A ROYAL PAIN: Baby Name Game Contest and Giveaway

A ROYAL PAIN: Baby Name Game Contest and Giveaway

To celebrate Megan Mulry’s upcoming July release, IF THE SHOE FITS, Sourcebook™ would like to know what you think the name of Will & Kate’s new addition will be!

 A Royal Pain Name Game 2

IF THE SHOE FITS by Megan Mulry
Release Date: July 2, 2013

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About the Book: The only thing worse than being in the spotlight is being kept in the dark…

With paparazzi nipping at his heels, Devon Heyworth, rakish brother of the Duke of Northrop, spends his whole life hiding his intelligence and flaunting his playboy persona. Fast cars and faster women give the tabloids plenty to talk about.

American entrepreneur Sarah James is singularly unimpressed with “The Earl” when she meets him at a wedding. But she’s made quite an impression on him. When he pursues her all the way across the pond, he discovers that Miss James has no intention of being won over by glitz and glamor—she’s got real issues to deal with, and the last thing she needs is larger-than-life royalty mucking about her business…

Giveaway-Blue:Black

It’s time to play A ROYAL PAIN Baby Name Game!

To celebrate Megan Mulry’s upcoming July release, IF THE SHOE FITS, Sourcebook™ would like to know what you think the name of Will & Kate’s new addition will be!


A Royal Pain

**  Comment below with your boy name and girl name prediction! **

We will pick one winner who will receive a print copy of Megan’s first book A Royal Pain!

CONTEST open to USA and CANADA only.

CONTEST runs from June 30 to July 4, 2013

NOTE:  Your comment must include a baby name prediction to qualify for the giveaway.

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Kindle Deals-June 30, 2013

KINDLE DEALS-June 30, 2013

KINDLE logo

BOX SETS:  Kindle Deals: At the time of the posting, these ebook box sets were .99cents or less from Amazon Kindle. Please make sure the price is .99cents or less before ordering book

Tall,Dark and Deadly by Lisa Renee Jones
Deluxe Cinderella Chronicles by Lisa Renee Jones
The Werewolf Society by Lisa Renee Jones
Firebrand Series 1-3 by Elisabeth Naughton
The Philadelphia Patriots by V.K.Sykes
Unsuitably Perfect by multiple authors
Heart Stealers by multiple authors
Love Me Some Cowboy by multiple authors
Four Irresistible Rogues by multiple authors
Immortal Essence Box Set by Rachelle Workman
Decorah Security by Rebecca York
Agents Under Fire by Dana Marton
Down and Dirty Crime Collection by Carolyn McCray
From The Heart Romance and Suspense series by Lorhaine Eckhart
Love is in The Air Collection by Carolyn McCray
Love Thrills Romantic Suspense by Patricia Mason
Blood and Absynthe 1-3 by Chloe Hart
Phantom Series by Julie Leto
Guardians of the Word Box set by Jolea M. Harrison
The Billionaire’s Obsession Box Set by J.S.Scott
The Grimm Diaries prequel 1-6 by Cameron Jace
Blood and Snow 1-4 by Rachelle Workman
Vampire box set 1-8 by H.T.Night

KINDLE DEALS: FREE: At the time of the posting, these book were FREE from Amazon Kindle. Please make sure the price is FREE before ordering the book.

Marked (Eternal Guardians #1) by Elisabeth Naughton
Temporary Arrangements (prequel The Renaldis) by Karen Erickson
The Beauty Bride by Claire Delacroix (Deborah Cooke)
Carniepunk Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep
Betrayed (Days of the Rogue) by Nicky Charles
Bonded (prequel to Mating) by Nicky Charles
The Keeping (Sequel to Mating) by Nicky Charles
The Mating (Law of the Lycans) by Nicky Charles
Betrayed (Days of the Rogue) by Nicky Charles
The Finding (Law of the Lycans #3) by Nicky Charles
Mine For Tonight by J.S.Scott
One Perfect Night by Bella Andre
All That He Wants (The Billionaire’s Seduction #1) by Olivia Thorne
Forbidden Disclosure by Terri Marie
Chasing Beautiful by Pamela Ann
The Descent Series 1-3 box set by S.M.Reine
The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry
Chase (Power Players Series #1) by Casia Leo
Ethan’s Mate (Vampire Coalition #1) by J.S.Scott

KINDLE DEALS: $.99 cents or less-At the time of the posting, the following books were .99cents. Please make sure the price is .99cents before you place your order.

Guardian’s Grace (Guardians of the Race) by Jacqueline Rhoades
Miami, Mistletoe and Murder (Red Stone Security) by Katie Reus
Everything to Lose by Katie Reus
Killer Secrets by Katie Reus
The Proposition (Plus One Chronicles #1) by Jennifer Lyon
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
The Cat’s Fancy (Protectors series) by Julie Kenner
Aphrodite’s Embrace (Protectors series) by Julie Kenner
Carpe Demon (Demon Hunting Soccer Mom) by Julie Kenner
The Demon You Know (Demone Hunting Soccer Mom) by Julie Kenner
The Ballad of Rosamund by Claire Delacroix
The Party by Katie Ashley
Breathless (Jessie #1) by Eve Carter
Summer Girl by Sophie Hill
Dance For Me (Fenbrook Academy #1) by Helen Newbury
Where I End and You Being by Andra Brynn
The Mating Chase (Werewolves of Montana) by Bonnie Vanak
Claiming His Mate by Savannah Stuart (Katie Reus)
Fall For Me (Tate Chronicles #1) by K.A.Last
Sacrifice (Fall For Me prequel) by K.A.Last
Easy Bake Coven by Liz Shulte
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
Damaged by H.M. Ward
Surrender Your Love by J.C.Reed
Surrender by Melody Anne
Beauty from Pain (Beauty #1) by Georgia Cates
Beauty from Surrender (Beauty #2) by Georgia Cates
Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan
Scornfully Hers (Torn Series) by Pamela Ann
Frayed (Torn Series #2) by Pamela Ann
Smitten (Crush #2) by Lacey Weatherford
Crush (Crush #1) by Lacey Weatherford
Playing For Keeps (The Game #2) by Emma Hart
The Love Game (The Game #1) by Emma Hart
Holding On (Memories 2) by Emma Hart
Never Forget (Memories #1) by Emma Hart
Relentless (Shattered Hearts) by Casia Leo
Promise Me Darkness by Paige Weaver
Killing Sarai (In The Company of Killers) by J.A.Redmerski

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Lightpoints by Peter Kassan-A Review and Interview with the Author

Lightpoints by Peter Kassan-A Review and Interview with the Author

Lightpoints

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 25, 2013

Order links: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

What if you suddenly discovered you had a sense—and powers—that almost no one else in the world did?

When Amanda Lindner Nichols, a 24-year-old graphic artist living with her husband in Queens, New York, is revived from a near-death experience, she discovers she perceives everyone around her as points of light—but not with her eyes. She soon learns she can not only perceive the life energy of others, but she can give and take it. With the help of others like her, she brings her husband Chris to the brink of death and back to bestow on him the same remarkable faculty, and they’re the happiest they’ve been.

But not for long. All over the world, people who’ve been revived from their own near-death experience at just the right moment discover themselves with these same unusual powers. They find ways to use them—some for good and some for evil. When Amanda and Chris encounter a ruthless group of gangsters with the same faculty, tragedy follows—and Amanda faces the greatest challenge of her life

•••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: Lightpoints by Peter Kassan is an interesting twist or version of the Near Death Experience (NDE) that many talk about having. It includes Out of Body Experience (OBE) as well. It goes just a little further and explores what would happen if in some cases a person was brought back after just touching “The Light” and not joining it. In this story those lucky (or unlucky as the case may be) people have a new faculty to their persona, they now, in addition to their other five senses, perceive all human life forms as points of light. Which, at least at first, is quite overwhelming. They actually see these points of light through walls and over distance. This makes for a very unique experience. Many are able to distinguish moods and quality of the “light’s” life. Like if they are agitated, calm, severely disturbed…etc.

The story begins with Amanda Nichols, a graphic artist saying goodbye to her father at Grand Central Terminal and going toward the subway to finish her commute…when she is attacked by a wild eyed crazy man with a knife. She has an OBE (watches her body as people try to help her), as well as NDE (including seeing her long passed grandmother and a favorite uncle) and just as she touches the light is brought back by a defibrillator. The experiences are well written and very graphically interesting.

Mr. Kassan then jumps to Atlantic City, NJ two years prior to Amanda’s attack, as gangster head Carlos Herrera is shot and also has the OBE/NDE experience and is brought back with the extra faculty.

We hop back to Amanda as she awakens in the hospital with her husband Chris, an artist and her mother and father nearby watching over her. She struggles to understand the overwhelming “lightpoints” faculty without disclosing what she’s seeing to anyone else for now. She also found a new sensation when she kissed her husband, a strange tingling in her lips which made her break the kiss off.

The story begins alternating between Amanda’s recovery and Herrera’s recovery. We begin to discover the way they perceive the “lightpoints” and the different senses they gain from them. I’m not going to do a lot of spoilers, just try to explain the direction of the story. I will tell you it’s interesting even fascinating as Mr. Kassan weaves a tale of the most unusual.

As they become aware of their new faculty, and the dangers it presents. It seems they can absorb another person’s life force or energy by kissing and in some cases laying hands on them. This can be done is small doses that leave a person in a trancelike state that makes them a virtual slave, with no memory of what happened when they wake up. However, if they sustain the contact, they can actually kill the person by absorbing all their live energy. On the other side of the coin, they can gather energy from a crowd (like a dance club) and share it with a kiss. This means that it is possible to give energy to save a person’s life, as in the case of a heart attack.

There are many others, but not everyone who has a NDE has the faculty. Resuscitation has to happen precisely as they touch the light, but not join with it…for the person to come back with the faculty. Kassan explores many more people who use the faculty for good and those who explore the darker side of it. There is the way it also changes the person’s life and makes it hard to relate to a spouse in the same way as before the accident.
Amanda and Chris come to this point and decide to try to bring Chris to the point of OBE/NDE and back so he can obtain the same faculty and he and Amanda can be happy and complete again. Using friends they have made with the faculty, Lisa and her doctor husband John (both having the faculty – another tale) they accomplish their goal seemingly with relative safety.

Okay, I’m not giving anything else away! I know, I’m so bad! LOL. You really must read this story for yourself to appreciate the intricacy of each story as well as the danger and suspense of when the good and bad clash.

The ending left me wanting more…much more! I want to know more of what happens and more stories. I hope this is the beginning of a series, because there were unfinished tales and I really want to know where they lead. I found Lightpoints an excellent read and would like to have much more of this marvelously thrilling subject.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Georgianna S.

Interview-Gold

Peter Kassan

 

TRC: Hi Peter and welcome to The Reading Café. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Peter: Website / BlogGoodreads

Peter: What can I say about myself? I’m a formerly young man. I began seriously writing fiction in my twenties, but I got a bit distracted along the way—for about twenty or thirty years.

TRC: Your website bio states you have had a number of careers, one way or another, in the field of writing. What has been your most memorable experience?

Peter: My most memorable experience as a writer was getting a job at Children’s Television Workshop as a staff writer of a television show they were developing. I had hoped to get a job writing for The Electric Company, which I loved, but there were no openings. I was given a chance to write an audition script for a new—here comes a mouthful you’ve never heard before—adult comedy variety health education show. I had a wonderful time writing the script and I got the job. I thought writing for a CTW show was going to be my dream job, but it was probably the worst job of my life. Although I worked with many wonderful people, I didn’t get along with my boss, the head writer, and that made it a nightmare. The show was reviewed in Time Magazine as the most dismaying new show of the season, and I was let go along with many others on the writing staff. It was both a terrible disappointment and a great relief.

Lightpoints

TRC: Lightpoints is your latest release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Peter: The premise is that, under very rare circumstances, ordinary people discover themselves endowed with a new sense. I’d always been intrigued by the question of how one could explain vision to someone who had been born blind or hearing to someone who had born deaf. I had the challenge as a writer of convincingly conveying a faculty that none of us actually has—and the equal challenge of writing how my protagonist, Amanda, tries to explain it to herself and others.

TRC: How were you able to keep your plotline unpredictable without sacrificing content or believability?

Peter: In a novel such as Lightpoints, a reader’s willingness to accept the premise—to believe something unbelievable–is the ticket to admission to the ride. It’s my responsibility as a writer to be fair to my readers. Because, in a paranormal novel, people have powers no one actually has in real life, it’s too easy to invent a new supernatural ability whenever the protagonist needs to get out of a jam. So whenever I knew I needed Amanda to be able to do something in a later scene, I tried to lay the groundwork for it beforehand. Many times, that really meant going back and rewriting an earlier scene.

I tried to make the plotline unpredictable by exploring several different and apparently unrelated threads exploring how different people around the world made use of their new faculty. Only one of those threads converges with Amanda’s—to disastrous results.

TRC: Who or what was the inspiration behind the storyline?

Peter: I’ve always liked stories in which the writer explores how people would actually behave under unusual circumstances. I had had the idea of a new faculty that allowed people to perceive everyone else around them a while ago—actually, when I was working on that television show I told you about. It was just a vision—although that’s the wrong word, since the sense I imagined didn’t involve sight—of people somehow glowing or radiating energy. And other people being able to perceive that energy. But I didn’t have any idea what to do with this.

Many years later, I decided I wanted to write a paranormal novel, but I wanted to create a new kind of paranormal being that no one else had written about. I remembered my notion of a new sense that people don’t actually have. I quickly realized that, for the story to go anywhere, they would have to have more than just a sense—so I invented some powers people also acquired when they got the sense.

TRC: How much research (logistical, theoretical, philosophical, etc.,) was involved in the writing of Lightpoints?

Peter: It’s funny you ask that, because many years ago, before personal computers, the Internet, and the Web, I hated to do research. A long time ago, I decided to write a novel that took place during the Great Chicago Fire. I’d pack up a file box of index cards and drag myself to New York’s 42nd Street Library to do research. I’d find a book I wanted to look at, fill out a call slip, turn it in at the desk, and sit at one of the great tables to wait. It was incredibly boring, and all I wanted to do was put my head down and take a nap. I didn’t get very far with that project at all.

Years later, when I was writing about artificial intelligence, I found that, thanks to the Web, I loved doing research. If you needed a book, you could usually find it on Bookfinder.com for a few dollars. So when I wrote Lightpoints, I had no concerns. I’ve always been interested in and familiar with many of the subjects in the book, so I didn’t have to do any research ahead of time. As I wrote, if I discovered I needed more information, I’d just do a quick Internet search and continue writing. To be convincing, a writer doesn’t actually need to know much—all it takes is the right telling detail in the right place.
What part of the storyline was the most difficult to write and why?

In a story like Lightpoints, the protagonist must face an antagonist. Since my premise was that people with this faculty were extremely rare, the most difficult part of the storyline was to find a way for the antagonist to become involved with Amanda. I had to make several changes to the structure of the book before I was satisfied that their convergence was not only possible but plausible and convincing Then, once I had them meeting, the next most difficult problem to handle was how Amanda would overcome her antagonist. That, too, required several tries before I found a solution I was happy with.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series or is this a standalone storyline?

Peter: I have to admit that I don’t understand how people can know when they write one novel that it’s the first of a trilogy or a series. I find it hard enough to construct an engaging plot for one book. That said, when I wrote Lightpoints, I knew there was the possibility of other stories based on the same premise. As I saw it, I could either continue the story of the protagonist and other characters from Lightpoints or I could develop a story about entirely new characters who happened to have the same sense. I began working on a sequel about Amanda, but in a new situation and with a new bad guy. That’s on hold while I work on some other things—and until I find out whether readers want to read more about her.

TRC: What difficulties have you faced getting your novel to publication?

Peter: Before I found my publisher, Melange Books, I had sent query letters out to about a hundred literary agents. I got no responses of interest. (There actually are several websites devoted to the subject of writing good query letters, but getting the authors of those query-letter-critique websites to look at your query letter is about as difficult as getting an agent to read your novel.) I think that unless you’ve already famous or notorious, had something published (not self-published), have a personal connection, or can get a recommendation from someone like a professor of creative writing, the chances of a first novelist to be read by a reputable literary agent or a hardcover New York publisher are nil. Fortunately, my publisher found my query letter not totally uninteresting, and asked me to submit the manuscript. I’m now a first-reader for Melange, so I see how many manuscripts they have to look at to find ones worth publishing. I’m happy to have been a needle in that haystack.

TRC: What five things would you like to accomplish in the next ten years?

Peter: Well, I’m not a young man, so what I want most to accomplish in the next years is the next ten years. That said, I’d like to write a few more books.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Peter: I’ve been toying with an idea for a science fiction novel for young adults. I have a situation that I’m happy with and I have some notions about the protagonist and some other characters. Unfortunately, I don’t yet know what the protagonist’s predicament or what his goal is, so I don’t have a story yet.

I’m also working on a couple of other things. One of them is a sequel to a novel (in an entirely different genre) that was published recently under a pseudonym I’ve been using for a while. I’ve just started that one. The other is under a new pseudonym and also in another genre. I’ve written about thirty thousand words of that, but that one’s on hold because I don’t like the relationship between the two main characters and I need to find a different dynamic.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Peter: I find it ironic to be doing an author interview, because I used to believe that a writer should put everything you need to know to enjoy a novel into the novel itself, and that persona information about the author of a book should be irrelevant and might even be distracting. Of course, I insisted on that position even though I liked to read biographies and profiles of writers. If you like a book, it’s only natural you want to know about the person that wrote it. But the pseudonym I use for other writings uses only initials and not a first name, because I want my readers not to know whether the author is a man or a woman.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Chicken parmigiana

Favorite Dessert: Anything chocolate (but without coconut or strawberries).

Favorite TV Show: Can’t decide between two: Law & Order: SVU and House. With both of these shows, I’ll watch the same episodes again and again.

Last Movie You Saw: In the theater: Silver Linings Playbook. On television: The Impossible.

Dream Car: I grew up in Manhattan, where very few people had cars, so I have no emotional connection to cars and don’t have no dreams about them. I dream about Lightpoints becoming a movie.

Last Vacation Destination: Montreal, Canada (to visit friends).

TRC: Thank you Peter for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best.

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ESCAPING REALITY by Lisa Renee Jones-Contest and Giveaway

ESCAPING REALITY (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen) by Lisa Renee Jones-Contest and Giveaway

Escaping Reality Contest graphic

Links to pre-order ESCAPING REALITY: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk /

ESCAPING REALITY:  The Secret Life of Amy Bensen
by Lisa Renee Jones
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: July 22, 2013

He is rich, famous, and secretive and he will become her passion, her desire, her escape from a dark reality she so desperately craves…

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard down, the ghost’s of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?

Book 1: Escaping Reality

Book 2: Within the Fire

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Lisa Renee Jones is sponsoring a GIVEAWAY to help promote the release of her New Adult novel ESCAPING REALITY: The Secret Life of Amy Bensen.

Follow the rafflecopter instructions for your chance to WIN weekly cash prizes, a COACH™ purse and much more.

NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the rafflecopter giveaway.

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Down To You (The Bad Boys #1) by M.Leighton-a review

DOWN TO YOU (The Bad Boys #1) by M. Leighton-a review

Down To You 2

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: September 2012 (re-release July 2013)

The scorching tale of one girl, two brothers and a love triangle…that’s not. Olivia Townsend is nothing special. She’s just a girl working her way through college so she can return home to help her father run his business. She’s determined not to be the second woman in his life to abandon him, even if it means putting her own life on hold. To Olivia, it’s clear what she must do. Plain and simple. Black and white. But clear becomes complicated when she meets Cash and Nash Davenport. They’re brothers. Twins.

Cash is everything she’s always wanted in a guy. He’s a dangerous, sexy bad boy who wants her in his bed at any cost. He turns her insides to mush and, with just one kiss, makes her forget why he’s no good for her. Nash is everything she’s ever needed in a guy. He’s successful, responsible and intensely passionate. But he’s taken. Very taken, by none other than Marissa, Liv’s rich, beautiful cousin. That doesn’t stop Olivia from melting every time he looks at her, though. With just one touch, he makes her forget why they can never be together.

Black and white turns to shades of gray when Olivia discovers the boys are hiding something, something that should make her run as far and as fast as she can. But it’s too late to run. Olivia’s already involved. And in love. With both of them. Both brothers make her heart tremble. Both brothers set her body on fire. She wants them both. And they want her. How will she ever choose between them?

••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: DOWN TO YOU is the first storyline in M.Leighton’s contemporary romance The Bad Boys series. Although I am a little late to the party and the ‘big secret’ is well known, I had the opportunity to review this book as a re-release, so I scooped up the chance to read it.

The storyline focuses on Olivia Townsend, a hard working, young woman who works as a bartender to pay her way through college. Hoping to get her degree in accounting so she can assist in her father’s business, Olivia is offered a more lucrative position at a bar run by bad-boy Cash Davenport. But to her surprise, she will discover that his twin brother Nash is dating her cousin. Enter brother number two, and the heat is on. Olivia is sexually and physically attracted to each brother but in a different way and the brother’s in return want Olivia –each for themselves.

The reader follows Olivia as she is pulled between the two men-Cash the personification of the bad boy who pushes all of her buttons-and Nash-the up and coming lawyer with the perfect manners and behavior every woman should want in a mate. As the storyline progresses, we will discover that the Davenport men have a few secrets and once revealed to Olivia she feels the world about to crash in around her when lies and deceit threaten the growing love she feels for both men.

M.Leighton draws the reader into the storyline as we get up close and personal with Olivia and the internal battle she wages with herself knowing that in the end the bad boy will break her heart. There big reveal was not unexpected and I believe that we may see more of the twins in book two. The writing is simple but entertaining. The sexual heat keeps the blood racing and in the end, there is a temporary HEA with a hint at what’s to come.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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In Your Dreams/As You Wake by Amy Martin-a review duet

In Your Dreams/As You Wake by Amy Martin-a review duet

In Your DreamsIN YOUR DREAMS-released August 2012

Only .99cents at Amazon and B&N: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

This book was unique, original and conceptually intriguing. Not the norm as to what I would typically read – but I found the main characters endearing and warm. The book opens and we meet high school basketball player Zara “Zip” McKee – she is your average teen jock. She lives and breathes basketball – and has her mind set on one thing – making it to the regional championships.

Into her life comes Kieran Lanier – mysterious, Brad Pitt look-a-like only hotter. Their first encounter leaves Zip baffled, wanting to know more. And does she ever find out more. Kieran Lanier has secrets – lots and lots of secrets and a strange family that is even more mysterious and secretive than him. As the story unfolds we find out that Kieran has narcolepsy (or so the family says) and the effect of this disease has left him sheltered and shy. But when the one girl that takes the time to learn more about him, spends time with him, he begins to open up and share his secrets with her. What will these secrets entail? And will knowing them put Zip’s life at risk? Kieran isn’t your average teenager and there are others that realize this – others that want him for their own use. As Zip weaves her way further into Kieran’s life – she too becomes a target for the evil that stalks Kieran.

At the beginning of this book I was a little leery of it – I am not a sports fan at all and being that Zip was a basketball star and jock I was afraid that the book would be filled with a bunch of sports nonsense. To my surprise the book had just the right mix of high school drama, sports, romance and mystery. I was fascinated with the fact that Kieran had the “so called” narcolepsy and that his sister Kayla was extremely protective of him. I could not put the book down – wanting to know why his family was so strange and what were they hiding. I loved the two almost exact opposite family lifestyles of Zip and Kieran. Zip’s family is fun, easy going and laid back while Kieran’s family is strict, rigid and very abrupt. The two families intermixed well and I loved the dinner scene of them eating together. The secondary characters – the ones that seem to be after Kieran add a great deal of mystery and drama – which left me wanting more. I would have to say that this book was highly original and was definitely an out of the box concept. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and can not wait to read the next book in this series.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••

As You Wake

AS YOU WAKE-released April 2013

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

As You Wake is Book Two of the In Your Dreams book series by Amy Martin. The story continues with Zip McKee and Kieran Lanier on the last day of school and the start of summer vacation. As they are about to begin their summers they find out that the person that was out to harm Kieran may not have vanished as they first thought. Scared that he has brought harm to his family and to Zip, Kieran takes off. While running away is never the answer, he feels this is what he must do to protect his family and his girlfriend.

Zip is off to spend the summer with her father, miles away – and how can she possibly enjoy her summer with Kieran on the run and god knows where? Little does Zip know that a visit by Kieran’s sister turns into anything but. Kidnapped and on the search for Kieran – Zip realizes that his sister may just know where he is. Will they find him in time? And what will they find out in the end?

I found the continuation in book two very fluid and thorough. I loved how the story continued and I loved the secondary characters introduced. The inter-mingling of the two families again – left me laughing out loud. One family very strict and abrupt – the other kind of laid back and easy going. Spending time together is actually good for both families.

The relationship of Kieran and Zip progresses in this book and I could feel the bond between them growing. Kieran also gets to spend more time with his birth father whom I liked and began to really care for as a character. Kieran’s birth father really lends a lot to the story and also brings more mystery. This book was a quick read and was very enjoyable. The only bad that I have to say about the book – who ends a story like that??? UGH!!!! I have to wait until when for the next book? I definitely will be waiting with baited breath for it!

Copies supplied by the author

Reviewed by Erin

About The Author Black and Red

Follow Amy: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

Amy MartinAmy Martin wrote and illustrated her first book at the age of ten and gave it to her fourth grade teacher, who hopefully lost it in her house somewhere and didn’t share it with anyone else.

The first book she published as a grown-up, In Your Dreams,was a semi-finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. The second book in the In Your Dreams series, As You Wake, was released on April 30, 2013.

A native of St. Charles, MO, Amy currently lives in Lexington, KY with her husband and a ferocious attack tabby named Cleo. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found watching sports, drinking coffee, or indulging her crippling Twitter habit (and, sometimes, doing all three at once).

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Vertigo by Gwenan Haines – a Review

Vertigo by Gwenan Haines – a Review

Vertigo

Links to order Vertigo: Amazon / Barnes & NobleKobo

Description:
When attorney Blake Cartwright abandons a successful career to turn a dilapidated lighthouse into an inn, everybody thinks she’s gone a little bit crazy. After witnessing a body fall from the tower, Blake wonders if they might be right. According to local legend, the spirit of a former keeper’s wife lures women to their deaths in the icy water below. Has Blake witnessed a suicide, seen a ghost–or is she just seeing things?

Declan Hunter, the mysterious man she hires to help with renovations, doesn’t help matters. The man with the Navy SEAL physique claims to be nothing more than a local handyman, but Blake’s instincts warn her not to trust him. As the mystery deepens, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of secrets, lies, and murder. But the most serious danger of all may be falling for a man determined to leave her

 

Review:
Vertigo is a romance suspense written by Gwenan Haines.  We meet our heroine, Blake from the start, as she gives up her successful career as an attorney to move to Maine and open her own Inn.  Blake loves to cook, and her dream was to utilize her skills to have her own place.  She blindly purchases an old Lighthouse, and arrives as the dusk is falling.  Blake sees the decay, and knows she will have a lot of work to do to fix up the place.  While she walks around in the dark, as she has no power, she hears a noise and comes face to face with a stranger. 

Enter Declan, our hero, who just happens to be on the site looking around, since he is a renovator.  At first Blake doesn’t trust him, but in a short time she hires him to help her fix up her house.  She also learns from Blake, that the Lighthouse is haunted, and over the years many of female habitants died jumping off the top of the lighthouse.  The ghost supposedly was the original female, who jumped to her death, and haunts the place, since she was truly murdered.

What follows is a mystery that keeps you on your toes throughout the entire book. It was very suspenseful, as Blake and Declan together try to resolve what is happening in town, and with a recent death of another woman, the plot becomes deeper and more dangerous.  Blake being in the house has put her in the middle, and Declan, besides helping fix up the place, has another motive also.  There are many twists along the way, and surprises.  We know all about the ghost.  But who is the murderer?  Why are they trying to hurt Blake or get her to leave the Lighthouse?  Why was Declan in town, just to look at the Lighthouse?

In between the mystery, Blake finds herself taking care of the murdered woman’s baby, and falling in love with Declan and the baby.  This was also a very nice romance that builds over time, as we the reader knew they were made for each other. There was a nice supporting cast, and you suspected everyone.  I will not give out any spoilers, but it gets very exciting in the last half of the book and the guessing game is on.  All you know is you love Blake and Declan, and young Grace, and until the climatic ending, you have no idea who, and why dangerous things are happening.  Gwenan Haines does an excellent job writing this romance mystery.  For a fast read, a cute romance, and an excellent mystery, I recommend Vertigo.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author

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An Interview and Giveaway with S.M. Stelmack

An Interview with S.M. Stelmack

sm stelmack
The Reading Cafe is happy to welcome S.M. Stelmack, who are the writing team of Serge & Moira Stelmack.  They are here today to discuss two of their recent releases, as well as to tell us a little about themselves.

Let’s meet Serge & Moira.

 

Hi S.M.  Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today. We are always looking forward to reading about the authors behind the book.

TRC: S.M. Stelmack is the husband/wife writing team of Serge & Moira Stelmack. Will you please tell us about yourselves?

Serge/Moira: We’re just your average couple with kids trying to make a living and doing the best we can. Serge is a partner at an engineering firm and Moira homeschools our two kids. We're both ambitious A type personalities, but we've also got very active imaginations which we express through our writing. Creating stories to share with others is something we love doing together, and it helps us escape all our self-inflicted stressors.

TRC: Have you always been interested in writing? How did you decide to become a writing team, and what are the challenges in writing a book together?

Serge/Moira: Serge was cutting his storytelling teeth by age ten, playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends. He did that straight into his twenties, by which point he had become a master of creating stories on the fly. Moira took a more conventional route, getting an English degree, writing for magazines and newspapers and penning several unpublished novels too embarrassingly awful to even think about. She also joined her local chapter of Romance Writers of America which enormously improved her craft and understanding of the industry. We decided to write together more or less on a whim, and, like any great partnership, found we each had what the other needed. Serge is amazing at spinning a story but bolts when the couple are left alone in a hotel room. Moira doesn’t know how to get the characters into trouble, much less out of it, but loves to get down and dirty with their emotions and attractions, really bringing them to life. Mind, Serge is always up for providing the male perspective during the sex scenes.

TRC: Is there anything (in general) you find particularly challenging about writing & publishing a book?

Serge/Moira: Avoiding divorce court. Seriously though, we have a lot of heated discussions about how to make our books the best they can be. Since both of us are very driven it can sometimes be difficult to find a happy medium between our strong opinions.

TRC:  Fox Hunt is your first book in your The Femme Vendettas series. Can you tell how you came up with the idea of this series?  What is the premise of this series, and how many books are you planning?

Serge/Moira: Serge's childhood was full of unconventional people, many of which had an uneasy relationship with the police. Though he's kept to the straight and narrow himself, there's always been a fascination with outlaws and criminal subcultures, which really comes out in the stories. We wrote Fox Hunt while one was taking a sabbatical from work and the other was pregnant with our second child. (Guess who was doing which?) The writing was more halyconic than anything we’ve ever done before or since—the manuscript was finished on Friday, and the baby arrived Saturday morning.

The Femme Vendettas are an interconnected series of stories about men and women in the criminal underworld aiming to do the right thing despite their circumstances. We’re not out to glorify crime, but feel that the choices conscientious criminals make can be tough, and often far more complex than for us who reside within the walls of the law. We’ve no idea how many books there will be. If readers continue to enjoy them, we’ll keep writing ‘em. We’re currently working on the second book in the series, Gina Takes Bangkok. It features both the hitman and offbeat office manager from Fox Hunt, and that pattern of elevating minor characters in one book to main characters in the next is something we're planning on continuing.

fox hunt


TRC:
Would you please give us a brief description of
Fox Hunt?

Serge/Moira: Fox Hunt (The Femme Vendettas) is a 70,000-word high-octane read about an ex-cat burglar who accepts the help of a stuntman in order to find out why the Yakuza suddenly want her dead. That’s about as brief as we can make it.

Link to order Fox Hunt: Amazon

 

 

TRC: Undertow, which is your first book in The UnderCity Chronicles, was recently released in April. Can you please tell us the premise of this series, and how many books are you planning?

Serge/Moira: The UnderCity Chronicles delves into the legends of underground sub-cultures that thrive beneath several famous cities—New York, London, Moscow, Paris and Berlin. We're planning five books in this series, one for each of the cities just mentioned, and there will be some overlap with the stories and characters of our other series.

undertow


TRC:
Would you please give us a brief description of Undertow?

Serge/Moira: Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles) is an 80,000-word rescue mission into the New York underground, led by an anthropologist and his high school crush whose niece is held captive by the sub-human creatures that dwell there.

Links to order Undertow: Amazon

 

TRC: On your website, we see you have two more books coming this year, and already have one planned for 2014.  Can you please tell us about these books, and what else you are working on?

Serge/Moira: As we mentioned, we’re currently pounding out the next in the Femme Vendetta series, Gina Takes Bangkok. It’s due for release early September and we’ll be back here for a guest post about it on September 23rd! Learning about Thai culture is fascinating and explains so much about Gina’s spontaneity. Next up will be Midnight Everlasting, the second in the UnderCity Chronicles, set in London. Rats and romance. Nice ring, eh? The third one is Entrapped, the first in a series about people who have been subjected to bizarre and unethical experiments by the shadowy Hallorvorden Society.

TRC: What is your writing process, especially since you are a team?  Do you like to write at specific times, in a special place, etc?

Serge/Moira: Between jobs and family and the continual hiccups that both provide, we write when we can. Right now, I (Moira) am doing this interview while Serge is at the office writing a scene before his work day starts. Come his lunch break he'll email me his work, and over the phone I’ll read aloud what he’s written. We’ll discuss it and carry on from there. In the final editing stages, after it comes back from our editor, it’s grueling because both of us are perfectionists, and every word looms large at that point.

TRC: You write in the Romance Suspense/Thriller genre. Is there any other genre you are interested in writing?

Serge/Moira: Moira is also working independently on an historical romance set in Russia. It features a female assassin, and the Tsarist officer charged with uncovering the conspiracy she's involved in.

TRC: What are your favorite things you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Serge/Moira: Hmmm…not sure if your site allows adult content, so we better not answer this one.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Serge/Moira: Thanks for the inviting us to The Reading Café!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Instant Noodles. (Serge) Anything she hasn't had to cook herself. (Moira)

Favorite Dessert: Sprinkle Donuts. (Serge) Stewed rhubarb. (Moira)

Favorite Novel: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Serge) Nope, uh-uh, not picking favorites. (Moira)

Favorite Movie: Lair of the White Worm. (both) It’s sooooo bad, it’s hilarious.

Favorite Literary Character (Male or Female) Not your own: Winston Smith from Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nope, uh-uh, not picking favorites. (Moira)

Milk or Dark Chocolate: Milk for both. It goes so well with so many other good things!

Thank you Serge & Moira for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with Fox Hunt & Undertow.

Giveaway-gold/purple

S.M. Stelmack has graciously offered one lucky member of The Reading Cafe an e-copy of both of their recent releases, Fox Hunt and Undertow.    Because this is Kindle only, the winner must have a Kindle reader or use the Kindle app.BONUS story. Dear Delta Letters (Delta Fox from FOX HUNT) a bonus story to be added to giveaway..

1.  You must be a member at The Reading Cafe. If you are not a member, please register using the Log-In at the top of the page, or by using one of our social log-ins.

2.  If you are using a social log-in e.g. Twitter, please leave your email address along with your comment.

3.  Giveaway open to US & Canada Only

4.  Contests runs from June 28 to July 1, 2013

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