Book Blitz & Giveaway for Zombie, Incorporated

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Zombie, Incorporated  by Jill Elaine Hughes

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Goodreads Link

Book Description

Twilight. With zombies.

Eighteen-year-old Katie Allred is socially awkward and unpopular at school. The only child of parents who had her right out of high school, Katie is herself about to leave the nest, even though she hardly feels ready.

Katie’s new after-school job at the Zimble Box Corporation draws her into the complex social strata of high school cliques and backstabbing friends in ways she never imagined. Katie soon discovers there’s something very strange about the “in” crowd at school—and about her employer, too. Shortly after starting her new job, the Contagion breaks out, plunging her town and the entire nation into chaos as zombie shadow forces come out into the open, ravaging the streets. Katie goes into hiding and her parents disappear, along with almost everyone else she knows.

But Katie soon discovers she has special powers that help her survive. She’s a Beacon, someone with the innate ability to help zombies produce children. It’s a power her employer — and what little remains of the U.S. government — both want to exploit for their own ends. Not only that, it runs in her family—which has a secret past Katie never knew about until now.

Enter Agent Morehouse of the FBI Special Zombie Control Unit. A reformed zombie working undercover, he suppresses his urge to eat human flesh in order to serve and save humanity. But Agent Morehouse can’t help but be attracted to a Beacon like Katie, and she to him. Even as they fight zombies the world over, they must fight their intense attraction to each other, hoping to keep Katie from suffering Agent Morehouse’s terrible zombie fate.

 *****

Excerpt

The security guard, a grandfatherly-looking man who smelled like a combination of cherry pipe tobacco and Aqua Velva, smiled and tapped the side of his nose. “If you’ll just have a seat, ma’am.”

Mom obeyed, visibly flinching at the use of the word “ma’am.” She’d had me so young that she often tried to pass herself off as my older sister in public. Obviously she wasn’t fooling anybody today.

Mom plopped down in the nearest chair and clutched her purse tightly against her chest, muttering something unintelligible under her breath. Then she cleared her throat and looked up. “Go on in, Katie. I’ll be waiting for you. And don’t blow it. You won’t be able to pay your rent when you move out after graduation without a job. And you are going to move out no later than July 1, even if I have to toss you out onto the street myself.”

Subtlety has never been my mom’s strong suit. Neither has parenting. She’s always treated me more like a financial obligation than a daughter. I guess that’s what happens when you get married and pregnant right out of high school like she did.

Mom reached into her purse for her lipstick and compact and touched herself up a bit, though I didn’t understand why. She wasn’t the one going in for her first-ever job interview—-I was. I stared at her, my feet frozen to the floor. This was really, really happening. I was going into a real job interview in a real office like a real grownup. Not bad for someone who was still in high school. I knew I should feel proud of myself or something, but I didn’t.

Mom applied a fresh coating of frosted peach lipstick and smacked her lips. “Good luck. Hurry up, don’t keep them waiting. Otherwise they’ll fire you before you even get a chance to get in there.”

I sighed. Not exactly a good way for a mother to inspire confidence. But I was used to that where Mom was concerned. She’d never get the Mother of the Year award. But I’d never get the Daughter of the Year award, either. Between the two of us, we pretty much cancelled each other out.

I took several deep long breaths, and willed my feet to unfreeze themselves from the threadbare gray carpeting. I pushed through the double doors, more than a little frightened of what I’d find on the other side.

As I stepped into Mr. Zimble’s office, I ended up not in an office at all, but something else entirely.  At least it didn’t look like any office I’d ever seen before.  It really looked more like a toy store.

Lining the walls were floor-to-ceiling wooden bookshelves. But instead of books, they were lined with brightly colored cereal boxes, mostly childrens’ cereals like Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms. In between the cereal boxes were unopened boxes of toys. Toys of all kinds—Star Wars action figures, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Bakugan games, GI Joes, and a bunch of stuff that looked like it was from the 70s and 80s that I’d never even heard of.  There were lots of Halloween-themed toys, too—werewolves, Frankensteins, mummies, and zombies.

                Lots of zombies. There were a bunch of Evil Dead toys on one shelf, and about sixteen different versions of one of the zombie villains from Scooby-Doo. I recognized it right away because they still ran that episode of Scooby-Doo on Cartoon Network all the time, even though it was ancient, like from the sixties or something. All untouched and perfect and sealed in the original packaging.

In between the regular toys and cereal boxes were tiny little cheap cardboard toy-things, the kind that you usually find in cereal boxes and Cracker Jacks. Stupid stuff like stickers, cardboard footballs like the kind you’d toss around in study hall, and those little thin pieces of plastic that show different pictures when you flick them back and forth. At the end of the room was a huge mahogany desk, also covered with toys and brightly colored boxes—leaving just enough space for a laptop, desk pad and phone. Behind that desk sat a funny-looking little old man that I assumed must be Mr. Zimble.

And when I say funny-looking, I really mean funny looking.  He reminded me of something you would see in a cartoon.  Or maybe a video game.

He was short. Very short. So short that his head barely made it above the edge of his desk, and he sat in a huge leather-upholstered chair that was almost twice as tall as he was—looking at him reminded me of seeing one of my toddler cousins sitting in my grandfather’s old La-Z-Boy.  He had a perfectly bald head that shined under the florescent lights like Mr. Clean. He wore huge black hornrimmed glasses that were almost twice as wide as his head, along with big bushy white eyebrows and gray hair growing out of his ears.  By the looks of him he had to be almost ninety years old. Or maybe just sixty. But definitely old.

Mr. Zimble saw me come in and smiled wide.  So wide, in fact, I thought his face would break in half.  He had large, white even teeth that looked fake.  He pushed back his huge leather chair from the ginormous desk and stood up.  But it looked like he must have been sitting on a box or something, because when he got down from the chair he disappeared behind the desk for a moment.  I didn’t see him full-length until he came out from behind it.

Mr. Zimble was a midget.

Or rather, a little person.  I think I read somewhere that little people find the term “midget” offensive or something.

He held out his tiny hand, and I reached down to shake it. “Hello there,” he said in a deep voice that didn’t match his small stature at all.  “You must be Katie Allred. Tell me, are you any relation to Gloria Allred?”

“Who?”

He laughed—a deep, resonating laugh that reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West’s singing guards in The Wizard of Oz. I blinked my eyes a couple of times just to make sure they weren’t playing tricks on me, but when I opened them, Mr. Zimble was still just as short as he’d been before.       “Gloria Allred is a famous Hollywood lawyer,” he said. “She’s on TV a lot, I thought you might be related.”

I had no idea what he was talking about. “We definitely don’t have any lawyers in the family,” I said. No, we were mostly a bunch of working stiffs. I remember Mom talking about a second cousin who worked as a high-level computer programmer someplace, but as far as I knew that was the most important job anybody in my family had. Except maybe for my uncle Lou who worked as a garbage collector on a military base in Kentucky. You know, for like a government pension and everything.

My family isn’t exactly what you’d call successful. At least not in the traditional sense. If you could afford rent and gas in your car, that was successful enough for us. At least, that’s what my parents always said. Small wonder they’d never bothered to put away a college fund for me. For the past four years, the recurring mantra at our dinner table was, “Katie, forget college. You have to go out and get a job and support yourself the minute you graduate, just like we did.”

“Well, here I was thinking you could get me Gloria Allred’s autograph.” Mr. Zimble seemed a little disappointed. “I do know for a fact you’re related to Bud Weidle, though. My top line foreman in the box plant. I understand Bud is your uncle?”

“Yes, he is.  Uncle Bud is on my mother’s side.  He’s technically my great-uncle since he’s my mom’s uncle, but we don’t call him that.”

Mr. Zimble motioned for me to take a seat in one of the hard wooden chairs in front of his desk. I sat down and instantly felt at least a foot shorter.  The huge wooden desk suddenly towered over me, as if it were the Grand Canyon and I were standing at the bottom of it looking up. Mr. Zimble climbed back up into his chair, and now he looked like a giant. It reminded me of a room at the carnival funhouse, the one with the tilted floor and the funny mirrors.  You know the ones—at one end of the room you’re a fat midget, at the other end you’re a tall, thin giant and your head knocks up against the ceiling.  Mr. Zimble was kind of like that, except he was like what would happen if the carnival funhouse room got turned into a person.

He gazed down on me from his high perch like an evil king out of a fairy tale. I craned my neck to see if there was a wooden box on his chair to give him more height, but I couldn’t tell from such a steep angle.

Okay, so this was weird. I suppressed an urge to bolt for the door. If I screwed up the interview after my Uncle Bud went to all the trouble to arrange it for me, Mom and Dad would be furious. I knew I’d never hear the end of it for as long as I lived.

“Your Uncle Bud is one of our best employees,” Mr. Zimble went on. “He’s been with us for almost forty years.  I remember when I first hired him.  He wasn’t much older than you then, we hired him right out of high school. He started at the bottom and worked his way up. He runs the secondary production line now, a big step up from when he swept the factory floor and took out the trash. I like to see my employees work their way up the system on their own merits.”

“Does that mean I’ll be sweeping the factory floor and taking out the trash?” I blurted out. “I thought this was an office job.” Before the words even made their way out of my mouth, I was already embarrassed.

He laughed again, somewhat higher-pitched this time.  In fact, his laugh started out low and deep, but then seemed to get higher and higher, faster and faster, like when you speed up a recording, until he almost sounded like one of the Chipmunks. But then when he started talking, his voice sounded just like it had before. So maybe I just imagined the whole thing.

“It is an office job, Katie. I won’t have a pretty young lady like you working on the dirty, loud factory floor.  You’re not strong enough to lift the pallets or run the pressing machines either, I can tell just by looking at you.”

I probably should have been offended by this, but I wasn’t. Feminism and equal rights were fine and all, but you’d never see me lifting pallets or running machines. No way. That was sweaty work made for fat hairy old men. Fat hairy old men like my Uncle Bud who smelled like a mixture of cherry Jell-O and trash. (Seriously, he did. So did his entire house. Don’t even get me started.)

“Well, that’s good,” I said.  “What exactly will I be doing? Uncle Bud said it was just typical office stuff, typing and filing and answering phones and stuff. Or maybe packing boxes to put on the train?  I saw on the way over here you guys use the trains to like, ship stuff.”

“Yes, that’s exactly right, Katie,” he replied, picking up a tiny plastic werewolf figurine and toying with it between his gnarled fingers. I saw that the skin on the backs of his hands was paper-thin, almost transparent, showing a roadmap of knobby blue veins pressing up from underneath. “I can see right off the bat that you’re a real go-getter.  To answer your question, you’ll be doing all the typical office work, plus things like making coffee and running errands. You’d be working under the supervision of our chief office manager, who started out ten years ago right out of high school as an entry-level office girl, just like you’ll be.”

I realized with some trepidation that this really wasn’t an interview at all. Mr. Zimble had already decided to hire me sight-unseen. Which on the surface seemed great, but there had to be a catch. I might be only eighteen, but I wasn’t born yesterday, either.

But what was the catch? Other than the fact this whole place seemed like something out of the Twilight Zone and Mr. Zimble reminded me a lot of a cartoon villain, it still seemed just like any other place to work. “So, um, does this mean I got the job?”

He smiled wide enough to show the tops of his dentures. “Yep. Your Uncle Bud says you can type and you’re a nice girl and a hard worker, so that’s good enough for me. When can you start?”

*****

About the Author

JillJILL ELAINE HUGHES is a journalist and playwright as well as a New Adult fiction novelist.  As a reporter, she has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, New Art Examiner, Cat Fancy magazine, and numerous other media outlets. Her plays have widely published and produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, and many other U.S. cities, as well as in the UK and Australia. Before self-publishing New Adult fiction, she published many erotic romance novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” for publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Virgin Books, Decadent Publishing, and Ravenous Romance.

Author Links:

Buy Links

Amazon: Zombie, Incorporated (The Katie Allred Zombie Series)

B&N: B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-incorporated-jill-elaine-hughes/1114910863?ean=2940044402010

 

Giveaway

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*****

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Introduction & Review for Dragon Kings Trilogy by Lindsey Piper

Dragon Kings Trilogy: Prequel & Book 1

Author: Lindsey Piper

June 25th is the official release date of Caged Warrior: Dragon Kings Book One 

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Since I read the prequel and Book 1, I have combined them for this review.

Lindsey Piper take readers to a dark, edgy, gritty world filled with violence where supernatural warriors, called Dragon Kings live among humans who are either unaware of their existence or take pleasure in exploiting their mythical powers.

Based upon what I have read and pieced together so far, there are five Dragon King clans located throughout the world. Each clan has been gifted with specific supernatural powers. Although many clan members stay together, there are those who choose to live among humans without revealing their identities.  However, some Dragon Kings may find themselves in debt or other kinds of trouble that force them into the seedy world of underground fighting to gain money or favors from one of the three nefarious human cartels who run this illicit gambling operation.

Prequel: Silent Warrior (Dragon Kings 0.5)

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Purchase on Amazon: Silent Warrior

Book Description

An exciting, emotionally charged prequel to the Dragon Kings trilogy featuring warriors fighting for their lives in violent cage matches to guarantee their clans’ survival.

A silent woman ashamed of her criminal background becomes a Cage warrior to seek redemption. An unrepentant fortune hunter chooses combat over death to appease a mafia family. Although rivals in battle, they find common ground when seeking their clan’s stolen idol, but for vastly different reasons. Neither one suspects that love will begin when he becomes the first man in five years to hear her speak.

Review

Let me preface this review by stating that I read Caged Warrior first, initially unaware that there was a prequel to the trilogy. Once I finished book one, I decided to go back and read the prequel hoping the story would provide more exposition and clarification about the mystical origins and existence of Dragon Kings. Furthermore, I wanted to learn more about humans’ involvement with this secret race of people.

The story opens in the middle of a fight between two Dragon King warriors from the Sath clan, dressed in armor with their choice of weapons. They use whatever skills they have to fight for a win.  Silence is a cage warrior from the Aster Cartel who finds herself struggling to outmatch Hark, whose debt forces him to fight for needed money.

Silence and Hark’s alternating point-of-views throughout the story are effective in providing greater insight into their motivations and vulnerabilities. Since volunteering to fight for the Aster Cartel, the woman known as Silence has never spoken a word to anyone.  Her persona is a direct contrast to the easy going, talkative Hark, who finds her silence unnerving. His goal besides winning is to make her say something. While Silence intimidates Hark by remaining wordless, he tries to throw her off balance with his excessive talking and atypical behavior.

Although Silence and Hark have contrasting personalities, they manage to fall in love while running from enemies in Hong Kong.  Their contentious bantering along with their secret revelations make this story an engaging read.  Overall, this short work is packed with action and suspense and leaves you with an uncertainty about Silence and Hark’s future. Because of the story’s brevity, I accepted the “insta-love” between Silence and Hark, even though it is unrealistic, given the time frame.

I already knew the outcome of this story because Silence and Hark continue to play a role in Caged Warrior. Still, I was glad to learn their backstory and the tenderness behind their union.  The sacrifice that Hark is willing to make for Silence is touching.

On the other hand, I was disappointed to find that this prequel did not help me to better understand this fascinating world Piper has created.  In fact, I think I would have been more confused about the sequence of events if I had not already read book one.
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The lack of explanation about the history and current existence of the Dragon Kings kept me from being fully immersed in this fantasy.

Rating

Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40Sunny-icon revised 40

Caged Warrior (Dragon Kings #1)

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Purchase on Amazon: Caged Warrior: Dragon Kings Book One (The Dragon Kings)

Book Description

The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.

Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments. 

Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.

Review

Imagine being stripped of your family, tortured, and then enslaved in an underground world where survival depends on how well you can fight.  This nightmare has become Audrey MacLaren’s life.  Audrey’s real name is Nynn, and she is a Dragon King born of the Clan Tigony.  Dragon Kings are an ancient race of supernatural beings with special power endowed to them.  They are proud warriors who have kept their identity a secret from most humans.

Audrey is branded as a traitor and exiled from her clan when she marries a human man and later gives birth to a son. Her peaceful life is shattered when her husband is murdered, and she and her son are kidnapped by the Aster family, a human crime cartel who exploit Dragon Kings by using them for scientific experiments and confining them underground where they train as cage warriors who fight for favor and privilege.

Although the reason is never fully explained, the Dragon King race is in danger of extinction because of difficulty conceiving children. Giving natural birth to a Dragon King is a rarity, and the sinister Dr. Aster keeps Audrey and her son locked away in a laboratory where he experiments on them to further his knowledge of this supernatural race. After a year of being tortured by Aster, Audrey is forced to become a cage warrior and fight for the Aster Cartel if she ever wants to see her son again.

I admired Audrey’s perseverance and tenacity throughout the story. She endures endless verbal, emotional, and physical abuse that would easily break others. Despite the odds, she is willing to do whatever it takes to be reunited with her son, even though she knows that it is likely Dr. Aster will not keep his promise.

Leto of Clan Garnis has the responsibility for training Audrey to fight as his partner. He is a multifaceted, dominating character with a brutal nature, which I found hard to like but could understand, since he has spent his entire life training and fighting in the cages, and violence is all he’s ever known.  Leto is an undefeated fighter in the cages. He is proud that his wins have given his sister the opportunity to conceive a child with her husband and continue the family line. He believes the sacrifices he has made are honorable. His reputation has made him a favorite to the Asters, and he enjoys the respect and privileges that are given to him.

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Leto has never worried about his elite warrior status until he meets Audrey. He is given little time to train her, and if she doesn’t do well, that will reflect upon him and the future of his family.  Leo tries to force Audrey into submission through harsh, inhumane treatment. His lack of compassion and indifference to her situation was at times hard for me to read. However, no matter how cruel Leto is, Audrey still manages to retain some form of dignity and defy his efforts to break her spirit.  Even though Audrey knows she has to learn to fight for her son’s sake, she refuses to use her incredible powers of harnessing and manipulating energy since she has no control over them. She worries that by doing so, she will lose her sense of self and turn into a ruthless monster.

Much of the book focuses on the dynamic  nature of Audrey and Leto’s relationship.  Spending so much time together creates a mounting sexual tension that becomes harder for them to ignore.  A major turning point in the story occurs when Audrey and Leto become victims of Dr. Aster’s malevolence and begin to trust and work in sync with each other.

I was enthralled with the second half of the book, where unexpected events arouse change in both Audrey and Leto.
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As Audrey embraces her warrior prowess, Leto begins to question the illusion of his life.  I enjoyed watching both characters grow emotionally and physically closer once they understood each other’s plight.  Piper does an excellent job with character development and shows that no matter how flawed, one can always be redeemed.

The greatest drawback of the story is the lack of necessary background to help me fully understand these warriors and the challenges they face:  What’s the story behind the origin and powers of the Dragon Kings? Why are Dragon Kings affiliating with human crime organizations? Is it always by choice or are they forced into it like Audrey?  How exactly does Dr. Aster “help” Dragon Kings with their fertility problems?  I hope the author will flesh out more of this fantasy world she has created to make the read more enjoyable.

I received a copy of Caged Warrior from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Rating

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*****

About the Author

Lindsey Piper is the alter ego of an award-winning historical romance author. Her hotly anticipated 2013 DRAGON KINGS series is her first foray into paranormal fiction. She lives and writes in Chicago.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lindseypiper.com To celebrate the release of Caged Warrior, Lindsey is giving away 2 copies of this book. Just visit her website and post a comment. Winners will be drawn at random on July 2nd!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyPiper

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorLindseyPiper

To post a comment, please click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags. 

Review & Giveaway For Too Sexy for His Stetson

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Too Sexy for His Stetson by Mal Olsen

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Purchase on Amazon: Too Sexy For His Stetson

Book Description

Anguished over his father’s lack of morals, Deputy Blade Beringer struggles to conquer self-doubts. When he and his K9 partner Rambo arrive in the mountains of northern Idaho, Blade is faced with a band of white supremacists, a homicide investigation, and a murder cold case, not to mention the task of training a gorgeous blond rookie.

Trainee Brandy Wilcox is bent on clearing her mother’s name of a wrongful murder conviction. While working the homicide investigation with her sexy new training officer, she discovers a connection between the victim and her mother’s case. The two deputies struggle to resist their mutual attraction and abide by the no-fraternizing rules, but passion blazes and teeters on the brink of love. With a killer targeting them and danger lurking at every turn, Brandy doubts their love can blossom, especially when she puts Officer Skip Coogan—Blade’s best friend and father figure—at the top of her suspect list. 

*****

Book Review

I love introductions to fiction where the author immediately builds momentum by beginning the story in the midst of a dramatic or tense moment, which is exactly the technique Olson uses in Too Sexy for His Stetson.  You can read this novel’s opening scene in the excerpt following this review.  The introduction had me hooked from the very first line by introducing the two main characters engaged in a potentially combative situation.

Although inexperienced, Deputy Sheriff trainee Brandy Wilcox shows gumption in her attempt to apprehend a very sexy cowboy who appears to be breaking the law. Although she is off duty, I admired Brandy’s determination to bring the hunky stranger in, even though she is ill-equipped to do so. Her less than orthodox methods to prevent his escape are humorous and help to deescalate their tenuous situation.

When they attacked by a group of Neo-Nazi Freedom Fighters, Brandy and Mr. Stetson-Wearing Cowboy join forces to make an escape.  Once safe, the awkwardness of the situation only intensifies once Brandy learns her would- be criminal is actually her new field training supervisor, Lieutenant Deputy Sheriff Blade Beringer. Oops!

Brandy’s life revolves around her career in law enforcement and in bringing to justice the real killer who framed her mother for a murder Brandy is certain she didn’t commit.  Brandy strongly believes that her step-father, Skip Coogan, a highly-esteemed law officer, killed his mistress, even though all of the circumstantial evidence pointed to Brandy’s mother.  After her mother was incarcerated and later killed in prison, Brandy ran away from home and eventually ended up in a state boarding school.  Experience has taught her not to trust others; therefore, she remains a loner outside of her job. Now, she has changed her name and stayed under Skip’s radar so that she can continue to secretly investigate him.

Blade is an extremely likeable hero who lives his life with integrity. He does his best to support and encourage Brandy’s success as an officer of the law.  I really began to respect him when he could have easily embarrassed Brandy by telling officers about her amateurish attempt to arrest him. Instead, keeps her secret and admires her tenacity in the face of a difficult situation.  Overall, Blade is a good man who tries to be fair and do what’s right, even though he harbors deep-rooted fears of the man he might become because of his lineage.

Although Brandy and Blade work well together, their relationship becomes more complicated when Brandy learns that Blade is close friends with her step-father, Skip. Blade proudly acknowledges Skip as his mentor and the only father figure in his life.  Knowing she can’t work behind her supervisor’s back in searching for evidence against Skip, she takes the risk to share with Blade her suspicions about Skip’s involvement in the murder that ended her family.

As she expected, Blade balks at the idea that Skip has been involved in any illicit activity.  I do have to give Blade credit for being willing to listen to Brandy’s theories, even though she lacks concrete evidence.  I also loved watching the bond strengthen between Brandy and Blade as they begin to trust one another and reveal their most painful secrets.

Various twists and turns fraught with danger and deception have both Brandy and Blade second guessing their suspicions at times as they deal with threats from a white supremacy group, a possible terrorist attack, and the endangerment of Brandy’s life as she searches for evidence to exonerate her mother.

In the middle of all the turmoil, Brandy and Blade do their best to fight the mutual attraction and sexual tension zinging between them, especially since the force prohibits co-workers from dating. One of the central questions is whether they will give in to their passion and what the outcome of their relationship will be by the end of the story. Olson does a good job in smoothly interweaving the couple’s burgeoning relationship within the plot so that it ties in with the other major conflicts.

This action packed romantic suspense filled with unexpected surprises kept me riveted until the end and was an enjoyable read.

I received a copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

 

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

Excerpt from Too Sexy for His Stetson

Brandy’s trigger finger twitched. A bead of sweat tickled its way down her backbone. She was inexperienced, off duty, and miles from her truck, which sat near a trailhead in the mountainous wilderness of northern Idaho, and the intruder she held at gunpoint probably had seventy muscled pounds on her.

She studied the cowboy’s sweet-as-honey, wicked-as-sin smile through the sights of her department-issued Remington semiautomatic rifle. From his pose on the rickety porch of the old log cabin, he assessed her right back. His full lips tugged across Crest-white teeth, exposing a small but sexy gap between his central incisors.

He tipped his head toward the jimmied-open window. “I know this looks bad, Ma’am, but I can explain,” he drawled out “Ma’am” again.

“Deputy Sheriff Brandy Wilcox. Keep your hands where I can see them.”

“Brandy?” Impervious to the deputy sheriff title, he straightened and angled his dusty black Stetson over his forehead so the brim shadowed his cool-water eyes. “Name like that could make a man real thirsty.”

Brandy had heard just about every come-on in the book, but never from a trespasser on the business end of her rifle. She calculated his over-confident grin, the twinkle in his eyes, the tilt of his head—blond curly hair no less. A sensual package that promised a ride on the wild side—if one was so inclined. Which she was not.

Yet something primal tugged deep in her stomach.

Bracing the Remington more firmly against her shoulder, she steadied her aim and revved up her grit. This guy was banking on his wild smile a little too heavily. What he needed was some taming.

“Okay, drop ‘em.”

When he lowered his arms, she said, “Not your hands, your pants.”

For several beats, he stared at her like he hadn’t heard.

“Lose your Levis,” she urged again. She had no desire to shoot him, but she didn’t have handcuffs on her and she wasn’t about to chance his getting away. If it came to a footrace, his long muscular legs could outrun her in a heartbeat. But he couldn’t get far stomping barefoot in his skivvies through the mountainous shale-scabbed terrain. Not that making a break for it was something she intended to let him try.

“Excuse me? You want me to strip?” A trill of elation noticeably brightened his whisky-smooth voice. His expression bounced between “this is my lucky day” and disbelief.

“You got it. And while you’re at it, you can get rid of the shirt too.”

The fine lines defining his too-blue eyes crinkled as his expression turned sultry, and charisma dripped off his broad shoulders like summer rain over mountain granite.

Charisma, hell. That would get him exactly nowhere with her. “Necessary precaution. I wouldn’t want you trying to mosey off.” Not before she could engage an on-duty deputy to make an arrest.

She may have looked as young and inexperienced as she was, but she was physically and mentally tougher than her feminine five-foot-four frame suggested. She could outshoot and outthink every cadet in her graduating class at the police academy.

Revenge had a way of empowering a woman.

Despite her upbringing, she’d beaten the odds. She was making something of herself, and she wasn’t about to be intimidated by this guy and his toothpaste poster-boy smile, nor the blond, sweat-soaked curls straggling across his collar. Or the pumped biceps stretching the fabric of his shirtsleeves.

“I’m still waiting.”

“You’re serious?” He eyed the lettering on her I’m a Redneck Woman T-shirt, a fifty-cent find at Goodwill. “I usually like to get to know a woman a little before taking my clothes off and having a good time.” The dazzle of his smile cranked the charisma meter several notches higher.

“I can assure you, you won’t be having a good time.” Smart ass.

“That’s debatable. I’m already enjoying this more than you can imagine.”

Too eagerly, his fingers began tugging open his shirt buttons, revealing a deep triangle of bronzed skin dusted with tawny chest hair. More sun-kissed eye candy than she was ready to cope with.

As he slid buttons through buttonholes, her gaze skidded to a stop on abs honed like corrugated steel. She tore her glance upward only to meet those unnerving eyes, speckles of light glinting in the azure pools.

As he reached for the fastener on the waistband of his slim-fit 510’s, the heat blooming on Brandy’s cheeks slid south. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Still, he couldn’t run far in his underwear. Seconds ticked by. Golden sunbeams gleamed off beads of sweat on muscles she didn’t really want to notice, but her attention was completely captured by the liquid heat trickling down his chest. She worked harder to convince herself the quiver in her gut came from adrenaline not feminine hormones. At any moment, her survival instincts and training would take over and stop this ridiculous sensual reaction to him. “Turn around and take off your boots.”

“My boots?” The first sign of indignation crept into his voice. “Brandy, Honey, I think you’re making a big mistake. Did you ever hear of fairness in apprehension?”

“You sound experienced.” Obviously, this wasn’t his first tangle with the law. “Have you heard of justification of lethal force? Consider yourself lucky that I didn’t shoot first and ask questions later. Now turn around and get to work on those boots.”

“What about my Miranda rights? Or the proposition that a man’s innocent until proven guilty?” he asked even as he followed orders and pivoted, presenting her with a view of his equally impressive backside.

But rather than shucking off his well-worn snakeskin Justins, he removed his shirt and slowly slid his belt through the loops, making a sensual striptease out of the movements.

The cotton fabric of Brandy’s T-shirt dampened, and her concentration started to wane. Not because the temperature was flirting with triple digits and the August sun had bullied every cloud from the sky. The blame rested on blue eyes that had messed with her thermostat.

She cleared her throat. “The arresting officer will read you your rights. For now, I’d get to work on those boots if I were you.”

“You want to separate me from my boots, you’re going to have to do it yourself.” His back still to her, he planted his scuffed heels firmly on the cabin’s splintered porch boards and glanced over his shoulder.

“On the other hand, if you’re really interested in seeing what’s under my jeans, I’m all yours, Honey. I do love a redneck woman.”

Her heart hammered against the fabric of the particular T-shirt she wished she hadn’t selected that morning, which was clinging to her chest like shrink wrap. The Gretchen Wilson song title had made her laugh out loud when she’d come across the tee on the bargain table at the Goodwill store, and because it was a ridiculously outrageous tag for Brandy Wilcox, she’d bought it as a joke.

As she pondered her purchase mistake of the year, wind-tossed grit scratched her throat. Expelling a slow, controlled breath, she dipped into the pocket of her jeans for her cell phone. “You have the right to remain silent in the face of any questions that might be put to you.” With hardly a waver in her voice, she added, “Do you understand?”

For untold sun-blistered seconds, he exercised his right to remain silent. She steadied the rifle, her finger alongside the trigger, and flipped her phone open with her free hand. Glanced down to read the screen. The blank, dead screen.

In the pristine silence, the sound of a zipper rasped.

Lord. Way too much sinewy, masculine muscle made her insides twist. The heat index rose to equator level. Before Mr. Totally Ripped revealed the answer to the age old question “boxers or briefs,” Brandy choked out, “Hold it right there.”

Jeans hanging low on his hips, he swiveled and faced her. “So, Brandy, what are you doing roaming around out here all by yourself?”

She narrowed her eyes and tightened her grip on the rifle. “Maintaining my sharp-shooter’s status.”

A muscle in his cheek twitched. “Maybe you should put down that rifle before you accidentally kill someone. Namely me. It would be ill advised for a deputy to shoot a suspect merely on probable cause. That could get said deputy in a lot of trouble. Guaranteed.”

“If I take you down, Mister, it won’t be any accident, and it won’t necessarily kill you.”

His tongue played sexily over the sweat collecting on the indentation above his upper lip. “You’re that good, huh?”

Double entendre intended—she was sure. Definitely too sexy for his Stetson.

“Good enough to put a hole in your hat and a crease in your skull without turning you into a pulseless, non-breathing suspect. I don’t think you want to chance that. It would smart a whole lot. Guaranteed.”

“That’s some mighty big talk for such a little lady.” The grin that tilted the corner of his mouth irritated more than intimidated her.

“A little lady with a big gun that could put a crease just about anywhere I choose.” She lowered the barrel of the rifle and set her aim in the vicinity of his zipper. “That’d smart a whole lot more. Absolutely guaranteed.”

It warmed her heart when he came to his senses and reined in his smile.

 *****

 

About the Author

MalMal Olson writes adrenaline kicked romantic suspense. She enjoys skydiving, ski jumping, SCUBA, hang gliding, big wave surfing, car racing, mountain climbing—that is, vicariously through her characters, who are always kick-ass, and often boss her around rather than allowing her to spin her stories the way she intends. (She did, however, personally engage in zip lining this past summer.)

Her debut novel Shadow of Deceit, released by The Wild Rose Press in 2012, is an edge of the seat romantic suspense-thriller set in Milwaukee and parts of northern Wisconsin. A couple of her favorite reviews came from Beverly at The Wormhole, who said, “Wow! This one has it all! Non-stop action, hot and sexy characters, betrayal, smokin’ romance, and a thrilling plot–” and Gothic Mom’s Book Review, which stated, “In the 150+ books that I read per year, there are very few that receive a five star rating. Shadow of Deceit did just that. Non stop action, sexual tension, an adventure that had me on the edge of my seat…A fantastic book that had me from page one…”

Olson also offers two short stories. Danger Zone, which has spent months in the Kindle top 100 free romantic suspense category, is a guaranteed fifteen minute pulse pounder where two strangers survive a rock ‘n roll landing on an icy Milwaukee runway and chase a could-be terrorist into the danger zone. Me and Brad, a feel good romance, features an irresistible K-9 and was ranked in the Kindle free top 100 list for months in the Contemporary Romance category.

Author Links

Website: www.malolson.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5754848.Mal_Olson

*****

Giveaway

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Review of Officer Off Limits (Line of Duty #3) by Tessa Bailey

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Officer Off Limits (A Line of Duty Novel) (Entangled Brazen)

Officer Off Limits  (Line of Duty #3) by Tessa Bailey

Book Description

His need to possess her is non-negotiable.
 
Story Brooks’ fiancé just called off their wedding two weeks before the happy day. As if that isn’t bad enough, her semi-estranged father, an infamous NYPD hostage negotiator, has suffered a heart attack. Not wanting to examine her lack of emotion over the broken engagement, she hops on a plane to reconnect with her father before it’s too late.Playboy hostage negotiator Daniel Chase has never, not once, been refused by a woman, so when a debate over hospital snack foods with a delectable kindergarten teacher ends in flat-out rejection, he makes it his mission to seduce her. His only obstacle? She’s the daughter of his mentor who implicitly forbade Daniel from pursuing her.
 
Despite her father’s warnings and Daniel’s troubled past, Daniel and Story can’t resist their intense attraction to one another. But when the reason for her fiancé’s abrupt wedding cancellation comes to light, can Story and Daniel’s already forbidden relationship survive?

*****

Book Review

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“Have Mercy” pretty much says it all about this book.  If you’re looking for a smoking-hot, steamy, sexy read full of emotional and physical intensity that explodes on the page then this is a book you’ll enjoy. Although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone.

Story Brooks is in shock, reeling from her fiance’s confession that he isn’t going to marry her, when she gets the call that her father, Jack, is in the hospital after suffering a heart attack.  Even though Story has been estranged from her father since she was a child, she hastily leaves California to travel across the country to New York. Not only can she reconnect with her father, but she can also escape her current misery.

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Soon after she arrives at the hospital, she unexpectedly meets Daniel Chase, a successful hostage-negotiator who knows his  “come-hither” good looks  are his invitation to flirt with and seduce the women around him.

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However, this smooth-talking womanizer becomes practically speechless when he first sees Story and is mesmerized by her beauty.  Even worse,  Story seems to be immune to his charm, and, in their first teasing conversation, she shocks Daniel in a way that lets him know his flirtation is meaningless to her. Ironically, though, Daniel only finds her more intriguing and desirable. Their initial stimulating conversation was what really snagged my attention and from that point on, I was hooked.

Daniel is surprised and disappointed when he realizes that Story is Jack’s daughter. Jack is one of the most famous hostage-negotiators in the country and has been a mentor to Daniel since he started his career.  Jack immediately warns him: “She is my daughter and she’s vulnerable after her breakup. I won’t have you taking advantage of her. She came here to heal, not to be your latest conquest. Hands. Off. My daughter.
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Although Story has acted as if she’s uninterested in Daniel, in fact, the opposite is true:

“Every movement of his body screamed sex. Combined with his ladies, ladies, there’s enough of me to go around vibe, she could understand why women stopped to gawk at him on the sidewalk. She couldn’t deny his magnetism. The guarantee of satisfaction practically radiated from him.”

Story is tired of her passive lifestyle, and being around Daniel makes brings out a brazen side of her that pushes him to his limits. Impulsively,  she offers him a sixty second challenge to prove his sexual prowess, and, when the countdown begins,  the sexual tension between the two builds into an intoxicatingly explosive, passionate relationship.
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As they spend more time together, Daniel becomes desperate for her, wanting to become more than a rebound. Yet, the emotional and physical wounds he carries from his childhood have made him feel unworthy to be with a woman like Story.  Although Daniel projects confidence,  his pain runs deep, and his need for Story is so heart-breaking and sincere:

“Belong to me, Story. Even if it’s just for a little while.” 

Story has opened his eyes to everything he has been missing in life.

Although Story didn’t come to New York looking for a relationship, the connection she feels to Daniel in such a short amount of time both excites and scares her. Can she really be falling in love with this strong, possessive man who is determined to make her his?  Can she push beyond the shameful secrets he keeps hidden away?

Even though there are some conflicts involving external antagonists, the story really delves into Story’s and Daniel’s internal conflicts as they must confront their fears and insecurities before they can even think of promising a commitment.

Bailey has created two multi-dimensional characters whose inner turmoil and transformation move the plot, and their struggles intensify into a suspenseful crisis that unifies all plot threads to bring closure to the story. I found the realistic ending to be emotionally satisfying.

I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

About the Author

Author

Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes. (From Amazon)

Links

Goodreads Profile | Twitter Website

*****

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Review of Writers of the Future, (Volume 29)

Book Cover

Official Release Date: June 24, 2013

Purchase on Amazon:Writers of the Future Volume 29 (L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future)

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future (Volume 29) Editor: Dave Wolverton

Book Description (From Goodreads)

Turn the page…open your eyes…and look into the future  

They unleash the power of dreams and unlock the secrets of the universe.

 They bend time, twist perception, and put a new spin on the laws of physics.

 They show us who we are, what we may become, and how far we can go.

 They are the Writers of the Future.

 Experience their vision.

 “Keep the Writers of the Future going. It’s what keeps sci-fi alive.” —ORSON SCOTT CARD

*****

Praise for Writers of the Future (Volume 29)

A Starred Review in Publisher’s weekly posted May 30, 2013:

“Selected by a panel of judges and edited into a cohesive collection by Wolverton, this year’s Writers of the Future collection is exciting and engrossing, with stories that range across the spectrum of SF and fantasy. Eschewing tried-and-true space opera and epic fantasy, these stories explore new mysteries and ideas. Death takes a bride in Marilyn Guttridge’s “The Ghost Wife of Arlington.” The secrets of the clock that powers the world are revealed in Christopher Reynaga’s “The Grande Complication.” Shannon Peavey’s “Scavengers” introduces the Vulture Lady and explains why no one who leaves her domain ever returns. Adventurous, lighthearted, thought-provoking, and grim, these stories cover a wide range of science and magic, each unique, refreshing, and innovative in a variety of different ways. The anthology is fleshed out by essays from the late Hubbard, Nnedi Okorafor, and artist Larry Elmore. This book is not to be missed, full of exciting new writers to watch. (July) (From Amazon & Goodreads)

*****

Book Review

This exciting anthology is a collection of science fiction stories by talented, new writers and illustrators who were selected from The Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests.
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These original stories and illustrations are a fine example of what readers can anticipate in the future of the science fiction genre. This stories in this collection are imaginative, and some provide glimpses into an advanced future world and its repercussions on the existence of our society and our humanity.  At times, some of the stores made me cringe, thinking…this could really happen.  Here are some of the stories that lingered in my mind after reading this latest volume of works. The beautiful illustrations that accompany the stories helped me to really grasp the visions of a different type of world.
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Two stories that deal with future worlds and government greed and corruption are “Planetary Scouts” and “Cop for a Day.”  Aiden, a seasoned scout breaks in Lester, his new partner in “Planetary Scouts.”  Numerous planets exist, and humans want to venture beyond Earth and explore possible places for settlement and expansion.  As a result, scouts are sent out to foreign planets to observe and provide feedback on whether the planet is suitable for habitation. The story is filled with action and suspense as Aiden and Lester struggle to survive in unchartered terrain. The sacrifices made by scouts provide an alarming look at the potential for devastation as a consequence of someone’s territorial greed.

“Cop for a Day” describes a world where government controls and restrains capitalism. Citizens are forced to rely on government aid and intervention that is meager and sub-standard. The protagonist, Mark, a convicted felon gets a probationary job that requires him to roam the streets and enforce “asset forfeiture.” While on the job, he partners with a highly intelligent car and by the end of his first day on the job, Mark has the potential to change his current situation.  The story made me think hard about governmental control and human rights.

The concept of death is presented from different angles in some of the stories. Imagine a world where death no longer is exists. “The War Hero” depicts the notion of body regeneration with minds even swapping bodies as needed or desired in order to facilitate covert operations.  On a different, note, consider the possibility of the dying able to communicate the final twelve seconds of their lives to officials.  “Twelve Seconds” reflects the point-of-view of Howard, a man with autism who also suffers from PTSD. He works in the homicide department viewing the last seconds of murdered victims. Precision is a must for Howard, who becomes suspicious of those whose deaths do not meet the 12 second standard showing their last memories before death.  This was one of my favorite stories showing Howard’s perseverance in solving the mystery behind these particular deaths. Although the story involves tragic events, the ending left me hopeful about Howard’s future.

If Death were a live entity, what would he or she be like? “The Ghost Wife of Arlington” is a paranormal romance that personifies Death, an immortal who has taken a “shade,” a mortal woman who is known as the “Ghost Wife.” She walks down “Bone Rattler Street” leaving various gifts for the ghosts who reside there in the city of Arlington.  I enjoyed analyzing this story, looking at the overt and subtle symbolism found throughout that strengthens and unifies the plot.

A final favorite of mine is “Dreameater,” a disturbing  and suspenseful tale of a prostitute mother who craves men’s dreams to the point she eats their brains. This zombiesh tale is told from her young daughter’s point-of-view as she gradually learns the truth about her mother and the genetic impact on her future.

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Expository essays that offer tips and advice for aspiring writers are also included in this anthology.  One of my favorites is the essay, “The Manuscript Factory” by L. Ron Hubbard where he describes the economics of writing and offers advice on how authors can examine their creative writing from a business perspective. “The Sport of Writing” shows that writing and sports have many similarities, an unusual comparison that I hadn’t considered.

The captivating tales in this anthology are insightful, stimulating, thought-provoking and a thoroughly enjoyable read!

I received a copy of this book from Galaxy Press in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

top of the mountain copy40

*****

About  L. Ron Hubbard

Hubbard

March 13-1911-January 24, 1986

With 19 New York Times bestsellers and more than 325 million copies of his works in circulation, L. Ron Hubbard is among the most acclaimed and widely read authors of our time. As a leading light of American Pulp Fiction through the 1930s and ’40s, he is further among the most influential authors of the modern age. Indeed, from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, there is scarcely a master of imaginative tales who has not paid tribute to L. Ron Hubbard. (From Amazon)

Goodreads Profile | Official Website

About Dave Wolverton

Wolverton

Dave Wolverton (born 1957) is a science fiction author who also goes under the pseudonym David Farland for his fantasy works. He currently lives in St. George, Utah with his wife and five children. (from Goodreads)

Goodreads Profile | Author Website

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ARC Review of Exposed (Tracers # 7) by Laura Griffin

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Exposed (Tracers)

Expected Publication Date: June 25, 2013

Exposed (Tracers #7) by Laura Griffin

Book Description

The seventh thrilling novel in the Tracers series from an author who “excels at detailing the mystery and the chase” (Publishers Weekly) features a forensic photographer and an FBI agent who form an uneasy partnership to find a vicious criminal.

With the click of her camera, Maddie Callahan inadvertently added herself to the hit list of a criminal mastermind the FBI’s been investigating for months. Agent Brian Beckmann is determined to protect the sexy photographer, but she may be his only lead.

 As a forensic photographer, Maddie is used to seeing violence up close, but she’s never before been a target. When a freelance photo shoot goes awry, she realizes she may have seen, and perhaps photographed, the kidnapping of a key witness in a federal probe. And although her camera was stolen, Maddie has something that could be even more valuable to investigators. With the help of her colleagues at the Tracers crime lab, Maddie uncovers DNA evidence that provides a desperately needed break in the case.

Although Brian is reluctant to involve Maddie, she’s determined to help with the investigation and the two set out to track a vicious criminal known as The Doctor, whose far-reaching violence has led to multiple deaths. But as the task force gets closer to catching the deadly Doctor, Maddie is in more danger than ever…

*****

Book Review

Laura Griffin is well-known for writing romantic suspense novels, and I’ve had her works on my to-read list for quite a while. I was excited to be given the opportunity to review her upcoming release Exposed. At first, I was worried that I would be lost since I hadn’t read any of the previous books. However, I felt this book can stand alone, and I was able to follow the main plot easily. I think I just missed out on the back-story of some of the characters who played minor roles in this novel but were featured in previous books within this series.

The intense action in the first chapter of Exposed grabbed my attention, and from that point, all I could do was hang on for a romantic, exciting, and suspenseful read!
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Maddie Callahan is the protagonist in the story, and I found her to be a flawed but likeable character. She is a talented photographer who works for the Delphi Center crime-scene unit by day and freelances in her spare time.  After the death of her two-year-old daughter, Maddie became determined to use her skills to help solve murders and to bring justice to victims of crimes. By choice, Maddie has chosen to focus solely on her career with little time given to having a social life. Numbness is the key to her holding everything together.

When she is attacked walking to her car after a photo shoot in a park, she is introduced to the very sexy FBI agent, Brian Beckman. Brian and his partner are in the vicinity working on a kidnapping case and think Maddie’s attack may be related. Maddie’s pictures may have inadvertently captured the identity of the kidnappers or can at least provide clues to find the suspects.

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The FBI is determined to find Jolene, the kidnapped woman, who is a major witness in an operation to take down a lethal drug dealer, Gordon Mladovic. Brian suspects Mladovic is behind the kidnapping, but needs to find evidence to support his belief. The guilt Brian feels about the kidnapping occurring while Jolene was under his protection pushes his urgency to find Jolene still alive. The fact that Maddie’s photographs have made her a target for elimination and that she has access to the best technology offered by the Delphi Center provide the impetus to bring Maddie and Brian together.

Griffin does a great job of smoothly alternating points of view between Brian and Maddie to reveal the motivations behind their actions. At times, she also switches to Jolene’s point-of-view to reveal the direness of her situation, and this increases the suspense of the story, as readers wait to discover if she can be rescued in time. Griffin also includes the antagonist’s point of view to provide insight into what drives his evil intentions. Mladovic’s greed and desire for power are realistic motivations for the story’s conflict.

Beckman has an immediate attraction to Maggie, who is a bit older than he, and he is confounded when she acts oblivious to his good looks and charm. Secretly, however, Maddie is attracted to Brian’s confident nature, motivated attitude as well as his intellect and perceptiveness. His handsome looks only magnify the attraction. Nevertheless, because of his young age and her fear of relationships, Maddie is determined to stay far away from the temptation of Brian Beckman.

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Brian’s persistence in his pursuit of a romantic relationship with Maddie contrasted with her resistance to allow him to get close kept me engaged throughout the story. I couldn’t help but cheer Brian on and hope that he can get through to Maddie so she will deal with and move beyond her fears.

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As the plot develops, life-threatening dramatic events lead to a nail-biting climax and a practical resolution.

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To sum up, Griffin has written a cohesive and unified story that effectively blends action-filled suspense and a tender romance. I am now a Laura Griffin fan and can’t wait to dive into the other books in this series.

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I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, Pocket Books, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

top of the mountain copy40

Read an excerpt from Exposed on Laura Griffin’s website

*****

About the Author

Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of writing romantic suspense. Her books have won numerous awards, including a RITA Award (Whisper of Warning) and a Daphne du Maurier Award (Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin where she is working on her next book.

Author Links

Goodreads Profile | Official Website | Twitter 

*****

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Music to Complement Exposed

Jason Mraz: “I Won’t Give Up”

*****

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Start Reading the Tracer Series Now

Book 1: Untraceable

Untraceable Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Untraceable

A Tracers Trilogy: Books 1-3

Tracers Trilogy

Purchase on Amazon: Laura Griffin – A Tracers Trilogy: Untraceable, Unspeakable, Unforgivable

To post a comment or leave feedback, please click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Review & Giveaway for Fatal Exposure (Buried Secrets Trilogy #1)

Fatal Exposure

Fatal Exposure (Buried Secrets Trilogy # 1) by Gail Barrett

Fatal Exposure

Book Description

Cold-case detective Parker McCall has spent fifteen years trying to solve his brother’s murder.  Now a chance photo of the killer in the newspaper sets him hard on the woman’s trail.  A former teenaged runaway, reclusive, award-winning photojournalist B.K. Elliot chronicles the harsh reality of life on the streets — until a photo in the paper reveals her identity, blowing the lid off her secret past.  With a powerful murderer now dogging her heels, and her police officer step-father determined to silence her permanently, the last person she can afford to trust is a cop.  So why does sexy police detective Parker McCall tempt her to break her silence and resurrect ideals she’d lost years ago?  As danger closes in, and with more than her own life at stake, Brynn must decide if the duty-bound cop will betray her…or heal her battered heart.

*****

Book Review

This story starts off with an effective hook that immediately pulled me into the story. Detective Parker McCall gets a major lead on who may have murdered his younger brother, Tommy, fifteen years ago.

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When a photo of the famed but reclusive photojournalist Brynn Elliot appears in the newspaper, Parker recognizes her from years ago as a runaway teen seen with Tommy. He suspects Brynn may be the one who murdered Tommy or at the very least can provide answers about his death.

Parker is a dedicated, loyal officer who takes his job seriously. He has worked hard to move up in the ranks, despite the suspicions of other officers that Parker may be just like his father, also an officer, who was found to be corrupt on the job.  Although Parker is a stickler for going by the books and following the chain of command, he doesn’t want to risk that this new lead will not be pursued to the fullest extent. Therefore, he decides to find and question Brynn by himself.  This first decision to break the rules of police procedure will soon lead to more decisions on how far Parker will go in his quest for justice.

Brynn has been on her own since she was a young girl, running from a gruesome past and carrying deadly secrets. She grew up surviving on the streets with her two friends Haley and Nadine, also on the run for different reasons.

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Now that Brynn’s identity has been exposed, she must flee again. Before she can escape, however, Parker finds and confronts her about her relationship with his brother.  Brynn soon realizes Parker will not let her continue running and hiding until his brother’s murderer is brought to justice:

“Everything about Parker McCall reeked of danger-from the jut of his steel-hard jaw to those penetrating black eyes that scrutinized every move. He was too smart. Too determined. And there wasn’t a chance he’d leave her alone. “

Although Brynn is distrustful of others, especially the police, she and Parker form an initially shaky alliance that leads them to investigate a secretive plot of murder, perversion, and corruption that goes farther up in the chain of command than anyone ever expected.

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Parker and Brynn work together in this intriguing mystery revealing random clues that they must struggle to put together while on the run from those who want them dead.  I appreciated how the author frequently reiterates the connections Parker and Brynn make as well as addressing the looming questions that still need to be answered. These tactics helped me to avoid getting lost or overwhelmed by the numerous complications and conflicts that occur in this fast-paced suspense.

The romance between Brynn and Parker develops gradually and realistically as both get to know each other, and the foundation for their love is based on mutual admiration and respect. Each understands the loneliness and pain that the other endures.

During a passionate kiss with Parker, Brynn “had the oddest sensation as if he could see straight through to her soul.

As if he saw her

The world fell away. She stayed trapped in his heated gaze, a riot of emotions thickening her throat. Because beyond the rampaging hunger, beyond the need erupting like a wildfire between them, was something else. Something deeper. A sense of connection. A feeling that she’d finally found a man she could depend on. A man who would guard and protect her. A man she could trust with her heart-a thought that both thrilled and terrified her.” 

Although this couple’s observations and thoughts reveal their attraction for one another, I wished for more sizzling sparks to really show that ongoing passion between them.

The protagonists, Parker and Brynn, are dynamic, well-rounded characters who gained my respect through their solid belief in doing what is right regardless of the sacrifices that must be made. Even though both characters have experienced heart-breaking betrayal and disillusionment in the past, each has emerged as a survivor, stronger than one might expect given their traumatic experiences.  In addition, to the external dangers surrounding them, I enjoyed watching these two characters grow over the course of the story as they are forced to deal with and resolve their internal conflicts.

This is a well written romantic suspense that answers many questions behind the mystery but also left me wondering about further aspects of the deeply embedded corruption that will lead into the second book in the Buried Secrets trilogy.  The second and third books will focus on Haley’s and Nadine’s stories, respectively.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish Promotions for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

Excerpt from Fatal Exposure

“I can’t breathe.”

Parker didn’t doubt it. He probably had seventy pounds of muscle on her.

“Please.” She sounded desperate now. “I…can’t…breathe.”

Unable to dredge up any sympathy, he steeled his jaw. “You going to talk to me this time?”

“Yes.”

“Somehow I’m not convinced.”

“I said I would.” Despite her predicament, temper flared into her voice.

“You’d better,” he warned. “You try running again, and I’ll hurt you for real this time.”

Too ticked off to trust her, he rolled over, positioning himself on top.  Then he lumbered to his feet, every sense alert in case she tried to bolt.  When she didn’t make a move to join him, he reached down and pulled her up. Still breathing heavily, he pulled out his badge and held it up.

“Put your hands behind your back and face the fence,” he ordered, taking out his handcuffs.

“What?”

“You heard me.” He wasn’t taking the chance that she’d run again.

“You have no right—”

“You ran from the police. You assaulted an officer. I don’t need another reason than that. Now turn around—unless you’d rather I haul you in.”

Her gaze flicked to his shield again. Even in the dim light trickling from a nearby row house, he could see her jaw go tight. But she turned and held out her hands.

Wary of another trick, he slapped on the handcuffs, the delicate feel of her wrist bones causing a startling burst of heat in his blood. Forget that she’s a woman, he reminded himself as she whirled around. She was a possible suspect in his brother’s death, the last one to see him alive, not a potential date.

He picked up the backpack she’d dropped and searched it, unearthing the small, semiautomatic pistol she’d hidden inside. Still keeping one eye on her, he removed the magazine. “You have a permit for this?”

Her gaze skidded away.

“Right.” Stupid question. He stuffed the gun in his jacket pocket and shouldered the bag.

Her eyes returned to his. “So what do you want?”

“Information.”

“You always tackle people you want to question?”

“You always climb out the window when someone knocks on your door?”

Her mouth pressed into a line.

*****

About the Author

Gail Barrett

A former RITA® and Daphne finalist, Gail Barrett has received the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, The National Readers’ Choice Award, and numerous other awards.  She lives with her husband in Western Maryland.  Readers can contact her through her website: www.gailbarrett.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gail.barrett.961#!/gail.barrett.961

Links to Buy the Book

Amazon: Fatal Exposure (Buried Secrets) ebookFatal Exposure (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) book

Barnes & Noble paperback and Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fatal-exposure-gail-barrett/1113942081?ean=9780373278275

*****

Giveaway

Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon / BN (or other bookstore of the winner’s choice) GC to one randomly drawn commenter during this tour.

To post a comment or leave feedback, please click on the green “Leave a Comment” link below this post following the tags.

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Upcoming Books in the Trilogy

Book 2: A Kiss to Die For –  August 2013

Book 3: Seduced by His Target – December 2013

Cover Reveal for Hold On To Me by Elisabeth Naughton

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Hold On To Me by Elisabeth Naughton

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Book Description

He thinks he’s finally found the one.

Mitch Mathews never believed in love—at least not the happily ever after kind. Then he met Simone Conners. Just one night with the sexy lawyer made him reevaluate his priorities and look toward a future he never planned. The only hang up is making her see it too. 

She’s almost ready for a second chance.

What started out as a casual hookup with a rugged geologist has turned into something a whole lot more. Simone’s on the verge of handing over her heart, but fear over what Mitch will say and do when he learns who she used to be holds her back.

The past could destroy their future…

Just when Simone is about to take a chance on forever with Mitch, the mistakes of her past catch up with her. Suddenly it’s not just her safety on the line anymore, it’s his too. Forced into hiding, Mitch demands answers, and Simone realizes the only way to protect everything she holds dear is to delve into a past she’s spent fourteen years trying to forget. As they search for the truth, they discover secrets, lies and a rekindled passion that burns hotter than before. But they also uncover a conspiracy that threatens the very fabric of society. One that could cost them more than just their future…it could cost them their lives.

*****

About the Author

authorI was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.

Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.elisabethnaughton.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElisNaughton

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/elisabeth.naughton1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2002988.Elisabeth_Naughton

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Review of Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon) by Kat Martin

Against the Storm book cover

Purchase from Amazon: Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon)

Against the Storm by Kat Martin

Book Description 

Redheads like Maggie O’Connell are nothing but trouble. But Trace Rawlins, a former army ranger turned private investigator, takes the case anyway. After all, he knows a thing or two about women.

Trace can sense that something is wrong—Maggie isn’t telling him everything. If these menacing calls and messages are real, why won’t the police help her? And if they aren’t real, what is she hiding?

As Trace digs deeper to find the source of Maggie’s threats, he discovers a secret that no one was meant to uncover. And the only puzzle left to be solved is whether the danger comes from an unknown stalker…or from the woman he’s trying his hardest not to fall for.

Book Review

Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon) is the fourth book in Kat Martin’s series. However, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The story centers on Maggie O’Connell, a well-known photographer in Houston, TX. Recently, she has become the target of a stalker who leaves messages on her answering machine and car windshield, promising they will be together soon. She’s gone to the local police for help, but, because of a false accusation she made to police while in high school, they are reluctant to believe her story.

Maggie seeks out Trace Rawlins, former Army Ranger, now owner of his own Security company. Everyone knows that Trace has a weakness for redheads, but he painfully acknowledges that his prior relationships with them have only led to heartbreak. Unfortunately, Trace knows he’s in trouble as soon as he sees Maggie:

“His gaze ran over her, the smooth skin and stubborn jaw, the big green, troubled eyes, the red hair curling softly around her shoulders.” 

redhead with freckles and green eyes

His initial reaction is to turn her away, yet he feels compelled to help her.  All he asks is that Maggie be completely honest in telling him about her past and current life. Honesty is extremely important to Trace since he now has trust issues because of his ex-wife.

However, Maggie has secrets that she doesn’t want revealed. She decides not to fully confide in Trace because of her embarrassment over certain past events. Besides, she justifies to herself, these secrets aren’t connected to the search for the stalker anyway, right? Wrong, her secrets are relevant to the investigation, and she underestimates Trace’s skills in discovering what she’s been hiding. When Trace discovers that Maggie has lied by omission, he angrily drops her as his client.

Of course, with the ongoing stalker drama, Maggie continues to turn to Trace for help. Not only is he one of the few who believes she is in danger, but Maggie cannot resist his charm and good looks:

“He grinned, a flash of white in a suntanned face so handsome it made her breath catch. An amazing face, she thought, with those hard, sculpted features and intense, whiskey-brown eyes, so warm and direct they sent a little quiver into her stomach.” 

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 Their intense attraction for each other and sexual chemistry draw them closer together, leading to a sizzling romance that had me rooting for them

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even with all of the angst involved.

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Both characters have issues with commitment, they continuously deny their growing feelings for each other, and they expect the relationship to end once the mystery is solved. Furthermore, Maggie makes poor decisions against Trace’s advice that make her vulnerable to danger and cause ongoing frustration for Trace. Can they take their relationship further than sex?  This is one of several established conflicts that build suspense in the search for the elusive stalker.

The search for the culprit is not as straightforward as expected. There are unpredictable twists to the plot that create a suspenseful, engaging story right up until its conclusion.  And right when you think the story has reached its resolution, more of the unexpected happens.

As a Texas transplant, I appreciated Martin’s understanding and portrayal of the idiosyncrasies of Texan culture. Yep, Trace is most definitely a Texas cowboy. In addition, the supporting characters enhance the complexity of the story, and most of them are dynamic, rather than static, as sometimes found in other novels.  The book is well-written and ties together all of the side stories by the end.

I look forward to reading other books in this series.

Rating: 

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Click on this link to View the Book Trailer and an Excerpt from the Book

About Kat Martin

Kat Martin Website

Goodreads Profile

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Joe Diffie: “Pick Up Man”

Maggie spends a lot of time in Galveston, TX, taking pictures of nature. She and Trace visit several times.

redhead at coast

Glen Campbell: “Galveston”

*****

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Chicken Fried Steak (A Texas Staple)

Chicken fried steak and gravy

Click on the link below to watch a video on how to  make chicken-fried steak with a creamy pan gravy: From All Recipes.com

http://allrecipes.com/video/2802/the-best-chicken-fried-steak/detail.aspx?prop24=RD_VideoTipsTricks

*****

group discsussion 5If you have read any of Kat Martin’s books, please click on the green Leave a Comment link and let me know which ones are your favorites and why.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Immortals (Book 2 Runes Series) by Ednah Walters

Cover Reveal Banner for Immortals

It’s Here! (Imaginary Drum Roll, Please) Check out the New Cover Reveal for the highly anticipated second book in the Runes series: Immortals

Immortal couple medium

Here is a second cover that Ednah is considering. Please post a comment below on which cover you like best.

immortalsgirl medium

Book Description

Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something… Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology but that doesn’t stop her from falling hard for him. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her or that she saved him by making a deal with Norns—Norse destiny deities—the same Norns who have now erased his memories of their past together to punish her. So Raine comes up with a plan… She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again. But before Raine can put her plan into action, the Norns return. This time, they demand she protects Eirik Seville, her best friend since childhood, from an evil so dark even the Norns are scared. But you know what they say about well-laid plans… Caught between protecting Eirik and convincing the stubborn, cocky Torin St. James that the two of them are meant to be together, Raine’s life slowly unravels. Friendships are tested. Enemies become allies. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves. 

*****

RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2013

About the Author

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013.

She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS. Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six.

Author Contacts:

You can visit her online at http://www.ednahwalters.com or www.ebwalters.com.

Connect with Ednah: Website: http://www.ednahwalters.com/index.html

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4188120.

Ednah_Walters Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdnahWalters

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ednahwalters

*****

Vote For Torin St. James at The YA SISTERHOOD Crush Tourney on June 17th.

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway to Enter the Giveaway and vote on which Book Cover you prefer

Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

To read my review of Runes, click  here

To post a coment or feedback, click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post following the tags.

Review & Giveaway for The Do Over

The Do Over

The Do Over by A.L. Zaun

The Do Over

Release date: May 20th, 2013

Age Group: Adult

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

 Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

 Goodreads –  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17381854-the-do-over

Purchase on Amazon: The Do Over

Book Description

Life doesn’t look like it’s supposed to for Daniela, aka Dani. After a painful break-up with Rick, Dani decides she doesn’t want to deal with the hassles of relationship.

After almost two years, Dani’s friends stage an intervention, forcing her out of her holding pattern and back into the real world of dating. 

Liam, a down to earth firefighter, may be just the person to show her she’s still worth something. Their chemistry is instant and electric. But will Dani be able to trust her patched-up heart with him? 

And what will happen when Rick decides he’ll go to any lengths to get her back?

*****

Book Review

The Do Over is a book about getting second chances, trusting in love, and taking risks. At first glance, I thought this book was going was going to have the predictable plot of two men battling to win the heart of one woman they both love. However, as I read this book, I was pleased to see that Zaun deviates from the typical love triangle plot by depicting less than perfect characters whose lives have become stagnant. Each one is looking for that special someone to add the spark back into their lives. The central question in the book is whether they are looking in the right direction.

Three main characters dominate this story: Daniela, Rick, and Liam who provide their own point-of-views to enrich the storyline and advance the plot. Daniela Ruiz known as Dani has experienced a crushing heartbreak over her breakup with Rick Marin, an egotistical jerk who didn’t deserve the commitment Dani was willing to give. I have to question though whether Dani really loved Rick or whether she was just in love with idea of being in love. Unfortunately,  two years later Dani still hasn’t moved on with her life. Instead, she escapes into a fictional world where book boyfriends may come and go, but her heart remains safe.  I love how she describes her reading obsession:

 “I would dive into my stories and become distracted in their dramas, falling in love with the romantic heroes each and every time. My love affairs with my book boyfriends were short lived. I was a book slut.”

Fortunately, Dani has two amazingly loyal friends, Candace and Macy, who decide to intervene when they see that her reading habits have become a deterrent to her social life.  Dani, however, likes the safety of her comfort zone until she meets one very sexy Liam Lucas, a lieutenant with the local fire department. Liam’s instant attraction to Dani and his flirtatious comments rival those book boyfriends that Dani keeps close by, and she begins to rethink her reclusive lifestyle. Hmm…maybe she should take a chance again, and Liam certainly turns her head.

Liam is almost too perfect to me. He definitely meets Dani’s criteria of the ideal book boyfriend brought to life.  However, she is still reluctant to put her heart out there.  Liam, too, has had his share of heartbreak but finds in Dani, what he hasn’t felt in a long time: “When I first saw her eyes looking up at me, she was an unexpected surprise. Now with her in my arms, I knew she was a gift I had no intention of letting go.” The genuine feelings Liam has for Dani are heart melting and downright swoon-worthy!

Before I can sigh and think this is the HEA they are both looking for, Rick decides he’s tired of his playboy lifestyle. When he sees Dani again, he begins to regret letting her go, and  he wants her back. She was good for him, the right kind of girl that should be by his side.  However, he knows he needs to change if he wants to earn her forgiveness and get a second chance. Rick forges an unlikely alliance with Madison, a woman who guarantees she can help him slowly break down Dani’s defenses so that she will reconsider getting back together with him. Yet, it becomes obvious early on that Madison isn’t helping Rick out of the goodness of her heart. She has her own motives for whipping the selfish, egotistical Rick into becoming a better man.  Madison appears to be a tough, no-nonsense type of woman, but behind that façade is a woman filled with pain.  Unfortunately, Madison’s story never gets told, but I found myself really looking forward to the interactions between the two.  Madison knows the real Rick and still is willing to be there for him, but she refuses to put up with his arrogant, self-serving attitude.

As Dani and Liam grow closer, Rick’s scheming and manipulative actions begin to slowly chip away the confidence Dani has in her relationship with Liam, who treats her with love, kindness, and respect that all women deserve. Rick does his best to show Dani he’s changed and that he wants her back, and gradually she begins to fall back into a comfortable, although platonic pattern of spending time with him. She hides her secret meetings from her friends and from Liam but not without guilt that eventually overwhelms her.

By developing the story from the three main characters’ point-of-views, Zaun gave me plenty of opportunities to analyze each character’s real motivation behind their actions compared to their supposed feelings. Even though Rick and Dani’s secret meetings are seemingly innocent, both are drowning in denial, and it is denial that serves as the catalyst building to a painful climax where the truth is revealed.

Some aspects of the plot were predictable, and the outcome was what I expected. On the other hand, there were several relational aspects that I felt were left hanging without any clear foreshadowing of what to expect, and there are minor cliffhangers waiting for a resolution that is yet to come. I hope this means there will be a sequel at some point in the future. Overall, the book was well-edited, except for a few minor proofreading errors that need correction in a future revision.

I’m glad I read this book and appreciate the complex, flawed, but redeemable characters Zaun has created that make this story a worthwhile read.

I received a copy of this book via AtoMR Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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About the Author

A.L. Zaun

A.L. Zaun graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English Literature a long time ago.  A degree she didn’t use at all in her professional endeavors.  She loves to read, write and take pictures.  She walks around with her camera, and most importantly she has her e-reader available at all times.  Healthcare Management by day, Mommy in the evening and most nights, you can find her sitting in front of her laptop with a bottle of Diet Pepsi, bringing the voices in her head to life on the pages of her debut novel, The Do Over.

Author Social Media Links: 

Facebook: https://facebook.com/alzaun01  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anaz01

*****

Giveaway

Enter the Do Over Giveaway for a chance to win

(1)  Print copy of The Do Over – US/Canada

(1) eBook Copy of The Do Over – International

(1)  $5 Gift Card – International

Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Link to the tour schedule: –http://wp.me/p20ttU-1tz  

To post a comment or leave feedback, please click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Review & Giveaway for Spirit of the Revolution

Spirit of the Revolution Tour

Spirit of the Revolution by Debbie Peterson

Cover_SpiritOfTheRevolution

Purchase on Amazon: Spirit of the Revolution

Book Description

Only divine intervention could have guided Jolena Leigh Michaelsson to the doorstep of a ramshackle manor in Pennsylvania, bringing her face-to-face with the man she has waited her whole life to find. There is just one problem. Mathias McGregor died two centuries ago…

Mathias, Revolutionary War ranger and spy, battles his conscience and his heart when he finds himself falling for the beautiful violinist invading his home. Jolena is mortal and deserves far more than what he as a spirit can offer her.

When Jolena’s family motto leads them to unearth a valuable coded message—the very message Mathias died trying to deliver to General Washington—Jolena vows to unravel the mystery surrounding the cryptic document. But someone else wants the message, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it, not even murder.

Divine intervention brought them together—will it also allow them to find forever?

*****

Book Review

Spirit of the Revolution is one of the sweetest romances I have read.  It is a paranormal romance combining history, mystery and suspense all wrapped up into one great read!

Readers are first introduced to Mathias McGregor and his fellow troop of soldiers known as the Rangers. They performed dangerous, covert missions against the British during the Revolutionary War. Their last mission required them to deliver a cryptic message to General George Washington. However, before they could reach Washington, the British ambushed them. Rather than surrender, they put up a valiant fight to the death.  Instead of moving on, though, they chose to remain on earth, living at Mathias’ homestead.

The story then jumps to the present, where musician Jolena “Jo” Michaelson has bought the McGregor homestead and refurbished it to honor and reflect the 1700s time period.  She has no idea her house is haunted, in spite of warnings by neighbors. Unlike with previous owners, Mathias and the boys are pleased with Jo’s renovations and have remained quiet rather than try to scare her away with their outrageous haunting.

When Mathias and the other boys finally reveal themselves to Jo, she takes their presence in stride and becomes very close to them.  They quickly form their own unique type of family, supporting and helping each other when needed. I found myself chuckling throughout the story when the ghosts taunted the neighbors with their over-the-top antics and their endeavors to learn to use modern day technology.

There are two main conflicts that kept my interest. First was the mystery behind the failed mission of Matthias and the Rangers. What was the meaning of the message that should have been delivered to Washington? If they had succeeded, how would the outcome have affected history? After conducting research on ghosts, Jo realizes that Matthias and his troop may have remained earthbound because they have unfinished business: their incomplete mission.  Jo is determined to help these ghosts find the answers they seek so they can finally have peace.  Their search takes them on a hunt for historical artifacts containing clues leading them to solve the mystery. Unfortunately, Jo and the ghost gang are forced to speed up the search when they learn there is another historian hot on their trail who will stop at nothing to steal their clues and solve the mystery for his own fame and financial gain.  Peterson does a great job including tidbits from history as she builds suspense in the race to solve the mystery.

The second conflict involved the blossoming romance between Matthias and Jo.  At first both do their best to deny the attraction because each seeks happiness for the other. Matthias knows he can never be a husband to Jo and build a family with her. He doesn’t want his presence to deny her that opportunity. Similarly, Jo doesn’t want Matthias to remain on earth after the mystery is solved just to be close to her. It is only through Jo’s dreams that they can actually really touch and express their true feelings for each other. However, thinking that one day they must let each other go is almost more than each can bear. I found myself getting teary eyed, at times, thinking of such a beautiful love that can never be.

I knew this was an everlasting love after learning of the sacrifices each was willing to make to remain together. Mathias and Jo have a love that transcends the boundaries of time, and Peterson’s surprising resolution left me saying, “Oh!” and “Wow!”

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

EXCERPTS (Your exclusive excerpt):

 

It’s about time you woke up, sleepyhead. How are you feeling?”

“Like I’m slipping away,” she replied. “To…somewhere…else.” The words tumbled out in response to his question, but she didn’t know exactly what she meant when she said them.

“No,” Mathias said as he cuddled her even closer to his body. “I need you to stay here, with me. You promised. I’m supposed to watch you get old and crotchety remember? You can’t go back on that promise. I won’t let you.”

“You…could just…come away with me…we could go off together…and stay together…forever…just like my parents,” she whispered. “You don’t have…to stay here. I think maybe, it’s…not so bad on the other side.”

“I know. We’ve had this discussion before and when the time is right, we’ll walk through the light together, hand in hand, I promise. But not right now, Jolena,” Mathias said as he shifted her body more toward him so he could look into her eyes. “Not now. You need to finish what you’ve begun. We need to take Matthew and Joshua out of here, remember? You don’t want them forgotten. What about all of the places we want to see and all of the things we want to do together. Please, Jolena—”

 ***** 

About the Author

Debbie Peterson

Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down.

Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages, but in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel, “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press. A few short months after Rebellion’s release, her second novel, “Shadow of the Witte Wieven” was published through InkSpell Publishing. Her third novel, “Spirit of the Revolution” will be released May 31, 2013, through The Wild Rose Press.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.

Author Links

Website: http://dk-peterson.com/

Blog: http://debbie-peterson.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbiePeterson1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Peterson-Author/214882805206529?ref=tn_tnmn

*****

Giveaway

Debbie will be awarding a custom made piece of jewelery to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. This necklace called “The Jolena” was designed especially for this giveaway by “Shandra Kay.”

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She will also award an Ebook copy of “Shadow of the Witte Wieven.” The winner will have the choice of selecting a Mobi, epub or PDF copy of this book.

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For your chance to win, please post a comment by clicking on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Good Luck!

Review of SEAL of Honor (HORNET # 1) by Tonya Burrows

Seal of Honor

Purchase on Amazon: SEAL of Honor (Hornet)

SEAL of Honor (HORNET # 1) by Tonya Burrows

Book Description

It’s a good thing Gabe Bristow lives and breathes the Navy SEAL credo, “the only easy day was yesterday,” because today, his life is unrecognizable. When his prestigious career comes to a crashing halt, he’s left with a bum leg and few prospects for employment that don’t include a desk.

That is, until he’s offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team and free a wealthy American businessman from Colombian paramilitary rebels. It seems like a good deal—until he meets his new team: a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses. Oh, and who could forget the sexy, frustratingly impulsive Audrey Van Amee? She’s determined to help rescue her brother—or drive Gabe crazy. Whichever comes first.

As the death toll rises, Gabe’s team of delinquents must figure out how to work together long enough to save the day. Or, at least, not get themselves killed.Because Gabe’s finally found something worth living for, and God help him if he can’t bring her brother back alive.

*****

Book Review

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I jumped at the chance to review Seal of Honor because of its plot and the fact that I’m always drawn to characters who are involved in dangerous, military-style covert operations.  Add romance to the story, and it’s a must read for me.  Tonya Burrows’ debut novel shows a promising start to this new series.

Lieutenant Commander Gabe Bristow and his close friend Travis Quinn are newly retired Navy SEALS due to a car accident that left them with permanent injuries, ending their careers.

Travis wants Gabe to work with him in the private sector doing security work, but Gabe is reluctant to pursue this career avenue until Travis introduces him to Tucker Quentin, who is funding a private hostage rescue team that he wants Gabe to lead. Compared to the desk job, Gabe’s father, the Admiral has lined up for him with the Pentagon, this seems like a more appealing option, and thus the HORNETs are born.

Quentin needs a team assembled immediately for their first mission: to rescue American entrepreneur, Bryson Van Amee, who has been kidnapped by a notorious terrorist group while conducting business in South America. The terrorists demand a ransom in exchange for Van Amee’s release. While the FBI is officially in charge of the case, Van Amee’s insurance company has hired the HORNETs to go in undercover and rescue Van Amee.

Travis has already organized a haphazard team of men who have never met, but who have experience in this type of work: ex-CIA, former FBI negotiator, Delta Force medic, a linguist, and an explosives expert. The team members officially meet on the flight to Columbia, and it becomes abundantly clear that this group is going to have problems trying to work together. Although everyone brings a vital skill to the group, Gabe realizes their lack of discipline, along with their diverse personalities and attitudes will be a barrier to the success of this mission.

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As leader of the group, Gabe tries organize the group by integrating some of the tactics he learned to be part of a successful SEAL team. However, throughout the story, their clashing personalities, plus the emotional baggage each is carrying around lead to disagreements and minor conflicts that further complicate the plot.

Burrows has created a group of heroes who are flawed but realistic.  For example, Gabe, the team leader and protagonist of this story struggles with a mangled foot and has to use a cane to get around. His physical impairment can become an obstacle for him when he is put in a dangerous situation, and he hasn’t quite accepted that he will never again be a SEAL.

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Throughout the story, Burrows gives readers a glimpse into each man’s past, fears, and haunting demons to establish a foundation for the continuing series.

During their search for Van Amee’s location, they find Bryson’s sister, Audrey Van Amee also in the area conducting her own search for her brother. When she meets the team, she’s not quite sure what to think: “Such an odd assortment of men. She wasn’t sure whether to cheer, laugh, or cry that they were apparently her brother’s only hope since the FBI wasn’t doing jack to save him.”  However, once Audrey learns Gabe, their leader, was a SEAL, she begins to gain confidence that they can succeed in their rescue mission.

Audrey is strong-willed and determined to be involved in finding her brother. Although Gabe doesn’t want her involved in the mission, he reluctantly concedes when the rest of the team supports her involvement since she is fluent in Spanish and can translate information.  Deep down, he knows he’s also very attracted to her and worries she will be a distraction for him:

“God knew she drew him like the proverbial doomed moth to a flame. Which ticked him off in a big way. Never before had a woman fascinated him to distraction like this. He liked to keep his love life-if he could even call it that…as orderly and precise as everything else he did. But she had the potential to destroy his meticulous life like a wrecking ball through concrete.” 

Gabe partners with her to help get information from someone who works for Van Amee, and, while on the way back to their base of operations, they are kidnapped by guerilla soldiers and taken hostage into the jungle. From this point, the story’s pacing picks up and is full of non-stop action and suspense.   Now that their leader is missing, the team is forced to put aside their differences and form a cohesive group to find Gabe and Audrey so they can continue with the mission.

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I enjoyed watching these alpha characters get to know each other and begin to bond.

In the midst of all this danger, Gabe and Audrey are unable to resist the strong attraction between them. I was surprised they could let their guard down in this ongoing crisis to become intimate with one another. The entire time, Audrey worried and cried over her brother, yet, when alone with Gabe, she seems to easily put her worries aside and flirtatiously teases him into giving in to her seduction. I can’t say this was unrealistic because the direness of their situation may have pushed them to make the most of every moment they could, but the timing of these romantic scenes just seemed incongruent with the precariousness of their situation.

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Overall, though, I enjoyed Gabe and Audrey’s growing relationship. Audrey is brave and assertive, facing confrontation head on, instead of shying away. Gabe’s calm, commanding presence is complementary to her sometimes impulsive behavior. Gabe is a man with honor and integrity. He wants to do what is right, and he feels that it is unprofessional to get involved with Audrey. When she admits she loves him, he thinks it’s only temporary because of the situation. With time, she’ll realize that her love for him was only an illusion.  Gabe doesn’t have much hope for their relationship after the mission:

“Her eyes, still spilling tears, never left his, and he saw her heart there, his for the taking if he wanted. He did. Christ, did he ever want it, want her. So much that he ached with a sweet need to make her his forever. But he couldn’t do it. It was impossible. He couldn’t be the kind of man a woman like her wanted for the long haul.”

His feelings for Audrey are a constant emotional battle that he fights throughout the story.

I enjoyed reading this story and found the mystery and suspense behind the rescue thrilling. Just when I thought the story had reached its resolution, an unexpected twist emerges creating one final, climatic conflict. Burrows ties all loose story ends together in a satisfying outcome.

I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publishing, courtesy of publicist  J.J. Bonds to provide an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

About the Author

Tonya Burrows

(From Goodreads)

Writing has always been my one true love. I wrote my first novel-length story in 8th grade and haven’t put down my pen since. I received a B.A. in creative writing from SUNY Oswego and I’m now working on a MFA in popular fiction at Seton Hill University.

When I’m not writing, I spend my time reading, painting (badly), exploring new places, and enjoying time with my family. Give me a good horror movie over a chick flick any day. (And, let’s be honest, I’ll take a bad horror movie too!) I’m a geek at heart and pledge my avid TV fandom to Supernatural and Doctor Who. I’m also a big fan of The Voice. What can I say? Guilty pleasure.​​

I share my life with two dogs and a ginormous cat. I’m from a small town in Western New York, but I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust and usually end up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, my animals are all excellent travel buddies.

Author Links

Official Website | Twitter | Goodreads Profile | Facebook

*****

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Other Works by Tonya Burrows

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Purchase on Amazon: Wilde Nights in Paradise (A Wilde Security Novel) (Entangled Brazen)

Release Day & Giveaway for One Tiny Lie by Kathleen Tucker

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One Tiny Lie by Kathleen Tucker

Book Description

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents’ tragic death and Kacey’s self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

*****

About the Author

KathleenTucker

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Author Links

Blog: http://www.katucker.blogspot.ca/

Website: http://www.katuckerbooks.com/

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/K.A.Tucker.Author?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleenatucker

Novel Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17302495-one-tiny-lie?ac=1

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4866520.K_A_Tucker

Atria: http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/atria

*****

Buy Links

Amazon: One Tiny Lie: A Novel (ebook) / One Tiny Lie: A Novel (book)

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-tiny-lie-k-a-tucker/1114256929?ean=9781476740485

*****

Giveaway

Enter the Giveaway by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below:

3 signed copies of One Tiny Lie

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

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Start the Ten Tiny Breaths Series

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Purchase on Amazon: Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel (ebook) / Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel (book)

*****

Watch the Book Trailer for Ten Tiny Breaths

*****

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Review of The Testing

The Testing

Purchase on Amazon: The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Book Description (From Amazon)

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

*****

Watch the Book Trailer Now!

*****

Book Review

The Testing is a fantastic YA dystopian read that captured my interest from beginning to end.  The setting is in the future, where the United States no longer exists due to The Seven Stages War.  Now there is a new government in place that has divided the remainder of the population into colonies.  In order to go on for higher education, students must be selected as a Testing Candidate. Malencia  or Cia Vale is excited to be chosen, along with three fellow graduating students from Five Colonies to travel to the capitol of Tosu City to undergo the Testing process. Those who pass the four intensive parts of the Test are allowed to move forward and attend the university.  The government has established the Testing in order to find the most qualified future leaders of the country.

As Cia prepares to leave home, a disturbing conversation with her father puts her on alert. Cia’s dad underwent The Testing years ago, although he no longer retains any memories of what happened during the testing process.  His memories were erased. Apparently, this is done to prevent any one candidate from having an edge over the other. However, CIa’s father admits that over the years, he has had haunting dreams about experiences he doesn’t recall, but thinks these are memories that weren’t completely erased and are subconsciously submerging. He gives Cia the ominous warning to trust no one.

Cia is an admirable heroine in this story. She is remarkably intelligent, observant, and resourceful as she struggles to advance to each level of Testing after realizing the seemingly innocuous Test is anything but safe. More importantly, unlike some other candidates , Cia refuses to sacrifice her humanity and compassion for others in order to achieve success. She and former classmate Tomas Endress decide to work as partners as much as possible to support each other in completing the tests. The Testing Officials have created an environment in which the competition is deadly, and sabotage is just part of this sinister endeavor to weed out the weak.  Those who admit weakness or seek out help, never return. Those who fail at each level of the test are never seen again.

There are some parallels to The Hunger Games, and I couldn’t help but to be reminded of this during the field component of the Test, where each person is given a choice of weapons and supplies to help them as they are dropped off in the wilderness and forced to survive the harsh terrain as well protect themselves against candidates who are seeking to eliminate their competition. However, this story has its own unique storyline that is equally engaging.

Throughout the story, Cia was never sure who she could trust, and as the plot progresses, she finds herself second-guessing her choices, as do readers.  During the field test, Cia and Tomas work together to find their way back to the capitol city. In the midst of the danger that surrounds them, their attraction deepens into a romance. Tomas seems like a great guy for Cia, but after the test is over, she discovers secrets that Tomas has been keeping from her. Is he as trustworthy as she thinks?

The cliff-hanger ending was foreshadowed earlier in the story, but, nevertheless, the outcome shocks Cia and will have a significant impact on what she decides to do next. The governmental system is strict, but will Cia be able to follow her destined path?  I look forward to the sequel, The Testing: Independent Study.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau

(From Goodreads Profile)

I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children’s theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I’m happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Author Links

Official Website | Goodreads Profile | Twitter

*****

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An ePrequel to The TestingThe Testing Guide  

Free on Amazon!   The TestingGuide

The Testing Guide

Review of The Tree of Jesse by J.R. Mattison

The Tree of Jesse Promo Tour

The Tree of Jesse by J.R. Mattison

The Tree of Jesse

Purchase on Amazon: The Tree Of Jesse (Messianic Age Trilogy)

Book Description

On a lonely strip of Death Valley a failing musician awakens to an intriguing new life. One filled with ancient languages, a hidden identity, and the woman who holds the key to his destiny…his connection to the lost pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But there are those who want to keep the secrets buried…and will stop at nothing to keep the prophecy from unfolding.

*****

Book Review

The Tree of Jesse is a fast-paced, suspenseful mystery, with a touch of romance revolving around the end of the world as prophesized by biblical scripture.  The book is a written puzzle that tasks the reader with taking the various storyline threads interwoven throughout the book and finding their connections to the major plot.  It is difficult to write a review where delving into the plot may give too much away to readers. However, there are some important aspects that I can convey regarding this book.

Unlike many novels that clearly distinguish the major characters from the minor ones, Mattison introduces us to numerous characters from all over the world with their own agendas, but each character plays an integral role in advancing the plot. The challenging part is figuring out how the characters are connected and the motives behind their actions.

The succinct chapters focusing on one or more characters and their point-of-views keeps the story moving along quickly, so much so, I found the book hard to put down at times.  Furthermore, I think the brevity of each chapter allowed me to find clues often embedded in religious symbolism and biblical allusions.  I am impressed by Mattison’s ability to provide enough detail to keep readers engrossed while not revealing too much, too soon.

Mattison also uses the technique of pulling the readers into a chapter that focuses on a particular character or scene only to have that chapter end and the next begin by describing a seemingly unrelated situation. At first the sometimes abrupt chapter endings and unexpected shifts of focus took me surprise. However, it didn’t take long to adapt to this style. I found myself often pausing to reflect on a chapter’s significance before moving forward.

When I was halfway through the book, I began to wonder how Mattison was going to be able to tie everything together by the end. Amazingly, she does so with a seamless, well-executed plot. Although there were minor proofreading errors, they were not significant enough to distract me from the read. However, I wish there were more scenes of Jesse and Mara together to really show that magnetic pull that keeps drawing them together and the deep connection they have with one another.

Overall, I found The Tree of Jesse to be an engaging and thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

Excerpt from The Tree of Jesse

The full moon never ceases to amaze me no matter how many times I see it. Lately I feel more connected to it. Like its force is pulling me towards something.

Towards a life that I’ve lived before.

Deja vu.

I stand awed by it’s glow as she turns into her long gravel drive way; I’m surprised that old Jeep makes it up the mountain. Never understood why they call this place Lone Pine. There are pine trees everywhere.

As she dips her boot clad foot out the car door I realize that the way she moves has grown familiar to me. That her essence has become tattooed on the recesses of my mind in ways I couldn’t have imagined possible. And that I can’t imagine a day without seeing her run those long fingers thru her hair or watch her light up one of those thin brown cigarettes. And just then I suddenly see myself clearly. I’ve become the kind of man that watches what he can never have. That lingers too long in alleyways waiting to catch a glimpse.

Someone frightening and grotesque.

I’ve become less than good for nothing, just like my father always said I would. I’ve become a monster who stalks in the night.

I have to stop this.

I turn on my heel and race into the woods as fast as my legs will take me, never looking back.

*****

About the Author

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Mattison started her career in Chicago appearing on television and radio.    She founded founded Cheshire Smile Productions, bringing to life and penning her first feature film FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE, a festival winning coming of age comedy which was directed by Brian Austin Green.   “Fish” is now available on Netflix. Mattison also wrote Cheshire’s second release THE THIRD WISH now available at Blockbuster and distributed by the Hallmark Channel.

Lionsgate’s FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY, based on a true story of Jewish gangsters set in the 1970’s starring James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Edward Furlong and Jeffrey Tambor was also produced and written by Mattison.

Most recently Jenna has written a TV movie called COMMITTED, which wrapped production this spring to premiere on television this fall. Her novel The Tree Of Jesse is a romantic religious thriller and will be released this spring, available worldwide. Mattison wrote the book while recovering from a traumatic injury and says that the novel, “wrote itself”, with historical facts just begging to be included. “I didn’t write this…it came from somewhere else. Somewhere good. Somewhere pure.”

Contact Links

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Tree-Of-Jesse-by-JR-Mattison/427265924027673

moviemaker magazine article

http://www.backstage.com/bso/advice-first-person/girls-making-gangster-flicks-and-enjoying-1007272962.story

*****

Giveaway

J.R. will be awarding one digital copy of The Tree of Jesse to a randomly drawn commenter from the Tour.

You can follow the Tour Here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/03/virtual-book-tour-tree-of-jesse-by-jr.html

To post a comment, click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

 

Book Promotion for Vampire Elite

Vampire Elite
RELEASE DAY Blitz
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 6/7/13
Join the release party:




THIS BOOK IS ON SALE FOR $.99 TODAY FOR ITS RELEASE!

GET IT @ AMAZON

Vampire Elite is a new vampire series
The first two parts are released in one volume
Vampire Elite
Part 1. Prophecy
Part 2. Keepers of the Key
         
What will he do if saving his people means destroying the woman he loves?
A millennia-long war between two immortal races is about to come to an end. Long ago, the Vampire Elite began capturing the immortals called the Amiti, attracted by their unique blood properties. Now most Amiti live in underground cells, forced to serve as vampires’ bloodstock. The few surviving free Amiti, preparing a final strike, have declared their Queen a traitor. Her execution makes possible the rise of a new Queen, her young daughter Arianna, who will inherit her mother’s mystical powers. Working with the Keepers of the Key, Arianna may be able to eliminate the vampires, once and for all, from the face of the earth.
The new Queen is the last hope to save her dying race and she’s ready to fight to the last drop of her blood.
 But the King of the Vampires has other plans.
 What neither expects is the passion that erupts between them.
Vampire Elite is an epic story of a bitter conflict between two immortal races, and the effect of that conflict on everyone living in its grip. The characters are driven to love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice in a world without easy black-and-white answers.
            Based on an ancient Egyptian legend, packed with action and intrigue, Vampire Elite will pull you into the entrancing world of immortals and open new portals into their hidden universe.
Readers’ Favorite reviewers on Vampire Elite:
You’ve managed to restore my hope in the future of vampire books …
… a fascinating read and definitely a book for anyone who loves fantasy, romance and of course vampires.
… a spellbinding novel of action, suspense, romance, and conscience …  character development is superb … the type of book that will make you read all day until you get to the end! It is deliciously addictive!




For more info please visit
Twitter: @TheVampireElite


Meet VE Character: Arianna, Queen of the Amiti and Keeper of the Mystery of Balance
Arianna becomes the Amiti Queen as an infant, following the execution of her mother. Along with the title, she also inherits all of the Queen’s powers, including the role of Keeper of the Mystery of Balance as well as the Gift of Ra, a power bestowed by the Sun God himself to help her protect herself and her people. Sheltered by her father as a child, Arianna finds herself thrust into a world of danger and intrigue when he is murdered and she must confront the fact that her race’s destiny depends on her. Despite how overwhelming it can be, Arianna ultimately embraces her life’s mission: to free her people from their enslavement by the Vampire Elite by any means necessary. But along the way she encounters an unexpected and seemingly unmanageable challenge—the charismatic and powerful vampire King Tor, who takes her on an emotional and sensual journey that makes her question her very destiny. Will the young Queen have the willpower and inner strength to fulfill her purpose and save her people, even if it means destroying the man she loves?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Review of New Release Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip

Sniper Elite-One-Way Trip

Purchase on Amazon: Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip: A Novel 

Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip by Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar

Book Description

IN DIRECT DEFIANCE of the president’s orders, Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon, one of America’s most lethal SEAL snipers, launches a bold mission comprised of SEAL Team Six and Delta Force fighters to free a captured female helicopter pilot being held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The president is afraid a botched rescue could jeopardize US foreign policy as well as end his presidency. But once the special ops community learns that one of their own—the first female helicopter pilot of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR)—is being held and brutally mistreated, there is no executive order strong enough to stop them from attempting to rescue her.

This fast-paced, action-packed thriller with incredibly realistic and blistering battles introduces a new American hero, Gil Shannon, whose iron will and expertise with the .308 Remington Modular sniper rifle will spell the difference between freedom and an ignoble death for America’s female POW.

*****

Book Review

Sniper Elite is one of the best military suspense novels I have read in a long time.  I really appreciated the author clarifying that the fictional storyline actually details some of the special operation missions that have actually occurred.  The book is riveting, full of intense action scenes that provide us with insight into the danger and brutality that are an evident part of war.

The protagonist is Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon and readers first encounter him taking a break at his ranch in Montana with his supportive wife, Marie.  We begin to get a glimpse of Gil’s character and his passion serving as a Navy SEAL when he tells his wife: “It’s what I do, baby. I can’t explain it, but I feel like the only other thing I was ever meant to do was love you.”

Meanwhile, the story shifts to the capture of Warrant Officer Sandra Brux, the first female pilot, to serve in the elite Night Stalkers, who provide support during black op missions. While observing a military training exercise in Afghanistan, their group is attacked by terrorists. Sandra is the only survivor and is taken prisoner to a secret location, where a ransom is demanded for her release.  In order to rush the government to make a decision whether to pay the ransom, Sandra is brutally tortured. Video footage is sent as evidence.

The current President has little knowledge of military operations and relies upon his staff to help him understand his options. Of course each option has political ramifications, especially since the President is close to re-election.  Although ransoms are not usually paid for servicemen captured, Sandra’s gender and distinguished status provide cause for consideration. The President worries about the public backlash that could ensue if word is leaked of her abduction and the President’s failure to take appropriate action for her rescue.

While the President and his advisors are in the decision-making process, Gil and other members of  Special Forces, especially the Night Stalkers are adamant that they will rescue Sandra, since she is one their own. Gil and an Afghani translator working for the U.S. put together a secret team combining SEAL and DELTA operatives.

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Without authorized military support, Gil knows that he and the others who have agreed to take this risk may not return from this mission. Gil’s call to wife before he leaves letting her know that he may not return is heart-wrenching to say the least.

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When this perilous mission gets underway, it is a heart pounding, action-packed, edge of your seat depiction of the rescue that is so graphically detailed and realistic I found I could really envision these dramatic scenes.  The Epilogue did not leave me at ease, and I hope the authors will continue the story in a future book.

This was an excellent read that gave me a greater understanding of the dangerous situations our armed forces encounter while loyally serving their country.  Their dedication and willingness to give their lives for our safety defines them as true heroes that deserve our admiration and respect.

I received a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Rating

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About the Author (From Amazon)

author Scott McEwen

Scott McEwen (1961- )is a trial attorney in San Diego, California. He grew up in the mountains of Eastern Oregon where he became an Eagle Scout; hiking, fishing, and hunting at every opportunity presented. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Oregon and thereafter studied and worked extensively in London, England. Scott works with and provides support for several military charitable organizations, including the Seal Team Foundation.

Scott’s interest in military history, intense patriotism, and experience with long-range hunting rifles, compelled him to accurately record the battlefield experiences of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in United States military history.

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Cover Reveal for Otherwise Occupied (Otherwise Alone # 2) by Shay Savage

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Otherwise Occupied (Otherwise Alone #2) by Shay Savage

Release Date: June 2013

Genre: Adult Romance

Book Description

Evan Arden is a hit man for a Chicago mob boss. He lives his life day to day with the company of his dog, Odin. He has to work hard to get back into his boss’s good graces, but the target proves to be difficult. As demons of his past begin to haunt him, he seeks the comfort of sleep from an unlikely candidate, but will confiding in her be his undoing?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17447582-otherwise-occupied

This is the followup to Otherwise Alone (Otherwise Alone #1) by Shay Savage.

Otherwise Alone Book Cover

Book Description

Lieutenant Evan Arden sits in a shack in the middle of nowhere, waiting for orders that will send him back home – if he ever gets them. Other than his loyal Great Pyrenees, there’s no one around to break up the monotony. The tedium is excruciating, but it is suddenly interrupted when a young woman stumbles up his path. 

He has two choices – pick her off from a distance with his trusty sniper-rifle, or dare let her approach his cabin and enter his life.

Why not? It’s been ages, and he is otherwise alone…

Amazon Buy Link: Otherwise Alone

About the Author

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Shay Savage lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, two children, and a variety of household pets. She is an accomplished public speaker, and holds the rank of Distinguished Toastmaster from Toastmasters International. When not writing, she enjoys science fiction movies, and loves soccer in any and all forms. During the fall, she coaches her daughter’s soccer team. Though she currently works in the technology field, her school background is in psychology, and she brings a lot of that knowledge into the characters within her stories.

Author Contact links

Website: http://www.shaysavage.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/savage7289

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShaySavage7289

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5160667.Shay_Savage

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Kindle Free Book Blitz: Obsession by Sharon Buchbinder

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FREE KINDLE BOOK ON AMAZON: June 4-8:

Click Here to Download this Freebie

Obsession by Sharon Buchbinder

book coverPublisher: The Wild Rose Press

Page Count: 288

Word Count: 71392

Book Description

A year after a barbaric childbirth, complete with a near-death experience and an encounter with her guardian angel, Angie Edmonds is just happy she and her son, Jake, are alive.

She’s finally in a good place: clean, sober, and employed as a defense attorney.

But at the end of a long work day, she finds herself in a parent’s worst nightmare: Jake has been kidnapped and taken across the Mexican border by a cult leader who believes the child is the “Chosen One.”Stymied by the US and Mexican legal systems, Angie is forced to ask the head of a Mexican crime syndicate for help.

Much to her chagrin, she must work with Alejandro Torres, a dangerously attractive criminal and the drug lord’s right-hand man.

Little does she know Alejandro is an undercover federal agent, equally terrified of blowing his cover–and falling in love with her.

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About the Author Sharon Buchbinder

sharon-buchbinder

I’ve been writing fiction since I was in high school and have the rejection slips to prove it.

After I graduated with a BA in Psychology and no job, I realized my dreams of working in the attic writing great prose would have to take a back seat to the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and having a roof over my head.

Fast forward a few decades, and I had a career path that would make all but the kindest say, “What were you thinking?” After working in health care delivery for years, I became a researcher, then an academic. I had it all– a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son, and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it obsession), kept beckoning me to “come on back” to writing fiction. I spent one whole month away doing nothing but writing fiction, the first of many drafts of my first novel.

My genres include horror, mystery, romance and weird blends of the three. For a sampling of my work (fiction and nonfiction), click on “Stories and Links“.

When not attempting to make students and colleagues laugh, I can be found herding cats and dogs, golfing, deep sea fishing, or writing.

Author Contacts

http://sharonbuchbinder.com/

 https://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor

 https://twitter.com/sbuchbinder

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