Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris

Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris is the story of Anne Marie, or Amrie, who lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana on the Mississippi. She is ten years old when the Civil War starts and by the second year of the war, she and her family and friends are directly impacted when the Federals take New Orleans and start moving up the river to Vicksburg. Her parents are mistrusted by their neighbors because they freed all their slaves before the war even started. Her father is a surgeon stationed in Virginia with the Confederate Army and her mother has taken over his work in treating his patients left in their small community.
Things get progressively worse for the town as the Federals periodically shell the town or raid it, burning and looting homes, raping women, and impressing both free men and slaves. Amrie observes this with growing anger and fear. Meanwhile, people are killed, disappear, and are forever changed by the depredations of this war.
I've read all Ms. Harris' St Cyr Regency mysteries and enjoyed them very much. This book is much different in tone, but the author has successfully presented some issues in the Civil War that is often glossed over in our history books. Aside from Sherman's march to the sea and Gone with the Wind, there have not been many stories told of the women and children left behind and what they really went through. The author researched this story for several years, reading journals, diaries, letters, and other original documents to tell this story. While historical fiction, much of the book is based on real events.
This is an important read for history buffs and indeed, for any who want some background on tensions that still exist to this day between sections of our country.  I heartily recommend this book.
I received this book from the publisher as an ARC and I choose to give an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays Giveaway - win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Christmas tree light; Winter Background With Frost Fir BranchIt’s the holiday season!

We’d like to bring some joy and share the love.

Enter to win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards!
One simple entry will subscribe you to 109 Romance Author Newsletters.
Unsubscribe any time, but please don't label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us.

Participating Authors:

Abbie Roads | Abbie Zanders | AJ Norris | Aleya Michelle | Alyson Reynolds | Amy L Gale | Amy Olle| Andie M. Long | Ani Gonzalez | Anna Bloom | Anne Stone | Annie Anderson | Ara Grigorian | Ash Krafton | Ashley Bostock | Author Scarlett Avery | Author Shaniel Watson | Belinda Boring | Bethany Lopez | Bethany Shaw | Blair Babylon | Brandy Dorsch | Brenda Margriet | C.C. Cartwright | C.E. Black | C.E. Wilson | C.J. Pinard | Candace Clark | Chantel Rhondeau| Christa Simpson | Danielle Annett | Debbie White | Demelza Carlton | Eileen Cruz Coleman | Elianne Adams | Elisabeth Grace | Ella Jade | Emma Nichols | Erin Bedford | Eva Winters | Evie Harper | Genevieve Jordan | Heather C. Myers | Holly Cortelyou | Jeanne St. James | Jennifer Hilt | Jerusha Moors | Jessica Linden | Joanna Mazurkiewicz | Joanna Shupe | Jordan Ford | Josie Bordeaux | Kaiden Klein | Katie French | Kelly Collins | Kelly Moore | Khardine Gray | Kimi Flores/K.A. Hunter | Kristine Cayne | L A Cotton | Lacey Silks | Laura Trentham | Lisa Swallow | Liz Gavin | Lexi James | LV Lewis | Mari Brown | Marissa Dobson | Marnee Blake | Mary Abshire | Mary E Thompson | Megan Ryder | Michelle Lynn | Miranda Liaison |Monica Corwin | N.W. Moors | Natalie Rios | Olivia Arran | Olivia Rigal | Piper Rayne | Quinn | Ramona Flightner | Ramona Flightner | Rebecca Norinne | Rissa Blakeley | RK Close | S.M. Schmitz | Sabrina York | Scarlett Metal | Selena Laurence | Sharon Coady | Sheila Kell | Shelique | Skye Jordan | Sophie Mann | Stella Blue | Susanne Bellamy | Sydney Aaliyah Michelle | Taige Crenshaw | Taylor Anne | Tee Smith | Terra Kelly | Tracey Pedersen | Tracie Podger | Tracy Ellen | Valerie Twombly | Victoria Pinder | Violet Sparks | Wendy Knight

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: The Greater of Two Evils by Jane Thornley

Well, the first book in this wonderful series is still on my TBR pile. Somehow I read the next two and when this latest one came out, I was too excited to go back as I wanted to see what happens next to Phoebe McCabe, antiquity expert and knitter extraordinaire.  (I promise to go back to Rogue Wave soon and see how Phoebe's capers all began).
In this adventure Phoebe is involved with the Russian mafia. Yagar, or Yaggie as Phoebe calls him, is ruthless and bears a grudge against Phoebe's old friend, Foxy. Phoebe and her 'crew' must disrupt his plans and save the day in typical Phoebe fashion.
Phoebe, as always, is wonderful. She seems a little more resigned to the criminal aspect of her antiquities career and as a result feels freer to assert herself. She's grown over the series and I like that very much. Her cohorts are all involved in the story though I confess I was waiting and waiting for Noel to appear. There's lots of knitting too! Another great book in this series.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Review: Campbell's Redemption by Sharon Cullen

Campbell's Redemption is the third book in the Highland Pride series. Each book is a stand-alone, but I need to go back and read the first two as this was a terrific story.
Cait Campbell is a widow and a healer. She lives in a small cottage on the lands of Iain Campbell, laird of the Campbell lands. He was once her husband's best friend, but she blames him for John's death. Meanwhile, Iain feels guilty about Cait and how she is now living.
When Iain's second-in-command is injured, Iain brings him to Cait to fix up. This incident starts to repair their relationship and perhaps lead to something more. All of this takes place in the turmoil after Culloden when English soldiers are killing Scots without mercy. Iain is caught in the middle, playing a dangerous game to protect his people.
This is a lovely romance about finding love again. Cait has committment issues, understandable as you read along. Iain is a great hero, determined to do anything for the woman he loves. If I'm really picky, I was taken out of the story each time the author uses 'okay' (not a word a Scot would use at that time), but generally, the history was good and the setting of the Highlands accurate. All-in-all, the writing is good and the story engrossing.
I received this as a NetGalley ARC and choose to give an honest review. 

Link to Amazon

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review: Mommy, What is the Moon? by Crystal MM Burton

Mommy, What is the Moon? is a lovely children's book in the style of Goodnight Moon. It is a story of a young boy asking his mother a series of questions about the moon.
The illustrations by Michael Finch fit the theme perfectly. 10% of the proceeds go to JDRF.org to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

You can get either the ebook or the paper book which makes a great gift for someone on your upcoming holiday gift list

Link to Amazon

Promo Blitz: Ave, Caesarion by Deborah L. Davitt




The Rise of Caesarion's Rome, Book One
 Fantasy, Alternative History
 Date Published:  October 21, 2016

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A single event can reshape a world—or shatter it forever.

Fifteen years ago, Caesar escaped assassination, and went on to be crowned Emperor of Rome. His son by Cleopatra, Caesarion, carries the blood of Mars, Venus, Isis, and Osiris in his veins—but will the power that the gods have granted him, be enough to secure his hold on Rome after his father’s death?

What of the powers his sister, Eurydice Julia, has begun to manifest, and her puzzling visions that hint at the sacrifices that the gods of both Rome and Egypt will demand of them?

Will they, together, be strong enough to forge a better world than the one their ancestors built?

Return to the world of Edda-Earth, where magic and science coexist and all the gods are real.

And always remember this truth: The end of all things . . . was just the beginning.

Recent Praise for Ave, Caesarion:

“. . . irresistible wit and superior characterization . . . . A scorching alternate-history adventure packed with romance and fantasy action.” -- Kirkus

“. . . a fantastically complex, evocative and involving story that moves through . . . every nuance of the social, spiritual and political world of their times. [A]s gripping, involving, and as real as today's modern world.” -- D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

Excerpt

On this warm summer evening, fifteen years after Julius Caesar had been crowned in the Forum of Rome, the Empire held its breath. Rumor—fleeter of foot than Mercury—swept through the city, from patrician homes to plebeian ones, whispering that Gaius Julius Caesar had suffered some manner of fit. It had long been murmured that he was subject to the falling-sickness, perhaps contracted in tropical climes, or meted out as punishment by the gods for having dared to ascend so far. More troubling, however, were Rumor’s sly additions to her tale: that the seventy-year-old emperor could not rise, and that his foreign-born wife, Cleopatra, would not leave his side, whispering spells and incantations to keep him alive.

The freeborn muttered in the marketplaces; the Empress might be a curse on Rome. Their beloved Emperor had divorced his third wife, Calpurnia, after his coronation, and had extended to Cleopatra and the Hellene-Egyptian House of Ptolemy Roman citizenship for “services to the Empire.” Italians who had only recently been granted citizenship spat at those words; her services, in their opinion, were those of a harlot, and the rights that their grandfathers had died for in the Social War had been granted to her for what lay between her thighs.

Few in Rome understood that the bread distributed by the government—the Annona—came at such a low cost to the state solely because Egypt’s fertile fields provided their plenty at the whim of their queen.  

In the last light of sunset, five cohorts of legionnaires marched along the Via Flaminia towards the gates of Rome, accompanying two young men on horseback. The dirt and dust on their uniforms suggested a long journey, conducted rapidly. The senior centurion and all the men on foot were hardened soldiers in their thirties, members of the Legio X Equestris—the first legion levied by Julius Caesar. The Equestris formed the backbone of Caesar’s Praetorian Guard, the personal protectors accorded to many a general over the centuries. Hence the distinctive white crests on the helmets of their officers. 

Of the pair on horseback, the elder, who wore the long white crest of a tribune of the Tenth Legion, didn’t look to have escaped his adolescent years; the younger, who wore no uniform, but rather just a tunic and cloak suitable for riding, looked barely old enough to have received his toga virilis. “Malleolus! Fall the men out,” the older of the pair called to the centurion, reining in. “Let them eat and bathe and see their families. But be at my father’s villa outside of Rome first thing in the morning.”

The centurion thumped his breastplate in acknowledgement, and the weary legionnaires gave a desultory cheer. But the centurion let the rest of his men file past, and then caught the young officer’s reins before he could thump a heel into his horse’s flanks. “I’ll be going with you, dominus?” Malleolus asked. It wasn’t quite a question. 

The corners of the young man’s mouth kinked upwards slightly. “This is Rome.”

“Yes, my lord.” Solemn acknowledgement. “And fifteen years ago, seven men tried to murder your father. On the sacred soil of Rome.”

The young man put a hand on his shoulder, imperceptible through the armor. “I’m harder to kill than my father, Malleolus. Though I thank you for your care.” In the last rays of sunset, his eyes gleamed an unnatural shade under the shadows cast by his helm—the color of spilled blood. For Ptolemy XV Julius Caesarion Philopator Philomator—generally called Caesarion—was god-born. 

His mother, Cleopatra, who had made her son co-ruler of Egypt with herself when he was no more than three, claimed that the blood of Isis and Osiris ran in her veins. His father had once minted coins that reminded the people of Rome that his house claimed descent from Venus. And none could deny that Mars had favored Caesar on the battlefield as well. Yet neither of his parents had shown the signs of divine favor as clearly as Caesarion did.

Malleolus released the reins, saying mildly, “I would sleep better tonight, my lord, if you’d allow me to follow you to the villa’s gates.”

A quick smile. “You’re going to insist?”

“I would never so presume. But I do ask, dominus.”

“For the sake of your good rest, then, yes.” A nod, and then the young patrician clucked at his horse, preparing to enter the city. But now his brother, young Alexander, caught the reins. “Caesarion,” Alexander said, his voice tight, “You’re not carrying a sword. You can enter the city legally. But . . . if you enter now, you’re giving up your right to a triumph.”

 “I don’t care,” Caesarion replied impatiently. “Father had a choice once, between being accorded a triumph for his victories, and standing for election as consul. He chose the consulship. You pick the thing that’s more important. And seeing him before he dies . . . that’s more important.” He grimaced. “And ensuring that we’re here to deal with issues of succession, too. Gods. I hate thinking like this.”

Alexander shook his head sharply. Five years younger than his brother, he still seemed to have more political acumen. “A triumph will ensure the love of the plebeians. And you must have the mob behind you before dealing with the Senate.”

Caesarion’s expression tautened. “It’s strange, Alexander. I see your face, but I hear our mother’s voice when you speak.” An impatient shake of his head. “Every man who stood with me in Germania deserves that triumph. They all deserve that recognition, because without the men who followed me, the seventh Legion would have been cut off, surrounded, and destroyed in that damned forest.” His face settled into stubborn lines. “But holding a triumph instead of making my way to Father’s deathbed?” He regarded Alexander steadily. “Bad taste. It would look as if I valued his position more than his life.” He stared at the Porta Flaminia, and then turned his head and spat into the dust at the side of the road. “To Dis with the damned triumph. Let’s go home, brother.”

Centurion Ramirus Modius Malleolus trotted silently alongside the pair as they entered the city. They looked far too young to bear the weight of the Empire on their shoulders. But Caesarion will have to carry it. And in spite of the young man’s high rank and youth, he liked Caesarion. Uncannily, almost everyone did. The love of his father’s legions was mostly assured, but Malleolus had seen freedmen and slaves who served the legionnaires in their camps—men who hated anyone with a patrician name—smile when Caesarion addressed them. 

He sighed, and kept his eyes on the people crowding the streets. No one had yet given them more than a glance, but someone had to keep these two youngsters alive. 


About the Author

Deborah L. Davitt was born in Washington State, but grew up in Reno, Nevada, where she earned her BA in English Literature. She received her MA in English at Penn State, where she taught college rhetoric and composition, and has since worked as a technical writer in industries including nuclear submarines, NASA, and computer manufacturing.

Her poetry has appeared in Star*Line, Blue Monday Review's Storytime Challenge, Grievous Angel, Silver Blade, Dreams and Nightmares, Poetry Quarterly, and other venues. A short-story of hers has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, and she has four novels published to Kindle--The Valkyrie, The Goddess Denied, The Goddess Embraced, and Ave, Caesarion.


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Friday, November 18, 2016

New Release: Collide by L.R. Johnson




Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  September 2016

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Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true...Lauren's life has been turned upside down by some simple choices that have gone awry.

Since her father’s mysterious death, Lauren Cowley has been stuck in a pitiful rut until she begins having ominous encounters, haunting her every move. While attempting to break free from her wretched life she meets Donovan. He is tall, dark, good-looking, strangely familiar – and yet terrifying. His unexplained ability to stare deep into her soul with emotionless eyes frightens her, yet she has no desire to break free from the gravitating pull he has on her. He unlocks her passion…and suppressed memories forcing her to fight for everything she loves. Lauren now has to face the reality of demons and the tragic consequences they have had on her life.



Excerpt

The room was filled with several insidious beings, a scene Donovan was all too familiar with. This was a part of the work he detested the most. He didn’t want to be here, but this man’s corrupt desires forced his hand. Donovan’s height reached a good foot above the man’s stout body, making Donovan appear even more menacing. A heavy debate had transpired between the man and a friend who had tried to stop the transaction, causing heavy amounts of sweat beads to form around the stout man’s receding hairline – despite the cool air.
Turning towards Donovan the man begged, “Please, you don’t have to do this. I have a family and…”

“You should have thought about them before you decided to ruin their lives.” Donovan’s voice was dark, yet a tinge of regret coated his tongue.

The man’s eyes pierced into a part of Donovan he hadn’t felt for years. How could he justify what he was about to do? Just because he was trapped in this situation didn’t mean he should damn someone else to this life – if it even is a life. What is wrong with wanting something so bad you are willing to sacrifice everything for it?

The man slowly turned towards his dark-haired friend who had tried to stop the exchange, gazing into his eyes sorrowfully. The two men were a yin and yang of each other. Where one was stout and fair with the beginnings of a receding hairline, the other was tall and thin with dark, thick hair and olive complexion. Though the two were opposite in appearance their friendship was intertwined like a thick rope.

The dark-haired man’s eyes narrowed as he pleaded to his friend in a weak whisper, “If this needs to happen, let it happen to me. I have no family, nothing that will be destroyed by the outcome.”
The dank air within the room hung thick and dark like a heavy blanket suffocating the room and making it hard to breathe. Donovan was familiar with what was transpiring. Gripping his fingers into a tight fist he fought back the urge to give in to his now natural instinct. Locking his sights onto the two men in front of him he silently watched their useless debate. There was only one way out of this situation and that was if Donovan would let him go, and that could never happen.

The stout man grabs hold of his friend’s shoulders, uttering firmly, “No, this is my fault and I take responsibility for it, but I need you to do me a favor. I need you to…”

Instantly the door opened, causing the two men to turn towards the intruder. “Father, what are you doing?”

A blithe voice rang in Donovan’s ears as he turned abruptly towards the intruder. The girl’s eyes locked onto his and for a brief moment he was reminded of who and what he used to be – a good man. Though his past was now just a grain of virgin sand in a murky moat, for a brief moment
Donovan was able to see the grain and grab onto it.

Donovan watched her eyes transform from a bright joyful appearance to one of fear and disgust. Her smile dropped, ripping out her heart on its way down. Donovan’s eyes remained locked onto hers like two magnets colliding, mentally grabbing hold of her with fervor and strength – refusing to let go. Her eyes too were locked onto Donovan’s, though hers told a very different story. One of betrayal, rage and despair, something he couldn’t look upon anymore.

“Please leave, sweetheart. I need you to go – now,” the stout man uttered to his daughter. His voice echoed loudly with guilty pain.

“No,” she snapped back.    

A growling voice instantly cut into the small yet crowded room, making everyone freeze with fear. A man stepped out of a dark corner from the far side of the room. He seemed to materialize from the bleak shadows draped mysteriously from the corners of the room, like tattered curtains ready to reveal the main event. “You are pathetic, Donovan. Do I have to do everything myself?”

“Darius, please don’t,” Donovan uttered, trying to stop Darius, but it was too late.

Darius’s black eyes deepened as he tore across the room. A swirling wind ripped through everyone as Donovan rushed over to the girl. His eyes locked onto her now silver-dollar-size blue eyes for the last time. He quickly lifted his hand, wrapped it firmly around her throat and gently squeezed. He watched as the light within her eyes slowly diminished, leaving the room a black plague where there once was light.


About the Author

L. R. JOHNSON is the founder and President of The Inspired Writers League - an active community writers group. When L. R. Johnson was a child she would live in a world of her imagination. Her teachers would have to put her in the front row of the class or she would drift off into a story she was creating. Though she studied Psychology in college she never lost her imagination, constantly creating stories in her mind. Bringing to life her characters and writing great love stories filled with adventure, dynamic characters, and brilliant surroundings is something that L.R. Johnson has a natural gift for. She lives in California with her husband and two wonderful children.

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Other books by L. R. Johnson:

YA/NA Romance
Published: November 2015

Needing a fresh start, eighteen year old widow Breanna Hayes flees from America to England to fulfill her husband’s last request and her dream of going to Cambridge University. There she meets Callum. He’s arrogant, brash, affluent, rippling with charisma – and certain to run away when he learns about her tainted past. But as an unexpected bond is formed between them she discovers he has secrets of his own. She must overcome her stubbornness, fears, and open her heart again or risk losing a chance at love and the stable family she has always wanted.

“Stop,” I interrupt, not wanting to hear a frivolous apology, “What I do is no longer your concern.” A heavy sigh rolls off of me, “I come from trash. I have always known it, and now I know you believe it, too.”

Turning my back on him I begin hastily walking away when suddenly I hear him softly utter my name. It rolls along the surface of the mist, slamming against my back, piercing into my core, revealing his internal pain. Ignoring his pleading call I continue to walk away from him, leaving all my hopes and dreams behind. My decision is made. I am leaving as soon as my classes are done.

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