Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sceadu by Prashant Pinge

Sceadu-Promotional-Image-Prashant-Pinge

Author Prashant Pinge’s new YA Fantasy novel hits the Amazon Kindle bookshelves globally today, November 10, 2014! As part of a promotional book tour, Prashant is visiting us here today and answered some very interesting questions about his new book. He is also giving away THREE e-copies (either PDF, ePub or Mobi format) to three random winners who would be selected at the end of the giveaway.

So please give a huge, warm welcome to Prashant Pinge and take a look at what he had to say about his newest release.

MBR: Welcome to MBR’s Realm of Romance Mr. Prashant. So nice to have you here with us today. So what inspired you to write Sceadu?

Prashant: I have always been fascinated by shadows. But it was a simple question that inspired me to write Sceadu. What if our shadow held a land replete with dangerous creatures waiting to find a way into our world?

MBR: Why did you choose the young adult fantasy genre? Is there a particular reason as to why you were driven to write Sceadu in this particular genre?

Prashant: I have always been a huge fan of the YA fantasy genre. The concept of a land inside the human shadow could have been done justice only by this genre.

MBR: How did you come up with the title Sceadu? Is it closely tied to what takes place in your story or is there a deeper meaning behind the title selection?

Prashant: Sceadu is the old English word for shadow. The story takes place inside the human shadow. So yes, the title is closely tied to the place. At the same time, there is a deeper meaning attached to the title since the shadow has been interpreted from a psychological perspective.

MBR: What would you say was the hardest part in writing your novel Sceadu?

Prashant: The hardest part of writing Sceadu was creating a fantasy that could be explained logically. It involved a lot of research in the domains of psychology and mythology.

MBR: What were the challenges you faced, if any, in bringing your story to life?

Prashant: It was quite a challenge to create a completely new world, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. This story has a lot of intricate elements and bringing them all together was also quite a task. Ultimately, I wanted the reader to be completely immersed in the fantasy.

MBR: Which other genres might we see you writing later on?

Prashant: I am very interested in writing historical fiction.

MBR: Are you currently working on another story? If so would you like to tell us a little bit more on what you’re working on?

Prashant: I am currently working on a romantic comedy. It has some really funny twists and turns, but I also aim to bring out the humour through the language.

MBR: How much of the story Sceadu would you say is realistic? Is it 100% pure fantasy or are there elements of truth if you dig deep enough?

Prashant: I can assure you that by the time you are done reading Sceadu, you will be wondering whether your shadow actually holds a land. I would say that Sceadu has a very strong realistic component when it comes to the protagonists, their relationships with each other, and the personal victories they register along the way. Ultimately, it is a story about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

MBR: What would you say is the message that you want to convey to your readers through your novel?

Prashant: If there was one message I would want to convey, it would be the importance of balance and harmony in life.

MBR: And finally, who is your favorite author, why, and what are some of the books by this author that you’d recommend?

Prashant: It would be very difficult to list one favourite author. The name that would immediately jump to my mind though would be Phil Pullman. He writes beautifully. My recommendation would be His Dark Materials Trilogy.

MBR: Thank you so much for spending some time with us. It was a pleasure having you on MBR’s Realm of Romance.

Book Blurb:sceadu

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.

With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?

Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.

Find out more: Website | FB | Amazon

Excerpt:

Matilda sat at her old wooden desk, staring into the thick yellowed pages of a book under a dull moth ridden beam cast by the night lamp. But every time she blinked, it seemed as if the words had played a round of musical chairs. And the moths, fluttering through the words at times and hovering over them at others, did not make things any easier.

Matilda was about to turn the page when there was a tug at her feet. It was a very gentle one, almost imperceptible. Surprised, she glanced down, but there was nothing. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, she thought. She was about to shake her thick dark brown curls out of her face when she felt it again.

Matilda pushed her head down and looked into the dark void with furrowed brow. Her skinny legs stared back. But before she could decide on whether she had actually felt anything, there was another tug, an unmistakable one this time. And another one. The truth suddenly dawned upon Matilda. It was her shadow, trying to drag her into itself.

Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow. But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously. She stomped upon it repeatedly. But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles. Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

About Prashant Pinge:Prashant Pinge

Prashant Pinge was born and brought up in the picturesque neighbourhood of Shivaji Park in the bustling city of Mumbai in India.

A quiet and diligent student throughout his schooling and college years, Prashant proceeded to pursue electrical engineering at Purdue University in the United States. Over the next decade, he accumulated three more degrees, a master of science in management from Lancaster University, a post graduate program in management from Indian School of Business, and a post MBA master in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Apart from enjoying the company of books, Prashant had always had an imaginative bent of mind. But writing only happened in the fall of 2003, when a remarkably intriguing dream interrupted an uncharacteristically deep spell of slumber, compelling him to stagger to his desk and pen down the idea. That book is still a few years away from being written. Prashant, however, continues to work from his cauldron of creativity and churn out critically acclaimed works of fiction.

In addition to his literary pursuits, Prashant is Managing Partner in his marketing and branding firm, Media Panther. In his spare time, Prashant enjoys collecting old coins, reading fiction, travelling to exotic destinations, watching movies, and listening to music. He recently wrote and produced a short film titled Freedom of Expression. Prashant is also keenly interested in the subjects of psychology, mythology and ancient history.

Prashant lives with his wife and son in Mumbai.

Connect: Website | FB | Twitter | LinkedIn | G+ | Goodreads

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Spotlight & Giveaway: Autumn Getaway by Jennifer Gracen

Today, I welcome to the blog, author Jennifer Gracen, who recently released her debut contemporary romance novel, Autumn Getaway. This is book one of the four part Seasons of Love series.

Jennifer answered some questions about her career in writing as well as about the series which I will share here today. And please don’t forget to enter the giveaway which will give the lucky winner a free e-copy of the book Autumn Getaway!

Book Blurbautumngetaway

Author Jennifer Gracen brings together a colorful cast of friends and family in Book One of the Seasons of Love series, AUTUMN GETAWAY. Newly divorced mom Lydia is just getting back on her feet. Her college roommate’s wedding promises a much-needed getaway weekend with old friends, at a beautiful manor in Connecticut. When she meets Sam, a handsome friend of the groom, she’s nearly overwhelmed by a confusing mix of hope and trepidation. Their instant connection feels intensely real, to both of them, but the ink is barely dry on her divorce decree. It takes all her nerve, and more than a little prodding from her girlfriends, to convince Lydia to give her heart – and Sam – a chance. But when the magical weekend comes to a close, Sam must return to Chicago, while Lydia heads back to her complicated life and young son in New York. Can their newfound connection survive the trials of physical distance and years of emotional baggage?

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Jennifer Gracen’s Interview

Q: How did you come up with the idea of writing a book?

A: I didn’t. I’ve just always written books. I started in my early teens, writing romances in little spiral notebooks. I’d get about 40-50 pages in, get another idea or get stuck with the current idea, stop, and start a new one. I must have started and not finished about 30 books during my teens. I didn’t actually finish a book until I was 20. Then, I stopped writing for a while (a LONG while, like 15 years), and when I started again, at 38, it was with a new focus, maturity, and determination. I wanted to write books again, and to do nothing else.

Q: Where did your inspiration come from?

A: For writing? I don’t know. I just always loved to read, and to write. I wrote poems in kindergarten, short stories in 3rd grade – and my family encouraged it because I obviously liked doing it. It was just in me, I guess. There wasn’t a specific person/event that inspired me. I simply can’t remember not writing.

Q: Have you learned anything about yourself since you started writing?

A: YES. I’ve changed and grown so much since I started writing seriously, about 5 years ago. I’ve learned that I can work hard at something when I’m passionate about it and it doesn’t even feel like work, because I love the doing of it. That I can make myself buckle down and do what needs to be done, and I haven’t always been great with self-discipline. That what I have to offer through my writing is valid, because people who read it enjoy it. That the creative part of me never died, as for a time I thought it had; it was merely hibernating, and when it woke up, it did so with a vengeance. That my love of writing is more than a passion, it’s what I’m meant to do. It’s my bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say. I feel like I found my true self when I started writing again. I unearthed the real me.

Q: What advice would you give someone who might be thinking of writing a book?

A: Do it! Just sit down and write something. The only way to start is to start. Butt in seat. Go for it.

Q: Have you written any other books?

A: I have six completed full length novels. Four of them comprise my Seasons Of Love series. One is romantic women’s fiction, a standalone. One is the first of the next series I’m working on, also four books, also contemporary romance. That book’s done, working on the second now. And there’s one novella that will likely never see the light of day, hahaa.

Q: Are you working on a book right now?

A: Of course! The second book of the new series I mentioned earlier. Almost done with the first draft. Hoping to be done within a month.

About Jennifer GracenHeadshot

Jennifer Gracen hails from Long Island, New York, where she lives with her two sons. After spending her youth writing in private and singing in public, she now only sings in her car and is immersed in her passion for writing. She loves to write contemporary romance for readers who look for authentic characters and satisfying endings. When she isn’t with her kids, doing freelance copy editing, or giving in to her social media addictions on Twitter and Facebook, Jennifer writes. She’s already hard at work on her next book. Jennifer is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is active in the Long Island Romance Writers.

Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

To enter, just leave a comment with your name and e-mail by which you can be reached. If you’re the lucky winner, I will reach out to you!

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Echoes of Love ‘Legendary’ Blog Tour

Hi guys,

Today I welcome the esteemed Hannah Fielding to my blog, one of her stops in the book tour of her latest novel The Echoes of Love. Please give her a huge welcome and don’t forget, there are goodies to be won. Just scroll down the post or better yet, take a look at what Hannah has to say on her book!

And as always thank you so much for stopping by! Cheers!

Guest Post: For the love of legends

For me, researching a book is just as enjoyable as writing it. I set each of my novels in a passionate,romantic country, and so that I can really transport my readers there, I immerse myself in the setting: its history, its scenery, its cuisine, its culture. Top of my research list are local legends – I love colourful, age-old stories; the more fantastical, the better!

Since I was a young girl, tucked up in bed and listening avidly to my governess weaving bedtime tales, I have loved legends. Fairytales too, of course – they sowed the seeds for my romantic nature – but legends fascinated me most: those that have stood the test of time, that offer intriguing explanations for the modern world, that are at once fantastical and yet, somehow, believable.

My novel The Echoes of Love, set in Venice, Tuscany and Sardinia, incorporates various Italian legends – told by the hero, Paolo, who is a raconteur extraordinaire, to my heroine, Venetia – and in my research files I collected many more. What better way to share some of these most romantic, magical and atmospheric tales but in this Echoes of Love ‘Legendary’ Blog Tour!

Today, I’m taking you to the peaceful island of Torcello at the northern end of the Venetian lagoon, famous for its spectacular Byzantine mosaics and a large stone throne…

Atilla’s Throne

In The Echoes of Love, Venetia, is taking a moment for herself on Torcello when her calm is interrupted:

The sun was high when Venetia emerged into the courtyard. The old trees cast shadows upon the ground; the light was tinged with gold. Flanking the lawn, the pink church of Santa Fosca looked impressively lonely with its arcades of stilted arches and its slim, elegant columns of Greek marble with Byzantine-style capitals. Pigeons were circling about the columns, perching on the fragile cornices, cooing to each other in their soft, enchanting voices. The ancient little town was her own; she could pause and admire its beauties and its spell to her heart’s content. Impossible to dwell upon a secret grief for long in a place like this, she told herself as she made for Attila’s throne.

She settled herself on the white seat formed by a single piece of rough-hewn stone, which stood on the patch of grass opposite Santa Fosca. As she was taking out the ham sandwich from her bag, a voice from behind startled her.

‘Leggenda locale vule che chi si trova in questa sede si sposerà entro un anno, local legend has it that anyone sitting in this seat will be married within a year.’

How unsettling to discover she has unwittingly changed her destiny through the selection of a picnic perch! All the more so given that the man telling Venetia of the legend here is the handsome and charismatic Paolo.

A romantic at heart, Paolo is in fact only telling Venetia of one of the legends associated with the stone seat. The other is that it was built by Attila the Hun as a monument to his power because he was unable to establish a castle nearby. It is telling of Paolo’s character that his choice is to define the seat as representing the promise of love and commitment, rather than might.

But what truth lies in these legends? Historians argue that Attila never visited Torcello, making this story’s origins likely fiction, not fact. As for the power of the seat in shaping destiny for the heart, well, I am an incurable romantic, and I adore such magical ideas. You’ll have to read for yourself, though, if you want to know what becomes of Venetia. My lips are sealed!

Book Blurb: The Echoes of Love

EoL coverSeduction, passion and the chance for new love.
 A terrible truth that will change two lives forever.

Venetia Aston-Montagu has escaped to Italy’s most captivating city to work in her godmother’s architectural practice, putting a lost love behind her. For the past ten years she has built a fortress around her heart, only to find the walls tumbling down one night of the carnival when she is rescued from masked assailants by an enigmatic stranger, Paolo Barone.

Drawn to the powerfully seductive Paolo, despite warnings of his Don Juan reputation and rumours that he keeps a mistress, Venetia can’t help being caught up in the smouldering passion that ignites between them.

When she finds herself assigned to a project at his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia must not only contend with a beautiful young rival, but also come face to face with the dark shadows of Paolo’s past that threaten to come between them.

Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will Paolo’s carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?

Excerpt

The clock struck midnight just as Venetia went past the grand eighteenth-century mirror hanging over the mantelpiece in the hall. Instinctively she looked into it and her heart skipped a beat. In the firelight she noticed that he was there again, an almost illusory figure, leaning against the wall at the far end of the shadowy room, steady eyes intense, watching her from behind his black mask. An illusory figure indeed, because when Venetia turned around he was gone.

Venetia shivered. Nanny Horren’s voice resounded through her head, reminding her of the strange Celtic superstitions that the Scottish governess used to tell her. One in particular came to mind. ‘Turn off the light and look into the mirror by firelight at midnight on Shrove Tuesday,’ the old woman would whisper to the impressionable and imaginative teenage Venetia, ‘and if you see a face reflected behind your own, it’ll be the face of the love of your life, the man you will marry someday.’

Was this what had just happened to Venetia? Was this stranger the love of her life?

Rubbish, she remonstrated, laughing uneasily into her own eyes, you’re mad! Haven’t you learnt your lesson? Venetia had indulged in such fantasies several years ago and had only managed to get hurt. Now, she knew better. Still, she did not move away. Venetia leant closer to the mirror that reflected her pale, startled face in the flickering light, as tremors of the warm feelings of yester love suddenly flooded her being. For a few moments she seemed to lose all sense of where she was and felt as though she stood inside a globe, watching the wheel of time turning back ten years.

Gareth Jordan Carter. ‘Judd’. It was a diminutive of Jordan, chosen by Venetia who hated the name Gareth and didn’t care much for the name Jordan either. Judd had been her first love, and as far as Venetia was concerned, her last. She had been young and innocent then; only eighteen. Today, at twenty-eight, she liked to think she was a woman of the world, who would not allow herself to be trapped by the treacherous illusions of passion, however appealing they might seem. She had paid a high price for her naivety and impetuosity.

Venetia tried to shake herself clear of those haunting phantasms and her thoughts ambled back to the masked stranger – well, almost a stranger.

Their brief encounter had occurred the evening of the first night of Il Carnevale di Venezia, ten days before Shrove Tuesday …

Purchase Links: AmazonUK | Amazon | B&N

About Hannah

Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveller, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Her first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. Her new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany. It was picked by The Sun newspaper as one of the most romantic books ever written.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway!

prizes

At least one reader commenting on this post will WIN in the Very Venetian giveaway, with prizes totalling more than $600:

  • 5 signed hardback copies of The Echoes of Love
  • 10 signed paperback copies of The Echoes of Love
  • 3 romantic Venetian masks
  • Lots of fabulously colourful Murano glass goodies: 16 pendants, 2 bracelets, 2 paperweights and a vase

Anyone who comments on a blog tour stop post will be entered in the giveaway. Simply comment below, including your email address so that Hannah can contact the winners. Good luck!

Follow the Tour!

If you’d like to read more Italian legends like this, and keep up with the accompanying Very Venetian giveaway in which lots of romantic goodies are up for grabs, follow the Echoes of Love ‘Legendary’ Blog Tour this month:

1 May: Oh My Books!

3 May: Maldivian Book Reviewer

4 May: Krystal Clear Book Reviews

5 May: Romance Junkies

7 May: Book Briefs

8 May: Words I Write Crazy

9 May: Luxury Reading

10 May: The Little Reader Library

11 May: Kristy Centeno

13 May: Love Romance Passion

14 May: MamaKitty Reviews

15 May: Books & Other Spells

16 May: Pages of Comfort

19 May: The Flashlight Reader

20 May: The Window Seat on a Rainy Day

21 May: Simply Ali

22 May: Reviews by Molly

25 May: Reese’s Reviews

26 May: Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem

28 May: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews

29 May: Tiffany Talks Books

30 May: Reading Between the Wines

31 May: Rites of Romance

Pick of the Month & Giveaway: March 2014

Title: Waiting On You by Kristan Higginswaitingonyou

What made the book stand out:

  • A read that warranted 5-stars.
  • Great emotional depth.
  • Witty banter.
  • Lovable characters.
  • To-die-for hero!
  • Melt your panties variety sexual tension.
  • Humor of the stomach cramping kind. Yes, you laugh that much.
  • Angst! Oh god, yes the angst!

Basically, the book picked itself out of every single book I have read of late and jumped into the pick of the month wagon. End of story!

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

As is customary with all my pick of the month posts (which have been quite sporadic in recent times), I have included a giveaway which hopefully would garner some attention. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff yeah?

Giveaway options:

  1. One e-copy of Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins; OR
  2. One paperback copy of Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins. This option is available for those countries to which Book Depository ships to; OR
  3. 10$ gift certificate; OR
  4. Any e-book or paperback you’ve been wanting, below the price of $10.00. Condition in #2 applies for paperback versions.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Specify which giveaway you are entering for.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.
  6. Follow me on Twitter and gain 5 extra entries. If you already follow me, state so and you gain your extra 5 entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, April 7, 2014 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, April 8, 2014 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Spotlight & Giveaway: Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War by Glen Hierlmeier

Book Blurbhonorandinnocence

Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, a historical romance novel by Glen Hierlmeier, will be released March 2014. This book takes the reader through the devastation left by World War II across the European and Asian continents following its main character Hank Fischer, who was drafted to the American Army in 1945 shortly after his high school graduation.

During his service, Hank befriends a German prisoner-of-war, Max, who tells Hank of his twin sister, Roberta, also in captivity. An unlikely romance buds between her and Hank, leaving Hank conflicted between his allegiance to the American Army and his love for Roberta. Hank decides to break out Max and Roberta, and together they make a desperate flight through war-torn Germany where they witness first-hand the destruction post-war Europe has endured. Leaving Max behind in Switzerland, they make their way to the port city of Trieste, where they board a ship and depart to the seas, dealing with pirates, facing adversity, making new friends, and desperately seeking a safe refuge in a place where their love can flourish.

Follow Hank and Roberta on their intense and captivating journey from country to country as they seek refuge. Read as they make their way through bombed-out cities filled with dead bodies, giving a rare glimpse into the tragic consequences of war, as they remain together bound by love.

About Glen HierlmeierGlen

Glen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then earned a Masters of Business Administration at The University of Wisconsin at Madison. He served in the US Air Force on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory space exploration program and on the design phase of the development of the F-15 fighter aircraft. After leaving the Air Force, Glen returned to Wisconsin and became Vice President of the largest bank in his home state, First Wisconsin National Bank. In 1979, he moved on to become President and CEO of several real estate development and management companies. Glen retired in 2009 to devote full time to his grandchildren and his writing. Glen is the author of Honor and Innocence, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

Excerpt

Chapter 23

… and Forever

There was little rest for Hank again that night.  His heart and his mind were being pulled in different directions.  He had made commitments to Max and Oliver, then to Captain Stein, and now to Roberta.  He had always been trusted by everyone, a pillar of integrity.  Now, he would surely destroy that reputation.  As he tossed and turned, and scolded himself for getting himself into such a quandary, his thoughts kept going back to Roberta, warm thoughts full of wonder and excitement.  But, as the night progressed, doubts began to creep into his head.

Hank couldn’t deny how he felt; he felt fantastic, incredible.  He had met the girl of his dreams—love at first sight.  He couldn’t wait to see her again.  She was everything he had always imagined she would be, everything he hoped for in a woman.  Yet, he began to wonder, is this real?  Could it be possible for two people to be in love when they’ve only known each other for two days?  Was he being foolish?  Had the events of the past five months and his absence from the comforts of home made him vulnerable in a dangerous way?  A frightful pang of fear shot through his gut as he thought: Is she just using me? Does she see me as her way out of confinement? Am I being fooled by her? Maybe she doesn’t care about me at all; she only needs me to get what she really wants.  Why should I trust her?  I don’t really know her.  Oh, what a fool I must be to fall for the first beautiful woman who shows an interest in me, who caresses me.  Am I that vulnerable?  Am I that foolish?

Thoughts of Roberta dazzled and confused him; nothing in his young life had ever left him so unsure of himself.  No amount of concentration overcame the cascade of emotions flooding his chest.  He tossed and turned long into the night, soaked his pillow through with his sweat, though he wasn’t warm, and felt his pulse exploding his temples; alternating between visions of pure, romantic love and sheer foolishness.  The pull on his heart skidded back and forth like a tug of war.  That is…until he recalled his mother’s words, spoken on his eighteenth birthday, just after a high school sweetheart informed him that another man had won her heart.

Hank, you are such a precious son.  I adore you.  I am sad when you are sad, but you must know this pain you feel will pass.  Sometimes love is fleeting, it may disappear as quickly as it appears.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  I know you will meet the woman who will love you completely, and for your lifetime.  I have no doubt.  Love between a man and a woman cannot be easily defined; love comes in many forms and is never the same for everyone.  Almost always love charges into your life like a cosmic experience, even magical, it is so difficult to predict or understand.  Sometimes that special feeling in your heart really is true love—sometimes not.  When love comes suddenly, we can be swept off our feet.  It’s a dazzling experience that confuses us.  That’s often called love at first sight, but it’s never really love at first sight.  If it happens to you, don’t take it for granted, it’s very special and you won’t want to lose it.  It’s one of the best feelings you will ever have, and I believe the best beginning for true love.

Don’t be deceived, true love has to be built; it takes a lot of hard work and may take a very long time.  When two people stop working on their love, it fades, no matter if it’s the first month, the first year, the tenth or the twenty-fifth.  There will always be difficulties and complications, that’s how life is, not just marriage.  Use those difficulties to work on making your marriage stronger.  Don’t expect not to have challenges, welcome them and be ready to take them on together.  Everything really worthwhile in your life will require hard work.  Your marriage is the one very most worthwhile jewel you will ever have.

Laying silently in the darkness, eyes wide open, thinking warm thoughts of his mother, a smile came across his face.  Of course, he thought, mother is right.  I have to work on it.  Tomorrow I’ll have to find out if Roberta truly feels the same way about me.  Sleep finally came.

He should have been exhausted the next morning, with little sleep and tormented the whole night through with all his mixed emotions, but his adrenalin had taken over.  Hank needed to get things resolved, and though he wasn’t sure how to do that, he needed to attack his demons head on.  By the time he met with Oliver and Max in the evening he wanted to have his life back on track.  Since he was drafted there had not been a dull day in Hank’s life.  He never knew quite what to expect, and that day would be no different.  It would begin with his report to Captain Stein.

Hank was surprised to see the Captain waiting for him.  Stein motioned Hank to his office as soon as Hank appeared in the doorway.  Hank’s curiosity was aroused.

“Hank, we have to release everyone except the SS Officers.  The staff and family are being released as soon as possible.   We’ll have 30 days to hold the officers and unless we can get enough evidence they participated in war crimes we’ll have to release them too!  Something about the Geneva Convention says we can’t hold them unless we have sufficient evidence to take them to trial.  It’s foolish as far as I’m concerned.  What kind of fair trial did the millions of dead Jews get?”

Hank was stunned again.  His first emotion was that he was losing Roberta, but his first thought was that might be best.  He had to set his feelings aside and listen to Stein without revealing his feelings.

“I’m sorry, sir.  I know how important this is to you.  It really would be a shame if guilty men went free.”

“Ya, well, there’s nothing we can do about it but work our butts off to get the evidence we need to hold the bastards.  That’s our job, and by God, we’re going to make sure every last one of them hangs for what they’ve done.  Did you get anything out of the girl?”

“I thought I was really close…I mean…I think she was beginning to trust me.  I needed more time; maybe a few more days, but I’m not sure she knew anything.”

“Come on, Corporal, of course she knows things.  I’ll bet she knows plenty.  We’re losing a good opportunity by letting them all go.  It makes our job harder.”

“What will we do now?”

“We’ll get busy interrogating the officers.  The British have been at it for weeks.  They have files on all of them.  The Russians are sending men to help too, and we’re getting some young Army lawyers by next week.  Today, you and I are going out there to go through files.  We’ll make a list of the ones that look like they were in charge, in some position of leadership, the higher the better, then we’ll start meeting with them.  I want to get the top guys.”

Hank didn’t know what to think.  His emotions all melted together in a jumble of confusion.  All he could do was follow orders for the moment, until he could sort through all the feelings bombarding him.

Within a few minutes he and Stein were on their way to the compound, where they came upon a blur of activity.  Those who were being released were jubilant as groups of them gathered in the streets to celebrate.  There was pitched cheering, yet, others pushed against the fence separating them from officers, loved ones and former employers who they would be leaving behind.  There was sadness and tears, as well as questions about what may lay ahead for each of them, the uncertainty for those who were released to communities that may not still exist, and for those who remained in custody, facing the possibility of imprisonment or death.

As Stein and Hank walked into the officer’s compound, Hank did his best to keep Stein from seeing him looking among those being released through the fence.  In spite of his doubts, his heart told him he was in love and he was growing desperate about losing Roberta so soon, thinking she could be gone forever, and wishing he could know for sure if what they had begun was truly love, or whether he was just a fool.  They were moving too quickly for him to see clearly.  He couldn’t find her.  They were up the steps and into the meeting hall, leaving behind any chance he might see her again.  He was numb, unaware of anything going on around him.

“Hank, Hank, come on, get moving.  Pay attention!”  Stein gave him a nudge toward the stairway leading to a room above, where they spent the rest of the morning poring through files, assessing information that had been gathered by the British, looking for clues to help them decide which officers they would interrogate first.  Stacks of files were set aside, awaiting the lawyer’s arrival.  Hank couldn’t focus his attention; all he could think about was that he may be losing the one person who was right for him, the one he would commit his life to.  Convicting German criminals wasn’t important to him at that moment.

By noon Stein was satisfied they had enough files to get started.  They were loaded in the back of the truck and about to leave.

“Captain Stein, I’d like to see if I can find Roberta and make an appeal to her to give us the information you believe she has.  Once she is gone, it will be lost.  I think it’s worth a try.”

“If you think so, Hank.  There can’t be any harm in trying.  In fact, I like your attitude.  Go ahead, get what you can, and jump on another truck heading back later.  I’ll see you in the morning.  Good luck.”

Hank felt relieved that Stein went along with the idea, but he felt a tinge of guilt for taking advantage of Stein’s trust in him. 

Trucks loaded with released detainees were rolling out the gate as Hank walked over to the camp.  He ran alongside each truck calling Roberta’s name but got no response.  Others were still loading near a barracks building to the rear.  He ran into the building asking each person he came to about Roberta until an older woman stopped him.

“Yes.  Roberta was here.  But she has gone.”

Hank’s world came to a sudden stop.  He just stood there as people pushed past him toward the trucks.  He lost her.  She was gone.  Maybe she didn’t love him after all.  Maybe she just didn’t need him anymore.  He really didn’t know what to think.  He only knew this was the worst day of his life.

As he walked back toward the gate past the office where he had met with Roberta, the guard who had brought Roberta to the meetings called out to him.

“Corporal!  Corporal Fischer!  Come quickly.  There is someone who wants to see you.”

Hank wouldn’t allow himself to believe it could be her.  He hurried into the building and found the front office area empty, but the door to the room in back was ajar.  He slowly opened the door and there sat Roberta.  She leaped from her chair and into his arms with a scream of delight.

“Oh, Hank, Hank!  I knew you would come for me.  I knew it in my heart!”

“They told me you had left.  I thought you were gone!”

“I couldn’t go.  Where would I go without you now that I have found you?  I love you, Hank, I love you!  I feel like I have loved you since always, and forever.”

Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and her lips found his.  Her words washed away any doubt.  He had never known such elation.  He was in love.  It was real.  He was sure of it.

“I love you, Roberta.  I love you, too!”

Giveaway!

If you like what you have read so far and would love a copy of your own, the author is giving away a Kindle copy of the book to one lucky winner. To enter just leave your email address as a comment and I will get back to you if you are the winner!

Giveaway will remain open from 00:00 hours March 20, 2014 till 00:00 hours March 21, 2014, Maldivian Time. And if you are wondering, Maldivian time = GMT +5.

Pick of the Month October 2013: Interview & Giveaway!

Its being a while since I have come across a book that made me want to choose a pick of the month. Cynthia Eden’s Mine series has all the elements that tends to work for me. The darkness, obsession and the alpha men who makes me want to do all sorts of things that better not be mentioned here. Thus October’s pick of the month goes to, Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden, book 2 in the Mine series!

And of course there is the giveaway too, which everyone is free to enter! So check out the giveaway section after the interview potion that follows.

Interview: Mine to Keep by Cynthia Edenminetokeep

MBR: When I read Mine to Take, I had no inkling that there would be a second book featuring Trace and Skye, not that I am complaining of course. Was it always in the works; a second book or did their story remain unfinished with the end of the first book? In other words, what made you want to write the second book?

Cynthia: I had actually not planned to write a second book for them—so it was a surprise for me, too. 😉 But I received a great deal of reader emails about Skye and Trace, so I thought—why not? There was more that could be told about them, so writing MINE TO KEEP seemed like a good idea.

MBR: I love the fact that your heroes are so darn possessive, especially Trace who seems to be borderline obsessive but still comes out with that quality that makes him a hero and not that of the kind that draw contempt from female readers. Where do you draw the line when it comes to exhibiting alpha traits that might make readers turn away from your male lead characters?

Cynthia: I think that can be a very fine line. I try to show that my heroes always want the best for the heroines that I write. Yes, those heroes are possessive, but they love the heroines more than anything, and it’s the heroines who actually have the power in my stories—because they can get the guys to do anything they want.

MBR: That is so very true! And it is evident with every single action that Trace takes. Is there anyone in your life or otherwise from whom you drew inspiration from to come out with Trace’s character?

Cynthia: If only! But, no, Trace is pure fiction—though I did get inspiration from his appearance thanks to the ever so handsome Ian Somerhalder.

MBR: Ah. Fans of Ian would definitely go gaga over that fact.

I loved Skye. She had that vulnerability and the strength in equal spades that just seemed to call out to me. Not to mention the fact that she understands Trace so well and accepts him for who he is. If Trace and Skye’s books were ever to be cast into a movie, who would you cast in the roles of both Trace and Skye?

Cynthia: I’m so glad you enjoyed Skye’s character! Thank you! Hmmm…for the characters, I will go again with Ian (The Vampire Diaries), and for Skye…I think that Kristin Kreuk (Beauty & The Beast) would be a good fit.

MinetoKeepStars

MBR: Oh, I really think Kristin would make a splendid fit for Skye!

Where do you think Skye draws all her strength from even in the face of all the adversities that seemed to have hit her life?

Cynthia: I think Skye learned early on that she had to depend on herself. Having Trace by her side makes Skye’s life easier because he is there to share all the challenges that come her way, but Skye won’t crumble without him. She has an inner strength that can get her through anything (and it has!).

MBR: The next question brings me to the explosive sex in your stories. How do you manage to write so many scenes that are always so raw, hot and have that tender quality to it all at the same time? Do you find writing sex scenes in your books easy or hard as some authors seem to find it?

 

Cynthia: For me, the sex scenes are the hardest part! It’s a challenge to get the heated intensity paired with the emotional elements of the encounter. I feel like it’s a delicate balancing act, so I try to be very careful as I write these scenes.

MBR: And you manage to pull it off with every single scene. That must be hard. That brings me to my next question.

By the looks of it, two more books are set to be released; the first one already released in October entitled Mine to Hold telling Noah’s story. Are there any more books scheduled for the Mine series and if so when do you think they would be released?

Cynthia: I do want to write more of the “Mine” books—next up will be a story for Drake.  I think his book will be out in early 2014. Then…well, I’ll let that be up to my readers. When I first started the “Mine” series, I wanted to write dark and sexy stories…all stories that featured obsession as an element of the tales.  I do have more ideas for additional books and characters, so as long as my readers are enjoying the stories, then I will keep going!

MBR: Thank you so much for taking the time. It has been fun getting to know some of the inside facts on how this series and Trace and Skye came about! And I am definitely looking forward to MORE books from the Mine series. 🙂

Cynthia: Thanks so much for interviewing me! It’s been a pleasure! 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway includes:

  1. THREE e-copies of Mine to Keep which Cynthia Eden is offering. Believe me, its worth it. 😉
  2. 15$ gift certificate offered by Cynthia Eden
  3. Lastly, you get to ask for any e-book you have been hankering for, below $15.00 in price offered by myself! ^^

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Specify which giveaway you are entering for. If you are entering for all 3, please state so as well.
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries, or recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. Post the URL of your tweet or recommendation post on Facebook in your comment.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a follower of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, November 2, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 00:00 hours, November 4, 2013 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

ARC Review & Giveaway: Sweetly Bad by Anya Breton

Format: E-booksweetlybad
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Series: Haizea Brood, #2
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Drew Haizea
Heroine: Erica Pearce
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 4, 2013
Started On: October 7, 2013
Finished On: October 10, 2013

Sweetly Bad by Anya Breton is book in one of the new lines of books being published by Ellora’s Cave under the title of Curve Appeal. This series is focused on plus-sized heroines who in my opinion sometimes makes for very interesting heroines who actually feel real in their struggles to stay in shape and go through the daily grind that we women actually go through in our attempts to whip our bodies into tiptop shape by doing as little as possible about it.

Book 2 in the Haizea Brood series, this can be read as standalone, I myself never having read book 1 in the series. Sweetly Bad features the bad boy hero Drew Haizea who has always had the world laid out at his feet, everyone always at the ready to do his bidding because no one ever says no to the powerful Haizea family. It is only when his mother casts him out of the family and places a target on his back to teach him a lesson that Drew finds himself on the other side of things, having to face the reality of the life that he has led up till now.

Erica Pearce is a mechanic, struggling to make ends meet and trying to prevent her ex-boyfriend from bulldozing his way into making her give up the garage she inherited from her father. When Drew with his picture perfect good looks and a mile wide list of women to call upon ends up being at her mercy and though Drew ends up being a bit of an ass, Erica finds that her soft heart is vulnerable to the situation Drew finds himself in.

When his rogue status starts bringing in hunters willing to take him down, Drew finds that his one and only ally turns out to be Erica, who turns out to be far more appealing than he would have originally thought her to be. And as both Erica and Drew try to prevent their asses from getting under the line of fire, the lust and the romance that blooms to life between them continues to grow showing Drew just how wrong he had been in his original assumption about Erica and the type of women that he should want to share his life with.

Have you ever read an erotic romance featuring a hero that doesn’t kiss like a demigod, is not a stud in bed and has an average sized cock? Well if you haven’t, look no further because ladies, Drew Haizea is about to knock your socks off with all of that and more. While his good looks and fit and toned body under the killer suites and that long list of women on his contact list might paint a picture otherwise, when Erica gets to Drew, all she finds behind the appealing package is a man who has been misled the whole of his life because of the family to which he belongs to.

When Drew realizes that Erica is in fact serious about certain elements about his lovemaking techniques, Drew is in for the toughest challenge of his life when he has to use whatever tactical advantage he has left to satisfy the woman who comes to mean a lot more to him than he would have given her credit for her in such a short period of time. And for the first time in his life Drew begins to realize that when you truly do love someone, nothing is as important as ensuring the happiness of the person you love.

Though the story had its moments, I would say that it could have been better. I might have been thrown off balance by certain attributes regarding the hero which I certainly never have encountered in a romance, much less an erotic romance novel. But I kept my doubts in check and went ahead with the story because there was a certain element to Drew that tugged at my heartstrings because of the assailable position he found himself in. Add to the fact that when push came to shove Drew realized that Erica had no one to look out for her and that even though she might not put in a hell of a lot of trust in him, Drew does live up to the challenge which does give the story a good feel to it towards the end.

There were moments of humor which I thought the author would expand on which would have turned this read into a hell of an entertaining read in my opinion. And a hero who wasn’t clumsy in bed would have certainly done wonders for the story as well. But, regardless of all that, I would still consider this as an entertaining read if you are willing to indulge in a story that ought to give you a couple of laughs if nothing else out of it.

Final Verdict: One of the most unconventional erotic romances I’ve read to-date.

Favorite Quotes

His mouth descended on hers before she could evade. It wasn’t soft, gentle or even teasing like she’d taught him. It was brutal and demanding, a kiss to rob her of everything but the blood pounding through her veins. Smooth lips worked over hers even as he thrust his tongue into her mouth, devouring her as though he were starved. It was a passionate kiss, nothing like the boyish slobber he’d first given her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | EC

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Giveaway

Ellora’s Cave is giving away an e-copy of Sweetly Bad to one lucky commenter on the post. Just tell us who your favorite plus-sized heroine is and you get a chance to win.

And in the meantime, do not forget to give a valid e-mail address so that we would be able to contact you if you are the winner. And if you don’t mind, please help spread the word too! After all, sharing is caring. 🙂

Giveaway opens: October 15, 2013; 00:00 hours MVT

Giveaway ends: October 16, 2014; 00:00 hours MVT

MVT timezone: GMT +5