Americosis by Haydn Wilks

A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

VOLUME 1
This short novella introduces the series. It’ll leave you begging for more…

My Review :

4 Stars

This is certainly an interesting way to introduce readers to a new series. If you are squeamish and offended by swearing and blatant sexual acts, this book will immediately be off-putting, but if you aren’t, then this book has a little bit of something for everyone.

Chaos and destruction, insanity and excitement–this book doesn’t slow down from the first page to the last. If you are looking for something with a dystopian twist that also borders the line of horror, this will do nicely.

I liked the different stories that all combine together to make for a wider angle than you get with most stories. For a short book, this packed a punch. Recommended to those who like something a bit different and edgy. It was a lot of fun.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles #0.5)Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House
The Hanover House Chronicles

Prequel novella to my new Hanover House Chronicles (digital only).

Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…

From Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

Whiteout
The Hanover House Chronicles

Coming September 2016

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a bit of a change for Brenda Novak, but she knows how to work it. I agree with her that the minds and inner workings of psychopathic personalities are a very interesting subject and certainly one that is fun to explore.

I liked the dynamic between the two main characters in this book. The tension between them was the perfect mix of sensuality and frustration. Evelyn is a strong character that I see being able to carry a series like this well, without the reader losing interest in her. The memories of her past and the violent things she has suffered through give her a strength that a lot of female characters lack.

Overall, I was really impressed with this and am looking forward to the release of the first novel “Whiteout,” coming in 2016.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Your chance to win a copy–Becoming Ellen by Shari Shattuck

I’ve got a beautiful hardcover copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky winner. All you gotta do to enter is share this post with your favourite social media outlet and drop me a comment below to let me know you did. (US residents only please.)

Winners will be chosen on Friday 8/14

Thank you to Putnam/Penguin Random House for the prize :)

Becoming EllenBecoming Ellen by Shari Shattuck

Returning in the bestselling tradition of Jennifer Weiner, Shattuck brilliantly illustrates the deep friendship between two absolutely unforgettable women in this touching yet funny novel.

Ellen Homes is done being invisible. Well, sort of.

Living with her closest friends, Temerity and Justice, has helped her step out of the shell of invisibility she once hid away in. She still seeks refuge in solitary time and observing from afar, but she has pushed herself to open up to others in ways that bring her unexpected happiness.

But when a terrible bus crash upends her normal routine, Ellen finds herself on a whirlwind crusade for the unseen and downtrodden. Only this time, helping others—including two young children with no one else to turn to—will mean facing a pain from her past that she’s long tucked away.

Picking up where Invisible Ellen left off, Becoming Ellen returns us to the touching, poignant, and compassionate world of Ellen Homes as she learns how to navigate the world she has decided to become a part of.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before I get going on a review, I’d like to say that I think anyone who is going to read this book, should read the first book in the series, “Invisible Ellen.” This book, “Becoming Ellen,” does offer enough info to keep a reader going without feeling completely lost, but they will learn a lot more about the somewhat neurotic and yet loveable main character if they read the first.

I enjoyed reading this book. The author takes a very straight-forward approach with her character. You don’t have to wonder what she is thinking, or even really what she is going to do next.She is an everyday Jane, the kind of character that anyone can slip into the shoes of because she is a regular person.

It was good to see that Ellen had transformed and grown a bit by this book. She still has some of her own quirks, but wasn’t as much of an introvert in this novel as she was in the first. This book still offers plenty of reasons to smile, even though some of the subject matter is a bit serious at times.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys being able to get to know a character slowly and build a relationship with them, this will be a series you want to check out. Whether you love Ellen or don’t, you will remember her.

This review is based on a review copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Mrs. Sinclair's SuitcaseMrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Not just wow, but WOW!

This is a beautiful book. This is the kind of novel that you can fully lose yourself in and not look back until the very last page. Louise Walters is amazing, and so is this book.

I could not put this story down and when I did, I missed the characters and wanted to come back. This novel worked its way into my heart and made me feel like the characters were people I knew and loved. The writing is incredible. The sentence structure has a flow that draws you into the story and each character has their own way of thinking and speaking during the dialogue sections.

Dorothy was so easy to love and my heart broke for her at different points in this book. She was a character that I literally could not help but love. I felt the same way about Roberta. These two women are so alive through the words of this author that I felt I had known them forever.

It’s hard to find a book where the secondary characters are fulfilling and make you wonder about their lives when the story is done, but Ms. Walters has done it.

Rarely do I dread seeing the last page of a book arrive–in fact, usually I’m excited to get to the end. These are some big shoes to fill, what in the world am I going to read after this?

Recommended 100% for those who love to fall in love with their book characters.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Primal Heat by A.C. Arthur

Primal Heat (The Shadow Shifters, #6)Primal Heat by A.C. Arthur
In the savage world of the Shadow Shifters, desire can be as dangerous as nature itself…

As guard to the most powerful shifter in the human world, Eli Preston is sworn to protect his leader, defend their alliance, and keep his darker instincts in check. But when a beautiful female trainee arouses his jaguar senses, there is no stopping the beast within. He must have her. Even if it jeopardizes the deadliest mission of his life…

When the heat is on—and the claws come out—the heart is the fiercest hunter…

For six years, Nivea has been waiting for Eli to take her in his arms, unleash his animal urges, and claim her as his mate. But once their passion is unleashed—in a reckless moment of pure unbridled lust—nothing can ever be the same. The battlelines are drawn: man versus animal, shifter versus shifter. And Eli must be prepared to fight for his life—and his love—or he will lose Nivea forever…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to be honest, in the first couple chapters of this book, I nearly gave up. I couldn’t imagine any woman acting the way these characters did and I was a little frustrated with the setup.

After that, things got interesting and I began to feel like this might be a book worth sticking around for–and in the end, I’m glad I made that decision. It definitely was more than I expected in the beginning.

The story is quickly paced and the characters are unique. I enjoyed the descriptions of the character’s abilities and thought these were some of the steamiest romantic scenes that I’ve seen in any recent book.

The back stories for the characters weren’t overdone to the point where they interfered with the current events and yet I felt I knew enough about them to make for a well rounded reading experience.

Overall, I thought this was a very creative, different novel from others out there in the same category. If you like shifter novels, this is one of the best. Also, great title–very appropriate.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

London from my Windows by Mary Carter

London From My WindowsLondon From My Windows by Mary Carter

Ava Wilder’s home in small-town Iowa is her sanctuary. A talented sketch artist with severe agoraphobia, Ava spends her days drawing a far more adventurous life than her invisible disability allows. Until she receives a package from London, explaining that she has inherited her Aunt Beverly’s entire estate—on condition that she lives in Bev’s West End flat for a year.

Once overseas, Ava wonders if she’s simply swapped one prison for another. The streets and shops are intimidating, and Bev’s home appears to be a drop-in center for local eccentrics. Worst of all, Bev left a list of impossible provisos to be overseen by her quirky, attractive solicitor. Ava is expected to go out—to experience clubs, pubs, and culture; to visit Big Ben, Hyde Park, and the London Eye. After years of viewing the world through a pane of glass, she’s at the messy, complicated center of it. As exhilarated as she is terrified, will she be able to step up, step out, and claim the life she was meant for?

In an insightful, poignant novel, Mary Carter delves deep into self-discovery and the meaning of courage, exploring the fears that serve to protect us—until life calls us to connect at last.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure how I feel about this book, even after completing it. I absolutely loved the main character, Ava. Watching her experience life in a bit different way than the rest of us do was enchanting. She is a smart, thoughtful and likable character that the author clearly put a lot of effort into creating.

The story itself I wasn’t so sure about. Whilst I enjoyed Ava’s personality and her reactions to things, some of the story I had a hard time suspending belief enough to get around.

This was the sort of book that I kept wavering on a star rating for. I eventually decided on 3 stars, because I had a hard time believing the character would act the way she did at some points, and yet the writing was beautiful and Ava was so charming.

Overall this is a book that I would still recommend. It was different and intriguing and obviously the author cared about it enough to put herself into it fully.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Gargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie adventure by Angie Sage

Gargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie AdventureGargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie Adventure by Angie Sage

When Araminta throws cold water over her best friend, Wanda, to disperse a crowd of panicked bats, it s decided Araminta has been helpful one too many times, and she is packed off to boarding school. On arrival, Araminta is surprised to discover that Gargoyle Hall makes her home, Spook House, seems positively cosy. Strange moans and clanks echo down the corridors and the two head girls are equally creepy. Most of the other pupils have been scared away, but Araminta senses that something or someone is behind the menace.With the help of best friend Wanda and Uncle Drac s prize bat, she is going to do something about it!”

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In usual Araminta Spookie style, this book is full of silly laughs and an entertaining story that children and parents are sure to like. I’ve enjoyed watching the progression of these stories since the first one, and look forward to see what is going to happen in the future.

Hoping for more books.

I thought this one had a bit slower start than some of the others, but the antics soon caught up, making the kids smile and holding their attention. I love books that can make kids curious about what is going to happen next.

If you haven’t checked out this series yet, you should, especially if you have little ones in your life.

Another fun book, another recommendation.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Tits and Bobs and perfectly passionate poetry

Nope, not a typo.

A couple things to cover. First of all, I can’t stop thanking people for all they have done for me since releasing my book last week. Carmen Stefanescu rocked my world this morning with her awesome and unexpected promo on her site, which you can find here. http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/2015/07/guest-promo-ci-ionia-martin.html?m=1 I hate to admit that I cry, but I did.

Thank you Carmen. Love you.

Also huge thanks to people who left a review on Amazon. I was so excited I nearly peed.

Second, some questions and a few declarations.

I have new respect for all of you indie authors. I have been writing and publishing for years under a couple of different pseudonyms and have always had a publishing house behind me. Even when I put out some previous “indie” novels, I had other people working on promoting and covers and such. I didn’t do it all myself, by any means. Now, I’m doing that for the first time and I’ve got some questions for the pros out there.

Other than the titles that appear here, under Ionia, I write adultish-romance and erotica books. I’m not ashamed of this. I enjoy doing what I do. I review everything but those, because believe me when I tell you there are some strange…worse than strange sub-genres out there in the erotica world and I figured I would spend more time updating my guidelines to exclude dinosaurs and bigfoot than I would reviewing. Erotica books tend to sell themselves. If you’ve got a kink for sale, then there is usually an audience for it somewhere. I’m concerned with the other, less vice-like titles.

HOW DO YOU PEOPLE FIND TIME TO WRITE, EDIT, MARKET, WRITE BLURBS, DESIGN COVERS, MAKE DINNER, DO THE LAUNDRY AND STILL SLEEP?

SUPERHUMANS!

Question 2. How do you get over the shyness of asking people to help promote you? Even when someone does something you didn’t ask them to do, don’t you kind of blush and kick your heels in an awe shucks manner? I do.

Question 3 Would you be interested in sharing a bit of your journey? I am figuring things out as I go, but I’m thinking about putting together a page here on Readful that is an advice from indie authors page. Free for anyone to look at if they want some info, and just collecting answers to some basic questions about writing and publishing indie stuff from various authors who would like to contribute. Links to your blogs would be included, of course. Would anyone be interested in doing that?

Next Useless factoid: I’ve only got a couple of indie novels left on my reading list and will soon be accepting more titles. I will still have to limit how many I take on. (Not just indie books, but books in general–I’m an addict and books are crack.)

I will start considering review requests unsolicited books again on September first.

Finally, Poetry. I love it. Poems seem to be closer to the heart of the author than a lot of other forms of writing. They can express mood, thought, emotion, a personal viewpoint–so many things. That said, it is also a really difficult category to sell books in. I would like to offer a spot on Readful Things every Friday for one author to promote your poetry, either through a poem with links to your blogs or books or through a cover image and sample of your work. I don’t guarantee thousands of views, (I don’t guarantee one, for that matter,) but if it will help get the word out then let’s do it! Contact me via readfulthings@gmail.com and send me an HTML post. I will let you know what date I will have your post up.

It will look something like this:

(Shameless best friend promo to follow)

Pamela Beckford writes poetry designed to inspire emotion. She is the author of three solo poetry collections and co-author of another. If you are interested in some steamy, emotional reading to share with your lover or to read on your own, check out her solo works, which show many different aspects of love, in beautifully worded poems.

Dreams of Love

Cover 5

LLaF

VoN

Find Pamela’s entire catalogue of works on her Author Central Page

Pamela Beckford’s Author Central

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of GravityCenter of Gravity by Laura McNeill

The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! This is really a very compelling and exciting book. I read this in the space of one evening as I found it impossible to put down.

For anyone who has had issues with a crazy ex–this book will remind you why you were lucky to get away. I loved the relationship between Sam, Jack and Ava. The way the author portrayed the selflessness of the main character and her desperation to be with her children was so on target. I found myself wishing I could jump into the pages and fix the situation for her.

This story unfolds rather quickly, and after the first few chapters there is no way you can put it down without thinking about it when you walk away. The writing is excellent, the conversations seem realistic and the emotions that the characters display are genuine. This is an author who knows how to captivate her readers.

I did find in some places that Jack seemed a bit advanced for his age. Particularly in one spot where he is using a computer, it seems he has knowledge of how things operate way beyond his years, whereas the rest of the book he appears as an intelligent, yet appropriately minded young boy. I wanted to hug him.

Still, this was a nearly perfect book. It grabbed my attention early on and gave me a reason to keep turning pages–I even found that I missed the characters when the story was finished.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read. Fast paced, witty and well planned.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

The Idea of LoveThe Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

As we like to say in the south: “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers?
But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right? –goodreads

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fascinating novel right from the start. The premise here–that two people could fall in love even if they hadn’t been honest with one another from the start, was explored in detail in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined.

Patti Callahan Henry has a gift for creating characters that are flawed, but in such a way that they feel so human, so familiar, you want to know them better. When I read her stories, I often find myself forgetting that this is a book and that these are not real people. They become your friends, your family, people you feel you could open up to. That’s a hard quality to find in a lot of contemporary literature.

From the start we, as the reader get that the characters are not being completely honest, and it makes for an interesting journey. Whilst part of me wanted to scream at them and tell them–“Stop! You are going to ruin a good thing,” part of me wanted them to continue and see how things would turn out.

This book also has some of the most honest sounding and genuinely believable dialogue I’ve seen in a long time. The writing flows so smoothly that you feel as if you are overhearing a private conversation.

The story never slowed down, the plot never lost steam and the characters got more intriguing with each turn of the page. A great book that you won’t want to miss out on.

An unusually enchanting novel with captivating characters.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.