Book Reviews

Book Review Tuesday: Empty Womb Empty Tomb by Quiana E. Johnson


Empty Womb Empty Tomb

How Tragedy Birthed Triumph

Quiana E. Johnson

Publication Date: June 4, 2015

4 Stars=Great Page Turner

Empty Womb Empty Tomb is a great page-turner even though the content will break your heart. The Johnson family suffers a great lost when they lose their child after first having a miscarriage. Most women dream of getting married, having children and building a family. This dream was taken from Quiana E. Johnson and left was hurt, pain and emotional distress.

Quiana was excited from the news that she was expecting again. She did everything her doctor told her to make sure this child would be born. When Quiana went to the bathroom on March 10, 2014, she didn’t know that once again she would endure another loss. Quiana delivered her premature son that morning and was rushed to the hospital. Little Nehemiah fought for five days before going home to God.

After this tragedy, the Johnson’s knew they had to hold on to their faith. Bradley and Quiana realized from their painful experience came knowledge and they could share their story to help others suffering. Both made it through the traumatic loss of her son. Quiana chose to educate herself on miscarriages and continues to try to have a child because she won’t give up on God’s promise to her.

Empty Womb Empty Tomb is an emotional book that will tug at your heart. Readers will feel the author’s pain as she tells her story of loss. This was a short book but was packed with so much that I could not put it down as I wiped tears away. The author does a wonderful job telling her story and educating readers about miscarriages. I definitely recommend this book to those who have suffered a loss and need guidance to overcome their situation.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes only.

Reviewed by Teresa Beasley

Book Features

Book Blast: Sandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog


Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition

By Justin Bog

Genre: Short Fiction/Psychological Literary Suspense

Publication Date & Publisher: May 29th, 2015, Booktrope

The Complete Edition of Justin Bog’s First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.

An award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories reveals twisted secrets that are mined like plutonium. These twelve literary tales are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. With authenticity and eloquence, author Justin Bog holds a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition.

“The stories are those of everyday people who might live next door or in the walk-up across the street . . . A man with a personal crisis takes a singles cruise – a woman leaves her toddler girl at the beach while having a romantic tryst – a B-list actor’s character is killed off – a girl is sucked below the sand into an underwater chamber . . . an old gardener who has dark secrets interacts with the bosses daughter in a most unforeseen way. The only commonality in these tight, little stories is they are unexpected. Having this book is like having a string of black pearls – each one slightly different, but each a perfect, dark, little gem . . . Bog paints pictures with words as Titian did with oil paints – startlingly detailed with deep perspective and rich complexity.”

–Rosi Hollenbeck, San Francisco Book Review

Author Bio


Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest on Fidalgo Island. Justin Bog was Pop Culture Correspondent and Editor for In Classic Style. He enjoys cooking, lawn mowing not so much, and spends time walking and handing out treats to two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray and Eartha Kitt’n.

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition  on Amazon:

My creative writing blog is here.

Follow me on Twitter @JustinBog

On Goodreads:

Book Features

Excerpt Friday: Finding the Cure by Cassandra Giovanni

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Finding the Cure

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Ellie Abela’s life has been anything but easy. Tragedy follows her where ever she goes, and she’s been a lot of places. At twenty she’s lived in over ten different states, all because of her dad’s career in medical research. His career is just another list of the causes of tragedies in El’s life. He’s dying, and with every breath he takes closer to Heaven, Ellie dies a little bit inside too.

At twelve she lost her mom in a drunk driving accident, and in a matter of months she fears she’ll lose the last person she has in the world to cancer.

While Ellie’s life has been rife with sadness, Trent Wentworth’s has been a challenge. A drug-addicted mom and a dead-beat dad meant at twenty three he was the adoptive father of his two year old sister. Now at twenty five he’s working his way up the corporate ladder and a struggling single parent.

Each is searching for a cure to the things in their lives dragging them down.

Not all cures are black and white; not all cures save us–and sometimes saving isn’t what we need. Sometimes we just need to realize how lucky we are to be alive, at least for this moment.

Book Excerpt

I walked over to the door leading to his room and pushed it open. I wanted a distraction. I didn’t want to think about it. I heard Trent follow me, and I walked over to the guitars hung on the wall. I ran my fingers over the strings. I knew Trent was leaning against the door frame, watching me carefully.

“My dad used to play drums before he got sick,” I explained. “I used to want to learn how to play guitar…then we could have our own band.”

Trent walked forward, going to sit on his bed, and I turned to face him.

“He’s a scientist. He’s been trying to find the cure for different types of cancer for as long as I can remember…and I don’t mean little labs somewhere. Government labs…and all those tests…and chemicals–and whatever the fuck,” I replied, stopping as my body trembled. “He was handling–that’s what gave him it…the cancer. He was trying to find a cure,” my neck pushed forward as I fought back the tears. “And he…he basically killed himself.”

“There’s no cure?” Trent whispered.

I looked at the ceiling, dimly lit by the bedside lamp. “If there was, he would’ve found it.”

Trent stood and his face came into my vision as he looked down at me. He ran his hand up my back until it reached my head, tipping it back to a normal position. He put his forehead against mine, his hand cupping my cheek as his other stayed on my lower back.

“Not all cures are black and white–not all cures save us,” Trent whispered, and I felt my eyelashes heavy with tears.

“I’m dying too–every time I look at him and know that every breath he takes is closer to his last one.” I didn’t bother wiping away the silent tears now making their way down my face.

“It’s always been that way, El. We’re all going to die someday,” He crushed his eyes shut, shaking his head. “That sounded harsh. I didn’t–”

“You’re right.”

He opened his eyes, his chest rising with the deep inhale he took. “I do get it. I used to come home and wonder if I was going to find my mom dead.” His eyes drifted before coming back to mine. “But every time I didn’t–every time I came home and she was fine–I was thankful for it, even more so if she was straight.”

I laid my head on his chest, and his hands stayed on my lower back, his own head lowering into the crook of my shoulder. We stayed like that for a moment as my heart beat evened out, my eyes drifted to his bed and the rate picked up again. My chest tightened as I stared at the neat brown and tan checkered comforter, and then my eyes drifted to the time.

1:30 PM.

My eyes suddenly felt heavy, and my mouth formed a yawn.

Trent looked down at me, and his own eyes were heavy. “Tired?” he asked.

“Yeah, and I don’t feel like driving home.” I ignored the whooshing of blood through my ears as my face heated.

“I can take the couch,” Trent explained as he pulled away and pointed his thumb over his shoulder before going to his dresser and pulling out a pair of pajama bottoms and a plain black tee. “They might be big, but it should be more comfortable for you.”

I took them from him, my hand touching his and causing tingles to run up my spine. “You know, I don’t mind if…if you don’t take the couch.”

Trent’s eyebrow twitched as he looked at me, and I laughed.

“Come on, we’re both adults, and I’m sure you can keep your hands off of me if I’m hidden under all this,” I replied, holding up the clothing that undoubtedly would be baggy on me.

“Are you sure?” he asked, pulling his own pair of pajama pants out of the drawer.

“Positive, now turn the other way so I can get undressed,” I ordered, using my pointer finger to signal a circle.

He put his hands up. “Of course, but I think you’ll be the one peeking.”

I rolled my eyes as I turned, pulling my shirt off and replacing it with his. I paused as I heard the zipper of his pants go down. I pursed my lips as I gazed straight ahead as I unzipped mine and pulled them off. I cursed as I struggled to pull the tight bottom off. “Skinny jeans.”

“You okay?” Trent asked, his voice deep with amusement.

“Oh, shut up! If you had to wear jeans this tight you’d understand.”

I turned and flopped on his bed, putting my arms behind my head as I stared at his bare back. Between his shoulder blades was another tattoo, this one of a bird flying through the sun.

“You didn’t tell me about that one,” I commented, and he turned, putting his hands up.

“I didn’t know you wanted to know where all of them where,” he replied, smirking down at me as my jaw dropped.

There was another tattoo on the cap of his shoulder, this one a Japanese lotus in bright orange and pink. My eyes wondered to his chest, which was covered in a thin layer of hair I hadn’t expected. He scratched it, his neck turning red up to his ears.

“Sorry about the hairy chest. I can put a shirt on if it bothers you,” he said.

I sat up, pulling my knees to my chest as my eyes wandered again. I shook my head, putting my eyes back where they belonged, on his face. “If you have to put a shirt on it won’t be because of your hairy chest.”

His eyebrows twitched as he laughed. “You like it then?”

I tapped my hands on my knees as my eyes dropped to his slightly sculpted chest, down to his flat stomach and his hip bones. I lay back, pulling the pillow over my face. “Why couldn’t you put on a burlap sack?” I muttered into it.

I felt Trent’s body indent the bed next to me, and he lifted up the edge of the pillow, blinking at me.

“What was that?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes smacking him with the pillow before putting it back under my head and turning my back to him. Trent reached over me, flicking off the light switch, and wrapping his arm around me. I snuggled into him and closed my eyes.


About The Author


Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. Besides being a writer, Cassandra is a professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

Cassandra Giovanni is published by Show n’ot Tell Publishing based out of Connecticut, USA.


Book Features

Author Steam Bijou shares Conquest

Author Steam Bijou:

steam bijou

Steam Bijou is the alter ego of author Jaime Boust, whose work ranges from literotica to anonymously submitted business plans to her favorite failing local retailers. Her fiction includes Book Club, Conquest by her alter ego Steam Bijou, and the forthcoming serial Night Life–a series about a thirty-something mother who, disillusioned by the monotony of motherhood, starts a high-end prostitution ring. The similarities between Ms. Boust and her anti-heroine are startling, minus the prostitution.
Jaime received her formal education at the University of California at San Diego and her informal education on the streets of London, the hills of San Francisco, the sewers of Paris, and the suburban wilds of Oakland. These days you’ll find her dodging traffic in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids. Many things have been said of her: idea machine, portmanteau enthusiast, cutthroat croquet player, national champion cheerleader, world’s spiciest cook. Believe them all.

Author Links:



Ten Delicious Episodes

Brie Baggio thinks she’s ready… for marriage, kids, the whole shebang. She’s pushing forty, and even though she’s the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at Los Angeles’s hottest med spa, Botox can’t paralyze that nagging feeling that it’s now or never. But when she witnesses a wild act of public sex, Brie tears her marriage plans apart and composes a sexual bucket list of scenarios she wants to experience before she settles down. She has life yet to live, lessons to learn, and someone to find—herself—along the way.
Sexy, smart, chock full of pop culture, Conquest is the it-series of the year. Help Brie cross each item off her list.
1. An Older Man

2. A Younger Man

3. A Teacher

4. Her Boss

5. A Woman

6. A Stranger

7. A Threesome

8. In Public

9. Make a Sex Tape

10. Dominate a Man Until He Cries

Book Excerpt

The women hang in Shavasana, shrouded in poppy-colored yoga hammocks and suspended above the gleam of the studio’s wooden floor. A stranger wandering in might think he had happened upon a room of human-butterfly hybrids in advanced stage of chrysalis, but this is Tuesday night aerial yoga at The Center and Brie is trying her best to breathe, release, renew, rejuvenate, relax here inside her nylon pod.

To say he took it hard would be an understatement. It was a scene of grotesquery not to be forgotten, complete with nasal mucous cascading down to his shirt as he blubbered, and a phone call to his mother—live, on camera, we’re talking Facetime—during which she demanded to speak to Brie, who was forced to exit the clearing to avoid such theater, where she bumped into the jungle lovers, who had heard the cries of the almost-fiancé and, mistaking them for signs of injury or illness, came to see if they could help. The woman patted the pained one’s back as her still-shirtless companion stared at Brie in confusion, and Brie wasn’t sure if she should thank him, ask him for his number, or leap from the nearest cliff.

Gretchen emerges from her hammock first, making eye contact with Brie and bending her wrist to pantomime her desire for a drink. Out comes Peyton next, who taps Bernadette on the feet to wake her. Bern always falls asleep in corpse pose; she’s permanently relaxed. Brie pulls her knees to her chest to enclose herself completely inside the pod, her world a brief oasis of orange until Gretchen says, “Come on, Buddha,” and tilts Brie’s pod so the slick of her Lululemons sends her sliding to the floor. It’s not that she doesn’t want to tell them. It’s just exhausting, all the questions that will come. Her mom is going to shit a hyena.

“Did he do it?” asks the girl who teaches the Pound class coming up next. It doesn’t help that Brie knows everybody here. She’s the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at The Center, where women rush in droves at first sign of decreased skin elasticity, lip fullness, eyelash thickness, muscle tone, metabolism, belly flatness, youthful glow, and general confidence in their outward appearance. Botox®, Juvederm®, SmartLipo®, Latisse®, non-surgical nose jobs. Lasers, acids, chemical peels, global thermonuclear war on cellulite. This is Star Wars for women, and it is serious fucking business.

“No,” says Brie, not ready to give up the goose.

Book Links: (Conquest: Episodes 1-3) (Conquest: Episodes 4-6) (Book Club) iBooks Nook Google Play