Punishment – Linden MacIntyre GUEST POST REVIEW

GUEST POST – Auralee Wallace

Punishment

Punishment

Linden MacIntyre 

In Punishment, his first novel since completing his Long Stretch trilogy, Scotiabank Giller-winner Linden MacIntyre brings us a powerful exploration of justice and vengeance, and the peril that ensues when passion replaces reason, in a small town shaken by a tragic death.

Forced to retire early from his job as a corrections officer in Kingston Penitentiary, Tony Breau has limped back to the village where he grew up to lick his wounds, only to find that Dwayne Strickland, a young con he’d had dealings with in prison is back there too–and once again in trouble. Strickland has just been arrested following the suspicious death of a teenage girl, the granddaughter of Caddy Stewart, Tony’s first love.
Tony is soon caught in a fierce emotional struggle between the outcast Strickland and the still alluring Caddy. And then another figure from Tony’s past, the forceful Neil Archie MacDonald–just retired in murky circumstances from the Boston police force–stokes the community’s anger and suspicion and an irresistible demand for punishment. As Tony struggles to resist the vortex of vigilante action, Punishment builds into a total page-turner that blindsides you with twists and betrayals.

REVIEW

Ah, November. I could not pick a better release date month for Linden MacIntyre’s Punishment.

That doesn’t sound very good, does it?  Yet, in my biased opinion (redundancy intentional), Punishment is a good book.

Let me begin by saying, I am not the best person to review Punishment. I have a long-held bias towards Canadian Literature. It probably started back in university when I signed up for a Can. Lit. class. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the first short story assigned was entitled “Snow,” and from there we ventured into tales of incest, disease, rape, and more general winter suffering. This is not to say these works didn’t have merit, on the contrary, they were assigned university readings, therefore someone with a PhD already had vetted them as “good,” or at the very least “important” and I was deeply affected by their powerful deliverance of messages of…of what? Cold, horror and dismay? I’m only half joking here, but the point is, I wouldn’t argue their literary merits, I just felt like I needed to be treated for depression afterwards.

Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on Canadian Literature as I took only the one course, and I’m sure there are many shiny, happy examples of Canadian books out there that wouldn’t leave me feeling like I had been emotionally carved out. I just haven’t found them.

Fast-forwarding to present times, when I picked up MacIntyre’s book, I thought maybe I was ready to dip a toe once again into frigid Canadian waters. After all, it had been at least a year since I had read any other Canadiana, and it has been a relatively warm and sunny fall.

I still can’t decide if it was a good idea or not.

From a more clinical point of view (I’m not going to pretend to strive for objectivity), the book’s story questions were compelling. I read it quickly. I was invested in what was happening. I found the themes of justice and punishment intellectually satisfying, and I admired the weaving of the characters’ struggles against the aftermath of 911. As for the publisher’s promise of a “total page-turner that blindsides you with twists and betrayals,” well, the problem with such a claim is that I found myself looking for all the twists. As a result, I wasn’t so much blindsided at the turn of the page, as I was turning the page to be validated in my suspicions – a nonetheless satisfying experience (let’s be honest, sometimes even more satisfying). So yes, for me, Punishment, meets most, if not all, of my criteria for a really good, maybe even an excellent, book. More to the point, perhaps it will meet yours. I will say, however, that I’m going to wait at least a year again before I delve back into any Canadian literature…maybe even longer. I’ll re-evaluate in the spring.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linden_MacIntyreLinden MacIntyre is the co-host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway: A Passage from Innocence won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction.


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ABOUT Auralee

photo (1)Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Book Reviews https://pennydreadfulbooks.me/. She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in English literature and has worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level.

Auralee has always been fascinated by the power of stereotypes in terms of race, gender, and disability and how those beliefs colour our understanding of the world and of each other.

When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and two rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog http://auraleewallace.com.

 

The Donor – Candace Osmond

THE_DONOR

The Donor

Candace Osmond

  • Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
  • Publisher: Guardian Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1502508812
  • eBook: 9781311872708
  • ASIN: B00OK045IO
  • Number of pages: 316
  • Word Count: 55k
  • Cover Artist: Majeau Designs

Book Description:

What’s the first thought that would run through your mind if you woke up, completely naked, strapped to an operating table, sans a kidney?

What ran through Nora Daniels mind was that, sadly, nobody would even notice she was missing. No family, no friends, not even a boyfriend.

No, there would be no Prince Charming busting down the door to save the day or loved ones to mourn her death. Unless she could find a way to uncover the secrets hidden in her past and discover the one thing tying her to this world.

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Excerpt:

The strong stench of chemicals and bleach burned my nose and lungs, waking me from a deep and dreamlike haze, my eyes struggling open to find almost complete darkness. At least, I assumed it was; my mind and vision were both cloudy. Beneath the overwhelming odor of some kind of cleanser and noxious fumes, I caught a whiff of something dank, much like mold or mildew. In the distance, I heard a voice – no, two voices, muffled and just close enough for me to make out a bit of what they were saying. The sounds only compromised by the echoes which bounced off of the walls around me.

Was I in a tunnel?

Deep tones meant that both voices were male and I forced my mind to focus. Instantly, a searing pain erupted in my side, forcing the last bit of drowsiness away and bringing me to the surface of my consciousness. I’d never experienced anything so wretched before in my life! The growing pain was far worse than any headache or migraine that I’d ever had. It cut through me, like a hot knife, and every other thought fled from my mind. All I could concentrate on was this horrific sensation, not like a broken bone or a bad cut. No, it created an image of someone slicing into me and placing a burning hot coal, straight from the fire, deep into the right side of my body.

Instinctively, I reached to pull out the offending rock and instantly began to panic when my arms wouldn’t move. I thought, perhaps, the excruciating pain had caused my brain to not connect to my limbs. But as my natural reflexes had me trying to move, I felt the restraints at my wrists and ankles, holding me down. They were tight, and I realized they cut the circulation to my feet and hands. Trying to assess my situation, I noticed the cold, flat surface beneath me and, as I turned my head, the smallest bit of light crept into my line of vision.

I was blindfolded.

True panic had my blood pumping hot and fast through my body, and I attempted to control my breathing, trying to negate the effects of the agony in my side as well as my fear. I would never find a release if I didn’t calm down.

With clearer perception now, I noticed that the blindfold was thin, perhaps the black nylon of a pair of pantyhose, and it had slipped ever so slightly, allowing that small amount of light to shine just beneath it. Squinting and focusing until my eyes ached, I made out fuzzy shapes through the blindfold. From my limited perspective, I could tell that the room was larger than I’d first imagined, with tall ceilings, and I heard the familiar humming of bright fluorescent lights. The sound echoed the sensation in my body as I forced myself to ignore the debilitating pain.

Turning my head to each side, I took note of what appeared to be several small, cot-like, beds.

Hospital beds?

No, they were more like operating tables…and I was on one of them. I couldn’t make out occupants on top of any other beds, nor could I see anyone standing in the room I was in. But there was a darker spot in a far corner, and the voices seemed to be coming from that direction.

It must be another room.

Flexing my face and working my eyebrows, I managed to continue moving the blindfold so that I had a little more visibility. I tried one more time and got the entire thing shifted so it only rested on my eyelids, barely affecting my ability to see. I could pick out the two men standing in the frame of two open double doors, and I saw a tattoo on one of them.

With the material still weighing on my eyelids, it compromised my ability to see their upper bodies, but I stared at the tattoo on the man’s calf, just below a pair of loose beige shorts. It was shaped like a diamond, but the corner was too dim for me to catch the details. I stared hard, making sure to burn the image into my memory. I would use it to aid the police in finding my captor.

If I ever made it out of here alive.

About the Author:

profile_picPublished author and freelance writer/editor Candace Osmond was born in North York, ON. From there she began her journey of discovering Canada, moving every few years and experiencing what every province had to offer. She was surrounded and influenced by many cultures which broadened her mind and personality. Coming from a family of writers and artists dispersed throughout, it was inevitable that Candace follow in her family’s footsteps. By the early age of ten years old, Candace had won numerous writing and art competitions including a nation wide art contest for the Louie the Lightening Bug Play it Safe Around Electricity program where the company used her winning ad design. A few years later Candace found herself writing for the local news flyer and then branching off into fiction writing.

Candace published her first book by the age of 25, the first installment in a YA Urban Fantasy to which two others were published with it; The Iron World Series.

Candace is one of the creative writers to www.sssh.com, an acclaimed Erotic Romance website for women which has been featured on NBC Nightline and a number of other large platforms. Her most recent project is a screen play that is pending a nomination for an AVN Award.

Aside from writing, Candace did manage to get her certification for Interior Design and Decor. After years of working with fellow designers, architects, and home owners, Candace won a Peak Award for Best Kitchen Design under $10,000.

Now residing in a small town in Alberta, CA with her husband and two kids, Candace writes full time, developing articles for just about every niche, two more novels, and a hoard of short stories.

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My Beautiful Enemy – Sherry Thomas REVIEW

My Beautiful Enemy (The Heart of the Blade Duology #2)

Sherry Thomas


Sherry Thomas is a brilliant author, she seemingly without effort populates her novels with a cast of diverse and unique characters each of whom are keenly and unapologetically intelligent and better yet she makes their intellect appealing. So often romance novels are contrived and we are inundated with tropes featuring stupid heroines and foolish heroes however Ms Thomas’ work exhibits characters who are blessedly self aware (though not so much that there is no story to be told) and concerned with more than just their partners physical attributes. It follows that reading anything by this author is an unqualified delight.

I have always found the novels that I truly like to be the hardest to review. How do you comment on perfection? I have read the majority of Ms Thomas’ work, and am continually amazed at her ability to write the most eloquent, intelligent and emotionally powerful love stories of which My Beautiful Enemy is no exception.

MyBeautifulEnemy_wordpressFrom AmazonHidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again

In my opinion what sets Sherry Thomas’ writing apart is her knack for creating characters with such authenticity at the same time without compromising the relationships within, her plotting or language. Rather than Leighton, it is Catherine (Ying-Ying) who is the warrior in My Beautiful Enemy. A reversal of character which is uncommon in historical romance yet is handled deftly by the author. It is not the only deviation from the norm this story takes as the scenes vacillate between action worthy of a Bruce Lee movie to the staid drawing rooms of Victorian era London.

My Beautiful Enemy was a departure from the stories that I have become accustomed to from Ms Thomas and at the same time it was not. The story opens with Catherine Blade docking in England and coming to the realization that her beloved “Persian”, a man she believed long dead at her hand is alive and betrothed to another. Told in flashbacks between the present and their time in Asia, My Beautiful Enemy takes Sherry Thomas’ trademark formula and blends the exotic locale of nineteenth century Chinese Turkestan resulting in a fascinating story. While this was not my favourite work by this author that honour belongs to Tempting the Bride. A novel that I return to whenever a reading slump occurs and it never fails to captivate me anew. Regardless My Beautiful Enemy is a lovely addition to the genre and if you have not read this or any of Ms Thomas’ other work I cannot recommend them highly enough.

To read an excerpt from My Beautiful Enemy follow the link below:

http://www.sherrythomas.com/my-beautiful-enemy.php#read-an-excerpt

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sherry_Thomas_Author_Photo_72dpiSherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable “Best of the Year” lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.

Sherry Thomas is represented by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.

 

Remote by Lisa Acerbo

 

Remote-ByLisaAcerbo-6x9-300dpi

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Publisher: Etopia Press

ISBN: 978-1-941692-34-9

Number of pages: 207

Word Count: 71,000

When technology fulfills every dream, reality becomes a nightmare.

Below the streets of New State, the undergrounders fight to remain free of the technological control of the world above. Every night, Yara risks her life fighting New State’s deadliest weapons, the drones. Half human and half machine, their living half tortured until everything human is gone, the drones have only one objective. Kill. And they do it with exacting precision.

Yara is good at her job and committed to her raids on New State. Until one of those raids brings her face-to-face with Joshua, a New State citizen who doesn’t quite fit her preconceived expectations. After a couple of awkward encounters, he shows her the meaning of hooking up—a computer simulation that allows people to live out their fantasies—without the complication of emotional entanglements or physical reality. But what Yara feels for Joshua is very real. And it’s punishable by law.

As she and Joshua grow closer, she convinces him to leave New State for her underground cause. But as the unrest between New State and the underground escalates, and the drones move in to destroy her world, nothing goes as planned. Families are arrested, loyalties are strained, and Yara’s forced to choose between her people and her feelings. The wrong choice could mean the end of her people, and reality could slip away—forever…

Available at

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Excerpt

“Hi,” he called out.

Yara’s heart hammered, and adrenaline coursed through her limbs. She turned to run.

“Wait,” the stranger whispered. “I won’t turn you in. I’m out here too.” He obviously didn’t realize that Yara was a rebel. He might not know it yet, but he would soon. Still, he didn’t sound dangerous. Maybe Yara could take care of him. She had never had to kill anyone totally human, but she had trained to do so. At this point, she didn’t think she would need to. The skinny boy didn’t look like a real threat, either.

She turned back toward him and attempted what she hoped was a look of death and destruction.

Instead of being scared, he smiled at her and brushed the hair out of his eyes. Even in the shadowy street, Yara could see the color was a beautiful emerald green. She had a hard time looking away, until his voice jarred her back to reality.

“I’m Joshua15111,” he said robotically. “What are you doing out here?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

“Enjoying the night sky,” he replied, each word clipped and succinct. Unable to make prolonged eye contact, he looked toward the stars.

“Aren’t you supposed to be hooked up to an alternate universe, enjoying battle, boobs, or whatever perverted fantasy you want to conquer tonight?” Yara asked, and then instantly regretted her words.

“Hey, it’s not like that. You know how it is.” For the first time, his voice took on a more humanistic quality. He sounded peeved.

She grunted in response. She didn’t know anything of the sort.

Joshua15111 looked at her briefly, quizzically. “Wait, do you know that? Are you one of them? The rebels?”

Oh no. “What rebels?”

“Are you for real? Everyone knows about the rebels. You must be one. Are you a rebel? That’s so cool.”

Me and my big mouth. Fear finally overtook her. Vague ideas about running away from or fighting the stranger flitted by, but Yara’s feet felt like concrete blocks. She wasn’t even sure she’d be able to form a coherent sentence if he asked her something about the underground.

About the Author:

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.

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A Heart for Copper – Sharon Lynn Fisher REVIEW

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A Heart for Copper

A Heart for Copper

Genre: Steampunk

An automaton created by an inventor’s son, Copper has finally been given a heart by her young master. Her choice of whether to keep the key or give it to him will decide her fate in this steampunk fairy tale.

Will she join his family in their English country manor, where she’ll be forced to consider the question of whether she’s really human? Or will she search out the quirky alchemist responsible for giving her life? Will her master hold onto her heart, or will she be tempted by the charms of an automaton man?

REVIEW

I loved “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a child they were just plain fun. Strangely enough they have not seemed to have had a resurgence like Pokemon and Power Rangers and in my opinion they are far more deserving of a reboot. However Silk Words has taken my beloved “CYOA” format and blended it with another love of mine romance. Truly it is an idiot proof combination and when I saw the author of A Heart for Copper was none other than Sharon Lynn Fisher author of one of my favorite books of all time Ghost Planet I was sold.

A Heart for Copper was a lovely story think Pinocchio without all the lying and that unfortunate nose business, with a touch of Blade Runner. Copper is an automaton with awareness and like the wooden puppet from the 19th century children’s novel she dreams of being “real”. When her wish is granted there are those who would deny her of her long held desires.

Given it’s brevity A Heart for Copper would be an excellent choice if you have not read any of Sharon Lynn Fisher’s full length novels. Despite it’s relatively short length Ms Fisher revisits a running theme in her work “what it means to be human” and a seemingly impossible love. Even if you have read Ghost Planet or The Ophelia Prophecy reading A Heart for Copper is an excellent way to pass the time while waiting for her next novel Echo 8’s 2015 release.

About the Author

Sharon-Lynn-Fisher-Author-PhotoI write stories for the geeky at heart — meaty mash-ups of sci-fi, suspense, and romance, with no apology for the latter. I live where it rains nine months of the year. And I have a strange obsession with gingers (down to my freaky orange cat).

I have two sci-fi romance novels published with Tor Books, and a third on the way. I also have a zombie-ish story, RED, in progress on Wattpad (free!).

For social media schtuff and links to more information about me and my writing, visit me atwww.sharonlynnfisher.com.

 

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GUEST POST – Auralee Wallace

Thank you Addicted 2 Heroines for nominating SIDEKICK’s Cover! Escape Publishing’s cover artists do know their stuff.

Sidekick

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I’ve got some pretty stiff competition. Check them out!

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Second Debt (Indebted #3) – Pepper Winters COVER REVEAL

ebook (3)

Title: Second Debt (Indebted, #3)

Author: Pepper Winters

Genre: Dark Erotica

Release Date: Early 2015

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Blurb

“I tried to play a game. I tried to wield deceit as perfectly as the Hawks. But when I thought I was winning, I wasn’t. Jethro isn’t what he seems—he’s the master of duplicity. However, I refuse to let him annihilate me further.”

 

Nila Weaver has grown from naïve seamstress to full-blown fighter. Every humdrum object is her arsenal, and sex…sex is her greatest weapon of all.

She’s paid the First Debt. She’ll probably pay more.

But she has no intention of letting the Hawks win.

 

Jethro Hawk has found more than a worthy adversary in Nila—he’s found the woman who could destroy him. There’s a fine line between hatred and love, and an even finer path between fear and respect.

The fate of his house rests on his shoulders, but no matter how much ice lives inside his heart, Nila flames too bright to be extinguished.

second debt teaser 2


 

Indebted series

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Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1) Available Now: Amazon | iBooks

“I own you. I have the piece of paper to prove it. It’s undeniable and unbreakable. You belong to me until you’ve paid off your debts.”

Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Being the first born daughter, her life is forfeit to the first born son of the Hawks to pay for sins of ancestors past. The dark ages might have come and gone, but debts never leave. She has no choice in the matter.

She is no longer free.

Jethro Hawk receives Nila as an inheritance present on his twenty-ninth birthday. Her life is his until she’s paid off a debt that’s centuries old. He can do what he likes with her—nothing is out of bounds—she has to obey.

There are no rules. Only payments.

 

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First Debt (Indebted #2) Available Now: Amazon | iBooks

“You say I’ll never own you. If I win—you willingly give me that right. You sign not only the debt agreement, but another—one

that makes me your master until your last breath is taken. You do that, and I’ll give you this.”

Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Stolen, taken, and bound not by monsters but by an agreement written over six hundred years ago, she has no way out.

She belongs to Jethro as much as she denies it.

Jethro Hawk’s patience is running out. His inheritance gift tests, challenges, and surprises him—and not in good ways. He hasn’t leashed her but he thinks he might’ve found a way to bind her forever.

Debts are mounting. Payment waiting.

 

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About the Author

Pepper Winters - author

Pepper Winters is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestseller. She wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters.

She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

Her Dark Erotica books include:

 

Her Grey Romance books include:

If you would like to be the first to know of upcoming releases please fill in her newsletter (Pepper promises to never spam or chat aimlessly http://bit.ly/YrpOsO

 

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