What I’m Reading: Phoenix’s Ascent by Winter Austin…Goddess Fish Review Tour- June 28 – July 26

June 28: The Faerie Review

June 28: Christa Reads and Writes

July 12: The Avid Reader

July 12: Our Town Book Reviews

July 19: Harlie’s Books

July 19: Simply Vogue

July 26: Fabulous and Brunette

July 26: Gina Rae Mitchell

Winter Austin will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

GENRE:   Romantic Suspense/Military Thriller

A maniac developing a fantastical drug wants one more thing to finalize the project—a test subject who fits all the parameters. But that test subject is as elusive as her namesake.

Ex-SAS operative Mitch Edwards has been on the run since the moment he was framed for treason by someone in the British government. But he’s never forgotten the flamboyant and seductive CIA operative with the tongue of a thousand languages. In a bar in Cancun, Mexico, Mitch comes face to face with her once more, and with her comes the full force of her enemies.

Reinstated Hera Force linguist and assassin, Nadia Roth, code named Phoenix, has no memory of Mitch Edwards, or of their affair before her team’s disastrous mission. Her traumatic brain injury is tricky that way. But something about this man sets her on fire and tickles the back of her mind. Her Hera teammates remember him, so why can’t she?

Mitch partners up with Hera, with the sole intent of locating those hell-bent on killing him and all who are associated with him. Yet more is at stake than their lives. A traitor hides among their ranks, one who has been revealing all their secrets to an enemy determined to procure this special drug and Nadia for his scheme.

Hera goes into operation mode, doing what they were created to do, but someone is watching, and the team finds themselves trapped behind enemy lines with no way out.

Will Nadia ever remember the man she once loved, or will they perish with the secret between them?

Eighteen months in Cancún, he’d seen the cartel violence escalate at a rate that made his time fighting in the Afghan war look like a Sunday stroll through Kensington Gardens. Despite it all, exiled SAS operative Mitchell Edwards stayed on. Where else was a man framed for treason supposed to hide out?

Swirling margarita glasses in hot, soapy water, he kept an eye on the open doorway, nodding at the comings and goings of the patrons. A breeze off the sea rippled through the grass roof. The salty, sweet air buffeted his damp face, cooling him. The sea beckoned, tempting him to come and play.

Later. After his shift. A swim in his little alcove sounded marvelous.

Mitch set the sanitized glasses on a drying rack. He raked his fingers through his blonde hair—it still took some getting used to having his hair this long—and flipped the curled strands out of his eyes. Looking and feeling more like Robinson Crusoe than Mitch Edwards. Snorting, he grabbed another handful of bar glasses and plunged them into the hot water. That he wasn’t stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the bloody sea was a better outcome compared to his fictional counterpart.

Shadows passed over the bamboo shades, dampening the late afternoon sun that bounced off the pristine sandy beach. Three men entered the bar and paused inches inside the doorway. The lead man wore a cream-colored blazer over a brilliant blue shirt, and khaki slacks. The two flanking him wore similar styled clothing, the exception being the noticeable bulges under their blazers. Lead man pulled his sunglasses from his eyes and did a quick sweep of the bar. Seemingly satisfied by whatever he did or didn’t see, he pointed at the two with him. They stepped past, and did a circular walk around the bar. Their predatory motions put Mitch at attention.


Mitch’s little, insignificant bar had attracted unwanted visitors. His quick initial assessment turned scrutinizing. These were not casual visitors, not with those bulges. No. Mitch’s blood ran cold. These three had to be cartel. What the hell were they doing here? They tended to avoid the tourists’ haunting hours, preferring to do their dirty work in the black of night.

The dapper dressed man strolled up to the bar. “El camarero, Modelo Especial, por favor.”

Giving him a curt nod, Mitch moved to the fridge. From the corner of his eye, he spotted three more men enter the bar, sporting similar bulges under their jackets to the other two, who were now stationed on opposite sides of the bar. Tension coiled through Mitch’s muscles. The place was half-full of patrons. He didn’t need or want a turf war to go down with innocents caught in the crossfire.

He retrieved the asked-for beer. The fridge door slapped shut behind him as he returned to the dapper dressed man. Mitch cranked off the metal top and held out the beer.



Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name. A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers. When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them. She is the author of ten novels, with more on the way.

Find Winter on:

Website – https://www.winteraustin.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/author.winteraustin

Twitter – https://twitter.com/WinterAustin

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/iasuspensewriter/

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/winteraustin/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6880807.Winter_Austin

What I Read: In Times of Trouble by Yolonda Tonette Sanders

4470805A novel where broken relationships are mended.

Before even opening the beginning pages of In Times of Trouble by Yolonda Tonette Sanders, one can read the novel’s tagline and receive a peek into the novel’s storyline. The tagline, which reads, “Life always brings forth difficulties…It is how you react, which dictates the outcome,” accurately summarizes the novel which focuses on a multitude of familial matters. 

At the start of the novel, we are introduced to divorcee, Lisa Hampton, mother to Chanelle, and the main female lead of the book. While you are unsure of what to make of Lisa at first, throughout the course of the novel, as secrets are revealed, you start to understand and sympathize with her character more and more. To further explain, she can first be viewed as a woman focused on materialism and status versus a person’s true character. As the story plays out, we soon learn that Lisa is a former First Lady whose life became rocked by juicy scandal forcing her out her marriage and to the state of Ohio.   

While the details of the scandal are not mentioned until much later, we do see firsthand the strained relationship between Lisa and Chanelle. This relationship is the main basis of the novel. Chanelle is a fairly good student who does make one or two mistakes as a result of her transition into a young lady. I found Chanelle to be quite mature for her age and she handled situations much calmer than I would have expected. While I would love to go into detail regarding these “situations,” I want this review to remain spoiler-free. Throughout the novel you will see how their relationship changes as they endure several unforeseen obstacles, which will definitely keep the reader on their toes!  

Upon reading the novel, I discovered that almost each character in the book is plagued by a painful memory in their past. Whether it is a failed marriage, death of a spouse, domestic violence, addiction, illness, adultery, etc.; each character is holding onto a memory that is affecting their everyday life. These issues helped frame the book’s theme of forgiveness.

A perfect blend of comedy, romance, and drama, this novel also teaches that a person’s financial status is not a direct reflection of their heart. An entertaining and encouraging read; the author did an excellent job creating this story. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Christian Fiction or adult contemporary novels.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes.

To purchase, In Times of Trouble, please click here.

What I Read: The Climax by Sharee Beasley

51O89+P5OYLSince becoming a self-published author I’ve visited many forums to interact with other writers for advice and to discuss concerns regarding the publishing industry. In one of these forums, I stumbled upon The Climax by Sharee Beasley, who was offering a free promotion of her book. Her debut novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from erotica and maybe a dose of romance. Well, I ended up getting a whole lot more.

The Climax tells the story of a fiery redhead by the name of Lauren who starts a new job and a sexual relationship with her boss, Robert Freeman. Although they try to keep their escapades a secret, it’s obvious people in the office are suspicious of their relationship. It is also hard for them to hide the sexual tension. To add on to the drama, in walks Jin, a lawyer who Lauren starts sleeping with as well. At this point, Lauren is most definitely doing the most. Sex flings are constant, which can lead the reader to believe that the climax of the book would be a scene where Freeman and Jin find out about each other. While this does eventually occur, the book takes a totally different direction than I imagined.

In a scenario such as this, it would be only expected for another woman to come in and shake things up. This part of the plot puts you on the edge of your seat because you want to know what is coming. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Overall, the plot and storyline of the book will draw readers in, however the editing of the book may make them stop reading. I’ve read tons of books with errors, but if it is minimal (one to three every now and then); I could care less, and would never mention it in a review. With this book, there were so many errors; the review wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t mention it. I did my best to overlook the errors and read to the end. I was able to follow along and still enjoyed the book.

Please keep in mind these errors could have been corrected since my initial download. Therefore, I would not advise for anyone not to purchase the book based off this review without checking out the Look Inside feature provided on Amazon.

In the end, the overall storyline and the major twist at the end made me grant this book four stars. I would definitely recommend this book to others especially if you like steamy sex scenes!

What I Read: Power & Beauty by TI (with David Ritz)

ti-power-and-beautyWhen TI announced he was writing a book, I knew I would be the first person in line to get it. I’m a huge fan of his music, reality show, and anything else he puts his hands on. When I first started reading Power & Beauty, I expected the writing style to reflect TI’s persona as a rapper. Let’s just say, I was in for a rude awakening. There were points in the story, which sounded like TI, “the rapper,” but the majority of the story seemed to have possibly been written in the voice of his co-author. While I was expecting one thing and got another, overall, I still enjoyed the book and purchased the sequel, Trouble and Triumph prior to finishing Power and Beauty.

The novel details the coming of age of Power (real name Paul) and Beauty, after their mother, Charlotte, is killed in an explosion. Although, they are not biologically related, they view each other as brother and sister despite the undeniable love they share. After their mother’s death, they are taken in by the ruthless Slim, a local businessman in Atlanta. Slim is crooked and although Power takes a liking to him, Beauty can see through him like glass. She even leaves Atlanta because of him, leaving Power behind.

The tagline of the book, a love story of life on the streets, in my opinion, is used incorrectly. The book is a love story, but not on the streets. Although Power goes through situations somewhat similar to stories found in street fiction, I wouldn’t put the book in this category. For example, one of the main turning points in the story is when Power drops out of high school because he didn’t win class president. (Yes, you read correctly, he drops out of high school because he didn’t win class president). His disappointment over the loss leads Slim to send him to New York to get schooled by the best players in the game.



Beauty, the female protagonist of the book, goes on her own journey, hitting the fashion world in New York and even making her way to Japan. She starts from the bottom and even takes a job as a sales associate at Claire’s. In this position, she has the potential to become the youngest store manager in the company’s history, however, she is never granted the position. She ends up taking a job at a department store, which puts her in New York, the same city as Power.

The highlight of the novel is the different people they come across during their journey. Each person leaves a lasting impression and is somehow connected to the next person who “schools” them. Since the book has a cliffhanger ending, I am anticipating the direction Trouble and Triumph takes. I already envision Power and Beauty crossing paths once again. However, the question is, will they rekindle their forbidden love, or will they face their demise at the hands of Slim? To find out, one must read!

What I Read: Invisible Thug Lover by Charles Burgess

51H8esrKSeL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_At one point in time I was going to participate in a flash fiction anthology, however, I never got around to writing my piece. Now, I’ve been given the chance to review a flash fiction story and I must say, I am now intrigued. For those of you who have never heard of flash fiction, it is almost like another form of a short story, however, much shorter. Some flash fiction titles are as short as three hundred words and some are as long as one thousand. By the time I finish this review, I may have a large enough word count to give you an idea of how short flash fiction is.

Charles Burgess’, Invisible Thug Lover, is the first flash fiction story I’ve ever read. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect aside from what was mentioned in the synopsis. When I started reading, all I could think was, “Meet the man of your dreams,”−literally. The main character, Hightower, is exactly what the title describes, an invisible thug lover. The CIA tried to tame him, but he escaped their system and now lurks the streets of Chicago, finding female victims who he can seduce and offer unimaginable pleasure. Hightower is the ultimate lover, one who takes his time to discover his victims’ fantasies and likes.

I will admit; I feel a little apprehensive about using the word victim. Hightower is not a rapist, but I viewed him as the man who comes to you in your dreams, the one who you believe is really there, fulfilling your wants and needs. Nevertheless, the real question is, does Hightower actually exist, or is he simply a figment of his victims’ imagination?

With flash fiction and short stories, I often read complaints from readers feeling as if they never get enough of the story. With this particular piece, I believe you get everything you need (including a little bit on Hightower’s background), but the mystery surrounding whether Hightower is real or not, will leave you wanting more. Therefore, I’ve already one-clicked my way to Part II. The only thing I really hoped for in this story was a description of Hightower’s looks. The lack thereof didn’t impact the overall story because I simply envisioned Morris Chestnut to fill the void (LOL).

For those of you who like quick, erotic, and descriptive stories, I highly recommend this work!

Invisible Thug Lover Part I and II are currently available on Amazon’s Kindle for .99.

This flash fiction story was provided by the author for review purposes.

What I Read: Pink Lipstick and Pistols by Pinky Dior

521575_552440421441300_1194444042_nIt is very rare that I am given the time to sit down and read a book because I am so busy with my own project. Since downloading the Kindle app on my phone, I have now found a way to fit in time for reading. My first official purchase on the Kindle was Pink Lipstick and Pistols, a short story by Pinky Dior. The initial reason I bought this book was because I wanted to support the author who I saw via Facebook was a young mother who displayed a high level of determination and ambition. In addition, I had read samples of the book and wanted to see how the story played out.

Pink Lipstick and Pistols tells the story of Milan, a beautiful, young woman who loves her pink lipstick just as much as she loves her boyfriend, Stakkz. Although not billed as such, the story could be considered as a Bonnie and Clyde tale. The story takes off with a bang immediately after the reader learns that Miss Milan has a pink pistol in her possession.

What sets this book apart from others that I have read is that the lead female character is the one displaying the most aggression while her male counterpart handles the majority of the “business.” I enjoyed that the roles were somewhat flipped because in most Urban Fiction titles, the male is the one with the most gunplay. I can honestly say that there is not a dull moment in this story. For young adult readers who love twists and turns, this is the read for you.

I commend Pinky Dior for writing an entertaining story and I hope you all get a chance to check it out. You can purchase a copy of Pink Lipstick and Pistols exclusively on Kindle for 2.99. If you do not have a Kindle, try downloading a Kindle app for free on your phone or your PC! Enjoy!

Book Review: Secrets on Lake Drive by Tina Martin

I was supposed to write a review of this book last year, but I am still catching up on my blog. Since my recent change in careers, I hardly have the time that I used to for posts. Still, I wanted to take some time out today to actually talk about this book. For one, because the book was exceptionally good and two, it was hard for me to put it down. When I read books such as this, I want to share it with the rest of the world. (I just have to find the time to, SALTS)

Secrets on Lake Drive by Tina Martin tells the story of Monica Smith, a school teacher, who is still feeling the effects of heartbreak from her first love, Cornelius. It is because of this relationship that she hasn’t fully allowed herself to love again. In her class, there is a boy named Roman who Monica has developed a special relationship with. His father is Sean Beauvais, a wealthy and handsome man (with memorable green eyes) who Monica meets for the first time at a parent-teacher conference. Instead of them having a “love at first sight” moment, Monica and Sean are involved in a slightly heated argument regarding Sean’s parenting skills with Roman.

After several run-ins with each other, Sean offers Monica a summer babysitting job. The gig comes with a nice paycheck and gives Monica the chance to spend quality time with her favorite student. Throughout the summer, Sean and Monica’s attraction for each other grows. There are several suspenseful incidents in the book, in which you will expect the unleashing of some very powerful secrets, which will leave you on the edge of your seat. Believe me; Monica and Sean both have a countless number of secrets that they’re hiding from each other.

Aside from the suspense, what I loved most about the book is that the writer gives you an in-depth look into Monica’s thoughts and emotions. Also, the book did not focus majorly on sex, but more on Monica and Sean’s transition from frienemies to soulmates. It was the perfect combination of romance and comedy. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a great read.

Rating: ***** Literary Classic

Book Review: Memoirs of a Creole Crime Cartel by Redsnapper


If you have never heard of author Redsnapper, I highly suggest that you get acquainted with his work today.

Redsnapper is the author of the Urban Erotica Bliss trilogy series: Scandalous Motives, which includes the titles, Scandalous Motives, Scandalous Motives: Relentless Ambitions, and Scandalous Motives: Heartless Reactions.

Memoirs of a Creole Crime Cartel (MCCC) is the prequel to these novels, set in Kansas City, Missouri and follows the lives of Andrew Laurie, the ruthless Don of the infamous Creole Cartel, his daughter, the beautiful yet manipulative, Tangie Laurie, and her conniving grandmother, Suzette, affectionately referred to as Big Momma.

Not having read any of his previous novels, reading MCCC, set the tone for any other work that I may read by him. At first read, MCCC caught my attention. To be honest, as a lover of gangsters and stories of drug cartels, I was willing to buy and read the novel just based off the title and cover design. The novel did not disappoint at all, but there was more sex than I had imagined!

At one point while reading the book and I will be totally honest, I had to sit the book down on my bedside dresser and repent to the Lord. I’m serious and am not telling a lie just to be humorous. I have read erotic fiction books before (Zane, Omegia Keeys), but nothing like this! Redsnapper was so descriptive in his scenes that I almost became embarrassed to be reading it. Thankfully, the cover didn’t shout “erotic fiction,” so I wasn’t scared to read the book in public.

Although this book has a storyline, sometimes you tend to forget that there is one because of the explicitness of the sex scenes. The scenes are not spaced far apart so after reading one, you are almost forced into another one. If you are a dynamite fan of erotic fiction then you will love this! If you are a beginner and read this book, it will set the bar very high for any other erotic fiction book that you may read. Do not get disappointed if other erotic fiction books are not as descriptive or pleasurable (smile) as this one!

If you buy this book, which I hope you will, remember, I have warned you! It’s juicy! (Literally :-0)

Rating: ***** (LITERARY CLASSIC)