat why you think you better than us? Cuz you up dere spreading your legs for dat white man?”

“Shut up!”

“No, you shut up! I don’t want to hear nothing else outta you! Not one more mornin! You just common! Messing round with somebody else’s husband foe a few nice dresses. I know your kind.” I didn’t know why I was so mad at her, but I just wanted to snap her head off.

“Shut up! That’s a lie.”

“No it ain’t. I hears yawl almost ever night.”

“You just sayin that cuz you jealous.”

“Jealous! Jealous of what? You ain’t got nothing I want! You mean, and ya nasty and common on top of it!”

“Just say one more word and I’ll . . .”

“You’ll what? Girrl, you really don’t want no parts of me. You take one more step and that’ll be your last! I’m sick of you!” Before I knew it, I was within arm’s reach of Regina. I had every intention of beating her down to the floor.

“Okay girls, that’s enough,” Miss Hazel interrupted. “Regina and Sharon, why don’t you go back up to your rooms for a minute.”

What? Why we gotta go? She’s the one causing problems,” Regina said as she began to make her way up the stairs. I guess she could see from the look on Miss Hazel’s face that she better not push it.

“I’m sorry, Miss Hazel,” I said after they left. “I’m just tired of her picking on me and Sharon all the time. Plus I miss my momma, and . . . and I don’t feel good.”

“I know it must be hard being so far away with no family around, child.” No one had called me child since I left my momma in Virginia. I missed her so much. I missed Donnie so much. I felt so lonely.

“You know, everybody has a story. Things aren’t always as they seem,” Miss Hazel said. “Regina has a story to tell as well. That don’t make it right for her to act the way she been acting, but she’s had her troubles too.

About The Author

Internationally recognized story-teller with a past that provides lots of material to write from!

*1st book, “A Life Not My Own”, kicks down the secret door that Tina had worked so hard to lock away her insecurities, heartache and fears.

*5 STAR rated Just Between Us – Inspiring Stories by Women. TM’s short story is a continuation of “A Life Not My Own”, providing just a tad more about her life as a young adult (not captured in my first book). Expect the unexpected…

*”Struggles of the Women Folk”, is based on fictional characters with a storyline created from stories that her grandmother shared with her as a child.

*Military service: 7 years – Enlisted

*Formal Education

*Master of Science Degree in System Engineering – Regis University – Denver, Colorado

*Undergraduate Degree in Psychology – University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Visit http://author-tmbrown.com/ and tm.brown35@yahoo.com

Get it now on:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

BARNES AND NOBLE

 

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Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.

 

Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter by Elle Boca (Review)

Title: Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter (Weeia)
Author: Elle Boca
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy Link: Amazon

Review

Amy is Weeia. As in belonging to a superhuman race with special abilities. Her upbringing by her single mother has been secluded and full of fear of discovery. She might not know exactly what her abilities are, but one thing she’s fully aware of is the need to remain inconspicuous and keep a low profile. But this doesn’t keep her mysterious, fear-inducing father from tracking her down, or Duncan, her supposed polar opposite, who nevertheless doesn’t repel her at all, to pop right in front of her. They both claim to put her safety before all else. But when she has to deal with an attempt against her life, Amy finds herself more alone than ever. It’s high time she explored those dreamshifting abilities and found out why that old psychic called her Unelmoija, seemingly in awe.

What I particularly appreciated in this book was the very fact I found myself having trouble dealing with in the beginning. The writing. At first, I felt the writing was procedural (or expository if you prefer those terms) but soon I realized that the more Amy grew into her own skin and saw more of the world than her own shadow, the language became richer, more layered, more descriptive; it evolved right along with its main character. I found that ingenious. The story is well-paced, the friendship between Amy and Duncan sweet, but my favorite aspect was the reluctant relationship between Amy and her father whose role in the story is still somewhat of a puzzle.

I loved hopping around Miami through the eyes of Elle Boca. What I felt more vividly than the images were the tantalizing smells. In fact this book should come with a warning: do not read if you’re to go on a diet. Boy, do those people eat…

A fumbling teen who taps into uncharted strengths for survival, her broken family tensions, a superb race’s intricate politics, escalating suspense and lots of southeast Florida. All in all, Dreamshifter is an excellent debut urban fantasy, and I will definitely read its sequel, Mindshifter, to see Amy coming to grips with her reality.

About the Author

Elle is the author of the Weeia urban fantasy series set in Miami, Florida in the United States. Growing up the only child of a monkey mother and a rabbit father she learned to keep herself entertained and spend time reading.

Elle makes her home with her king cat husband in South Florida. When not writing and creating fantastical beings she likes photographing nature and wildlife, eating baked goods, watching movies, and dreaming of going on safari.

Find her on

Blog: elleboca.poyeen.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elleboca

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26277297-elle-boca

Silence (Friday Fictioneers #4)

This flash fiction Friday event is both fun and a great writing exercise. A picture prompt, a 100-word story that links dozens of awesome writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Here’s my fourth attempt entitled “Silence”.

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Ted Strutz

 

SILENCE

99 words

The whirring in my mouth was goose-flesh inducing, but I had already tucked it away in the past. I was already on the docked ferry, its yawning mouth mimicking my own. I was already alone, far from the crying, whining, screaming—all that ruckus that made the noise in my cavity a welcome respite.

By the time Gus found out I was missing, I’d be far away. Huddled in a cozy, silent room.

Let Gus handle the ruckus for the rest of the week. Four days of peace was all I wanted. I deserved as much.

Then I’d return.

__________________________

That story draws from personal need. Almost always when I ride the train to work, I think of going down to the terminal station at the port of Piraeus and board any outbound ship. Just be left to my own devices for a few days. Not talk to a living soul. Just silence.

For more stories and totally different takes on this prompt click on the linky: