Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Feature: Divine Sanctuary by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

 

About the Book:

There's no place like home…

In the Divine trilogy finale, the heat is tripled when CFBI Agent Jasi McLellan must rescue Emily, the ghost girl that haunts her dreams; expose her own mother's killer; and uncover a murderer that preys on the weak at Sanctuary, a controversial cult nestled in the woods near Mission, BC.

Something insidious lurks behind the safe haven of Sanctuary's wrought iron gates. Led by the charismatic Father Jeremiah, the cult's idyllic lifestyle seems perfect on the outside. But a lethal hunter is on the prowl, and in a carefully executed game of cat and mouse, the body count rises. 

Along with Victim Empath Natassia Prushenko, Psychometric Empath Ben Roberts and Special Consultant Brandon Walsh, Jasi follows three trails of clues that lead to one terrifying conclusion: home is not always the safest place on earth.


Excerpt:

Emily emerged from the shadows of Jasi's closet. She drifted forward, her feet barely touching the floor. Her head, with its long blonde hair, lolled at an awkward―strangled―angle.

In this dream, an adult Jasi gasped in surprise.

The pink skipping rope noose was gone.

"You're ready, Jasmine."

"Ready for what?"

"To start looking for me."

Jasi stood still, mesmerized by the bruises around the girl's neck. They were fading before her eyes.

"The skipping rope is gone," she said finally. "And your bruises are disappearing."

"Yours will too," Emily said.

"I don't have any bruises."

Emily led Jasi to the mirror. When she peered into it, her image shifted from a young Jasmine back to her adult reflection. One arm was bent in front of her, throbbing as though someone was squeezing it hard then letting it go. Yellowed bruises dotted her arm.

Emily tried to smile. "In time all your bruises will fade. But first, ya have to set things right."

"And how do I do that? Oh, right, I have to find you."

"Yes. Find me." The dead girl floated backward.

"Wait!" Jasi cried out. "Why did your bruises fade?"

"Because you're one step closer to finding me."

"How? I don't know anything more than I did before."

Emily blended into the shadows. Before they swallowed her, she said, "You may think you aren't any closer to finding me, but trust me, you are." Darkness closed in around her.

Jasi took an anxious step forward. "Emily?"

Silence greeted her.

And a mystery.

She took a deep breath. "I'll find you, Emily."

Book Details & Purchase Links:

Title: Divine Sanctuary
Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Publisher: Imagin Books
Pages: 210
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Crime/Thriller/Romance

Watch the trailer at YouTube
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads
Read the first chapter here.

Divine Sanctuary is available at Amazon Divine Sanctuary (Divine Trilogy Book 3)

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble
 

About the Author:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author. Her novels include Divine Sanctuary, Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel."

She is now working on her next thriller.

Cheryl also enjoys writing short stories inspired mainly by her author idol Stephen King, and this has resulted in Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories (collection of shorts) and Remote Control (novelette eBook). In 2010 Cheryl detoured into the romance genre with her contemporary romantic suspense debut, Lancelot's Lady, written under the pen name of Cherish D'Angelo.

Booklist raves, "Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border."

Find the Author Online:

Visit Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s website
Connect with Cheryl on Facebook and Twitter
Become Cheryl’s friend at Goodreads
Visit Cheryl’s blog
More books by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. 
Contact Cheryl.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review~ Epic Conclusion to the Cassie Scot Series & $100 Gift Card Giveaway ~ Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot, Book 4) by Christine Amsden PLUS & The Author's Bumpy Road to Cassie Scot

Welcome to My Review of the Epic Conclusion of the Cassie Scot Series, Stolen Dreams.


Christine Amsden, author of the Cassie Scot series, is also here with today as she shares with us ~

The Bumpy Road to Cassie Scot

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective was the easiest, most natural book I ever wrote. It almost seemed to write itself! The entire series felt natural because of the way I identified with and practically channeled the main character, but the challenges grew with each book. The final volume, Stolen Dreams, presented the greatest difficulties. But also, and in my very biased opinion, I rose to the challenges, making each book better than the one before. 

Cassie first came to me in a burst of inspiration, and I pushed out the first draft of a book in record time. I did rewrite and heavily revise the book several times based on some astute feedback from beta readers, but even the rewrites were easier than usual. There was a certain energy to each revision, a vitality and a definite sense of purpose. I never tried to rewrite the book without specific feedback and a plan, and I always felt a sense of rightness about the changes I made. The final revision came after I had finished rough drafts of the rest of the series, which gave me the power to make sure I did not contradict myself and that I had set everything up, even if the readers would not yet know the significance of every decision I made. 

I usually find beginnings easier than endings, which may be another reason why the first book was the easiest of the four for me to write. It did come to a conclusion (the mystery was solved), but I set up many problems in book one that I didn't have to deal with at the time – I left that for a future version of me to handle.

It wasn't until I first drafted Secrets and Lies that I came up with a plan for the rest of the series. Before then I had some vague notions and themes, but the cliffhanger ending to Secrets and Lies was as much a surprise to me as it was to my readers! Yet that cliffhanger ending sets the tone for the final two books. Secrets and Lies was a book of discovery for me. I refined my characters, learned new things about the bigger magical world, and decided what the rest of the series would look like. The biggest challenge in Secrets and Lies was balancing the mystery with all the personal and magical discoveries being made. Some of the lessons I learned while writing this book led to a major revision of book one. But the growing pains took place while writing book two. 

Mind Games was the most difficult of the four books to draft for two reasons. First, I was writing from the first person point of view of a character who was being subtly manipulated by mind magic. I wanted this to be absolutely obvious to the reader from page one, but at the same time I needed to convince the reader of Cassie's struggle with this truth. Second, I strayed from the series' primary love interest, Evan, and I found it very difficult to write romantic scenes between Cassie and another man. Even knowing it would be temporary, even knowing Cassie was partly being manipulated, and even knowing that Cassie needed this test of character, I still felt like I was cheating on Evan when I wrote certain scenes. Strangely enough, though, the final version of Mind Games is closer to its first draft form than any other book in the series. I made few revisions, none of them major, which leads me to the most challenging volume …

Stolen Dreams is not the book I first wrote. It wasn't even originally called Stolen Dreams, it was called Dreamer. But regardless of what I ended up calling it, there exists (somewhere on my hard drive) a rough draft of a book that I originally intended to conclude the series which has almost nothing whatsoever in common with the book I'll be releasing this summer. I think I reused one scene, then revised it heavily. 

Ground-up rewrites are rare, and there is only one reason to do it: A fundamental flaw in the spirit of the story. That first draft was not about what it should have been about: it challenged Cassie in all the wrong ways, it broke an important theme I had been building all along, and it reverted to genre cliches that the series had, up until then, avoided. 

Whew!

I went to a book signing/Q&A with Jim Butcher in the summer of 2011. He had just put out Cold Days (which turned out to be my least favorite of the Dresden Files books – I have bad luck with books I get signed by authors). But during that Q&A, I had an epiphany. Someone asked him when and how The Dresden Files would end. Jim gave his usual not-entirely-joking answer about the length of the series depending upon whether his kids decided to go to grad school, but then he said something else about endings. He said (and I'm obviously paraphrasing) that by the time a series is over, the main character should be uniquely qualified to overcome the final hurtle. 

I had a lightbulb moment. It wasn't a warm, glowy sort of lightbulb moment because I knew instantly that I had to toss an entire draft in the trash (metaphorically speaking – I never throw anything away). 

Cassie has no magical powers. In my first draft, I had her facing a challenge that any of the people around her with magical powers would have been far better able to handle. She wasn't just not uniquely qualified to handle it, she was probably the least qualified person to handle it! But I had fallen into the same trap Cassie fell into Рthinking she needed to be able to compete with powerful sorcerers in a magical world in order to be worthwhile. And actually, I think the series as a whole is stronger because I started to fall into that trap with her. In the final book, she and I both had an important lesson to learn. Specifically, that being a hero isn't about overpowering or outwitting the biggest, baddest bad guy (the fantasy clich̩), it's about using your strengths to solve the problems you are uniquely qualified to handle.

I don't want to spoil Stolen Dreams for you, but I am so excited by the conclusion to this series. Stolen Dreams is more than a mystery – it's personal. The feud between the Scots and the Blackwoods takes center stage and when it erupts, people Cassie and Evan love get hurt and even die. Cassie is uniquely qualified to put an end to this feud and to solve an interwoven mystery, and she still does not need magic to do it!

About Stolen Dreams:

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own?

Saph's Reivew:

Here are links to my reviews of Books 1-3 in the series:

Mind Games ~ Cassie Scot ~ Book Three:  http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/blog-tour-review-100-gift-card-giveaway.html

There may be spoilers for previous books in my review.....

Well, here we are...the final book in the Cassie Scot series. I'm not at all ready to say goodbye to the characters I've grown fond of and have enjoyed reading about. I've watched Cassie develop into a wonderful character ~ friend, sister, daughter, significant other. She's not perfect and you know what? That's alright - she doesn't need to be perfect. The ability to relate to her on an emotional level stems from her being written like a normal everyday person. As we know from previous books, Cassie was stripped of her magic long ago and as such, has been the odd duck - a non-magic user in a family stuffed to the gills with magical ability. She's different which causes people to react to her differently but she's the one who comes out on top. I love her strength, conviction, and determination to do what is right whether it's the popular choice or not.

I've watched Evan mature into a fine man that loves Cassie for who she is and not what she could provide in bearing his children. He and Cassie have traveled a really rough road paved with love, loss, binding agreements, and stolen magic. The tragedies that occur in Stolen Dreams will make you gasp in horror but they force people to take the feud between the families of Cassie and Evan seriously. This causes an unlikely reunion between Cassie and Evan despite the protest of both the Scot's and the Blackwood's. Whether the reunion results into anything beyond just a way to establish peace will require you to read the series.Yes, I know I'm mean but it's for your own good. I absolutely refuse to spoil Book 4 for anyone.

On the quest to figure out exactly who is adding fuel to the Scot-Blackwood fire, Cassie discovers that not all who are close to her are allies. In surprising twists and turns, Stolen Dreams dives headfirst into the waters of uncertainty. As everything progresses, deception is uncovered and those previously accused are redeemed. Unfortunately, the redemption comes at very high costs. Cassie also discovers that she may not be completely mundane after all.

Christine Amsden does an absolutely fantastic job tying up all the loose ends left swaying in the breeze since book 1. The ultimate conclusion of the series isn't lacking in any regard, and leaves the reader satisfied - or at least left me satisfied - with the development and execution of the finale.

As with Books 1-3, the dialogue, character development, and writing style of Stolen Dreams is well done. The entire series is fresh and unique. I was pulled into the world of Cassie Scot from day one with its smart heroine and strong hero. I am very grateful that I've been afforded the opportunity to be part of the blogging world that gets to introduce this series to others.

You won't be disappointed with the Cassie Scot series!

ARC review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and ratings are my own.


Saph's Rating:


Book Details:

Kindle File Size: 1058 KB
Print Length: 262 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Twilight Times Books; First edition (June 25, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B00LAC7MTY

Amazon Kindle Purchase Link (Paperback being released in October 2104):


About the Author:


Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. 

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Find the Author Online:


GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Trailer Reveal: Queen of Someday (A Stolen Empire Novel) by Sherry D. Ficklin PLUS Giveaways

Book Trailer Reveal

Title ~ Queen of Someday: A Stolen Empire Novel
Author ~ Sherry Ficklin

About Queen of Someday:

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.


 


What people are saying about Queen of Someday:


"Love, betrayal, adventure and hard decisions that have no "right answer"... Russian Court is an exercise in "survival of the fittest" and Queen of Someday is a beautiful start to the journey of an innocent young girl growing into one of the greatest leaders of all time." ~June Stevens, author

"I was caught hook, line and sinker with this novel about a young girl's battle in a world that seems perfect on the surface, but is sinister and twisted underneath. I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much is because there was no fantasy or paranormal element the book. I would have loved it just as much if there had been, but to see that somewhere seemingly so safe could be so deadly, without a hint of magic or witchcraft, was haunting." ~Bonfire Book Reviews
"Queen of Someday" is a guilty pleasure read. Just like CW shows and Lifetime movies, it's full of drama, scandal and betrayal. And I just couldn't look away. I found myself gasping and grinning maniacally at every turn. Sophie's schemes delighted me in a way that made me question my own sanity. I enjoyed "Queen of Someday" in the same way that one enjoys CW shows; the melodrama is strangely addictive, but I'm embarrassed to admit exactly how much I enjoyed it." ~The Nerdy Journalist reviews


Be sure to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Can't wait to see more?

Queen of Someday is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be available everywhere October 7th 2014.
Amazon Pre-Order Link:
Queen of Someday, A Stolen Empire Novel
*The footage is courtesy of KK Studios, and the layout and transitions are by Courtney Knuckles and Clean Teen Publishing.

Bridge Over the Atlantic by Lisa J. Hobman is only #99Cents

(Photo courtesy of goodreads.com)

Bridge Over the Atlantic by Lisa J. Hobman is only #99Cents
(Verify pricing before you purchase - price may change w/o notice).

About the Book:

Mallory Westerman is a full-figured, successful, young business woman living in Yorkshire, England. Though very career minded, she is extremely self-conscious about her ample curves and so her love life tends to pay the price. Concentrating solely on her business, she has almost given up on finding someone to love. That is until she literally trips into the arms of a stranger who becomes her Knight in shining armour. The immediate sexual and romantic spark that blossoms into love and the events that follow, irrevocably change Mallory’s life-path and self-image forever, but only go to prove that the road to true love is never smooth and that things don’t always turn out how you expect…
(Synopsis courtesy of goodreads.com)

Amazon Purchase Link:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Release: No Place to Hide (The Devlin Series, Book 4) by Shannon Stacey & Author Chat

I'm so happy to have Shannon Stacey on Sapphyria's Book Reviews today!!

Shannon is the author of :


and she's here to talk about the home life of a fiction writer!

Welcome Shannon!!


“Please tell me you didn’t Google that on our computer.”

I’ve heard that more times than I can count from my husband or one of my sons. During the years I worked on my Kowalski series, which is family-based contemporary romance, my research was fairly benign. Quite often I needed to determine how long it would take my characters to get somewhere. Because I’m a horrible cook, I often have to research recipes for the characters. There’s always research to do when it comes to the jobs they do.

But researching my Devlin Group series has led to questions that raise my family’s eyebrows. I’m sure, if they’re watching, they’ve raised a few government eyebrows, as well.

While writing the first book in the series, 72 Hours, I spent a great deal of time combing through search results for how to destroy a certain base in Cuba with chemical weapons dispersed from remote control aircraft.

Yeah. You just raised your eyebrow, right? In my defense, it was about ten years ago and I was woefully ignorant of how the Internet worked. But when I landed on a website and an audible alarm sounded, I started getting a clue. There was a countdown clock and a message that I was unauthorized and had X amount of time to leave the site. I left the site. I also unplugged the computer and called my husband in a panic. “I might get arrested.”

I didn’t get arrested. I never saw any black SUVs in the neighborhood and, trust me, I looked. But the searches have piled up since then. Best handguns for ambidextrous use. How to crash a helicopter. Explosives. Guerilla warfare. Anthrax. (Yeah, eyebrows up.) For No Place To Hide, I spent a lot of time researching the Nagant M1895, a revolver used by the Bolshevik secret police and Viet Cong assassins.

My family will inevitably ask me what I’m working on and I’ll tell them, which triggers the “Please tell me you didn’t Google that on our computer”.

I think somewhere there’s a computer that tracks and flags certain keywords and Internet searches. And I can only imagine there’s a virtual sticky note next to my name that says FICTION AUTHOR.

But I’ve had some ideas about a little something happening at the State of the Union Address, so if I disappear, don’t believe the news stories. I’m afraid of water and would never have gone swimming in the quarry. Alone. At night. Also, I don’t think we have a quarry and do people swim in those?

I should research that…


Book Details:

About No Place to Hide :

Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she’s back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he’s only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he'll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack’s about to learn what hell really is.

In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer’s identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.

Release Date: August 20, 2014

Amazon Purchase Link:  No Place to Hide (The Devlin Group Book 4)

About the Author:


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey is the author of over two dozen romance novels and novellas, including her popular Kowalski series. She has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award twice, and was named to a Publishers Weekly Top 10: Romance list in 2013. Shannon lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.

Find Shannon Online: