Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Book Blast and Giveaway: ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting




Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum, Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Book Depository/Goodreads

Praise for ISAN:
"Captivating from the very beginning … this thrilling dystopian drama has a splash of romance and tons of action." ~ School Library Journal

"Addictive and impossible to put it down!" ~Addison Moore, NYT Bestselling Author

“With Helix, your senses become heightened. You’ll experience an increase in ability—especially the five senses. Images will be sharper, colors brighter, and you’ll see farther. You’ll be stronger. Your reflexes will be faster, and you’ll be able to hear from longer distances. However, your senses will tame a speaking voice not to boom in your ear. The reason why it doesn’t sound like I’m yelling at you.”

“Incredible.” The word barely left my mouth.

“Some lucky ones have more. We call that extrasensory perception. Based on the blood test, I think you might be one of the lucky ones.”

Something flashed. I caught it with my right hand, then another projectile with my left. Again, my reflexes had taken over and when I looked down, I’d caught two golf balls. I gawked, trembling. The hair on my arms rose.

“Like I said, fast reflexes.” His lips spread in satisfaction.

I clenched my jaw and stiffened. “You could’ve hurt me.”

“No, Ava. Helix doesn’t wear off quickly. I’d never hurt you. I bet you feel pretty powerful right now. Pretty special. What if you can do something good with that? What do you say?”

“Are there side effects?”

I rolled the golf balls over my fingertips. I imagined the balls colliding with my face. The thrill of what I had done—there was no denying it made me feel amazing.

Russ slowly curled his lips to a grin. “I like the way you think. It’s been thoroughly tested and we’ve seen no side effects in all the years of the program. We give you just enough to do a job, and then it’s out of your system.”

I nodded.

“So … Will you be joining ISAN today?”

I shivered, not just from the cool draft from the vent, but the thought of being an assassin, even if my victims were criminals. Could I really do it? Trained or no.

My mother’s last words echoed in my mind. When life shoves you down, you get right back up. Be strong. Be brave, Ava. Be someone important.

Oh, Mom, what do I do? I feel so alone and I’m so scared.

My chest caved in. I wanted to burst into a sob, but I slammed it back down. As tears pooled, thoughts of my mother twisted the dagger in my heart. My heart leaked, bleeding from the mountainous pain of missing her, needing her guidance.

I wouldn’t be in juvie, desperate to get out and resort to being an assassin if she were alive. Having no choice, I succumbed to the reality of my life and the cards I had been dealt. I pushed back my shoulders and held up my chin. Boring my eyes into his, I gave him an answer that would change my life forever.

I will be brave, Mother. I will become someone important.

About the Author:
International Bestselling/Award Winning Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one - Something Great. She also toured with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book - No Bullies Allowed.

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Connelly Boys (Celtic Witches, Book 1) by Lily Velez

The Connelly Boys
by Lily Velez
(Celtic Witches, #1)
Publication date: September 13th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

The Connelly boys are practically royalty at St. Andrew’s Prep. Popular, wealthy, and devastatingly beautiful, the four brothers have long cast a spell over their classmates and over the sleepy seaport town of Rosalyn Bay, Ireland. 
There’s only one problem: they’re also cursed. 
…Or so the rumors say. 
Seventeen-year-old newcomer Scarlet Monroe has never been one for rumors, but when she inadvertently banishes a demon while trying to help eldest brother Jack Connelly, the most breathtaking of the boys and the one to whom she feels inexplicably drawn, she quickly discovers there may be more to the local superstitions and folklore than she originally thought. 
Before long, she’s pulled into a dark and mysterious world filled with ancient magic, powerful spells, kidnapped souls, and deadly enemies. But none of it compares to discovering the truth of who she really is…or what she’ll have to become to defeat a rising evil older than humankind itself before she loses everyone she loves—that is, of course, if she can survive the world of the Connellys long enough.
Don’t miss this first installment in the new dark fantasy series by Lily Velez, which features Irish folklore, Celtic mythology, mystery and light romance, and an engrossing world of witches and magic that will keep you reading long into the night! 

Author Bio:
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). 

A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser
The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser
The Mystery of Flight 2222
Thomas Neviaser

Mystery, Suspense
Two strangers meet while seated together on a long distance air flight. The more seasoned of the two creates a game to pass the time. They choose seven passengers and proceed to guess their names, age, occupation, marital status, and personality. 

Later, they are informed of severe mechanical problems disabling the plane, leading to a crash into the sea. They survive along with only seven other passengers, incredibly the seven people from the game they had just played. 

The subsequent prolonged and horrifying adventure in a raft presents many obstacles to their survival including sharks, severe weather, death, hunger, thirst, declining physical and mental health, paranoia, and pirates of the high seas. 

Their long awaited rescue from the ravages of the sea is just the beginning of their trip to Hell and back.
Frank dallied in the rear for another three to four minutes, drinking slowly. He then waited for one of the bathroom doors to open and entered into the cramped cubicle. Ah, Homer would love to be in here, wouldn’t he? Just the right size for a Mr. Narcissist to live. After relieving himself and using the mirror to loosen his shirt and tie, he returned to his seat. Helen was awake and moved her legs gently aside to let him in.

“So, can’t sleep, eh? Want to continue the game?” she inquired.

He was never so happy to hear those words. “Sure, I can’t sleep anyway. You begin.”

“Okay. How about that guy?”

She pointed to a rather heavy-set, round-faced bearded man slouched in his seat. His tie was loosely fitted around his enormous bulging neck, sporting a thick, ballooning double chin. His hair rested irregularly on his head, highly suggesting a toupee gone awry. His arms extended well over the armrest, and he looked as if someone had tried to shove a round object into a square hole and succeeded in doing so. He was snoring with abrupt deep breaths followed by times of silence and then followed by a coughing episode. His neighbors were visibly annoyed.

“Um, let’s see,” Frank said. “Fifty-two and married. Three kids. Salesman, named Ernie. Irish, Scottish descent. Alcoholic, maybe. Definitely sleep apnea.”

“Nope. I agree with the age, but I think he owns a bar, maybe a few of them, divorced. Okay on the three kids, I guess. His name has to be Otto. Definitely of German descent. Too much spaetzle and potato pancakes in his diet,” Helen said.

“Spaetzle? You mean those little German dumplings or noodles Hmmm, could be, but I think you’re wrong. You could be so far off here. I’m going to win going away, Helen.”

“How do you know you win? Do you interview these people after the flight?” she queried.

“No. Never see them again. Just a game to pass the time away.”

“Then don’t tell me you win,” she said without taking her eyes off him.

“Damn, you are serious about this,” he said, raising his eyebrows and pointing his finger at her.

“You know I’m going to win,” she said, laughing at his intent look.

“All right then. The game is on, girl!” Frank said. “Who’s next?”

“That couple there. Honeymooners, no doubt. Twenty-five for the woman and twenty-nine for the man. She’s a secretary, and he is in graduate school. His or her parents are paying for the trip. Nationality is an easy one. He’s Japanese and she Asian. Her name is…let’s say Soo Mi. I had a Korean at work by that name,” Helen rattled off.

“Well, I can agree with most of what you said. Her facial contour definitely is Asian. He could be Korean, but I’m voting for Japanese, definitely a Yuto for the guy’s name. One more,” Frank said, smiling.

“Really? Yuto? So lame! Where did you get that name?”

“Well, it is one of the most popular Japanese names. Y-U-T-O.”

“My, my, you sure know a lot. I would have never come up with a real name for him.”

“So, we have one more?”

“Let’s see. Jerko, the Jewish man, the heavy guy…the honeymooners, that’s only five. Wow, there’s two more,” Helen said, counting on her fingers.

Realizing he had picked one already, Frank remarked, “Well, I did get one while you were asleep.”

“Who?” Helen asked, looking around the side of her seat.

“That elderly lady across the aisle, down about four rows.”

Helen turned her head to look into the aisle, glanced down and spied the woman. “So?”

“Eighties, retired piano teacher, British, Maxine,” Frank quickly said.

“No way, Jose. Late seventies, retired but a private secretary for a corporate executive, and she is not a Brit. Italian, for sure, and her name would be…uh… Sofia. On second thought, maybe you have the upper hand here. Now that I see her profile better, definitely English. Piano teacher, maybe, who knows. Love the name Maxine. Gotta go with that.”

“That’s only six people. Jerko, Israeli man, Maxine, the heavy guy, and the married couple. We need one more to complete the game,” he said, somewhat amazed that Helen had been taken so much by the game. “Okay. Kimberly, attendant, thirties. From Chicago. Danish. There, we’re done.”

“No, French heritage. Way back, you know,” Helen said, yawning and rubbing her eyes. “I guess you’re right. Well, at least we do know what her real name is, don’t we?” Helen continued to yawn. “I’m really getting heavy eyes, and there isn’t anything interesting written on the back of my eyelids to keep me up. Here I go.”

“Well, I guess that’s it. It has been a pleasure playing with you. I’m going to try to get some shut-eye, but it’s going to be tough. Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” Frank mused.

“Goodnight, Mr. Mason.”

“Frank! Goodnight, Ms. Hampton.”

Frank glanced over to see her moving her head toward the aisle. She was asleep faster than anyone he had ever seen before. He was so jealous of this ability. He turned to the window, folded the pillow on itself, and pushed his head into it firmly. No sooner had he closed his eyes, he opened them to realign the pillow and shift his body in the seat. This scenario continued off and on for the next twenty minutes, much to his angst. It was as if he had ‘restless body syndrome’, somewhat akin to the ‘restless leg’ one. He would wiggle his ankle as fast as he could as if exercising would make him tired. This never helped, but he always tried it. There was not much room on these economy seats to do anything else. Then he tried pumping his knee up and down followed by the other, and then folded his arms across his chest.

Crap! Nothing’s happening!

Geez, I hate this.

He thought of Kate again. How was she doing? She should be asleep now. Oh, how he wished he could be by her side. He loved her warm body next to him, and the smell of her hair always captivated him. The warmth of their comforter added to their snuggling, altogether a feeling of safety and love nurturing them until morning. Nothing could make him fall asleep better than this wife by his side and in his own home. With this image in his head, he was actually finally able fall asleep on a plane for once.
Thomas Neviaser
Dr. Neviaser is a retired orthopaedic surgeon and author of many medical articles, papers, presentations, and contributions to medical texts.  He’s written extensively on shoulder conditions, his specialty. He is available as a speaker on most orthopaedic conditions.  His dynamic presentations involve a great deal of audience participation and personalized attention to attendees.

Dr. Neviaser is proud of his orthopedic guide book for the lay person, THE WAY I SEE IT: A Head-to-Toe Guide Guide To Common Orthopaedic Conditions and his first novel, YOU DEAR SWEET MAN.

He is now especially excited to introduce to his new novel, THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 2222to be published this 2018 summer.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

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Book Tour and Giveaway: Fireweed (The Manjian Chronicles Book 1) by M.J. Vieira

The Manjian Chronicles Book 1
M.J. Vieira

Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Adventure 
Fire cleanses and brings new life

In the far off land of Manji, two tribes live in a strained peace- the magic wielding Manjians and the supernatural Vampires.

A delicate balance is kept between the two races who depend on one another for survival. This peace is broken however when the fireweed, or Io as it’s called, a mythical plant, grows once again within the cursed land called the Barron. Named in a prophecy that speaks doom for both races, the beautiful plant causes panic within the Vampire community. But the bigger mystery comes when a prisoner, thought dead, is found to be alive and has escaped into the forbidden lands beyond the Vampire’s border.

Prince Jarek is sent to retrieve her, only to find his life set on a new
course when the true Io reveals herself as both a worthy adversary
and lover. Will the species survive her wrath? How much will the fire cleanse?

The field had once been full of life. Vegetation filled the base with leafy greens and was adorned by soft heathers and vibrant yellows. Trees reached for the sky, their tops nearly playing with the clouds that drifted in the atmosphere above. Animals moved in and out of the worn game trails drinking from the nearby stream or feasting on the nutrients the earth gave up. The area was at peace.

That was before the war. Before the Cleanse.

Before the Royals, the Zheng clashed with the People, the Koa. After the battle, the bodies were left strewn about the field carelessly. The sun rose and they burst into flames. The Vampires’ corpses were consumed by fire, erasing all memory of who they were and who they would be. They burned for days before their ashes were consumed by the ground. No one knew how many spirits lay within the field. But it was no secret the spirits of the warriors who were slain there haunted the ground and contaminated the air. It was said the leader of the Dragons laid a curse on the land, allowing those violent and restless spirits to attack any who dared cross the barren land. Superstitions ran rampant across and kept the Vampires away.

Superstitions aside, this was truth: where life once sprang, death now reigned. All that was left of the plants were gnarled, charred roots of the towering trees which now stuck out from the ground like skeletal hands seeking refuge in the light of day.

A prophecy lay amongst the memories of the few who managed to live beyond the day the field burned. It is said that nothing would grow on the scarred land until a chosen warrior of the People came forth from the ashes. This time would be signaled by the growth of the Io, a flowering plant that represented fire and rebirth. It was rare and called Fireweed in the common tongue. The Io signaled the cleansing of the psyche, a changing of the times when the head blind Vampires would reclaim their magic and make amends for their genocide. Any unworthy who touched it would be burned and those who came with pure spirits would be healed.
MJ Vieira resides in Southern Maine with her husband, Alan, son, AJ, and their St. Bernard, Roxy. As a child, she traveled around the state with her parents, seeing the vast history the New England state had to offer as well as touring the nation while showing her American Quarter Horse. While traveling, she read many of the great authors of the time including JRR Tolkien, Stephen King, CS Lewis and Ann Rice. It is these writers combined with power of music, mainly hard rock and folk, MJ draws her inspiration. 

In between writing, MJ enjoys reading, collecting music and attending concerts. Lux is the first installment in the Veritas series which is MJ's first published work.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Paralucidity (The Memortality Saga Book 2) by Stephen H. Provost

by Stephen H. Provost
Publication date: July 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance

Somebody wanted Minerva Rus dead. They succeeded. But Minerva isn’t letting a little thing like death stop her. 
After the dangerous adventure that killed her in Memortality, Minerva Rus has reconciled herself to being dead. She and her also-dead boyfriend Raven share an amazing gift that allows them to bring the dead back to life―including each other. Now that Jules, their most dangerous enemy, has been banished from reality and trapped inside her own mind, Minerva and Raven plan on enjoying the eternity of their unnatural lives. 
But immortality isn’t safe. Minerva and Raven’s life-giving powers mysteriously fade, forcing them to take refuge in The Between, a shadowy realm of memories that lies between life and death. What’s more, their old adversary Jules is on the loose, partnered with a resurrected Nazi scientist planning a monstrous experiment that will change the destiny of the human race. And now it’s up to a 21-year-old dead girl to save the world―again.
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Author Bio:
Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.

As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (Fresno Growing Up and Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street), novels (Memortality and Identity Break), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history. 
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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

My Review:
Final Girls by Riley Sager came highly recommended to. I was looking for a good horror book to read. While Final Girls wasn't a great read, it wasn't bad. Final Girls was just an okay read and nothing more.

The pacing is okay in Final Girls. It's not fast paced, but it's not slow either. I didn't hurry to finish this book at all. Every now and then the pacing would get better, but most times it was just okay.

The plot was alright. It's like every other slasher survival type books. Final Girls did have a few plot twists. Most were pretty predictable such as the one with Sam. I just felt like I had read and seen this plot line so many times before. Nothing really stood out with the plot of Final Girls.

The world building was done well. It was easy for me to be transported to the world of Final Girls. Even the attacks on the girls seemed realistic.

I liked the characters enough and felt that they were fairly well written. I did feel that Quincy was a little too gullible and trusting. There were times I had to shake my head at her. For example, I felt like she was too trusting of Samantha. It's like she just took her at her word all the time. Saying all that, I did love Quincy though. She did have a fighting spirit about her, and I loved her determination. Sam annoyed me. She was written well, but she annoyed me with how she said "babe" almost all the time. She was always so shady, and I never trusted her. Even though Jeff and Coop weren't major characters, I still liked them a lot. They just seemed like really nice guys.

There are some themes in Final Girls such as violence, smoking, prescription drug abuse, alcohol, sex, and swearing. Nothing is too over the top, and it fits in with the book perfectly.

All in all, I feel as if Final Girls by Riley Sager is a forgettable book. Nothing really stands out plot wise or character wise. It's just an okay read, but it's been done before.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Release Boost Book Review and Giveaway: Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer

Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer
Meth, crank, ice, glass, fire, tina, chalk, crystal or crystal meth.
Whatever you call it, it’s the same thing. Addictive.

Drugs ruin people’s lives.
I should know, they destroyed mine.
I’m Hannah and I got hooked on ice. What started as a trickle, ended with a tsunami washing everything away; my family, my life.
I’m not sure you’re ready to read my story; it’s real and confronting.
Open the book, read the pages and see how easy it is for anyone to get addicted.
Ice affects all types of people. It doesn’t discriminate.
It will SCREW. YOU. UP.
*Drug abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and emotional conditioning. Recommended for 16+ Contains distressing content. It will cause you anger, frustration and you'll want to hurt some characters.

My Review:
There was something about the book blurb that caught my attention. I've always been fascinated with how people get addicted to drugs and why. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to read Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer. It did not disappoint.

The pacing was fantastic although it does start out a little slow at first. When I first started reading Addiction, it sounded like every other cliched teen book - Girl sees hot guy. Hot guy sees hot girl. Both agree to a date. However, a few chapters in, this was anything but another cliched teen book! I was hooked on Addiction, and I couldn't stop reading!

The plot line has been done many times, I must admit. However, the way Margaret McHeyzer writes this story makes it feel different from many of the other books about drugs and addiction I've read. I wouldn't say there are really any plot twists, but this isn't a book I'd expect plot twists from. This book feels very raw and very real. Addiction drives the point home that anyone from any walk of life can become addicted to drugs. Hannah's journey will make you feel all kinds of emotions. There were times I was wondering why Hannah did the things she did and made the decisions she made. McHeyzer does a great job of answering these questions in the forward, so be sure to read that and not skip it!

The world building felt very realistic to me. I've never been addicted to drugs, so I can't speak from any first hand experience, but from what I've read and seen about drug addicts, Addiction seems to hit the nail on the head with everything. It's easy to see how drugs and addiction can affect anyone no matter their circumstances. Hannah's world felt very real and very scary to me. I was afraid for Hannah a lot of the time. Everything that happened in Addiction could easily happen to anyone, and that is scary!

I felt that all the characters in Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer were written very well and were fleshed out enough to be believable. I loved Hannah. There were times that she made me angry with her decisions and actions, but I had to remind myself that she was a 17 year old girl and that drugs had a very strong pull on her. I was scared a lot of the time for Hannah as I stated previously. There were times I wanted to just protect Hannah. Hannah could be anyone. Hannah could be anyone's best friend, sister, cousin, daughter, etc. Hannah felt very real. Although I hated Edgar for what he did to Hannah and how he treated her, I thought he was a great character. I loved how evil he was. He felt so real and so villainous. Every scene he was in, I just wanted to grab Hannah and run away from him. He was written as a bad guy so perfectly. I loved to hate him. Even the minor and supporting characters were very well written.

Drug abuse is the main theme of this book, obviously. There are also themes of sex, rape, violence, control, and strong emotional abuse. There is also swearing throughout the book. All these themes really do help to show what drug abuse is like.

All in all, Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer is a very interesting read. It is a very dark book, but it focuses on drug abuse, so that's to be expected. The plot and characters are very well written. I would definitely recommend Addiction to those aged 16+.
Author Bio

I'm Margaret and I'm a self-published author.

Recently I was fortunate in obtaining New York Times best selling status on my YA/NA book - Ugly, and my YA book - Mistrust.

My last three books have been YA and I'm completely in love with the genre. I love being able to communicate with people through my words and stories.

My writing genres all differ, but the one thing I keep consistent is my heroines. All my female lead characters are strong, gutsy and not the 'perfect' woman. While my books all have romantic elements in them, they aren't just about the romance. They're about finding strength, acceptance and making life long connections.

I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I have while writing them.

(I received an ARC of Addiction by Margaret McHeyzer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own).

Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Darkness and Blood by Steve Haberman

Darkness and Blood
Steve Haberman

There are letter bombs.
There are car bombs.

And in Steve Haberman's upcoming DARKNESS AND BLOOD, there is a file bomb, ultra top secret information so horrifying in its content that an unintended recipient, after downloading it, dies from a heart attack?

The south of France, past midnight.

An American intelligence officer, accompanied by several bodyguards, has secretly flown in from London, with some terrible news.  The news is for a friend, a very ex-intelligence agent, hiding out in an ancient farmhouse.  A mutual confidant, a retired MI5 analyst, he explains, has suffered an odd cardiac arrest and died. To compound the mystery, just before the death, three men had entered the deceased's flat.  Two of them ranked high up in British domestic intelligence; the third--from the CIA or MI6?--was an unknown. Minutes later, presumably after their old friend had passed away, those three fled his flat and disappeared into the London night.

So sets in motion with this strange night tale the soon-to-be-released thriller, DARKNESS AND BLOOD. The unnerving, all-too-real sequel to THE KILLING PLOY.

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Pablo de Silva, ex-CIA agent, awoke from the restless sleep of a man on the run. Had he heard a noise somewhere outside his farmhouse? Intel operatives had found his hideaway to kidnap him back to his former boss? Terrorists, avenging the killing of their leader, had tracked him down? Or a jealous husband set on murdering his wife who had fled his beatings and who lay just as uneasily beside him. 

Qu'est-ce que c'est?" she asked in a whisper. What is it? 

whispered back, "Je ne sais pas." I don't know, and he put a finger to her lips. He listened a moment longer in the absolute stillness of the country night, trying to place the sound. After a moment longer, sure now he had heard something, he patted her warm naked thigh; stay here, his intimate gesture implied. 

leaped from their bed and tiptoed to the room’s threshold. A dash across the darkened living room, and he stood at one of the two windows that overlooked the dirt drive. He knelt, feeling the cold wooden floor on his knees, and, nudging apart the curtains, peered out. 

Squinting past the
crack in the partly opened wooden shutters, he saw nothing except the thick blackness of night. He heard only the same sound that kept him tense, a mechanical rattle. It came from a car, he saw at last, headlights out, its menacing silhouette looming closer to the end of his farmhouse’s drive. He realized they didn’t have time to flee or for him to search for his 32 cal revolver.

“It’s Robert, I know it is. He’ll kill us both, Pabl

Pablo glanced over his shoulder. “Stay in our bedroom
, Gabriella."

“He's that kind of husband. He’s crazy with jealou

“Just do as I say, dammit, and lock the door.” Pablo peeked
out through the curtains again, ending further discussion. Only one car, not several. Parked about ten feet from the stone steps leading to his front door. Three men in silhouette in the car; a fourth in darkened outline, above average in height, stepping out. Four men in one vehicle, not a convoy bringing a snatch or kill team. More than likely Gabriella’s husband with his armed investigators had somehow found them out.

The man passed in front of several cypress trees bordering the drive, and Pablo silently cursed losing sight of him. He pressed his ear against the paneled oak wall, straining to hear through the thick wood. "I'll do the front," the man called out to his companions. 

"You guys check around back. The barn especially. Search everywhere." Or did he say, "Search for that pair?" Pablo pressed his ear hard against the wall. 

sure we got the right farmhouse?" an accomplice, younger sounding, asked. "With all these weeds, the place looks pretty abandoned."

not abandoned, trust me. It's exactly where someone wily would hide out." He paused, muttering about the damn cold and the damn mud. In that moment Pablo believed he had heard that soft voice before. Then saw he had forgotten to turn the locks, and his thoughts were on the impending attack. 

heavy tread, heel, toe, heel, toe, now inches from the front door. A man not afraid to make his presence known especially with backup. The intruder nudged the front door open, waited a moment as though appraising the darkened inside for any unpleasant surprises before chancing a foot in. In the near darkness Pablo heard something uttered, but the intruder was now fully inside the living room. He threw the man against the oak panel wall. He jerked back his own arm to ram his palm up into the intruder’s chin to snap his neck. 

man thrust an arm in front of his face to block the blow. "Hey, stop, wait! Don’t. It's me for f**k's sake, Stuart."

A slice
of light from the bedroom opposite the living room caught the man’s craggy, lined face and the mass of unkempt brown hair. “Bishop?” Pablo heard a metallic click. He looked sharply over to the bedroom doorway. “No, no, no, don’t shoot. It's not your husband. I know him.” He released his grip on Stuart’s blazer. 

“Christ man, why the hell didn’t you call out?” He flicked on the row of brass ceiling lamps to be sure of the man's identity.

"You must have been too keyed up and not heard me.
Get a phone, so I can call next time and avoid getting killed." He sagged against the wall, a hand over his chest as though to catch his breath, while he closed his eyes.

"You alright?"

his eyes still closed, managed a slight nod. "Yeah, yeah, sure, don't sweat it.” 

“You certainly are.”

“Just give me a minute, will you.
You gave me the scare of my life. I’d forgotten how quick you are." He fluttered his eyes open after a further moment, inhaled deeply before pushing himself upright, and extending a hand in greeting. "There now, back among the living."

 He swung back and forth the front door, its undersurface scraping against the wooden floor. “Half the world's major cops and intel boys want Mr. Man-on-the-Run dead or alive, and you leave a door unlocked? You're getting pretty careless in your middle age." 

“I must
have been tired, when I returned from hiking and forgot.”

on you, Pablo. With what you've been through, you should know better." Stuart glanced out beyond the front door to the dark and gave a flick of his head. “Guys, I found him. Come on in.”

Two men
in overcoats, one barrel chested and with bulldog jowls, the other sharp faced and hollow cheeked, trotted heavy booted up the steps into the living room, leaving muddy foot prints in their wake. Both had short hair, cut military style. Stuart didn't introduce them; neither did they. They glanced only a minute at the figure in the bedroom doorway before going into a routine, all business. The sharp featured one dropped into a crouch next to curtained windows near the front door, binoculars trained out into the night. His companion stepped heavy footed to the back of the farmhouse, also gripping field glasses.

kicked shut the door, turned the three locks, yanked the door knob several times with showy concern for safety. “I think we have security now. Hopefully anyway. Hell of a way to treat someone, who got your ass out of Vienna.” An attempted joke, a bit of a smile.

“I thought you were someone else.”

“Who, the Germans invading France again? Pity whoever he is, if he ever shows.” Stuart looked around the living room. “Cozy place you got. Sure beats hiding out in a damp cave by a long shot.”

“It was till you showed.”

the word, Pablo. Promise, don't worry. I won’t tell George about your bolt-hole.”

“Let’s hope so. And I call it a farmhouse.”

“Fine, a farmhouse.
A remote one, too. Once we left Arles, it took ages to find. Exit this autoroute. Take that back road. Follow that Centre Ville sign. Pass that vineyard. You've got a real talent for disappearing.”

"Can you blame me?"
Stuart Bishop was a CIA bureaucrat with refined tastes, Pablo reminded himself. London theaters. Paris and Milan art museums. The idea of country living seemed foreign.

 “The provençal isolation helped my dad forget the headache running his hotel.” He glanced across to the bedroom's doorway and noticed Gabriella still pointed the 32 cal revolver shakily at Stuart. He motioned to lower it. “Ca va." It’s okay.

“Who’s the dark haired beauty?”
Stuart tugged out a monogrammed white handkerchief from his breast pocket and used it to beat away dust from his jacket and pants.

“A friend.”

He glanced with a raised
eyebrow at Pablo. “Some friend. A Juliette Binoche look-alike in a negligee.”

“Her name’s Gabriella, Stuart.
Her husband’s a bigwig Paris politician, who's had one too many affairs. She wants out. He threatened to find and kill her, if she gets divorced. She’s leaving anyway. We thought you were him when you showed.” He had had enough polite small talk. “What's this about for crying out loud? You got scared? You have any idea how you scared us? You know what time it is?"

“Something bad's happened in London
," Stuart said, ignoring his complaint. "Maurice is dead.”

Pablo felt a sharp stab of pain
in his stomach. “He’s what?”

“Yeah, I know, it's hard to believe."

face was as grimly serious, he noticed, as his must be hearing the news. "Dead, Jesus, Maurice?"

"I can't believe it myself,
but I heard it briefly on the BBC London news, and that's not the half of it. I’m very sorry. He was a good and honorable man in a sometimes rotten profession. A rarity these days, considering who's running MI5's shop. We've a big problem on our hands....
A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. 

Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. Murder Without Pity, a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. The Killing Ploy (with heavy overtones of fake news before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, Darkness and Blood, the sequel to The Killing Ploy, and Winston Churchill's Renegade Spy also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

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