Friday, December 15, 2017

TOUR - Last Resort by Amber Malloy

Last Resort
by Amber Malloy
Publish Date October 21st 2017
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genres: Interracial/BWWM, Romance/Suspense

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . LAST RESORT . . . One romantic suspense that had the hint of more. There was that banter, snark, secrets, mystery, friendship, differences, and someone trying to kill Cayden. I got more than I was anticipating. I was looking to get a good read but this one put me over the top. I was only to read a few chapters to get my feet wet and I ended up finishing the entire read in one sitting. These two friends but not friends from high school had opposites written all over them.

Cayden was the rich-girl from the right side of town and Levi was the bad-boy from the other side. Things could not have been set up for them to be more different. Cayden had made a name for herself as a crime writer. She came back home to her own very cold case and was working to find the answers. She just was not expecting that a different side venture would result in her obtaining a partner to figure this mystery out.

The trigger for me in this romantic suspense was that the female, Cayden, was the one that came from money. She was the one that had a great career and was going places. She was smart and resourceful. The female took lead character to a new high or at least set her on a different path than the majority of the female leads in romance reads.  This was in no way a bad reflection on Levi. He was male after all. It was just different to see the woman take charge and move forward.

The resort here was more like a common denominator for the read. Levi wanted his family resort back and Cayden was the partner that he had to get rid of, not fall in love with.

African American socialite and bestselling crime writer Cayden Young returns to her high school stomping grounds to solve a cold case. Unfortunately, her hot business partner is in her way. In love since high school, they couldn’t work out their rich-girl, poor-boy differences. While she attempts to put the past to rest, she ends up unearthing a more than a decade-old secret that could get her killed.

Former Marine Levi Scott is ready to take over his family’s resort fulltime. The only problem is he needs to buy out his partner, who he happens to be in love with. Always on unsure footing with the wealthy beauty, he is determined to get her out of his life for once and all, and decides the best way to do so is offering to help her solve a thirteen-year-old cold case. Soon, they figure out the murderer may still reside in their posh resort town … and Cayden could be next on their list.
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Since the third step always creaked under foot, he counted to ten before he flipped on the lamp and loosened his tie.
“Holy shit, Levi! What the hell?” She jumped while he bit back a chuckle.
“Isn’t that my line?” Beads of water from her shower gathered on her skin. She wore a pair of barely-there yoga shorts, and Levi could see straight through her tank top. Round, full breasts were easy to make out beneath her stretched-too-thin material.
“There’s no way that event ended this early,” she scolded him.
“Forgive me for ruining your heist … should I leave and come back to let you finish?” Everything about the woman turned him on, starting with her messy bun and black-framed glasses.
No rich-girl representative or spoiled brat came to steal time in his shower spa. Instead, the real girl next door stood in front of him. “My shower was one thing, Ms. Young, but my last bottle of wine?”
She held onto a bottle of Riesling, shipped from the Italian vineyard that wanted the resort to use them exclusively. “Do you not remember telling me to stop taking wine from the resort?”
“There’s this thing called inventory, and if a bottle is missing,” he spoke slowly as if talking with a child, “it is considered stolen. Much like what you’re doing right now.” He pointed to the contraband in her hand.
“I beg to differ. You don’t even like Riesling, Mr. Scott.” She smiled innocently. “So what happened? Did you forget something?”
“Now that you mention it…” Taking off his tux jacket, he threw it off to the side. “What do you think about this couch?”
Cayden shook her head, probably not following his line of questioning. “Heirloom? It doesn’t really go with the décor.”
“Exactly! I worked my ass off to make this place look … what’s the word?”
“Modern,” she offered.
“Manly. But we’ll go with your term. Look at this craftsmanship … dark, hardwood floors, straight lines, and that kitchen is a work of art. I made that farmhouse table by hand,” he bragged, glad she didn’t interrupt. “Then there’s this monstrosity … a red velvet Victorian. And let’s not forget the piano. No one plays that shit. Why the hell do we even have it? My mother claims it’s too valuable to put in storage, so she leaves this crap here.”
“I’m guessing you want to get rid of it?”
“Of course, but you know Lydia’s weapon of choice is guilt,” he complained while rolling up his sleeves. “I was thinking if I changed or altered it in some way, then maybe I could tolerate it.”
“Hmmm.” She tilted her head to the side while she relaxed her stance. “What do you have in mind?”
“For starters, I’m going to put you on top of it, and eat your pussy until your head explodes. After that, we can wing it.” Levi didn’t know if she would accept his proposition, but he didn’t anticipate the smile that slowly graced her pretty lips.
Buy Links:
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Author Info
Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.

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SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - YA - Riding with James Dean by David-Matthew Barnes

Riding with James Dean
by David-Matthew Barnes
Date of Publication: November 7th 2017
Publisher: Blue Dasher Press
Cover Artist:
Genre: Young Adult

When seventeen-year-old Johnny moves to a sleepy new town and meets the enigmatic Marco, the glamorous Mary, and the punk princess Jemma, his summer nights are soon filled with friendship and love.
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From a distance, I could’ve sworn I saw the ghost of Marilyn Monroe.
            There was a beautiful woman standing next to Marco in the parking lot of the 50’s hamburger palace. They were leaning up against the side of his vintage car, waiting and doused in the shadows of slow pulsing neon lights. His arm was draped around her shoulders. It appeared she was propping him up. She laughed when she steadied him and the sound was sweet and melodic. She was a platinum blonde, dressed in a black pencil skirt and a low-cut white angora sweater. There was a red chiffon scarf tied around her neck. She exuded power in her black stiletto heels. She was a movie star in the making, a glamorous goddess just waiting for someone to discover her and catapult her to fame. If anyone had been born for a life on the silver screen, it was her.
            She pried herself away from Marco and stepped in my direction. “You must be Johnny,” she said. I nodded in reply, mesmerized by the seductive green color of her eyes and the tenderness of her voice. She leaned in, kissed my cheek, and then spent the next few seconds trying to wipe her lipstick off my skin. Her touch was soft and comforting. 
 “Are you Marilyn Monroe?” I asked. My words fell into her cleavage.
            “You’re close,” she said. “I’m Mary.”
            “Yes,” I said. “Marco mentioned you.”
            “He’s like a brother to me,” she whispered. “Be gentle with his heart.”
            Marco moved to us, wrapping an arm around us, connecting and cementing us as a trio. “I’m a lucky guy,” he said. “I get to spend the night with my two favorite people.”
            “Marco doesn’t have many favorites,” Mary explained. She was clearly his interpreter. “So, I guess that makes us the lucky ones.”
            Marco gently guided us in the direction of his parked car. “I wish we could go to Vegas,” he announced.
            “Why don’t we?” I challenged.
            He shook his head. “We wouldn’t make it there until dawn.”
            “Dawn’s a lovely time to arrive in Vegas,” Mary said. “You can sleep all day and then be ready for the night.”
            “Are we vampires?” I asked, with a small laugh.
            “In another life, yes,” explained Mary. “In this one…”
            Marco glanced up to the dark, starlit sky and said, “We’re the ones everybody else wants to be.”
            Mary shook a finger at him, reprimanding. “Careful, Marco,” she said. “You almost sound smug.”
            “Do you think they know?” he asked. “About how much we’ve been through?”
            They looked into each other’s eyes when Mary spoke. “If they did,” she said, “they wouldn’t care. But our sorrow would ruin the façade.”
            “Façade,” he repeated. “I like that word.”
            Mary insisted on sitting in the backseat, but not before pulling me aside. “You belong up front now,” she explained, in a hushed tone. “Next to Marco. He needs you by his side.”
            “But you were here first,” I reminded her.
            “I appreciate your chivalry,” she said. “But you’re new.”
            I slid across the bucket seat and into the shelter of Marco’s arms. He pulled me closer to him.  “There,” he said. “That’s better.”
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The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with David-Matthew Barnes

How would you describe you style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
I write about ordinary people experiencing extraordinary circumstances that will forever change their lives.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
Before starting a new project, I do a lot of prep work that usually includes character profiles, a playlist, an outline, and some sort of writing schedule, even if just a tentative one. I write every day in my home office. For each writing session, I start with free writing to get the creative energy flowing.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
Character development is very important to me as a writer. My characters come from different sources of inspiration, from imagination to stories people share with me to watching and listening to strangers. I consider myself a professional eavesdropper. Creating an authentic character that leaps off the page and resonates with a reader is my goal with every character. To achieve this, I construct in-depth character profiles, similar to what an actor might do before performing a role.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
In my new novella Riding with James Dean, I definitely felt a bond with my main character, Johnny. He’s definitely a variation of my younger self. The story isn’t entirely autobiographical, but there are elements of my teen years woven into the narrative.

Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
Yes. I’m working on a new novel called A Woman’s Place. It’s about a beautiful relationship between a mother and daughter. I first wrote it as a short story years ago. The main character, Annabelle Mae Westover, has stayed with me ever since. I am excited about telling her story in a longer form and spending more time developing her character. She’s very fun to write.

Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
I think the only thing that comes close to this is my wanderlust. I love traveling and exploring new places in the world. I live for the unexperienced. The more we experience as storytellers, the more stories we can discover to share with readers.

Author Info
David-Matthew Barnes is the award-winning author of several novels and collections of stage plays and poetry. His acclaimed screenplays have earned many accolades including a 2017 Los Angeles Film Award. David-Matthew has written over fifty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in ten countries. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has been an educator for more than a decade.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

RELEASE DAY BLITZ - Thresholds (The Walshes, #8) by Kate Canterbary

Snowy days, steamy nights.
The Walshes are home for the holidays.
The Walsh Series, #8
by Kate Canterbary
Release Date: December 14th 2017

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . THRESHOLDS (The Walshes, #8) . . .  No spoilers here. Just the biggest recommendation to come join the Walsh family during the holidays. You will get to see all of them experience the holidays and get laughs along the way. This by no way is the most cheeriest of the holidays but we get to spend time with a family that we have grown to love and watch fall in love through all the lows and highs. Thresholds  was the perfect way to see in to the lives of the couples and meet some new characters. Come enjoy the sexy males, the sweet, vexing females, and enjoy more laughs, devilry, sexy steamy interludes, and pure family love.  

This series needed to have one read completely dedicated to the holidays. Snowy days and steamy nights were just a touch on the tree that had this holiday season feeling warm and bright. You could read this one without the other books of this series is you just want to experience a wacky holiday filled with family and mishaps, but I advise that you would most certainly get so much more from it if you read all the other seven books that proceed this one. This novella gives you just a piece of the puzzle and you will want more. 

The Walshes series:
Underneath it All - The Walshes, #1
The Space Between - The Walshes, #2
Necessary Restoration - The Walshes, #3
The Cornerstone - The Walshes, #4
Restored - The Walshes, #5
The Spire - The Walshes, #6
Preservation - The Walshes, #7
Thresholds - The Walshes, #8


'Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the North End
Not a Walsh had his life together, not even his friends; 

The parties were planned by the foodies with care, 

In hopes that Wes and Erin would soon find their way there; 

The men were stressing over last minute shopping lists and plans, 

While the ladies were busy with work and nesting and finding the right paella pans; 

When out in the dining room there arose such a clatter, 

The Halsted dogs sprang from their beds to see what was the matter; 

They whistled and shouted and called each other names, 

While the secrets and announcements and surprises quickly came; 

So onto another adventure they flew

With the sleigh full of Walshes, and the Commodore too—

As they continued arguing and clamoring around, 

Down the road an unexpected visitor came with a bound; 

But it wasn't long until couples were all nestled snug in their beds, 

With new memories of steamy holiday nights dancing in their heads.
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Also Available in The Walsh Series

#1 Underneath It All

#2 The Space Between

#3 Necessary Restorations

#4 The Cornerstone
Amazon Universal | iTunes | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

#5 Restored

#6 The Spire

#7 Preservation

Author Info
Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since.

Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

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SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - The Demon Within (The Last War, #1) by Josh Gagnier

The Demon Within
The Last War, #1
by Josh Gagnier
Date of Publication:  February 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Paradise or The Abyss, you decide
Joe grew up listening to the voice in his head. It helped him through school, helped him gain wealth in his career.

The final temptation of power was too much. He hadn't considered the cost.

Now he must find a way to defeat The Demon Within.

Little does he know, his every move is being recorded. Every misstep is being judged. As he gets ever closer to winning over his demon, heavenly eyes watch from above. Some root for his success while others hope he'll fail.

While Joe fights his demon on the battlefront, the angel Michael fights for his Soul.

Will Joe win out?

Will Michael be able to save Joe's soul?

Or will the Demon win and thrust Joe into the Abyss.

Buy Link: Amazon

“You must be new to these parts.  Name’s Belath,” says a figure standing over a young man lying against a large trash compactor.  A look toward the sound of the voice reveals what appears to be an older man who, by the looks of him, has had, to put it lightly, a less than spoiled life.  His dark skin is loose with an almost leathery roughness, like a stretched hide left in the sun too long.  Several of his teeth have long escaped the captivity of his smile and those left plot against the warden.  The lines of time can be seen through his mostly grey with spattered black scruff.  His posture is the only thing that doesn’t match his rundown appearance.  He stands straight and proud holding his shoulders square, almost in a protest, refusing to look weak.  He bears the righteous indignation of an innocent man facing the gallows. 
“Just passing through,” replies a shaky voice trying to sound formidable.  A young man, thin, but seemingly fed well enough, slowly stands and dusts himself off.  His posture seems closer to a beaten animal than a grown man.  His boots are scuffed and old, but the heel gives him a few inches in height, which is probably why he wears them.  His knuckles are cracked and healing; more likely from the heat than any type of hard labor.  The dark circles under his eyes and his unkempt appearance hint that he hasn’t slept an entire night in years.  His jacket makes him appear even smaller, as it is a few sizes too big and has small rips that don’t appear to be from wear and tear.  He probably fished it from a dumpster.  His jeans seem to be the least worn of the man.  Though dirty, they're nearly new.  This poor sap doesn’t look like he could fight his way through a paper bag.  The only things that don’t match his overall demeanor are his eyes.  Visibly swimming between pale yellow and bright green, they draw you in and make you trust him. 
“Well, ya may want to make yourself scarce before patrols make their rounds.  They let me stay because I’m the only one within a few hundred miles with a distiller.  I can’t guarantee they won’t haul you off to camp,” Belath warns. “What’s your name son?”
“Don’t want to know you.  I’m not your son and I’m not staying.  Just need a little rest,” replies the young man.  He pulls his hood over his head and turns to walk down the alley toward the main street. 
If he were watching where he was going instead of ignoring the world around him, he would seen the group of four large men, obviously armed, moving quickly toward him.  He would have heard Belath’s warning, and wouldn’t have cost himself such precious time.  Belath reached him just in time to be added as a target.  The young man realized what was happening a moment too late.  A fist hit him square in the side of the head, knocking him to one knee.  Belath runs to his side and helps him to his feet.  The men must have recognized Belath because three of them took a few steps back.  Even the big one, the apparent the leader, took a hesitant step backward.  They must have decided they had the advantage because they began to advance yet again. 
“Gentlemen, do not ring a bell you can’t unring,” says a stern, direct voice.  It came from the young man who, only moments earlier, seemed too weak to speak.  “This is a fight you will not win, regardless of your numbers,” the young man continues.
In response, the leader grabs a bat from one of his men and swings at the young man’s head.  Before anyone can realize what is happening, the young man lunges at the leader.  In one motion, he sidesteps the life ending swing, pulls a long black knife from a sheath under his jacket, and plunges it deep into the leader’s temple with his right hand while grabbing the bat from the ground with his left.  With his next step, he swings the bat at his second target, and finds such purchase the man’s head nearly spins backward.  Next, the young man yanks the blade from the leader’s head and stabs the third man in the side of the neck, almost as a cobra striking its prey.  The young man looks for the last of his adversaries, and sees him running down the alley toward the main streets.  The young man takes a deep breath, lifts the bat, takes aim, and hurls it at his target.  The bat’s aim is precise and the man falls to the ground, screaming in pain.  As the young man calmly walks toward his now-felled enemy, he cleans the blood off of his knife on his pant leg, and puts it away with such dexterity it can’t be known exactly where the sheath is hidden. 
“Today you benefit from being last, sir,” says the young man as he sits on the ground by the last man’s head. “Enough whimpering! You merely broke your ankle on my bat.  I have no desire to take your life,” he says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it. “You will do something for me.  To that end, I spare you life.” His voice is calm yet direct, “You will tell whomever you work for it was Jekyll who reduced these men to corpses.  You will tell him this and,” he takes a long, slow drag of his cigarette, and continues, “you will tell them this, and you will tell them, they do not wish to meet Hyde.  Do we have a deal?” the last being more statement than question. 
The man, believing he is being played, but not wanting to die, gives an exaggerated nod.  The young man stands and begins walking back to where he had been resting and calls out over his shoulder. 
“Belath, I guess I’ll be staying a while longer,” once again speaking in the same shaky voice he had spoken with earlier. 
Buy Link: Amazon
Author Info
Josh has had a knack for writing from a young age; mostly poetry.  The Demon Within is his debut novel and, according to Josh, nearly wrote itself.  He is a US Army veteran and has been deployed to the Balkans and Middle East.  He has been an IT professional for about a decade. 

Many of the events in The Demon Within were taken from Josh's life and "put through the fiction blender" as he puts it.  When pressed for more details, he said he couldn't give specifics for fear of "giving spoilers," but, he did say the book includes fictional spins on things ranging from childhood bullying to being placed in the Las Vegas foster care system.

He currently lives in Columbus OH with his family and is working on book two of his 'The Last War' series.

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with Josh Gagnier . . .

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
I would probably say it’s a roller coaster.  There is no padding.  If the details are in the book, they are needed. 

I have ADHD, so it takes a lot for a book to hold my attention.  I wrote this book as if it were a movie I’d love to watch.

What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
Book 2 should be ready for my editor by next March/April.  Unfortunately, the title would be spoiler for The Demon Within.
I’ve also been toying with the idea of solo books for primary/secondary characters from this series.

Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
The Demon Within took about two months to write.  Those two months were spanned over about two years.  I don’t force it, but when the writing hits, it hits big. For example, I’d go six months without writing, only to finish 10K words on a Saturday binge writing session.
If it doesn’t flow, it doesn’t fit right. 

Where would you spend one full year, if you could go anywhere? What would you do with this time?
If I could go anywhere, and be safe – I’d go to Mars.  Then again, the solitude would probably drive me batty.

Or, perhaps, a sailboat with a crew and I’d write letters as if I were an old merchant ship captain.

Can you share you next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
I am working on book 2 of this series. 
It is going to be more thrilling than the first – and that’s a hard task to say the least.

The first chapter of book 2 is at the end of The Demon Within.
Many of the same characters, with different (harder) struggles and much greater victories.

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