Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Others Series by Anne Bishop

I'm currently reading The Others Series by Anne Bishop. I am really enjoying this books. They are urban fantasy, fast-paced and fun to read. There are five books in the series:

Written in Red
Murder of Crows
Vision in Silver
Marked in Flesh
Etched in Bone.
I highly recommend them if you like urban fantasy. Here’s the link to the books on Amazon.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

EVANTHIA’S GIFT by Effie Kammenou


Blurb:
In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.

The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.

EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.

EXCERPT:
November 1955

The air was unusually chilled for early November in NYC, but despite the dropping temperature, sweat trickled down the back of Anastacia’s neck. Unable to wish away the nausea that was taking hold of her and too ill to sit through her last class, she’d left the NYU campus, hopping on an uptown subway to return home for the day. She’d been lightheaded and queasy the past few days, but nothing as violent as what she was currently feeling. Waiting at the crosswalk, the aroma of garlic and cheese permeating from a nearby cafĂ© antagonized the volcano that was about to erupt in her belly, and she prayed she would get home without incident.
At last, Anastacia ducked into her apartment building, closing her eyes, and offering a silent thank you to the heavens for the safety and comfort of her home. Once inside her foyer, she removed her coat, hung it in the closet and glimpsed herself in the mirror hanging over the Bombay Chest. Pale skin and sunken eyes replaced her usual olive complexion and healthy glow.
I just need to sleep off whatever this is.
Her husband, Jimmy, was not expected home from work for several hours, and she hoped to be feeling better by then.
Suddenly, the sound of voices startled her. She walked through the living room, following the noise. She almost forgot the motion sickness that forced her home earlier than usual as the guttural sound of rhythmic moans grew louder, interrupted only by a woman’s shrill laughter. Anastacia forced her legs to follow the cacophony and found herself at the doorway of her bedroom. She stood there frozen. Seeing, but not believing. Tears sprang to her eyes and dripped down her cheeks, and she began to shake uncontrollably. Anastacia attempted to speak, but bile rose to her throat, rendering her incapable of uttering a word. Then, a cry that seemed to escape from her very soul, revealed her presence.
In that second, they knew she’d witnessed their betrayal. Anastacia was taken aback by the look of pure satisfaction that flashed across the naked woman’s face. A face that held not even a hint of guilt or remorse.
Her husband’s face told a different story. Shock, fear, maybe regret. For getting caught. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but so many thoughts bombarded her mind that it was as though she were moving in slow motion. But then, the impact of it all slammed into her, and she ran.
Jimmy jumped up, wrapping himself in a bed sheet.
“Ana! Wait!” He pushed the woman off him. “Get off me! Move! Get out of here.”
Barely making it to the bathroom, Anastacia leaned over the toilet, expelling the contents of her stomach.
“Ana,” Jimmy pleaded, coming up beside her.
“Get away from me.” She wiped her mouth with a towel, straightened up and gathered all her strength to push past him.
Jimmy blocked the doorway.
“Ana mou, I’m sorry. Please. Let me explain. Sagapo. I love-”
“Don’t touch me or ever say that to me. You’re disgusting. You both are.” She ducked under his arm, but he grabbed her wrist.
His touch seared her to the bone and she pulled away. She was shamed, shaken—broken, but there was no way she was going to let him see it.
“I said don’t touch me. Never come near me again.”
“It’s not what it looks like. She… it was all her. I never meant to… Ana, please.”
“It looked like it was both of you. Now let me pass,” she spat. He lifted his hands in surrender and stepped aside as she pushed her way past him through the narrow bathroom doorway.
In the hallway, the woman stood, watching, gloating. Although she and Anastacia both had dark brown hair and similar Mediterranean features, she lacked the poise and grace that Anastacia exuded.
“Get out of my home,” Ana ordered her. “I never want to see you again.” Anastacia stormed out her front door, slamming it behind her. Doubling over, she thought she might heave again, but she drew in a deep breath and continued down the hall to Soula’s apartment. She frantically knocked on the door. When she opened it, Soula took one look at her best friend and she hugged her.
“Ana mou, what is it?
Between gasps and cries, Anastacia relayed the entire humiliating scene, as well as Jimmy’s despicable attempt to explain the unforgivable.
“What do I do now?”
“We go upstairs and talk to your uncle,” Soula said. “He will know how to handle this.”
“How can I tell him? What will my parents say? How could I be so stupid? What will Uncle Tasso think?”
“Of you? Nothing different than before. Of them? They will get what they deserve. Come. We will go together. I will tell your uncle if you cannot.”

Purchase Links
Evanthia’s Gift on Amazon:
Waiting For Aegina on Amazon:

Both Books on Amazon:
Both Books on Barnes and Noble:

About the Author:
Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.
As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Lost Spaniel

I’m working on the next novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. I hope to have it available for pre-order by the end of the month. Here’s an excerpt:

The phone on my desk rang, startling me so much I actually jumped. Glaring at it, I heard Claire snickered so I transferred my glare toward her. We had been getting calls all morning, and she was currently on hold with one of the local shelters which left me to answer the phone.
My agency, Lost and Found Pets, is a private investigation firm specializing in finding lost animals and reuniting them with their owners. Our business is usually steady, averaging ten to eleven cases a week. We are busiest in the summer and a little slower the rest of the year. But last week, I had recovered a lost Savannah cat for a wealthy family who lived in the Highlands community. Grace Carmichael, my client, had spread the word about our agency over the weekend. We were now busier than we had ever been. We had four new cases in the two hours since we opened, and I had turned down two others.
So the ringing of the phone shouldn’t have startled me, but I had been concentrating so hard that I still jumped.
“Answer it,” Claire said with an encouraging nod. Claire is everything I’m not. She is sweet, kind, and supportive. She has long blond hair, blue eyes, and a bubbly personality. She is also really good with our clients which is why she usually answers the phone. “And, Alex, try to sound friendly and helpful.”
My social skills are not the best. I tend to be blunt and short with people, having little patience with small talk and chitchat. I can play the game if needed. I just don’t see the point. Claire says I do it on purpose. I glanced at her and then back at the phone before picking it up.
“Lost and Found Pets,” I said in the most monotone and dismissive manner I could muster. Claire sighed and rolled her eyes. This time I snickered, and a grin started forming on my face causing Claire to laugh.
“Alex,” said a gruff voice. My grin widened.
“Eddie. What’s up?”
Eddie Hill is my former boss and mentor. He had hired me years ago as a part-time employee at his private investigative agency. Working for Eddie had allowed me to learn the trade and get my own private investigator’s license. He had also taught me more than anyone else. It hadn’t taken me long to realize I didn’t want to spy on people or take pictures of cheating spouses so I decided to open my own agency with a twist. This also gave me the control I needed to set my own hours and limit the number of cases I took during a time when I needed to be with my aunt.
Nora Prescott-Northup had been recently widowed and newly diagnosed with cancer when I arrived in her life at the precocious age of thirteen. My mother, Nora’s much younger sister, had just died from a drug overdose, and I was all alone. Nora had taken one look at me and welcomed me into her home. The cancer went into remission for a while, and I graduated from high school and headed off to college. But the cancer came back. I returned home to do what I could to help. Working private investigation gave me flexibility, and when Nora’s health deteriorated even further, I opened my own agency in the dining room of our home. Without Eddie, none of this would have been possible.
“Alex, girl,” Eddie said. “I need your help.”
I held back a sigh and closed my eyes a moment. Four new cases meant a lot of work. We seldom had more than two in one day, and it wasn’t even noon yet. Claire could make the calls and post the information on social media, but someone needed to do the physical searches. And two of the clients had requested Hero.
My agency offers two types of searches. A basic search and an advanced search. The basic search is when we call vets, shelters, and rescue groups, post on social media, and create a flyer campaign if needed. We also physically canvass the neighborhood. The advanced search is when we do all that and bring in Hero, my search-and-rescue dog. For the basic search, we charge one hundred dollars an hour with a two hundred dollar non-refundable deposit. For the advanced search, we charge triple that. Two advanced searches in one day would do a lot for the agency’s bottom line. However, they would have to wait if Eddie needed me.
“Anything, Eddie. What do you need?”
“Daisy is missing.”