Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sword of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

Welcome Christopher Mannino, author of “The Scythe Wielders Secret” Series. Be sure to stop next door at Roses & Thorns for my five rose review of the first book in the series, School of Deaths.

Excerpt: Sword of Deaths

The Death laughed. He waved his scythe and the world behind her vanished. Two immense eyes rose behind him, surrounded by leathery skin. She heard the beating of wings.

“You are weak,” said the Death. “You’re nothing at all, Suzie. Just a girl.” He laughed again.

“Leave me alone,” shouted Suzie. She walked forward but stopped as a sharp, shooting pain coursed through her.

“So weak, so worthless.”

“Go away! Leave me alone!”

The man, the strange eyes, and the entire world shattered, splitting into fragments of glass. Shards flew toward her, burrowing beneath skin. So much pain.

She looked down. The glass was gone. Markings covered each hand. The marks crawled upward, moving onto Suzie’s neck—strangling her.

Something clawed at her throat, pulling her down, ripping her apart. She gasped for air.

She exploded into a burst of light.

Sword of Deaths Trailer:


Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death. Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection. Yet, something is terribly wrong at the College of Deaths. When a ship carrying scythe metal is attacked, many blame the newly-freed Elementals, but Susan knows the Elementals are innocent.

Shadows from the distant past come to light. Dragons circle the horizon, blood spills, and nothing is what it seems. Susan and her friends struggle to stop a war. They search for the fabled First Scythe, hoping to sway the balance, but who is the true enemy?

Sword of Deaths, the second novel in the critically acclaimed YA Fantasy trilogy "The Scythe Wielder's Secret," is now available from MuseItUp Publishing in both e-book and paperback formats. In Sword of Deaths, Mannino delves deeper into the world and characters introduced in the first novel. The novel is told from three rotating points-of-view, and for the first time, the conflict with Dragons is fully realized. The style becomes darker, and far more epic, as the series moves towards a momentous climax in the final book Daughter of Deaths.


(Praise for School of Deaths: The Scythe Wielder's Secret Book One)

"Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!"—Reader's Favorite

"With a well-developed setting, strong characters, a fairly fast moving plot, and snappy dialogue, this novel should keep readers engaged from the beginning to the end. Five Stars."—BookBreeze Magazine

"Let's start with one simple statement: Wow! This book, the characters and the world created by Mannino is absolutely spectacular."—Kay, GoodReads Review

"This book's world is brilliant, and the author's creativity is more than amazing, and the way he conveyed his imagination was just stunning."—OnlineBookClub


Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.

Mannino is currently completing The Scythe Wielder's Secret series and is working on several adult novels.

Learn more about Mannino and his novels, including trailers and purchase links at:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Palace of Deception": A Romantic Suspense Novella by Helena Fairfax

A few years ago we had a terrible summer here in the UK. It rained endlessly, and several major cities were flooded. It just so happened that as the downpours began, I was on my way on holiday, to southern France, and so I escaped all of it. I caught the train home on my last day at work, as usual, and remember my anxiety at the water level creeping nearer and nearer the tracks as we passed by our local river.

The very next week, I was in a completely different location. The skies were a bright, cloudless blue and the Mediterranean glittered under the sun. What a contrast with the gloomy and foreboding weather I’d left behind me. As I explored the south coast of France, I began to think as all writers do: how can I turn this wonderful scenery into the setting for a story?

The mixture of gloom and clear, bright skies took a hold in my mind. Whilst in the south of France I took the opportunity to visit the tiny principality of Monaco, and when I saw the Palace, and the guards parading in their white uniforms, a story began to take root. Now that story has been fleshed out, and has become a novella, full of suspense and romance, and solidly based in the wondrous light of the Mediterranean.

Here’s an excerpt, to give you a flavour of the surroundings:

It was eleven o’clock precisely. Daria dropped back to let me pass. The heat rose in waves from the stone flags, and a bright sun beat down on my bare head as I stepped through the doors. I blinked in the unaccustomed light, casting a brief glance at the blue sky I had only seen through glass for five long weeks. To my starved eyes, its colour was a miracle of purity.

Palace at Monaco--Image Courtesy of Pixabay

The carriage was waiting, gleaming gold in the sun like something from a fairy tale. Two white horses, large and proud, snorted and stamped at its head. Everything had the quality of a dream, and it seemed to me as though I were outside my own body, gazing down at Princess Charlotte of Montverrier as she left for her ceremony.

And then Léon was by my side, and the cool fabric of my dress floated around my ankles as he handed me into my seat. I felt Léon’s fingers press mine—the merest touch of reassurance—before he followed lightly behind me. I sank back into the carriage’s blue silk seat, and the horses swept through the gates.

Léon’s attention turned to the crowds as we emerged onto the avenue. A great roar went up, and in the bright Mediterranean sun everything took on a vibrancy and intensity such as I’d never before experienced. The bright green of the poplars stirring gently overhead, the vivid sky where seagulls whirled and cried, the gold and blue of the Montverrier colours, hanging from every lamp-post. The crowds waved and called out to me from behind the barriers. I leaned forward, returning their well wishes in the manner I’d practised so long, with a smile and a graceful wave, palm forward, the fingers of my hand slightly spread. Children sat on their parents’ shoulders, clutching flags, whilst others clung to the slender trunks of the poplars.

The carriage rattled down the avenue before rounding the corner into the square between the Mediterranean and the Cathedral. What a magnificent sight lay before us! The sea was a glittering expanse of brilliant blue and silver in the sunlight, and the stones of the great Cathedral a blinding white. A red carpet had been laid down for my arrival, lined on each side by trumpeters dressed in gold and blue. A group of maids-in-waiting, all in white, were at the bottom of the Cathedral steps to greet me. As we drew to a halt, a voice crackled in Léon’s ear-piece, and he spoke into his device. And then the carriage door was open, and two footmen helped me alight. The maids-in-waiting darted forwards to arrange my dress with deft fingers while the trumpeters sounded their welcome. Another great cheer went up from the waiting crowds, and it was time to begin the long procession into the Cathedral.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my excerpt, and a small taste of the brilliant heat and warmth of the south of France. Here is the blurb to Palace of Deception:

A sinister housekeeper, a silent bodyguard, and a missing princess—mystery and intrigue in a gripping romantic suspense

When Princess Charlotte of Montverrier disappears on the eve of her Investiture, Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life.

But in the run up to the ceremony, all is not what it seems in the Palace of Montverrier. Why does the housekeeper insist Lizzie keep to her suite of rooms? What danger lies outside the palace walls? As Lizzie learns her role, her only confidant is Léon, her quiet bodyguard…but what secrets is he keeping from her? And above all, what has happened to the missing Princess?

Mystery and suspense against the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean city.

Palace of Deception is available in several international sites on Amazon, especially the following…

Other formats will be released in November.


I do hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my escape from the rain, and my romantic suspense! If you’d like to hear more, you can find me on my website, on Facebook, or on Twitter

Thanks so much for having me, Rochelle!

You’re very welcome, Helena!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

My Best Friend's Ex by Tina Gayle


She loved him first, but her best friend married him. Now, divorced Brooke must choose between her best friend and the man of her dreams.

Brooke Janson has loved Garrett Sawyer since she met him on her first day of high school. Now, he’s free to love her too. Except, his ex-wife happens to be her best friend.

How can Brooke choose between a friend she’s known since kindergarten and the man her heart wants?


“Hello, Brooke.”

Ignoring the sudden butterflies in her stomach, she waved a casual hand. “Hi, Garrett. It’s been awhile.”

“I believe it was just before Janet moved out, almost a year.”

“Janet told me about the divorce. I debated whether to call, but, well...I didn’t know what to say.” To cover her awkwardness, Brooke allowed the words to flow from her mouth as if she had vocal diarrhea. “I always considered you, my friend, too. We had such fun together. I wanted to see if I could do anything for you, but I...”

Embarrassed by her rambling, she stared at the stuff in her cart; lettuce, fruit, protein bars, each one good for her.

Man, I need to pick up a box of cookies.

Forcing back the urge to binge on any tasty treat available, she recalled how his face lit up when he was excited, his deep belly laughter, and his willingness to listen when she had a problem.

Damn it, she didn’t blame him for the breakup. Well, maybe for not listening to her warning. She had told him that her friend had a natural tendency to throw responsibility to the wind. Still, Brooke hadn’t wanted to take sides. Because it was incredibly hard to choose between two people she cared about, one a friend since kindergarten and the other the man of her dreams. Guilt sparked inside her.

Why? Did she still want more than just to be his friend? Was this her chance?

“Don’t worry, I’m over it now. I bought a house, which requires most of my time. I spent last weekend putting in a new hot-water heater. The old one leaked.” Garrett brushed a hand through his dark, curly hair. The silky strands fell back into place without distracting from the perfect picture he represented.

Sexy, hot, and totally off limits.

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Tina Gayle grew up a dreamer and loved to escape into the world of books.

After years of working in the business world doing a variety of jobs, she decided to try her hand at writing and hope to incorporate the joy of being a mother into her books.

Currently working on a series about four executive wives, she is excited about combining elements of women's fiction with the passion of romance. The first three books, “Marketing Exec’s Widow”, “IT Exec’s Baby” and now “CFO’s Affair” have all been released. The last one will be out next year.

Married twenty-five years, she and her husband love to travel and play golf. She can’t wait for Mike to retire so they can do more of both.

Read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website.

Find Tina Gayle everywhere

Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Dose of Danger by Kim McMahill


When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss, they are targeted by a group dedicated to controlling the multi-billion dollar a year diet-product industry. Her unsanctioned testing methods bring tragedy to the family ranch and the attention of the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run she soon realizes she must trust the deputy with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?


She hadn’t heard Logan enter, but she didn’t object when he pried the handset from her fingers and put his arm around her shoulders.

“Hey, Moss. How are you feeling today?”

Grace could only hear one side of the conversation, but it was enough to know Moss wasn’t the only one who cared about her fate.

“Don’t worry. I’ll keep her safe, I promise. Yes, I’ve noticed she can be a bit stubborn, but she knows when to cooperate and hasn’t given me too much trouble. No, I can’t give you any details. The less you know the better. We’ll leave as soon as the sheriff calls back with a location.

“You have what? Where? If we need it, thanks. If we don’t I never heard those words. Yes, I noticed the trailer lights aren’t working, and the clutch on your truck sticks a bit. I may be from Arizona, but I do know how to pull a horse trailer and operate a truck in four-wheel-drive. We better not tie up the line too long, but we’ll call as soon as we get to wherever we’re going. What? Yes, I’d be happy to do that for you. Take care.”

By the time Logan hung up, the tears were gone. Hearing Moss treating the big, strong deputy like a child made her smile. She missed her uncle so much it hurt. Even in a hospital bed hundreds of miles away, he was still trying to take care of her.

“What would you be happy to do for Uncle Moss?”

“This,” he replied as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. His lips moved slowly over hers until he felt her arms slide up around his neck. He deepened the kiss, and her response sent fire through his body. Even without his heavy coat on, he knew he would be burning just as hot. She fit against him like they were made for each other. When he finally let her go, she looked up at him with a wicked smile that made him itch to grab for her again.

As if sensing his intention, Grace took several steps back. “I’m fairly certain that wasn’t what Moss asked you to do for him.”

“Maybe he said something about giving you a hug for him, but I started tuning him out when he decided I needed driving instructions. Anyway, I didn’t want to disappoint an injured old man, so I winged it.”

Grace studied him for a moment. Maybe he won’t walk out on me, but even if he does, I might as well make the most of every moment we have together. She smiled and moved within reach.

Logan needed no further encouragement. He pulled her toward him. With one arm firmly around her waist, he ran his fingers through her hair. “Yes, those curls are just as soft as they look,” he moaned as his lips descended to hers, cutting off any response.


Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming, which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Since leaving Wyoming she has enjoyed many opportunities to see the world, and has lived amid some of America’s most stunning landscapes. Kim started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense. Along with writing adventure novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook. When not writing, Kim enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with family.

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