Monday, September 25, 2017

"Unorthodox" by S. Peters-Davis

(A Kendra Spark Novel Book 1)
by S. Peters-Davis

Unorthodox (A Kendra Spark Novel Book 1) by S. Peters-Davis

Unorthodox by S. Peters-Davis is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery romance author and communicator with the dead, is requested to hop on the first flight to D.C. Jenna Powers, FBI criminal analyst and estranged best friend of Kendra, gets ghosticized in a fatal accident before relaying all the details of the FBI killer case. Derek Knight, a dedicated FBI Special Task Force agent, leads on the case.
The investigation into the FBI agent killings continues as Kendra, Jenna (yes, even after death, and Derek work together on the case before Director of the Special Task Force Jackson Powers’ number is up. He’s Jenna’s father and the end-game of the killer’s target list. But somehow the elusive killer remains undetected, until Kendra’s unique ability produces results and a final possibility at stopping his killing spree before it’s too late.

[The scene – Derek has Kendra in a casual interrogation room inside the FBI building – D.C. location]
The door opened and Jackson Powers entered before I could respond.
He glanced around the room stopping when he saw me; his red rimmed eyes spoke volumes. I clearly remembered his presence, a straightforward man, full of confidence and direction, but in this moment he appeared like a man broken. I rose and reached for a hand shake. Instead, he grabbed my hand and pulled me into a big bear hug.
“I’m so very sorry about Jenna. Sorry for your loss, for my loss…” Muscles tensed around my vocals and cut off the words.
Tears spilled from both of us. Derek stepped out of the room, clicking the door closed.
“Jenna told me she was meeting with you today, going to show you the city sights.” Jackson held me for a few more minutes, patting my back and telling me it wasn’t my fault.
The thought of the accident initially being my fault had never entered my mind. Why would that thought cross his? I stepped back. Obviously he hadn’t received the latest details of the accident, but even so why would he consider that I’d feel responsible. Even if I questioned that maybe I could have done something to stop her in some way, she did save that boy. “Not sure what you mean…in thinking it could be my fault?”
His eyes widened, maybe a little startled at my blatant question. “I assumed Jenna ran after a little culprit that grabbed your purse or something much worse. She must have gotten caught up in the chase to run in front of on-coming traffic.” His face softened. “Kendra, I know Jenna, there was nothing you could have done to stop her. She’s always been head-strong…was always
head-strong,” he corrected himself, then his voice cracked, and suddenly something occurred to me.
Jackson isn’t privy to Jenna and Derek’s manhunt for the FBI killer, nor the reason I’m here. Of course. Jenna had tagged along to certain crime scenes while she was still in college, but from all that I remembered, Jackson wanted her profiling cases strictly inside the building. She had access to all the crime scenes from pictures and files on her laptop. At least she always used to complain about his restrictions, and I couldn’t imagine he would allow her in the field on a serial killer task force, unless things had changed in the last couple years.
There’d been a few close calls on other cases, some of the agent’s family members being abducted or being used for negotiation, leverage. While in college, Jenna told me all the rules her father had enforced if she were to join in any of the FBI cases. He protected her, and now she had returned the favor…to her demise.
Jenna and Derek were hunting the serial killer behind Jackson’s back.
There was a tap on the door and Derek stepped in. His brows were drawn close, eyes narrowed, perhaps his expression of concern. “Sir, I thought Kendra might be hungry. She hasn’t eaten all day.” He smiled at me, and then looked back at Jackson. “I’m headed out for a late lunch and thought I’d take her with me.”
Jackson’s lips pressed together. He finally lifted his chin toward me. “Well, of course. We certainly wouldn’t want anyone going hungry now, would we,” more of a statement than a question. He patted my shoulder. “Go on, Kendra. We can continue our talk later. I’d like to hear exactly what happened to my daughter from someone who was there to witness it.”
Derek grasped my elbow and led me toward the door.
Instead of following, Jackson released a long breathy sigh and sat on the couch. “Shut the door behind you, Derek. And tell Darla I don’t wish to be disturbed.”
My heart swelled huge behind my ribcage, again the confining weight pressing in on my ability to breathe. I couldn’t imagine the emotional maelstrom Jackson was going through. I knew only my own turbulent ride. Now I needed to get some facts straight; it was my turn to interrogate Derek.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Murder, ghosts, psychics, the writer's life - this story had everything I so enjoy in a good book. It's certainly an 'unorthodox' tale. Well-written and captivating, this gripping thriller entices the reader from beginning to end. I look forward to more Kendra Spark novels." ~ Sandra's Book Reviews
"This book has everything I love. Suspense and paranormal. I felt the character development was well done. The story was very well written. You follow Kendra, Jenna and Derek (ghost whisperer, ghost and FBI) thru a thrilling ride of mystery with a ghost to help along the way. [...] I am excited that this is only book 1 because I can see big things coming with this series and author." ~ angelique burns
"This is a thrilling, suspenseful read that combines ghosts and solving crimes, and does it quite well. The book is very interesting and keeps you hooked, from start to finish, really pulling you right into the crime scenes, and the sad, untimely death of the FBI analyst." ~ Naturalbri (Bri Wignall)
"This book was really good. The touch of spook factor along with the suspense, mystery and paranormal (which is always fun) all blended together making the perfect combination." ~ GothicMom'S Reviewers
"Unorthodox is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you engaged from the very beginning." ~ Sapphyria

Guest Post by the Author
Story-Star Interview with Kendra Spark – MC of Unorthodox
Hello Lynda and everyone visiting Books Direct. :) I’m S. Peters-Davis, author of Unorthodox, a paranormal suspense-thriller. I’ve got Kendra Spark sitting across from me. She’s a mystery romance author, the main story-star of Unorthodox, and she has agreed to answer a few interview questions.
I’m totally geeked as she’s always been on the ink-side of my pen, and now she’s ... well, wearing a gray and green jogging get-up that reminds me of Jenna’s (another story-star in Unorthodox). *smiles*
Without further introduction, I’m going to jump right in and if anyone else has a question or comment for Kendra, please feel at liberty to post it in the comment section – she’s ours for the day; )
SPD – Kendra, your eyes really are the most beautiful shade of violet in this lighting and your hair is longer then I remember, a lot curlier too. Do you wear tinted contacts?
Kendra – No. I don’t wear contacts or glasses, at least not yet; and my hair grew a bit longer since last we saw each other. Humidity determines the tightness of the curls in my hair, and it’s been crazy humid lately. I love the four seasons of Michigan, but boy, sometimes that humidity ... whew.
SPD – I hear you. You’re north of where I live, thought it would be milder. *chuckles* How about your writing? Clara Jones is your literary agent, right? *Kendra nods* How’s that relationship going?
Kendra – Clara’s happy for the moment, but she’ll be pressing for the first book in the next series. She thrives on productive authors and she’s good at inspiring performance. I just got back from California, signing a contract with Knixton House Publishing. Thankfully the publisher enjoys mysteries and romance ... and he’s willing to wait for the next series. I have a feeling that the upcoming case I’ll be working as an FBI consultant with Derek and Jenna (in Malevolent) will be jam-packed with story potential for my mysteries.
SPD – Oh, so you’re working as an FBI consultant? As in you decided to take the job?
Kendra – I just received a proposition from FBI Special Task Force Director Jackson Powers. Apparently my ability can be an asset in solving cases. My grandmother believes it’s my true calling over everything else, including my novel writing. I’m not sure about giving anything up yet ... only that I’ll be working on Director Jackson’s next case with Derek and Jenna.
SPD – So ... about Jenna ...
Kendra – Without giving away any spoilers ...all I can say is Jenna is still working cases as an FBI criminal analyst.
SPD – Okay, understood. I’ll move on to Derek. He’s an attractive single FBI Task Force agent ... one of the best, I understand. And you’re an attractive single mystery author. *I wiggle my brows* Anything you’d like to share?
Kendra – Yes, Derek ... striking blue eyes, dark wavy hair, dimple on his left cheek ... just up from the corner of his mouth when he smiles. *she stares off for a moment and catches herself then chuckles* It’s the writer inside me that gets a bit carried away with defining descriptions. *she shakes her head* All I’ll say is, yes, he is attractive, but his attractiveness goes much deeper than his good looks.
SPD – Interesting. And something to look forward to also, but for now, I’ll move on. What is it that annoys you most?
Kendra – Being called a psychic. Not just the name, but the inflicting tone used to say it out loud. That has a tendency to leave nasty burning holes in my confidence.
SPD – I’m sorry you have to deal with nay-sayers. I know you have an amazing gift and you’re putting it to good use. I agree with your grandmother’s thought about it being a "calling".
Thank you, Kendra, for your honest responses – I appreciate the chance to get to know you and to share this exclusive interview with your fans.
Kendra – Thanks for having me, Lynda and everyone visiting Books Direct – always a pleasure to spend time with readers who enjoy paranormal, suspense-thriller romances. Have an amazing week, everyone, and I hope you all enjoy my story. :)

About the Author
S. Peters-Davis
S. Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RVing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.
She also writes YA paranormal, supernatural novels as DK Davis.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, a $10 Amazon gift card, or a box of See's Candy (US only).


Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Emerging Victorious" by Venitian Brooks

Emerging Victorious:
How to overcome the obstacles of infertility
by Venitian Brooks

Emerging Victorious: How to overcome the obstacles of infertility by Venitian Brooks

Author Venitian Brooks joins us today to introduce her memoir, Emerging Victorious, and to share an excerpt and a special guest post. You can also enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card.

The author exemplifies the pain and experience that infertility has brought as a result of being healed. This book is designed to encourage those who desire conception. This book can help couples to build a stronger relationship and love together. As a result of the many ups and downs this book can help to bring hope. The main goal of this book is to support, share, and motivate others. Infertility loss takes faith, trust, and commitment to cause things to change.

Having faith conquers many obstacles that humans face.
Abraham is a great example of faith in the Bible, and his biggest test of faith was believing God for a child. Hebrews 11: 11-12 tells us "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age - and Sarah herself was barren- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made a promise. And so, from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."
Abraham and Sarah are a great example, especially for women who are concerned that they are too old to conceive. I like the way the Amplified Version of verse 11 tells it: "Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered God who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to his word." Sarah’s story reminds us to stop focusing on the circumstances of not being pregnant, and to instead focus on God. Believing God for anything in life grows and strengthens our faith. The more we wait for it, the more our faith can grow (no wonder Abraham and Sarah were such strong examples of faith-filled people!). God gave us an awesome promise in Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe, that you have received it, and it will be yours." When I was younger I have always wanted a large family. Just like Abraham and Sarah one day my dream came true. Dealing with infertility there are options like counseling, medical treatments, or adoption. Infertility can be a painful and emotional experience. My experience from this loss has shaped me into the woman that I am today. Even during this difficult time, I was there for others who were going through also. I am reminded of a friend who was also barren at the time I was. We always encouraged each other to stand the test of time. So as the years past, we as believers stood faithfully on the promises of God. In spite, of the feelings of sadness, guilt and disappointment we stood the test. My greatest prayer is that this book brings hope and comfort to all who suffers or desire fertility. The journey of infertility has been wonderful, challenging, learning, and productive. Remember good things come to those who wait!
[You can look inside the book here.]

Guest Post by the Author
Having patience when dealing with infertility is very important. The longer it takes, the more you began to question yourself with thoughts like is it God’s will for me to bear children? Am I doing something wrong? Maybe it’s purposed for us to adopt a child. I’m sure you’ve tried just about everything to get close to our desire of having a baby. It is unfortunate that sometimes it may take over a year and even longer for some couples to conceive. My personal infertility journey took almost ten years before I could have my first born.
When I look back, I can say that it was worth the wait. In the process, I was an emotional wreck and disappointed. I want to encourage you not to be weary in well doing. Remain faithful as a husband or wife. Your next level is determined by your faithfulness. When all the cares of the world seem to be coming after you, when all things are breaking loose, when people start turning against you, or it seems you are singled out, do you realize it’s preparation for a promotion? It’s an opportunity to remain faithful in your kindness, your attitude, your work, your ministry, in your giving, and in your service.
I write this letter to encourage you to remain faithful. If you do this, God will supernaturally place you in the right place at the right time. In your season of waiting, always keep the faith and trust in God and yourself. Don’t give up on your dreams - there is always a way.

About the Author
Venitian Brooks
Venitian Brooks was born in Albany, Georgia. She is a wife and mother of seven adopted children and four biological children. She battled Infertility for almost ten years. In 1998, Venitian earned her certificate as a CNA and holds a certificate as a substitute teacher. Venitian is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree as a teacher and her Associate’s degree in Health Care Management. She has mentored many youth of different ages in the foster care system. She has served as a spiritual coach and leader to others who have struggled with Infertility.
Venitian enjoys spending time with family, church, and supporting others. Her goal is to start a foundation to support hurting couples who are dealing with Infertility.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $5 gift card.


Quote of the Week by Ayn Rand

Quote of the Week
by Ayn Rand

"Words are a lens to focus one’s mind." ~ Ayn Rand

Saturday, September 23, 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 23 September 2017

This Week on Books Direct -
23 September 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 23 September 2017

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Recently, an image went viral of convicted sex offender Brock Turner's picture included in a criminal justice textbook's definition of rape.

The Criminology Textbook Using Brock Turner's Case As An Example Of Rape Has Been Addressed By Its Publisher by Morgan Shanahan for BuzzFeed

Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood is no fan of Donald Trump's presidency, but it has been a boon for her - at least in one way. Sales of her 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, have shot up since the election, and the Hulu series it inspired has also amassed a large fan base.

Margaret Atwood On Why Emmy-Winning Handmaid's Tale Resonates In The Trump Era: It's 'No Longer a Fantasy Fiction' by Sam Gillette for People tv

On Hide a Book Day, and as part of their Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, Goodreads teamed up with The Book Fairies to hide books for people to find, read, and pass on.

Hide A Book Day: Highlights from Around the World by Hayley for Goodreads

Author Toolbox 5: The Logline by Anna  Simpson for Emaginette
To try to get as many readers as possible to read your book's blurb, start with your logline.

Author Toolbox 5: The Logline by Anna  Simpson for Emaginette

You can now keep up with your book club more easily without dropping cash every month, thanks to Google. The company just added a new search feature that lets you look up book titles in your local library's e-book system straight from your phone.

You Can Now Search Your Library’s E-book Collection Straight From Google by Sasha Lekach for Mashable

Six Young Women With Prize-Winning Book Collections by Nadja Spiegelman for The Paris Review
Heather O’Donnell and Rebecca Romney at Honey & Wax Booksellers, in Brooklyn, are hoping to broaden our imaginative capabilities. This summer, they announced their first annual book-collecting prize, open to women under thirty.

Six Young Women With Prize-Winning Book Collections by Nadja Spiegelman for The Paris Review

An illustrator has shut down racist internet trolls who bombarded her with abuse after she depicted Harry Potter character Hermione Granger as black.

Racists Flip Out Over Artist’s 'Harry Potter' Picture With Black Hermione by Lee Moran for Huffington Post

A former Division III college baseball player is claiming the author's best-selling novel The Art of Fielding shares "extensive and substantial similarities" with his unpublished work.

Chad Harbach Is Being Sued For Copyright Infringement by Arianna Rebolini for BuzzFeed

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King by Emily Burnham for Bangor Daily News
Bangor’s most famous resident celebrated his 70th birthday on 21 September, hot on the heels of the blockbuster release of IT, which is now the highest-grossing Stephen King film adaptation of all time.

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King by Emily Burnham for Bangor Daily News

If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, September 22, 2017

"Finding You" by Lydia Albano

Finding You
by Lydia Albano

Finding You by Lydia Albano

Finding You by Lydia Albano is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Taken from home and family, all they have is each other: a young woman learns to rely on her inner strength in this suspenseful debut that celebrates the power of true love and never giving up.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla's only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as the days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming... If they're going to survive, they'll have to escape on their own.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Lydia Albano's debut novel Finding You is a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope even in the worst circumstances.

There was no doubt that we were the two most opposite people in all the world. But for all my failings, and the ways he balanced them out, I loved him with all my heart.
“Let’s run away,” he’d say when we were little. “Think of all the amazing places there are, waiting for us to see them, still secret and undiscovered.” And he’d spread his arms at the stars and breathe in deeply, eyes aglow with the lure of adventure. And if anyone could have ever made me try something reckless, it would have been he.
But I was the little girl who took out a book instead: about gemstones and minerals, industry in the past century, the lifespans of butterflies. Nothing that would interest the adventurous boy I loved. Nothing that translated into action.
And he’d look at me like I was sad and hopeless, and he’d sigh. He’d say, “You’ll never understand, dear. The world isn’t in books.” And he would leave, climbing off of the roof outside my window, down the iron bars and gutters and across the street to his own home.
But the next day he’d be back.
That was when my life—our life—was sweet and simple; before my mum died and his too, before Nicholas took over power, and everyone wanted copper and so many men were sent to work the mines. That was before the hottest day of the year I was sixteen, when the boy—who had somehow become a man, suddenly—climbed the rusty ladders to the roof outside my window, dressed all in brown.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Isla’s determination to reunite with her beloved Tam will captivate romance fans, and all will cheer her newfound self-reliance." ~ Booklist
"A timely reminder that female subjugation must always be fought. Hopefully, Isla’s journey of rebellion and self-exploration are only the beginning - a sequel would be a welcome treat." ~ VOYA
"So many times while reading this book I read the same sentences over and again because I loved the word choices and the imagery they crafted. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, suspenseful, engaging, and wonderfully substantive." ~ suellen foreman, Swoon Reader
"This book has an uncanny way of getting under your skin and staying there, making you recall not only your first crush but also inviting you into a dangerous world that hits all too close to home - sometimes all in the same sentence. Albano has created something incredibly special with Finding You. This is a story that will give you chills and keep you turning pages until the very end. I know it did that for me. The world needs more books like this one." ~ Samantha Chaffin, Swoon Reader
"Beautifully and emotionally written! ... Through this experience, these girls - especially Isla - grow and become stronger. They are able take action and come up with plans, despite never thinking they could be anything but weak. Girls can be smart, strong, and badass." ~ Chen Yan Chang, Swoon Reader

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Isla and Tam are two young people torn apart by circumstance. When Tam leaves to join the army, he gives Isla a heart locket to which he has the matching key. Isla is kidnapped while seeing him off at the train station and ends up in a dungeon, along with several other young girls. During her incarceration and the distressing events that ensue, Isla maintains her sanity by her unwavering faith that Tam will come to her rescue. The heart locket is her symbol of this hope and, when it is taken from her, Isla realizes she must plan her own escape. Will Isla and Tam ever be reunited and, if so, at what cost?
The book is set in a dystopian future, a world where there is no electricity, no motor vehicles, nor any modern methods of communication. How this world came to be is not explained. But the themes of the story are timeless, and the main theme of sex trafficking is especially timely. The book is slow to begin, but the pace picks up halfway through, when the story switches from Isla's captivity to being on the run. The book is very well-written, with some wonderful lines, but I found the overuse of the words "grating" and "rifling" to be, quite frankly, grating.
From the very first line, there is no doubt that Isla is in love with Tam. However, she is not sure that he reciprocates her feelings. It is this doubt that gives Isla the impetus to grow in confidence and self-reliance throughout the course of the book. She goes from being mild and bookish to being the leader of her ragtag band of new friends. Given this growth, I was disappointed by how she was "rescued" toward the end of the book. Although, as Isla herself says, "Maybe everyone needs saving sometimes."
While this story is complete, the author leaves it open for a sequel.
Warnings: sexual references, graphic violence.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"There was no doubt that we were the two most opposite people in the world. But for all my failings, and the ways he balanced them, I loved him with my whole heart."
"Everything is in chaos. The locket and the kiss are at war with the longing and the pain, and suddenly all I can think is that I never told him I love him."
"My dress clings to me like a cobweb."
"Every novel I’ve ever read tells me it’s possible, that the girl is always rescued from danger at the last minute."
"At least if I sleep, I might dream. And if I dream, I might see Tam."
"There’s only darkness in here. Thinking about the light just makes the shadows seem deeper."
"Doesn’t miss the sun. He’s made for the shadows, and the filth."
"I need a plan. All the books tell me that a heroine has a plan."
"I love books, and meeting the people inside them who don’t exist until you turn the page,"
"I don’t know what to say, so we sit together in silence, and I think about how beautiful my old life looks now,"
"... it’s as if saying his name out loud lights a match in the darkness: bright and warm, but only there for a second, and then the cold surrounds us again."
"I don’t have a guide to tell me what to do, moment by moment. But every story I’ve ever read has some love and some good and some evil."
"Maybe everyone needs saving sometimes."
"I’ll find him and make my own happy ending."
"A library. There are hardly a dozen books between all four walls, but I feel instantly at home."
"In some ways I’ll never be the same again, never be able to go back. The person I was before that hot day in the crowded city, that person is gone."

About the Author
Lydia Albano
Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, has just been released by SwoonReads/Macmillan.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Finding You by Lydia Albano (US/Canada only).