This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Awakening by Kally Jo Surbeck

KALLY
A Balanced Choice 

Some say she dances too close to Hades, controlling life and death. She laughs at those fools. Why dance with a god of the Underworld when it’s her power that determines when humans pass? 

Her sisters call her morbid, again she laughs. Two of her sister's are called artists--a weaver and a mixer. That's what they are. Her third sister left them all hanging. 

No. Atropos believes it is she who is the true artist. The knowledge of life and death gives humans their ultimate passion and ultimate drive. Therefore, with her shears she breathes passion, hope, sadness, sorrow, drive, and determination, all that and more, she breathes into the human with the snip of her shears. 

But, what if she miscalculates a life? What if a time is cut too short?
Review: I loved The Awakening! Kally Jo Surbeck has written in a very tense and gripping way which had me pulled in from the very first page. The characters are so well crafted and the plot is filled with exciting and unexpected turns. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a twist on your average paranormal romance style book - this is certainly one of a kind and I can't wait to read more from this author!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Min's Monster by Lila L. Pinord

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Young Min passes up a chance for a pre-Thanksgiving trip to the city with her parents, never suspecting that this decision will place her in a life-or-death situation. Due to the ferocious snowstorm that catches everyone by surprise, her parents are stranded out on an impassible highway, but it provides the cover Bruno Hessle, a maniacal serial killer, needs to walk away from a minimum security prison near the Quinnu village. He holes up in the warm kitchen where Min sleeps up in the attic to keep warm; forcing her to use everything she has been taught to escape the clutches of this madman. Will she be able to outwit him before her parents arrive and he kills them as they walk through the door?
Lila L. Pinord was born and raised in a small Native American fishing village. Many of her stories reflect this Indian way of life. Her first book, Skye Dancer was published in 2003. Since then Evil Lives in Blue Rock and Min's Monster were published. IN TIME, her latest, is an Urban Fantasy, is now on the market.
Review: Min's Monster is a riveting tale which is told in a way that grabs the readers attention from the very first page. I won't ruin anything about the plot - I recommend that you read the book for yourself - but the writing is brilliant! I think it's hard to write in a terrifying and tense way and this book is a great example if how to do it right. The characters are all complex and interesting and as the plot gathers momentum it's hard to put the book down! 5*'s well deserved!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Forever Tainted Two: The Hunt by Julia Skyler

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The Battle of The Beasts Begins... Handsome baron, John Connolly and his destined mate are in over their heads this time. The intriguing, Ann Winfrey stands by her man, fighting alongside John and his men. The two partner with their Divarican guard, Sir Henry, in order to track down one of John's dearest friends. What they learn once they find him is not what they’d expected. The spread of savagery links to one incredibly dark being; one of unimaginable strength; one who must be stopped. John and his team take a solemn vow to protect the human race, and a dangerous hunt begins. Along the way, Sir Henry falls for a special young lady that he might not be able to protect. John and his loyal followers plan to track down the darkest of Lords, the highest of vampire councilmen. But, they quickly learn, it is easier said, than done...
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Julia Skyler was born in a small town in Georgia and began composing at the very young age of seven. She started writing song lyrics first, then took up poetry and fiction as a teen. While her friends were busy dating and shopping, she was locked away in her room working on another short story, or poetry piece.
In fact, Julia won her first poetry prize in 2006 and says that she couldn't imagine a life without writing. She's beloved by family, friends, and fans for her poetry and fiction. She spends a lot of quality time with her family and wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything, but writing is her heart's desire and truest passion.
Review: I am a huge fan of Julia Skyler's writing - I absolutely loved the first book in this series so I was very excited the second installment and it certainly doesn't disappoint! The drama, action and romance that had started, continues in this book but there are also a lot of surprises thrown in! Julia Skyler has a gripping way of writing that drags you in from the very first page. I desperately wanted to finish the book to find out what happens, but at the same time I didn't ever want to stop reading it! The book is truly a unique paranormal romance and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for an amazing character driven plot. I cannot wait for the third book!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yours Tonight by Joya Ryan


He will give her everything she's ever wanted . . .

Jack Powell's confidence is matched only by his intensity. The darkness in him comes from years of secrets and memories he'd rather forget. Lana has an exotic innocence that draws him in and Jack wants a taste of her. She's a light in the darkness of his world - and she needs help, which he agrees to give her.

The only rule? He makes the rules.

Lana gives up her control, letting Jack take her body however he needs, while she works her way into his heart. But Jack's past catches up to them and Lana finds herself wrapped up in a scheme that will expose every secret she's worked so hard to keep. She clung to Jack once when her world was crashing down, but this time, she loves him. She'll continue to reach for him - her only fear is if he'll reach back, or go on his way, taking her soul with him . . .

Addictive and unforgettable, Lana's story will seduce, surprise and stay with you. A brand new trilogy by the #1 Bestselling author of Break Me Slowly, the Reign series is an emotional rollercoaster you'll want to keep riding forever.


EXCERPT

"You look flushed," he said, his tone so raspy it made me want to tell him why.

"I was just thinking of something," I whispered, my gaze zeroing in on his mouth.

"Oh?" He took one step closer. "Care to share your thoughts?"

I licked my lips . . . ready to share more than just the thoughts. He'd said earlier he wondered what I tasted like. I was wondering the same about him.

"Is it easy for you? Telling the truth?" I asked.

"Generally."

"How? Not that I lie, but I just don't know how you can say what you say."

"You mean voice what I want?"

"Yes." It was then it hit me. I wanted that. To be able to say what I wanted. Put a voice to my fears. My desires. My everything. To have someone actually listen.

"It's a matter of worth over value," he said. "Any given thing has a value. I just decide what it's worth to me to keep that value."

He took a step forward.

"For example, you have a value. My silence wasn't worth you walking away."

Joya Ryan

Joy Ryan is a National and International Bestselling Author. 
Break Me Slowly: #1 Bestselling book in Contemporary Fiction and Women's Fiction!


Review: I love romance novels, but it's really refreshing to have a change! Lana is independent and feisty, but her past has affected her current state of mind. Then she has 2 very different, but equally alpha males to choose from. This book is steamy, exciting and fast paced - and the ending leaves you desperate for more. I cannot wait for the second installment!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Empty Hallways by Andy Lockwood

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Years ago, a fire tore through a small hospital reducing the structure to matchstick and cinder. The hospital was rebuilt bigger and more promising than before... but old memories can only stay forgotten for so long.
With the arrival of a new patient, the hospital begins to experience unexplained phenomena. Rumors whisper through the halls of a girl who leaves no footprints and casts no shadows. A girl who, though seemingly tied to the fire from long ago, is cold to the touch.
Could this new patient be responsible for the mysterious happenings? Can science be trusted to find the puzzling answers? Can answers be found before the screams of pain and horror truly begin?
About the Author: Andy Lockwood owes his continued fascination with the
macabre to a lifetime immersed in the genre. His tutelage began with the stories of Ray Bradbury, Stephen King and other masters; quickly becoming part of a regular routine as he bonded with his father over monster double-features every Saturday. He grew up with role models like Vincent Price, Alice Cooper, The Addams’ and The Munsters. It’s not that he intended to turn out this way; he just didn’t know any better.
As the years added up, he discovered an avalanche of influences that pushed his own imagination forward, urging a necessity to put pen to paper himself. In high school, he got his first job as a librarian’s assistant. While future career choices would shift and methods of creative expression would fluctuate, one thing remained certain: from this point forward, his love of the printed word was resolute.
While pursuing studies in filmmaking, he rekindled his love of writing. The limitations of scripted action brought him back to short story writing and the discovery of National Novel Writing Month. Eventually, his efforts would award him his first novel, Empty Hallways.
Andy has a decorated life of Bucket List accomplishments, none of which he ever intended to do for the glory. They have all fallen in line as part of the adventure his life decided to be. Eventually, he intends to capture the best of these stories in a lengthy memoir – or at least on his blog, Happier Thoughts. He is currently assembling an anthology of his own short stories, and also in rewrites on his second novel, The House of 13, with the intent of public release in late 2014.
Andy lives in mid-Michigan with 3 cats, a runaway imagination and a misguided idea of what it means to be an adult.
Review: I love anything supernatural, horror and thriller so I was very excited to read Empty Hallways. Andy Lockwood captures a creepy atmosphere really well and I was truly spooked whilst reading this book which I think is really hard for an author to achieve! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horror and wants to try something different, something that's truly scary - this is a standout novel that easily deserves 5*'s.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Ghosts of Tsavo by Vered Ehsani


Armed with Victorian etiquette, a fully loaded walking stick and a dead husband, Beatrice Knight arrives in colonial Kenya desperate for a pot of tea and a pinch of cinnamon. But she’ll need more than that if she’s to unravel the mystery of the Ghosts of Tsavo without being eaten in the process. All this while surviving the machinations of her best friend’s dashing godfather and the efforts of her safari guide to feed her to any lion willing to drag her away. What is a ghost-chasing widow to do? 



Vered Ehsani has been a writer since she could hold pen to paper, which is a lot longer than she cares to admit. She lives in Kenya with her family and various other animals. When she isn’t writing or running a radio show, she pretends to work as an environmental consultant. 


Review: I am a huge fan of author Vered Ehsani's writing style so I was very eager to read Ghosts of Tsavo and even though I knew it was going to be brilliant, it blew me away! The main character is lovable and extremely believable - she is layered and complex which I love to find because I often find characters can be flat. The plot is fast-paced and gripping and the way it has been written is reminiscent of the time it's set - highly recommended.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Mentoring by Tracey Fieber

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As a full-service management company, we customize and implement the proactive solution that is right for your specific needs. With your collaboration, we provide a solution that complements your goals, your business, and your team. Hiring – If you’re hiring now and want the best people for your team, we can help you find the perfect individuals for your business. The recruitment and hiring process entails a careful evaluation of your company’s needs so that we can properly determine the ideal candidate for each specific position. Team Development – We can accurately evaluate your current team and devise a sound strategy for achieving or maintaining team productivity. Sustain your business advantage by letting us develop your present team into high-performing units that are consistently achieving business goals such as quality, speed, and innovation. Operations Management – We can help your business achieve breakthrough results through strategic business planning and optimization solutions. We will assess the current workflow structure of your business as well as its internal procedures and strategies to be able to provide practical and effective solutions. Business Process Automation – More and more businesses are realizing the importance of automated processes when it comes to increased growth, savings, and productivity. We automate critical processes and ensure that they remain robust and reliable in the long-term.
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With more than two decades of experience in both the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, Tracey is a trusted authority on business management, a leading team builder and business consultant. She has extensive experience working with companies and individual clients as a Business Expert, Coach, and Mentor. Known for her straight forward, no fluff approach and business savvy eye, Tracey and her team of performance consultants work with companies and entrepreneurs in both the corporate world and in small businesses to propel enterprises to their best.
Tracey has been married 31 years, is a mother of four children (two girls, two boys), and grandmother to four grandsons with the first granddaughter due this spring. When Tracey’s not in the office, she enjoys spending time at the cottage. She loves to travel, scuba dives and enjoys touring in different locations.
Review: This extensive guide is filled with useful information - extremely helpful to anyone getting into business. Where better to get your information than from someone who has experience and specialises in the subject!!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Confessions of an Assassin by Linda Heaver Gerald

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The secret government agency which Catherine Carnegie was enticed to join gave her the hardest assignment of her life in Bali, Indonesia. Once alluring, she now found the glamour and danger not worth the required sacrifice. Eventually, she was given a way out but it required the destruction of the thing she loved most. Her life was spent in pain and agony until the day a package arrived from an unlikely source.  That was the gift which set her free.
Author, Linda Heavner Gerald
Linda Heavner Gerald is retired with her husband on the Gulf of Mexico where she writes daily.  Two years ago, Linda began writing after a vision would not leave her mind.  Nightly, this scenario played in her thoughts until she finally prayed for guidance.  The result was her first book, Beaufort Betrayal.  Linda wrote non-stop for over two weeks until the book was completed.  She was afraid that if she stopped, she would not be able to pull all of the loose ends together.  Now, writing is easier and more enjoyable.  Her sixth Thriller should be released any day.  Her goal in writing is to provide readers with a book of substance which says something important.  Although told as a story, there is always a message as well as current medical problems with solutions.  Linda uses her medical background to encourage those who may be experiencing symptoms but afraid to seek help.  Depression, post traumatic stress, effects of grief and macular degeneration are just a few of the subjects she has presented.
Review: Oh wow!I was very excited to read 'Confessions of an Assassin' as I am a huge fan of Linda Heavner Gerald and I wasn't disappointed. The book is filled with action, as can be expected, but it was so much more than that. The characters have many layers which  unravel as the plot thickens and the story is filled with unexpected twists and turns. I love the way it is written as a woman looking back on her life because it means she is viewing the love, the loss, the excitement, the danger, all with the benefit of hindsight. I would recommend this book to anyone, no matter what genre you prefer as there is something in there for everyone!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Awakened Living by Russell Kyle

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Will you live the rest of your waking moments asleep…or awake?
 Consider this…
 This simple guide invites one into the world of Awakened Living. Awakened living is a change in outlook, out fromone’s mind, heart and soul. It includes a change in thinking, understandings, emotion, physiology, social connections, reactions to life and desires, alladding to the growth of one’s overall well being. 
 It’s a transforming way of seeing the world through the eyes of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation, an awareness of the connectedness of all things, and a deep knowing of one’s own part in this magical dance of the Universe. 
 To be awake, is to see life for what it is and for what you are; complete, whole, full of joy and full of unlimited possibilities.
 Take this journey, the lifetime journey of awakening… A journey with no definite destination, yet full of immense meaning and purpose.
 These simple methods outline the basics of the practical spiritual life. It’s but a beginning, yet, if applied, is guaranteed to change your life…from the inside out, inside and out.
Russell Kyle
Russell was born and raised on the central Gulf coast of Florida. He is a devoted father of three beautiful girls and a loving husband. He enjoys aerobatics, boating, meditation, kirtan and spending quality time with his family. Russell's life hasn't been average by any means. After a series of tragedies and years of struggling with addiction and depression, Russell began a transforming change. Learning to turn his dark past to good account, a gift emerged; a life of joy, contentment, meaning and purpose. Today he spends much of his time growing, learning, teaching and fine tuning the practice of incorporating a deep and powerful spiritual life with a life of sound family living.

To contact Russell for speaking invitations, group talks, one on one coaching or with questions or comments, please email him at: awakenedlivingguide@gmail.com 

https://twitter.com/RussellLKyle
Review: I don't have a lot of experience with spiritual guides but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The author words are encouraging and uplifiting, without being patronising. A lot of practical and useful tips are offered by the author and I would recommend this book to anyone :)

Hero by Samantha Young

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The emotional and unforgettable new romance from theNew York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Streetseries.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that her mother and she weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again....
Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance series and has been sold in twenty eight countries.
Review: Hero is the first book I have read by Samantha Young and I wasn't disappointed! Her characters are well written and believable and the plot is exciting - once I'd started to read the book I couldn't put it down. Alexis and Caine are complicated, but in an endearing way and seeing their love progress is just amazing. The story isn't a typical romance novel, but that just makes it that much more appealing! Highly recommended.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Kevin S. Hall

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Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I am Kevin Hall, 34, who loves writing about horror, fantasy and Sci-Fi, and I hope to be a full time writer one day and Games Designer, which I am currently doing a course on at the moment.

What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?
It is set near the Maunsel Sea Forts and it’s in the vein of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but a new twist on supernatural and fantasy young adult books. I hope to make this into a series someday, as the way the story ends there is potential to tell more of the world and its characters.

Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?
I thought it would be a very creepy location in the middle of the night but I also wanted to pay respect to the people who died there in the past. I guess my inspiration came from some classic adventure stories like Treasure Island and to have that sense of mystery and wonder.

Do you have any other written works or is this your first?
I have written a collection of horror stories called Thirteen, and you can find it on amazon under Thirteen By Kevin Hall, or Thirteen: Special Edition. I am currently writing several books – I know, I need to do one at a time but they are all such fun! –Thirteen 2: The Horror Continues, Monster Maker: Unleash The Beast, which has its own Facebook group, and a short story The Weeping Dark. You can also find some Christmas stories of mine in Holiday Horror 2014, also on amazon.

Can you describe your writing style in three words?
Horrifically Good Fun.

Where can people find out more about you?

Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Hear Me by Viv Daniels

Listen… the bells have stopped ringing. 

Once upon a time, Ivy belonged to Archer, body, heart, and soul. They spent long summer days exploring the forest, and long summer nights exploring each other. But that was before dark magic grew in the depths of the wilderness, and the people of Ivy’s town raised an enchanted barrier of bells to protect themselves from the threat, even though it meant cutting off the forest people—and the forest boy Ivy loved—forever. 

And there’s a naked man lying in the snow. 

Three years later, Ivy keeps her head down, working alone in her tea shop on the edge of town and trying to imagine a new future for herself, away from the forest and the wretched bells, and the memory of her single, perfect love. But in the icy heart of winter, a terrifying magic blooms—one that can reunite Ivy and Archer, or consume their very souls. 

Warm up this winter with a sexy, paranormal New Adult romance from Viv Daniels. Contains magic spells, true love, and the hottest scene ever set in a greenhouse. Not meant for readers under 18.
Review: This is quite an adult take on the fairy tale genre. Ivy and Archer are brilliantly written characters that drive the plot along in an exciting and fast paced manner. Hear Me had me gripped from the very first page, I just couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. Viv Daniels is an amazing author and I cannot wait to read more from her!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Festive in Death by J.D. Robb

Eve Dallas deals with a homicide—and the holiday season—in the latest from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.

Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn’t count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who were loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.

Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer.

HOW J. D. ROBB GOT STARTED

With a phenomenal career full of bestsellers, Nora Roberts was ready for a new writing challenge. As her agent put it, like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and caffeine-free Pepsi, a pseudonym offered her the opportunity to reach a new and different group of readers. The first futuristic suspense J. D. Robb book,Naked in Death, was published in paperback in 1995, and readers were immediately drawn to Eve Dallas, a tough cop with a dark past, and her even more mysterious love interest, Roarke.
The series quickly gained attention, great reviews, and devoted readers. Since the debut of Loyalty in Death (the ninth In Death book) on Halloween 1999 on the New York Times bestseller list, every J. D. Robb title has been aNew York Times bestseller. While fans had their suspicions, it wasn’t until the twelfth book in the series, Betrayal in Death (2001), that the publisher fully revealed that J. D. Robb was a pseudonym for bestselling powerhouse Nora Roberts. Unmasked, Nora Roberts fans who hadn’t yet picked up one of the Robb books were quickly playing catch-up.
Robb’s peers in the mystery world are fans as well, with accolades for the In Death series from such blockbuster authors as Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Dennis Lehane, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, Linda Fairstein, and Andrew Gross.
The In Death books are perpetual bestsellers, and frequently share the bestseller list with other Nora Roberts novels. J. D. Robb publishes two hardcover In Death books per year, with the occasional stand-alone original In Death story featured in an anthology.
Thirty books and fifteen years later, there is no end in sight for the ever-popular In Death series.
Review: I am a big fan of J.D. Robb and the 'In Death' series. I love Eve and the way her character evolves as the series progresses. The murders and the mystery are absolutely brilliant in this book, as with all the others - and I love the way the plot twists and turns and throws surprises at the reader. The ending was unexpected and exciting. Highly recommended!

Monday, 2 March 2015