Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway : ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden

MindGames_medMind Games is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.

In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.

And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.

Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?

I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.

Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.

Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.

Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Connect with the author on the web: 

Website / Newsletter / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+

My review was originally published on Blogcritics

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*The giveaway begins on April 15, 2014 at midnight and ends on July 16, 2014 at midnight.

Book Blitz: Invitation by Christina Hoffman

Invitation book blitz 2

 Pump Up Your Book and contemporary romance author Christina Hoffman are excited to announce the Invitation Book Blitz!

Invitation 7

Title: Invitation
Author: Christina Hoffman
Publisher: Christina Hoffman
Pages: 187
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Format: Paperback/Kindle

BUY LINKS:

Available in kindle ebook and paperback at USA  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JDZ63YK Canada   http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00JDZ63YK France   http://www.amazon.com.fr/dp/B00JDZ63YK  Germany   http://www.amazon.com.de/dp/B00JDZ63YK

Available at Smashwords in epub, mobi, pdf and doc.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/427620

Book Summary

Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she’s in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion. Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she’s intrigued and can’t turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they’ve found their perfect match. But with Liam’s fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison’s fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?

Excerpt

I can’t even blame it on the booze. There wasn’t any, or at least there wasn’t any for me. I was with Chloe, my bodyguard. Okay, actually she was my friend, but a really overprotective friend who knew all about what I’d been through and wanted to make sure it never happened again. So, no alcohol.

But, what she and I hadn’t counted on was him being there. There I was, minding my own business, putting in my time at the Med School Social, more than ready to head home for some studying, then Chinese food and a movie. And suddenly, him.

I was inhaling when I caught sight of him, but my breath just stopped. It felt like being punched in the chest. I kept telling myself, look away, look away! But it was impossible. I was paralyzed. His beautiful face and magnificent body were magnets, and my eyes were locked on them.

I hadn’t felt this kind of physical attraction since, well, ever. I had never felt like that. I had stayed away from men for two years. I was pretty much terrified of them, to tell the truth. But there he was. Unavoidable and irresistible.

I saw him in profile. Oh, that hair. Thick, almost curly, falling into his eyes. The kind of hair you need to gently push off of his face right before you kiss him. Or, the kind of hair you grab really hard right before you’re about to…

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point I’m trying to make is that my mind very clearly recognized all the dangers ahead and was saying, “Turn around, go, get out of here! Before it’s too late.” But then he turned around to look right at me. It was already too late.

We held each other’s gaze a second longer than politeness required. Something inside me went click, and for the first time in almost two years, I felt young and alive, and really, really turned on. Every part of me suddenly woke up, and all the best parts started to tingle. I was breathing harder. My lips parted slightly, already begging to be kissed.

It was a little overwhelming. I was out of practice. No, actually, I had never had the kind of practice you would need to stay controlled in a situation like that. I think maybe you can have a soul mate for your mind, and also one for your body. And my body was saying “Get me over there right now!”

But I was still too afraid. I smiled a little and turned away.

I had to stay for a while, to look sociable, so I went over to the food table and stared at the snacks, which were already stale. Nothing looked very good, and my throat was too tight to eat anyway.

I was starting to formulate a plan for escaping without the other students or the teachers noticing when I felt the air move behind me, the softest caress against my bare shoulders. Then, a hand on my back, an electric shock to my body, wildly pleasurable. I gasped and spun around. Right into the arms of…

“I’m Liam.”

Liam. Right into the arms of Liam. Oh, he was even more beautiful up close. My hand rose all on its own to push that wonderful floppy hair from his face. I stopped suddenly, embarrassed, but he caught my wrist, and held my palm gently to his face. We looked at each other and knew.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asked, and of course, foolish, foolish woman that I am, I said, “Yes.”

I saw him my first day at the new hospital. I’m a medical student and had just finished the lecture part of things where we sit around learning about chemical reactions and body parts. That was over, at last, and we were moving on to seeing real live patients in the hospital.

The orientation was step one in getting us ready for our new roles. We each got a short lab coat and a tour of the locker rooms. We received our ID tag photos.

I’m not sure why I first noticed Liam.

Since the bad thing happened, I keep my head down and make eye contact with pretty much nobody. I wear my hair in a tight bun at the nape of my neck and my clothes are dull and loose. On that particular day, I was trying very hard to concentrate. I was excited to be starting work in the hospital, but I was mostly terrified. There was so much to take in and remember. My head was reeling after only two hours. The last thing on my mind was men. So, who knows why I took that second look as he walked by our group.

Well, actually I do know why. He was gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous. Dark wavy hair, just slightly overgrown so he looked like a happy surfer who’d tumbled out of bed. Smiling eyes. Sparkling, mischievous, movie star eyes. A little bit of stubble, likely because he had been on call all night. The rest of him looked pretty much immaculate. He wore light wool pants and a sky blue shirt. No tie, but the white lab coat made him look professional enough.

I was dedicated to maintaining my nun-like lifestyle, but, seriously, it was impossible not to look at him. Even Chloe noticed him. She looked at him, then at me. She shook her head lightly and whispered, “No”. I laughed a little because she sounded like a mom telling a toddler that she couldn’t have any candy. Well, that was pretty much what was happening, so I guess Chloe nailed that.

She was absolutely right. I didn’t want any trouble. Certainly not that awful, frightening feeling of falling in love. No time-consuming romance. And certainly not all the time I had lost trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened before. Even a plain old tiny heartbreak could set me back, and put me way off course in my career.

No, I didn’t have the time or energy for any distractions. Nothing. Just work and school.

So I ignored the stunning resident with the black hair, and tried to focus on the tall blond giving us the orientation spiel. This was much easier because I felt no attraction to him at all. He was really handsome, too. But something about him seemed mean. Or maybe arrogant. It’s hard to remember what I thought of him that first time, because the memory is so clouded with all that came after. I’ll just say he was a tall, slim blond who should have caught my eye, but didn’t.

About the Author:

Christina Hoffman

Christina Hoffman was born in London, England. She moved with her family throughout Canada and the US, and has finally put down her suitcase, for now, in San Francisco.

She believes that everyone has the right to feel both smart and sexy. We don’t have to be one or the other! She writes stories about characters who live in the real world and who, somehow, still believe in love.

She’s starting a mini-revolution. She writes sexy stories, but hasn’t lost the romance from her Romances. Enough with whips — back to lips!

She hopes you enjoy her stories and see yourself in her characters. After all, they are based on smart and sexy people, just like you.

Christina’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Invitation.

Visit her website at www.christinahoffman.com.

Connect & Socialize!

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Interview with Christopher Zoukis, co-author of ‘Directory of Federal Prisons’

Christopher ZoukisChristopher Zoukis is an impassioned advocate for prison education, a legal scholar, and a prolific writer of books, book reviews, and articles.  His articles on prison education and prison law appear frequently in Prison Legal News, and have been published in The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, and Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications.

Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners’ rights, and prison education.  Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America’s broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis.

When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners’ rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging at PrisonLawBlog.com, PrisonEducation.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com.

His latest book is The Directory of Federal Prisons: PrisonLaw.com’s Federal Bureau of Prison Facility Directory.

Directory of Federal PrisonsQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Christopher.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I now have had two books published: Education Behind Bars (Sunbury Press, 2012) and the e-book the Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2014).  I am also currently under contract with McFarland and Company for my next title College for Convicts and I am engaged in discussions with both North Law Publishers about several nonfiction books and with Zharmae Publishers about my novel Hamish.  So, lots in the works.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go — mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Education Behind Bars was published by Sunbury Press, a traditional publisher.  The Directory of Federal Prisons was published by Middle Street Publishing, which would probably qualify as a small press.  Middle Street Publishing owns PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com, three websites I regularly contribute to.  As such, when the idea for this e-book came about, they were a natural fit.  We saw the publication of the Directory of Federal Prisons as a natural outgrowth of our existing prison education, prisoners’ rights, and social justice advocacy efforts.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

For Education Behind Bars it was within 6 months.  The text was already fairly clean due to my retaining a freelance copyeditor even before submitting the book for publication consideration at Sunbury Press.  The Directory of Federal Prisons also took around 6 months to publication, but was different since I was heavily involved in the production, copyediting, and promotional processes.  I guess the difference is that while with Sunbury Press I sat back and let their team do their work, with Middle Street Publishing I took the reigns and really poured my heart and soul into the Directory of Federal Prisons‘ production and promotion, along with its researching and writing.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Well, considering that I’m a federal prisoner, I called home.  My folks were thrilled.  My friends were supportive.  I think I even ate a honey bun and drank a soda, both bought from my prison’s commissary.  Not quite a book launch party, but a pleasant experience nonetheless.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for promotion when you were published for the first time?

I didn’t really do a whole heck of a lot for Education Behind Bars.  I placed a few ads in publications such as Prison Legal News, I sent out review copies, and I continued to write at PrisonEducation.com.  Sadly, back then I didn’t know a whole lot about book promotion and marketing.  It didn’t help the cause that the administration at this prison apparently didn’t like some of my criticisms of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, because right after the book came out, I was locked in the Hole for five months on false charges that I was running a business with my advocacy efforts.  Those charges were later expunged but I will never get that time back, and I probably could have done a lot more to promote the book if I wasn’t locked in a solitary confinement cell.

The Directory of Federal Prisons was a completely different story.  This time around, I was ready and had a plan.  I started by hiring Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book to manage a three-month blog tour.  I followed this with advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, a press release, an ongoing email marketing campaign, and extensive outreach to online bloggers and book reviewers.  Thus far, the promotional efforts have paid off very well.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Getting over the hurdle of publishing a book seemed to help me overcome the idea that other books might be out of reach.  What I mean to say is that once I published Education Behind Bars, I realized that whatever I wanted to work on next, I could.  And that I could succeed at any book project as long as I put in the effort.  Now I have a different problem: what project to devote my time to.  That’s turned out to be quite a question.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

In many other industries, it’s all about who you know and the power you wield.  But in the book publishing industry — in particular the realm of online publicity and publication — it seems just as much to do with how well you can research, plan, and execute the plan.  Promotion and exposure has been fairly easy in this regard.  It seems as if a lot of what is out there is just mindless, low quality dribble.  So, when we’ve come out with quality, researched products, many doors simply open.  This has amazed me the most.  Even from the belly of the beast — the Federal Bureau of Prisons — a career as a professional writer can be had, and many doors can be opened with enough planning, dedication, and effort.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being able to make a difference in what I view as my constituents’ minds.  I view prisoners, their families, and their attorneys to be my constituents.  Not many others in prison are doing the sort of work we do at PrisonEducation.com and PrisonLawBlog.com.  As such, we have a responsibility to do what we can to help as many people as we possibly can.  I think we do a remarkable job at this.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

The way to become a better writer is to read and write.  It’s that simple.  But before you knock on publication’s door, it’s essential to be well versed in author platform building and effective book promotional techniques.  Just because a book is published, it doesn’t mean that it will sell or that anyone will know about it.  It is the author’s job to tell people and to market the text in a cost-effective manner.  Knowing how to do this prior to publication can make all the difference in the world.

Summer in the Heart by John McMillan Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT SUMMER IN THE HEART


Summer in the HeartTitle:
 Summer in the Heart
Genre: Fiction
Author: John McMillan
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 256 pages
Release Date: May 9, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-46200-974-9

“That summer in the heart which is known only in youth.”

Summer in the Heart is a lyrical evocation of the innocence, fun and liberation of growing up in the 1960s. Moving into and through his teens, Jim Mitchell must put his County Antrim village childhood behind him and adapt to the wider world of grammar school and the life of Belfast city.

In the process the reader accompanies Jim on a series of marvellous episodes. There is the self-conscious torture of his first school dance; playing truant from the formidable Cheyenne Bodie’s maths class; and the secrecy and fear that surround the summer love he finds with his country sweetheart June.

Subsequently we follow Jim’s progress through the coffee bars and streets of Belfast, new friendships and the love of city girl Katie, to his first real taste of freedom on a working holiday at an English seaside resort in the long hot summer of 1964. Jim progresses from the self-doubt and alienation of early adolescence to the beginnings of emotional maturity. The disparate settings and characters of the novel are conveyed with equal power, small worlds portrayed in a poetic way, with delicious feeling and humour.

iUniverse

 

ABOUT JOHN MCMILLAN

 

John Kerr McMillan was born in County Armagh in 1948 and educated in Belfast, London and Bournemouth.

His first novel “On A Green Island” was published in 2001 to general critical acclaim. Peter Berresford Ellis writing in the Irish Democrat described it as “a powerful story, a fascinating first novel from a talented writer”; Edward Upward commented “the strength of his love for rural Ireland is beautifully conveyed” and Philip Callow praised “a narrative that grips the reader from the first page.”

Married with two daughters, John now lives in Somerset where his time is occupied with writing, lecturing and his family.

 

Pump Up Your Book and John are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Islam in the Heartland of America by Imam Omar Hazim Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Islam in the Heartland of AmericaTitle: Islam in the Heartland of America
Genre: Religion/Spirituality
Author: Imam Omar Hazim
Publisher: Xlibris
EBook: 279 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-45685-798-1

“The purpose of this book is to inform and educate the general public of how Islam is taught in a mosque in the heartland of America. It includes the Friday khutbah (sermons) by Imam Omar Hazim and several other Imams (Spiritual Leaders). The hope is to help to clarify some of the
misconceptions and distortions about the religion of Islam. In addition to the sermons, there will be articles from other publications, excerpts of sermons and photos. Included also is information about the diversity among the Muslim population in the Heartland of America. This book is very timely, as Islam has been reported as being the fasting growing religion in the World. For anyone who ever thought about or wondered what is taught in the Friday services at a Mosque, this book is a must read for them.”

 

Xlibris

 

 

 

Pump Up Your Book and Imam are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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So What Do You Think by Clair Swinburne Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT SO WHAT DO YOU THINK

Title: So What Do You Think

Genre: Self Help/Personal Growth

Author: Clair Swinburne

Publisher: iUniverse

EBook: 112 pages

Release Date: July 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-46202-936-5

This psychology guide for teens presents an overview of how the mind works to give you a clearer understanding of how to look after your mental health.

We all need to take care of our mental health. But just how do you accomplish this? In So What Do You Think? author Clair Swinburne helps teenagers understand the natural workings of the mind and uncovers interesting facts about what affects our reality to provide insights into how to achieve positive results in life.

So What Do You Think? examines the attitudes, outlooks, and mindsets that produce success in life. It reviews how the mind works and how it can impact your behaviour, your reality, the things you attract into your life and your body. This analysis will provide a greater understanding of how to look after your mind and it will give you a deeper knowledge about what works for you and what doesn’t.

Using anecdotes and humour, Clair helps you learn new perspectives and strategies that can improve your well-being and produce more positive attitudes and results. So What Do You Think? also outlines ten practical techniques to help you begin looking after your mental health now.

 

iUniverse

ABOUT CLAIR SWINBURNE

Clair Swinburne is an experienced teacher who has taught in the United Kingdom and Ireland and for many years has worked as a pastoral leader and mentor. She is also a master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming. Her positive interaction with teenagers prompted her to write the So What …? book series. She currently lives in Ireland.

 

Pump Up Your Book and Clair are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Twisted Venom by V.W. Raynes Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT TWISTED VENOM


Twisted Venom

Title: Twisted Venom

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Author: V.W. Raynes

Publisher: AuthorHouse

EBook: 300 pages

Release Date: December 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-49183-399-5

When young internist Claudia Ranelli attends a medical conference in San Francisco, she has a sexual encounter so bizarre and frightful it nearly kills her. But that isn’t the end of her terror. Claudia and her cousin Dru Salinas must discover the identity of the person terrorizing them both, a quest that leads from pit vipers to modern genetics. Claudia tells a gripping story with sensitivity, a humanly scientific perspective, eroticism and a wry sense of humor.

 

AuthorHouse

 

ABOUT V.W. RAYNES

 

V. W. Raynes is the pen name of a physician practiciing in Texas.

 

Pump Up Your Book and V.W. are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 1 and ends on April 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 16, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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