Monday, May 29, 2017

MYSTERY MONDAY: A war has left his people on the brink of extinction; Drystan Commander of the King's Warriors will turn to any means necessary to save his people. BLUE FIRE BY ANGELA CASTLE



Blue Fire
Angela Castle
Excerpt Heat Level: Violence
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at Amazon:


BLURB:

A war has left his people on the brink of extinction; Drystan Commander of the King's Warriors will turn to any means necessary to save his people.

Jane, an ordinary woman of Earth, falls into the strange land of muscle bound, sword wielding men, unlike she has ever seen and what's worse they seem to want her!

Could this woman be the savior of their people? Savior or not Drystan knows what he wants, and he wants Jane.

As the passion starts to sizzle evil forces threaten to tear them apart, can Drystan hold onto the woman not only he needs but his people?

Crystal City
Land of the Kell

Claws dug into Drystan's arm. He swung his blade round his head, twisting his large body. Drystan, the commander of the Kell army, kicked high into the lizard-like man's underbelly then shoved the body away. The Drac Scoull left bloody scratch marks as it was hurtled onto its back. Drystan did not hesitate, his blade sunk all the way into the exposed side of the Scoull's armour. The enemy gave a high pitched squeal, its body convulsing in its death throes. He yanked the blade out and ran forward to the next target; blood and adrenaline coursed through his system. His heart, full of anguish and rage, pounded so hard against his ribs he feared it would explode. So many Drac Scoulls in the way.

The screams of the women echoed around him. Oh, by the gods. He fought not for his life but for theirs. The city had been left unguarded; the Drac Scoulls had stormed the inner city. In and out of every home they had gone. Drystan had witnessed them dragging out the women, the helpless babes, the young girls, to slaughter them. The streets were running red with their blood.

The army had been too far away, lured out to battle by Norlac, ruler of the Drac. Adalardo, King of the Kells, had seized the opportunity to end the war once and for all. Every able-bodied man had marched on the Drac fortress.

The Drac were like a swarm of insects moving in every direction. Drystan leapt over the body of an adolescent girl. His blade again hitting its mark; another Scoull's head went flying. His hard, muscled body ached from exertion and was dripping with sweat; his body armour was splattered with blood. He battled, until there were none left to kill.

"That has to be the entire Drac army," panted Melor, who had been fighting a step behind him.

"Go, keep searching. Do not rest until we know every Scoull is dead. May the gods have spared some of our women from this horror."

Melor nodded, racing off. Adalardo came hurtling around the corner on the back of his stag; his own face dark with the same anguished rage Drystan was feeling.

"Drystan, to the palace! There are still Scoulls inside." He bolted towards the Palace gate tower. Drystan raced behind his King. He hoped and prayed there were some still alive.
Angela Castle’s Blue Fire is a fabulous short novel that had me entertained the whole way through.

Lila for Two Lips Reviews

Sunday, May 28, 2017

ROMANCE SUNDAY: What if all it took to fall in love was to swap some spit? CUPID'S KISS BY JENNIFER MILNE



Title: Cupid's Kiss
ISBN: 978-1-62420-297-1
Author: Jennifer Milne

Genre: YA Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

What if all it took to fall in love was to swap some spit?


REVIEW:

Cupid’s Kiss by Jennifer Milne
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe for Long and Short Reviews
Cupid was real, and his descendants still walk the earth. Their magical matchmaking abilities don’t come from arrows though, but from their spit. Sixteen year old Amanda Amoretto is one of those descendants and she doesn’t believe in love. After all, if her spit can make people fall in love, it’s just a silly chemical reaction right? It isn’t real.Until she meets a boy she just can’t get off of her mind. But if she kisses him, he’ll fall under her Cupid love spell, which makes it impossible to have a genuine relationship. Her life is turned upside down as the girl who always overthinks everything finds herself a slave to her feelings. Can Amanda resist her feelings? Does she want to? Even if it means living a lie?
Being naturally irresistible isn’t always as easy as it may look.
My favorite part of this tale was the explanation the main character gave of how her ability worked. It was fascinating to see how she described the process of developing a crush on someone and why her saliva could jump start these feelings in a heartbeat. It made me want to know more about Cupid’s descendants!
While I really enjoyed this story overall, there was one part of that I didn’t quite understand. Many of Amanda’s classmates knew how resistant she was to the idea of ever kissing anyone. I was surprised by how common this knowledge was among them as it didn’t seem like the kind of thing she would go around advertising. Amanda was extremely private about her life in general, so it felt out of character for her to let so many people around her know something that would only encourage them to ask her even more questions about why she’d come up with that rule.
The chemistry between Amanda and the boy she met was absolutely perfect. I loved seeing them slowly figure each other out. They had a lot in common, and they were both such kind and smart people that I couldn’t imagine a better match for either one of them. It was impossible for me to stop reading until I knew if they were going to end up together.
Cupid’s Kiss should be read by anyone who is in the mood for a funny romance.



TAGLINE

What if all it took to fall in love was to swap some spit?

BLURB

Cupid was real, and his descendants still walk the earth. Their magical matchmaking abilities don’t come from arrows though, but from their spit. Sixteen year old Amanda Amoretto is one of those descendants and she doesn’t believe in love. After all, if her spit can make people fall in love, it’s just a silly chemical reaction right? It isn’t real.Until she meets a boy she just can’t get off of her mind. But if she kisses him, he’ll fall under her Cupid love spell, which makes it impossible to have a genuine relationship. Her life is turned upside down as the girl who always overthinks everything finds herself a slave to her feelings. Can Amanda resist her feelings? Does she want to? Even if it means living a lie?

EXCERPT

Sometimes I wondered if I looked different to different people. You know, because not everyone finds the same things attractive, but everyone thinks I am attractive. So I often wondered if what I saw in the mirror every day, was what other people saw when they looked at me?
And I'll bet you thought you had an identity crisis.
It's not that it's all bad. It isn't. There are obvious advantages to all the weird things I can do. I guess the closest thing I could compare it to, is being a celebrity. Sure they're rich and famous and beautiful, and all those things are awesome. But they never really know if people want to hang around with them because they're a nice person or because of all those awesome things.
Whatever. It didn't matter. My increased heart rate, the warm feeling I was getting all over, those were just dopamine. Something about Ren was attractive to me, so my stupid brain was releasing dopamine into my blood stream and blocking my production of serotonin. Which was why I was having a hard time forming coherent thoughts.
"Yeah…" was all I could get out. Then I giggled.
I know. GIGGLED.
I cleared my throat and pulled myself together, ready to wow him with the intelligence I knew existed somewhere under all that hair tossing and eyelash batting.
I seriously couldn't control it.
Unfortunately, Casey Santoro chose that moment to plop down next to me. "Amandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa," she whined. "I think Paul is cheating on me."
I sighed. Casey always thought her boyfriend Paul was cheating on her. She was just one of those girls. Which was too bad because she was otherwise pretty and sweet, with dark hair and big, expressive, almond shaped eyes. "Casey can this wait? I'm kind of busy."
"Noooooooooo, Amanda, I'm seriously worried!"
No Casey. You are seriously insecure.
But I couldn't say that.
I looked at Ren. "Sorry."
"It's okay," he said amiably.
I turned back to Casey. "What happened?" I noticed Ren watching me out of the corner of my eye.
"I came out of English last period and I saw him talking to Amy Morningwood. She wrote something down on a piece of paper and gave it to him. I think it was her number," she moaned.
"Casey, Paul and Amy are doing a class project together. I know because Kristy is in that same class. I'm sure whatever Amy wrote down had something to do with that."
"Ohmigod, are you sure Amanda?" she said.
"Pretty sure."
"Oh thank God! Thank you so much, I feel so much better." She looked over and seemed to notice Ren for the first time. "Oh hi, I'm sorry, I'm Casey," she said.
"Ren," he said nodding, an amused look on his face.
"Anyway, I didn't mean to interrupt you guys, sorry," she said and took off.
I rubbed my forehead, feeling a headache coming on.
"Do your friends do that to you a lot?" Ren asked.
"Not just my friends. Everyone does it."
"Why?"
I sighed. "Freshman year, I helped Jody Beckett, this dorky senior girl, get together with Kyle Manning, the most popular boy in school." There was some love spit involved, but I left that part out.
"Ah and you've been Miss Lonely-hearts ever since."
"Pretty much. Well minus the advice column, the drinking and the adultery."
"Good to know," he laughed as the bell rang. "So what are you doing for lunch?"
"I have a Winter Carnival meeting."
"What's that?"
"Every year for Valentine's Day the cheerleaders put on this carnival to raise money for charity. We have a few weeks left and we're kind of behind."
"You're a cheerleader?"
"Don't tell me you're one of those types who doesn't like cheerleaders?" I hope. Wait, no I don't care. No I do. Not.
"Not at all," he said, smiling.
I sighed with relief. On the inside. I think.
"Well, have fun, I'll see you around," he said pleasantly.
"I'll sext you later."
He gave me a funny look. "Oh God!" I felt sick with embarrassment. "I was thinking of saying 'see you next period' but then I just decided to say 'see you later' and 'see' and 'next' somehow combined into…'sext…' oh God…"
"Not the worst thing for a pretty girl to say to me," he laughed and headed out.
My chest ached a little after he was out of sight. Oh God… was I having… feelings for Ren?

~ * ~

 "Okay so everybody needs to sign up for at least one shift at one of the booths," Mrs. Solis, our faculty advisor, told the room.
I liked Mrs. Solis because she was real with me. Every once in a blue moon someone comes along that is immune to my Charisma. Mrs. Solis was the only person at school who wasn't affected by my charms, so I relied on her for straight shooting. The upside and downside of her immunity was she treated me like she treated everyone, which was kind of crappy.
The Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman squads were packed into Mrs. Solis' small classroom. We were all sitting kind of close and Hilary Hudson kept giving me these uncomfortably intense looks from where she sat across from me. Damn pheromones, they worked based on attraction and since Hilary enjoyed the romantic company of the fairer sex, I was exerting a pull on her.
I made sure not to make eye contact and instead focused on the math worksheet I was secretly working on. Unfortunately, some people were more susceptible to my pheromones than others.
Sometimes if the person was sensitive enough, they could pull a 'Kevin Friedman' without my even kissing them. I had never experienced this thank God, but Phil had.
"Who wants to work the funny photo booth?" Mrs. Solis asked the room.
"I'll do it," I heard Angela say. I was keeping my head down still because I could feel Hilary's eyes on me.
"Me too," piped in Jessica Johnson.
Mrs. Solis nodded. "Okay, the dunk tank?"
This went on for I didn't even know how much longer. I lost track of time after I peered up to see if Hilary was still staring, to have her lick her teeth at me. I'd always thought Phil was just being a homophobe, but it was actually really uncomfortable. Though truth be told if a guy licked his teeth at me it would've been just as creepy. I'd never understood the appeal of 'tooth-licking'.
"Okay Amoretto looks like you're the only one left."
"Wait, what?" I asked confused. I hadn't absorbed anything anyone had said for the past few minutes.
"You're working the kissing booth."

REVIEW:

Cupid’s Kiss

By Jennifer Milne

            Rating 5/5

            Reviewed by: Tamara White



~ Cute, Charming, and Heart Warming~

            Cupid’s Kiss shows how even the creators of love still trying to figure it all out.

            High school is a society within a society and Valentino-Day Academy is no exception. It has all of the love and heartbreak found in the adult world. But Amanda a smart, quick-witted high school cheerleader her high school experience is even more complicated. Amanda may have some qualities that are typical for a high school girl a squad of close friends, and ambition to excel academically. But Amada’s unique gift sets her apart from the others at Valentino-Day Academy, which had left her spending her high school years trying to avoid the one thing her friends are desperate to find, love, and the warm feelings that go along with being madly in love with another person. Amanda uniqueness leaves her with only her bother, Phil who is like her, to confide in.

            Amanda’s high school experience is unfolding the way she decided it would until, Ren DiFronte, a transfer student sits down next to her Chemistry. Ren, handsome, smart, and athletic, takes Amanda through a roller-coaster of feeling that even Cupid wasn’t ready to experience. 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

SCI/FI FANTASY SATURDAY: Before trying to control darkness and shadows, learn to control the darkness within yourself. SHADOW BENDER BY FAY E. SIMON



Title: Shadow Bender

ISBN: 978-1-62420-191-2
Author: Fay E. Simon
Email: fesimon2002@gmail.com

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon Barnes & Noble

TAGLINE

Before trying to control darkness and shadows, learn to control the darkness within yourself.


BLURB

Thomas Franklin is involved in an experiment to control the darkness and command shadows, but far within his soul, he harbors a deeper darkness that may consume him. This secret is tearing him apart from Francie DeWitt, the woman he loves. As Franklin gains control of the darkness and shadows, he begins a physical change where he evolves into an unstoppable creature. Will he be able to adjust to this change and use it for good? Will he ever have the woman he loves or will Lewis Avery take everything away from him as his forefather had many years ago?


EXCERPT

Sudicorp Research Center, known for its long-standing reputation as a place for scientific research for the betterment of humankind, was nestled in the heart of East Los Angeles where a bunch of grungy warehouses rested. The Sudicorp building looked deserted and quiet, except for the dim light in a window on the tenth floor.
Dr. Thomas Franklin, dressed in a white lab coat, stood in a large room within the building.
A ruggedly handsome fellow in his late forties, he wrestled with a machine oddly similar to a futuristic rifle with the look and feel of metal. The lens, which sat at the end of the metallic barrel, held a dark blue crystal, the size of a golf ball. The lights in the room gave off enough radiance to cast shadows.
"Haven't you got that crystal situated yet?" came the angry words of Drake Carver, CEO of the Research Center. Carver squinted behind his horn-rimmed glasses. They had been working on this experiment since five in the morning. The clock on the wall now said two minutes to midnight.
After readjusting the crystal, Franklin looked up. "It did work. Three times in a row, but the crystal has to be aligned just right," he said in a British accent. "Now that I've programmed the prototype to my brain waves, this thing will tear away any shadow from its origin."
"Why? So you can tear shadows apart?" Carver paced around Franklin and the gun bearing the crystal.
"You don't understand. I'm not tearing the shadows apart; I am separating them from the object of origin. For example, I will separate that chair from its shadow. From there, I will be able to command it. The theory is to remove the shadows away from what makes them. These lone shadows become a living entity. They can be controlled and given orders," Franklin looked to Carver.
"So this is what you dragged me in here for? You're trying to make shadow people?"
"No. A new kind of army; shadow soldiers at my command," explained Franklin, pushing back a few strands of light brown hair from his eyes. "It's all in bending the photons or using negatively charged photons. That's where the crystal comes in. We've discussed this before."
Carver looked around the lab, there were a number of tables with bits and pieces of metal parts and clear lenses scattered over them. On a table nearest Franklin was set a framed photo of a pretty, young woman with shoulder length dark hair and dark eyes. The smell of burning wires drifted about in the stale air. Drake Carver wrinkled up his nose then looked back at Franklin and the metallic gun holding the dark crystal.
"The cute girl in the photo, your girlfriend?" asked Carver, as Franklin adjusted the crystal for the umpteenth time.
"That's Francie, my future wife."
Carver lifted an eyebrow and smiled at the photo. "Frances DeWitt?"
Franklin stopped what he was doing and stared at his boss in disbelief. "You know her?"
"In another lifetime, my friend. Don't let me distract you."
Franklin went back to adjusting the crystal and said, "There. That should do it. Now watch!" Franklin lifted the gun and pointed it at a nearby office chair. When he pulled the trigger, a loud whirring noise exploded the silence and something began to happen. Its projected shadow on the floor began to stir without any movement from the chair. Had this been a cartoon, it would have been amusing, but to witness the shadow peeling itself up from the floor and pull away from the chair made Carver gasp and shudder. A creepy tearing sound, like the ripping of fabric, echoed throughout the room.
"What the crap was that?" Carver took a step back and looked around.
"That was the sound of the shadow tearing itself from the chair," replied Franklin with a grin. "Fantastic, isn't it?"
Slowly, the chair's shadow crept toward them. "The shadow is moving. Stop it! Stop it now!" Carver demanded as he took several more steps back.
The shadow grew taller and moved across the tiled floor menacingly.
"No worries. Watch this," Franklin turned to the shadow and with great authority said, "Desine movment. Sustine me mandato. 'Cease movement. Wait for my command'." Instantly, the shadow stopped advancing.
"What the crap was that?" Carver's eyebrows knitted together.
"Latin. The commands work best in Latin." Franklin grinned at Carver.
"Why?"
"Ancient language, I suppose. Greek works sometimes. Watch!" Again, Franklin looked to the shadow and said, "Μετακίνηση προς τα εμπρός δύο βήματα και στη συνέχεια να σταματήσουν, 'Move forward two steps and then stop'." As before, the shadow obeyed, taking two steps forward before stopping.
"That's incredible!" This time Carver moved to the stationary shadow. It looked as if he stood next to a black mass from a haunted house or some CGI from a horror movie. "Can I touch it?"
Franklin shrugged. "Go ahead. Try it."
Gingerly, Carver reached out to the shadow. As he did, his hand went right through it as if it were a spirit. Yet, he flinched.
"I feel something, but nothing solid. Like a spider's web, thin and fragile. That's creepy." Carver moved away from the thing and sat on a chair that had a shadow.
"Latin seems to work the best. There're a number of times that Greek commands are not understood. Can you imagine what we can do with the power to control shadows? No terrorist or any foreign power would ever know what hit them if they tried to invade the US."
"So, this is what you've been looking to do all these years, create a weapon?"
"No, not just a weapon, acquire more power. Wait until you see what I can do with the darkness…" but Franklin's voice trailed as the chair's shadow attacked him. Viciously, the thing lashed out, ripping the sleeves of his lab coat.
Quickly he gave the command in Latin, "Desine movment. Sustine me mandato." The shadow froze.
Carver stood up and stumbled back. "Wh…What happened?"
"That's what I was saying. Latin commands are better."

"This thing nearly killed you. It's too dangerous," Carver straightened his self. His hands shook and he desperately gasped to catch his breath.