Friday, December 19, 2014

Straight Chatting from the Library - Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

I borrowed the Swiss Family Robinson so many times from the public library that my mother bought me a copy of it.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Bringing Up Mike is a young adult, coming-of-age, science fiction novel.

E-Reader or print? and why?

I read most of my books on an iPad using both iBooks and Kindle apps. It is much easier to read in dim light. The print quality is superior to paperback books and I can adjust the font size. The app lets me look up the definitions of words as I’m reading.

One book at a time or multiples?

While I usually read one book at a time, I currently have three or four different novels that I’ve started, along with several more that I’ve purchased on my to-read list.

Favorite book you've read this year?

I really enjoyed Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I very much look forward to the other two books of his trilogy, the next of which is Golden Son that will be published in early January 2015.

Favorite place to read?

I like to read in bed with a pillow under my knees.

Favorite genre?

Definitely science fiction, but I read a wide range of books including fantasy, thrillers, historic naval adventures and mysteries. For example, I’ve read all of the Game of Thrones books.

How do you keep your books organized?

I organize books by their genre and subject, much like they are at a library.

Re-reader or not?

I occasional re-read a favorite book, but in general, I don’t. There are simply too many great books that I haven’t read yet—it’s hard to justify spending much time revisiting a favorite.

What would make you not finish a book?

When I get bored—often due to the plot moving slowly. Science fiction novels who authors have minimal knowledge or understanding of science. Plots that can be predicted after the first few chapters. Long internal monologs of what a character is thinking.

Keep books or give them away?

I tend to sell or give most paper books away to a used bookstore. This is less of a problem now that I mostly purchase ebooks. Most of the paper books I buy are used books on a topic that I’m researching.


What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high
school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.


As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.

He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”

“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”
B The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”

“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”

“I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”

“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”

“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.”

“How’s the meeting going?”

“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?” 
“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.”


Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley.

He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike,,

Book and Author Links
Book Website: up mike.html
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Author Website: duncan.html
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Straight Browsing From the Library: I, Kidney by Chris Six

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Chris Six will be awarding a $15 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Joe Zizzi's childhood in the 1950s had everything a kid could want--pro athlete dad, wonderful mom, cool big bro. When the '60s kick in, this ideal life is violently shaken: a car crash claims his mother's life and his father's career, and brother Matt becomes distant and disturbed. Over the years, Joe learns to cope and carves out a niche for himself as a college sports star, and later as a coach and writer, but he can't quite shake the family legacy. Diagnosed with kidney failure, the semi-pro husband and devoted dad has life-and-death decisions to make--and life wins, though perhaps only by a slim margin.


Dr. Fabian—his first name, nobody uses his last name—referred Dad to Dr. Reilley, a nephrologist. Reilley’s got a brogue a mile wide and recognized Dad’s name from the Bruins.

First visit, he asked general health questions, kidney questions, and hockey questions, ending up by giving Dad an orange plastic urine collection jug in which to insert 24 hours’ worth, which has to be kept cold until next week’s visit. Imagine being confronted with this baby when you open the fridge for your juice.

Dad’s kidneys are functioning at thirty percent.

Next visit, Reilley reads the blood test results and gives Dad the list of the six foods to stop eating.


“What? I’ve eaten one every day since birth.”

Orange juice.

“What do I drink with breakfast?”


“You’re not making this easy, doc.”


“Wait, I’m still working on the spuds. Okay, I’ll eat yams.”

That includes yams. Chocolate.

“Doc, you trying to kill me?”

And tomatoes.

“Doc, you know I’m Italian, right?”

And he told him to lay off fried foods. Dad said, “As a frequent fryer, I’m gonna find this difficult.”

Outside: “How do I manage? How do I survive? He’s got my five basic food groups.

What was the sixth thing?”


Dad patted me and chuckled. “Good thing you’re not the patient.”


Chris Six is a writer, the chief everything officer of The Chris Six Group, and the recipient of somebody else's kidney: "I narrated the story onto tape before I ever wrote a word. I even brought my recorder to dialysis and upset the technicians. Nowadays, I'm in awe of indie authors doing hands-on marketing. I couldn't imagine doing this even five years ago."


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Straight Browsing From the Library - The 13th Descent by Ky Lehman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ky will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.




The revolutionary year following Serenay "Ren" Avalon's eighteenth birthday could rival Clark Kent's entire adolescence.

After her mother and her grandmother were killed in a car bomb explosion at the heart of their sleepy hillside town where nothing extraordinary usually happens, she discovers that her mother is actually alive and in hiding, her long lost father is a Father, and her best friend, who turns out was once an Archangel, has taken a gargantuan step back in his evolution to live on Earth with her for the past thirteen lifetimes. And besides being the only one in her immediate circle with a serious case of past life dementia, she learns that during her first lifetime, she was married to one of the greatest teachers history has ever known who is now the gorgeous lead singer of a hot new rock band taking the world by storm, and who is keen to meet up with her again in the twenty first century.

As Ren realizes that the powerful family name she bears also brings with it the promise of an unnatural death, she is reminded that it has always brought hope to people on both sides of the veil, human and Tor. As the world draws closer to being completely shrouded by the dark cloaks of her age-old enemies, the Bloodstones, she now, more than ever before, has to draw strength from her origins to protect her family and their ancient truth from this global force responsible for torturing and killing centuries of her ancestors.

As she struggles to unearth who she was, who she is, and who she chooses to be, as well as the expectations of her first mortal love and the heavenly love she has always guiltily denied, she has until midnight on the Solstice find a way to bring light to a compromised heart and to a world on the brink of perpetual darkness.

This first book in The Rosefire Trilogy by debut YA author, Ky Lehman, is a reminder of how the choices we make in the throes of love, loss, hope, and adversity are what makes the divine human, and the human divine.


“Come on, Renay! You’re as slow as a wet week,” she snaps.

“Right behind you,” I grumble, trying to coax my jelly legs to step out of the car.

She bustles us inside and disarms her house alarm. She grabs my hand, leads me straight to the navy blue comfy couch and gestures for me to sit. “Drink?” she asks.

“No, thanks.”

She goes to the kitchen and gets me a tall glass of water anyway.

Then everything goes from strange to downright bizarre when she sits down, squishes in next to me, puts her arm around my shoulders and rests her cheek on my hair. I am wedged in-between her and the armrest: I couldn’t move if I tried, and I honestly don’t want to. Hugs from my one and only aunt are like sunny days in the winter. They are rare. They are warm. They smell of cream and cinnamon. They go by too quickly. And you know you’ll have to wait a while for the next one.

“Look at me, Renay,” she gently commands. Bleary eyed, she carefully scans my face and sighs.

It seems she is already regretting what she is yet to say. A chill of forewarning forces a shiver: it sets my heart pounding and my legs that have finally regained feeling start to twitch and shake, preparing to run. She senses my panic and holds me tighter, and starts to softly hum a familiar tune that Nanna must have used to calm her down too. Slowly, the dread resides and the warmth returns. My stiff posture thaws allowing me to slump into her side. Realising she has been given the green light, she takes a deep breath and starts talking.

Aunt Romey has never been one to beat around the bush. Simple English. No fluff. The bare facts followed by her opinion of them. But this time, the candour I usually appreciate brings with it a realisation that hits me so hard, that, for the first time since the bomb went off, I am relieved the undercooked takeout chicken kept me home that night.

Bedtime stories that once lulled me into sweet dreams now leave me feeling cold, heavy and sick.

Horrifying truth gives a voice to the intoxicated mutterings of a grieving husband and father.

Nanna’s fairy tales.

Georgie Pa’s drunken rants.

All of the frayed strands and loose ends I’ve obliviously left hanging tangle and weave into the blood stained tapestry that is Aunt Romey’s history lesson.

Three versions of the same unfathomable story, each with its own conclusion. The fairy tale ends in hope.

The drunken rant ends in fear.

And the history lesson will only end with the death of the Three Roses, who my newfound enemies believe are Nanna, Mum and me.

Surrounded by the ghosts of our ancestors and their vindicating screams, I cling to the only olive branch within reach.

Mum may be on the run, but she is alive and well.

But the sinewy little branch is not strong enough to bear the weight of centuries of lost life. It snaps, and I limply fall into large, familiar, bloodstained hands that carry me off into the black quiet.

KY LEHMAN is a novelist, a children's author, a teacher of swimming and water safety, wife to her high school sweetheart and the proud mother of their three very tall sons. She lives in the Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia, with her husband and their children where she is currently writing the second book in The Rosefire Trilogy, The 13th Rising.

Facebook ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Twitter
Buy the book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Straight Reading from the Library: The Missing Planets by Hawk MacKinney

Here at The Library, we love straight science fiction AND Hawk MacKinney's work--so we were excited when we had the chance to review the second volume of The Cairns of Sainctuarie series. You can see our review of the first book here: Review of The Bleikovat Event. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


Planet Terato has become a member of the assembly of the Confederated League of Allied Star Systems. The Murian Outpost Terato once commanded by His Imperial Majesty’s Lord High Chamberlain Herklo Korvo XXXIV is now Teratoan staffed and under the command of Teratoan Eklam a’Qoc.

From the uncharted reaches between galaxies, attacks of extraordinary weaponry come against Terato and the Myr worlds of the Murians. Terminus Terato’s expanded link-portals and converter power modules are virtually useless. Power loss, defenses, communications and travel are totally disrupted. High Chamberlain Korvo’s unexpected return to Terminus on a mission for His Imperial Majesty leaves him stranded on Terato. Attacks grow more massive, more unpredictable; spread across the worlds of the League, as an isolated Terminus struggles among the shattered rubble and whispering remains of an ancient Polity of star-walkers.

Family and friends are lost, empires and civilizations in disarray, Terminus and Planet Terato almost defenseless. Desperate for answers, their worlds being overwhelmed by this remorseless aggressor, Eklam and Korvo reach across unexplored space in a despairing gamble and the last reserves of converter star-substrate, seeking one insignificant star system of gas giants and rocky inner planets for possible relics of the elusive Lantaraan Polity.


This book is a wonderful addition to the Cairns of Sainctuarie series. This is hard SF... think Larry Niven.

On an adventure level, we have Terato and the Myr worlds under attack and Eklam and Korvo working desperately to find answers and resolve the issue. On a relationship level, we have the friendship and partnership of Ek and Korvo.

Mr. MacKinney is a fine writer who has his world-building down pat. I'm thankful he included a glossary at the end of the book --while some things I understood based on context, it was nice to be able to verify that. And, there were other things I needed the glossary for.

Because of the science involved, it could be a difficult book to read--it's definitely not a book you can skim through or read while other things are going on. But, if you are a fan of hard science fiction, this is definitely a series you will want to check out. It's not necessary to read the first book in the series; it deals with the historical background of this time, but it does give you a feel for the people. You can definitely pick up the series with this book, though.

My rating: 4/5.


Uncle a’Qoc hadn’t been wrong; much had changed. Like the ancient Teratoan proverb… change is part of life, change had come. In ways big and small it had touched all of them. Touched worlds beyond what even Uncle a’Qoc and his determined nephew foreknew, and changed things even the mighty Murian Empire could not know—a tumult of the unexpected. Ek was already a Senior Apprentice the first time he met Herklo Korvo; was one of four honor escorts at the hurried change of command: ruddy-faced Outpost Commander Kartn Gurlo relieved by the steely green-eyed Grand Duke Korvo. Ek sensed Gurlo’s anxiety as Gurlo and the Grand Duke talked with one another. During his apprentice time in Outpost Terato, Ek had started learning the Murian syntax; had studied the complex grammar of the Murian tongue, usually spoken with a soft evenness, and caught only the uttered harsh bleak abrupt Murian idiom.

Since then Ek hadn’t heard the expression. The discordant tone of the expression struck a jar to Ek’s ears. In time he learned the expression came from the Malfesian War, when the slaughter of western Feldovat clans destroyed some bloodlines. “… s' bleikovaat... ” Carried an intense meaning for Murians. “… events with unforeseen results...

None of the others in the honor escort picked up on Gurlo’s disquiet or the cause of it, Ek likely the only one with a grasp of the Murian idiom. And none of the apprentices were aware of its breakpoint implication, of the unexplainable upheavals rushing toward their home-worlds.


With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. Walking the Pet is Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series. The first book in another mystery-thriller series is scheduled for release in 2015. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012. Its sequel, The Missing Planets, has just been released.
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Straight Chatting from the Library - Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading for one lucky commenter to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Mostly I love his turn-of-phrase and keep reading through the pages to find the next gem. He puts words together in such a way I simply say, ‘Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.’

The main protagonist, Jorg Ancrath, should be someone we run from and despise, but the more the character unfolds, the more my empathy grows. Was he born bad or made bad? He’s fascinating, and with each scene we find out a little bit more about what motivates him and, perhaps, why he is as he is.

E-Reader or print? and why?

I much prefer print. I enjoy flicking back to something I’ve read and rereading a scene or two that I hadn’t paid enough attention to. I’m a very visual person and remember things like, that was top of the right hand page about a third of the way into the book, or bottom left three pages back. An E-Reader simply doesn’t have that ease of movement. This is especially important when reading non-fiction, and a friend of mine was, only the other day, griping about how useless a Kindle is for quick ‘dipping in’ for non-fiction. I also enjoy having shelves of books. I can read the titles, see the covers, and bring back memories of what I’ve enjoyed reading.

One book at a time or multiples?

I read one book (paperback) at a time. BUT! I’m a very slow reader. Friends have commented that this is because I read every word of a book and never skim read like some people I know. However! I also have a Kindle reader on my work computer. Did I say my work computer!? Naughty, naughty. I’m self-employed so there’s no boss to hassle me about it. On my Kindle reader I download what I call easy reading. A romance, chick-lit, something light and fun. I read these between work tasks for light relief during my tea breaks. A chapter here, a chapter there. The other book, which will be a paperback, is saved for my evening or bedtime leisure read. The two books are always completely different genres and styles. The physical book is something to be savoured, the Kindle read is something snatched at between tasks so that I switch off and think of something completely different for a while.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

I’m very fussy about my books and like to keep them in pristine condition, so I’m a bookmark girl. I have a very cute bookmark with a dog’s head that sticks out the top of the book. It’s soft, like a cuddly toy, and has floppy ears. So I guess you could say that my books are dog eared as well as bookmarked.

Favorite genre?

I don’t think that I have a favourite genre. I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, but equally I enjoy fantasy and romance. It’s the characters that grab my attention, the author’s slant on how that particular individual sees the world and interacts with it. I’ll try most things once, but call me a bit of a baby when it comes to reading, I don’t enjoy books with pages and pages of descriptive text and no dialogue. I find that kind of book dry and tiresome. I’d much rather be in with the characters and the action, because as beautiful as the landscape or fancy interior might be, it’s the people I’m interested in. I want to hear their story.

Do you loan your books?

I used to, but stopped after so many books refused to come home again. Mostly it was my non- fiction that disappeared onto someone else’s bookshelf, and I lost some real treasures. Now I don’t lend anything, but the embarrassing thing is that I have a stack of books belonging to other people. I always mean to give them back: honestly.

Favorite book to recommend?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Every time I talk to someone about this book it becomes clear that they simply don’t get it. If they’ve read it before I often wonder if we’ve read two completely different books. It’s a terrific novel and well worth a read because the social comment it makes is a fascinating insight into life in the 1920’s.

How do you keep your books organized?

All of my non-fiction books have very specific places to sit. I have an entire bookcase of art books. I have four shelves of astrology books (I’m a professional astrologer), one of those shelves being on my desk for quick reference while working. I have a small bookcase of Tarot books. (I’m also a professional Tarot reader) I have a glass fronted cabinet with some signed hardback fiction and a few great art books that I enjoy showing off. I have a lockable cupboard with my antiquarian treasures and rare imprints, which I peruse on rainy days and sometimes show to friends. (They’re my secrets) Novels hang around wherever they like. I have a wobbly tower next to my bed, a hall cupboard that’s creaking at the seams and a loft full of old novels I really should clear out. Mind you, I know where every novel is, so woe betides the person who thinks they can casually borrow one without me noticing.

Re-reader or not?

Some books I’ve read I shall probably never read again. Not because they weren’t good or satisfactory, but because once was enough. Other books I periodically re-discover lurking in a cupboard (That hall cupboard I mentioned earlier) and dust off for a second or third read. Sometimes it’s the story I’m after, but also I’m attracted to the author’s style or clever way of developing the characters. It’s like visiting an old friend, and feeling really pleased that I called on them again.

What would make you not finish a book?

Sometimes I read historical novels, and if it’s set in a time that I’m familiar with, then I will put the book down as soon as I know that a historical fact is inaccurate. From that point on I can no longer trust the rest of the writer’s historical data. I become suspicious that I’m being fed false information, and as I’m really keen on learning history, the last thing I want is a head full of conflicting information. I’m a stickler for details. The worst mistake I ever spotted was from an incredibly famous author who had her main characters using playing cards, in England, in 1250. That is simply impossible. I haven’t read one of her books since.

Another reason I put down a book, never to pick it up again, is if I really don’t care about the characters. One author, whose name I won’t mention, had me hooked until halfway through this huge tomb of a novel. The writing then became so slow it was as if they were packing out the pages with unnecessary description to get the word count up. When it came to the grand finale I was so fed up with the main protagonist that I really, and truly, wanted the baddie to hurry up and kill her so that I’d be put out of my agony. By this time I was certain that I’d read the same description of eerie mist about a hundred times, and that the ghost under the carpet really should have shown its face by now. With about fifty pages to go I threw the book in the bin and have never read anything by her again.

D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.
Bailey’s warned off

Chapter 23

‘I’ve been warned off, Jake.’


‘Had a phone call from that twit Weissman, about an hour ago.’ He nodded in response to Talbot waving the coffee jar. ‘He told me I was making too many waves, asking too many questions, helping you out too much.’ He pressed his index finger firmly on the manila folder. ‘Keith McKenzie’s school reports that you requested.’ His lips curled into a snarl. ‘I won’t be able to offer much more. Damn people.’

‘May I ask who these damn people are, sir?’ Talbot asked, hoping Bailey knew more than he’d gleaned from Weissman, but the answer was disappointing.

‘All I know is that they’re a psychiatric unit connected to the MOD, and have a lot more clout than I do.’ He frowned, sat down and picked up Lilly’s photo again. [***] ‘And all for a bit of skirt.’ Opening his fingers, he let the picture float to the table. ‘Putting you on this case, they’ve stolen one of my best resources ... and then they expect me to back down and not offer assistance.’

‘Why exactly is that, sir?’ Talbot smiled, amused by Bailey referring to him as a top resource. He placed the drink in front of him.

‘Digging. Christ, you’re allowed to go digging, unofficially, but it appears that anything I do leaves a footprint they’re not keen on shadowing.’

‘Odd, isn’t it.’ Talbot nonchalantly lit a cigarette. ‘Weissman was correct in his prediction that being a lone dog wouldn’t be much fun ...’ He leant very close to Bailey, tried not to grin, and said in a hushed whisper, ‘Of course, sir, you’ve been behind a desk a while now; I guess you wouldn’t be much interested in offering a little covert assistance.’ >

‘I never have liked your methods, Jake, never approved.’ Bailey sipped his coffee. ‘What did you have in mind?’


Toni Allen is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, author and photographer.

I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. . A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.

Amazon author page: ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=undefined&sr=8-1

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Straight Browsing From the Library: The Green Rose by Stephanie Burkhart

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


On the continent of Gaia, evil is brewing. Turncoat wizard, Balthyser, kidnaps the kings of Dahaka and Tapin. He wants the green rose, a source of powerful magic.

Princess Sonia of Tapin is forced to hunt down the rose in exchange for her father's life. It's the ultimate betrayal of Gaia's peace, but she has no choice if she wants to save her father.

Prince Ivánstan of Dahaka accompanies her on the journey. Both face challenges and obstacles that test their strength of character during the hunt for the rose. Dare Sonia put her trust and faith in a man she hardly knows to secure Gaia's peace or will the continent's harmony be shattered forever?


Racing forward, he spotted her near Tapin's tents surrounded by three beasts. Tall and slender, she possessed a strong, wild beauty he found intriguing. Long chestnut brown hair flowed down her back. Her eyes were golden yellow with obsidian irises. She'd been bonded! Only the noble bonded. Her high, exotic cheekbones and patrician features were steeled in courage and determination. The primal urge to mate with her made his heart pound in his chest.

A falcon, the heraldic symbol of Tapin, was prominently displayed on her tunic.

A bird screeched. A wyldebeast craned its neck upward and the descending falcon slashed its talons over the creature's face, spraying blood.

"Well done, Hiro!" exclaimed the woman.

A second wyldebeast lashed at her. She stumbled backwards, tripping on a rock. Her wrist struck the ground hard, sending her sword sprawling several feet away from her, leaving her vulnerable.

"Draco, defend the Tapin noblewoman!"

Ivánstan's dragon, now overhead, shot a blast of flame from his mouth, scorching the fur of an advancing beast. The creature collapsed and rolled over, attempting to use the ground to extinguish the flames on its body.

The remaining wyldebeast raised his hand, its fingernails moist, poised to strike the noblewoman. Ivánstan lunged forward and sliced off the creature's wrist just inches in front of her face.

"Thank Nyla!" she cried.

The beast howled in pain and spun to face Ivánstan. Draco latched its thorny claws into the creature's shoulders, lifting it into the air. 


Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, or Sony.


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Straight Browsing from the Library: Finding Refuge by Cathi Shaw

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cathi will be awarding $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


After successfully escaping Séreméla, Thia, Kiara and Mina agree to meet in the newly created safe haven of The Refuge. As a precaution they take different paths to their destination, only to find that those paths force them even farther away from one another. As one pitfall and danger after another emerges, they are once again left to wonder if there is anyone they can trust and if they will ever uncover the secrets of the Prophecy.


Mina cocked her head and tried to figure out what he was hearing but all she could make out was a light breeze through the trees. Then it occurred to her. That was all she could hear. Earlier the forest was alive with sounds of birds and small animals. Now it was silent except for the wind. A shiver raced down her spine and her hand went for the small dagger that she’d taken to carrying in her belt.

The horses began to grow restless. Mina moved to calm her mare but the animal snorted and rolled her eyes nervously, side stepping as if from an invisible enemy. Mina tried to soothe her but both mounts were seriously spooked.

“Arion?” she asked uncertainly.

“Sshhh.” He put his finger to his lip and was moving toward her when the first black shadow whirled into the clearing.

Mina’s mare screamed and reared, ripping her tether from the ground as she ran into the forest.

Mina stood paralyzed in front of the creature. She watched in horror as it lifted its hands toward her, preparing to attack her just as had happened the previous year. Mina was powerless to do anything. She vaguely realized the dagger had fallen from her fingertips as she encountered the red gaze of the creature in front of her.


Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she has taught rhetoric and professional writing Okanagan College, The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Cathi is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today. Finding Refuge is the second book in her Marked Ones series. You can read more about Cathi on her website. You can also find her on Twitter (@cathishaw) and Facebook .

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