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Sagas: Book Review

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Elizabeth Cage, Book 2
Jodi Taylor
Fiction, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
Headline,
(1 Jan. 2019)
368

Betrayed, terrified and alone, Elizabeth Cage has fled her home. With no plan and no friends, she arrives at the picturesque village of Greyston and finds herself involved in an ages-old ceremony that will end in death.

And that might be the least of her problems - the Sorensen Institute would very much like to know her whereabouts. And Michael Jones is still out there, somewhere, she hopes. No matter how far and how fast she can run, trouble will always find Elizabeth Cage.

Barnes and Noble Editors say: In Taylor’s chilling sequel to 2017’s White Silence, Elizabeth Cage, a human lie detector who can detect other people’s secrets, has attracted unwelcome attention. In order to live as quiet a life as possible and avoid being deployed as a psychological warfare weapon, Cage flees her home in Rushford, England, with the idea that if she keeps on the move, she’ll be able to remain free. After taking a random series of buses, Cage ends up in Greyston, a creepy, suspiciously neat village, which reminds her of one in a TV program “where half the population is dead by the end of the second advert break.” Her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Greyston is a matriarchal society led by the Three Sisters, who preside over the annual ritual slaughter of the man designated as the Year King, and she’s told that she must become one of the Three Sisters. While the trope is a familiar one, Taylor makes it her own with both humorous and ominous passages. This supernatural thriller will please fans of the classic film The Wicker Man(Mar.)

My Review

This is Jodi Taylor’s second book in this series. And for my mind this is where the story should end.

Jodi is a storyteller in great tradition of the Icelandic Sagas. You get hooked on the story and the characters and want more – the story is many stories wrapped up in one. Some authors might have been tempted to split it into several books, but for me, it was more satisfactory to read the great saga as one. Jodi gave me the full experience.

Unlike her stories about St Mary’s these are not light and humorous stories, but equally well-crafted and very dark indeed in places that echo traditional myths about the Mother and the Year King and fertility rites.

I thought the ending was a good ending and at present find it difficult to see how another story could be added, but Jodi surprises me a lot with her imagination and story craft so…

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BookBlitz: Are You Curious?

Just Curious
Ariella Talix
Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance, Suspense
March 10th 2021

Secrets, curiosity, and passion.

Fantasy becomes reality with little encouragement.

Willa Camden, successful author of steamy novels, becomes entwined with Jackson Mitchell, a brilliant billionaire, and his best friend Casey Melrose. Their love is shared equally, and Willa is not always in the middle.

Craving excitement, they embark on international adventures in the style befitting a billionaire.

Cyber threats, blackmail, and theft turn their world upside down. Their careers are jeopardized, and lives are in danger.

Fair warning: They curse a little and have sex a lot, so please don’t be shocked. Join them for a wild ride.

If you’re ready for a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and grabbing for a fan, this story is for you.

 

Secrets, curiosity, and passion.⁣

⁣Fantasy becomes reality with little encouragement.⁣

⁣Willa Camden, successful author of steamy novels, becomes entwined with Jackson Mitchell, a brilliant billionaire, and his best friend Casey Melrose. Their love is shared equally, and Willa is not always in the middle.⁣

⁣Craving excitement, they embark on international adventures in the style befitting a billionaire.⁣

⁣Cyber threats, blackmail, and theft turn their world upside down. Their careers are jeopardized, and lives are in danger.⁣

⁣Fair warning: They curse a little and have sex a lot, so please don’t be shocked. Join them for a wild ride.⁣

⁣If you’re ready for a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and grabbing for a fan, this story is for you.⁣

⁣⁣Just Curious by @ariellatalix is an all-new MMF romance and it’s out NOW! Get it FREE on #KindleUnlimited ➞ https://amzn.to/3begPD8⁣

⁣⁣#Bibliophile #Bookshelf #BookClub #Bookish #Booksy #BookNerd #BookWorm #romanticsuspense #mmf #ariellatalix #XpressoTours @XpressoTours #Bookstagram #bookstagrammer #BookBlogger #BookQueen #BookLove #BookStack #GoodReads #BookShark #BookCommunity #ReadersOfInstagram #BookBabe #Reading #BookAesthetic #BookishPost

Chapter 1: Excerpt

Willa Camden squinted at the television. She was trying to figure out how she knew the woman giving her acceptance speech at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Willa recognized the grating tone of the woman’s voice and the fake smile with overly whitened teeth. She appeared to be in her early to mid-thirties. The woman simpered at the audience and clutched the statuette to her chest. Her angular face was covered in gaudy makeup. It was too bad, Willa thought. If she hadn’t been so made-up, she might have been attractive. Unfortunately, her brassy-blond hair had a terrible case of dark roots.
“There is something so familiar about her…” Willa muttered to herself. She was certain they’d met. Her name appeared on the screen: Deb Abbey. It didn’t ring any bells; she certainly wasn’t one of the screenplay writers Willa knew.
“I’m so proud of this work,” Deb enthused nasally to the audience. “It started out as a novel, but I just saw everything in my head so vividly, I changed the work over to a screenplay about a quarter of the way through. Thank you to the Academy and to the actors, director, and the entire crew who brought my words to life so wonderfully. I can’t name you all, but you know who you are. And thank you to the people who inspired me.” Music played, and Deb turned to head offstage.
Huh, not much of a speech—especially for a writer. Dying of curiosity, Willa grabbed her laptop and Googled the movie—which was apparently new—to see if that would give her any clue about the writer’s identity.
Within seconds, she had the trailer booted up. Her face went scarlet, and she began to shake. Like a ton of bricks, the memory of meeting “Deb Abbey” came back in a rush and settled in her chest, crushing her.
“Fucking bitch!” she hollered at her laptop as her world blew apart. Willa jumped up and thundered around her house, finally deciding she needed to get outdoors before she broke something in her rage. She went to the fireplace where they’d always kept a bowl of smooth beach stones. She loaded up her pockets and ran for the door where she kicked off her shoes. Thoughtlessly, she flicked on the backyard lights and stomped down the stairs to the beach, where she ran to the water’s edge. Hot tears poured unchecked down her face. She hadn’t even locked the door behind her.

Author details

Ariella Talix is the nom de plume of a bestselling author who lives in America’s Heartland.
Her goal is to preserve the dignity of family members who would rather not be associated publicly with a woman who writes such scandalous and stimulating novels. She’s not going to stop writing them though.

She loves her family, pets, great books, not-so-great books that still entertain, and art.

Born and raised near the beaches of southern California, Ariella Talix traveled the world extensively and then found her true home in the Midwest. She has a second-degree black belt in Karate and has been a professional artist for many years. Her work is displayed in countries all over the world.

A sudden brainstorm prompted the first of her novels, Make Believe, and since then the ideas just keep tumbling out like an avalanche.

https://www.ariellatalix.com/

https://www.instagram.com/ariellatalix/

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/m6f3i7

https://www.facebook.com/ariella.talix.1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18683284.Ariella_Talix

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There’s a screen – and it isn’t tangible. Author Interview.

Smoke Screen Book Cover Smoke Screen
The Blue Trilogy, #2
K. Nilsson
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Independent
Publication date: October 29th 2020

She was a distraction. He was a mistake.
Now they’re in each others’ way.

Rookie investigator Devyn Foster knows the pain of losing family. It’s what drives her to do what she does – finding the missing and the lost and returning them to their families.

Her latest assignment is no different, finding the computer a whiz who disappeared while working on a mysterious project. Even though his case has gone cold, she won’t let his elderly parents suffer. She will find him and return him back to them.

But that was before the one-night stand that changed everything…

Private Investigator Max Carson has never let anything—or anyone—stop him from getting the job done. So when he’s hired to track down a software program that could change the world, that’s exactly what he’s going to do… until he finds himself in a dead heat with a woman who’s just as determined as he is to get the job done on her own terms.

Now Max has to deal with two problems: how to get Devyn out of the way… and out of his heart.

Fun Facts about Author

Where did you get your penchant for writing?

I grew up in a family who recounted family lore all the time.  It was a way family history was passed on from generation to generation.  Additionally, books I read in my youth, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and comics hooked me on suspense stories.  Italian novellas hooked me on romance.

Favorite Genres for reading and writing

Reading: Thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, including regency romance, young adult, contemporary and women’s fiction

Writing preference: a combination of romance and suspense. 

Inspirations: Movies, history, and personal stories, and art history.

Favorite activity: travelling.  I’m an avid foodie who cooks and posts too much food porn, but I include my own recipes in the newsletters.

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

The latest books are part of a series––The Blue Trilogy.  Though the genre is enemies to lovers and romantic suspense.  The two characters had a one-night stand where the man ghosted the woman as soon as the tryst ended.  He was a real cad.  Imagine the emotions when they are sitting across from each other in a conference room.  They cross paths seeking a missing person and technology theft.

What character(s) in your books are your favorite?

The female character, Grace, from The Confessional, got into my head and made me feel all the emotions, pain, shame, fear, and hope.  I wish all my characters would turn out that way.  The male character, Saint, was the worst kind of scum in the beginning of the book.  I had to dial back the depth of vile in his personality.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

Both.  I started my first books writing my stories by the seat of my pants––hence the term panster.  However, this method caused me to backtrack and spent more time doing that than fine tuning the story.  I appreciate the need for an outline, now.  But eventually, I go off-road and capture the story as it develops in my mind.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Yes, I have editors.  I’ve used a content editor for the trilogy. The other type of editors reviews the manuscript line by line, pointing out inconsistencies such as timeline issues, relationships among the characters, locations or physical proximities––things like that.  It’s hard to get a manuscript perfect, but the obvious errors should be caught.  My proofreader is a magical combination of the three AND she makes sure the grammar and punctuation are correct.

What kinds of marketing [Twitter, Facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

I promote my books mostly on Facebook, Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter.  I don’t advertise on Facebook much because I find the dashboard challenging to use.  When I think everything is set up and hit post, they’ve kicked back the ads due to issues with wording and photos showing too much skin.  Instagram has been easier for me to use for advertising. 

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Yes.  I can’t do both at the same time without the other suffering.  While the books are going through the first phase of editing, I devote that time to designing teasers, videos, and formulating the template for takeovers, newsletter, and giveaways.  I love using RIPL to make my own videos.  When I get the editor’s feedback, review the suggestions and get back to work.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?

Make notes on what you want to write immediately. Don’t let the brief thoughts or ideas slip away.  Write the synopsis or blurb.  It could serve as your roadmap for the book.  Read a lot of the genre in which you want to write.  Get some readers to look over your synopsis and first chapter.  Get help planning your release. 

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer –

Dogs or cats? I like both.  You better include birds.

Chocolate or vanilla? Strawberry, mint chocolate chip, Sicilian pistachio

Coffee or Tea? Coffee at home, expresso while traveling, chamomile when it’s cold

Talk or Text? I hate texting, but it’s convenient when I don’t have time to talk.

Day or Night? I’m a night owl.

What’s next for you?

Dead Heat May 2021

Satan’s Overlord (temporary title) December 2021

SPOTIFY

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST FOR SMOKE SCREEN, BOOK 2 OF THE BLUE TRILOGY

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST FOR BLUE TRILOGY BOOK 1

GALLERY OF CHARACTERS FOR SMOKE SCREEN, BLUE TRILOGY

To help you visualise:

DEVYN FOSTER, ROOKIE PRIVATE INVESITAGOR WITH A SOFT SPOT FOR MISSING PERSONS AND THEIR FAMILIES

MAX CARSON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR WITH A JADED PAST WHO DISCARDED DEVYN AFTER A ONE NIGHT STAND

BEN ROSENBERG, FORMER MOSSAD, DEVYN’S BOSS, AND APPARENT AUTHORITY FIGURE

KAI LIN, MISSING CHINESE NATIONAL

AUTHOR BIO:

K. Nilsson’s love of reading began with the Bobbsey twins. When she ran across some Italian True Romance novellas stashed in the attic, the musty serials hooked her on adult fiction. Though black and white photos were dramatic enough to know what the stories were about, she taught herself to read in Italian and translated them to her friends.  She’s an unapologetic reviewer of books, restaurants, and vacation destinations.  An amateur photographer, K. loves taking editorial photos and documenting her travels. Her personal philosophy, sleeping is a waste of time.

Author links:

https://www.instagram.com/kimbernilsson/

https://twitter.com/kimber_nilsson

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Adding it all up

The Sum
#5 The Trusted
Michelle Medhat.
Political thrillers, metaphysical and visonary
Mindblowing Books Ltd (2 May 2020)

The world is in harmony, and humanity’s light shines bright. But is there more at play than what can be seen. And what will be the Protector's role now Earth shows it doesn’t need her.

The sadistic global terrorist collective, Al Nadir is gone. World leaders have joined together in Freedom Earth. Religious heads have put aside their differences. The Balance is in equilibrium. Cheap energy is available for everyone.

This is a time of peace.

But Ellie isn’t so sure.

She feels something dangerous bubbling beneath the smooth surface. Struggling to shake her instincts, she remains suspicious of British Prime Minister Ashton. His sly smirk and wandering eyes undermine his perfect, family-man façade. But how can she denounce the most popular man in the world?

As pressures grow and lies build, one thing is for certain, when, in the end, the truth is revealed, it's going to be cataclysmic!

The Sum is the finale in the dark, edgy and dangerous The Trusted Thriller Series. If you like mind-blowing suspense, ancient alien powers, and espionage intrigue, then you’ll love this exhilarating adventure.

This was disappointing. I had read the previous books in the series but found this one just too difficult to read. It didn’t work for me from the starting chapter onwards. And in my opinion doesn’t work as a standalone novel as it relies too much on the previous books and the reader having knowledge from them.

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A Female Guard?

High Heels and Handguns
Kate Howard #1
Lisa Heartman
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Publication date: February 7th 2020

For Kate Howard, former Army Special Forces Sergeant, life as a one-woman personal protection detail comes with challenges. Wearing civilian camouflage while guarding high-profile clients is a dangerous game of rock, paper, hollow point.

After an explosive and deadly end to her client’s reelection fundraiser, which left his young son in critical condition, Kate must accept help from an unwanted source: the soldier she loved and left in Afghanistan, bloody, broken, and barely alive.

Special Forces Officer Paxton Banks, Kate’s former captain—now an FBI agent—is assigned to investigate the attempt on her client’s life. After ten years, old emotions and new threats whip Kate’s world into complicated chaos. But when other elected officials are threatened, Kate and Paxton must tamp down their fiery feelings to catch a madman hell-bent on revenge.

So if you were a female personal body guard, would you want to be tottering around in 5 inch heels? 6 inch? [never figured out how anyone walked anywhere in those] Even if they were designer heels gifted to you?

How can you run and catch the bad guys? Can you find a way to have an ankle holster? And look really smart and professional and NOT like a beefy bodyguard but like a personal assistant?

And then you find that the FBI get involved and an ex-boyfriend comes on the scene. So how were you going to prove yourself in your chosen career?

I liked the heroine and her desire to be a kick ass female and thought the storyline was reasonably well undertaken and written. I look forward to seeing how Kate develops in future books.

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