Saturday, 26 May 2018

Go To Sleep by Marion Adams




Title: Go To Sleep
Author: Marion Adams
Genre: Children's Book
Age Range: 3 - 7 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2

Tansy the sheep can’t go to sleep. She’s forgotten how to do it! But when she follows the barn owl’s advice and starts counting sheep, she realises that something is wrong …

The award-winning bedtime story with a humorous twist that children will love!

Full Media 🐑  Amazon





My Review:

A cute bedtime story about a little sheep who couldn’t get to sleep. Counting sheep takes on a new twist in this fun read.

Aimed at children 3 - 7 years old. This is a wonderful story to read to your little ones, and for the older range of the age group to read themselves.

The illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills are delightful.





Author Bio:

Marion Adams has been writing for as long as she can remember, usually for fun and sometimes for money as well. She started her career as an in-house copywriter with a publisher and now works as a freelance proofreader and editor. It’s her dream job because she’s paid to read all day (and eat dark chocolate). Over the years, she’s written all kinds of things for both adults and children, some serious and some less so, with published work including magazine stories, articles, poems, plays and non-fiction books.

Marion lives in Devon, UK, and when she’s not reading or writing (or eating dark chocolate), she loves going for walks on the wild moors where her picture book Go To Sleep! is set.

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Friday, 25 May 2018

Don’t Cheat Me by Jackie May



Title: Don’t Cheat Me
Series: Nora Jacobs #2
Author: Jackie May
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: May 21st 2018


One month after Nora’s violent induction to the dangerous supernatural side of Detroit, she’s finally settling into her new life as the underworld’s token human. All she wants to do is mind her own business, enjoy her new friends, and stay safe. But that’s easier said than done when she’s such an enigma to everyone around her.

Thanks to her unique psychic abilities, she’s garnered a reputation for being mysterious and powerful. When the alpha of a local werewolf pack asks her to help him figure out who is stealing from him, she can’t say no, even though getting involved in pack business could have deadly repercussions.

While tangled up in a heap of werewolf troubles, Nora can’t quite shake her old vampire problem, either. Henry is practically stalking her, Parker is breaking down the walls around her heart, and Nora’s blatant fear of the blood-sucking monsters is a delicious temptation for the natural predators.

Nora’s succubus friend, Cecile, believes throwing her a “coming out” party into underworld society is the best way to solve all of her problems, but Nora disagrees. If the vampires and werewolves don’t kill her, Cecile’s party planning definitely will.

This is book 2 in the Nora Jacobs series and should be read after book 1. It is a slow burn reverse harem series.


Excerpt:

         “Hey, sexy, how about you bring a shot of Angelfire and that pretty little ass over here.”
         I pour a shot of the fey alcohol and bring it to the tactless man with a forced smile. As I take the cash he lays out on the counter, he grabs my arm and pulls me close. “You know, I’ve never had a human before—they’re not usually worth my time—but I’d make an exception for you.”
         I yank my arm back. “Not interested, thanks.”
         I start to walk away, so he quickly downs his shot and asks for another. “What’s the matter? Think you’re too good to bed an underworlder?”
         I smirk as I fill his shot glass with another round of the light blue liquid. “Nope. Just too good for cocky assholes.”
         I don’t have time to regret running my mouth off before the man has me by the throat and is pulling me across the counter to his seething face. “I’ll show you manners, human. You’re nothing but an insect in my world. A plaything. And now you’ll be mine. I’ll have you begging for death for all eternity.”
         His thoughts are scarier than his words. He plans to follow through on his threat. He knows many fey in the winter court that keep human pets. He’s never seen the appeal, but now he wants nothing more than to humiliate me and make me suffer. And maybe he’ll eat me once he’s bored of the torture.
         His grip is so strong I can’t breathe, but before I start to see spots in my vision, Wulf and Nick rip me apart from the psychotic winter faerie. Wulf has me behind him, using his body to physically shield me, while Nick has the faerie laid out on the bar by his throat. The man is wailing in pain, and it takes me a moment to figure out it’s because Nick’s buried a dagger in the man’s shoulder, hilt deep. Judging from the screams of pain, the dagger is made of iron, which is poisonous to faeries. “What was that about begging for death for all eternity?” Nick asks. “Is that how you like to play?”
         “But she’s human,” the faerie cries, as if that justifies his actions.
         Wulf growls at this, and his whole body begins to shake. I place a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him down. I’ve heard that werewolves like physical touch, and a gesture to tell him I’m all right should help with his protective instincts. I’ve never seen a werewolf shift, and I don’t really want to see one now while he’s pissed and I’m trapped behind a bar with him. I want to say something soothing, but honestly, I’m too scared to get any words out. That faerie has a dark, twisted mind.
         “She is an employee of this club and Terrance’s only clan,” Nick says.
         The fey’s eyes pop wide open. “She’s his clan?”
         “His first.” Nick nods. “And he’s especially fond of her. So I would advise you to leave her alone. In fact, I bet you’re a dead man walking once Terrance figures out you’re the asshole who put the bruises around her neck.”
         Nick’s eyes do that thing they do when he gets really pissed. The pupils turn into vertical slits. It’s freaky looking. He also emits some kind of power. I can’t really explain it. I don’t know what kind of underworlder Nick is. It’s rude to ask, and he’s never offered the information up. But it’s something totally badass that scares even the nastiest underworlders. Mr. Creepy Fey Man is squirming under his grip, looking like he’s about to piss himself. “I’m sorry,” he whines. “I didn’t know who she was. I’ll leave. Just let me up before Terrance comes.”
         “Maybe we should leave him pinned to the bar for a while,” Wulf says, making the fey’s eyes go wide again. “That’ll send the message that Nora is off limits, which might appease Terrance.”
         I can’t help the way my mouth falls open. “You’re not serious.”
         Wulf gives me a grim look. “This man disrespected Terrance’s staff. That won’t go unpunished—house rules.”
         “Terrance will kill him for touching you, unless we punish him first,” Nick adds, backing up Wulf’s claims.
         They’re not kidding. They plan to keep this guy staked to the counter the way he is. The underworld runs on a different set of rules. It’s brutal and dangerous. If I want to survive it, I need to learn to stomach the darker side of it and trust those who have my well-being at heart.
         “Okay,” I say, since both Wulf and Nick seem to be waiting for my approval. It’s not that hard to agree, considering how evil the man’s thoughts were. “Let’s leave him for a while.”
         “Put a sign on him so everyone knows,” Nick says.
         Wulf writes a note on a pad that says I touched the human girl. He puts it on the faerie’s chest. “Hold this, and don’t drop it.”
         The man grips the message and holds it against his chest where everyone who gets close can read it. But he’s squirming, swearing, sweating, and hollering about the pain. I have no doubt it hurts. Nick has no sympathy for him. “Shut your mouth,” he says, touching the dagger’s hilt and twisting it ever so slightly, causing the faerie to scream in real agony. “This is a tender mercy. Stop whining, or I’ll put this dagger through your heart to shut you up.”
         I’m not surprised when the faerie shuts his mouth and keeps his discomfort to mild whimpers from then on. If Nick had looked at me the same way he looked at that guy just now, I’d find a way to forget about the pain, too.






Author Bio:

Jackie May is a pseudonym for a husband and wife writing team. Josh and Kelly live in Phoenix, Arizona with their four children and their cat, Mr. Darcy. Jackie May is their only daughter. (And she keeps asking for her cut of the profits since we’re using her name.)

Website ⬪ Facebook ⬪ Twitter




Q&A with Josh and Kelly:

So you are a husband and wife writing duo. Why the penname Jackie May? Why not use both of your names?
Mainly because Kelly is already an established young adult writer under her name. (Kelly Oram). She was going to need a penname for this anyway, and we figured having one name for both of us was simply easier. (And it looked nicer on the cover, lol.) Jackie May is the name of our only daughter. We “borrowed” it from her, which she thinks is kind of cool, but she also keeps asking for her portion of the profits. We told her we’d negotiate when she starts paying her own living expenses.


How do you like writing together?
It’s both a blessing and a curse. We love being able to work together on something we’re both so passionate about. It’s great to be able to discuss everything together and bounce ideas off each other. And we love being able to both work from home together and have the same schedule. It can be difficult to navigate our creative differences, though, and there are plenty of those. It’s not like we can just hang up the phone or turn off the chat when we’re annoying each other. The tricky part is to work through those creative differences without it turning into a fight that affects our family.


What was your inspiration behind the Nora Jacobs series?
We’re both big fantasy geeks. When we decided write together, we knew we needed to pick a genre that we both liked. When we settled on urban fantasy, we both agreed we liked the classic “case of the week” structure. The Nora Jacobs books are inspired by some of our favorite urban fantasy series. Think the earlier books in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill.


Why did you choose to set the books in Detroit?
What better place to set a dark and dangerous underworld full of monsters than the beat-up, rundown, dangerous city of Detroit? Kelly spent her teenage years in a suburb of Detroit so she has some personal ties to it, and it definitely lives up to it’s reputation. She’s got a couple of scary stories about getting lost in Detroit and literally knows more than one person who has been shot while in the city. We found it a fitting stomping ground for our supernatural creatures.


What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
READ! Anything and everything you can get your hands on. The more you read, the better your writing will be. Also, WRITE! Practice makes perfect. Chances are, that first draft of that first book you write will not be publishable. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. It makes you normal. Between the two of us, we completed dozens of novels before either of us had one we felt was good enough to be published. Writing is just like anything else. It takes time, patience, hard work, and a lot of practice.



What are you working on next?
We have a novella releasing in August as part of the Realms and Rebels Anthology. (Pre-order links on our website.) It’s 26 New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors coming together to bring you 22 reverse harem novellas filled with magic, danger, mystery, adventure and romance. We were thrilled to be invited to participate in the anthology with so many amazing authors.
Then, this fall we’re releasing the first book in a companion series to the Nora Jacobs books. The Shayne Davies series is set in the same world as Nora Jacobs and has a lot of character crossover. The first book in the Shayne Davies series, The Devil to Pay, will be released before the third Nora Jacobs book because it comes next chronologically. Nora 3 will release after that. So many books! There’s lots to look forward to from us, so make sure to join our new release mailing list and our facebook group to keep updated with us.









Thursday, 24 May 2018

Interview with Andréa Fehsenfeld



Earlier this month I spotlighted a debut novel, Completion, and I’m delighted that the author, award-winning TV producer and lifelong book lover, Andréa Fehsenfeld, is joining me today.


Hi Andréa, welcome to Just Books.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
My main career has been TV production, which I segued to after seven years of finance. My parents are European immigrants and my father worked for Air Canada, allowing us to travel extensively as a family. I spent a lot of my childhood in Switzerland. Travel is still a big part of my world and I get antsy every quarter if I haven’t gone anywhere.

When and why did you decide to become a writer…?
I was told all my life I should be a writer and dabbled in it here and there, writing business columns and the odd story. It wasn’t until I started creating pitches for TV shows that the desire for fiction took hold. It still took several years before I sat down to start.

…and what motivates you to write?
My motivation to write has developed like any skill. Writing is a muscle to flex daily and now a day doesn’t feel quite right if no words hit the page.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
I’ve read almost a hundred books on craft and one sentence really stood out to me: “Narratives hunt us down; haunt us until we write them.” I finished a first draft of a completely different book before COMPLETION. While giving that draft time to breathe, I wrote a short story that was the first tonal exploration of what would eventually become COMPLETION. There was something in that short story that lured me, kept dragging me back. I knew I had to dig deeper and explore. I’m glad I did. It was a cathartic story to write. Every writer should pay attention to the narratives that don’t let go.


What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy living through another character, bringing them to life. It’s an honour and one I don’t take lightly.

What inspired Completion?
COMPLETION was partially inspired by two events in my life – a teenage cult experience and a supernatural encounter in my thirties. But the way the events play out in the story was different than what I experienced. It was the mood and aesthetic of the events I wanted to infuse the story with. Every writer draws on personal experiences at some level while creating and some of these influences are more obvious than others. It depends on the book and the writer.

Would you tell us a bit about your time with the cult...?
The cult experience was a random encounter on the island of Oahu. My friend and I had nowhere to stay (teenage bums with zero cash) and got picked up on Waikiki Beach by the Hare Krishnas. Our time with them sparked a life long interest in cults. I was never interested in joining one but the people and structure and desire to be there intrigued me. I always knew I would write a story about a stranger coming into a cult – there’s so much natural tension in that setting.

And your supernatural encounter?
The supernatural encounter happened in New Mexico. I was hiking in the late afternoon and came up on this ridge with a huge valley sprawling in front of me. The wind started to gust, I spread my arms and there was this rush, an infusion of old energy, Native American energy. The sounds and the visuals pounded through me so violently, I almost lost my balance. What I saw and heard wasn’t entirely pleasant either. It lasted about four nerve wracking minutes where I was not in control of anything. Very powerful and a little disturbing. (For the record, no drugs or alcohol was involved in this.)

Give us an insight into your main character, Damien Hester. What makes him special?
Damien has a heart of gold and wants to believe in the goodness of people, although his past has created a socially awkward and emotionally corrupted front. He’s on the run from the law, but what he’s really looking for is something we all crave and the title - COMPLETION - refers to this journey.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
Before I stared writing the book I knew the title and what the cover image would be. I found the perfect font and my designer did a fantastic job of creating the image. I supplied a handful of reference pictures to him, he came up with five prototypes and from those five I cut and pasted the features I liked. Voila! The cover was born.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Image is key! In TV, it’s all about how design and font and mood and tone are all vertically integrated into creating the visual materials for the show. I’m trained to think about these elements in advance and it’s something I encourage all writers to do. What is the message? Who is the audience? Covers and titles are so important. Together they should work on a subconscious level.

Do you have any works in progress? Can you tell us a little about it/them?
My next book is about a disillusioned rock star under pressure to deliver his next hit who finds unlikely inspiration and complications from a teen runaway who forces him to face the music the way he never has. It’s a rites of passage story with hilarious and bittersweet moments. I’m a huge music fan and this is my ode to all the musicians who have colored my world.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I’d give my younger self? Life plays out the way it does and changing one thing, changes everything else, so it’s difficult to say. I was very driven in my youth, still am, so I probably would have told myself to chill out a bit!

It’s time to relax! What do you do?
To relax, I love being outdoors and travelling. Photography is a passion of mine. I also try and see as many concerts as possible. If there is a God, I will die in a mosh pit.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Hardest thing I’ve ever done? Finding courage to walk away from a long term relationship destroyed by drugs.

Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Mostly I’m an early riser although I love the calming energy at night. It’s a great time to write.

What foreign country would you most like to visit?
I’m a big fan of South America. I’ve been to several countries and plan to visit Venezuela next.

What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
A perfect day involves sunshine, exercise, a few hours of writing, time with my man and a good meal.

Which fictional character, book or film, would you like to meet?
I would love to meet Patrick Bateman, the protagonist in AMERICAN PSYCHO. He’s erudite, complex and a music lover. He’d probably end up killing me, but it’s worth the risk.


And finally, a quick-fire round:
  • Favourite colour?
Purple
  • Favourite food?
Ripe, sweet mangos
  • Favourite song?
Impossible to answer
  • Favourite item of clothing?
Citizens of Humanity jeans
  • Favourite quote?
“ The memorable never emerged from a formula”

Thank you for spending this time with us, Andréa. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for reading! Please reach out if you have further questions.

Andréa Fehsenfeld

Cool Stories for Cool People

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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay


Title: Blessing of Luna
Series: Wolf gods #1
Author: Blaise Ramsay
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication date: April 20th, 2018



Lonely. That's how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn't badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.

Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn't but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.

Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover's reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.

However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill's world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill's lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.

With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only the tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.

If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.

AmazonB&NKobo

Excerpt:

         Kain led Damien to his tent. “Forgive my intrusion on your time with Jillian. I wanted to tell you one last thing before the fight. Holt nearly mentioned it in the meeting but I stopped him because it wasn’t the time or the place.”
         “What is it?” Damien replied, curious.
         “The dark secret of the vampire noble. As it is with us, the vampire nobles and high class have the ability to change into more powerful forms. Unlike lycans however, they only have a single transformation. I have only seen it once in my many years but it is very formidable.”
         Kain pulled a box out from under a pile of old books and blankets. It was covered in dust as though Kain had been trying to bury the memory.
         Laying it down before Damien, he opened it, revealing what looked like a talon.
         “Kain, what is this?” Damien took it in his hands, carefully examining the detail.
         “It was pulled out of my father’s side. When he returned, his body was dripping blood, his side ripped open,” Kain lowered his head. “Damien, he was in his full lycan form. Whatever left this has power. I want you to be very, very careful. Lilith most likely has the power to become the monster much like the one that left this talon.”
         Damien’s breath stalled in his lungs. From what he learned about their history, Pentacost Kain was one of strongest lycan soldiers in the war.
         To hear he was torn apart so badly in full lycan form by something that Lilith could possibly become sucked any hope Damien had of having a chance against her out of him.
         “Kain, I can’t fight her. What if I’m not strong enough.” Damien raced in his chest as fear fought to take hold of him.
         Kain took the talon, placing it back in the box. “Damien, you are more than strong enough. Lilith is inexperienced and most likely whatever it was that took down my father was much more powerful. I just wanted you to be aware of her ability. I will be by your side against her. Gabriel and I have already talked about it. Holt, Yuna, Galeck and Lune agree it’s the best course of action. Just be ready.”
         Damien nodded, his words freezing in his throat.
         “Good. The moon rises. I must hunt with Gabriel and Lune. Damien, if you need to, you may stay here tonight. I know Jillian does not yet understand how strong your bond with the gods is. It may help to be in the company of someone that does. For now, though, I believe I interrupted something between the two of you. Hell hath no fury and all that.” Kain walked out chuckling.



Author Bio:

FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018.

She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor's in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn't for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her instagram, twitter, facebook and blog.

Feel free to contact Blaise for an author interview, guest blog opportunities and book reviews. Visit our affiliates' page for a chance to see how you can get a hold on some of the books we have reviewed.






Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bound by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor



Title: Bound
Series: A Magnus Blackwell Novel #2
Authors: Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
Genre: Adult, Supernatural
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: April 17th, 2018


Magnus Blackwell’s past is about to catch up with him.

An evil force has seized New Orleans. Pestilence, suffering, and darkness cloak the city. The citizens are scared and need their mambo to guide them, but Lexie Arden can’t help anyone. A diabolical presence has taken Lexie’s power and severed her ties with the other side.

Magnus Blackwell is fighting demons of his own. Torn between his devotion to Lexie and a spirit from his past, Magnus’s loyalty is put to the test. He must revisit his sins to uncover the key to the hatred ripping the city apart. If he doesn’t, Lexie’s reign as mambo will end.

Their search for answers leads them deep into the darker realms of voodoo—until a desperate Lexie does the unthinkable, and Magnus can do nothing to spare her from her fate.




Author Bio:

Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)




Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans.

Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable.

A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife.

She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.




Guest Post by Alexandrea Weis:
The best or worst day in your life so far.


The Best Days are Book Days

The best day is the day I finish a book. The very first book I finished, To My Senses, gave me such ecstasy, the feeling has remained one of the highlights in my diary of days. Every time I conclude a book, it’s a good day. Not when it is published, the day I close any book is a great day, because at that point it is still mine. My story, my words, it has not been edited or read by anyone else. It remains my baby. Just me and my imagination having the time of my life and putting together something that no one else knows about it. Sure, I spoke to other people about it. Shared my ideas, but the rough draft is still mine. The process of going through beta readers, editing, and proofing will invariably change the book, make it different than I first envisioned, but on the day I type The End, it is still all mine.

You never know how many great days like this you will have because every book you finish you wonder, will I write another; will I have the strength for another. The entire writing process is exhausting. It takes time away from family and friends because it becomes an obsession driving you to create. Blessing or curse depends on the book. Some kill you, others leave you breathless, but every one you are grateful for having written. Being a writer is a calling like so many other professions that can weigh heavy on the soul—doctors, nurses, priests, teachers. Every book takes a piece of you and holds it within its pages. I equate each book I write to a child; some wear you out, but all lift you up.

In the end, when the writing is over, the story is down on paper, and you can breathe because the characters are finally out of your head, you are thankful for being able to do what you do. Because the best days in life are those you savor.





Monday, 21 May 2018

Someone Else’s Soul by Meradeth Houston


Title: Someone Else’s Soul
Author: Meradeth Houston
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Bleeding Ink Publishing
Publication date: May 7th 2019


There are 14 strangers who share her face, and one company is determined to erase them all.

Everyone has secrets, and it’s Diana Kane’s job to know them. It’s a talent–being able to see into someone’s life from the scuffs on their shoes to the way their hold their hands–a talent that sets her apart from everyone. When a mysterious stranger drops into her life dangling the possibility of something she’s longed for, a real connection with someone who might actually understand her, she’s too intrigued to refuse.

But when David Addington shows up to their date knowing too much about her, and the top secret agency she works for, Diana realizes their meeting was anything but coincidence. David has more than his share of surprises, including an impossible claim about Diana’s past and photos of an inexplicable woman who shares her face.

When her life begins to unravel around her, Diana has no choice but to put her faith in the mysterious David and the man he claims is his father. As she struggles to piece together the truth about where she came from, she’s forced to face the reality that her entire life has been manufactured, along with fourteen other women who share her exact same DNA. Confronted with the troubling reality that she’s nothing more than a research experiment that’s pushed the boundaries of science and ethics, Diana must rescue the others like her before the company can erase them as mistakes. She will have to put all her skills to the test in the ultimate game of survival…




Author Bio:

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

  • She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and uses "like" a lot.
  • When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
  • She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
  • If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.





Sunday, 20 May 2018

Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks


Title: Phi Alpha Pi
Series: 21st Century Austen #2
Author: Sara Marks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult, Adult
Release Date: May 28, 2018


Phi Alpha Pi is the oldest and largest sorority on campus and new president Lizbeth has a busy senior year ahead of her. She’s determined to keep her sorority in good standing on campus after a year on academic probation. She’s trying to manage the new sorority house manager, Mrs. C, who has her own ideas about how to support the sorority sisters. All while trying to find balance with her own academic goals to complete an honors thesis, graduate, and decide her future plans.

The last thing Lizbeth expects is her anger when Wil, a new member of the Alpha Pi fraternity, pushes every one of her buttons. Lizbeth finds Wil, a new transfer to the university with his best friend, to be rude, snobby, and judgmental. Even though she tries to avoid him, he seems to be everywhere, scowling with displeasure when he sees her. That is, until his Thanksgiving proclamation of love. That causes Lizbeth to reconsider how she sees the world.

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Excerpt:

The party was in a penthouse apartment only a few blocks from their house. They could easily have walked over, but instead they took a car. Since all three women were wearing new high-heeled shoes, the less walking on icy sidewalks, the better. Lizbeth had found an amazing black, sleeveless dress on a clearance rack. It looked fantastic on her. This was the extent of Lizbeth's excitement for the party. She suspected she and her two siblings would be the youngest people there.

"We’re going to play a game," Becca said on the elevator ride up to the party. "Each of us must find something interesting about the apartment. Lizbeth, a measly library does not count. Nor, Josh, does the food or kitchen. I want mermaid statues in the bathroom, rooftop sex rooms, or, if you’re desperate, famous socialites puking over the balcony."


"Becca!" Layla said as the elevator door opened right into the apartment.


To say the apartment was big would be insufficient. There were at least two floors, and probably something on the rooftop. The space was large and open with a grand staircase leading up to the second floor. Lizbeth could see the walls of windows, many leading out to the balcony that overlooked the city. The main room was devoid of furniture other than high-end folding chairs. It was full of people with food and drinks in hand. Waitresses walked around the room with trays of food. Lizbeth saw a buffet against a far wall and a bartender serving drinks. Two walls were just floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city skyline. She could see a few people chatting out on a balcony outside. Inside the decor was primarily white and metal.


"I will also accept stolen Nazi art,” Becca whispered in Lizbeth's ear. 

There was a great deal of art in the large front room. Everywhere people chatted amongst themselves. Someone came and took their coats. Another person came over to Jack and Layla and started talking to them.

"Kids," Layla said, turning to her children, "you’re on your own. Don't get drunk, don't steal anything, don't cook anything, and don't get lost in the library."


Layla knew her children well. Each of them grabbed a glass of wine and went on their own way to play Becca's game. Lizbeth walked through various rooms. Other than some great art, there wasn't anything of interest for her to tell Becca about. She did enjoy looking at the art, but without Charlotte, she didn't know anyone but the masters. She eventually put her wineglass down and made her way upstairs. There were people talking on the landing and on the stairs, so it didn't seem out of bounds. Some of the doors were open. She saw someone come out of a bathroom. She peeked in the door and saw no marble mermaid statue. 


She walked into the poorly lit room next to it. It smelled of furniture polish and something familiar. She realized, as her eyes adjusted to the light, that she was in a library. It wasn't a for-show library either. This was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, bookshelves full of books. The books were a mix of beautiful leather bound books, worn paperbacks, spiral bound books, and folios of loose documents. A sofa faced a large window that looked out over the city. The view was breathtaking and made her remember what she loved about New York City. 


Lizbeth was more interested in the books than the view. She made her way over to a shelf and pulled one out. It was about the navy during the Napoleonic era. The whole shelf was full of similar books. She didn't care about her mother's instructions; this was her dream room. Her grandparents’ library in Gardner had been built and filled with books over generations. It was her favorite room in their house. Her mother had built a library in both their homes. She put the book back, and pulled out another one. accidentally snagging another. It fell to the floor with a loud thump.


"Fuck,” she said under her breath and bent down to pick it up. 


"Lizbeth?"


She stood up and turned to the sound of the voice. There, next to the sofa, was Wil Darcy.


"You certainly have a thing for wandering into my bedrooms," Wil said softly.




Check out the first book in this series!
"Tension builds as they each learn about the current version of the person they once loved and resolve the ramifications of their choices."

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About the Author:

Born in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara Marks has two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess and winning with the most degrees in her family. By day she's an academic librarian. In what little free time she has, she also knits and plays with her dog Cedric Doggory.




Guest Post by Sara Marks:


Ten Things I'd Like To Achieve This Year

I’m an obsessive list maker. I bullet journal, keep lists of short term and long term goals, and I’m even a trained project manager (a professional list maker). I learned after a massive failure in college that my lists need to be working to something bigger. I always have a multi-year plan (five or three typically), but each year I break it down into smaller, more manageable goals by quarter. It helps me keep on task and remain flexible. Here are ten things I planned on achieving this year. Keep in mind, a few have been accomplished or are about to be as you read this.



1- Publish my second book Phi Alpha Pi.
You’re reading this because I accomplished this goal! Publishing my first book last year was a huge achievement for me, but building on that to do better was at the heart of the goal this year. I learned new skills and software like iMovie, Adobe InDesign, and applying my project management skills to publishing. I got to work with new editors and professionals like my cover designer Risa Rodil.

2- Walk 6,000 steps a day at least four times a week.
It seems simple, but 6,000 steps is a lot to walk each day. In the past I’ve only ever been able to reach it about two days a week, but I want to do better. I’ve taken to longer walks with the dog and on my own. If I can do this pretty consistently by the end of June, then I’m going to increase my walking goal to 7,000 steps a day! So far, I’ve managed to regularly do this 4 days most weeks and since the middle of April, I’ve been doing this nearly every day. I suspect by the end of May, my goal will officially change to 7,000 steps a day.

3- Visit New Orleans in June
I’m very excited about this one because it’s going to happen in a few weeks! I haven’t been to New Orleans in over twenty years. I would go two - three times a year when I was in college, but I’ve never really enjoyed touristy places. I’ve already scheduled tours for a few days. I plan on setting part of a future book in New Orleans. Going back means the chance to do some research and eat a ton of great food.

4- Finish Writing Book Three
I’m really excited about my third book, Missing Auggie, because it’s my own story, not inspired by anyone else’s work. As much as I love modernizing Austen’s novels, I want to share something I came up with all on my own. I have been trying to finish writing it for a few years and I think it will be ready by the summer 2018. Of course, if you join my mailing list, you might get to read it early as a beta reader or advanced review reader! Anyone who reads Phi Alpha Pi will get to read the blurb!

5- Save enough money to go to India in 2019
In college I studied religious anthropology and fell in love with India. Ever since I’ve wanted to visit and the opportunity has come up for me to go sometime in the next 5 years. I’m excited to enjoy the food, culture, and atmosphere of a country that I’ve only read about in books and seen in movies! Bonus, I’ll get to travel with my father who goes every year and has plenty of friends to show me around.

6- Finish Project Management certificate program
I have a silly goal to be the most educated (over educated?) person in my family. I’m not there yet, but I’m pretty close with two Master’s degrees. It was just a little over a year ago that I started project management classes thinking I needed the skill for my job as a librarian. While it has helped me there, it’s really changed the way I write and publish my books. I have one more class to take this month and then I’m officially certified. I’m already working on ways to share what I’ve learned with other self-publishing authors. I’m also considering the advanced certificate, but I’m not sure about that yet.

7- Write more letters!
I love stationary! I love note cards, address labels, stickers, washi tape, and postcards. I have SO MUCH stuff for letter writing, but I don’t do it as often as I imagine I will. For the past two years, in February, I’ve participated in International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo). You have to send a letter every day, all month. I’ve done it both years and finished, but this year I added an April event called #Write_On, which was done because April was National Card and Letter Writing Month. I know, so many opportunities to write cards and letters! I was successful with it this year and now I need to keep up with all the pen pals I acquired over the past couple of months.

8- Watch all the Disney and Pixar animated movies
This might seem like a silly goal and you’re right, it is. I use to love Disney and Pixar animated movies. I grew up in Miami, so we went to Disney parks often when I was a kid, but I grew out of it after I moved to Boston. I don’t know why it happened, but my love was renewed when I went to Disneyland with my sister last December. Now I want to watch all those movies I loved again and discover those I’ve missed. So far, I love Moana, especially Hei Hei! You might get a hint, when you read Phi Alpha Pi, as to why roosters might be a favorite.

9- Save money for Disneyland Paris in 2020!
After that very same trip to Disneyland, my sister (who hates to travel, especially long flights), actually said she wanted to visit other Disney parks around the world. I thought we should start with Paris, but that’s because I LOVE Paris! I’m even playing with the idea of a novel inspired by the Disney parks and princesses. This might change before it happens. She said something a few weeks ago about going to Tokyo first...

10- Add more culture into my life
I love theater, ballet, museums, and history, but I often put that aside to do the mundane things in my life. This year I’m trying to add more culture into my life. I’m going to see live broadcasts of Bolshoi ballets at my local movie theater (did you know they do this?), I’m visiting museum and exhibits, and I going to see more locally produced plays. I want to do this so I have more emotional balance in my life. I draw inspiration and ideas when I’m engaged in these types of activities. My brain relaxes and is open to new things. As my brain processes things, I start asking more questions and want to find the answers. Other than seeing the Bolshoi dance twice (who knows if I’ll ever get to Russia to see them live), I went to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston to see the Murakami exhibit in March, done escape rooms with friends, participated in a live marathon reading of Kerouac’s On The Road, and visited the opening of a friend’s photography exhibit. Maybe next year I’ll add in operas!

Great list, Sara - Thank you



Giveaways:

**US Only

One winner will win a Prize Pack containing:
- Mrs. C's homemade officers shirt in Comic Sans (you pick XL or XXL)
- A Phi Alpha Pi sorority sticker, candle, and bracelet (some of the items mentioned in the story).
- An illustration by cover designer Risa Rodil
- A rooster dishtowel (so you can make cock jokes with Lizbeth and Wil)
- Autographed printed copies of Modern Persuasion, A Little More Modern Persuasion, and Phi Alpha Pi (not pictured)



**Open for all

These are the prizes you can win:
- 14 winners will each win an e-copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks
- 1 winner will win a print copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks


This is my stop during the book blitz for Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks.
I hope you enjoyed reading.

The book blitz runs from 14 till 28 May.

This book blitz is organized by: