Blog Tour & Giveaway: Margo & George Forever? by Stephanie Queen

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Margo & George Forever?
By Stephanie Queen
Genre: Romantic Comedy
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There was no question in Margo’s heart of hearts that she loved George. She
really did want to marry him–scratch that–she really did want to be
married to him.
There was a difference.
She hoped to heaven that the teeny-tiny distinction wouldn’t be their
undoing…
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The stage is set for the wedding of the year in New York City featuring
poor sweet beautiful Margo marrying the most eligible (read that:
handsome and wealthy) bachelor, Regal Stores heir and CEO, George
Regal, III. The Regal family has long presided over the social and
fashion scene in Manhattan and they have embraced the marriage with
enough enthusiasm to create a circus.
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That could be why Margo feels like she’s in the center ring and
about to be swallowed by a lion.
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But the best things about George, the strong powerful CEO, are the ones
he’s not known for, like his small thoughtful gifts, the crystal
angel Christmas tree ornament he’d given her, the way he holds her
hand at odd moments, the way he bear-hugs his grandma whenever he
sees her and the way he speaks with misty eyes about his late mother.
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Of course Margo wants to spend the rest of her life with him… if
she could just get past the family’s ‘enthusiasm’ and THE WEDDING.
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Warning: Once
you open this book you’ll get heart-warming romance, smiles, laughs &
fun, but also an adult-sized portion of steamy love scenes. And of
course, most important of all, a very satisfying Happily-Ever-After.
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Stephanie Queen is the USA Today bestselling author of the romantic detective
series, Beachcomber Investigations. She lives in the stunning state
of New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty and her fun-loving
friends. Besides going to the gym sporadically, Stephanie cooks and
crochets and loves chocolate covered potato chips (yes, she should go
to the gym more often).
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She used to be a 9 to fiver working in downtown Boston, but has thrown
her stylish suits and fancy heels in a closet and now hangs out in
UConn t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. “If I could come back in
another life as anything I wanted, I’d be a regency era heroine.”
(Not surprisingly) Regency romances are her favorite secret reads.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Just by Jenny Morton Potts

 

How far would you go to save a life?

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

Available on Amazon

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Excerpt

Doctor Fiyori Maziq has been kidnapped and has been entrusted with the care of patients induced to coma… (this passage has been edited to remove spoilers)

Dr Maziq was almost finished her morning rounds. As her health deteriorated, she found that this took longer but the patients, each of whom had been induced to coma, didn’t seem to mind.

Over the months she’d been there, Fiyori varied the way in which she tended her charges. Sometimes she would do a single task, one body after the other. At other times, the doctor would instead administer an entire body treatment, talking to the unconscious person all the while, before going on to the next. She’d been told that in the past, patients at the weight reduction clinic later reported having heard the medical staff talking. But Fiyori was now the sole medic here, since the operation had been scaled down. When she talked, it was just to the patients, or to Agent Stanforth when he came by. She would never say anything derogatory either to or about those in her care.

There were just seven bodies in all, as Mrs Chow from Hangzhou (no wonder she had such an appetite) had left yesterday, and extremely satisfied she was, with her losses. She was able to walk well straight away, with just cane assistance. At least that was what Stanforth reported back to Dr Maziq. She herself was not permitted to see the patients on either side of their coma.

Each of Fiyori’s patients arrived ‘fit for reduction’, that is to say that they had normal renal and hepatic function. Their hearts were in good repair though they all had some tachycardia due to their obesity. Two of them were on a eucaloric diet which meant that they were given the same calories per day that they used and the others were on a hypocaloric regime which was less food than they were burning. Fiyori was not in charge of blending the liquid food, just administering it. Stanforth brought the preparations each day, in litre bottles and in an enormous cool box. They took it out of the cooler and let it reach room temperature before slipping it down the tubes. Fiyori assumed that it was mostly protein, vitamins, minerals and perhaps some complex carbohydrates with a bunch of electrolytes thrown in but from its colour, it could have been a Pedigree Chum smoothie.

This morning, Fiyori was treating each person entirely before moving on. Right now, she was on her seventh and last, Mr Gunvaldsson. His exploited stomach made a cartoon arc beneath the sheet. Fiyori talked to him about politics, nothing too upsetting, but she knew this was his keen interest. She had a feeling Gunvaldsson was a Republican. She had no access to any radio, newspaper, television or online information, so she referred to the topics of the recent past. They did permit Dr Maziq to read books. Certain books. She’d asked for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and to her surprise, they had allowed it.

Mr Gunvaldsson of course was also missing media revelation as he slumbered his way through the days and nights of his volunteered captivity. After his body wash, Fiyori placed a flannel under the connection between his ureteral catheter and urine bag. She pinched off the soft rubber tube and emptied the bag into a large plastic vessel. She washed her hands again and applied sterilising gel. Then Fiyori positioned the patient to semi prone. Later she’d have him fully prone with his head up thirty degrees and finally this evening, the tall Swede who filled the bed to capacity in every direction, would be lateral once more. The doctor smeared his lips with Neutrogena balm and disengaged the trolley’s brake. She wheeled the fifty nine year old onto the ‘weigh bridge’. 142.6 kilograms. A loss of almost one kilo since yesterday. Dr Maziq marked it on the chart. Gunvaldsson was doing well, and only half way through his treatment. His skin colour was good and its texture was moist, meaning she didn’t have to cover his body in lotion. Fiyori fed Mr Gunvaldsson his enteral nutrition via his nose tube. “Here is your breakfast, Sir. Bon appetit. You must tell me later what that is in Swedish.” Though of course this wouldn’t be possible, he wasn’t to know that. She rubbed the back of his hand and after a final auscultation with the stethoscope to check all respiratory and circulatory function, she was ready for a lemon tea and a bite. Fiyori lowered herself gently into the armchair at the end of the room. Her bed was next to it: a trolley on wheels, just like the other inmates, though hers was perpendicular to theirs. She opened the mini fridge at her side and looked up into the CCTV in the corner of the room. Was there anyone else nearby? In this building? Was it the basement of an office block? There were no windows. What if there was a power cut? What if she tripped up and banged her head on a blunt object? What if she had a heart attack? Would they come for her? In the time she had been working with these patients, Fiyori had tried to ban these pointless thoughts, but they were now almost incessant and she lacked the energy to mount a blockade. It was easier when she was working. It was the resting moments which brought unrest, but she desperately needed to sit down now. Fiyori cut the skin from the flesh of a mango and ate hungrily. She wiped the sticky juice from her hands with baby wipes. As jobs went, this one was fairly cushy but she could barely wait to escape.

The young French girl, supine in the bed nearest to Fiyori suddenly opened her eyes. That’s one trick the induced comatose have that Dr Maziq could not get used to. She could cope with the erections and the eerie yawns but the eye opening phenomenon scared the life out of her.

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Author Bio

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Social Media Links – http://www.jennymortonpotts.com/

https://twitter.com/jmortonpotts?lang=en

https://facebook.com/jennymortonpotts

https://www.goodreads.com/jennymortonpotts

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Morton-Potts/e/B00OIYYVPY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1527096532&sr=1-1

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Giveaway 

Win  5 x e-copies of Just by Jenny Morton Potts (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Kingston Court by Holly Kammier

 

Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit
Available Now
Publisher: Acorn Publishing, LLC
 

** Top British book reviewer says Kingston Court has some of the best love scenes she’s ever read. **

Sometimes you have to fall to learn you can fly.

Samantha and Natalie are at a crossroads. Gorgeous, over-the-top Samantha, hides from her past by hanging her status and her happiness on her “perfect” husband. That is until she learns his secret.

But she’s not the only mother on the block struggling. Natalie, nurturing and careful, is thrust back into the workforce after her husband barely survives a near-fatal car accident.

This fast-paced novel follows the lives of two dramatically different women who are faced with life-altering experiences. 

Death and misfortune in the span of a single year force these two women to either sink, or rediscover their inner strength and independence. Described as a modern day twist between Sex and the City and Desperate HousewivesKingston Court is full of scandal, temptation, and all of life’s juicy little secrets.

Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt

NATALIE: MAY 22, 2014

I loved the Gaslamp Quarter at night. Here I got to wear heels instead of New Balance, trade my sweats for a little black dress and red lips. The city made me sexy.

It was a tranquil Thursday in late spring and I should have been hanging out with my mommy friends on Kingston Court. Once a week, without fail, we met up in the cul-de-sac with our kiddos in the evening to drink wine and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip. Tonight was special though. I had a date with my favorite man.

My husband Mark shifted the gears of our BMW as I peered up at the passing lights and giant fashion ads painted on the brick walls of San Diego’s classic building facades. Victorian era architecture mixed with modern skyscrapers. The din of traffic and dingy smell of the streets made me forget to worry over ladies’ night or our two children at home. At least for this moment, we were young again.

Mark slid a hand against my bare thigh as we slowed at a light. “Wanna ditch dinner and find a dark alley?”

The subtle streaks of his greying hair were hidden in the dimly lit sports sedan, turning him into a darker, more mysterious, version of himself. I laughed and leaned toward him, kissing the freckle below his ear. “Tempting. Very tempting. If I wasn’t so hungry I might take you up on that.”

I breathed in his citrus scented after-shave, as I wrapped my hand around his bicep. Mark flexed his arm and narrowed his green eyes at me. “You sure?” he teased in a low voice, almost like a growl. “I get all crazy when you dress like that.”

“Shoot.” My eyebrows sank as I glanced down at my open purse. A small green toothbrush sat on top of my wallet.

“What?”

“I have Ben’s toothbrush.”

My husband and I looked at each other in resignation.

“Jamie is watching him. Maybe it’ll be fine,” I said, though we both knew it wouldn’t.

Our five-year-old son could be difficult. His most recent obsession was brushing his teeth after every meal. I could think of worse things for him to be insistent upon, but going to bed without his toothbrush of choice wasn’t an option. It was only a matter of time before my best friend would call telling us to come home.

Mark’s tired face turned stoic without the charm of his smile. He pulled into the next u-turn lane to head back for the freeway.

“Are you mad?” I asked, reaching for his knee.

“Eh, we’ll just drop it off and swing by that Thai place you like.” He shrugged and took my hand, reverting back to the role of comforting husband.

I scrunched up my nose and removed the barrette holding back my shoulder length brown hair. We were celebrating my thirty-eighth birthday and there was nothing romantic about the Taste of Thai at our neighborhood strip mall.

The light in front of us turned green, and I brushed my hand against the back of his neck, hoping to be absolved of my guilt. “Maybe we can still—”

He turned to look at me. His eyes, focused only on mine, carried none of the fear I suddenly felt wash over me. In that single moment life froze. I needed to speak, to take the wheel, something. Instead, I watched the set of headlights outside Mark’s window get closer.

An intake of breath. A downpour of shattered glass. The sound of my scream as if it belonged to someone else.

The car lifted then tumbled. A dizzy Ferris wheel of lights …

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About the Author

Holly Kammier is a former journalist who has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon. A UCLA honors graduate, she is the author of the best-seller, Kingston Court, her debut novel.
Choosing Hope, her recently released novel, is a cross-over to Kingston Court with overlapping characters and locations.
The California native and mother of two, lives in San Diego, California close to her family and friends. Co-Founder of Acorn Publishing, Holly is available for speaking engagements and content editing.
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Contact Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hkammier

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Holly-Kammier-252951451414094/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hkammier/all-things-kingston-court/

Blog: http://hkammier.com/blog/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13909049.Holly_Kammier

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Giveaway

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Cusp of Night by Mae Clair

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CUSP OF NIGHT
Hode’s Hill #1
by Mae Clair
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Pub Date: 6/12/2018
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The truth hides in dark places…
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Recently settled in Hode’s Hill,
Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore,
especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like
creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific
murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the
past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual
“Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of
the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone
dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the
attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode
clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late
nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a
woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s
Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a
trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The
disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the
monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But
the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden
world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die…
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Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s
Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her
father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create
make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer
nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven
fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever
her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and
elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives
in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a
good Maine lobster tail and cats.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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New Release & Giveaway: The Killed Conscience by Jordan Antonacci

 

Mystery
Date Published: 6-22-2018
 

Still at the beginning of her career, investigative journalist Emilee Weathers is desperate for the perfect story and doesn’t care how she has to get it. When she’s asked to assist in a convicted serial killer’s appeal, it almost seems the perfect story has come banging at her door.

But not long after arriving to the mountain town of Pigeon Forge, Emilee discovers the body of another, more recent victim. With the body showing signatures of the already-convicted murderer, Emilee sets out to discover if she’s happened upon the work of a copycat, or if the real killer was ever even caught. The more she looks though, the murkier everything becomes. Police begin withholding information and the killer seems capable of going any length to protect his identity. On top of it all, when her investigations uncover the buried secrets of those closest to her, Emilee questions who it is she can and can’t trust in those mountains, if anyone at all.

Purchase Links
Amazon   *   Kobo   *   Smashwords

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About the Author

Jordan Antonacci is an HVAC Technician by day and blogger by night, working out of the hot, hot lands of Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t trying to avoid heat stroke, he can be found at his desk with an espresso, brewing up a new story or a post for his blog. Outside of writing, Jordan has a mild case of wanderlust. He enjoys road trips, cruises, and flights out to California to visit his family. His dream is to make a living with writing and visit every country the world has to offer.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Resistance by A.S. McGowan

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Resistance
Cockiest Red Planet Trilogy Book 1
by A.S. McGowan
Genre: SciFi
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What would you do if the laws allowed anyone with money to Trademark an
everyday word? Or the copyrighting of a name, so no one could ever
use that name again?
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Over a hundred years ago, Earth was dying. A few rich men and women banned
together to create a kingdom on Mars. They hand picked the people who
would join them in this new kingdom. Then they brought their arrogant
beliefs and made them laws. The Trademark Commission was established
to allow anyone who could afford it, the ability to trademark any
common word. The laws stated that once a word was trademarked no one
could speak that word again. The Naming Commission ensures that all
names are copyrighted and no one uses another person’s copyrighted
name. Fines and even prison time are given to those who violate the
trademark and copyright laws.
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Kathryn 5.0 was pregnant with her first child when the word ‘baby’ is
trademarked. Forced to refer to her baby as “little human”
she is tired of the 100 year old laws. Reaching out to friends, she
works to create a resistance. Together they fight against the
trademark and copyright laws. Battle lines are drawn and it is family
against family. Those who resist the laws are branded “Bullies”
while those who support the ancient laws wave the “Victim” banner.
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**Only .99 cents!!**
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Kathryn 5.0 walked down the hard-packed, red dirt streets. The heat wave sucked the air from her lungs. With her hands under her swollen belly, she tried to elevate some of the strain on her back. Only three weeks to go and her baby would be born. She should be excited, but she was worried. The Naming Commission told her today that the name she wanted has already registered. Sadly, Luna was registered last month to someone else’s baby girl. The only option they offered her was to name her baby Luna 2.0. She did not want her child to be a point anything, she wanted her child to have a unique name. To be the first registered.

When she reached her house, she darted inside. The cool air was a blessed relief from the outside heat. The sweat on her body practically froze on her skin. Plopping down on the bright teal wooden bench, she removed her shoes. She slid them under the bench then stood and shook the red dust from the bottom of her long blue skirt. It was a daily struggle to keep the dust out of the home, especially when it clung to everything. It seemed all the women in the kingdom sported the red stains upon the hem of their skirts. She hated it. Not long ago she had petitioned the Fashion Commission to allow shorter lengths to prevent this. They shot her down instantly. The women who sat on the Commission were the fashion superiors and their word was law.

Inside the living room, she sat on the bright yellow sofa. Her feet propped up on the white wooden coffee table. She put her earphones in and clicked the button on the sound system remote. She was that way when her husband came home. She noted that he had removed his shoes but still wore his cream-colored cotton pants and matching tunic work suit. He joined her on the sofa, placed his hand on her stomach, and smiled. She took the earphones out and turned off the sound system.

“How did it go at the Naming Commission?” His voice held a hint of anticipation. His smile lit his face up.

“Not good. The name we wanted was already registered. I want a unique name for our baby.” She looked at him, her eyes pleaded with him to offer up a unique name.

“Well you need to stop referring to the child as ‘baby.’ I heard on the city speakers that the word “baby” is now a registered trademark. We can’t afford to be sued for using the word.” He shook his head.

“Surely the use in our home if acceptable.” Turning she faced him, her eyebrow lifted.

“There are eyes and ears everywhere, Kathryn 5.0, we can’t risk it. Use the term little human from now on.” He lovingly patted her stomach again. “So, what’s for dinner?”

“I thought we would have cucumber soup. With this heat, a chilled dish would be most welcomed.” She hated the way he deflected from the subject at hand. She knew he was looking forward to the name Luna just as much as she was. Instead, he focused on a trademarked word and violations.

“Kathryn 5.0! You know that James 3.0 registered a trademark for the word soup a couple of months ago. Remember, it is liquid puree now.” He looked at her the way a parent would look at an errant child.

“I am sorry, Matthew 7.0, of course. Dinner is cucumber liquid puree.” She smiled at her husband. He was more concerned with the Trademark Commission and all the trademarked words than she was. Then again, in his line of work as a lawyer, she could see how such things would affect him more than her.

They ate their dinner in silence at the small table in the kitchen. Finishing his dinner, Matthew 7.0 disappeared into his private office. She remained in the kitchen to clean up. There were nights like this where she wished she was one of the Elite. The Elite were allowed various servants to take care of daily chores. Uppers such as herself were denied these luxuries.

She was placing the dishes into the dish cleaning machine when her husband came in. He had changed out of his work suit and now wore a sage green tunic with matching pants. He was smiling the smile that always meant he had big news to share. She couldn’t help but smile back at his infectious smile.

He grabbed her and spun her around. Laughing and squealing, she begged to be put down. When he put her down, he kissed her. Breathless, she smiled up at him. His sparkling blue eyes mesmerized her, pulling her in.

“I have the perfect name for our little human.” He was giddy. “Minka!”

“Minka?” She scrunched up her nose. What kind of name was that? Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Prisoner of the Crown by Jeffe Kennedy

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PRISONER OF THE CROWN
Chronicles of Dasnaria #1
by Jeffe Kennedy
Genre: Fantasy
Pub Date: 6/12/2018
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She was raised to be beautiful,
nothing more. And then the rules changed . . .
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In icy Dasnaria, rival realm to the Twelve Kingdoms, a woman’s role
is to give pleasure, produce heirs, and question nothing. But a plot
to overthrow the emperor depends on the fate of his eldest daughter.
And the treachery at its heart will change more than one carefully
limited life . . .
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The Gilded Cage
Princess Jenna has been raised in supreme luxury—and ignorance.
Within the sweet-scented, golden confines of the palace seraglio,
she’s never seen the sun, or a man, or even learned her numbers.
But she’s been schooled enough in the paths to a woman’s power.
When her betrothal is announced, she’s ready to begin the
machinations that her mother promises will take Jenna from ornament
to queen.
But the man named as Jenna’s husband is no innocent to be cozened
or prince to charm. He’s a monster in human form, and the horrors
of life under his thumb are clear within moments of her wedding vows.
If Jenna is to live, she must somehow break free—and for one born
to a soft prison, the way to cold, hard freedom will be a dangerous
path indeed…
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I grew up in paradise.

Tropically warm, lushly beautiful, replete with luxury, my childhood world was without flaw. My least whim was met with immediate indulgence, served instantly and with smiles of delight. I swam in crystal clear waters, then napped on silk. I chased gorgeously ornamental fish and birds, and enjoyed dozens of perfectly behaved pets of unusual coloring and pedigrees. My siblings and I spent our days in play, nothing ever asked or expected of us.

Until the day everything was demanded—and taken—from me.

Only then did I finally see our paradise for what it was, how deliberately designed to mold and shape us. A breeding ground for luxurious accessories. To create a work of art, you grow her in an environment of elegance and beauty. To make her soft and lusciously accommodating, you surround her with delicacies and everything delightful. And you don’t educate her in anything but being pleasing.

Education leads to critical thinking, not a desirable trait in a princess of Dasnaria, thus I was protected from anything that might taint the virginity of my mind, as well as my body.

Because I’d understood so little of the world outside, when my time came to be plucked from the garden, when the snip of the shears severed me from all I’d known, the injury came as a shock so devastating that I had no ability to even understand what it meant, much less summon the will to resist and overcome. Which, I’ve also come to realize over time, was also a part of the deliberate design.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back to the beginning.

I grew up in paradise.

And it was all you’d imagine paradise to be. A soft palace of lagoons and lush gardens, of silk bowers and laughter. With little else to do, our mothers and the other ladies played with us, games both simple and extravagantly layered. When we tired, we napped on the velvet soft grass of the banks of the pools, or on the silk pillows scattered everywhere. We’d sleep until we awoke, eat the tidbits served us by watchful servant girls, then play more.

Hestar and I had our own secret games and language. All the ladies called us the royal pair, as we were the emperor’s firstborns and we’d been born less than a month apart.

My mother, first wife, the Empress Hulda, and the most highly ranked woman in the empire, spent much of her day at court. When she was home in the seraglio, she preferred to relax without noisy children to bother her. Hestar’s mother, Jilliya, was second wife and kept getting pregnant, forever having and sometimes losing the babies. So, by unspoken agreement, we kept clear of her apartments, too. Something else I understood much later, that the miasma of misery has its own brand of contagion—and that those who fear contracting the deadly disease stay far away.

Saira, on the other hand, third wife and mother of our half-sister Inga, had a kindness and sweetness to her, so we kids often played in her apartments when we grew bored of games like climbing the palm trees to see who could pluck the most dates while a servant counted the time. Inga, along with my full brother, Kral, were the second oldest pair—the second-borns, also arriving in the same month, to my mother and Saira. Less than a year younger than Hestar and me, they completed our set of four. Our six other brothers and sisters played with us, too, but they were babies still, needing to be watched all the time. Whenever we could, the four of us ditched the babies, exploring the far corners of our world, then making hideouts where no one could find us.

Though, of course, when the least desire took our fancy, someone always appeared instantaneously to satisfy us. Another of the many illusions of my childhood.

Hestar and I, we had a cave we’d made under a clump of ferns. He’d stocked it with a box of sweetmeats and I’d stolen one of my mother’s silk throws for a carpet. Embroidered with fabulous animals, it told tales of a world beyond our corner of paradise. We loved it best of all our purloined treasures, and made up stories about the scenes and creatures, giving them names and convoluted histories.

One day—the kind that stands out with crystalline clarity, each detail incised in my memory—we played as usual. Hestar had been mysteriously gone for a while the day before, or perhaps several days before or for several days in a row. That part fogs in with the timelessness of those days that never ended, but blended one into the next. What I remember is the elephant.

“And the miskagiggle flapped its face tail, saying nooo—”

“It’s called an elephant,” Hestar interrupted me.

“What is?”

“It’s not a miskagiggle. It’s an elephant, and the face tail is a trunk.”

Hestar beamed with pride at knowing something I didn’t.

“You’re making that up.”

“No, I’m not! My tutor told me.”

“What’s that?”

“A teacher. My tutor is named Ser Llornsby.”

“Is that where you went?” Hestar and Kral had been whisked off by servants, and no one would tell me or Inga where they were, just that we’d see them again soon.

Hestar’s blue eyes went wide and he looked around to see if anyone was listening. “Want to know a secret?”

Oh, did I. Even then I understood that secrets were the carefully hoarded and counted currency of the seraglio. “Yes!”

We pulled the silk throw over our heads to make a tent. It was the usual grass beneath, so we didn’t really need the carpet. Having it just made our hideaway more special—and the throw became a blanket, excellent for exchanging secrets.

“We went through the doors!” Hestar told me, whispering but much too loudly.

I hushed him. I didn’t question how I knew, but this secret held power. Most of our secrets had been silly, frivolous things, like how Inga kept candied dates under her pillow. Or ones everyone already knew, like that Jilliya was pregnant again. With the unabashed enthusiasm of children, we absorbed all the murmured gossip and repeated it with equal relish. This, though—I recognized immediately how important it was.

No wonder no one would tell us where they’d gone. Children didn’t go through the doors. Only my mother and some of the women. The rekjabrel and other servants, they went in and out all the time. But a lot of times they came back crying or hurt, so we understood the doors led to a terrible place. And yet Hestar had gone and returned, beaming.

“Was it terrible? Were you scared? Did Kral go, too?”

Hestar nodded, solemnly. “We were brave boys though. And it’s not like here. There aren’t the lagoons and it’s not as warm. They took us to a library and we met Ser Llornsby. We looked at pictures and learned animal names.”

I couldn’t bring myself to ask what a library might be. I wanted to look at pictures and learn animal names. Though I didn’t know the emotion to name it at the time, a jab of envy lanced through my heart. Hestar and I always had everything the same, only I had the better mother, because she was first wife. It wasn’t fair that Hestar got to go through the doors and learn things without me. An elephant. I whispered the exotic word to myself.

“Elephants are huge and people ride on their backs, and the elephants carry things for them in their trunks.” Hestar continued, full of smug pride. “Ser Llornsby is going to teach me everything I need to know to be emperor someday.”

“Why do you get to be emperor? My mother is first wife. Yours is only second wife. Besides, I’m older.”

Hestar wrinkled his nose at me. “Because you’re a girl. Girls can’t be emperor. Only empress.”

That was true. It was the way of things. “Well then you can be emperor and I can be empress like Mother.”

“All right!” Hestar grinned. “We’ll rule the whole empire and have lots of elephants. Kral and Inga can be our servants.”

For the rest of the day we played emperor and empress. Kral and Inga got mad and decided they would be emperor and empress, too, not listening when we said there could only be one of each and we were firstborn so they had to be our servants. They went off to play their own game, but we got Helva to be in our court, and also her little brothers, Leo and Loke. The boys were identical twins and liked any game they could play together. Baby Harlan could barely toddle, so he stayed with his nurse. Ban went off with Inga, of course, as he followed her everywhere, but her full brother, Mykal came to our side.

We didn’t care, because our court was the biggest. Besides, everyone knew the emperor gets to pick his own empress, and Hestar already promised me I’d be first wife and I could pick his other wives, just like Mother did. Which meant Inga wouldn’t get to be one. Maybe not Helva, either, though I told her she would be.

Mother didn’t much care for Saira and Jilliya, so maybe I wouldn’t have other wives at all. I didn’t need them to be empress.
Continue reading

Spotlight & Giveaway: The Boy Who Dreamt of Fire Trucks by Alvita Mack

Book Title: The Boy Who Dreamt of Fire Trucks by Alvita Mack
Category: Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 26 pages
Genre: Children’s Books, Cars, Trains & Things That Go, Cars & Trucks
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Release date: September 26, 2016
Tour dates: May 28 to June 22, 2018
Content Rating: G

 

Book Description:

This story is about a little boy who is fascinated by fire trucks. Throughout his early life, he has dreams about the adventures at the station and the exciting life of a firefighter. The little boy holds his dreams close until one day they become a reality.

To follow the tour please visit Alvita Mack’s page on iRead Book Tours.

 

Buy the Book:
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Meet the Author:
Alvita is a lover of writing, a teacher, and most importantly, a mom. Writing has always provided a creative outlet for which she finds sensible solutions. Having a son with developmental delays was very challenging for her. However, she used books and original stories to help him overcome the obstacles he faced at an early age. Alvita believes that the imagination is truly a key that unlocks the doors to an endless journey.
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Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram
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Enter the Giveaway!
Ends June 30, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M. Byrne

 

WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.

After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.

France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.

Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.

A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.

Purchase from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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Excerpt

Living in an isolated Highland community, Mary is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart. But when war is on the horizon, and the county is flooded with young men from the forces, she meets a handsome pilot, who makes her feel things Johnny Allan never did.

Saturday night came round at last and Mary took extra care with her looks. She dressed in her best frock and curled her hair, taking care not to overheat the tongs. She even borrowed a bit of make up from Rita. Deep down she wondered who she was really doing this for. Johnny wouldn’t care if she came in a sack. She thought about the airman’s striking eyes and laughed at herself. He must be somewhere in his twenties and he’d sounded posh, not someone who would ever be interested in her with her broad, flat accent and country ways. Anyway, if she did marry Johnny, years down the line when they were old and settled with several children, it might be good to sometimes remember a handsome pilot who had once held her hand too long. That’s if she married Johnny.

Mary was disappointed that the promised band failed to turn up. Instead the music was provided by a gramophone, but she was in such high spirits just to be there, that the scratchy records could not dampen her mood. She turned to Rita to say just that, then stopped, the words instantly frozen inside her.

The two young pilots, looking smart and polished in their uniforms, walked through the door. Mary was surprised at her own reaction. There was something about this man that gave her a squeamish sensation in her belly, made her heart beat high in her chest and dried her mouth, all of which were new, embarrassing, but exciting sensations, sensations that Johnny never raised in her. Aware that she was staring, she snatched her gaze away, then sneaked a sideways glance at Greg. He was watching her, a slightly amused look on his face.

Was he laughing at her — pleased that yet another silly young lassie had fallen for his smooth good looks and wonderful eyes? Well, she would show him how disinterested she was. Pulling her shoulders back and tilting her head, she looked around for Johnny who was in the far corner, seemingly not noticing her at all.

‘Let’s go get some lemonade,’ she said to Rita, who stood next to her, swaying to the beat of Glenn Miller.

Rita shrugged. ‘That’s if Lily’s made any.’ Lily was the caretaker of the hall and usually laced beakers of water with whatever berries she could get her hands on, berries and her home-made wine. The word ‘lemonade’ covered a variety of flavours.

They were about to go when she heard the voice at her shoulder. ‘May I have this dance?’

Even before she turned, she knew it was him. She tried, unsuccessfully, to look nonchalant when she nodded. He slipped an arm around her waist and clasped her hand in his. Greg was taller than she thought and he led her effortlessly onto the floor.

‘Penny for them,’ he said.

‘I thought it was a band tonight. I’m a bit disappointed.’ She spoke in a little rush through dry lips.

He smiled. ‘Not too disappointed, I hope.’

Not now, she thought, aware of the pressure of his arm and the minty smell of his breath. She laughed, a silly giggly little sound.

‘We’d best introduce ourselves properly if we’re to dance all night. I’m Greg Cunningham.’ Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Persephane Pendrake Chronicles by Lady Ellen

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The Cimaruta
Persephane Pendrake Chronicles Book 1
by Lady Ellen
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
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A young 13-year-old witch and wizard. A quest for 9 Magical Objects –
Winner Takes All. An evil sorceress, determined to beat them and rule
the planet.
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Enter a magical world of mystery and wonder, where fantasy reigns supreme
and casual chatter sparkles green. Meet Persephane (or Persy as she
prefers), Thaddeus, Benson and P-C as they embark on their enchanted
adventures to thwart the evil, black witch Melanthios…
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Push the outer boundaries of your imagination into a world where Persy (a
very talented almost 13 year old witch, magic her ‘modus operandi’)
and her close friend Thaddeus (a 13 year old wizard) with their
familiars –Benson (a very cheeky dragonfly) and P-C (a far from
brave dragon) pit magic, bravery, skill and allegiances from a swarm
of magical creatures against the tall, dark and malevolent
Melanthios. “Best new fantasy series books” one reader claims….
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Follow them as they wind through periods in time, to discover ancient magic
from cultures all throughout the history of the world in this best
fantasy book in a long time.
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Success for Melanthios means that the entirety of this planet will fall under
her control. Our world will become dark, bleak, cold and lorded over
by her demons – forever.
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Pull up a chair, sit back, and join them in their quest as Persy and her
friends race against fate and time, to stop Melanthios from her evil
plot to collect nine mystical objects of power scattered throughout
the world to become the –All Powerful One.–
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Persy, Thaddeus, Benson and P-C are assisted by a highly adept, scrying
gypsy named Vadoma, a vampire with a rather warped sense of humor –
Count Pseudomorphius the Sanguine who is known as Murph…for obvious
reasons.
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Not to be forgotten is the twelve member Magical Governing Council, which
Persy’s grandmother Laurel is one of the lead members. Each member
specializes in a particular area of magic and all have a gift to give
our heroes to further enhance their chances against Melanthios.
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But is it enough? Melanthios is evil and heartless….and VERY powerful…
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As if she isn’t enough to worry about…also on the dark side is a
slippery, loathsome Chinese Sorcerer…aiming to usurp Melanthios and
beat her at her own game..and along the way…dispose of Persy and
her crew!
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Will this ever end? What chance does our team stand? You’ll see…
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**Only .99 cents!**
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The Cauldron of Ceridwen
Persephane Pendrake Chronicles Book 2
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Krak Ling’s Ring calls to Persy and she, Thad, Benson and P-C rush into
an unauthorized trip to retrieve it, narrowly missing being killed by
guards, when P-C unleashes a power no one knew he possessed or could
use, even him.
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As expected, Krak Ling hunts them down to take his ring back, but in the
negotiations, he reveals the next Magic Object which Melanthios is
about to attempt to capture…The Cauldron of Ceridwen. Why this
cauldron? The best person to explain that is Lady Druanna, the
resident authority on all things Celtic Magic.
They make their way to Killarney, an area in Ireland, where Lady Druanna’s
manor is located and there she tells them the tale of The Cauldron.
It’s not the vessel which is so important to all Magicals but the
first three drops of the Brew it creates. But their visit to Lady
Dru’s is violently interrupted, resulting in severe injury to the
Lady and the kidnapping of Thaddeus by the malevolent Melanthios.
Persy is beside herself with grief and worry, both for the survival of Lady
Druanna and the whereabouts and safety of Thad.
xAnd so her journey begins. Of course, things get worse…much worse
before even the haze of a solution appears:

Persy has lost he comrade in arms and so much face this quest
alone.


She ultimately finds out that Thad has been tossed into a multiverse.
Where? When? Can she ever get him back?


There is another Dark organization, supporting Melanthios in her evil
quest.


Someone at school has found out who and what she is and is trying to
expose her. Good-bye privacy and Hello World Lab Rat!


There is someone who Persy always believed to be a mundane…normal
human who is about to ‘come out’ as a Magical. Who knew?


Romance sparks from unexpected corners
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Who will possess Magical Object 2 at the end of this tantalizing
escapade? The only way to find out is to read: The Persephane
Pendrake Chronicles – Two- The Cauldron of Ceridwen.

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Lapis Draconis
Persephane Pendrake Chronicles Book 3
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A powerful magical stone embedded in the tooth of a Fire Dragon. Being
tossed into a Multiverse. All before starting college at The
Illuminary Incantorium.

Persephane, Thaddeus, Rix, Sniv and Darson are on the trail of the third Magical
Object – The Lapis Draconis. The malicious Melanthios is calling up
Demon help to capture the stone before they do. And death. Death
comes too soon to one of them. Who?

The fast-paced, no-holds-barred quest continues in Book 3 – Lapis
Draconis. Get Your Copy Now!
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GET THE COMPLETE BOX SET HERE!
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Weaving and scribing of the eight remaining tomes continues in Lady Ellen’s
remote witch’s hut…on her tiny piece of Ontario’s Cambrian Shield”
…and indeed that’s where the series began.
After more than 3 decades as an alternative health care practitioner, I
finally managed to start devoting some serious time to my secret
love–fantasy fiction.
I’ve always loved fantasy, magic and mythical kingdoms. We
home-schooled our kids and lived on a 100 acre farm..which had about
twenty-five acres in forest.

We’d make up stories and adventures..lots of fairies, witches, wizards,
etc.
Now, all these years later, I’ve started on my nine-book, three trilogy
magical series…The Persephane Pendrake Chronicles and have released
Books 1, 2 and 3… The Cimaruta, The Cauldron of Ceridwen and Lapis
Draconis.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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