Clade by James Bradley, A cautionary tale.

clade.jpgAdam is in Antartica, marking the passage of the solstice. Across the globe, his wife Ellie is waiting for the results of her IVF treatment. So begins the story of one family in a changing world, where the apocalyptic mingles with the everyday; a father battles a biblical storm; an immigrant is mysteriously drawn to the art of beekeeping; a young girl’s diary chronicles a pandemic; and a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead…

Let’s be honest, this book was bound to come to my view one day and I’m glad that it did because I happen to absolutely love time travel or alternate reality type stories. This goes beyond that–it follows a family through the expanse of time, so readers get to enjoy a great story that explores both science fiction and something of a family drama. As far as I can see, it isn’t part of a series, either, so for those who enjoy single stories (instead of having to read multiple novels in order to get the full view of the characters and their plights), this is a great fit.

I have never read any of James Bradley’s other works, but I feel like I might. My to-be-read pile is absolutely huge right now, but I’ll make room and I would imagine that after reading Clade, others will too. He’s a good writer, but some of the characters weren’t as strong as I would have liked. He did, however, deliver a great premise and he followed through until the very last chapter. The climate change cautionary tale James Bradley has written for us is certainly thought provoking.

If you would like to find out for yourself, I found Clade by James Bradley on Amazon, but you can also buy it from Titan Books.

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Dark Immolation by Christopher Husberg

husbergA new religion is rising, gathering followers drawn by rumors of prophetess Jane Oden. Her sister Cinzia—once a Cantic priestess—is by her side, but fears that Jane will lead them to ruin. For both the Church and the Nazaniin assassins are still on their trail, and much worse may come.
Knot, his true nature now revealed if not truly understood, is haunted by his memories, and is not the ally he once was. Astrid travels to Tinska to find answers for her friend, but the child-like vampire has old enemies who have been waiting for her return. And beyond the Blood Gate in the empire of Roden, a tiellan woman finds herself with a new protector. One who wants to use her extraordinary abilities for his own ends…

Here’s the thing, kids. I read the first book in this quintet and wasn’t impressed. I didn’t even mark a review or rating on Goodreads or Amazon because I was that unimpressed with the story. Husberg is a good author. I like his style and I like his characters, but the plot in his novel, Duskfall, I disliked. But, I always approach novels with an open mind, particularly when I know the writer behind it can actually write and can create very believable characters. Characters were never an issue for me in Duskfall, FYI. So, with this all being established, I’ll get on with the review for the subsequent novel (the second in a quintet, I’m told), Dark Immolation.

As was true in Duskfall, Dark Immolation’s characters were great. That’s always key in a good story. I can’t read a book if I really could care less what happens to the people (or creatures) in it. If I can’t imagine them, if their dialogue is vague and generic, or if I just really dislike them, I’m not going to keep reading. One of Christopher Husberg’s strongest writing abilities (in my opinion) is that he can flesh out characters with an insane amount of skill. I’d like to buy him coffee and discuss this, but I’m sure that would border on stalker behavior and maybe he has a blog instead.

I feel like Christopher Husberg’s storytelling has improved since Duskfall. I enjoyed the feeling of dipping your toes into the waters of theology throughout this story and I enjoyed questioning my own thoughts as I read. I also like that when reading anything he has written (applies to both Duskfall and Dark Immolation) there is a good balance in the writing. Not too much dialog, but just the right amount. Not too much description, but just enough. Not too much this, nor too much that…See what I mean? He never lost my interest due to over stimulation or under stimulation. That’s important for me.

I would recommend this book. Heck, I’ll recommend the entire quintet (though, as of right now, subsequent books are not available yet). Just because Duskfall didn’t do it for me doesn’t mean it won’t some of you.

If you’re interested in seeing for yourself, hop over to Amazon and check it out. Read more reviews, if you so wish to do.

Empire Of Time by Daniel Godfrey

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For fifteen years, the Romans of New Pompeii have kept the outside world at bay with the threat of using the Novus Particles device to alter time. Yet Decimus Horatius Pullus—once Nick Houghton—knows the real reason the Romans don’t use the device for their own ends: they can’t make it work without grisly consequences.
This fragile peace is threatened when an outsider promises to help the Romans use the technology. And there are those beyond Pompeii’s walls who are desperate to destroy a town where slavery flourishes. When his own name is found on an ancient artifact dug up at the real Pompeii, Nick knows that someone in the future has control of the device. The question is: whose side are they on?

This novel is the second in a series. I read the first and enjoyed it, but I think I prefer the second book to the first, which is something I rarely experience.

In this second book, we get to follow Nick Houghton as he has become Decimus Horatius Pollus, the ambassador for New Pompeii as he and other citizens of New Pompeii are faced with the Novus Particles device, which can alter time.

The novel is fast paced, nitty, gritty, and comes with the teasing promise of maybe a third book. As it appears the author knows what he is doing as far as creating great characters, I hope that he continues with this series and, in doing, sates my curiosity. I want to know just where Daniel Godfrey is going next. More direly, I want to know where Nick Houghton is going in the future. Is there a third book coming or are we to be left wondering? Perhaps the ending was sufficient for other readers, but not this one.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this novel (and I would imagine you do because it’s fabulous), hop on over to Amazon and give them your money. But, buy New Pompeii first because it’s great, too. The link for that one is at the top of this review.

 

Books I haven’t enjoyed…

cropped-snapshot_20150626_1.jpgSometimes when I go through my review pile, I come across books I don’t like. It happens and I hate it because in most cases I know there will be other people who might really love those books. So, I try my best to write an honest review and give the author their fair reviews.

I have a list of those books here. And, for the sake of fairness, I’m not going to write a full review of any of them because I don’t feel like I’m the right person to do so. However, I feel like there is a handful of books that deserve some attention and a few mentions in my blog as being books I would recommend to friends, even though I didn’t enjoy them myself.

Off Rock by Kieran Shea

This book was good,but I didn’t finish it because I wasn’t interested. The beginning is strong, as a beginning should be. Characters are fleshed out the right way, too, but the story itself found me looking for something else to do by the third chapter. iO9 gave it a great review on Amazon (link above, just click the book’s title).

The Age Of Olympus by Gavin Scott

Duncan Forrester’s research on an Aegean island is interrupted first by the murder of a British archaeologist, and then by the outbreak of the Greek Civil War. The worship of ancient gods may provide a clue to the murderer, but in such a tumultuous time, little is what it seems.

Another one I couldn’t get into. I think I had such a hard time with this novel because it’s the second in the series and I haven’t read the first one. I may remedy that one day soon. There is already a third in this series for pre-order, so I assume the author is having some good success with these books. I wish him all the best, too. If you’re interested in this book, click the title and check it out.

The Vinyl Detective- The Run Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel 

His first adventure consisted of the search for a rare record; his second begins with the discovery of one.  When a mint copy of the final album by “Valerian”—England’s great lost rock band of the 1960s—surfaces in a charity shop, all hell breaks loose. 

This one is another that is a second in a series. I have no idea why I keep ending up with books that are out of order from series, but that’s the way it happens sometimes. As a general rule of thumb, a writer’s job (when writing multiple books in the same series) is to ensure that the reader can enjoy the book out of order without feeling something is missing. That is sometimes not how it is done, unfortunately, but with this novel (which I DID manage to finish, even though it wasn’t my type) I was able to set it apart and it could easily live on its own. Kudos, Andrew Cartmel. It still wasn’t my cup of tea, but I would recommend it to others, so it is here, in THIS post instead of on its own, though I’ll give it its own rating on Goodreads and Amazon. I may actually pass this book onto my daughter as it seems more her speed than mine! As always, click the title and head over to Amazon if you’d like to know more or purchase your own copy.

 

Stay tuned for more reviews and some overdue ones! I’ve just gotten my little office nook into order and figured out what on earth was going on with my blog. Technical issues are not my strong suit. 

But, nonetheless, keep calm and read on, folks! 

 

Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel by Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block’s sort of new book about writing recently found its way to my Kindle app. I say “sort of new” because it’s a second edition and includes updated information for today’s writers.I was more than just excited to read this book about writing books. I was downright jubilant. Never have I read a book about writing books that was written before the nineties. The first edition of the book, Writing the Novel from Plot to Print, was published, originally, in 1978, a time before Kindles were even a thing. It was a time when a lot of the authors I enjoy reading today, Lawrence Block included, were putting out some of their best works.

Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel is the second edition, which will be released next month. The book begins with an introduction to the 1978 edition. The best way I can set the tone of this tome is with a quote from this intro.

“One thing you won’t find in this book is an explanation of the way to write a novel. Because I don’t believe there is one.”-Lawrence Block.

So, now you know what to expect, right? It’s explained simply and that’s how I like things—no need for flowers and candy, just take me to the theater.

The book moves quickly, too, which I also like, be it fiction or non. In chapter one, Block discusses why one would choose to write a novel in the first place. Comparing short story writing to novel writing, and the bells and whistles attached to each, Block says:

“If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass.”

The second chapter discusses how one might choose which novel to write. This is an important chapter, as I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t get flooded with novel or story ideas and has to choose which one comes first. It’s a system of triage, if you will, and if you struggle in this area, I would definitely recommend buying this book to see what he has to say.

Cover_Ebook_Writing the Novel

“You have to read not as a normally perceptive reader, but with the special insight of a writer.” – Chapter Three

Each chapter discusses, ponders, and argues every single bit of the process involved in taking a simple notion to write to the ultimate goal of publication. There is even a chapter on a topic in which I fear I need to read more about before I write my next anything. I do outline my books to a certain extent, but I feel like I could benefit from writing outlines that are more thorough, so chapter six was of a particular interest to me.

The most exciting part of this book, however, is not any chapter in particular. It is the order in which the topic of a certain chapter appears. The chapter title “Getting Started” doesn’t appear until chapter eight. After chapter eight, there are chapters discussing snags and dead ends, style, length, rewriting, and getting published (respectively). To keep with the ever changing times, however, Lawrence Block has also included chapters arguing for and against self-publishing and how to be your own publisher.

I didn’t find anything in this book to be too difficult to understand, so I would assume that even a high school student could easily navigate the chapters. I would have loved owning the 1978 edition when I was a teenager, so I can imagine this book (either edition, honestly) would make a wonderful gift for a young writer as well as a well-seasoned one. After all, no matter how long you’ve been in the game, the rules may change and you might find yourself standing in the dark. A good book could very well prove to be your flashlight.

On a more personal level, I feel I need to mention that the chapters are so easily laid out that one doesn’t have to thumb all over the book if in search of help in one particular area. If I needed help figuring out how to develop a character, there’s a chapter for that. If I need help deciding whether I should self-publish or not, there are a few chapters for that, too. In no way does Lawrence Block ever say that THIS is how you write a book, there is NO other way. On the contrary, this is just an informational guide, subjective and simple.

I enjoyed reading this book on my Kindle so much that I even thought to invite Mr. Block out to Starbucks, but in the chapter called Staying In Touch With LB, section Things I Won’t Do, it says that he won’t do that. It also tells you where to find him on the internet and where you might find his books. Cheers, Mr. Block. And, thank you for writing such a wonderful guide.

***

blockObviously, not all readers are interested in writing, so for those of you who are not writers and have no interest in becoming one, I’d like to suggest another one of Block’s books, The Girl With the Deep Blue Eyeswhich is his latest release. Isn’t that cover something? It is available on Amazon (in the link above) in hardback, Kindle, and paperback as well.

***

TO FIND LAWRENCE BLOCK: 

Larry Block

Join Lawrence Block on Facebook!

Tweet about Lawrence Block on Twitter by following @LawrenceBlock!

Stalk Lawrence Block’s website for all the latest news!

Sign up for Lawrence Block’s newsletter by sending an email to lawbloc@gmail.com with “newsletter” in the subject line.

 

 

Don’t Call Me Baby

GET “DON’T CALL ME ‘BABY'” FREE ON KINDLE

AUGUST 17, 18, 19 ONLY!

DON’T CALL ME BABY

NEW ADULT EROTIC ROMANCE AT ITS FINEST!

Buy Link

Don’t Call Me Baby – Amazon Kindle

Don’t Call Me Baby – Amazon UK

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Don’t Call Me Baby

It’s 1983 in Maryland and Catherine Stone is sex on wheels. She plays the field the way men have done for aeons. Not content to strive for her MRS. degree like so many young women her age, she seduces men of all stripes.

When she tries multiple partners and bondage for the first time as a submissive, she believes she’s found the sexual bliss she is looking for – and with a man who not only introduces her to the fineries in life, but also cares about her like no man ever has before.

DON’T CALL ME ‘BABY’ is a fast-paced, quick-witted, and sexy novel about a young woman exploring her sexuality and the cultural morés she collides with on a daily basis. Does she meet her match in this new man who introduces her to sexual ecstasy she has never before experienced?

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NIGHT OWL TOP PICK!

Review by Hitherandthee

Don’t Call Me Baby is a fast paced, very adventurous romantic novel that will take readers on a roller coaster ride of scorching romantic fun. The main character, Catherine, is a woman after my own heart. She is young and fiercely independent, and beyond gorgeous. She is not wealthy, but she wants to live the good life and is not afraid to go get it. She is also very sexually liberated, and in the 1980’s this was sometimes a good thing, and sometimes a not so good thing. The story is so blisteringly hot and steamy; it’s difficult to put down. It took me back to a better time, and a time I enjoyed much more. It is a novel I truly enjoyed reading, and will definitely be reading time and time again. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not to be missed.

So many men, so little time. Catherine has a long list of men that she sees on a regular basis, and at the top of the list (for the moment, anyway) is Brian. He’s one of her professors at Quincy, and a married man, but that’s never been a problem. But he’s so demanding! So maybe some time apart will be just the trick. A summer theater camp at another local college for local teens should make him realize that Catherine is not his possession, right? That is, until she gets to the camp and meets the other counselors. Ryan is gorgeous, and the rest? Well, what’s a girl on her own to do? Why, enjoy as many as she can! In the meantime, Catherine will come to grips with her mind and her heart, and will figure out what she really wants in life.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Black writes erotica, erotic romance, speculative fiction, fantasy, dark fiction and horror. She also enjoys writing retellings of classic fairy tales. Born and bred in Baltimore, she grew up under the influence of Edgar Allan Poe. Her erotic fiction has been published by Xcite Books (U. K.), House Of Erotica (U. K.), Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Ravenous Romance, Scarlet Magazine (U. K.), Naughty Nights Press, and other publishers. Her dark fiction and horror has appeared in Kizuna: Fiction For Japan, Stupefying Stories, Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad, Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2, Teeming Terrors, Voluted Tales, and Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre (edited by Trent Zelazny).

An accomplished essayist, she was the sex columnist for the pop culture e-zine nuts4chic (U. K.) until it folded in 2008. Her articles about sex, erotica, and relationships have appeared in Good Vibrations Magazine, Alternet, CarnalNation, the Ms. Magazine Blog, Sexis Magazine, On The Issues, Sexy Mama Magazine, and Circlet blog. She also writes sex toys reviews for several sex toys companies. She has appeared as a speaker at numerous conventions including Balticon, Arisia, NoVaCon, SheVaCon, JohnCon, and two Worldcons.

Excerpt

Catherine awakened to feel Duncan putting a blindfold over her face. Frightened, she

jerked and raised her hands to her face to remove it.

“Calm down, gorgeous. It’s only me. Let’s play a game before we get up for the day.”

“What do you have in mind besides making me blind?”

As he brushed kisses against her back and shoulders she relaxed face down on the bed.

“That’s better, sleepyhead. How about a morning fuck?”

“I’d love to but you better use lots of lube. I’m sore as hell.”

“Instead of straight fucking, how about a little backdoor play?” His finger drew circles down her spine, across her buttocks, and slid to her anus.

“Mmmmm… I’m game. I’m a backdoor virgin so be easy on me.”

“I’ll make it exciting for you. And look what I found in your suitcase. Oh, I’m sorry you can’t see. I blindfolded you. Well, give me your hand and I’ll let you guess.”

He took her hand and fastened something tight around her wrist, then hooked it to the bed. When she realized what it was her heart lurched in excitement.

“You found my handcuffs! Oh, yes, restrain me. Take me as your slave.” She wanted to give her entire will over to Duncan, as she had never done before for any man. When Duncan restrained her other wrist to the bed, leaving her arms spread and immobile, the thrill of what they were about to do overcame her, leaving her shivering with anticipation.

“You will be my submissive pet, my dear. And now, here’s a little gift I bought you last night while you were in the bedroom with Sam.”

A silicone ball moved its way between her teeth and a leather strap fastened behind her head. So he’s gagged me! Gagged and restrained! This is new and exciting. Duncan is my dream come true. I finally met a man who brings out my kink and isn’t put off by my fucking around. Accustomed to being in charge and taking the lead, letting go of her aggressiveness felt incredibly freeing. In charge, Duncan took over her morning and she wanted to do whatever he wanted. She also knew he would take good care of her and give her the excitement she waited for.

“We need a safe word but obviously you can’t speak, so if you want to stop for any reason, make five loud grunts. Sound good?”

She nodded and gave Duncan five loud and staccato grunts that would act as their safe word.

“That’s perfect. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to do. Now, you relax and let me take care of you.”

When she felt his hand take hold of her ankle, she gasped with a heady mixture of nervousness and sexual arousal. His palm rubbed up her calf, eliciting shivers from her warm skin. Then he took her foot in his hand, pulled her leg taut, and fastened a cuff around her ankle, restraining her to the bed. With only one leg free, she enjoyed the feeling of immobilization, wanting Duncan to take over her sexual pleasure. When he cuffed her other foot to the bed, she lay face down, blind and mute, trapped and pinned for his pleasure, never before having been in such a subservient position—and she liked it! She knew she welcomed any of Duncan’s advances, no matter how adventurous he chose to be with her.

The delicate scent of pink lotus reached her nose mere seconds before the warmed oil dribbled on the back of her legs. Duncan’s big, meaty hands rubbed the oil into her skin and then he pressed his fingers into her pressure points on her calves and just above her Achilles tendons. His thumbs found her arches and pressed hard and deep, sending jolts of pleasure up her legs to slam into her groin and ass. She wanted to feel his hands all over her body but he took his time with her, not rushing their pleasure. His slow pace turned her on. In Duncan’s home, she could relax and lose herself in their sex play. As Duncan worked her awakening muscles, she realized she rushed her fucking far too often, mostly in response to the fear of not being caught by wives, cops, or college administrators. To be taken by a man at his slow, attentive speed felt much more arousing than the fevered groping she was used to.

His hands rubbed the sleep from her thighs, awakening a sexual urge from her that needed release. She craved the touch of his fingers against her pussy, rubbing against her erect clit, or better yet, inserting one or two at a time in her anus. She dug her knees into the mattress, raising her bum slightly in the air. Duncan responded by massaging her ass cheeks so hard that he pushed her body into the bed, making Catherine grunt with exhilaration. She giggled when warm oil dribbled on her ass to run down her crack, and she wiggled her hips as the oil tickled her skin. Duncan’s strong hands massaged the oil into her ass cheeks, his fingers approaching her anus but not directly touching it. Stop teasing me! I want to feel your fingers inside me. I want to feel your hard cock ramming in and out of me!

He teased her anus, approaching and driving Catherine into a frenzy of arousal only to pull back and massage her ass cheeks. She gripped the headboard rungs with her hands, wishing she could grip his cock and shove it deep inside. As she arched her back, hinting for him to enter her, he rubbed the entire length of his hand along her crack, pressing over her anus but not entering her. The stimulation drove her mad, made her blood rush through her body to flow into a hot pool around her pussy and ass. When she thought she couldn’t take any more of his incessant teasing, he slid one slick finger into her waiting opening.

She rocked back and forth against that finger, feeling it go completely inside her. Then, she felt a second finger join the first. Her heart thumped hard in her chest, taking her breath away she felt so aroused. Her pussy throbbed with pleasure, wanting to be filled and plugged as well. As Duncan stretched her anus, she rocked in time with his movements, enjoying the sensations that grew from deep inside her. So focused was she on her own arousal that she barely heard the sound of the condom wrapper tearing. When Duncan pulled his fingers from her she felt the cavernous opening and knew it needed to be filled.

When Duncan slid his cock inside her he stopped at the end of his head, helping her to adjust to his girth. She held her breath, bracing herself to take in his entire length, when he slid in another inch. She moaned in ecstasy, putting all her weight on her knees so he could take her up the ass the way she wanted to be taken. He slowly moved out of her and then slowly slid back in, an inch deeper. And then another inch, making her see the blood rushing behind her eyelids. She arched her back in response to the enormous, full feeling he gave her, yet he was not finished. The humming was so faint she barely heard it but when she felt the device on her clit—he homed right in on her most sensitive spot without needing a map to find it—her body shook with pleasure. Lifting her ass to invite him fully in, he pulled out slightly and then slid completely inside, filling her to the brim and properly plugging her. Immobilized and trussed for his pleasure, she relished her submissive pose and the hot fucking he gave her.

Fuck me hard, slam into my ass! If only she could speak! But the ball gag made her position all the sexier. She motioned with her ass, lifting it up as high as she could to signal to him that she wanted him to bang her good and hard. He pushed himself as deep inside her as he could get as he rubbed the vibrator against her pussy lips and clit. She gripped the restraints with both fists as she rocked back and forth to take the movements of his cock as he thrust in and out of her. No longer an anal virgin, she relished the feel of his massive cock inside her, making her feel aroused as never before. He slammed into her, faster and faster, and with a grunt came hard inside her. Without warning he ramped up the power of the sex toy’s vibrations. She stiffened her body until it nearly lifted off the bed and with a loud cry, came hard against his cock and the vibrator that rasped against her swollen clit.

After wave after wave of intense orgasm, she collapsed on the bed, too tired to move. He blew butterfly kisses on her shoulders and back as he released her from her restraints. Her heart slowed from a frenetic gallop to a slow crawl as she languished in her afterglow. Freed from the cuffs, she removed the blindfold and ball gag. Spent, she curled into a ball on her side and cupped her pussy with her hands.

Duncan crawled into the bed beside her and wrapped his arms around her. “I take it you enjoyed your anal deflowering?”

“Mmmmmm…”

“So you’d like to do that again sometime soon?”

“Mmmmm!”

“You are truly incredible. A free spirit. I like that. I’m glad I found you at the resort.”

“Same here. Only one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to walk for at least a day. I’m sore inside and out.”

“You got quite a workout. I know exactly the thing to recharge you. How about a traditional English breakfast, a shower, and then we head to your party?”

“That sounds wonderful and I’m famished.”

“You rest here while I make breakfast for us. It’s only eight. We have plenty of time to get ready for the party.”

HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY!

bones coversWant to win a copy of my brand new novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE? It releases this very Valentine weekend. How exciting! Read the rules below:

RULES:

Leave a comment on this post telling about your most memorable Valentine’s Day or just the one that sticks out the most. Tell me what you like or do not like about this holiday. Write whatever comes to mind pertaining to Valentine’s Day. Lets keep this PG (we don’t need those kinds of details lol). The winner will be chosen and announced on the morning of Monday, February 17th, so please also give me an email address to contact you should you be the lucky winner. It’s that easy!

You can read an excerpt and blurb for the book, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, here.

OTHER RHIANNON MILLS NEWS:

Not much info as of yet, but be looking for updates on an anthology called HER DARK VOICE. Filled with stories from many different female horror authors (including CYNDI AND THE DEMON ASMODEUS, which I wrote), this one’s going to be a must read!