Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Launch - The Only Exception by A. L. Davis

Title: The Only Exception: Broken
Author: A.L. Davis
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Dec 13, 2014

 “Everyone I’ve ever loved has been taken from me and I can’t take the heartache anymore. It’s time to build that wall around my heart and let no one in, no exceptions.”

Ellie never did know her mother; before she turned twenty she lost her father in the line of duty; a freak accident stole her fiancĂ© from her before they had a chance to start their life together. She wants answers, but now that she’s living in a new town and trying to start over, she’s finding that it’s not that easy. Maybe new surroundings are what she needs to make it easier to move on and forget all about her old life. It could have been…until he showed up.

“Having the sort of job that is as dangerous as what I do doesn’t allow for a personal life, no exceptions.”

Jack and his team of military misfits have seen their fair share of war zones and violent criminals. Skilled in precision rescue operations, they’ve traveled into some of the most terrifying countries and stood up to intimidating adversaries, but when a mentor of Jack’s calls them in for a favor that he is unable to turn down, he finds himself up against his most challenging fear of all…his heart. There is a fine line between getting close enough to do your job and getting so close that you get attached. That line used to be obvious, but now that he’s met her, things have blurred and priorities have shifted. Can he keep his feelings in check and still protect Ellie from an adversary more dangerous and twisted than she could ever imagine?

“And this…” I tossed the manila envelope back to the desk, “…is not a job. It’s a death sentence. My death sentence. I’m walking in blind. I mean, how do I know she’s not running from the law?”

Lou shook his head, his mouth contorting into a tight frown, and answered matter-of-factly, “She’s not. And why would that stop you?”

“How do I know for sure? How do you know for sure?” I challenged, making him smile.

Somehow, that irritated me even more. He was hiding something.

“Because I know,” he answered, lips pursed, eyes narrowing at me. He didn’t look away and neither did I. I wanted to know what he was thinking. What was he hiding? Unfortunately, he was going to make it difficult to find out.

I sighed, knowing that was the only answer I was going to get. “Is she hiding from her husband or boyfriend or something?”

“Most definitely not,” he answered with a heavy sigh, sadness flicking across his face.

This piqued my interest. And why was a small part of me so damn happy with that answer?

“Did she kill someone?” I figured I already knew the answer to this one, but I had to ask.

He chuckled. “Absolutely not.”

“What if she’s got the mob after her? Did she piss off a terrorist group?”

“So what if they are? So what if she did? You’ve been wrapped up in worse and handled it,” he answered quickly. “Stop with the stalling already, Jack. I need to know. Are. You. In.”

“Lou, I don’t help people against their will because if they won’t listen and do what I tell them to do, bad things happen. She doesn’t want me anywhere near her. She won’t even look at me, let alone talk to me. Ellie dodges me all day long. I tried to just talk to her like you asked me, but she avoids me like the plague and scurries off in the other direction. She looks at me like…like…”

“Like the frightened child she is,” Lou interrupted sighing.

A.L. Davis lives in Southern California with her husband, two kids, and one fur baby. A.L. has had a passion for writing since high school where any free time was spent thinking up new stories. Shortly after graduating high school writing took a back seat to start a family. Now that the kids are older, writing has become her hobby once again.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review/Launch - The Leviathan Chronicles: the Last Stand at Aeprion

The Leviathan Chronicles: The Last Stand at Aeprion
By James Mascia
Genre: Sci-fi
Still reeling from his wife's murder, Joel tries to escape the alien hunter and fulfill a promise he made to her. Years of searching for the fabled planet, Aeprion, has left the space freighter captain torn between giving up the search or giving himself up to Kraxem, the alien hunter.

When Kraxem and his minions attack Joel's ship again, he is forced into the nebula, where he'll have to do repairs. Once there, his thoughts revert back to the final day of Kate's life and the promises that were made. Learning to come to terms with her loss and release the guilt that he feels will be a hard battle to fight, but giving up will prove to be even more difficult and, perhaps, deadly.

Steeling his resolve to forge on, Joel vows to find the fabled living planet before guilt devours his soul.


James Mascia has recaptured the pulp fiction of the 1930s, the era of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. It is corny, fast-moving, incredibly funny, and, improbably possible. It is a short, marvelous romp through space, time, humor, and the imagination. Highly recommended.

Mr. Mascia sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author
He fights evil across the known universe and crushes them between his fingers (at least, he does this with his words). 
James Mascia is an accomplished writer with a bestselling series, High School Heroes, as well as a bestselling graphic novel, The Poe Murders. He has always been a fan of sci-fi, and is glad to be delving back into the galaxy once again.
James teaches in Maryland, where he also writes. He has a lovely wife and a tiny terror (a two-year-old) driving him mad, but making him laugh.

Check out some of his other work below:

The author is giving away an ebook copy of his book to 5 lucky readers!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review - The East India Company by John Gardner

Gardner paints the history of the East India Company with a broad brush. Too broad. He dabbles in all aspects - military, administrative, governance, commercial, personalities - but never seems to complete anything. This leaves the reader with a sense of the sweeping history of the Raj, and the personalities and interests that drove it, mostly from the British side, but you are always left without a complete picture. The personality is incomplete, the understanding of the commercial enterprise is incomplete, the military history is little more that a comment about the commander and a note on the troop quality and a listing of battles. A good try, but sadly, incomplete.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Verum by Courtney Cole - Launch

VERUM, the second book in Courtney Cole's psychological mind-bending NOCTE Trilogy, is here.

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Add it on Goodreads

VERUM-300pxMy name is Calla Price and I’m drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I’m being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don’t know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I’m entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It’s just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.

Get VERUM (Nocte Trilogy #2): Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
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Get NOCTE, the first book in the trilogy: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
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Sign up for Courtney Cole's Superfan Newsletter to get updates on LUX, the final book in the NOCTE Trilogy, coming Summer 2015.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review - The Savage Wars of Peace

In this well-referenced, clearly written survey of America's involvement in "small wars" from the Quasi-War with France in 1798 to Kosovo in 2001, Max Boot argues that America has a long history of involvement in other countries' internal affairs and that, up until Vietnam, the U. S. had a fairly decent track record.

American interventions often brought stability, security, and a large decrease in corruption while introducing health and infrastructure improvements. He also argues that economics, often touted as a primary reason for American involvement, has actually been generally of only secondary importance.

Boot lays out a clear, concise argument that America, if it leans on its historical experience, can and should be an agent of global security and state building. He cautions that if America does not listen to history, or if it opts out of its role, the consequences can be terrible - citing the Beirut bombing and the rise of Osama bin Laden as recent failures.

Although written in 2002 this book still has relevance in the tumultuous, jihadist-edged world. We still don't seem to understand the lessons of history though they are relatively easy to reference.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Now available for FREE on Smashwords the first three short short stories from my upcoming collection, Scenes.

Additional previews will be posted in the coming weeks.

1 entry for commenting on this blog, 5 entries for a review or post (email me with a link).

Gift card will be awarded once there are 100 entries (or on March 1, whichever is first).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 - More of the same?

Afghanistan, Ferguson, Eric Garner, ISIS, deadlock in Washington, Boko Haram, Charlie Hebdo...

In one way of another, I think these stories are all old news. I mean old as in they've been happening for many years without real change. And all of them seem to me to be the same underneath.

In each case one of the "sides" (maybe both?) sees the other as a thing, an object, a problem, instead of a person.

The solution, so very hard, apparently, is to see a person as a person first. A person like you, with things they want, they love, they dislike. Don't see their sex, their religion, their color, their politics, until you see them first as a person. Then make sure you behave only as you would like to be treated.

Literature has myriad examples of how all of these issues should be handled, many in children's books, though not always. Wouldn't we be a better world if we followed the examples followed or discovered by the protagonists in the following?

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Summer of My German Soldier

Flowers for Algernon

Bridge to Terabithia

Let me know if you have any special books you'd add to the list.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Pearl, MD is a historical novel set in 1883 North Carolina and Missouri. Dr. Pearl Stern is one of the first female doctors in the United States. She faces bravely the prejudices of the time against professional women, women who speak their mind, and the timeless resistance to change, specifically in adopting the Pasteur method of antiseptic procedure that was new at the time in medicine.

She has a strong, quiet ally in Chief Hershel Harkins and a good friend in Jeremiah Dickson. She also has a past she is running from in her native Missouri. 

The story is full of fascinating insights into the changing culture of the post Civil War south (Pearl is ostracized because she hires and treats black people) and the medical practices and medicaines of the time. Ms. Bartlett clearly understands her history.

The story is a bit slow moving and this reviewer would have liked to have felt more warmth between Dr. Stern and Chief Harkins. However, it is well written and offers an amazing window on a tumultuous time with much change in progress that we take for granted today.

Pearl, MD is available at Amazon or most other outlets.

A copy of Pearl, MD was provided in return for an honest review.