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Scent of the Soul – A Riveting Must Read by Julie Doherty

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Scent of the Soul

Julie Doherty

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication:  February 11, 2015

ISBN:  978-1-61935-705-1

ASIN: B00SZ0SKUE

Number of pages: 288

Word Count:  91,000

Cover Artist: Leah Suttle

Book Description:

In twelfth century Scotland, it took a half-Gael with a Viking name to restore the clans to their rightful lands. Once an exile, Somerled the Mighty now dominates the west. He’s making alliances, expanding his territory, and proposing marriage to the Manx princess.

It’s a bad time to fall for Breagha, a torc-wearing slave with a supernatural sense of smell.

Somerled resists the intense attraction to a woman who offers no political gain, and he won’t have a mistress making demands on him while he’s negotiating a marriage his people need. Besides, Breagha belongs to a rival king, one whose fresh alliance Somerled can’t afford to lose.

It’s when Breagha vanishes that Somerled realizes just how much he needs her. He abandons his marriage plans to search for her, unprepared for the evil lurking in the shadowy recesses of Ireland—a lustful demon who will stop at nothing to keep Breagha for himself.

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/dBuB3WC3FGU 

Available at   Amazon    Amazon UK    Amazon Canada

REVIEW:Scentcover

I’m going to get right to the point. READ SCENT OF THE SOUL.

I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book. Ms. Doherty displays incredible talent for building a living, breathing world that seduces your senses and tantalizes your mind with rich imagery. Rather than bore the reader with paragraphs of descriptive prose, she subtly layers elements into each scene, making them an intricate part of the story.

SCENT OF THE SOUL highlights a real life Scottish warlord, Somerled, and his fictional romance with a slave girl, Breagha, blending historical fiction and romance, tempered with a bit of mysticism. This is romance with teeth – a gripping, well written tale set in 12th century Scotland. The author has obviously done a lot research which is evident in the authentic details of the period.

Somerled and the cast of characters are portrayed with depth and flaws, exactly what one would expect in a top-notch novel. Everything has a purpose in this book, right down the tiniest detail which adds new meaning to the term “tightly woven”.

I’m truly impressed with Julie Doherty’s style and ability to pen a riveting story. This is easily a five star book.

Excerpt:

As Godred’s oarsmen shoved off from the jetty, Somerled wondered if there was any man less suitable to deliver a marriage proposal. Godred of Dublin was coarse, marginally Christian—indeed, marginally sane—and easily riled. Nevertheless, King Olaf liked him, and for that reason alone, Somerled had selected him as his envoy.

“No side trips,” Somerled shouted before Godred was too far away to hear. “Ye have three places to go and that’s it: the Isle of Man, your clan, and back here.” Godred was prone to unscheduled detours.

Unless bad weather or the scent of easy plunder pulled Godred and his thirty oarsmen off course, Somerled would have Olaf’s answer in a few days. If Olaf agreed to the marriage, Somerled would add a wife to the items decorating his new castle at Finlaggan and eventually, the Isle of Man to his expanding area of influence.

The nobles would respect him then. Half-breed or not.

Behind him, a door squealed on one of the two guardhouses standing sentinel over the Sound of Islay. The small building spat out Hakon, his chief guard, another man of Dublin birth and temperament. Hakon strode the length of the jetty to join him. “I have every confidence the Norns will weave Godred a successful journey, my lord king,” he said, his words puffing white clouds above his tawny sheepskin cape.

“If your goddesses have woven anything, it’s an unfortunate headwind,” Somerled said. “Godred is forced to tack.” He closed his cloak and secured it at his throat with a brooch he once plucked from a Viking who no longer needed it. “The wind promises hail. My proposal will be delayed.”

“Aye, likely,” Hakon said, his hair and beard whipping into copper clouds, “but it will hasten Olaf’s reply. Do not despair, my lord. Ragnhilde will marry ye soon enough.”

Despair? Somerled stifled a laugh. Did Hakon think he had feelings for a lassie he had never met? He was about to tease his guard about being a romantic when Hakon stiffened.

“Another ship,” Hakon said, looking past Somerled’s shoulder.

Somerled spun around to inspect the northwestern waters of the channel separating Jura and Islay—the jewel of the Hebrides and the island that served as the seat of his burgeoning kingdom. “Where?” he asked, squinting.

Hakon thrust a finger toward the fog bank blanketing the horizon. “There, at the promontory, in that pale blue strip of water. See it?”

At first, Somerled saw nothing but swooping terns and ranks of swells. Then, an unadorned sail appeared. It crested on a wave, dipped low, and vanished.

“Should I sound the horn?” Hakon asked.

Somerled raked his fingers through the coarse, wheaten mess slapping at his eyes and held it at his nape while he considered his response. Behind them, the signal tower on Ben Vicar was smoke-free. Across the sound, the towers on the frosty Paps of Jura were likewise unlit, although clouds partially obscured their peaks. The Paps had a commanding view. If a signal fire blazed anywhere, the men stationed there would have seen it and lit their own.

“My lord king, should I sound the horn?” Hakon impatiently palmed the battle horn dangling at his broad chest.

Men began to gather on the jetty.

“Let us wait. It is only one ship, and it looks to be a trader. The signal fires would blaze by now if it were someone worthy of our concern.” Somerled glanced back at the mud and thatch cottages shouldering against one another. At their doors, the bows of half his impressive fleet rested on the shoreline, a sandy slip extending well into the distance. The rest of his ships sheltered at the far side of Islay, in Loch Indaal. A signal fire would deploy them quickly and, perhaps, needlessly.

“Alert the village. Have Cormac ready Dragon’s Claw,” he said, “but send only the nyvaigs for now.” The nyvaigs were smaller, but no less deadly. They would be out and back quickly.

Hakon sprinted through the gathering crowd and past the guardhouses. He leapt over a pile of rocks with surprising agility for a man of his years and size. In no time, specialized warriors and oarsmen were boarding the boats. A pony thundered inland, its rider instructed to warn, not panic, the people of Finlaggan.

Though Somerled carried his mighty sword, he had dressed for warmth, not battle. His mail shirt, aketon, and helmet hung in his bedchamber, two miles away in Finlaggan. He singled out a boy in the crowd. “Lad, find me a helmet and a shield, and be quick about it.”

The boy shot like an arrow toward the cottages.

Somerled held his breath as he watched the nyvaigs head out. At the first flash of steel, he would blow the battle horn. His men would light the towers and he would board Dragon’s Claw. The foreigner would be sorry he entered the Sound of Islay.

The ship’s features were barely discernible, but he could see that its high prow lacked a figurehead. He was trying to identify the banner fluttering on its masthead when the ship’s sail dropped and scattered gulls like chaff in the wind. His heart hammered against his chest as he waited for the foreign vessel to sprout oars; it didn’t. It stalled—a sign its crew had dropped anchor.

Dragon’s Claw bobbed next to him at the jetty, her top rail lined with colorful shields and her benches holding sixty-four of his savage warriors. Cormac gripped the tiller, but he would move aside when Somerled barked the order to do so. He would serve as his own shipmaster in the face of an enemy.

Low and curvy with a dragon’s head exhaling oaken flames from her prow, Dragon’s Claw was his favorite vessel, not because she was new or particularly seaworthy, but because he had wrenched her from the last Viking to leave his father’s lands.

The memory of that battle warmed him and occupied his thoughts while the nyvaigs swarmed around the foreigner. Then, they swung about, furled their sails, and rowed for home like many-legged insects skittering on the water’s surface.

When the boats reached the beach, Hakon jumped from his nyvaig and jogged through ankle-deep water, apparently too impatient to wait for his men to haul the vessel’s keel onto the sand. “Well, my lord king,” he said, “it seems to be the day for marriage proposals. It is an envoy from Moray, who comes at the behest of Malcolm. He asks to speak with ye regarding Bethoc.”

“Malcolm MacHeth . . . the Malcolm MacHeth . . . wants my sister?”

He had met Malcolm MacHeth only once, at King David’s court, on a night spoiled by ill-bred lassies who had mocked his foreign garb and speech. Malcolm, a bastard nephew of the Scots king, had observed his humiliation and pretended not to notice.

Yet here was Malcolm of Moray, a claimant to the Scottish throne and a known rebel, seeking Bethoc’s hand in marriage. Tainted bloodline or not, Somerled was apparently worthy of notice now.

JulieDAbout the Author:

Something magical happened in the musty basement of Julie Doherty’s local courthouse. She went there intending to research her ancestry, not lose herself in a wealth of stories, but the ghosts of yesteryear drew her into the past and would not let her go. The trail left by her ancestors in those yellowing documents led her from rural Pennsylvania to the Celtic countries, where her love of all things Irish/Scottish blossomed into outright passion.

She became particularly interested in Somerled, self-styled “King of Argyll” and progenitor of the Lords of the Isles. In 1164, he led a fleet of 164 galleys up the River Clyde in an all-or-nothing attempt to overthrow the Scottish crown. What would lead a man of his advanced years to do such a thing?

Of course, history records he did so because the king demanded forfeiture of his lands. But the writer in Julie wondered …what if he did it for the love of a woman?

Those early ponderings led to SCENT OF THE SOUL, Julie’s first novel, coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing.

Readers will notice a common theme throughout Julie’s books: star-crossed lovers. This is something she knows a bit about, since during one of her trips to Ireland, she fell in love with an Irishman. The ensuing immigration battle took four long years to win. With only fleeting visits, Skype chats, and emails to sustain her love, Julie poured her heartache into her writing, where it nourished the emotional depth of her characters.

Julie is a member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, Central PA Romance Writers, The Longship Company, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA. When not writing, she enjoys antiquing, shooting longbow, traveling, and cooking over an open fire at her cabin. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, who sounds a lot like her characters.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532434.Julie_Doherty

http://twitter.com/SquareSails

http://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites

http://www.juliedoherty.com

Catherine Bybee Continues the Love with “Seduced by Sunday”

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SEDUCED BY SUNDAY

Catherine Bybee

Weekday Brides, Book 6

Series, Stand Alone

April 14, 2015

Montlake Romance, Contemporary

Goodreads Book Page

BUY LINKS:

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Book Description:
She swore off love forever…but he just might change her mind.

The sixth sweet, thrilling book in the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Weekday Brides series from Catherine Bybee.

Meg Rosenthal: Matchmaker by day, realist by night, Meg is not about to get swept away by a charming, darkly handsome businessman in a designer suit. She’s come to a beautiful secluded resort to evaluate the private island’s potential for her agency, not to ogle its owner. But there’s something about the magnetic man that’s hard to resist, even for a woman who refuses to fall in love.Seduce by Sunday L

Valentino Masini: A successful and drop-dead sexy businessman, Valentino is used to having the finer things in life. Yet he’s never wanted someone the way he wants Meg, who’s stirring up a hurricane of trouble in his heart. But just as he decides to convince her to stay, someone else decides it might be time to get Meg off the island…permanently.

Praise for Catherine Bybee

“Suspense, survival, and chemistry mix in this scintillating read in the style of Julie Garwood and Suzanne Brockmann.” —Booklist on Fiancé by Friday

“This is a book nobody should miss, because the magic it contains is awesome.” —Booked Up Reviews on Married by Monday

“[A] wonderfully exciting plot, lots of desire, and some sassy attitude thrown in for good measure!” Harlequin Junkie on Single by Saturday

MY REVIEW:

Catherine Bybee continues the love with SEDUCED BY SUNDAY, Book 6 of the Weekday Brides series. It seems redundant to tout the remarkable talent by this USA Today and NY Times Best Selling Author but I simply can’t resist. Simply put, Ms. Bybee is the BOMB when it comes to contemporary romance!

Her stories explode from Page One, ripping apart any preconceived notion the novel is formulaic and only names and places have changed. Quite the opposite. SEDUCED BY SUNDAY is a great stand alone read or a continuation of a very popular and entertaining series.

Meg is a high profile matchmaker secretly researching an island resort for the Alliance Agency. She wants to make sure it offers the discreet accommodations and privacy it advertises. Plans go awry when she is not allowed access to the resort until they complete a background check, which sends Meg into a cyber frenzy as she pens not-so-friendly emails to the owner.

After she is finally allowed admittance, Meg meets Val, the hotel owner. Sizzling attraction ensues but Meg doesn’t trust those feelings. Val on the other hand, is quite eager to push the envelope. As these two lovebirds-in-the-making maneuver past a rocky beginning, they discover all is not as it seems in “paradise”. I love a little suspense with my romance and Ms. Bybee knows how to deliver.

This is a well written tale with an interesting plot, snappy dialogue, beautiful setting and a great cast of characters, some from previous stories in the series. If you haven’t read the other Weekday Brides books, don’t despair. While I highly encourage you to indulge, SEDUCED BY SUNDAY will make perfect sense as a stand alone novel. But be warned . . . this series is addictive. Once you’ve read one, you’ll want to keep going!

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

Meet Catherine Bybee:

Bybee Author Photo

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.

CONTACT LINKS:

http://www.catherinebybe.com

catherinebybee@yahoo.com

catherinebybee.blogspot.com

twitter.com/catherinebybee

Review – “The Naked Storyteller” by Laura Michelle Thomas

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The Naked Storyteller

by Laura Michelle Thomas

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Comedy

NakedStorytellerCoverBook Description:

Harry Tyke is a flabby, divorced grade-six teacher on the verge of a monumental mid-life crisis when he unexpectedly ends up in a storytelling workshop taught by a creative, free-thinking teacher-turned-storyteller named Olga. The workshop awakens Harry’s long dead romantic side and hurls him into stories from his past, including his decision to give up on his dream of being a novelist to please his parents, a decision this classroom-weary teacher can no longer live with as he sags into his fifties.

Questioning contemporary ideas of what makes a happy and productive life in an increasingly digital world, this romantic comedy––set in Vancouver, Canada––will have you cheering for this unlikely leading man from start to finish.

Purchase Links:

(iTunes) https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naked-storyteller/id909123422?mt=11

(Kindle Amazon.ca) http://www.amazon.ca/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

(Kindle Amazon.com) http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

Review: 

The Naked Storyteller is an interesting tale of one man’s life as he searches for hope, love and forgiveness after years of living in disappointment. Harry Tyke is an overweight, unkempt, middle-aged teacher on the cusp of an emotional breakdown. He doesn’t like or understand the attitude and actions of his students. He dutifully takes care of a mother who viciously attacks him. He is ridiculed by students and faculty. And he is filled with regret for never pursuing his passion for writing.

His life sucks. But it’s about to get better . . . before it gets worse.

Harry is jarred out of his misery and bitterness at an educational conference by the sight of a striking woman in bright red heels. His best friend, James, is also intrigued and immediately launches a campaign to woo and bed the workshop presenter, Olga. Her training module is entitled “The Naked Storyteller”, sending both men into sexual fantasies about the woman and her red shoes. It is later explained that the title stems from her time in Mexico where she was forced to teach children without aid of books, paper or pens. She relied solely on storytelling and achieved remarkable results.

James is quickly shot down in his pursuit, surprised to find Olga’s attention focused more on his messy, ill mannered friend. Harry is even more surprised than James. As Harry attempts to use his storytelling skills to teach a class of unruly students, he realizes his style is missing something. He asks for Olga’s advice. Through her tutilege, he breaks the barriers and finally garners his student’s attention and respect. Unfortunately, he does so by sharing questionable details about his life including his mother’s stern actions, catching his wife with another man, ejecting her from his house while she is clad in leopard panties and being forced into a teaching career by his parents in return for the ownership of their upscale home. Needless to say, not all the parents are happy with the content of Harry’s “lessons” and soon complain to the principal.

The rest of the novel deals with Harry’s metamorphosis from unhappy to happy and dealing with his mother’s lies and rejection. Along the way, he and Olga must also overcome some relationship issues . . . trust being one of them.

The Naked Storyteller is touted as a comedy but I feel satirical is more appropriate. It’s a character driven tale so the pace moves a bit slower than a story with more drama. However, following Harry Tyke’s bumpy journey from miserable, brow beaten man to someone who follows his dream with confidence is a fascinating study in human nature.

Ms. Thomas has penned a compelling novel that will keep readers cheering and jeering for the unlikely hero while remaining sympathetic to the unfortunate events in his life. You’ll enjoy it.

LauraAbout the Author:

LAURA MICHELLE THOMAS is an author with an opinion on just about everything she thinks is wrong with contemporary life in North America (which, in her opinion, is just about everything). Harry Tyke, the 52-year-old protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, is who Laura might be if she wasn’t the author of her own life and had a beard. When she’s not writing and telling her family to buzz off and let her work, she’s runs a very busy website through which she fosters the development of young writers around the world through free annual writing contests, young writers conferences and other inspirational stuff. With the assistance of her team of junior bloggers, editors and artists, Laura has the privilege of being publisher and senior editor of an international e-zine for young writers called jaBlog! To find out what novel project Laura is working on now, please visit her website (www.laurathomascommunications.com) and click on “Novels by Laura Michelle Thomas.”

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PollyWantstoBeaWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraThomasComm

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7329741.Laura_Michelle_Thomas

 

Start Your New Year With A Good Book – American Specter by R. Prioleau

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American Specter

Rasheedah Prioleau     

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Date of Publication: Feb, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692226582

ASIN: B00IOWGVZY

Number of pages: 248

Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Roger Raymond

Book Description:cover2

FBI Agent Audra Wheeler has been haunted for the last thirteen years by a paranormal attack that left her sister, Kendra, in a coma. Mentored by FBI Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero to investigate crimes committed by specters, Audra believes she is on the trail of a ‘serial killer’ specter with a MO very similar to her sister’s attacker.

The investigation takes her to a small town of Specter, Georgia; a haven for ghosts who exist among the living.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/i6m6vTxw-Yg

Available at Amazon

Review: 

American Specter is an interesting tale offering a twist to the “ghost story” theme. It’s an eclectic blend of Criminal Minds, Supernatural and Men in Black, and features great characters with a fun supporting cast.

In a nutshell, Audra Wheeler is a special agent trained to hunt “specters” – ghosts who reside among the living. Most are nice and don’t upset their living counterparts but one has developed a rather nasty habit of strangling women. Audra arrives in Specter, Georgia to investigate yet another murder by the ethereal serial killer, only to run into the one man she can’t resist . . . Ethan Cole, now Sheriff of Specter.

The story progresses with the investigation and a few unique elements like the latest victim returning as a specter to help solve her own murder. Since the girl was strangled by an unseen entity, she can’t identify her assailant but she does offer up some other clues.

I have to say, American Specter surprised me by the way it subtly reached out and grabbed my attention . . . and held it. This is a clever, well told story. I didn’t expect such an enjoyable read since I found the Prologue boring, more like the author was reciting facts. If she’d breathed a little more life into those few pages, I could easily rate this with five stars. Telling should never be an option to showing. I only bring this up because someone might not give this book a chance if they judge it on the Prologue.

American Specter is a fun, quirky read for anyone who enjoys crime novels, suspense thrillers, paranormal thrillers and likes their stories sprinkled with romance. You won’t go wrong starting your new year off with a good book . . . like American Specter.

Excerpt:

AUDRA DANCES WITH ETHAN

“So, was it as good as you remembered?”

Yolanda didn’t waste any time getting into the thick of Audra’s personal life once they were seated at the bar in Bishop’s. Audra remembered to turn off her specter shield on the way in. Yolanda had changed into a charming sundress and boots that instantly made her look as if she belonged in the late-night hotspot of Specter.

“No comment,” Audra said as Ashley, the specter waitress, placed a glass of red wine in front of her.

“Long day, Agent Wheeler?” she asked with genuine concern.

“Long summer.”

“I’m so sorry about this ugly business here,” Ashley said. “I hope you’re able to find out who’s responsible.”

“Thanks, Ashley. Me too,” Audra said, and the specter phased out.

Audra shed her usual suit jacket and draped it across her lap before lifting the drink to her lips and taking a sip.

“How is the city?”

“Doing just fine without you,” Yolanda said with a huff. “We don’t need you to call and check-in. So what if my marriage has finally ended in crashing flames and my mother thinks that I’m the worst daughter, like, ever.”

“Finally gave Billy the heave-ho?”

“I gave him the heave. He already had his own hoe.” Yolanda snorted.

“Sorry,” Audra said and perked up as a great song came on. “I have not heard this song in a million years.”

Audra spun around on her barstool as she tried to remember the last time she’d heard it. Her eyes fell to the far corner of the room onto the ancient jukebox that Ethan hovered over. Her breath caught as she remembered lying on the floor of Ethan’s New York apartment, tangled with him in his Egyptian cotton sheets.

“Be careful, your heart’s on your sleeve, Agent Wheeler,” Yolanda commented.

Ethan strode across the floor towards her, the look in his eyes unmistakable, just as a mature specter phased into his path. Audra found the sight somewhat amusing as Ethan couldn’t find a way to politely sidestep her. He finally gave in when dodging her was not an option, and Audra watched as he spun his lighter than air partner around the floor. She watched the way his body moved, enjoying its smooth and nearly fluid gestures.

Before the music stopped, an older gentleman specter tapped Ethan on the shoulder and took over. Audra watched the romantic sparks fly between the ghosts as they lit up the dance floor. Audra eyed Ethan as he walked to the end of the dance floor and motioned for Audra to join him. She took a deep breath and looked at Yolanda.

“Go on. My magic works better when I’m alone anyway,” she said. Audra downed the contents of her wineglass, left her jacket on the stool, and walked over to the current sheriff of Specter. He pulled her into his arms and she felt as if she were floating. Placing her right hand on his left shoulder and her left hand in his right, she rested her head against his chest and allowed herself to get swept up in the moment.

“I found Abigail’s sister,” Ethan said.

Audra looked up. “Where is she?”

Photo on 3-4-13 at 2.17 PMAbout the Author:

Rasheedah Prioleau is a southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits. After a few years in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern for a literary manager and never looked back.

“I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities.”

Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams… just to name a few.

Website: www.rasheedahprioleau

Twitter: @prioleaura

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rasheedah.prioleau

IN THE DEFENDANT’S CHAIR – A Thought Provoking Thriller

REVIEW and CONTEST!!!

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The Agency: In the Defendant’s Chair

The Agency Series

Book Four

Lynn Yvonne Moon

Genre: Fiction – Mystery

Publisher: Koehler Books

Date of Publication: November 2014

ISBN:         978-1-63393-036-0 ebook

ISBN: 978-1-94019-282-6 print

ASIN: B00OMVWLMI

Number of pages: 310

Cover Artist: Koehler Books

Agency Cover Final Book 4Book Description:

Her last memory before falling asleep is the love she feels for her husband and kids. Then she wakes up, confused, dizzy, and sick, and realizes where she is; a courtroom. This is the nightmare and reality of Early Sutton and other women like her across America.

Carrie Clark and Maddie Edwards reunite with The Agency to solve the mysterious murders that are plaguing America. They risk their lives as they travel from coast to coast gathering clues and piecing together a strange puzzle where the pieces don’t seem to fit. In The Defendant’s Chair examines the inner working of our US Government and a secret society as they manipulate the human genome in evil seclusion. In a race against time to save the human race, the women must contemplate both the ethical and moral issues of genetic tampering.

Available at Amazon

REVIEW:

If you’re not familiar with The Agency series by Lynn Yvonne Moon, do yourself a favor and read “In The Defendant’s Chair” – especially if you like gripping crime novels about controversial but relevant issues.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this story grabbed me. It starts off with a bang and continues the pace until the final page. This is not light reading considering the content deals with genetic manipulation, specifically humans and animals, but it is definitely thought provoking. I enjoyed how Ms. Moon threaded the separate storylines of several characters into a parallel plot frame, joining them together at the end for the final outcome. “In The Defendant’s Chair” shines like a diamond – multi-faceted reflections of a brilliant plot.

There were a few minor issues with grammar and punctuation but nothing so blatant it took me out of the story.

Ms. Moon uses her knowledge of the government and court systems to craft a believable tale filled with corrupt, power hungry players and sympathetic victims. Readers may experience a bit of discomfort regarding morality issues. I personally found the topics fascinating but others might not. This is a novel for mystery/crime/suspense thriller fans who like meatier subject matter, and one I highly recommend.

Excerpt:

April 7th – 9:37 a.m.

Early heard everything being said, but she couldn’t understand a word. Her mind started spinning.

Are they speaking English? Yes… yes, she tells herself, they are, but the language is different—foreign. Sounds are echoing in my ears; oh the pain! The sound hurts… It must be the level of the noise that’s confusing… my vision is blurred; I see nothing. Vagueness… haze… no wait, the room is exactly as it’s supposed to be. But where am I?

Early reached up and rubbed the side of her face. She could hardly feel her hand against her skin. Am I dreaming? Yes, that must be it. What’s the last thing I remember? Think, Early…think. Oh yes, making love with Alex. But when did we go to bed? Early could not remember going to bed after making love that night. Perhaps Alex carried her into the bedroom? No, she wouldn’t have slept through that; she’s too light of a sleeper.

Early heard a booming noise that startled her.

“Objection!” The deep male voice echoed through her ears. Her stomach began to tighten, then everything was dark again, peaceful and quiet.

April 14th – 10:02 a.m.

Early startled awake, again to another booming voice.

“Order… I demand order in my court. Both attorneys approach the bench, now!”

It’s a man’s voice, but it isn’t Alex speaking, Early tells herself. Whose voice is it? It sounds familiar, perhaps the television, did someone leave it on all night? What’s wrong with me? My children, why haven’t they asked for breakfast? Headache, my God how my head hurts.

Pain envelops her and then, again, a strange but peaceful quiet engulfs her and everything fades far, far away into the distant darkness.

May 21st – 2:21 p.m.

Early’s darkness yielded to light. Muffled noises became sharper.

There’s brightness all around me, it must be morning. Did Alex oversleep again? I really must get moving or Daren will be late for school… I just hate to be rushed. My God my head hurts.

“Your Honor, please,” a voice boomed, jarring Early from her private thoughts. “We all know how long this will take if we cannot get through at least one question without this constant interruption.”

I’m not dreaming, Early thought. That is real.…

Early glanced down and saw her hands; they were shaking. She was not in her bed. She wasn’t in her house. Where am I? Glancing around as best she could, Early realized it was not her television making the loud noise. The sound was coming from all around—front, back, and from her sides. The tips of her fingers tingled. She frantically rubbed them together, desperate to stop the strange crawling sensation running up her arms. She reached out for her warm blankets. Early wanted—needed—to feel safe and secure. But her blankets were not there. She had to be dreaming, she just had to be.

The room began to spin and a gnawing sensation nagged deep within her jaws. Floating and twirling around the room, Early felt confused and sick. This had to be a dream. There could be no other explanation. She reached out again for her bed covers but felt something hard instead of soft.

The dresser? Am I touching my dresser? What’s it doing way over here?

The more she groped around at her surroundings, the more she realized she was not in bed. She was confused and it terrorized her, sickening her  even more. She couldn’t think. Her hands reached up to scratch her head, but instead she pressed her palms against her eyes to try to stop the wild spinning. The noise, muffled words… shuffling shoes… stop… please stop! I’m sitting in a chair. Get a hold of yourself, Early.

Hard wooden-arms hugged her. But Early didn’t own any chairs with wooden arms. I’m in a chair, a real hard chair. Fear was rising from deep within and spreading throughout her veins attacking the farthest points of her sanity.

“Your Honor, that wasn’t a question,” a voice huffed. “It’s clear he’s leading the witness. I object.”

Early exhaled a deep breath slowly. After blinking several times, her eyes began to focus. She skimmed the room for something familiar—anything. She had never seen this room before.

But how could that possibly be? No, something is terribly wrong. A table, a wooden table is in front of me. It’s not my kitchen table. Next to her sat a man in a dark suit wearing a bright red tie, arguing with the man standing in the middle of… of the…

“COURTROOM!” Early screamed.

Gradually the voices around her rose to the level of complete chaos before the judge slammed his gavel against his desk and commanded, “ORDER! Order in my court. Bailiff!”

“She spoke!” someone sitting behind Early shrieked.

The man sitting next to Early grabbed her arm. “My God,” he whispered. “Early? Can you hear me?”

“What’s going on? Where am I?” Early cried. “Who are you? Where am I?” Early jerked her arm and backed as far away as she could. The bailiff hurried toward them. Early’s fear was growing faster than her mind could comprehend. “What’s happening?” she screamed.

“My God,” the stranger repeated.

“Order… I demand order!” the judge yelled as the other voices continued to get louder.

The people behind her were moving about and talking out of sync with each other. The confusion and disorder was growing as every second passed. The judge sat stunned, trying to compose himself and bring calm to the chaos. The woman, the defendant, who had been silent for the last several months was suddenly talking. The crazy, evil and comatose woman who slashed her children into tiny unrecognizable pieces while they slept, and who stabbed her husband over a hundred times, was suddenly awake and speaking. Early grabbed her ears and screamed for her husband to help her. “Alex… Alex, where are you?”

LYNN-CLOSEAbout the Author:

Lynn Yvonne Moon is the author of the successful Agency Series, which deals with the implications of unlimited government power and money. She has worked for state and federal government since the 1990’s and uses her extensive personal experiences to captivate her audience with realistic stories of political corruption and black Government espionage.

Her first novel, When Souls Collide, introduces the reader to the ultimate power of The Agency. The second novel, What Rings True, awakens The Agency to the ramifications of never-ending political power. Dysfunctional Bloodline traces the steps of a family serial killer out for revenge. Lynn graduated from Troy State University where she earned a Masters Degree in Government. She currently works for the Commonwealth of Virginia and resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

http://www.lynnyvonnemoon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/LynnYvonneMoon

@LynnYvonneMoon

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4387014.Lynn_Yvonne_Moo

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KARMA Gives Urban Fantasy A New Twist

REVIEW & CONTEST

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Book Description:

People say karma’s a…well, you know. Personally, I don’t think I’m that bad. It’s not like I wanted this job. I wasn’t even in my right mind when I accepted it. 

Now, I’m surrounded by crazy coworkers like Lady Luck, who’s a bit of a tramp, and Murphy’s Law, who’s a bumbling oaf.

But the worst is Fate. He’s got a problem with transfers like myself and I have to see him constantly. It’s unavoidable, since we’re hunting the same man, my murderer.

Available at Amazon

REVIEW:

I love the original idea behind Karma by Donna Augustine. For that, the author gets an A+.

The premise is pretty cool . . . Karma, Fate, Murphy’s Law, etc. are all workers from the “other side” who keep balance in the world. When Camilla, a Public Defender, is murdered, she is given the opportunity to become “Karma” and bring happiness to good doers and punish bad ones. Sounds great except her partner, Fate, is far from enamored with his new trainee. Most of the entities have been at their jobs for a very long time. Camilla is a transfer . . . a human who is allowed to join their forces. She’s not any more pleased about the pairing than Fate. What she assumed would be a short tenure with relatively little responsibility becomes burdensome as soon as she and Fate meet.

The workings of the UFU (Unknown Forces of the Universe) reminded me of The Office on television – a blend of dysfunctional personalities who work together but not always happily.

Camilla/Karma was a little too obstinate for my tastes. I like strong, kick-ass heroines but not when I can’t find logic in their actions. I understand her attorney background must have made Camilla question everything . . . but I would have liked her stubbornness based on a fact-finding quest rather than what seemed like a petulant need to disagree.

I also enjoy book series which tie up major plot points before moving on to the next novel. Karma doesn’t exactly do this. Readers are left with more questions than answers.

That being said, do I want to read the next book in the series? Sure, but I would have liked more resolution at the end of this one.

And now the sixty four dollar question . . . can I recommend Karma to fans of contemporary fantasy? A resounding yes. The flaws are minor – nothing a good editing and tightening of the story line couldn’t resolve. It’s a quirky read that will leave you asking, “When is the release date of Book Two?”

Karma

Karma Series

Book One

Donna Augustine

Genre: Urban Fantasy2500x1562

Publisher: Strong Hold Publishing

Date of Publication: July 9, 2014

ISBN: 0692248463

ASIN: B00LMNRWQ4

Number of pages: 344

Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Donna Augustine

Excerpt:

“No. Just you. Everyone has their own department. You are Karma.” He pointed toward me dramatically, the way someone would try and accent a meaning to a person who didn’t know the language.

“I’m not sure I’m adequately suited for this position. Even for a month. I’m more of a “bygones be bygones” kind of person. Don’t you need someone a bit more vengeful?”

He looked down at the file spread on his desk. “I would disagree. Your file said you would be an excellent candidate.”

“May I see that?” I asked, eying up said file on his desk. How much did Harold know about me? Everything? That was an uneasy feeling. Even the best of us had our secrets and even though I considered myself a decent human being, I didn’t think I fell into the saintly category.

The file didn’t look big enough for my entire life to be in it. It didn’t even look thick enough for a short story. Maybe just a highly edited Wiki version?

“No, absolutely not.” He shut the Manila folder quickly, as if I were going to jump up and try to peek. The guy took neurotic to a whole other level.

Okay, the file wasn’t that important. I needed to keep the peace and simply explain in better detail how I’d made an error in judgment. Be nice. My southern mother had always said you caught more bees with honey than vinegar. She had tried to drill it into my head since I was a small child. It wasn’t something I’d come naturally to, that was for sure, but it was a valid tactic, even if that wasn’t the lesson my mother had meant to instill.

“Harold, when I agreed to work for you, I was under the duress of seeing my dead body. You can understand how jarring that can be, right? I wasn’t thinking clearly at all.” It sounded logical enough to me, but I wasn’t sure if he’d ever had the pleasure of dying and his manner didn’t scream naturally empathetic.

He cleared his throat and I could tell by the set of his mouth that I wouldn’t like the next words. “I’m sorry, but that’s not how things work here. Like I told you, there’s a mandatory one-month trial period. An active one-month.”

He leaned back in his chair and pushed his glasses up closer to his face. His almost black eyes, artificially enlarged from the lens, stared at me in a bit of an awkward way. I wasn’t sure if there was a bite to follow up his bark but his magnified beady gaze sure made the situation less than desirable.

Still, beady gaze and all, I had to try one last time. Perhaps a different angle. Regardless of my record, he clearly thought I was an idiot; maybe that was the way to go. I had no problem playing a stooge if it got me out of here quickly.

“As you stated, I’m a transfer. You really don’t want me. I’m a horribly slow learner. The mistakes I’ve made in my life, geesh, you’d squirm if you knew.” I twirled a finger in my hair for effect and wished I had some chewing gum to smack.

“Yes, I’m well aware.”

He was? Hey, wait a minute; I didn’t think I’d done too badly for myself. What were these jerks writing about me in that file?

“Fate will help you with that.”

And just like that, I had bigger problems. I wasn’t just stuck here; I was stuck with him. “The guy who helped me so far?”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“It has to be him.” Harold threw his hands in the air, as if why am I bothering him? Not his orders.

“Then I’ll work alone.”

I’d be clueless but peaceful. There was something wrong about that guy. There was something too bossy or too intense. I couldn’t even describe exactly what it was about him that was too much, but it was.

Even the brief moment I’d actually been in my right mind around him, it was as if his presence exerted some sort of gravitational pull, stronger than a normal person’s. As if his intensity could throw me out of orbit. And I didn’t want to go out of orbit. I had enough things to handle besides ping ponging around.

“Non-negotiable. I’ve got orders.” Harold folded his hands and rested them atop his desk, littered with paper.

“From who exactly?”

“The universe.” His chin notched up a hair.

“Would it be possible to speak to this universe person? I’m sure they’ll understand that there is a personality conflict.” It was time to bump my complaint to upper management.

“No one speaks to the universe.”

“Then how do you know what to do?” I leaned in a little.

“Simple. Through my orders.” His eyes started to twitch.

“Which you get how?”

“My memos.”

“Then you can send a memo to the universe. I won’t work with him.”

“I’ll file your complaint but it won’t matter. And don’t forget, as I’ve already explained, it has to be an active month.”

Twenty-five days. I’ve dealt with worse for longer. One case in particular came to mind. The guy actually tried to bite me when we lost. Harold didn’t seem inclined to bite and he didn’t get into my personal space. I could deal with him.

On the other hand, Fate looked like he might be the biting sort.

“Do the last five days count toward the thirty? Time served and all?”

“Yes.”

“These first days were highly unpleasant. Do you think I could get extra credit for those? Maybe, I don’t know, you could knock off a day or two? Like they do in jail for good behavior?” He squinted his eyes and tilted his head. I was going to take that for a no.

donnaaugustineAbout the Author:

Donna Augustine’s lifelong ambition was to become the crazy cat lady. Unfortunately, when family allergies cut short her dream of living in a house full of furries, she turned her ambitions toward writing. Combining her love of fantasy, scifi, horror and romance, she tries to string together interesting twists on urban fantasy.

A native of New Jersey, when she isn’t writing, or overdosing on caffeine, she can occasionally be spotted in disguise at the local dog park.

www.donnaaugustine.com

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