Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Take a Look at Me Now Kendra Smith 4*#Review @KendraAuthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #Life #Love #Friendship #Motivational #multigenerational

Out with the old…

Maddie Brown has spent most of her life putting everyone else’s needs above her own. But with her marriage crumbling and her nest scarily empty, she realises it may be time to spread her own wings and fly.

In with the… ex?

At a university reunion, Maddie meets Greg. He was the love of her life – and the one that got away. Some things never change, and neither of them can deny the feelings that linger between them. But there are so many reasons they can’t be together… not least the massive secret she has been keeping from him all these years. 

Maddie is SO ready for a brand new start. But what do you do when the past just won’t stay in the past?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A multi-generational story about life, love, romance and friendship. Maddie regrets her choices made twenty years ago. Can she be the person she is inside? Maddie is a relatable character, easy to empathise and like. Essentially this is a journey of belated self-discovery, it retains its grip on reality because Maddie doesn’t shy away from her responsibilities, but realises she deserves to do things for her too.

Extract from Take a Look at Me Now – Kendra Smith

They sat at separate tables. Maddie picked at her food and allowed her glass to be refilled several times, and eventually emerged from the fuggy hall, where the fog of drinks, steam and aromas of the four-course dinner came up against the sharp evening wind outside.

It was dusky, the horizon swallowing up the smear of crimson streaked across it, like a watercolour painting turning dark at the edges. Maddie looked around as she inhaled the air heavy with the scent of honeysuckle. She could see him standing at the bottom of the steps, his face glowing in the eerie white light of his mobile phone. Then he was taking a call, his shoulders hunched over. She pulled back and waited by the doorway, unsure of her place.

She swayed slightly on her heels, knowing she’d had too many drinks. Whatever the conversation was, it was heated. He was gesturing with his free hand towards the grass, as if conducting his own private, invisible orchestra. After a minute, he spun around and jammed his phone in his pocket. Then he saw her, walking slowly down the steps. She pulled her wrap around her shoulders tightly as she got to him.

‘I have to go,’ he muttered, and jerked his head to the left.

Like the last time, Greg? she wanted to ask. But instead she calmed the butterflies in her stomach, as the wave of emotion overwhelmed her and forced a smile. Theirs was a story from the past.

They used to miss lectures on a Friday as they both only had one – they’d stay in bed most of the day. He’d wander around her tiny bedsit in not much more than a towel tied around his waist after a scalding-hot shower. In fact, she realised with a shudder, that’s what she missed the most: the easy intimacy. He used to wash her hair sometimes, with gentle hands on her scalp, circling the back of her neck with his strong thumbs. He’d sit her down in front of the basin and gently wet it all, pour over shampoo then put on honey-scented conditioner and comb it through.

It was wonderful and so relaxing. Sometimes it had led to something more… but normally he’d wrap her hair in a towel and they’d sit, watching her tiny TV, and she’d feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And now, here he was, in a dinner jacket and black tie, standing right next to her. Stony-faced. She bit her lip, tasted the blood, so she could focus on the present.

And with that he walked briskly away.

She watched him. Watched as he strode across the concrete courtyard, heels clicking, like he did all those years ago. Perhaps she’d been stupid to come, to open up all those old wounds again. She folded her arms across her chest and shivered.

‘Maddie!’ It was Ellie, weaving her way towards her in purple slingbacks, clipping on the hard surface. ‘There you are! C’mon, we’re all going to the Student Union bar for Snakebites! Maddie, c’mon!’ Ellie had stopped by one of the pillars and was fiddling with her shoes.

‘Looks like you need some help with your footwear!’ She took Ellie by the arm as they made their – slightly wobbly – way to the bar.

As she licked the traces of blood from her lips, she was thankful that at least it would take her mind off the nagging question that was building up in her mind.

Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial – and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Excerpt, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Archimimus Clio Gray #Extract @UrbaneBooks @ClioGray #LoveBooksTours #HistoricalMystery #HistoricalFiction

#Archimimus

The stunning new historical thriller from Clio Gray, the acclaimed author of the Scottish Mysteries series.

Lukitt Bachmann is waiting in his Lanterne de Mortes, a Tower of the Dead, in the middle of a cemetery.

He’s had a complicated life: son of a Herrnhuter Brother thrown out of his sect; help-meet to a pastor; sailor; fisherman; boar-hunter; and student and lecturer, exploring the varied histories of the Knights Teutonic and the bone-chapels their descendants left behind them.

He has become an assassin and a murderer learned the terrible highs and lows of friendships made and lost and is awaiting now his last remaining friend to set him free so he can put right past wrongs.

As Lukitt is let loose on a world gone mad, can this avenging angel finally find solace for his soul?  

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Excerpt From Archimimus – Clio Gray

Preface

v

I’m sitting atop the Lanterne des Mortes in some Alsatian hole but here, in Sansonnet-St-Genès, lives my only friend. I’m crouched below the casement window, knees to chest, hands beneath armpits; the fire in the old upturned bell is burning, but still there’s frost on the walls, breath billowing like early morning mist. It’s high up here, thirty feet above the cemetery; the tower cylindrical and hollow, spiral staircase of stones protruding from its inner wall. It’s All Souls Eve, hence the bowl-fire, a Lux Perpetua leading the villagers from their mean houses as they hum the hymn of the Dies Irae, packets of bread clutched beneath their jackets, along with small flasks of oil and wine. They reach the cemetery surrounding the Lanterne des Mortes, begin tidying plots and graves, scrubbing down crosses and angels, pruning corpse-shrubs, straightening portraits hanging from rusting chains, poking mildew and lichen from roughly sculpted names and dates. They leave their gifts of bread, oil and wine; stick candles to the stones with warm-dripped wax: teetering will – o’- wisps in the darkness.

The priest arrives and intones the rite of Mass, everyone kneeling in the frost: old hips creaking, bunions aching, fingers clutched about each other turning white. Mass soon done – two more to perform the following day – everyone back home soon as they can decently go.

Only a few more hours now. Only a few more hours.

Lukitt Habakkuk Bachmann in his tower, waiting for his friend. How did you end up here, Lukitt? How did it all lead to this?

#ClioGray

Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty-five year,s she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting shortlisted and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.

#LoveBooksGroup
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Excerpt, Horror Fiction, Noir, Novella, Short stories, Suspense

Ryder On The Storm Ray Clark 4* #Review @T1LOM #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup #Supernatural #CrimeFiction #Novella #ShortStories #Excerpt #BlogTour #BookReview #bookbloggers

#RyderOnTheStorm

When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs … and it’s cheap! 

But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.

Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.  

Amazon UK

Excerpt from Ryder OnThe Storm – Ray Clark

Terry slammed the door shut.

His head was all over the place, not to mention his stomach. If he’d eaten anything at all he was sure it would have reappeared. Pins and needles raced up and down both his arms.

What the fuck had he walked into? Was George a ghost? Was he being haunted? Is that what the Billingtons had been on about when they said “he’d” take care of the place. And who exactly were the Billingtons? What part did they play in it all?

Excerpt from Ryder OnThe Storm – Ray Clark.
#RyderOnTheStorm

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The blurb for the first story in this book intrigued me. I like stories with a supernatural element. This story starts in the past with the discovery of a body. Then in the present day, a builder is viewing an old house with a view to redevelopment. The elderly couple are strange and the logistics of the sale is similarly odd, but the builder’s eyes are focused on profit.

What follows is suspenseful and dark. I read it through twice, and the second time it resonated. The twist of the story is a popular one, but it is effectively used here. The more you think about it, the darker it becomes.

The other three short stories feature the author’s characters from the IMP series, which I haven’t read. The first two are Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries. Each is prefaced with an author’s note detailing how the story came about. This has intrinsic interest and puts each short story in context. The stories are well-plotted with complex characters and decent twists. All have engaging settings. Each delivers a good murder-mystery, and police procedural genre story.

I enjoyed reading all of these stories, perhaps the last three short stories are my favourite, and make me want to read the IMP series.

#RayClark

The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark’s first work in 1995 – Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray’s short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.

Posted in Book Spotlight, Giveaway

All Over You – Ayden K. Morgen – Excerpt – Blog Tour

Welcome to my tour stop on the All Over You Blog Tour! Today, Ayden has a brand new excerpt and teasers for us!

Close woman portrait with the world reflected in her eyes.

Poppy - Blurb

 Ivy Kendall’s only plan for her life was to teach, but then it all fell apart…

When Rory Clark disappears from UCLA after a lengthy online relationship with a “catfish” pretending to be Ivy, the sassy former model turned kindergarten teacher is forced to dive headfirst into the mystery in order to clear her name. The catfishing phenomenon meets good, old-fashioned police work when Cameron Lewis, a bossy San Francisco detective with a dominant streak, offers to help her uncover the awful truth about her stolen identity and Rory’s disappearance.

They’ve barely scratched the surface when Ivy is charged with a murder she swears she didn’t commit.

As the evidence against her piles up and the intense attraction between her and Cameron deepens, Ivy wants nothing more than to lean on the tattooed detective. He’s already seen her at her worse. Now she has to find the courage to trust him with her heart. But how can she when she’s terrified doing so will ruin his career?

Her greatest fear becomes reality when the ugly truth is revealed and their lives come tumbling down around them.

Betrayed by the one person she never suspected, Ivy makes a reckless decision that puts her in the sights of a murderer and jeopardizes Cameron’s career. He will do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves…even if that means becoming a killer himself.

Will he be able to reach her before it’s too late, or will Rory’s catfish take more than just one life?

All Over You is a completely standalone sister novel to the All Falls Down duo, intended for readers 18+

Winter Buy Links

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Poppy - Excerpt

 I’m between sets when Erin slips into Mitch’s around eleven, her hair hanging in ringlets down her back. She’s in a flirty black dress paired with a jean jacket and cowboy boots. And she is definitely wearing her good bra if the cleavage she’s sporting is any indication. A few appreciative gazes follow her as she slides into the corner booth across from me, but she doesn’t notice.

“Sorry,” she says. “I had to run errands and I lost track of time. Getting anywhere in this city on a Friday night is a pain in the ass. Are you going to finish these?” She point at my cheese fries, and then reaches out and snags one, popping it into her mouth before I can answer. I push them toward her, too full to eat anything else. “Nice crowd,” she says, her gaze darting around the room before she turns back to me. She pops another cheese fry into her mouth. “Any hotties tonight?”

“The guy in the back.” I shift my gaze in his direction, subtly pointing him out to her. He’s in the very back corner of the bar, sitting in a dark booth by himself, nursing a beer. He’s been there all night, staring at me. I haven’t been able to get a good look at him, but what I have seen? Damn.  With  dark hair, deep golden skin, and a day’s worth of scruff on his face, he’s gorgeous. Bold  tattoos peek from beneath the arms of the simple black tee he’s wearing. He’s big, powerful, his jeans and tee stretching over the muscles they encase. If anyone in the bar fits the hottie bill, it’s him.

“Damn,” Erin says, licking her lips.

“He’s been staring at me all night,” I grumble, not sure if I’m more irritated or turned on. And that’s a mystery in and of itself. Since when did complete strangers make heat pool low in my stomach? Apparently since Tall, Dark and Brooding walked into the bar and parked his fine ass in the corner.

“Of course he has.” Erin rolls her eyes. “You look hot.”

“Thanks.” My jet black hair is up in an intricate braid, and I’m wearing just enough makeup to make my green eyes pop, but my dress is shorter and tighter than I usually wear. I love the way the slinky material feels against my skin. The top is a halter with the bottom barely reaching mid-thigh. The dark purple color seems to shimmer under the lights of the stage. I love the way it looks.

 “Hey.” Erin grabs Mitch by the hand as he starts to pass by.

 “What’s up, doll?” he asks, winking at her. Mitch is an incurable flirt. He’s also old enough to be her father, but that’s never stopped him. In the year I’ve known him, he’s never lacked for female companionship either, so clearly the whole charming rogue thing is working for him.

“The guy in the back. Who is he?”

 Mitch turns to look over his shoulder, his light eyes narrowing on the mystery man.”Don’t know. Why?” He turns those eyes on me, crossing his arms over his muscular chest. “Is he bothering you?”

“No,” I wave him off before he can get all protective. Staring isn’t a crime. I don’t want the guy tossed out because he’s a little too focused on me. “He’s
fine.”

 “You sure?”

“Promise.” I shoot Mitch a grin before my gaze darts back to the guy. He’s watching me again, and our eyes meet. He doesn’t look away, instead boldly
holding my gaze. Screw it. Two can plan this game. Crossing my arms over my chest, I tip my chin up and narrow my eyes, glaring at him. The corners of his lips lift in a subtle smirk, almost like he knows I’m silently calling him out and is challenging me. I arch a brow, ignoring the little thrill that zings through me at the gleam in his eyes. God, those eyes. They’re  penetrating, captivating. I’ve never seen such dark gray eyes before, and it’s hot. He is hot, scorching.The way he watches me with that cocky smirk on his face is dominating. He’s in charge, and he knows it. I think my body does too. Heat races through me, my nipples hardening. A bead of sweat rolls down the back of my neck as I clench and unclench my fingers. I’m dying to shift around beneath the weight of his gaze to relieve the ache between my thighs. The tip of his tongue peeks out from between his lips, and he narrows his eyes at me. He’s no longer challenging me to look away first, he’s demanding it. Every line of his body screams that command. Heat rolls over me in a wave. Every inch of me burns white hot at the way he’s focusing on me, drawing me in…silently demanding I submit. I drop my gaze to the table, my heart racing. What the hell?  I take a deep breath and then another. My face is burning hot, probably flushed bright red. When I finally gather the nerve to peek up at him again, it’s to see him striding toward the doors, his jeans hugging that fine ass just right. My attention stays glued to him until the door swings closed behind him. He doesn’t look back.

“The hell was that?” Erin asks, tossing a coaster at me.I startle when it lands against my chest, and then blush. 

“That was him offering to strip her naked and f**k her on the table,” Mitch says. My blush deepens.

“Think she would have let him?” Erin teases, grinning at me.

“F**k yeah, she would have.” Mitch throws his head back and laughs loudly when I groan. 

“I hate both of you,” I mutter, rolling my eyes. Though secretly…I think they’re probably right.

 

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Author Bio 2016- 2

Ayden lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of twelve years, and their five furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic
Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services and CJ field. 
Ayden also writes Young and New Adult fantasy under the penname A.K. Morgen.

Links 2016-2

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Posted in The Dragon Legacy #2, Writing Journey

Jasmine and Zane’s Story – Update and Excerpt

I’ve been writing Jasmine and Zane’s story for a few weeks now and whilst I still have some way to go I wanted to share an extract from the first chapter.

Love to know what you think.

Excerpt
”Run Zane. Warn Lukas. I got this.”

He couldn’t risk replying. Shifting back to his wolf would make him faster but the city streets were full of chattering voices as people hurried to work. He must keep his wolf identity secret from the human world. He backed out of the room with reluctant steps not wanting to leave Lukas’s sister in danger but her message repeated itself in his head, a litany he couldn’t ignore. He must find Lukas. As he crossed the landing and ran down the stairs he considered the best method of communication with the dragon lord; unsure of Lukas’ current whereabouts since he last saw him in the Italian Dolomites.

Outside the sun had climbed higher in the sky, the previous deserted streets now teemed with humanity, fortunately all preoccupied with their own thoughts. It was still a little early for the tourists who sauntered at a more leisurely pace. He walked towards the canal. Using the water as a communication medium would be the quickest way to reach Lukas’ dragon. He walked briskly, his long legs eating up the short distance between the palazzo and the water. As he turned into the square he sensed someone close by. He scanned the crowd, no one seemed interested in him but a supernatural wouldn’t be overt. He looked over his shoulder the titan hair betrayed her, Jasmine.

Zane attributed the multitude of butterflies in his abdomen and his quickening heartbeat to Adrenaline produced by his need for flight rather than sexual excitement at seeing his witchy lover. No time to find out why she was here the demon could be in pursuit. To acknowledge Jasmine’s presence would put her on the demon’s radar. First contact Lukas. No distractions. His hair fell over his eyes as he shook his head to clear Jasmine’s image and the memories it evoked from his mind. She couldn’t be real just another illusion from his fevered imagination. Jasmine dominated his torrid dreams as he relived their passion on a nightly basis. Despite his resolve the timing of her appearance disturbed him. Perhaps the demon picked her out of his subconscious and taunted him? The other explanation bothered him more. If Jasmine sensed the danger he faced she would reach out to him telepathically. Given Jasmine’s clairvoyance and empathy it would explain her appearance. He cleared his mind. Whilst her presence was poignant and worthy of investigation time was short it would have to wait.

The shimmering water dazzled him. This would only work if he became the wolf; the risk of drowning much greater in human form. He searched for a quieter spot away from the waiting gondolas and their ever-present gondoliers. Flies buzzed around the bags of rubbish awaiting collection behind one of the numerous alfresco cafes. There between the bins was the only place. He dived behind them gagging at the odour of rancid food and the scattering of rodents who sensed a predator in their midst. He tore off his clothes mindful of his need to redress later when he regained his human form. He embraced the pain of muscles stretching beyond their human endurance, bones cracked and reformed as he shifted into his true form. The silver wolf sniffed the air, no human scent in the immediate vicinity. He crept from his smelly hiding place and ran towards the water. A sharp gasp curtailed his dive into the water. His gaze locked with Jasmine’s watery, emerald stare. Her hand reached out to him he hesitated but before he acknowledged her his hackles rose as he sensed danger close by, somewhere behind Jasmine. He must go. If he lingered he risked himself and Jasmine who would be collateral damage in the demon’s pursuit. He dived into the dark, still waters of the canal with Jasmine’s screams ringing in his ears.’
©Jane Hunt 2014

I am running a poll until 28th February to help me decide on the title for the second book in The Dragon Legacy. So far my suggestion ‘The Revenge Masquerade’ is most popular.

Suggest A Title for The Dragon Legacy #2 – Jasmine and Zane’s Adventure

A Rafflecopter giveaway accompanies the poll and the winner will be drawn after 28 February 2014 and receive an E-book of The Dragon Legacy and a Crackle necklace.  Rafflecopter giveaway

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