This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew returns with an electrifying new novel about how the past will always find us...
"Literary suspense at its finest.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Baby
“A wonderfully addictive book with virtuoso plotting and characters - for anyone who lovedGirl on the Train, it’s a must read.”
   — Rosamund Lupton
Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same. 
Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.
In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.
Review: This is a mystery like no other, and I honestly couldn't work anything out until the very last page. Zoe Maisey is a complex, believable character and I was gripped until the very last page as her pat unraveled around her, with her family dynamic falling apart in the process. I highly recommend this one to anyone!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lottie Loves by Samie Sands

Lottie love final
"Will you marry me?"
It was the words that I'd wanted to hear my entire life. Didn't every girl fantasise over the perfect man going to buy the perfect ring and getting down on one knee in the most romantic way possible, before telling them that they loved them so much, they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them?
I knew that I certainly had.
Me and my best friend Cici used to talk about it all the time. We used to plan our dresses, the music, the flowers—every part of the ceremony down to the very last detail. Of course, the man didn't really matter. We were young enough and naive enough to believe that we would magically meet the perfect man without even trying.
And I really thought that I had. I really, truly believed that my dream had come true.
Me and Danny had begun our love story in a very typical fashion—our eyes had met across a bar, where we'd had long, lingering eye contact, sparking all kinds of emotions within me. The only difference between my story, and that of every other rom-com ever, was that Danny was a genuine up-and-coming rock star, playing on a fairly big stage, and I was a fan who already felt a lot of love for this man. I'd been admiring him from afar ever since I first heard their album a year or so before.
I certainly hadn't expected it to ever go any further than that moment, so when he came and joined me at the bar later on for a drink, despite being mobbed by other members of the audience, I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to that moment. I felt like everything that I'd experienced was all drawing me closer to Danny, the love of my life. Here was a gorgeous man who was destined to be famous, and who could have any girl in the world hanging off of his arm, talking to me, asking me questions, and actually showing me interest.
It seemed like a dream—one that I was terrified to wake up from.
As he flicked his messy auburn hair from his warm, chocolaty eyes and he gave me that smile that had already melted the hearts of the nation, I thought for a dreaded, wonderful second that he was going to kiss me in front of all of those people. But after a few beats of pure terror, he didn't. Instead he handed me his phone number, and he asked if I would like to go on a date with him.
Me—boring old Charlotte (Lottie) Jones—on a date with Danny Boreom, bassist of the (now very) famous band Jax. It didn't seem real.
Yet, it was real, and it did happen.
It was the start of my real life.
After a night out on the town where he well and truly wined and dined me, he walked me home to my tiny flat which must have looked ridiculous compared to the mansion that I now know he lived in with the rest of the band at the time, and he finally kissed me. As his lips met mine, I felt myself flying on top of the world—he was an amazing kisser, and there seemed to be an endless chemistry between us. One that I never wanted to end.
Breathless and turned on by the power of his mouth, I invited him inside. Although he coolly and calmly turned me down, it was still the best night of my entire life, made even better by a phone call the next day to say that he only didn't come inside with me because he wanted to be something real. He didn't want our love to end at a one-night stand, he actually wanted us to develop and for him to become my boyfriend.
Fast forward three and a half years and we were blissfully living together, grazing by every day happily and easily. Although he was away for a lot of the year touring, it didn't seem to bother us. We were so strong and so solid with what we had, that nothing would get in our way.
It was perfect, still a dream come true and that intense chemistry hadn't burned down one bit.
Which made it even weirder that my reaction to Cici telling me that Baz—another member of the band—had just told her that he'd been engagement ring shopping with Danny, wasn't one of pure joy.
"What...what do you mean?" I asked, my heart racing frantically in my chest. I could tell that my voice was breathless and kind of terrified, but my mind was spinning too fast for me to be able to do anything about it.
"Aren't you happy?" She giggled, "I thought that you'd be over the moon to finally be Mrs. Boreom."
"No, no, I am," I half lied. The idea had always been at the edge of my thoughts. I knew that Danny was the one for me, and despite all the car crash relationships around us, we'd even managed to survive the fallout of him becoming mega famous. It helped that I had no interest in the spotlight and that I did everything I could to avoid it, but even despite all of that, I felt like it proved that we could go the distance, and be together forever. So why wasn't I excited for us to take the next step? "It's just a bit of a shock, that's all."
But that was normal, right? Everyone freaked out at first when they learned that they were going to become someone's wife...didn't they?
Of course, I already knew that wasn't true. I'd already been proposed to once in my life before, and that time, I didn't hesitate one bit. Panic didn't even come into the equation, I was happy, over the moon at the thought of becoming his wife. This was nothing like that had been. I felt completely different.
For the first time in a very long time, I allowed myself to think about Joe again, and almost the second that I allowed that vault to open in my mind, I felt myself fall into a tailspin. As his face filled my brain once more, it was almost as if the last five years hadn't happened at all, and that I was still his proud girlfriend, waiting to be his wife.
As the wound reopened, I could barely hear what Cici was saying to me. I felt like I was gaping, exposed, and extremely vulnerable all over again, and I did what I'd always done when I was younger, when things got too difficult for me. I started to talk to Joe in my mind.
Where are you now?
What became of you?
What happened to your life?
It was so strange to have gone from the closest people in the world, to absolutely nothing, and I struggled to imagine that he'd changed one bit. Of course I had, my life was completely different, but I couldn't think of Joe without viewing him as the other half of me. The boy that I'd adored, and the one that I never thought would leave my side.
"I...I've got to go," I finally announced to my friend. "I'll speak to you later, okay?" And then I hung up the phone, without even waiting for her to answer. I knew that I was being rude, acting more than a little strange, but I needed some time. I needed to be alone with my thoughts to try and process all of this.
So quite how I found myself sitting at my computer with my fingers running along the keys, I wasn't quite sure.
Don't press anything, I willed myself. As soon as you do, everything will change.
Since we had gone our separate ways, I hadn't contacted Joe once, and with the uprising of social media I hadn't looked him up either. I just couldn't face it. He was like an imaginary fantasy in my mind now, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to ruin that with reality. What if he was married now? Or into drugs or something? His life could have gone in any direction, and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to find out which one.
Plus, my life really was amazing now. Why would I want to even consider risking that? I had a gorgeous, passionate man who actually wanted to be with me forever, even though he was about ten leagues above me, I had a teaching job that I loved, and friends that would do anything for me. That was a hell of a lot more than most people had!
In the end I forced myself to stand up and to move away from the computer screen before it lured me in. I couldn't do it; I just wasn't willing to take that step into the unknown. It terrified me far too much. But as I wandered aimlessly from room to room, I realised that I couldn't just do nothing either. I needed to calm this beast within me, which meant delving into my past whether I liked it or not.
I stood at the bottom of the attic ladder, wondering what awaited me up there. When me and Danny decided to buy a place together—well, he put the most money in of course, but we still classed it as 'ours'—I shoved everything related to my old life away, not wanting to even consider it. But it was always a comfort, knowing that it was there, knowing that I could access it at any moment if I really wanted to.
And I could feel myself finally taking that step.
I creaked up the ladder, feeling my heart thump and my palms sweat with nerves. This was a mistake, I knew it was, but at the same time I couldn't stop.
There would be no way for me to get married without taking this step anyway. Right now, things were comfortable, but if I was ever going to have a future with Danny, I needed to consult my past first. At least, that was my excuse and I was sticking to it.
Danny knew about Joe anyway. Well, he'd been told some of it, the very basics, so I supposed that I was probably going to have to confess all before we finally took the plunge. With that thought in mind, I tore open the first box I stumbled across, and I ended up looking at the few photographs that I had of me and Joe when we were very young, when we very first met...
Read more HERE...

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Living on Borrowed Time by Samie Sands

LOBT
I shouldn’t be here.
No, not here, in the hot, sweaty kitchen of this rundown diner—although, to be honest, I highly doubt I should be here either.
No, I shouldn’t be alive.
I was supposed to die eighteen months ago. That was supposed to be it for me.
I was ill for a very long time, so getting that final diagnosis of six months to go was as reliving as it was devastating. To be honest, my emotions about it were completely mixed. I didn’t want to die necessarily—not that I think anyone does really—but I was so sick of the constant round of doctors, hospitals, tubes, pills, sickness...it was exhausting, and the thought of escaping that was something of a relief.
I just wanted an end to it.
Of course, not everyone felt the same. At least, not at first, but once my family and friends got used to the idea that I was dying, that I was going to be relieved of my suffering, they were intent on making my final months amazing, and boy did they succeed! I went travelling, I had parties, I did everything that was on my bucket list—except bungee jumping. I bottled that at the last second. It was fabulous, a real whirlwind of fun and excitement. Of course, there was the odd interruption with my health, but somehow we managed to work past that. Sure, we were all acutely aware of where it was heading but it didn’t taint the mood. Not really.  
“Lara what are you doing just standing there? I pressed the bell about five minutes ago...these burgers aren’t going to take themselves to table twelve.” The grumpy head chef, Alfie yelled at me. He didn’t care about my internal struggle. He had no idea what it was like to know that you should be dead. All he cared about was getting this disgusting, fatty food out as quickly as possible so he could return home, to his sad middle-aged man ‘bachelor pad’ to smoke and drink his wages away.
I snatched the plates out of his hand and stalked moodily over to the table, where a couple were sat there smiling intently at each other. This could have been their first date, or they could have been married for years—that wasn’t what I noticed. It was the light that was shining in their eyes, as they gazed at one another. Happiness. An emotion I couldn’t even begin to understand anymore.
I shoved the food on the table in front of them, asking them if there was anything else they needed in the flat, monotone sound that had somehow become my voice. They didn’t even acknowledge my existence, they simply waved me away. I was nothing to them, just as I was nothing to everybody.
I’d been that way for a very long time now.
Once my deadline had passed, and the high started to wear off, I wondered what was happening, why I was still alive. Confused, I took myself to the doctors and after a whole range of invasive tests, they told me something unexpected, something miraculous—that I was actually starting to get better. Against all odds, I was somehow surviving.
I felt numb as he said those words. I know he expected me to celebrate, to be happy with the news that I would get to live longer, but I wasn’t. I’d gotten so used to the idea that I was going to die. I’d even adjusted to it, become comfortable with it, that to hear otherwise was utterly overwhelming. I had become so used to living in the moment, not worrying about the future because I was never going to have one, that with a long, black emptiness stretching out in front of me, I felt terrified.
What was I supposed to do? I had no future, no dreams, no plans. I had no idea where I was supposed to go next, how could I? How was I supposed to craft a new beginning out of zilch? It seemed like a ridiculously impossible task, that I couldn’t even begin to overcome.
Then again, I still had no prospects, no real education, no interests, no desires...nothing, and I no longer had any excuse for that. A year and a half had passed. There was so much that I could have done with that time, but I hadn’t.
I’d done absolutely nothing with it, I’d merely existed.  
Every day it hit me how I would have been better off dead. I might as well have died, because since my positive diagnosis I was just living on autopilot, going through the motions aimlessly.
My friends and family couldn’t understand how I just seemed empty after I got the good news, and as I continued to improve, to get better, they got more and more frustrated by my increasingly negative attitude. One-by-one they became annoyed by me. I did something to piss all of them off and now, none of them bother with me anymore.
Not that I bother with them either. I feel like too much has passed; there’s too much negative water under the bridge to even think about repairing those fractured relationships.
When my mum eventually asked me to move out because I was putting too much pressure on everyone else in the family, I left quickly and got an apartment in the nearby city. I couldn’t stay in that little, suffocating town anymore, where everyone knew absolutely everything about me. I had no excuse to remain there anyway; it didn’t hold anything for me anymore, except for memories and bad feeling. I desired to be anonymous so I could wallow in my own misery in peace, without anyone trying to cheer me up. I didn’t want anyone else to feel responsible for my own happiness, when it was so clear that nothing could be done about it.
So I upped and left, without even glancing backwards.
I got everything that I ever wanted—a tiny, albeit grotty apartment that was just for me, a job in a diner where no one bothers to try and find out more about my life, and no one to speak to. Perfect.
Yet, of course, I still wasn’t happy.
“Got much planned over the weekend? You have tomorrow night off, don’t you?” Amy, the eighteen-year-old waitress, who was constantly chewing gum and nosing about in other people’s business, asked me in her typical over-the-top fashion.
She didn’t care about me of course, not at all. To her I was just another loser waitress, but she always tried to rile me up for some reason, and she quickly discovered that my non-social life was a sore point for me. I don’t know whether I was just a game to her, if she really wanted to piss me off, or if she just wanted to make herself feel better by commenting on my sad existence. Either way, it drove me crazy.
“I dunno...not really.” I kept my eyes fixated on the floor as I spoke, praying that she would take the hint and leave me alone.
“Why are you so boring? You never seem to do anything!” She laughed, genuinely thinking she was joking.
I looked up and smiled blandly at her, hoping that she would assume I took the joke in light humour, but the look she was giving me suggested that she might just be able to see the vulnerable weakling behind the cold exterior mask I gave myself.
The thought of anyone seeing any of the real me filled me with an intense fear that gripped tightly onto my heart, so I instinctively turned away from her, trying to discretely wipe the frustrated tears from my eyes before they fell onto my cheeks.
Idiot! I thought to myself. What the hell are you doing?
Hiding emotion was something I thought I’d become particularly good at, but with one look, Amy—a girl I barely knew—had managed to revert me back into a blubbering mess.
“I’m going out to that new club tomorrow night with a group of friends. Do you...would you maybe want to come?” She asked, with a kindness to her tone that I hadn’t ever noticed before.
Pity. It had to be.
Normally, I would have shot her down right away. Even the thought of going to a club filled me with fear—the drinking, the dancing, the socialising...it all felt a little too much for some like me. I’d never really done anything like that before, and it was intimidating as hell. Even at all the parties that had been held for me, I’d avoided alcohol due to the medication, I’d been too tired for dancing, and socialising hadn’t been too much of an issue because it was with people I’d known my whole life. Plus, my best friend Daphne had always been there to protect me if things got too much.
Daphne.
I instantly forced myself to shake the image of her from my mind, in the way I always did when she cropped up. Daphne was a no-go now, there was no point in even giving her a seconds thought. I didn’t want to upset myself over nothing.
“Sure.” I eventually replied, distractedly. I wasn’t really thinking about my answer, I just wanted the conversation done, and it was a shortcut way to achieve that.
“Oh...” Amy sounded incredibly shocked—understandably so. “Okay cool. We’re meeting up at about eight-ish so...” She looked at me strangely, as if she was wondering what the hell was going through my mind. “I’ll see you there I guess.”
As she wandered off, a sinking feeling set in. Why the hell had I agreed to that? I didn’t want to go out to a club! Keeping my existence simple and straightforward was the only way I managed to get through everyday life. Now, I’d just agreed to something that threatened to send me into an anxiety meltdown, just to shut her up.
I was an idiot!
No, I would have to phone Amy tomorrow with a plausible excuse. I needed to get out of going. Disrupting my routine with something so terrifying could only have negative results.
Read more HERE...

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fighting to Be Free by Kirsty Moseley

6 MILLION READS ONLINE!
FIGHTING TO BE FREE
All his life, people have told Jamie Cole that he was born bad. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But that doesn't matter now. Because after a lifetime of demons, Jamie has finally found an angel.

Ellie Pearce learned the hard way that boys can't be trusted. But the night she meets Jamie, something shifts. He's different: brooding, a bit dark, determined to change. The connection they share is intense, compelling. Ellie tries to resist, but with each breathtaking kiss, she can't help falling deeper.

Things between Ellie and Jamie are perfect-and perfection can't last. When fate goes horribly wrong, Jamie's only hope of saving his family is to strike a deal with the devil. Most of all, Jamie wants to prove he's the person Ellie believes him to be. But if she learns just how much he's been hiding, Ellie won't be able to believe anything Jamie has ever told her . . .

The original Wattpad sensation - fully revised and with brand new content
Review: I remember reading this book on Wattpad a while back, and falling in love with Ellie and Jamie then. Reading this brand new, revised version is even better! There is more to their complex love story and the author delves deeper into their story. Their connection is steamy, filled with intense chemistry, and has the reader gripped from the first page to the past. It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, but that just has me hankering for more!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

13: The Anthology... coming soon!


1313: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction
Coming October 4th from Limitless Publishing!
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Designs

— AUTHORS —
Bradon Nave
Carissa Ann Lynch
D.A. Roach
Erin Lee
Jackie Sonnenberg
Luke Swanson
Marissa Farrar
Samie Sands
Sara Schoen
Savannah Blevins
Sophia Valentine
Taylor Henderson
Thomas S. Flowers

— BLURB —
13 has always been unlucky. But now it’s turned deadly…

Darkness has fallen. Real and unseen, evil is out there. Waiting. Watching. Biding its time. It might be your neighbor, your best friend—or something much, much worse. It might be the shadow itself. It will hunt you down when you least expect it. It will talk to you in the quiet hours of the morning and follow your footsteps when you’re alone. It’s chosen you…and it always gets what it wants.

13 dark tales await you. Ready to bring your worst childhood nightmares to life, to push you to the brink, and make you question your every decision…

The circus. Your beloved carnival rides. That mom and pop motel you pass every day on your way to work. They’ll never look innocent again. Because they’re not. No one and nothing can be trusted. Not even yourself.

Are you ready to take the ultimate dare? To spin the devil’s wheel?

Be careful…
13 will get you every time.

13-anthology-final-digital-paperback
 
— CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS! 
LIKE their pages on Facebook!
limitless publishing blue 3

Chasing Embers by James Bennett

Behind every myth, there's a spark of truth...

There's nothing special about Ben Garston. He's just a guy with an attitude in a beat-up leather jacket, drowning his sorrows in a downtown bar. Or so he'd have you believe.

What Ben Garston can't let you know is that he was once known as Red Ben. That the world of myth and legend isn't just a fantasy, as we've been led to believe. And he certainly can't let you know the secret of what's hiding just beneath his skin...

But not even Ben knows what kind of hell is about to break loose. A centuries-old rivalry has just resurfaced, and the delicate balance between his world and ours is about to be shattered.

"A thrilling fusion of myth and modernity, Chasing Embers will have you rooting for dragons over humans and loving every minute of it." -- Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author ofHounded


Review: I love novels with a unique twist, and this is a brilliant one! The author combines fantasy and reality in a really cool way. I can't wait to read more about Ben, and I hope this series becomes a film too!