Monthly Archives: March 2016

Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer

S. M. Sawyer takes you on an amazing journey in his debut novel Justin’s Season.  Be prepared to witness a miracle and journey of discovery, hope and love.

I would recommended this book to readers 15 years and older.

justin's season

My FIVE Star Review: 

Justin’s Season is journey of discovery, redemption and love with Justin touching the lives of everyone he encounters.  As many of you already know, I will never include spoilers in my reviews so believe me when I say, this book is totally worth reading.

It’s 1977 and Justin Davis, a high school senior, has it all.  He’s the class hero, most likely to succeed, he excels in every sport, and he is the top quarterback recruit in the nation.  All the powerhouses in the Big Ten want him.  But then one night, while Justin is trying to understand his own feelings and sexual orientation, everything changes.

Now it’s 1988 and Justin has spent the last 12 years drinking, doing drugs and hiding away from the world.  He’s journey begins one morning with the sun shinning into the basement of his brother Mark’s house where Justin has been staying.  Will Justin take this opportunity he’s been given and follow the path and journey his angles are leading him on?

You will not regret reading this book and following along with Justin.  You will meet some interesting people along the way and see how one man’s journey and destiny can alter many others.  I truly believe God has a plan for each of us and we have to be open enough and trusting enough to go where we are lead.  I’m very thankful S. M. Sawyer shared Justin’s journey with me.

There is a speech Justin gives towards the end of the book and it’s my favorite scene.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Favorite Quote:

“None of us is an abomination.  We’re all here in His image, no matter the color of our skin, our orientation, our infirmities, and we are loved and celebrated by Him unconditionally.  And one day, as all are better able to accept His plan for us, then we, too, will love and celebrate each other as He does.”

After you’re done reading: 

Click on this link and listen to “Life is Beautiful” by Vega 4.  It will have new meaning for you and remind you of Justin’s journey.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv6k1wbrPC0

More about Justin’s Season:

“The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle.

Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories.

In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?”

About S. M. Sawyer:

S. M. Sawyer is a retired military officer. He has also served as a defense contractor and as President for a nationally accredited charity whose mission is to recognize exceptional maritime rescues and assist voluntary search and rescue organizations worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Natalie. They have five grown children. Justin’s Season is his debut literary effort.

Email S.M. here: justins.season@gmail.com 

Read an interview with S. M. Sawyer here: http://ninestarpress.com/s-m-sawyer-interview-part-1/

Find S. M. here: Facebook

Pick up your e-copy of Justin’s Season at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01CC9UEWU

Pick up your print copy of Justin’s Season at Amazon: https://amzn.com/1911153781

Pick up both print and e-copy at NineStarPress:  http://ninestarpress.com/product/justins-season/

As always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

Excerpt from Justin’s Season:

S.M. Sawyer © 2016  All rights reserved

A sliver of light from the early morning sun came through an exposed slit of the basement window blind, creeping its way against the wall until it came to rest upon Justin’s eyes. He lay sleeping in a jumbled mass of musty blankets on an old steel-framed bed. After a few moments of the sun’s focused rays beckoning him to awaken, he flinched and turned his head away, and then rolled onto his left side toward a dark corner in a vain attempt to deny the day’s arrival.

For Justin, it had been another long night, and the reminder of a new day came with a reluctant anticipation akin to that of a prisoner serving a life sentence without a chance for parole. He lay there motionless, holding the sheets close to his chin as he gazed upon an iconic black-and-white poster of James Dean. The actor walked down a puddled street with a cigarette between his lips, hands in his coat pockets, and his collar turned up to keep the cold and drizzle at bay. Marching down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and into immortality.

Though it had been hanging on the wall for fifteen years, Justin, enjoying a rare and lucid moment of circumspection, studied the poster in silence as if he were looking at it for the first time. You did it right, Mr. Dean, he thought. You died early…frozen in time. Leaving everyone wanting more. Never having to answer for life’s failings.

The unwelcome light from the sun continued to fill the room, exposing the remnants of Justin’s life before the troubles. Dusty citations, press clippings, photographs, scholarship offer letters, and trophies from his high school years. Collected over a decade before, they now served as the remaining threads that connected to past glories.

This is what happens, isn’t it? You peak early and get a little cocky that you’re in control, and instead of leaving on top, you live long enough to mutate into some bad apple that people use to warn their kids. “Don’t get too full of yourself or you’ll turn out like Justin Davis.” That’s right…I’m not remembered for what I was and what I should have been. It’s easier for voyeurs to whisper among themselves about the broken, washed-up, slow-motion train wreck I’ve become—how I let my charmed life slip away.

Justin sat up and swung his legs over as if getting out of bed, but stayed sitting there to give his head time to clear from another all-night bender and to gain a semblance of balance before stepping onto the cold cement floor. His still imposing six-foot-four-inch body, an inch taller than in his high school days, was out of shape and bloated. It served as a metaphor for everything else his life had become, contrary to the Greek god physique he’d had when he was seemingly in total charge of his life and circumstances.

His blond hair was long and greasy, and his face contorted by the miseries of daily self-flagellation through alcohol, drugs, and slovenly habits. His tongue felt thick and dry, and his eyes appeared as if seared on an iron skillet. He did his best to gather whatever strength remained to get up and to live what had become his own recurring Groundhog Day. He wanted water to quench his alcohol-induced thirst and to be bathed by a sympathetic and nonjudgmental geisha, washing away impurities and regret. But again he thought of sleep and of beckoning the dreams to reacquaint him with his previous life. He eased his head onto the pillow with hopes that sleep would allow him to wander back to his senior year in high school—to a time when he was admired by all and treated as the town’s favorite son.

Justin Davis was the class hero and the most likely to succeed. He had excelled at everything—sports, scholastics, popularity—and as the top quarterback recruit in the nation he received offers from scores of college football powerhouses representing the Big Ten and other major conferences. Why then, he continually asked himself, had he let his guard down—putting everything on the line and seeking confirmation from strangers?

Throughout his life he had felt that guardian angels were with him, but they’d abandoned him when he needed them most, so they could steward over someone more deserving…someone who wouldn’t risk all for a taste of what he had been brought up to consider the forbidden fruit. He couldn’t explain it, but life’s confusions made him feel that he no longer fit the role his angels had paved for him. That maybe he’d had a hand in sabotaging it before it went too far; a secret he kept hidden from himself and others with the aid of any mind-numbing substance he could get his hands on.

With his room in the basement of his brother’s home now bathed in full light, Justin drifted back to sleep, and from his sleep he could hear the marching band and cheers from the packed stadium as he led his team, charging onto the field through the gauntlet of cheerleaders. In reliving the moment, he managed a slight smile as his dreams took him back twelve years to the fall of 1976 and the sound of the PA system announcing the starting teams for the state of Ohio’s high school football championship game.

And as the dreams continued and the light of the sun streamed through the basement’s walk-out French door and remaining windows, Justin subconsciously felt a strange and unique sensation upon his dormant soul. The feeling of his angels returning to envelop his body like fresh snow on a blemished landscape—lovingly transforming his unkempt and damaged being. They had come to caress and heal his body and spirit, and renew his faith to trust what lay ahead.

Fallout (The Incorruptibles Book 2) by SD Wasley

Fallout is the second book in SD Wasley’s New Adult Paranormal Series, The Incorruptibles, which releases today, March 24, 2016.

fallout sd wasley

My FIVE Star Review: 

Fallout starts where Downfall left off.  (Click here to read my review of Downfall.) You really need to read Downfall first so you have a complete understanding of what is happening with these characters.  SD does a little re-capping but not enough and you don’t want to miss any of this trilogy.

The story continues with Cain and his group trying to save lives with the help of Frankie. They add a new member to the team and a stranger from Quebec, Leon, joins them. Tension is immediately felt within the group and I just new things weren’t going to go well.

Frankie and Cain’s relationship continues to grow and there were a few times I really wanted to smack them both in the head.  Their insecurities with each other were driving me crazy.  Darn those kids!  We also learn a great deal more about Cain’s past and those scenes with Frankie ended up being some of my favorites. Even Frankie goes through a few changes in this book.

SD threw in a few twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout the book.  Frankie’s Mom visits and let me tell you, it was an eye opener!

I’m really enjoying this series and would highly recommend you read it.  Book 3 is coming in June and I honestly can’t wait to find out how this story will end!

As with Downfall, Fallout also has several illustrations, within the book, created by the amazing Trevor O’Sullivan.  This one is my favorite.

trevor fallout

 

More about Fallout:

Even when love seems unbreakable, it can still be battered, distorted—damaged beyond repair.

There’s only one thing Frankie yearns for these days, and that’s to share the gift that makes Cain so extraordinary. But no matter how inferior she feels, she’s determined to help the man she loves with his secret rescues, hoping that one day she will access a higher power of her own.

The one thing she knows for sure is that nothing will ever come between her and Cain again.

Then a stranger arrives in their midst, disrupting the solid loyalties in Cain’s group. This man has the very thing Frankie needs to unlock her powers, but the price is higher than she could have dreamed.

Can Frankie and Cain’s love survive the fallout?

The Incorruptibles Reading Order:

  1. Downfall – Book 1 – http://amzn.com/B01A6H4M50
  2. Fallout – Book 2 – http://amzn.com/B01A73CCFU
  3. Unforgivable – Book 3 – Releases June 16, 2016 – http://amzn.com/B01DAIPQGQ
  4. Monster – Book 4 – Coming 2016

Buy Links for Fallout: 

Paperback coming very soon.

Find SD Wasley Here: FacebookInternet WebsiteGoodreads

Excerpt of Fallout: 

Albion peeped in.

“How’s Frankie?”

“I feel awful,” I groaned. “Food poisoning, maybe.”

“Do you need to vomit again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

He fetched me a bucket. “Do you want Dad to come and check you out?”

“No, I’m okay.” I made another effort to stand. “I need to go―”

“What?” Albion’s voice rose in angry disbelief. “Frankie, are you frickin’ insane?” You’re sick.

I moaned. “I know.” I slumped back on my bed.

“If I catch you trying to leave this house tonight, I will personally handcuff you to your bed. And don’t think I haven’t got the handcuffs.” He waggled his eyebrows.

“Ugh, I’m definitely gonna vomit now.”

I went back to sleep almost immediately. Maybe it was my feverish state, or maybe my agitation over missing a night at Gaunt House, but my sleep was filled with a dream I couldn’t shake. I was standing beside a rock wall, staring at it in confusion, my mind blank and bewildered. Unexpectedly, the rock crumbled and something emerged from the wall. Hands. It was a pair of hands coming through the wall, reaching for me.

I woke the next morning to find several missed calls and text messages from Cain. He sounded increasingly panicky as the night wore on. I replied, explaining my illness, before sitting up slowly to test my steadiness. So far, so good. In fact, I felt so much more like myself that I got up and made my way into the kitchen to find some breakfast.

“Hey!” Albion smiled at me. “All better?”

“I think so. Must have been a gastro bug.”

“Don’t be so sure. A bunch of people in town got sick yesterday. Dad was out all night dishing out anti-emetics and electrolyte drinks. Lots of them had been at Misty’s Coffee Shop yesterday so the health department’s investigating.”

“Great. Salmonella?”

“Don’t know. Some people are better already but others are still getting admitted to hospital. Dad only just got to bed. I told him about you, and he let me know what to watch out for in case it got worse.” All of a sudden he gave me a hard stare.

“What?”

“Your scary boyfriend came round, late last night when you were asleep.” Albion looked deeply unimpressed. “I told him you were sick but I don’t think he believed me. He looked like he wanted to barge past me and see for himself.”

I opened the fridge door to hide my face. I could kind of understand why Albion found Cain’s behaviour objectionable. But he didn’t know what we’d been through together and how hard it had been when we were apart. “Yeah, I’ve messaged him to tell him I was sick. He was worried, I guess.”

“Tell him he’d better not try that again or I might have to ban him from coming round here.”

You and what army? I was tempted to say. But it was Albion’s house and if he didn’t like Cain coming around he had the right to say so. I emerged from the fridge and nodded, avoiding his eyes. I’d have to remind Cain not to scare Albion.

My cousin kept his gaze on me. “What do you guys do?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, do you ever go out and do, y’know … normal couple stuff? Or do you just hang in his trailer?”

I sighed inwardly and regretted telling him about Cain’s home. “We go out in a group sometimes.”

“You and Cain and who else? Jude McBride?”

I nodded.

“Isn’t that kind of weird? To go out with your boyfriend … and your ex-boyfriend, simultaneously?”

“Yes, that would be weird, Albion. But it’s not like that. Jude was never really my boyfriend and there are others in the group, too.”

“And when it’s only you and Cain?”

I was silent. Cain and I didn’t date. Not like normal couples. Weariness washed over me. I was too weak for this conversation. “I’m still not feeling well.”

He pursed his lips, observing me. “Okay,” he said, to my surprise. And then, with a quick grin, “We can pick it up again later.”

I rested and tried to avoid Albion throughout the day, sipping water and sports drinks. Maybe it was wrong, but it pleased me that Cain had come looking for me the night before. Considering my own wobbly feelings about Helen and Cain’s meeting there was something gratifying in knowing he was worried about me. I went out to Gaunt House early to see him. The electrical tower buzzed loudly in the yellow afternoon light … strange. I hadn’t seen it do that for a long while. Cain must have heard my car arrive because he suddenly appeared outside the ruin, hovering while I parked. I smiled at the sight of him, that lean muscular frame and dark hair, unkempt as always and falling over his forehead. When I got out of my car he seized me like he hadn’t seen me for weeks and just about squeezed the breath out of me.

“Jesus Christ,” he muttered. “Are you okay?”

I laughed, hugging him back. “It was a stomach bug. I’m fine. Ow,” I added when the embrace became uncomfortable.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” He released me instantly. “I’m a fucking jerk.”

That made me stare and notice how agitated he looked. “What’s wrong?”

He rubbed a hand through his hair and hovered for a moment. “Come on, Francesca. Come down with me. I’m sorry. Let’s talk.”

I did as he said. He got us both beers but I declined since my stomach wasn’t completely right yet. He opened his and took a huge gulp.

“Cain?” I was scared now.

Long silence. “Francesca. I’m sorry.”

Sorry, again? What was going on?

SD Also has a Young Adult Series, The Seventh, check out my review here.

As always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

 

Enemies of the State (The Executive Office Book 1)by Tal Bauer

Enemies of the State is an outstanding political, military, romantic, suspense novel by Tal Bauer.  It’s like The American President meets White House Down, but move over Police Officer John Cale played by Channing Tatum because Secret Service Lead Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach is in the house!

This is a male love story and is intended for readers 18 years and older.

enemies of the state

My Five Star Review:

As many of you already know, I never include spoilers in my reviews and I’m going to do my best to relay to you how much I absolutely loved this story without giving too much away. So here goes:

Fifteen years ago Jack Spiers lost his wife, Army Captain Leslie Spiers in Iraq. That’s when Jack made the decision to kick start his political career in hopes of changing the world and making it a better place.  Now he’s the President of the United States and he’s ready to start his first year in office.  Jack is a people person and he finds out pretty quickly that his job doesn’t really leave him time to have friends or get close to the people.  He has staff, cabinet members, but not anyone to bounce things off of or hang out with and it’s causing him some issues. On top of all that, he is major peace talks with the other world leaders.

Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach spent 10 years in Army Special Forces and now is starting his 12th year with the Secret Service as lead security detail for POTUS.  Ethan is a bit of a loner, no family, no boyfriend, but he does have a few close Secret Service friends. He’s never been one to look for love or even think he needs love in his life.  Ethan is the job and he loves the job but everything changes one night at the White House.  The President needs a friend and Ethan can’t help but break every Secret Service rule there is to be a friend to Jack.  A couple months later and Ethan does something he never thought he would ever do.  He falls in love with straight, once married man and President of the United States, Jack Spiers.

Tal’s writing in relation to the build up of these two men falling in love is outstanding. You can feel all the emotions from each character and how they each feel from their different perspectives.  It is absolutely beautiful to read. Tal also gives an amazing political-military story that forced me to keep turning every page causing me to finish the novel in one day. It is really that good.  I am a huge fan of military type books with strong men saving the world and falling in love, and I really don’t care who they fall in love with.  It’s the heart and soul that picks who we love and sometimes we have absolutely no control over it.

By the time I reached the end of the book, I was praying there would be a book 2 and I hear we may see more of Ethan and Jack this year.  I will keep you posted.

More About Enemies of the State:

A rogue Black Ops unit with the president in their crosshairs.
A Secret Service agent who will break every rule.
A president falling for the one person he shouldn’t—a man.

Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is straight as a ruler, and a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

Find Tal here:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads,

Get Enemies of the State at Amazon: Here

Add Enemies of the State to your To Be Read at Goodreads: Here

As always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~janisf