Tour: Free Spirit by Jennifer Wells

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Free Spirit
by Jennifer Wells
New Orleans Magick Series #2
Publication Date: October 26, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Paranormal

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Wild child Rachel is having a week so terrible, not even a pitcher of margaritas will help. When her evil boss shows up on her doorstep with a sob story, her request to stay a few nights turns into a whole lot more. She can’t even escape into some of her favorite haunts in the Quarter since she seems to have garnered the unwanted attention of some rabid readers. When her ghost-hunting assignment goes unexpectedly awry, Rachel unknowing releases a vengeful spirit.

Enduring a wicked houseguest and hiding from an over-enthusiastic fan all while trying to put a spirit back in her grave where she belongs is more challenging than sobriety during Mardi Gras. Can she and her family work some magick to put things right in the Crescent City or has Rachel bit off more veggie muffuletta than she can chew?

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A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

So I fell in love with this book before I even finished chapter one. Rachel is snarky, sarcastic, and a bit of a pain in the ass… In other words, she is my spirit animal. I cannot think of a better character to follow through the haunted cemeteries and houses of New Orleans.

Rachel isn’t the only lovable character in the book though. Her twin sister, Janie, is Rachel’s polar opposite. While Rachel believes in the paranormal, tends to be impulsive, and is a bit eccentric, Janie is skeptical, logical, level headed. She is also a bit of a softy which is why they end up with their boss/friend/enemy, Jacqueline, as an unwelcome house guest. Jacqueline is a grade A biotch. Her rags to riches story changed her at a fundamental level and has made her more than a handful and now the golden carriage is turning back into a pumpkin… well, she’s more moody and unpredictable than ever. Ryan is Janie’s boyfriend and he tends to be the referee and voice of reason no matter the situation. Megan is their cop friend who they met when Rachel had issues with a stalker. Then there is Cherry, the loud, obnoxious, amateur ghost hunter and her partner/boyfriend Ted, who happens to be Janie’s ex-boyfriend. Throw in a some other friends and a couple of ghosts, and you have an eclectic, colorful, cast of characters that keep you sucked in to the story.

Being from Louisiana, I really love stories that highlight the cultural insanity of my home state. This one takes place in New Orleans where believing in ghosts, voodoo, etc. is the norm and the food is out of this world. The details of the city were minimal but Wells put enough authentic elements in the story to make me see The Big Easy in my mind and her descriptions of the food made me want to take a trip just to get some beignets and chicory coffee. No one does food like NOLA… YUM!

The story itself was wonderful. From the beginning I was completely captivated. I enjoyed every single word and I couldn’t get enough. Like I said, I can relate with Rachel. She tells it like it is and holds nothing back. She calls a spade a spade and admits her flaws as quickly as she points out others’. Tack is definitely not her strong suit but her abrupt manner does make for some amazingly funny lines.

I absolutely love this book and I look forward to reading more by Wells in the future. Free Spirit is definitely a five-star read and perfect for anyone who loves paranormal with a healthy dose of attitude!

Magic Charm
by Jennifer Wells
New Orleans Magick Series #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Paranormal

Magick Charm Book One

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Janie Adler likes her quiet, orderly life reviewing books for a small New Orleans newspaper exactly the way it is. So what if Duke Hot Pants, the hero of her favorite romance novel, is the only man in her life? She has a Pulitzer Prize to chase. That is until her quirky twin sister Rachel moves in, bringing boyfriend drama, a smelly ferret, and irrational belief in all things magickal along with her.

Persuaded by a local voodoo priestess-and maybe one margarita too many-the twins cast spells to improve their love lives. Loser-magnet Rachel focuses on avoiding the wrong men and Janie seeks her romance novel ideal. While plenty of eligible bachelors flood into their lives, Janie only has eyes for her coworker who lives in the apartment downstairs and works in the cube next to her.

But the twins soon discover the incantations’ many unintended-and dangerous-consequences. The increasing number of mishaps and misfortune putting the sisters in grave peril seems more like the work of a curse. Can Janie and Rachel’s “twintuition” save them from the menace stalking them?

About Jennifer Wells

JenniferWells

Jennifer has been writing since she was in middle school. When she discovered romance novels in junior high, she knew she wanted to write them someday. Her writing remained a hobby while she studied biology and forensic DNA science. She worked as a molecular biologist and published cancer research before finally leaving the lab and taking up her laptop full time.

She currently lives in Northern Virginia with John, her husband of seventeen years. John is a professional tarot card reader and astrologer. John and Jen have two children who happen to be cats: Morgana Madison and Luna. MoMo is a possessive Scottish Fold who loves to knead Jen’s hair. Luna is the baby, an affectionate Scottish Fold who thinks her name is “Cute.”

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Tour: Harvest Moon by Lisa Kessler

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coverHarvest Moon
The Moon Series
Book Four
Lisa Kessler

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Entangled Select Otherworld
ASIN: B014CR0OES

About the Book:

Dr. Jason Ayers unleashes all of his rage and his frustration through fists and brute force in an underground boxing ring. The werewolf may be the pack’s doctor, but he can’t even heal his coma-stricken father after the Nero Organization’s attack stopped his heart. And as his Pack brothers settle down around him, he still refuses to believe in the fairy tale notion that every wolf has a true mate…

In hiding and on the run, nurse Kilani Akamu is a loose end that Nero is desperate to tie up. She can’t afford to be attracted to a doctor—especially one as unexpectedly hot and complex as Jason. Yet the sexual sparks arcing between them are undeniable…and Kilani’s precognitive senses warn her that temptation is inevitable.

All it takes is one touch to send Jason’s wolf howling. But even if he could protect her from Nero, he can’t protect her from himself…

Goodreads  |   Amazon  |   BN   |   Entangled

3D Harvest Moon

Reviews

If you love suspenseful/mystery shifter stories, don’t hesitate to hit the “buy” button on the Moon Series! – Snarky Mom Reviews

Dark. Sexy. Emotional. Take a wild, suspenseful journey with the Moon Series!

Kelly Smith Reviews

Swoon worthy werewolves fighting to protect their pack from an evil organization bent on destroying them. With true love and steamy sex scenes, what more could you ask for? The next Moon Series book to come out of course! – RPriestEllgyCo

I love every book I have read by this author; the Moon Series is no different. An exciting run with shifters, science, and sexy sizzle. – Cosmic Palate Reviews

A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

How in the hell has this series managed to slip under my radar?

This is the main question that has plagued me since I started reading this book. (I feel guilty that it took me so long to read one of Kessler’s books because she has been on my want-to-read list for a while.) This is a great paranormal romance that reminded me a little of some of my favorite PNR series–Christine Feehan’s Ghost Walkers, Maggie Shayne’s Wings in the Night, and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters. The similarities are slight but they were enough to add this author among those names on my MUST-READ list.

This five-star read had me hooked from the get go. The story is well written, it has a great pace, and the characters were complex enough to keep me interested. Well, that may be oversimplifying it a bit. The story was absolutely addictive. Now, you may be able to guess this factoid just by taking a gander at the series I compared this book to but I have a thing about fate, fated mates, soul mates, and any other variation of the concept. The idea that a higher power has a hand in who someone falls in love with is one of my favorite story lines. (I actually have a series of my own planned with this concept–one completed MS still in the edit phase and several more planned.) So this subject is one I can really sink my teeth into.

The paranormal elements were great as well. They enhanced the story without taking over the plot. This is first and foremost a romance. The supernatural elements are important but they aren’t as grandstanding as in some series I’ve read. The werewolves only change on the night of the full moon but the protective and sometimes aggressive animal nature influences the human side. The psychic abilities aren’t completely reliable and sometimes it is better not to know what did/might/will happen. Kessler also uses a range of magical abilities found in multiple cultures which I really liked as well.

Now the characters… They are something. I loved the amount of contradictions Kessler packed into her characters. Jason is a doctor and yet he is also a fighter. It’s not everyday you see a MD duking it out in the boxing ring as part of an underground fight club. Jason himself as well as Kilani and a few others point out repeatedly how a doctor shouldn’t be constantly bruising his hands or risking brain damage from concussions but every time he needs to feel in control, he steps into the ring. Kilani fears the same thing she craves. She doesn’t want to put herself out there and risk getting hurt but she wants to be loved. Sebastian has split loyalties which are shrouded in mystery through most of the story. The entire cast of characters seems to have some sort of internal conflict going on. (Plus, a lot of the characters also have dual natures because they are werebeasts of some sort which makes the dichotomy of their psychology even more fascinating–man my inner nerd just won’t stay away.)

I am definitely hooked now. I know that I HAVE to get my hands on the first three books so I know everyone else’s story. This does function well as a stand alone. There are some references I knew brought up things from previous books, but I wasn’t lost–the author gave me enough info to understand past events within the context of the story. Overall it is an amazing book and I highly recommend it to any PNR fan. BTW- there is some sex in the book. It is what I would call mild-yet-wild; the language is mild but the scenes are intense- perfect combo for this kind of story.

The MOON Series:

Book 1 – Moonlight (Lana & Adam)

Book 2 – Hunter’s Moon (Aren & Sasha)

Book 3 – Blood Moon (Gareth & Nadya)

Book 4 – Harvest Moon (Jason & Kilani)

Book 5 – Ice Moon (in Nov. 2015)

Author’s Note –

While all of the books can be read as standalone novels, you may enjoy reading the rest of the series as well.

authorAbout the Author:

Lisa Kessler is an Amazon Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. She’s a two-time San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror and Best Published Romance, as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book. She currently writes the Night Series and the Moon Series for Entangled Publishing.

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

When she’s not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.

You can learn more at http://Lisa-Kessler.com

Stay up-to-date on new releases and giveaways by subscribing to Lisa’s newsletter here: http://goo.gl/Rxg5fR

http://www.authorlisakessler.com/category/blog/

https://www.facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023842.Lisa_Kessler

https://www.facebook.com/NightSeries

https://twitter.com/LdyDisney

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Giveaway:

$25 Amazon gift card (International)

1 signed paperback of Night Walker (USA Only)

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Tour: Delicious Complications by Sabrina Sol

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Delicious Complication
by Sabrina Sol
Publication Date: September 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Delicious Complication Cover

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Synopsis: A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

Temptation is a dish best served hot…

Event planner Daisy Robles can’t remember a time when celebrity restaurateur and celebrated playboy Brandon Montoya didn’t make her nuts. His infuriating arrogance, his hotness…his undeniable sexual energy. One night and whole lot of expensive tequila later, Daisy’s self-control is AWOL. And Brandon’s making her crazy in all the right ways.

When their tequila-fueled make-out session hits the tabloids, Brandon is furious. At least until he realizes his “relationship” with Daisy is his chance to get his ill mother to Los Angeles for treatment. All he has to do is convince Daisy to be his pretend fiancée for two weeks…

The deal? No sex and no falling in love. But all it takes is a little heat to find themselves in a deliciously compromising position…

DC Teaser 1

EXCERPT:

While she hadn’t expected him to jump on her in the driveway, his continuing silence and physical distance made her wonder if he’d changed his mind. She stopped in the middle of the foyer after hearing the door close behind her. “So we should talk about what—”

He grabbed her left wrist and spun her around to face him. Then he grabbed her other wrist, making her drop her small clutch purse on the floor, and walked her backward until she was up against the front door, pinning her hands on each side of her head. “I think we’re done talking.”

He claimed her mouth in one long, brutal kiss, finally giving her the physical contact she’d been waiting for. She surrendered to him and their tongues dueled in a desperate dance to taste each other, feed on each other. Brandon moved his lips to her neck while his hands still pinned hers.

“God, I’ve thought about touching you like this for so long. So damn long.”

So had she. It wasn’t until he kissed her at the party that she’d realized just how long she’d been waiting. She was a starved woman who’d been tricking herself into thinking she wasn’t that hungry. His kiss blasted through any remnants of self-control, and she was ready to finally indulge in her cravings. “I want you, Brandon,” she confessed.

He lifted his head to look at her. “And I want you, Daisy. Necesito. You know that. I’m ready to take you, but I need to know for sure. I need to know you’re ready for this. Because if you’re not, I’ll let you go right now.”

The thought of Brandon not touching her again was inconceivable. She met his darkened eyes. “I’m sure. Make me yours, once and for all.”

It was the permission he needed. He let go of her wrists and encircled her with his arms. She threw hers around his neck and pulled him down for another consuming kiss. He groaned and it thrilled her to know that she had caused him to do that. Their passion became a hurricane of heated energy, and she was swept up in its vortex, hurtling toward a place of raw sexual need that she’d never experienced before. If this is what it meant to become lost in another person, then she didn’t want to ever be found.

“I’m going to go crazy if I don’t touch you, Daisy. Dejame tocarte.”

“Yes…touch me, please.”

Brandon dropped to his knees and lifted the hem of her cocktail dress, pushing it up around her waist. “Careful,” she whispered. “The dress is rented. I have to send it back tomorrow.”

He hooked a finger under the waistband of her black thong. “Is this rented too?”

“No. Why?”

In one swift move, he ripped the flimsy material off her body and spread her lips open.

DC Teaser 2

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A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

This one starts off with Daisy and Brandon expressing their contempt for one another through witty banter one minute then after a few shots of tequila, they’re practically going at in the hallway outside the honeymoon suite. So, of course it sucked me in. Like my favorite Shakespearean couple, Benedick and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, Daisy and Brandon aren’t your typical lovebirds. They try to hide their attraction by antagonizing one another, using their hostile demeanor to protect their hearts and/or careers. I honestly prefer to read stories like this; where the couples don’t start off fawning over each other but instead the relationship develops because they try to avoid a romantic entanglement. For me, the story feels more real because let’s face it, real relationships are as messy and complicated as they are wonderful.

The exploration of their attraction was only part of the story. The rest revolved around Daisy and Brandon’s relationships with their friends and family. I love it when an author takes the time to develop characters this way. How people act with friends and family really highlights facets of their personalities that may be overlooked otherwise. The way the author handled the platonic and familial relationships added depth to the characters and the story. They provided the background necessary to understand each character’s reservations about their growing relationship. And the information about their childhoods and parents gave crucial insight to how their pasts shaped who they are. The characters were so well defined, I felt like I knew them personally, which made me care about the outcome of their little drama.

Now, let’s talk about sex and all that entails. I felt the scenes were well written–from foreplay to completion–they worked, nothing felt forced or rushed and they fit the story well. I’d say they’d rate 4 out of 5 as far as intensity goes. Some crude language but it didn’t go so far that it cheapened the act. What I really liked about the sex was the way they joked around at times. Yeah, good sex is part of a healthy relationship but the way the banter about sex continued after they slept together just made the whole relationship feel more real.

I really just loved everything bout this book. I liked the way the author used Spanish words, phrases, and foods in the story; it gave the characters a rich culture (and honestly made me hungry to try new foods–I’m gonna be looking up some recipes REAL soon). The characters were wonderful and the story was amazing. I definitely want to read book 1 and find out about Amara and Eric’s story and I hope to read about some of the other characters–Alex maybe?–in the future.

This one definitely earned a five-star rating. I can’t wait to read more by Sol in the future!

Other Books in the Delicious Desires series…

Delicious Temptation Cover

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Synopsis: Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn’t paying off. So when her brother’s sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara’s tempted to be very bad indeed…

After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara’s brother he would never think about, let alone do.

But this bad boy is in deep trouble…because Amara’s determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.

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About Sabrina Sol

Sabrina Sol

Sabrina Sol is the chica who loves love. She writes steamy romance stories featuring smart and sexy Latinas in search of their Happily Ever Afters. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three kids, two Beagles and one Bulldog, and is part of a larger, extended Mexican family whose members are NOT the source of inspiration for her characters. Or so she tells them.

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Tour: Ruby’s Choice by D.F. Jones

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ruby's choiceRuby’s Choice
Ditch Lane Diaries
Volume 1
D.F. Jones

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: D.F. Jones
Date of Publication: July 25, 2015
ISBN: 0986122742
ASIN: B011T77W08
Number of pages: 173
Word Count: 61,570
Cover Artist: Amanda Northcutt, Jones Media

Book Description:

Ruby’s Choice is a coming of age story set in the late 1970’s in Middle Tennessee with a splash of paranormal which will blossom in the second and third books of the series.

Ever since Ruby discovered an amber-encased spider web in the Campbell Ridge Cave, she has had dreams of births, deaths and glimpses into the future.

Ruby’s shift is coming to a close at Everglade General Store. As she stacks the last row of bath soap, Ruby recalls the delicious dream she had the night before. In the dream, a gorgeous guy is kissing a tickle spot, just behind her left earlobe, sending shivers up her spine. If only that dream could come true, instead of the one where a state trooper gives her a seventy-five dollar speeding ticket!

Ruby snaps back to reality when she hears the store’s front door bells chime. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say the frickin’ Adonis from her sexy dream just walked through the door.

Reed Jackson and Brent Brown introduce themselves to Ruby as members of the local baseball team her brother, George, manages. Brent mentions they specifically came out to the store to meet George’s hot, little sister. Ruby is slightly confused when she hears Reed murmur Tap It under his breath, but then she remembers the rumor going around campus about Reed and Brent’s dating game, where the two best friends compete to have a girl profess undying love to one of them. And Tap It is a winner takes all—all of what, though, Ruby has no clue. Ruby decides that she’ll play along, but according to her rules. She’ll suss out if either of these players is worthy of her love and respect.

One thing is for sure, Ruby is no pawn.

Who will be Ruby’s Choice?

800x320-ImagesEverglade 800x320-ImagesFarm 800x320-ImagesMoon

A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

I thought I knew how this review would go. I’m talking three-quarters of the way through the book, I had a definite opinion and then… BAM! The world I thought I knew was jerked out from under me and I was left reeling. The end of the book drastically changed my entire outlook on the story.

I found the beginning a little slow but honestly, that could have been just me. Last week was insanely hectic and I’m not real sure my brain was firing on all synapses by the time I delved into this book. I finished the first two chapters in a haze and wasn’t real sure if I’d been reading English or not. After picking it back up the next day and reading further, I’m pretty convinced all the muddled-assness was my own. Sleep deprivation is a hell of a drug.

Anyway. After getting back to the story, I fell into the narrative. I found it interesting although I completely forgot it was supposed to be a paranormal book. It read more like new adult. The characters are college students and the novel revolves around friendships, romantic entanglements and whatnot.

I liked the characters even though at times I found them to be somewhat annoying. I wasn’t a typical young adult myself (or teen… it’s more like I went straight from 10 to 35) so I don’t readily identify with some aspects I often find in younger characters. I wouldn’t have trusted any guy that acted like Reed and Brent. They had the pretty-boy/play-boy/frat-boy attitude which made them seem too immature for my taste (I was actually on team Jerry at first) but Ruby saw something in them. I liked Ruby. She seemed like the type of girl that didn’t put up with BS but at one point it was like she lost her edge and almost hit that bella-swan-too-stupid-to-live stage. This had me ranting and raving like a lunatic posing questions to my own daughters (they’re 10 and 16) asking if they would be that stupid–which they assured me that they wouldn’t. And just when I knew that I was going to hate the outcome… the characters surprised the hell out of me. I found myself talking aloud to an author I knew she couldn’t hear me, “YOU WIN, OKAY! YOU FREAKING WIN!” I actually shouted this as I paced my dining room… Good thing the hubs and kids were already gone to work and school, they may have called the men in the little white coats.

I confess my momentary laps in sanity to emphasize the importance of the ending of the book. The last quarter is simply amazing and it really makes the whole book. It raised it to a five-star rating where otherwise it probably would have rated a four. I gaped, I cried, I swooned then I gaped some more. The roller-coaster ending was well worth the earlier irritation at a young woman’s poor decision making skills.

I definitely plan on reading the next installment of this series. I can’t imagine not knowing what happens next!

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Author Reading https://youtu.be/urB0ToCii-g

 Book Trailer https://youtu.be/quA4hqaQkIo

Available at Amazon

authorAbout the Author:

D.F. Jones is a native of Middle Tennessee and is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. After college she landed a job with the ABC Affiliate in Nashville as a broadcast consultant. She opened her advertising agency in 1998. After years of writing creative for other people through her media company, she decided to write something for herself. It turned into her debut novel, Ruby’s Choice. If you love to read and get immersed into the characters of a book, then you will catch a small drift of how incredible it is to write your own characters and breathe them into life.

www.dfjonesauthor.com

https://twitter.com/Author_DFJones

https://Instagram.com/D.F.Jones_Author

https://Facebook.com/DFJones.author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14282826.D_F_Jones

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Tour giveaway

10 prize packs featuring a paperback copy of Ruby’s Choice and a mystical stones bracelet. Open to US Shipping Only.

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<raflid=”ba112ffc1154″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=””>a Rafflecopter giveaway10 prize packs featuring a paperback copy of Ruby’s Choice and a mystical stones bracelet. Open to US Shipping Only.

Sol of the Coliseum

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Adam Gaylord’s New Novel ~

Sol of the Coliseum

Follow Along to Read Reviews, an Excerpt, and Spotlights.

Survival is an act of defiance.

Sol of the Coliseum

About Sol of the Coliseum:

Deep in the bowels of the Coliseum of the mighty Astrolian Empire, the orphan, Sol, is raised by a makeshift family of guards and fellow slaves to become the most famed Gladiator in all the land. Alongside K’nal, his giant Frorian fighting partner, Sol must battle cunning warriors and fantastic beasts to delight the crowd and stay alive. But when an oppressed populace transforms Sol into a revolutionary folk hero, the Empire sends its most ruthless assassin to put an end to the uprising. Sol’s only chance is to do what no slave has ever done: escape from the Coliseum and the only home he’s ever known.

Follow the Blog Tour:


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Title: Sol of the Coliseum

Author Name:  Adam Gaylord

Genre(s): Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Tags: Fantasy, Adventure, Epic, Coliseum, Gladiator

Length: Approx. 259 pages

e-Book:  978-1-987976-10-6

Paperback:  978-1-987976-09-0

Release Date: September 17, 2015

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)

Read an Excerpt:

A baby’s cry.

Grall was sure that was what he’d heard. In the depths of the Coliseum a person became accustomed to various cries of pain or despair. Prisoners, men broken physically or mentally, called out in the night. Spoils, the women given to victorious fighters to do with whatever they saw fit, cried out often. The beasts, crazed by captivity and seclusion, howled and cackled. Even Grall, though the proud young guard would never admit it, sometimes fought back tears that came in the dark. Over time, one could learn to block out the sound completely.

But the cry of a child, an infant, a sound that had no place in this world, could not be ignored.

Grall made his way slowly down the roughly-carved stone hall, unenthusiastic in his search for the sound’s origin. He knew what was expected of him when he found the child. His stomach clenched at the thought.

“I don’t need this,” he thought aloud, his voice barely a whisper. “I should be in bed.” In truth, only minutes before he had lain wide awake, willing dawn to come and give him a reason to abandon his tossing and turning. With the day came his duties; blessed menial tasks he could lose himself in, briefly forgetting his loss.

Grall had come to the Coliseum only a few months before. He had been a guard in the city of Astrolia, capital of the Astrolian Empire, until he refused to participate in a drill using live captives. His protests changed nothing. The captives had died regardless and he had yet again angered his captain, the man that controlled his fate. As punishment he had been transferred to the Coliseum, a post feared by guard and soldier alike. Far more than the danger and brutality, what inspired dread for the post was that for all intents and purposes the Coliseum was a closed system. Be you slave or guard, once you entered it you probably didn’t leave. He had begged his captain, promising him utter obedience. But for the Captain, Grall had made it personal. It mattered not at all that Grall’s young wife had just given birth to their first son. Neither did it matter that he would probably never see either of them again. Even if he managed to be one of the few to live long enough to see retirement, his son would be grown with children of his own.

He had been all for packing their meager belongings and making a run for it, but his wife’s cooler head had prevailed, as always. They lived in the middle of the Astrolian Empire, two week’s hard ride in any direction from free lands if they had a mount, which they didn’t. She was still weak and sore, not yet recovered from a difficult childbirth. Most importantly, they had a brand new baby. In the best of times the road was no place to raise a child, and they would be in hiding.

“No,” she had answered stoically through her tears, “you will go to the Coliseum. You will send us your pay. I will raise our son.”

He protested and argued to the point of exhaustion, vainly fighting the logic in her words. Eventually he conceded, packing his bag and leaving his family, barely started, standing at their doorstep.

He still grieved for the son he would never know.

And now there was this.

“I don’t need this,” he repeated to himself, stopping outside the door to the women’s barracks.

They had promised to take care of it.

He knew the mother. She was a slave in the luxury boxes. As sometimes happens, one of her wealthy male patrons had an eye for her and he raped her after she refused his advances. She’d hid the pregnancy well at first but eventually her condition became all too obvious. Grall had been sent to deal with it. The women of the barracks had assured him that though uncommon, such things were not unheard of. The baby would be disposed of in a quiet manner. He had relented.

An infant howling down the halls was not a quiet manner.

Grall took a deep breath and opened the door. His broad frame and barrel-chest filled the doorway while he let his eyes adjust to the dimly-lit barracks. Women were sitting awake in their bunks, eyeing him with considerable disdain. He made his way down the candlelit center aisle toward the source of the disturbance, avoiding the hostile glares and trying to keep his face passive. He didn’t want to be here any more than they wanted him here. The object of his quest lay wrapped in a blanket and was held by a rather large cook. He saw the mother lying in a bed off to the side, unmoving. The sheets were soaked with blood but it was her face that drew his gaze. She had obviously been beaten, badly.

“She panicked,” the cook said flatly to answer his unasked question. “She confronted the father. He did that and she gave the last of her strength giving birth to this boy. We’ve named him Sol.”

A heavy silence settled over the room; the baby was finally quiet, as if showing respect to his deceased mother. Grall’s gaze lingered on the dead slave, her many bruises contrasting with her pale skin and long blonde hair. In life she had been beautiful, a curse for a woman in the Coliseum. In the peace of death she still held her beauty, despite the violence she had encountered.

“And now you’re here,” the cook broke the silence accusingly.

“I’m sorry. Melina was well liked,” he said, attempting civility.

The cook nodded. “She never let this place get to her.”

He nodded, recognizing the compliment. There was a long pause.

“You can’t keep it,” he said plainly, surprised at the feeling he was able to keep out of his voice. Several hisses sounded behind him. The cook neither responded nor moved. She just sat holding the child.

“You know the rules as well as I.” He could feel the animosity radiating onto his back from the bunks.

“What life could he hope to have here?” he asked, almost pleading, bristling at the tone of his own voice. He was a guard of the Coliseum; he didn’t need to explain himself. Who were these women and this cook who sat unmoving? Had they taken care of things as they promised, he wouldn’t have to be down here at all.

He straightened up. “I’ll deal with it,” he said firmly. Moving the last few paces toward the cook, he felt the women stir behind him. The cook made to strike him and several cries of protest sounded as he reached for the baby. But something unexpected happened, something amazing. As Grall reached for the bundle, his hand was met by the child’s. Without fear and with a strong little grip, the baby grabbed one of Grall’s fingers and held. He froze, as did the women.

Had it been any other guard, hard and embittered with years of service, nothing would have changed, but for Grall that tiny hand struck with the force of a blow. He shuddered visibly, staring wide-eyed at the child. All was still. Grall knew his duty, what was expected of him. The problem with duty was that it belonged in the Coliseum and he was no longer in the Coliseum. Looking at this tiny baby, feeling it holding his hand, the guard was home.

The little hand holding his finger melted Grall’s resolve. The women saw it immediately and smiles passed around the bunks. Grall didn’t see them, he only saw the child. He sighed and then without a word he slowly straightened, turned, and walked back the way he had come.

From that moment on, Sol was a child of the Coliseum.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Kindle http://amzn.to/1i60QIx

Paperback http://amzn.to/1K34I4v

Mirror World Publishing

ebook http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/sol-of-the-coliseum-e-book

Paperback http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/sol-of-the-coliseum

A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

As some of you may have noticed, there are some book tags I just can’t resist. If a book boast that it is Shakespeare-like or uses the word epic in its description– I am a hundred times more likely to read it. I’ve waxed on about Shakespeare before but I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed my obsession with the epic.

This one stems from my lengthy stint as an undergrad student. I signed up for a course on Greek Myth and Drama and one of the required text was Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Over the course of the semester, I learned more about archetypes and the hero cycle than I imagined was possible. That course did two things–sparked my interest in pursuing English as a possible major and forever changed my approach on literature analysis. I’ve used Campbell (and Aristotle’s Poetics, also a text from that class) hundreds of times in almost every paper I’ve written since taking that class fifteen years ago. That book still sits on my shelf; it is dogeared with highlighted passages and copious notes in the margins. I became obsessed with the hero cycle and I saw it everywhere not just in the examples listed in the book.

Anyway, my obsession with the epic journey has stuck with me and the cycle itself remains a factor I consider when evaluating a story. Seeing the epic tag associated with a story prompts me to read it to see where it measures up in the grand scheme of things. And this one did quite well. It is indeed an story worthy of the moniker.

It is really hard for me to avoid comparing this story to the Star Wars saga (yes, I’m a geek and a nerd). SW is one of the greatest modern manifestations of the epic, but there is more to it than that. At first, I easily pictured the story taking place in ancient Rome because everything about the story resonated with the ancient civilization–Empire, coliseum, gladiators, etc. But when some of the animals and then the Friorian fighter were described, and the presence of dual suns was mentioned, my mental pictures shifted and suddenly I started picturing the coliseum from Episode II dropped right in the Tatooine landscape although the image didn’t fit the completely. Not too far a stretch to go from ancient civilization to a galaxy far, far away considering the way the story-line from SW mirrors the rise and fall of the Roman Empire (I should probably mention I’m a bit of a history nut too… At least ancient civ through the Renaissance and American history through the Civil War, but I digress) From there I started seeing more similarities. I drew parallels between Sol and both Anakin (the slave), Luke (powerless until opportunity makes him see his power) and even Han (doesn’t believe they have a chance but still does his part); Korra and Leia (strong female and part of the growing resistance); G’nal and Chewbacca (big, furry, loyal, definitely someone you want on your side… you get the picture); Grall and Obiwan (surrogate father and mentor); there were others but these are the main ones I saw. Now don’t think this is some strange rehash of a familiar tale, because it isn’t; it simply uses many of the same character types you find in any good epic, SW just happens to be the most familiar these days. I won’t bore you by turning this into an analysis piece. Just know that the characters are familiar, realistic, and likable.

The story flowed well and I found the world Gaylord constructed to be a wonderful mix of an ancient world, some more modern concepts and phrases, and a few exotic details that made it a whole new world. The rich details painted a clear picture of every battle and interpersonal encounter. I was completely transfixed by this amazing, five-star tale and I hope to see more from this talented author.

Adam GaylordMeet the Author:

Adam Gaylord lives with his beautiful wife, daughter, and less beautiful dog in Loveland, CO. When not at work as a biologist he’s usually hiking, drinking craft beer, drawing comics, writing short stories, or some combination thereof. He’s had stories published in Penumbra eMag, Dark Futures Magazine, Silver Blade Magazine, and Plasma Frequency Magazine, among others.

Review Tour: Write to Me by Nona Raines

WriteToMeTour

Write To Me
by Nona Raines
Publication Date: September 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Tour: Write To Me by Nona Raines

The Wild Rose PressAmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboAllRomance

Gloria Navarro met and married her soul mate. When he died, she felt she’d never know that kind of love again. But when she finds a love letter between the pages of a book and the man who wrote the missive, she starts to believe lightning might strike twice.

To Bryan Dunn, love is a four-letter word. He doesn’t go in for cheap sentiment or hearts-and-flowers. But he wants Gloria, and to get her, he’ll let her believe he wrote the silly letter. The longer he’s with her, though, the more he cares. If she discovers the truth about him, it just might break the heart he never thought he had.

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A Bookaholic’s Fix Review:

As far as romances go, they don’t get more perfect than this one. Everything about this book kept me enthralled from beginning to end.

From the description, you may expect cliched character types and a story so overused that you can recite the plot from memory and while that may be true to an extent, Raines did an excellent job of making the story feel new.

Gloria’s marriage was described as being perfect and beautiful and her husband’s loss, heartbreaking. You feel the depth of her sorrow and the need to know she isn’t the only one in the world to feel so strongly. I absolutely love the interaction between her and her daughter; how they cling to one another and look out for each other. It emphasizes how their bond was effected by Emilio’s death.

Bryan, on the other hand, starts out as a self-serving ass. The portion of the story told from his perspective is brilliantly written. There is no disguising his true motives once you see in his head and while his actions aren’t the most noble, you can’t help but have hope he’ll change. Throughout the book, you get to see Bryan evolve and watch as they discover something with the potential to heal them both.

I can’t get over how well the author developed these characters especially since there is little interaction between them and the world outside their story. I believe there are only five other characters mentioned by name- Gloria’s daughter-Desi, her fiance-Ashlynn, a shop keeper-Miłosc, and an elderly couple in the park-Letty and Howard. The last three characters don’t seem majorly important but they do play a crucial part in the development of the story–kinda like little twists of fate.

Now another aspect I have to commend the author on is the sex scenes. Very well written, sensual scenes only highlighted the depth of emotion developing between the characters making it so much more than sex. Pure sex (with the crude words so many default to) would have ruined the outcome of the story so I was glad to see the author take the sensual road.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters and the story. It was beautifully written and I really want to read more of Raines’s work when I get my TBR pile manageable again. This one definitely earns her 5 stars and a new fan!

About Nona Raines

Nona Raines is a former librarian who lives in upstate New York with her many pets. She’s currently working on her next novel between walking the dog and shooing the cats off the laptop. Her erotic romances are published with The Wild Rose Press and Loose Id. Her transgender romance His Kind of Woman was nominated for the 2014 DABWAHA sponsored by the Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review blogs. Her most recent work is the erotic romance novella Read to Me.

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