Thursday, April 30, 2015

Release Day Blitz... Gemma James' Fervent

Title: Fervent
Author: Gemma James
Series: Condemned #3
Release Date: April 30, 2015

I never imagined things could get worse, but they do. The men who took us show no mercy. They won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Rafe for something he has no memory of, and I’m their weapon of choice.
Tortured and defiled, they make me wish I was back in that cabin where death was favorable to drawing another breath, but our captors can’t break what’s already broken.
What scares me is the madness I see festering inside Rafe. I’ve taken his freedom, his career, his reputation, yet despite all I’ve done, he’s determined to fight for me, kill for me, give everything he is for me.
He’ll even die for me.

NOTE TO READERS : FERVENT is a new adult dark romance with disturbing themes and explicit content, including sexual scenes and violence that may offend some. Intended for mature audiences. Part three of the CONDEMNED series. This is not a stand-alone read! Please begin with TORRENT and RAMPANT, otherwise, FERVENT might not make much sense.

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== Barb’s Review ==


Well first off I have to say thank you to Give Me Books and Gemma James for allowing me a copy of Fervent to read in exchange for an honest review.
Secondly... this story has grown into one twisted tale of 'what the f**cks and Oh. My. Gods" to the point where I was just staring at it slack jawed as I read. (Laughs hard) My God, I'm as twisted as they were cause just... Yeah… to say say ‘I love it’ is putting it mildly. The emotional roller coaster that you are on is demanding of you. There were a few times I laughed, cringed and gasped. Yes literally gasped like a fish out of water. This story is truly dark and luscious. Tantalizing and sinister. A true mix of dark and thrilling.

This story would really make a great movie. Just Saying. Jesus, can you just imagine… (dies a little from happiness) Oh the fun that would be. I am anxiously awaiting the final book. The last look into the effed up lives of Rafe and Alex.

***small spoiler alert***

Alex and Rafe are in a hell all their own until they are taken 'underground' and shown just how sick and twisted some motherf**ckers can be. I mean sweet baby Jesu!! They not only tie them up.. Well wait they chain them up, but when we meet the ass behind this all I was shocked. Lucas. The sick old man that Alex was 'dating' was behind their kidnapping. Seems nothing was keeping him from getting Alex.

He (Lucas) has an unhealthy obsession with her. He really thinks she will fold into herself and let him do the vile things he wants to her. I’m sorry but she is not that kind of girl, even on a bad day. She is a rebel and she proves that by refusing to suck him off. Slimy bastard. But then her refusal gets her ‘punished’ by his men. They are told to ‘break her’. And they do it in front of Rafe. Its a way to break her and him. These assholes are playing games with their heads. Trying to break Rafe by going hard on Alex. Trying to break Ale by threatening Rafe. But what they do is make their bond stronger and the need for retribution grow stronger. There is one thing to say about pissing off someone so much that they snap… run or die. Those are your only choices by that time.

But what made my heart stop was who came in to stop the assholes from raping Rafe. Yes they were really going to do it. Sick puppies they are. I swear. His savior, someone I hadn’t guessed was in this mix if effed up crap. JAX! He strolls in and barks out orders and I just blinked. The hurt and confusion that Rafe feels, then turns t anger. How could Jax, his friend of all people do this to him. All Jax will say (once they are alone) is that Rafe needs to trust him, he has his back. Uh huh. You want his back..side. Any fool can see that! But Jax does take him to Alex after he allows Rafe to clean himself up. Alex and Rafe are locked in a pitch black dungeon of a room and they just wait. Hours turn to days.. days to weeks. Or at least that is how it feels. Without the sun or a clock who knows how long they are there.

They are both tortured, then separated.. and when it seems all hope is lost… Jax comes through. He not only gets Rafe out but Alex as well. Seems the dark spots in Rafes’ memory are mere flashes at times that make no sense to him but he knows one thing. They will all pay for what they had done to Alex, and him. They would get revenge. But for now he had to get her away. Some place safe. Jasx drives the to their safe house. A place that was made when they were planning for the kidnapping of Alex. Incase the Island was compromised. A place that only he and Jax know if. Well only Jax, since Rafe’s memory is still in la la land.

As things progress a plan is made. They will go after Lucas. Take him out and hopefully be able to get the cops to the location of the tunnel leading underground. Rescue anyone else that is there. But what happens after are in the house.. changes everything. Rafe’s full memory comes back. A slap in the face as he tries to sort it all out. He had forgotten so many things, even things from prison. Things he wished he hadn’t. There is only one thing to do no. He tells Jax to go back to Alex… he can’t. He has to get away from her to keep himself from hurting her. He thinks its the only way.

The Rafe Mason she knew was dead… but would he stay that way?

Also Available

Barb’s Review of Torrent: HERE


Barb’s Review of Rampant: HERE


Author Bio
Gemma James is the multi-genre author of several novels and novellas, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance. She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction. She’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of heart.”

She lives in Oregon with her husband and their four children—three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.

Author Links


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Blog tour... Christopher Mannino's School of Deaths

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Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairytale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who enslave a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn't an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

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“You ready?” asked Billy. He wore a mask over his face, showing only his eyes. He had insisted on covering his face to help the soul feel at ease. If they were transporters, they didn’t want to frighten their passenger.
“You can do this,” said Frank. His calm manner reassured her. He looked at her with his deep brown eyes and freckled face. She nodded and straightened the sleeves of her black robe.
She walked to Hann who stood in the center of the class. He handed her a long scythe, even taller than she was. It was light in her hand; the handle danced with energy. The blade slid through the air like sunlight through water. Life flowed down from the blade, coursing through the handle, sending tingles into her arm. Sweat beaded in her palms and trickled from her forehead.
“Let the scythe do the work,” reminded Hann, “and you’ll be fine.”
She nodded and walked back to her group. She tied herself to Frank and Billy using a tether. Then she held the scythe in her hands and paused.
This was ridiculous. She was a thirteen-year-old girl, a kid from Maryland, holding a scythe. Not some costume piece, but an actual, working scythe. Now she, Suzie, was supposed to Reap a soul. Even her mysteries with Sindril and the Dragon Key suddenly seemed trivial.
“Good luck,” said Frank.
She adjusted her grip and adjusted again. The tingles in the scythe grew stronger, itching her hands and arms. It’s ready. It wants to swing; to do its job. She moved her hands a third time and Frank glanced at Billy. Billy adjusted his mask.
“What’s the matter,” taunted Luc behind her. “Is the little girl scared?”
She clutched the handle and let the blade fall. She hardly moved, but the blade shot downward, slicing air, light, heat, even thought. For an instant, her arm was on fire and the world vanished into darkness.
The smell of strawberries exploded around her as color, form, and details blurred into a single, unending stream of confusion. She heard the sound of screams in the distance, and tears. The scythe pulled her down, down, down between the worlds. She slipped past the twin suns of the In-Between and watched the Mortal World approaching. On the edge of her vision, she glimpsed two bright pools of green fire.
“You grow stronger every day,” said the eyes. “But the greatest challenge is yet to come.”
She tried to turn, but the scythe pulled her onward. She coursed through stars and space, beyond time and emotion. Lighter than a daydream, she slipped through a crevice: the gap between light and shadow. The blade twisted, finding its way.
A face appeared before her: an elderly man she didn’t recognize. Somehow, she sensed a name: Elias Stoneridge.
She landed hard, stumbling as her feet hit a tiled floor. Beads of white light trickled off the blade.
For a moment, she couldn’t tell where she was. She heard beeps and the slow intake of air.
Frank patted her on the shoulder. “You okay?” he asked.
“Remember, don’t let anyone else see us,” said Frank, looking around the hospital room.
Certified Deaths received special robes to help avoid mortal eyes. Ironically, the Deaths who’d inspired tales of the Grim Reaper throughout the ages had been students like her. Students and ones who didn’t make it back. She shuddered, remembering her skeletal appearance. It seemed long ago.
A man lay in a bed, connected to an array of tubes and machines. Suzie walked to the foot of his bed and read the name on his chart. “Elias Stoneridge.” The scythe quivered in her hand. The handle pulsed like a beating heart, or was that only her own heartbeat? No, the blade felt the soul, it was hungry.
“It’s his time,” said Frank, patting her on the shoulder. “Quickly, before someone comes.”
Elias’s eyes stared at her, but he seemed to look through her. He gasped for air and the machines behind the bed beeped.
“A nurse is coming,” said Billy, glancing into the hallway. “She’s only a few doors down.”
Suzie didn’t have time to think, but in a way, she didn’t have to. She didn’t even swing; she relaxed her muscles and stopped fighting the scythe. The blade leapt downward, straight through Elias Stoneridge. As it struck the weak stranger, she felt a strange sensation as the blade swam through the soul. For an instant, she swore she heard chewing, not from Elias, but from the blade itself. The scythe continued down through the floor, before swinging around. It pulled on her, jerking her into a stumble.
Elias sat up, his eyes wide with fear. His body lay on the bed and the machine let out a long, droll beep. The scythe tingled again.

|| Emmy’s Review ||

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Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and Christopher Mannino for providing a copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest review.

***may contain minor spoilers***

In the summer before her entrance into eighth grade, Suzie suddenly began losing weight.  A lot of weight, not that she had a lot to lose to begin with.  To her parent’s horror, her doctors cannot find anything wrong with her, and they spend the summer dragging their emaciated child from one doctor to the next.  She’s not anorexic.  She’s not bulimic.  She doesn’t have a tapeworm, there’s nothing wrong with her appetite or her metabolism or her blood.  Everyone is left scratching their heads.  Suzie, meanwhile keeps dreaming of death, every night.  Soon after her first few days of school, her nightmare comes true: the Grim Reaper shows up on her doorstep, pulling her into another dimension.  Her companion tells her that this place is called the In-Between.  She is faced with a contract, and is told that she is Death (Their term for a reaper).  What’s more, she is the first female Death in a million years.  The only way that she can return home is to spend a year training at the College of Deaths, and pass the test at the end of the year.  No one ever passes the test, but Suzie is determined to get back to her family.  She signs the contract and leaves the In-Between, jumping dimensions again to enter the World of Deaths.

She enters the College, encountering opposition and prejudice at almost every turn.  This is something that I don’t get….the deaths that are in training there now are either first years like her who just came from the “real world”, or people who have only been there for a few years at best.  Why are they so violently opposed to having her there? I would have thought with her being the only female in a world full of males - yeah, I can see some not liking the competition, but outright hate? It seems extreme, even with the history that the Deaths have with women.  Well, woman, singular.   The last female Death was (they say) a witch named Lovethar.  She betrayed the Deaths in a battle between them and their enemies, the Dragons, who reaped souls before the Deaths took over the business. She was executed, and there have been no more female Deaths since her.  There’s some odd history there, and Suzie wonders if she is getting the whole story.  

Troubling as that is though, Suzie powers through, relying on the tentative friendship she strikes up with her roommates and the few students at the school who don’t think that she’s the second coming of the antichrist.  Her classes begin, and some of her teachers are very vocal in their disapproval of her presence.  One spends the entire first class telling them how all females are useless, blah blah blah. The taunts and remarks and threats she endures are pretty harsh.  In scythe training  she is mocked by all but her team, including the teacher, who doesn’t really seem to approve of anyone.  She is approached by the headmaster, who says he wants to help her, but doesn’t seem to be doing anything about the rampant bullying she is enduring.  

Suzie notices that there are workers around the school that the students refer to as Mentals - meaning Elementals.  They serve the Deaths, as janitors, in the cafeteria, and other menial duties.  She is told that they are not supposed to speak to the students, and she wonders just what is the class system in this strange new world she is stuck in.   The Elementals have access to power, why are they letting the Deaths rule them?  Did they have a part in the war, and they are being punished?  The others treat them like a servant or slave class.  None of this sits well with Suzie.

Boskery is the sport of the school (I can’t help it, I keep picturing Quidditch) and it is played with the scythes.  Some of the scythes are made of a special metal, which can open doors between dimensions, but the ones they use in the game will only paralyze you for a period of time when you are hit with them.  She goes to the tryouts with her roommates, and while running onto the field to help what she thinks is her injured friend she is hit with a scythe and is paralyzed.  She stays in her room the next day recovering when one of the older boys comes to her room accompanied by an Elemental who can project fear.  They chase her out of her room, out of the school and into the woods.  She comes upon a run down house and hides there until the Elemental and the student are gone.  While in the house she discovers a hidden library .  Someone had tried to destroy it, but she finds references to Lovethar and mysterious pictures that contradict what she has been told about her.  She feels a strange connection with her, and not just because she is the only other female Death.  Ever since she entered the school she has been having random visions that seem to be connected to Lovethar’s story.  

In addition to the older students doing their best to trip her up, Suzie also finds that she is at the center of a mysterious plot involving the headmaster Sindril.  She overhears  him promising a shadowy someone to bring them “the girl” and knows that he can only be talking about her.  She is thrown into that situation, afraid and not knowing where to turn and who to trust, other than herself.  When a violent attack occurs on the school grounds the mystery around Lovethar and her history with the deaths only deepens.  With the help of her roommates and one friend, Suzie investigates, only to find that the rabbit hole goes deeper than she could have ever imagined.  

Keep this one thought in mind when you read this: the female of the species is always deadlier than the male. (Like in the animal kingdom.. think.. of a praying mantis… LMAO (Barb))

This was a YA fantasy.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and think it would do well as a movie.  I like the character of Suzie, and how she carved out a place for herself in a male dominated school, despite the odds being against her and the daily taunts and torture she endured.  I like that she found herself the leader of her little circle of friends, coming up with the ultimate plan of action and putting it into place.  She was determined to find out the origins of the mystery of Lovethar, and kept digging until she found out exactly what happened.  I also like her choice concerning her test; despite the inherent unfairness of the test she still made her decision based on what she thought was right.

As far as I know, this is not the first of a series or trilogy or anything else.


Author’s inspiration:

What Inspired Me to Write My Book:
The idea for SCHOOL OF DEATHS emerged when I was finishing my graduate degree at Oxford University. I spent four months abroad, far from everyone I knew. Every week, I traveled somewhere I had never been before. I would climb castle ruins in Wales and visit cathedrals in England. One of my favorite trips was to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. After misjudging the time it’d take to get there, I became stranded. The tourist office was closed, and I couldn’t find a hostel. I walked from pub to pub asking if I could sleep above their bar.

The next morning, having slept none, since I’d found a room over a noisy pub, I crept to Barras Nose before dawn. Barras Nose is a stone peninsula, or rocky outcropping jutting into the Celtic Sea, just north of Tintagel. Tintagel itself is a small island with castle ruins on its cliffs. Some believe it to be the birthplace of King Arthur.  When I reached Barras Nose, the winds howled so fiercely that I had to crawl on all fours to keep from being blown into the ocean below. Then dawn broke.  No other humans were in sight. I struggled to keep my balance, but watched the sun rise on the ruins of the ancient castle, listening to the thunder of waves pounding the fifty foot cliffs I clung to. Wind battered me with ferocity, and I imagined a character being buffeted by winds, completely alone. I envisioned  Suzie, alone in a world of men, buffeted by sexism.

Filming a Book Trailer
Like many authors, I decided to create a book trailer.  Book trailers are similar to movie trailers, and help market new books to wider audiences.  I did not simply want photos of my cover or words across the screen.  I am a theatre teacher, and wanted actors.  I hired one of my students, named Montana, to film the trailer, and three of my students agreed to act in it.  I wrote the script assuming the trailer would be about two minutes long.

The four of us met at Montana's house on a Saturday morning.  I felt slightly awkward unloading scythes from my car, especially when we headed to the woods.  We spent 3 1/2 hours filming.  Each shot needed to be recorded multiple times, and while I did my best not to direct, there were a few instances where I did step in.  The boy playing the antagonist for example, could not stop laughing.  

Part of the experience included recording voiceovers. The kids did great, however we needed an adult voice for one of the parts, and we recorded my voice. I am sure I am not alone in saying I hate the sound of my voice. No matter how many times we listened to it played back, or what effects Montana used on it, my voice did not sound right to me. I am sure it will sound fine to others.  

While I work in stage theatre every day, this was one of my first experiences with film.


About the Author:
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet.  He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups.  He spends his summers writing and singing.  Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University.  His work with young people and love of reading helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy.  


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Release Day Blitz... Eve Jagger's Hard

Title: Hard
Series: Sexy Bastard #1
Author: Eve Jagger
Release Date: April 30, 2015


Strong. Arrogant. Hard.

Ryder Cole is the King of Atlanta’s nightlife — and the one man who can erase my past.

I’m running from secrets that could destroy me and there’s no room in my life for someone like him: too damn cocky, and sexy as hell. I should keep my distance, but smart goes out the window the minute he looks my way. And when he puts his hands on me…

A girl could forget her own name. But what happens when the past catches up with me, and all the things I’m hiding from tear our lives apart again? I can’t keep running forever, and Ryder always wins.

Links to Buy

Author Bio

Eve Jagger is a native of Georgia and is a true southern girl at heart. A stay at home mom to two kids, she's married to a sexy man who doesn’t mind being used as research for those naughty scenes.

Eve cut her teeth writing in high school and college, but it wasn’t until recently that she got the itch to write a full length novel. She loves complex, emotionally-charged characters and wild, sexy leading men. Hard: A Sexy Bastard Book releases at the end of April 2015 and she can’t wait for you to meet her characters that occupy her mind 24/7! Eve loves to talk and meet people on social media, so be sure and touch base with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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