Tag Archives: humor

Author Showcase – Jana Aston (Best Laid Plans series)

 

Have you ever set out to have a one night stand with a sexy stranger?
No? I’m the only one?
Just kidding, I would never. 
Ever.
Not usually. 

But then I figured, why not? My entire life I’ve been good and it’s gotten me nowhere.
No job. 
No apartment. 
No boyfriend. 

I’m owed a little fun, aren’t I? A reward for being good.
Sure, a new pair of shoes would be more appropriate, but Mr. Sexy Stranger is more appealing. And when he speaks—in that British accent—it’s a done deal. Every American woman has a hot British guy fantasy. Well, most do. I haven’t taken a poll or anything, but I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. 

Except… 
You know that saying about best-laid plans? 
Good, because I don’t either, but I assume they go awry.
Like my one night stand…

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Mistakes were made, okay?

The moment I laid eyes on Kyle Kingston I knew he was a mistake. A satisfying, toe curling, hair pulling, best night of my life mistake, but a mistake all the same. I didn’t yet know his name, or who he was, but I knew he was a bad idea. 

I take comfort in that, because it means my instincts are still good. Too late, but it’s something. 



Because, FYI, I’m pregnant

… and did I mention my baby daddy is both heir to a retail empire and impossible to get ahold of?

I do what any girl would. I break into his Grandfather’s retirement gala by telling the prissy gatekeeper Kyle’s my fiancé. It was a halfway decent plan at the time, trust me. 

But it blows up in my face, disastrously so. You see, Kyle Kingston is all about representing the family values his family’s retail empire was founded on. At least in public. In private- well I’ll tell you about that later. 

He proposes – a marriage of convenience. 

Convenient for everyone but me, because while I’m falling in love with my convenient husband, he’s keeping a billion-dollar secret. From me.

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Jana Aston likes cats, big coffee cups and books about billionaires who deflower virgins. She wrote her debut novel while fielding customer service calls about electrical bills, and she’s ever grateful for the fictional gynecologist in Wrong that readers embraced so much she was able to make working in her pajamas a reality. Jana’s novels have appeared on the NYT, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, some multiple times. She likes multiples. 


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Review of “The Night House” – J. C. McKenzie

What would you pay for your freedom?

Caught by a powerful lord from the alternate realm of Arkavia, Taya’s offered the chance to avenge the dead, save her home world, and win her freedom.

Her days of stealing supplies and surviving among the remnants of Earth are over, but can she afford the price of Lord Thane’s deal?

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Thane clenched his jaw, took two giant steps forward and bent to catch her by the middle. When he straightened, he threw her over his shoulder. His gauntlet armoured fingers dug into her thighs. His swords’ hilts stared back at her, tempting and teasing. Her fingers itched to wrap around the smooth leather and yank one from its sheath.

If you’re going down, go down fighting, her dad’s life motto played in her memory.

If only her hands weren’t bound. Instead, she flopped uselessly as Thane strode toward the gate. His shoulder dug into her stomach and her face smacked against the cold metal back plate of his black armour. She had a perfect view of his ass. Fitting, since he acted like one.

What did she expect? Preferential treatment for a captive? How was she any different than any of the other slaves brought through this portal?

Thane walked unhindered through the thick air. The blue haze cleared. The buzzing stopped.

She wasn’t dead.

Thane pulled her down from his shoulder and set her on her feet in the snow in front of him. Over his shoulder, the other men walked through the gate leading the horses.

Cool air brushed her skin. The winter breeze contained exotic scents of Arkavia, smelling of pine, but different, more floral.

Thane watched her expectantly.

“I may have overreacted.”

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

In The Night House, death surrounded Taya for much of the story. At the start of this book, Taya lost her friends to a magical blue wave. This blue wave turned many people to ash and made all electronics useless. It was almost the perfect weapon against our civilization.

Taya, now she wielded a weapon that I thought was absolutely brilliant. She stumbled upon two swords that had flashes of blue and white light, which travelled in bolts of lightning from the pommel to tip of blade. Not just anyone could harness its power but Taya could. Whether she was swinging a sword, staff, or knife, Taya impressed me with her fighting skills and her quick thinking. She wasn’t a woman anyone should underestimate.

Thane, from the House of Jericho, was a multi-layered character: fierce, loyal, a great leader and loving. He was likable and so were the soldiers that followed his commands.

I think it’s worth noting, J. C. McKenzie wrote tremendous battle scenes and in these scenes we were able to see the camaraderie between the soldiers. We saw teammates become family, foes became friends, and unbreakable bonds form between many key characters. 

Through J. C. McKenzie’s gift of storytelling, readers will fall in love with Taya and Thane as they defy all odds and making their coupling work. Together, they are unstoppable.

 

I highly recommend reading this book. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Review of “Earth Sucks: the Fringeants” – Heather Chambers

It’s the apocalypse.
And Feng has a knack for pissing people off.
There are certain things you come to accept when Earth comes closer to its expiry date, like being invaded by bloodthirsty creatures you didn’t even know existed. 
He just wanted to find his family. Now he’s being hunted.
With the love of his life dead, his family missing and every surviving human on the run, Feng is feeling a bit grouchy.
The death, he expected. Her? Not so much.
Meet Diem, an adorable alien healer with boundless curiosity and a glowing crimson mouth. She grew up on stories of Humans but never thought she’d meet one. Now that the opportunity has surfaced, she wishes she never did.
Something far more sinister is at play.
The mystery surrounding the fate of the disappearing humans is not all that it seems. What Feng and Diem discover will change everything. For both sides of the war. 
But will it allow them to get out alive?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

This story, overall, contained a lot of information. We learned why the Fringeants were here on Earth, why they hated us, the purpose of their body’s light, the significance of the light’s color, and the lengths they’d go to protect their people. It was almost overwhelming keeping up with everything in the book.  

However, despite the overload of information, I will say Heather Chambers (the author) created very unique aliens. They could change their appearance with a pill, attend markets to trade goods, and they also sought out a soul mate. They were like us, fighting to survive. And, like us, they weren’t all bad.

Diem, Fringeant healer, didn’t like violence. She assisted a human (Feng) on more than one occasion and she seemed lonely. She just wanted to be accepted, like many Earth dwellers do. I liked her, even when she hit Feng with books and a frying pan. In her defense, she was scared and trying to defend herself.

The first 200 pages did point out how the Earth was drastically altered from how we see it today in real life. Heather pointed out what could happen if we don’t protect our planet: acid rain, undrinkable water, mutant plants and animals, cities in ruins and the list went on. I’m not sure if Heather actually believes in aliens BUT I do believe she was emphasizing the importance of taking care of Earth before if becomes uninhabitable. I agree, we should protect and preserve our planet for many generations to come.

 

The next 200+ pages……. 

 

We pick up right after Drachn (Fringeant) shocks the hell out of Feng with a startling and almost unbelievable revelation. The second half of the story also revs up the torture into submission scenes. The Fringeants use water torture, whips, remove body parts, pour hydrochloric acid down throats, and use room 191 to have the humans face their upmost fears and painful memories.  

Of course, the Humans fought back. No animal wants to be caged up.

The population of Earth has dwindled down to almost nothing but the final page was a sign of hope.

Before you purchase Earth Sucks: the Fringeants, I must warn you there are some intense exchanges between the Fringeants and the Terrants (humans). However, Heather did add humor and tender, loving moments here and there. I grinned when Feng was teasing Diem about reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The Sun and the Moon story was very romantic. And, I smiled every time Feng called a fellow prisoner Mr. Rogers.

In a world where there was no reason to laugh, Heather Chambers gave the characters and me a reason to smile.

Recommend: Yes!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Heather Chambers is a 19-year-old Canadian writer with a knack for exasperating English teachers and dreaming up the macabre. Sarcasm and horror have been her splash-pad since she first learned to write. She brings a keen awareness that one only has to look outside to see it resides not only in fiction. However, some people have closed the curtains. Her debut novel, Earth Sucks , brings teen characters and What Ifs to life for Gen Z readers who want their own writers to throw a wet cat on those blinds. 

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Review of “Tainted Luck” – Cynthia Austin

Levi Kast was content living his life in the shadows. He didn’t want much, just his dad’s attention and the girl of his dreams to notice his existence.

Instead, he got more than he had bargained for.

Taylor James was the new student at Kennedy High. She was eccentric, impulsive, Gothic and…dark.

She always got what she wanted, and she decided instantly that she wanted Levi Kast. He became her obsession.

Despite Levi’s initial response to retreat from her other world presence, he was eventually drawn to this girl and her obsession of death and ghosts.

But Taylor had skeletons in her closest, including a dead boyfriend, and before Levi could understand them, he found himself her next victim.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

In Tainted Luck, Levi Kast dealt with problems associated with teenage life: dating, insecurities, and parental issues. He, unlike other teens, also had to deal with paranormal situations: spiritual body swaps and spirits.

This story did have some creepy moments in it and a few moments that will make your skin crawl, especially the maggot scene.

It also touched upon a sensitive subject matter… teen suicide.

It’s difficult raising a child because you wonder what going on in your kid’s head. I can’t imagine the mental and emotional toil raising Taylor James had on her parents. She had powers, thoughts and intentions that would be difficult for any caregiver to process. I can understand why her mother, teacher, and classmates were leery/afraid of her. Trust me, you’ll understand why once you read the book.

Tainted Luck is a book worth reading. Whether you believe in paranormal/supernatural world or not, certain sections might freak you out. It sure did me.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Cynthia Austin is a multi-published author who lives in Northern California with her husband, two boys, and Olde English Bulldogge named Count Dogula. They love all things horror, gothic, and Victorian which prompts her friends to dub them as “The Adams Family.”

She is an avid reader who may be slightly obsessed with music. She hears music in a way that she believes the artist intended it to be heard: visually, with a storyline that follows. Listening to the songs by her favorite artists, she was inspired to write her first series titled “The Pendant.”

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Author Showcase – Kelley Kaye (Death by Diploma: Chalkboard Outlines Book 1)

Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

 

 

 

 

You shall not know by what strange accident I chanced on this letter.

—The Merchant of Venice V.I.278–9

 

Prologue Wednesday, August 26
 

Dearest Mickey,

Please, please write me back. Oh, I’m so worried these letters aren’t finding their way to you. Our love deserves a chance to flourish. I know you think so too. You might want to give me one of your favorite quotes: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” but you don’t really feel that way. I don’t believe we’re over, not yet.

Never forget how much I love you—let the colors remind you. Your Airborne Raquel Welch is thinking of you.

Love, Marlena
 
 

Melvin McManus ran his fingers over the letter again. The paper was worn until almost transparent, and the care with which he folded it and inserted it back into its envelope made it seem as though he held a priceless jewel. He picked up his silver flask and stared at it. His left hand started to raise the flask to his lips, but then he flung it against the wall of the narrow room. He stood.

Melvin closed the small hidden doorway and routed the pipe maze to get to the basement. He stumbled through the basement door and lurched up the stairs, his bulky form weaving as if he weren’t sure of finding the next step. Covering his mouth to muffle a hacking cough, Melvin stopped and listened. He really shouldn’t be there after midnight—his shift only went from three to ten. But sometimes the work took much longer than that, because he hoped the care he took with the building might help the students stop taking this important time in their lives for granted. Many of them did take it for granted, though, and might end up like Melvin, navigating the world without any education or any real options. Those students didn’t make any kind of connection between now and later.

He opened the door at the top of the stairs and continued through the gymnasium and into the hallway. The brown tile on the commons floor gleamed, and he thought of Adam and when he’d found the poor kid splayed out on the now-shiny floor. Melvin had been thrown out into the world so young, he’d never had to deal with schoolyard bullies as Adam had. Poor kid. Melvin ran a hand through his sparse gray hair, pondering.

As Melvin paced through the commons, steadying himself briefly against some lockers and again on a wall painted with a fierce-looking blue cat, he stopped to look at the sign above the main office: “Wildcats: Producing Proud and Productive Future Citizens.” He’d seen that sign many times, but tonight, it made him long to become, finally, the future citizen he wished to be. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand the waiting, even with his helpful hideout in the basement. He knew he was close, though—close to achieving his goal. Edward had said as much last week, and the closer Melvin got, the less he drank and the better he felt. He allowed the moment of anticipation to swell, forgot about the Wildcats sign, and almost ran back to the basement for the letters.

He sighed, an explosive whoosh that flattened his belly and whispered his nose hairs. Almost there, almost there. He looked at his hands, dirty and greasy from work but still strong. He thought of those hands in his younger years, how she’d kissed each of his fingertips as if they were precious. He remembered what those hands had felt like when they held her, and the dirt fell away like magic.

A muffled thump startled him out of his reverie. Crap. Melvin knew he was a little tipsy, not done with his work, and in the wrong part of the building to boot. He walked nonchalantly in the other direction, but he heard the thump again, followed by a tinkling noise like breaking glass. Damn. Maybe he should look. It could be a cat or other animal, and he’d hate to trap one in the school for the whole night.

He peeked through the windows of the main office and looked at the front desk, where the computer monitor flashed and he saw someone sitting. Melvin checked his watch: half past midnight. Oh, he hoped it wasn’t who he thought, but he had to check. After unlocking the doors, he curved around the front counter to approach the left desk and stiffened when he saw who it was.

“Oh, I can see you didn’t listen!” he exclaimed. “We have to make this stop. That’s it; I don’t care what happens. I’m gonna…”

Melvin heard a whoosh followed by a crack, and he felt his body fall as it slammed hard onto the shiny brown tiles.

 

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Ready for book 2 in the Chalkboard Outlines’ series?

Good, then click HERE! 

 

Save time and purchase both today with one link.

 Click On Me!

 

 

Kelley Bowles Gusich writes young adult novels under the pen name Kelley Kay Bowles and cozy mysteries under Kelley Kaye. Her debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released by Red Adept Publishing on February 2016, and is first in her Chalkboard Outlines® series. Book 2, Poison by Punctuation, was released April 2018 and is available now.

Kelley’s new young adult novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, was released May 5th, 2018 and is now available. Look for it in Kindle, paper, hardcover, and audio book–with Kelley, the author, as narrator! (She used to teach drama and direct plays. She’s a ham.)

Kelley taught high school English and drama for twenty years in Colorado and California, but a 1994 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has (circuitously and finally) brought her to the life of writer and mother, both occupations she adores and dreamed about way back when she was making up stories revolving around her Barbie and Ken dolls. 

Kelley has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.

You can learn more about Kelley and contact her through her website and blog at www.kelleykaybowles.com. She wants to hear from you, so don’t be shy about emailing her at kelkay1202(at)yahoo.com, and follow her on social media @KelKay1202. #HarpersPower

Kelley remains ever grateful to her readers for sharing their reviews, comments, and insights!

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