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.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Accepting Submissions


So it's about time for a new anthology, don't you think?

This one is all about Halloween - submit your classic or modern horror stories for consideration before September 30th to lockdown@writeme.com

As always, there is no word count or structured theme - I want you to be as creative as you like. My most successful anthologies to date have been the most varied ones! I will also consider poetry and artwork, if this is where your talents or creativity lies :)
The point of these anthologies is all about promotion, so there is no payment for the stories, but all of the royalties go back into advertising the book (blog tours, paid advertising, that sort of thing) to help get all our names out there. Plus you'll be given the chance to interview for my blogs (Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger) about your other work, which is extra personalised promotion just for you.

If you are still interested, please email your story as a word document, plus an author bio. If your story is accepted, you will be sent a standard contract to sign and a PDF copy of the book to check over before it goes live - which it will do so in time for Halloween.
Good luck and I'm looking forward to all of the wonderful stories that are about to head my way!

Samie :)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

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Carpathians are an immortal race of beings with animal instincts. Every Carpathian male is drawn to his life mate: a Carpathian or human female able to provide the light to his darkness. Without her, the beast within slowly consumes the man until turning vampire is the only option.'

Raven Whitney is a psychic who has used her gift to help the police track down a serial killer. Now she is determined to escape the glare of recent publicity for the peace and quiet of the Carpathian Mountains. Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky is the leader of his people but, as his ancient Carpathian race grows ever closer to extinction, he is close to giving in to the heavy weight of loneliness and despair. From the moment their minds touch, Raven and Mikhail form a connection. But there are those who incorrectly view all Carpathians as vampires, and are determined to give their extinction a helping hand.
Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author multiple times over with her portfolio including over 40 published novels, including five series; Leopard Series, Dark Series, Ghostwalker Series, Drake Sisters Series, & the Sisters of the Heart Series. All five series hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestselling list as well. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature (PEARL) in 1999. Since then she has been published by various publishing houses including Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards since Dark Prince. 

In addition to the #1 New York Times bestsellers list and the PEARL awards, Christine is honored to have made the bestsellers list for Amazon, B. Daltons, Barnes and Nobles, Bookscan, Borders, Ingrams, Publishers Weekly, Rhapsody Book Club, USA Today, Waldenbooks, Walmart, and the Washington Post. Other honors that she has received include being a nominee for the Romance Writers of America's RITA award, receiving the Career Achievement Award for Contemporary New Reality from Romantic Times Magazine in 2003 and in 2008 the Borders Lifetime Achievement Award. 

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including audio book, e-book, hardcover and large print. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher's Weekly Bestseller's List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.
Review: I'm a massive fan of Christine Feehan so couldn't wait to read this book and it's safe to say I was blown away. The book is sensual, exciting, violent and filled with elements you wont find in any other book. I do enjoy paranormal romance novels but I felt like this was much more than that. There was an added spark to it. Mikhail and Raven are amazing leads - their story is one that I think has much more to offer. Five stars!

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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It might sound like a man's favorite fantasy - to live forever, destined to be the lover of thousands of women. But for Julian of Macedon, it's a nightmare. Once he was a proud Spartan general; now he's a love-slave, his essence magically held captive in a book, cursed to spend all eternity pleasing women. Then, one day, Grace Alexander summons Julian to fulfill her passionate dreams - and sees beyond the fantasy to the man himself.

Long years as a sex therapist, listening to other people's bedroom problems, have taken a lot of the fun out of the physical side of love for Grace. But with or without sex, the rules of the enchantment cannot be changed - Julian is hers for the next month. And, as their time together slips by, Julian and Grace find more to share than sympathy and conversation and they begin to wonder if love might be within their grasp. That leaves only one question. Is love enough to break a 2,000-year-old curse?
The #1 New York Times bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon, who is proud of her mixed Cherokee heritage, lives a life of extraordinary danger... as does any woman with three sons, a husband, a menagerie of pets and a collection of swords that all of the above have a major fixation with. But when not running interference (or dashing off to the emergency room), she's found chained to her computer where she likes to play with all her imaginary friends. With more than thirty million copies of her books in print, in over one hundred countries, she certainly has a lot of friends to play with too.

Her books appear regularly at the coveted #1 bestselling spot. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre she writes. Her current series include: The Dark-Hunters, The League, Chronicles of Nick and Beladors. Since 2004, she has placed more than 80 novels on the New York Times list in all formats including manga.

Her Lords of Avalon novels have been adapted by Marvel and her Dark-Hunter novels are now a New York Times bestselling manga published by St. Martins, and her Chronicles of Nick series is adapted by Yen Press. Her Dark-Hunters and Chronicles of Nick series are both soon to be major motion picture releases.
Review: I had no idea how the plotline of a 2000-year-old sex slave curse and a modern day therapist was going to turn out, but oh my goodness I loved it! The chemistry and romance between Grace and Julian was amazing - particularly as they are so very different. It's a real case of opposites attract! I found myself rooting for them very early on in the book, and once I'd gotten to about half way, I couldn't put it down. I just needed to know the ending. Although the story has it's unusual elements, it works really well and actually comes across very believable. Highly recommended!

The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson

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THE OTHER ME spans from 1930s Germany to 1990s England as Saskia Sarginson explores whether our identities are tied to where we came from, and if it's possible that sometimes history doesn't get the story right.
1986, London - Klaudia is about to start high school. She's embarrassed by her German father, never knowing what he may or may not have done during the war.
In 1995 Leeds, Eliza is a young woman in love - with her life as a dance student, and with her boyfriend Cosmo. But Eliza is living a lie, running away from a past of which she was always ashamed. But when her mother dies and she is called home, she can no longer deny her roots, even if it will cost her everything.
And woven throughout the novel is Ernst's story - Ernst is one of two brothers growing up in Nazi Germany. One rallied for the Fuhrer, one held back. One dedicated his life to the Nazi regime, one did not.
When Eliza learns a long-buried family secret, it will completely change how she views her past and her future.
By exploring identity, memory, and history, Saskia Sarginson deftly shows that it is the people we think we know the best who sometimes surprise us the most.
SASKIA SARGINSON was awarded an MA in Creative Writing after a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University. Before becoming a full-time author, she was a health and beauty editor on women's magazines, a ghost writer for the BBC and HarperCollins, and a copy-writer and script editor. She lives in south London with her four children. Her first novel, THE TWINS, was chosen for the Richard & Judy autumn bookclub 2013 and received outstanding international review coverage.
Review: The Other Me kept me guessing up until the very end - and not many books do that! As the secrets started to unravel in Klaudia/Eliza's life, the plot simply thickened leading to more and more questions. The main character is pained, confused and gets herself into a deep mess trying to hide her past, but the more you learn about her life, the more you come to understand why and how that happened. The romance element is very important, but by no means the biggest feature of the book. The ending is explosive, sad but also with a little hope - not everything is always as it seems!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Straight Pepper Diet: A Memoir by Joseph W. Naus

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Joseph W. Naus was living the American Dream. He'd survived a brutal childhood, graduated from Pepperdine Law School, and become a successful attorney. Then one night, his American Dream-life became a nightmare when his sex and alcohol addictions collided and exploded. "On Tuesday, I was a respected civil trial lawyer making six-figures. On Wednesday, I woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed charged with attempted murder...and then it got worse." Straight Pepper Diet is a book about surviving one's own wreckage. It's harrowing, sometimes hilarious, and surprisingly hope-filled.
Joseph W. Naus
Joseph W. Naus was born in 1971. He graduated from Pepperdine Law and passed the Bar in 1997. As related in his harrowing yet hopeful memoir, Straight Pepper Diet, Joseph was raised by his mom, a heroin addict turned shut-in depressive, amidst crime and poverty. At age 32, Joseph's American Dream life became a nightmare when his addictions to sex and alcohol collided and exploded. "On Tuesday, I was a respected civil trial lawyer making six-figures. On Wednesday, I woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed ... and then it got worse." Spoiler alert: Despite the odds, Joseph is alive and well. He lives in Echo Park in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and cat, and is working on his next book, Golf is Magic (Not Exactly a Book about Golf).
Review: This book is unbelievably good. Sure, it's harrowing but it's also exciting and positive. It'll certainly give you pause for thought - you won't regret reading it!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Bizarre Baby Name Book by K.A. Shaw

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The Bizarre Baby Name Book by K.A. Shaw cover
Are you an expectant mother uncertain of what to name your new baby?
Unable to make a choice after reading thousands of names?
Hate the name your spouse or parents insist you must name your child?
The Bizarre Baby Name Book will help you keep your child from a lifetime of pain. After all, great parenting starts before a child is born.
Crazy baby names are the latest craze. Celebrities are leading the fad. But as your mother always warned, just because your friends want to jump off the bridge…
In The Bizarre Baby Name Book, author K. A. Shaw helps you avoid baby-naming disasters. Brutally honest and absolutely comedic, she provides a guiding light for choosing a great name for your child. She wrote The Bizarre Baby Name Book to help you choose wisely.

                                                                    Amazon and Goodreads

Author bio: K. Alex Shaw is a freelance writer, published author, and songwriter. She graduated with a B.S. Marketing Honors from DePaul University, where she also attended law school, and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. Her latest project is nonfiction informing expectant parents what not to name their baby, which will be released July 7, 2015.


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Check out The Book Review Club website to enter the competition to win a paperback copy of this book!

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Bleeding by Max E Stone

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Max Bleeding
Mark My Words…
Derek Warren is smooth, charming, and a master manipulator.
But is he a killer?
I swear…
If so, how is the former businessman committing murder from a maximum-security prison cell?
And what, if anything, does he have planned next?
You'll Never See It Coming…
Detective Stephen Bennett is sure he has the answers to these questions.
But the path of dead bodies leads him to a truth far more disturbing than he suspected…
You Will Bleed... 
Review: The Bleeding is a whole new level of horror! The plot details how childhood trauma impacts on your entire life in such a tense, suspenseful but also highly emotional way. The setting, the characters and the plot all feel very real from the word go, and once I'd started reading this book, I really struggled to put it down.

I gave this book 5/5 stars because it's highly unique and a thoroughly enjoyable read!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Come To Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Come to Me Softly, another irresistible new adult romance in the Closer to You Series.

His heart was turned off…
Until she turned him on….

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he’s convinced everyone that he’s satisfied—everyone but himself.
 
Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she’s deluded herself into believing she’s content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.
 
When Christopher’s sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires put them on collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.
A. L. Jackson
A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she'd been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves. 

www.facebook.com/aljacksonauthor
Review: Come To Me Recklessly is a second-chance romance story, which reveals itself slowly to the reader, giving the characters increasing depth. As I haven't read the first 2 books in the series (which I fully intend to now!) I didn't know much about Christopher or Samantha as I started to read, but quickly got a solid picture of their personalities and why it all went wrong. A.L. Jackson has a brilliant way of writing that leaves the reader safe in the knowledge that the main characters are destined for each other, just waiting for them to catch onto it themselves. The plot is steamy, passionate and exciting and the ending is simply amazing!

Playing Dirty by C.L.Parker

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For fans of Bared to You, Say My Name and Beautiful Bastard comes the start of an irresistible new series in which competition is the ultimate seduction.
Shaw Matthews plays to win, and he intends to snag a coveted partnership at San Diego's hottest sports agency by signing America's top athlete. Only one woman stands in his way: rival agent Cassidy Whalen. But eliminating the competition will be Shaw's pleasure when he concocts an ingenious plan to seduce Cassidy and show the beautiful ballbreaker who's the better man for the job. That is, until Cassidy turns the tables - and their steamy encounters start breaking all the rules . . .
'Sure to satisfy' - J Kenner
'Fun, action-packed . . . Readers will be eager to read the sequel, hoping for more rough and dirty sexual acrobatics, friendship, backstabbing, and empathy.' Publishers Weekly
'This snappy, sexy novel moves at breakneck speed, with abundant snark and sports euphemisms. . . . [C. L.] Parker's penchant for dry humor and vivid, voracious sex scenes breathes life into a well-trodden premise.'-Library Journal
'Parker writes intense storylines that anyone can relate to. Her characters are complex, with long and sometimes turbulent pasts that they have overcome, that still continues to affect their present. . . . I cannot wait to see where she takes this new series.' Fresh Fiction
'Playing Dirty is [a] top ten hottest book for this year.' - Under the Covers
'Smokin' hot, toe-curling, yummilicious! Yup . . . just a few words to describe this hot, hot read.' - The Reading Cafe
"A story and characters that are unforgettable and equally super hot, intense and emotional!"-Collector of Book Boyfriends
C. L. Parker
C. L. Parker is a romance author who writes stories that sizzle. She's a small-town girl with big-city dreams and enough tenacity to see them come to fruition. Having been the outgoing sort for all her life--which translates to "she just wouldn't shut the hell up"--it's no wonder Parker eventually turned to writing as a way to let her voice, and those of the people living inside her head, be heard. She loves hard, laughs until it hurts, and lives like there's no tomorrow. In her world, everything truly does happen for a reason.
http://www.clparkerofficial.com/
Review: Wow, Playing Dirty really is the classic love/hate relationship story! Shaw and Cassidy begin with the absolute need to win the new client, which spirals a whole load of nasty, sexy and steamy games. Then, complications arise, namely feelings and the plot takes on a whole new spin. This book is exciting, addictive and leaves the reader wanting more!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Falling Under by Lauren Dane

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers the second book in her dark, gritty and romantic Ink & Chrome series
Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the custom motorcycle shop Twisted Steel, is great with his hands and not afraid to get dirty . . . especially in his fantasies about his redheaded neighbor Carmella Rossi.
Carmella has been secretly lusting after her hot, tattooed neighbor for the last three years. His gravelly voice combined with the throaty purr of his custom bike never fails to send thrills down her spine. When Duke asks her to join him at the shop, she can't say no. Soon their days together spill over into nights that bring her pleasure beyond anything she imagined. But Carmella grew up with bikers, and knows how bad a bad boy can be. Can she put herself at risk for someone who has heart-breaker written all over him?
Lauren Dane
The story goes like this - While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about "giving that writing thing a serious go" to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back. 

Today Lauren is a New York Times bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres. 

www.laurendane.com
Review: Carmella and Duke are another fantastic couple in the Ink and Chrome series. They both have in-depth issues from their past - failed marriages, family difficulties, trust issues - and this obviously causes a lot of drama along the way. You will find yourself routing for them from the very first page! Watching their romance develop despite both of their complicated baggage is one hell of a ride - filled with steamy passion to keep the reader on their toes. The snippets of PJ and Asa from the first book in this series is lovely too - I always like to see what happens after a book ends. Another well deserved 5 stars for author Lauren Dane!

Masquerade by Joanna Taylor

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1786: Regency London. Everyone is hiding something. But someone is hiding everything.
Lizzy Ward never meant to end up working the streets of Piccadilly. So when a mysterious noble pursues her, it seems her luck is changing. But though Lord Hays offers to grow Lizzy's fortunes, his price is unexpected. She must masquerade in the sumptuous gowns and social mask of a true lady.
With the stakes so high, love is out of the question. But as Lizzy navigates the fashion and faux-pas of the London elite, she finds her tough facade failing her. Lord Hayes wants to show her that nobility is more than skin deep . . . and as the connection between them grows, it's no longer certain who's wearing the mask. As the street-girl and the lord collide, Regency London is poised for scandal . . .

A love story of surpassing power and imagination, this is a stunning new British voice in Historical romance for fans of Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens and Georgette Heyer
Review: I loved this book so much! Lizzy is such a wonderfully written character - there is much more to her than just a down-on-her-luck prostitute, by the end of the book I was so enthralled by her. He harsh, stark personality becomes worn down more and more involved as the plot thickens. And as for Lord Hays...he is such a stand out man among the boring, stilted upper-class people, you can't help but feel sorry for him, despite everything he has! Their agreement can't involve feelings, there is too much at stake, but passion overcomes everything. I do enjoy historical romance, but this book is exceptional - I would recommend this to absolutely anyone, no matter what genre you prefer :)

Monday, 3 August 2015

Constructed of Magic by Louis Swartz

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What Would Life be Like if You Knew You Were an Immortal Spiritual Being? 

"It is my viewpoint that each man has his own unique magnificence regardless of race, religion, nation, tribe, station in life, customs and beliefs...," so writes poet, Louis Alan Swartz. 

Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit is a refreshing collection of poems that explore the beauty of who we are as spiritual beings. Our ability to love, dream, create futures, even die with dignity are all part of who we are and why we are here. These poems don't pretend to give final answers to any of the big questions about life, but they do help us to look and come to our own understanding. 

"This book is a testament to the poet's vision-an understanding and appreciation for the spiritual and aesthetic nature of mankind....There is a peaceful calmness that cascades over me when I read the joy that Louis Swartz communicates in these poems. I invite you to share that experience with me." Bernard Percy Educator, Speaker, Author. 

We invite you to discover the magic in these poems that are infused throughout with a terrific appreciation of humankind. As Swartz concludes in his introduction, "If by reading them, one individual is able to get an inkling of the actual length and breadth of his ability to do good, my purpose in writing them will be achieved." 

Louis Alan Swartz has dedicated his life to helping others find their ability as immortal spiritual beings. He has traveled extensively in Africa, India, Europe, and the Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with Connie, his wife of twenty-eight years.
Review: This is a very strong, uplifting selection of poems that have you thinking about absolutely everything. The topics may be complex, but they are easily relatable to, wherever you are in your life. I admittedly did have my favorites, but there wasn't any that I didn't like!