Book Tour for Savage Summer & Guest Post from the Author

Like a lot of readers out there, I enjoy a good mystery with lots of action and suspense. Ruth Bainbridge has recently released the first book in her new Curt Savage mystery series. Based on the book’s description, the author has created an atypical private investigator as the protagonist, which is what really caught my interest. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the book and read an excerpt, which is followed by an informative guest post from Bainbridge explaining the importance of authentic dialogue in writing.

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Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge

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Publication Date: February 28, 2014

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage

The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

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Book Blast & Giveaway for Vengeance is Mine (Benjamin Tucker # 1)

The first book in Harry J. Krebs’ new mystery/thriller series looks like a gripping read. I am especially excited to read this novel since it is set in my home state of N.C. Vengeance is Mine is definitely going on my list of books to read. I hope you will check out this new series and be sure to enter the giveaway!

Nerd Blast

 

Vengeance is Mine by Harry James Krebs

Vengeance is Mine by Harry James Krebs

Publication Date: January 2014

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

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Driven by a traumatic, violent event in his teenage years, Benjamin Tucker, bestselling true crime author, is obsessed with helping authorities solve savage crimes near his home turf of Holly Springs, North Carolina. When a series of decapitated female victims is found in neighboring communities, he is helplessly drawn in to the investigation to help bring the killer to justice. But in a bizarre twist of events, the psychopathic murderer becomes fascinated with Tucker and stalks him, presenting him with unimaginable, grotesque gifts. The hunt for the killer turns personal and Tucker isn’t sure if he’s become the killer’s idol or his next victim.Vengeance is Mine, a gripping thriller with a healthy dose of droll humor, is a tale of sadistic revenge guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

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Sunday Series Spotlight: Southern Fraud Thrillers by Jennifer Becton

If you don’t think insurance fraud is interesting, then you haven’t read Jennifer Becton’s Southern Fraud Thrillers. Becton revs up the mystery and suspense when she takes us behind the scenes of this engrossing occupation with the heroes of the series,  State Fraud Investigators, Julia Jackson and her partner, Mark Vincent.  Set in fictional Mercer, Georgia, you can follow Julia and Mark as they identify and track down the culprits behind some perplexing insurance fraud cases that will easily keep you engaged and sometimes dumbfounded at the lengths some people will go to to in trying to deceive their insurance companies.

Here is how Becton defines the series:

“The Southern Fraud series is essentially a crime dramedy like Castle or The Mentalist. Add to that some action, a dash of Southern charm and a hint of romance, and you’ve got the Southern Fraud Series. If you like comedic mystery novels similar to those by Janet Evanovich (without as much slapstick humor) or crime dramedy TV shows, you’ll probably enjoy Southern Fraud.” (from: http://www.jwbecton.com/#!about)

In each novel, Julia and Mark are given a potential fraud case to investigate and solve over the course of the book. Interwoven into each plot are the ongoing story threads that take us into the personal lives of the hero and heroine both revealing their motivations for working in this field and exposing their vulnerabilities. Both of these characters are well-rounded, flawed, just as people we may know in real life, and it didn’t take me long to connect with them and want to know more about their backstories.  Both Julia and Mark are focused on the job they are hired to do, but the subtle chemistry between them had me keeping my fingers crossed from the end of the first book, hoping something stronger than friendship might form between them, and at this point, well I’m beginning to smile.

I’ve read the first three installments, and Becton has recently released Moral Hazard, the fourth book in this great series with a dynamic hero/heroine, baffling cases, and storylines that include a cast of dangerous and quirky characters who add a touch of humor, all factors I appreciate in a good mystery.

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Absolute Liability (Southern Fraud Thriller # 1)

Publication Date June 2011

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

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Meet Julia Jackson. Apparently, she’s been abducted…. 

A woman is taken at gunpoint from the downtown office of Southeastern Insurance, and the police believe the victim is Special Agent Julia Jackson. Only it isn’t true. 

Now, with the help of her new partner Mark Vincent, state fraud investigator Julia Jackson must find justice for the woman who was taken in her place. 

As Vincent and Julia begin to unravel the multimillion-dollar frauds that led to the abduction, they encounter a cast of quirky characters, one of whom will go to desperate lengths to hide a deadly secret. 

Things only become more dangerous as bodies begin accumulating around town, and Julia must discover the truth before the abductor comes to rectify his mistake.

Absolute Liability is the first in the six-book Southern Fraud Thriller series, which blends suspense, humor, and Southern charm with just a touch of romance. If you enjoy reading humorous mysteries or watching TV crime dramedies like Castle or The Mentalist, you should like Absolute Liability.

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Book Tour for Descending: A Gina Harwood Novel (GHS #2)

The Gina Harwood  series caught my attention when it was compared to the X-Files, of which I’m a huge fan. It centers around homicide detectives Gina Harwood and Morgan Snyder who investigate supernatural mysteries and crimes. Descending, the second installment, has recently been released, and the first chapter of the book is available for you to read. I’ve also included information on the first book in the series, Behind the Veil, which introduces readers to this fictitious world where police procedure and the paranormal intersect.

Descending: A Gina Hardwood Novel  by Indi Martin

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Publication Date: February 2014/ 210 pgs.

Genres: Paranormal, Horror, Mystery & Suspense

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Described as a cross between the X-Files and Call of Cthulhu, the second title in Indi Martin’s Gina Harwood promises even more suspense and surreal action! In Descending, Gina discovers a mysterious portal in an ordinary wall that leads somewhere few humans were meant to go, while a group of friends set out to make a music video in a creepy old house that goes terribly, horribly wrong.

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Reviews of Lie Still & Playing Dead by Julia Heaberlin

I recently discovered Julia Heaberlin when my local book club selected to read and discuss Lie Still, and I enjoyed the book so much, I also read her debut novel, Playing Dead as well, which received high praise from all of the members of my book club.

Both novels appealed to me because they are set in North Texas, where I live, and Heaberlin does a great job of emphasizing the regional characteristics of this area, its locale, expressions, food, and the overall idiosyncrasies that distinguish Texas from anywhere else.  Although Heaberlin may be considered a regional writer, the themes of her novels are certainly universal, transcending geographical limitations.

Although the storylines in both novels are very different, Heaberlin is consistent in weaving together complex, twisty-turny mysteries that will keep you guessing right up until the end.

I recommend both books for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and are rich in local flavor.

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Published July 2013

Genres: Mystery Thriller, Psychological Thriller

Purchase from Amazon: Lie Still: A Novel

In the tradition of Lisa Unger’s Beautiful Lies and Nancy Pickard’s The Scent of Rain and Lightning comes a twisting, riveting novel of shifting trust and shattered lives. Lie Still delves deep into the heart of an opulent Southern town, where gossip is currency and secrets kill.

When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past—and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women—and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick—Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.
 
It isn’t long before Caroline mysteriously disappears and Emily is facing a rash of anonymous threats. Are they linked to the missing Caroline? Or to Emily’s terrifying encounter in college, years earlier? As the dark truth about Caroline emerges, Emily realizes that some secrets are impossible to hide—and that whoever came for Caroline is now coming for her.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rogue Alliance

This book is on my 2014 reading list.  Take a moment to check out the book description, excerpt, and enter for your chance to win one of 5 ebook copies of Rogue Alliance.

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Rogue Alliance by Michelle Bellon

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Publication Date: December 2013

Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal, Romance

Trying to escape a horrific past, Shyla has immersed herself in life as a tough cop in the bustle of LA. When the case of a lifetime takes her back to her hometown of Redding, she is thrown into a world of organized crime, deceit, and bitter reminders of her childhood. 

As Shyla’s path crosses that of Brennan, a troubled sidekick to the ringleader she’s intent on taking down, she discovers he has a past even darker than hers and she is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes about herself, her job, and what she knows about right and wrong. 

Can she face the demons of her upbringing and learn to trust again? Her life will depend on it.

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway for A Tainted Mind

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A Tainted Mind by Tamsen Schultz

Cover (11)OBSESSED with her job as a medical examiner and lead consultant with the FBI, Dr. Vivienne ‘Vivi’ DeMarco is a woman running from her own demons. And finding the remains of a body on the side of a road in rural upstate New York wasn’t part of her plan.

FRUSTRATED that the ghosts from his past won’t leave him alone, Ian MacAllister makes for a reluctant Deputy Chief of Police of Windsor, New York. But as more victims are discovered, all women that bear a shocking resemblance to Dr. DeMarco, he knows he’ll need to call on all the skills he learned as an Army Ranger if he wants to keep her safe.

DENIED over and over again of the one thing he desires most, a killer may have finally reached his breaking point. The only question that remains is, will he take Vivi and Ian with him? 

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Sunday Series Spotlight: SEAL TEAM Heartbreakers by Teresa Reasor

Teresa Reasor rocks when it comes to writing military romantic suspense, and I am a huge fan of her SEAL TEAM Heartbreaker series. Since the third installment will be released soon, I’m showcasing her series to prepare for the upcoming release of Breaking Away. 

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Breaking Free (Seal Team Heartbreakers #1)

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Published June 2011

Purchase from Amazon:  Breaking Free

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11827874-breaking-free

Zoe Weaver is determined never to get involved with a man in uniform. Her father was killed during the Gulf War. Her brother Brett, is in a coma. If that isn’t enough, Zoe has scars both physical and emotional from a hit and run accident that almost cost her a leg. She refuses to lay her fragile self-esteem, or her heart, on the line for a man who puts his military career ahead of his family. But her brother’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Adam “Hawk” Yazzie, triggers a passion beyond her experience. Is she strong enough to love Hawk and, when the time comes, watch him go to war? 

Lieutenant “Hawk” Yazzie, is a SEAL. The Navy is his life, and his family. He’s learned the hard way he can’t be there for anyone. He finds Zoe’s combination of feisty femininity hard to resist, but the guilt he carries prevents him from offering a commitment to anyone —but the Navy. Will he love Zoe and leave her? 

When Zoe and Hawk investigate the events surrounding her brother’s injuries, they grow suspicious of three members of Hawk’s team. Hawk is torn between loyalty to his men and his need to see justice done. But when he tries to save a troubled teammate’s career he unwittingly puts Zoe’s life in danger. Can he lead the rest of the team in a rescue operation to save her? Or will one of Hawk’s brothers in arms destroy the woman he loves?

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Cover Reveal Blitz for Magic After Dark

Limited Time Offer!
This bundle will be on sale for $0.99! 
Regularly priced at $9.99
 
Dive into six different worlds of vampires, demons, fae, fairy godmothers, mages, and all things magic. 


Prepare for a wild ride, whether you’re looking for nail-biting drama, mystery, intense action, humor, new breeds of paranormals, or passionate romance. 

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. # 1)

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Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. # 1) by Jerrie Alexander

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Romantic Suspense

Categories: Action/Adventure, Military, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Self/Indie

Release Date: August 2, 2013

Heat Level: Steamy

Word Count/Length: 79,500 words/260 pages

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A woman in danger. A man she loves but can’t trust.

When ex-SEAL Nate Wolfe learns a woman from his past is in danger, nothing will stop him from protecting her. Not even her.

Dallas Child Protection Services Investigator Kay Taylor doesn’t want or need Nate in her life. But he doesn’t seem to understand the word no. He seems to also have forgotten the brand he left on her heart.

When Kay is taken and sold to a monster, the devil himself couldn’t stop Nate from doing whatever it takes to find her…but will he be in time?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

excerpt 50 percent

A chill slammed into her. Again, somebody’s eyes on her sent a shiver up her arms. She whirled.

A black Harley was parked down the block. She paused at the rear of the car and stared at the rider. Odd that he’d parked away from the funeral crowd and sat there watching. Damn, the black visor didn’t stop the burn as his gaze bore down on her. Her breath caught. Was this the man who’d saved her? Wearing a black leather jacket and matching helmet, the man sat motionless.

She started toward him, and the rider stepped off the bike. If this was her ninja, she’d demand answers after she thanked him. He turned his back to her and then removed the helmet. His fingers wound through shoulder-length black hair, tying the strands together with a piece of leather. There was something vaguely familiar about him. His movements. His shoulders. His hands.

He turned to face her, and her heart rate raced toward the ozone.

“Hello, Kaycie.”

Ten years of missing Nate Wolfe boiled over. He was here. Really here. She sprang into his arms, clutched his broad shoulders and leaned into his hard-as-a-rock chest. God, his scent, a mixture of leather, woodsy cologne and virile man washed over her. Damn. Her body betrayed her by melting into him.

“Nate,” she whispered into his neck. “You saved me.” Her flesh heated when his large hands flexed against the small of her back and drew her closer.

“Come hell or high water,” he whispered, his warm breath sending heat streaks across her skin.

A split-second passed before memories of his lying tongue using that same phrase so many years ago hit her. A volcano of heartbreak erupted and spewed forth.

“Don’t touch me,” she spit the words at him while scrambling out of reach. “And don’t you dare say that to me. Ever.”

“You hugged me.” His eyes went wide and he held his hands up in surrender.

Damn him and his Cheshire cat grin. Kay plowed her right fist into his jaw. God, pain shot up her arm. His head barely moved. Still, she relished the snap of his teeth. Obviously, she didn’t hit him hard enough. He rubbed his scruffy jaw while that sexy little smile inched right back up his cheeks.

“Why are you following me?” Her knuckles hurt like hell, but he’d never know.

“What?” He held his hands in front of him, palms up. “No good to see you, Nate? No how you been? No nothing.”

“I’ll try this again, slower. Why. Are. You. Fol—”

“We need to talk.” The fun left his gaze. The sparkle dimmed to seriousness.

She stepped further away and sent him a glare designed to blister his flesh from head to toe. Unaffected, he picked up the cell phone earpiece she’d knocked off and reattached it to his ear while never taking his navy blue eyes off her.

“No, we don’t. Thank you for saving my life. Now do what you do best. Go away.” She spun on her heel. Rubbing her now swelling hand, Kay stalked straight to her waiting friend.

“You okay?” Holly asked over the top of the car before she slid behind the wheel.

“If I didn’t break my fist on his cement jaw, I will be.” Kay stabbed her seatbelt a second time before fastening it properly. She cursed the tears welling. Cursed the feel his warm body imprinted on her breasts. Cursed the memories that sent her heart spinning.

Holly dropped her .380 in her purse.

“Did you take that in church this morning?”

“Yep. God knows I carry. And the law gave me a permit. Glad I had it, because I didn’t know what the hell was going down when you hit him. Who was the hunk?”

“Nate Wolfe.”

“Holy shit. The guy from college?”

“The same. He’s been watching me. I’m sure of it.”

“I should’ve shot him.” Holly punched the gas pedal, ignoring the speed bumps.

“Thanks for having my back. And for getting the concealed carry license.”

“I’m never without protection. Or a gun.” Holly chuckled at her own joke. “Where to?”

About the Author 50 percent

jalexander-authorphotoThe author of The Green-Eyed Doll, The Last Execution, Someone To Watch Over Me, and her new release Hell or High Water, Book 1 in the Lost and Found, Inc., Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.

She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.

Connect with Jerrie Alexander

Website: http://www.jerriealexander.com/

Blog: http://www.jerriealexander.com/category/blog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jerriealexander

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jerrie-Alexander /121521571355959

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jerriealexander

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jerriealexander/

*****

Purchase Links

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hell-or-high-water-jerrie-alexander/1116276085

Amazon: Click on the Cover

Giveaway 50 percent


Prize is an eBook from author’s back list (winner’s choice)

PLUS a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Sept 21

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

LINK TO SCHEDULE
http://www.cblspromotions.com/2013/09/blogbarrage-hell-or-high-water-lost-and.html

Good luck to you all in the giveaway, and look for my review of Hell or High Water next week!

Review of New Release Slow Summer Burn (Star Harbor #4)

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Slow Summer Burn (Star Harbor #4) by Elisabeth Barrett

Book Description

As the sizzling Star Harbor series concludes, the fourth sexy Grayson brother, a dedicated DEA agent, shows a high-society beauty the true meaning of love.Cameron Stahl has everything, so why does she feel like her life is incomplete? A beautiful Boston socialite and a successful entrepreneur, she’s just opened her second boutique in Star Harbor and business is booming. But one searing look from Val Grayson sends fire through her body and shows her exactly what’s missing from her life: a real man who doesn’t play games and who makes her feel like the most desired woman on earth.DEA agent Val Grayson has always looked after his brothers. Now it’s his turn to find love—though Cam is the last sort of woman he ever dreamed he’d fall for. When courageous Cam realizes she has the insider connections to help Val take down a major drug player within Boston’s political elite, he can’t stop her from putting herself in danger. But as the drug bust of his career looms, all Val cares about is saving the woman he loves before it’s too late.Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Deep Autumn Heat, Blaze of Winter, and Long Simmering Spring.
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Book Review

Slow Summer Burn is the final book in the Star Harbor series where each book focuses on the lives of the four Grayson brothers, natives of Star Harbor which is a resort town outside of Boston.

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Unfortunately, I have only read the last two books in the series, but each of these books can stand alone.

I do, however, wish I had started at the beginning so I could have a stronger sense of the bond these bothers have with each other and the women in their lives. Also, although I didn’t realize it when I read book 3, a legend about the Siren Lorelei, pirate ship that sank off the coast of Star Harbor during the 1700s, is interwoven throughout the series as main characters find hidden keys that may open a treasure chest rumored to be buried in Star Harbor. The significance of the legend and the search for the treasure is finally revealed in Slow Summer Burn.

This is a great romantic suspense revolving around the mystery of  a DEA investigation into who is responsible for financing and transportation of drugs around the area. The protagonist is Val Grayson, seasoned DEA agent, who leads a team to discover the parties involved in this illegal operation. While investigating the main suspect, Congressman Kirkland, Val finds himself falling in love with Cameron, a Bostonian blue blooded socialite who defies all Val’s initial stereotyped impressions about her.

Although the novel is a genre-blending of mystery, suspense, and romance, it leans heavily on Val and Cameron’s love story. Barrett does a great job of helping readers to connect with and relate to both of these characters by having the story told from both of their POVs. Getting their thoughts throughout the book reveals their insecurities and shows that even though are from different socio-economic classes, they have more in common than they think.

When Val and Cameron meet at a social event, the attraction between them is instantaneous.

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The chemistry between them is sizzling; however, at first, Val is reluctant to pursue a relationship with Cameron because of her affluent family and their prominent status in the community.  He has avoided women like her in the past, but after one dance, he wants her even though deep down he thinks he could never make her happy.  He is perceptive enough to see beyond her reserved nature, and her vulnerabilities bring out a possessive side of him that he’s never had before.

Cameron is a wonderful, caring woman.  She is not one bit pretentious, and she gets irritated whenever Val tries to box her with his stereotypical assumptions that she will dress, think, and act a certain way based on her social status. For example, he’s shocked when she dresses in jeans for their first date. I loved watching Cameron prove to Val that she’s more than a pretty face. She’s practical, resourceful, and when she pulls out her power tools, Val knows he’s a goner.

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Like Val, Cameron feels stifled by her family’s expectations and obligations as she tries to be independent and still make her mother happy.  Cameron’s parents reminded me of the Victorian age where one must follow certain protocols deemed appropriate by someone of her breeding and stature.

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Growing up in such a repressive, stifling home has kept Cameron from fully embracing her life, with Val she can be herself. I enjoyed watching Cameron “let her down” and give her passions free reign.

Much of the story is about their personal struggles to take risks, find freedom, and discover the meaning of a real love that brings them happiness and makes them feel whole.

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Once it seems they may be able to overcome their differences in social class, Val’s job interferes with his desire to be close to Cameron. Her family is very close to Kirkland, the main suspect behind the drug operation that Val’s team investigates. His teammates urge him to use his connections to Val to gather evidence about the suspect, but he refuses to bring her into their mission. His fear is that if her friend is guilty and the truth is revealed, Cameron will believe he’s just been using her to get close to Kirkland.

The action and suspense increase in the latter part of the story as Val’s team searches for the mastermind behind the drug-running operation and tries to save Cameron when her life becomes endangered because of her relationship with Val. There are a few surprises along the way that kept my attention as well.  This was a great read!

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About the Author

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Elisabeth Barrett lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends her days teaching, editing, writing sexy contemporary romance, and enjoying time with her sometimes-bearded husband and three spirited children. She is constantly perfecting her home-work-writing juggling act, but in her free time she loves to hike open space preserves, grow orchids, bake sweet things her husband won’t eat, and sing in grand choruses.

Author Links

 website,| Twitter, | Facebook.

Spotlight of The Sedona Trilogy, Giveaway & Review of Desert Hearts (#2)

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Bad Vibrations (#1)

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Book Description

When a troubled client visits psychic Persephone O’Brien, the last thing she thinks is that she’s about to be drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy that will change her life forever. Accompanied by a distractingly attractive ufologist—and with a little help from an unlikely group of UFO enthusiasts—she races to stop the alien plot before it’s too late. 

Moving from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the red rocks of Sedona, Bad Vibrations takes the reader on a wild ride that never lets up until its unforgettable climax.

* This book is perma-free on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes 

Desert Hearts (#2)

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Book Description

Falling for one man when you’re in love with someone else must be the quickest way to complicate your life…

A stranger staggers out of the desert and collapses in Kara Swenson’s Sedona home. He pleads for help, and despite her better judgment, Kara takes him in, gives him shelter and a place to stay. She doesn’t anticipate the dangerous attraction she begins to feel for him — after all, she’s been secretly in love with Lance Rinehart for more years than she cares to admit. Kara, who owns a UFO-themed shop and gives UFO tours in the desert outside town, thinks she’s seen it all. But when the shocking truth of the stranger’s identity is revealed, she finds herself having to make a terrible choice.

Watch the Book Trailer for Desert Hearts Now

*****

Book Review

Christine Pope has written a great trilogy that blends elements of romance, paranormal, and science fiction genres and is set in beautiful Sedona, Arizona.  The first book, Bad Vibrations introduces readers to a scattered group of UFO hunters and enthusiasts who come together to stop an alien invasion that threatens humankind. Although Pope does provide enough background information to inform you about the major events in the first book, and you could read it as a stand alone, I recommend starting with Bad Vibrations, which is currently free on Amazon. I don’t think I would have enjoyed Deserts Hearts nearly as much  if I had not read how everything began.  Bad Vibrations provides a more in depth explanation about the aliens’ plans to control humans.

Desert Hearts picks up where Bad Vibrations ended and features Kara Swenson and Lance Rinehart, two characters who played instrumental roles in the first book but remained in the background so that Paul and Persephone’s love story could be told. I actually liked Desert Hearts even more than Bad Vibrations.  It is more of a character-driven story with less external conflict and action than found in book one. Much of this second book focuses on character development, inner conflict, and the love triangle that emerges with Kara, Lance, and Grayson.

I loved Kara’s character. She is a genuinely nice person. Not only is she kind-hearted, but she cares deeply about others and their happiness.  I found it easy to relate to her feelings and experiences. She has the reputation of being “careful Kara” because she has always been the responsible one, sacrificing her dreams to take care of others.  Kara has been in love with Lance for the past six years even though he doesn’t seem to reciprocate those same feelings for some unknown reason.  However, when a mysterious, handsome man enters Kara’s world, the door for a possible romance is opened.  Over the course of the story, Kara realizes that this unknown man, who remembers nothing about his past, will forever change her life.

The man without an identity decides to call himself Grayson after watching a TV episode with a character by the same name. Although Kara is frustrated that she knows so little about Grayson, she is drawn to him. Grayson appears to be an ideal man, and his sincerity and openness to everything around him make him irresistible.

When Lance learns that Kara now has a man in her life, he is forced to confront his real feelings for her, and he doesn’t like the thought of losing her to someone else even though loving her may put her life in danger. I typically avoid plots with love triangles because I know, most likely, someone will be hurt in the end. What makes Kara’s decision even more difficult is that both men are lovable.  The romantic scenes in Desert Hearts are a bit more sensual than those in Bad Vibrations, yet I found them to be appropriate for the characters involved. The outcome of this love triangle was not exactly what I expected but one I could accept in the end.

There are lots of unexpected situations and shocking revelations that emerge as the plot develops, and I was riveted to this storyline.  The last part of the book becomes more action-oriented, leading to a holding-my- breath, biting my nails climax and an, overall, emotionally satisfying conclusion.   I don’t want to say too much about the plot because discovering the truth is what makes this story so engaging, but I will end stating that I am still clinging to a tiny bit of hope about Grayson’s future.

Over the course of reading the first two books, I’ve found that I have become attached to this tight-knit group of UFO hunters, and if I ever had to face an encounter with aliens, these are the type of people I would want watching my back!

I look forward to reading the final book, Angel Fire, which has just been released, but I have a feeling I will wish for this trilogy to develop into a series.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Rating

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Angel Fire (#3)

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Book Description

As winter closes in on Kirsten Swenson’s hometown of Sedona, Arizona, and the world moves toward the solstice, strange forces begin to converge on the quiet desert city, seeking to bring about the destruction of everything she knows and loves. 

Desperate to save her friends and family, Kirsten accepts the assistance of Martin Jones, a mysterious Man in Black who turns out to be far more than he seems. He helps to awaken the powers that have lain dormant within her…and also compels her to expose the shocking secrets buried in her past. But Kirsten soon learns that giving her heart might not be enough, and that the confrontation with the alien forces may demand her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author

Author

A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Christine Pope writes as the mood takes her, and her work encompasses paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, and historical romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor and graphic designer in addition to writing fiction. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Trilogy and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though…not yet, anyway! (from Amazon)

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinePopeAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/christinejpope

Website: http://www.christinepope.com/

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Third prizes (3): ebook copies of all three books

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*****

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Book Blitz: Review for When I Find You (Trust No One #2)

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When I Find YouA Trust No One Novel #2 by Dixie Lee Brown

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Avon Romance

Releasing July 16th, 2013

Book Description

Dixie Lee Brown continues her heart-racing Trust No One series with a sexy veteran determined to protect an innocent woman on the run.

As a former Marine, Walker could find a needle in a haystack. But when he’s asked by the U.S. Marshals to track down a nanny fleeing from the mafia, he’s sure she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth. Especially after the sexy little thing clubs him and leaves him for dead. Walker’s stunned by her courage—and her curves—and can’t help feeling drawn to this damsel trying to dig her way out of distress. He’ll find her, and when he does, it’ll take more than the mafia to tear him away.

Darcy Maddox never expected to be running for her life. But when it suddenly looks like foe may become friend, Darcy’s faced with a choice: Go it alone or trust a man she just met—never mind the way his touch gets her heart pounding. The choice seems simple enough until she realizes it’s not just her life at stake—it’s her heart. 

Continue reading

Book Blitz: Review & Giveaway for The Purple Heart

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The Purple Heart by Christie A.C. Gucker

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Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Categories: Inspirational, Military, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Pagan Writers Press

Release Date: February 22, 2013

Heat Level: Sizzling

Word Count/Length: 52,000 words/164 pages

Book Description:

When does hiding the truth become an outright lie?

As an Army psychologist, Sydney Porter has heard her share of horror stories. The battle-scarred, down-trodden, and guilt-ridden have come to her office, seeking her help. When a highly decorated soldier is referred to her, she feels confident she can help heal his wounds. The chemistry between herself and Sergeant Aiden Thane is instantaneous. Sparks ignite and against her friend’s advice, she opens both her home and her heart.

Torn between a voice of reason and her undeniable feelings, Sydney begins to question just what is hiding behind her lover’s decorated uniform. What secrets are hidden behind his Purple Heart?

And does she really want to know?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations  and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

*****

Book Review

This book touched me on so many levels. It was nothing like I expected but in a very, very good way.  This story pulled at my emotions – I smiled, rolled my eyes, became frustrated, scared, and the suspenseful climax left me with goose bumps all over and my eyes filled with tears.

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Now, that’s a good read!

The story’s protagonist is Sydney Porter. Sydney used to be an Army nurse, but after dealing with so much death on the frontlines, she decided to obtain a psychology degree and shifted her career path in the Army to work with soldiers who are making the transition from Army to civilian life.   I found the book’s opening to be a bit slow, but it did provide an effective introduction to Sydney’s character, her background, and her career focus. In the opening scene, Sydney is presented as the consummate psychologist, professional, polished, and dedicated to helping others.

Upon arriving at work, Sydney finds a case file with her new client: Sergeant First Class Aiden Thane, a highly decorated soldier recently wounded in battle who is returning home with an honorable discharge.  The case file contains little personal information about Aiden, but emphasizes that he is a top priority and will be Sydney’s only case for now.  Not only did that strike me as unusual, but everything about this mysterious Aiden Thames did as well.

My interest in the book really picked up when Sydney actually meets Aiden. Sparks ignite when they shake hands, and that’s when Sydney’s professionalism metaphorically goes flying right out the window, and she begins thinking and speaking with her heart instead of her head.

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To say Aiden is an intense character is almost an understatement. He’s handsome, reserved, and Sydney practically melts into a puddle whenever he looks at her. She sees signs that Aiden suffers from PTSD, and she is determined to do her best to help him acclimate back into society.  However, her methods for doing this go far beyond the boundaries of a normal practitioner/client relationship.  Even though I was surprised when Sydney invites Aiden to stay with her, and I couldn’t help smiling as she mentally slaps her forehead for making such as rash decision:

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I just blurted out the words and even shocked myself. “Would you like to come stay and my place?”

***

“I’ve got a spare room, and it’d be nice to have some company.” I couldn’t believe I was saying the things that were coming out of my mouth. Word vomit. What was I doing? He was a complete stranger. A highly-decorated soldier stranger. A hot, highly-decorated soldier stranger…in uniform. He was becoming seemingly irresistible to me. “

There are a few more moments like this, when Sydney’s thoughts had me chuckling as she loses her composure around Aiden.

Sydney and Aiden have an instant, life-altering connection that, at first, I found hard to accept. Since Sydney doesn’t have any other cases, she concentrates on helping Aiden outside of the office. I keep thinking, “big mistake.” And just as I expected, their professional relationship  quickly crosses over into a personal one.

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More and more, Sydney sees Aiden as the man she’s been looking for all of her life instead of a man who has been emotionally and physically wounded from battle and needs psychological counseling.  For example, on their first night together, she suggests they watch a war movie, not even thinking about detrimental effects this could have on Aiden’s psyche. Aiden’s traumatic flashback during the movie is a clear indication that she really doesn’t know much about what this man has gone through.  In fact, she knows very little about Aiden.

Cheryl and her wife Gina, play an important role in the story. They are Sydney’s best friends and have become her new family, since her parents died.  Cheryl is the voice of reason: “Wow, Sydney, are you out of your mind? You have no idea what he’s like. He could be all messed up in the head from the war.” Gina, on the other hand, encourages Sydney to embrace the happiness that Aiden has brought into her life: “Just sit back and go with the flow and enjoy the ride, Syd. It could end tomorrow, a year from now, or never. So enjoy every little bit of it.”  I  understood both Cheryl and Gina’s perspectives, and just like Sydney, I kept swaying back and forth, about whether she is jumping into things a bit too soon.

Yet, how can I argue with someone’s feelings of falling in love, especially when Aiden tells her:

 “Sydney, I have waited my whole life to meet a girl like you. Actually, I think I was waiting to meet you. Now we have this one chance to have something other people search for their whole lives. It’s being handed to us. I don’t want to stop or slow down. I want to be with you.”

I’m such a sap when it comes to love.

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Their relationship isn’t easy. Aiden has secrets, and just as much as Sydney, I want to know to what they are. I was so intrigued that I read this book in one afternoon because I had to know what Aiden is hiding. It’s suspicious when he refuses to share anything about his past, and furthermore, throughout the story, he makes comments to Sydney that are so melodramatic I begin to question his mental stability:

“I can’t exist without you. You mean everything to me.”

***

“We’re running out of time.”

***

You are my entire reason for existing at this very moment in time.” 

His cryptic comments and pleas sound desperate, but why? They’ve only just met.  How can they have a love this intense so quickly? It can’t be real. By the end of the book, though, I realize their relationship isn’t within the normal realm of falling in love. Their feelings for each other push the boundaries of love beyond reality.

Destiny

The climax of the story occurs when Aiden’s big secret is revealed, and boy is it a doozie.

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I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming—the author does an excellent job of providing appropriate foreshadowing, symbolism, and imagery to gently and subtly lead the reader to this surreal conclusion.  My surprise compounded by goose bumps and tears left me wishing so much for a different outcome. However, the author does a good job of tying up the book nicely and leaving me with a feeling a peace about everything that happens.

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The only aspect that was problematic for me in reading the book is that, at times, when the author brings up the controversial issues of gay marriage, war, and the afterlife, she begins to proselytize. The characters and the events that occur in this story are powerful enough to raise my awareness of the issues and situations without a direct input of opinion.

Nevertheless, this book focuses on the undeniable beauty and power of love, destiny, and fate. The story will linger with me for a long time to come.

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

Rating

Good-Read-icon

*****

Read an excerpt from The Purple Heart

“Excuse me, Sergeant Thane?”

The soldier stood up, perfectly at attention, and addressed me with a serious, military tone and utter respect.

“Yes, Ma’am.” He offered his hand to shake mine.

My breath hitched in my throat immediately. Any man in uniform was to die for, but he was just drop-dead gorgeous. His dark, messy hair was longer than it should be for someone returning from a tour, and appeared as though he had just rolled out of bed. Sex hair is what I would call it, although others might refer to it as bed head. He must have been at the infirmary for some time. His face was squared and chiseled, and accentuated by a shadow of scruff. His eyes seemed to be piercing right through me. They were a deep shade of blue, but somehow had the appearance they were glowing. I bet now that he was home, all the girls would be knocking down his door, if he didn’t have someone already waiting for him. I couldn’t imagine he wasn’t already spoken for, unless he was a player.

I reached out to shake his hand, and when we touched, I could feel this humming vibration thing happening, from his skin directly to mine. It was reminiscent of something, but I couldn’t quite place it. I found myself holding onto his hand a little longer than was socially acceptably for a first meeting but just didn’t want to let go. I managed to stutter out a few words.

“Um, hi. I — I’m Sydney Porter. I’ll be handling your case.” This reaction was so unlike me. No one ever had this type of effect on me.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he said, and he released my hand with a small squeeze.

“Maybe you can just call me Sydney, okay? You’re making me feel old by calling me ma’am.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he said again, but this time, I noticed a small smirk make an appearance at the corner his lips.

“Okay then, great. Would you like to go to one of the meeting rooms to talk for a bit?”

“Ma’am.” He nodded his head.

I walked over to the nearest open office, and he followed quietly behind me. He was so silent I couldn’t even hear his footsteps. I wondered if he had been trained for covert military missions or was special ops. I showed him to a seat, which he stood behind until I took mine. One thing about soldiers, they were extremely respectful. I loved that.

*****

About the Author

cgucker-authorphotoChristie A.C. Gucker lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of her life. She has worked in the advertising industry for over 20 years as a degreed artist, but also works in the fine arts, especially sculpting out of stone or snapping photographs. Christie is also a singer and musician, and can be found singing on a few CDs.

After the death of her father, Christie searched for something to fill her desire to make a mark in this world. Her love of the arts and creativity allowed her to search for a new medium, which she found with a pen instead of a brush. Being an avid reader her whole life, and with her family cheering her on, she decided to take her shot, and began writing.

Christie is fascinated by the supernatural and sharks, and studies both avidly. You’ll be sure to find something spooky lurking somewhere in her stories. Her greatest joy is sitting on a beach with her family while surf fishing, flying kites or building sandcastles with her girls.

Christie is on FOUR Amazon Best Selling Lists: Romance, Short Story Paranormal Romance and Fantasy.

Connect with Christie A.C. Gucker

Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author’s Page | AuthorDB

Dedication:

This book is dedicated to every man and woman who has served as a soldier to defend freedom for all. You are heroes. It is also dedicated to the families of those soldiers who give up their fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and friends so that we can have those freedoms. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed. Thank you all.

Special dedication to the soldiers in my family, My father, John P. Choida, grandfather Stephen P. Gaida, brother-in-law in-Darren Dreher, my father-in-law Donald Gucker and my grand uncles who have served or continue to do so for our country.

I want to give a special shout out to Battling BARE for all their hard work to help soldiers and their families recover from PTSD! They have a special place in this book!

 Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars – from KimCheck

“I have read 2 of Christie’s books and one of her short stories and I have to say I’m very impressed with her writing. I have had the pleasure of meeting her as she was so very gracious to call in to my book club and chat about her books and her writing which impressed me even more! The Purple Heart was a story that draws you in and makes you feel like you are living within the story line. This story took me to a place I did not expect at all. The characters in the book became so alive in my head that I truly felt connected to every turn the story took. I highly recommend The Purple Heart and will be sure to let everyone know how great it is.”

5.0 out of 5 stars – from tori muise

“This book had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t put it done! Beautiful book and I’ve been telling everyone I know to read it!!!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – from Ireland

“This book was one that I could not put down. I started it on Friday night and finished it on Saturday night, it was that good! I did not want it to end. I can’t wait to read the next book that Christie Gucker writes!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – from BRIAN E LAROCQUE

“Her best book yet! Great story and great characters! I loved the Cheryl and Gina story as well. I’m sure we will be reading more great stories from this new author!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – from Newest Fan

“Although I am an avid reader, I seldom feel the need to write a review for a book. With The Purple Heart, I just had to. I discovered this book by accident, wanted something to read on a cold winter’s day. I no way expected to be pulled into this love story. It pulled me in alright. Pulled at my heart strings. What a beautiful love story. Classic, romantic but completely unpredictable. Discovering this book and this author, Ms. Gucker was a delightful surprise. Can’t wait to read your other works.”

Purchase The Purple  Heart Now

Amazon: The Purple Heart | ARe | B&N | Smashwords

*****

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter for your chance to win

 a signed print copy of “The Purple Heart”

and a signed bookmark from Christie A.C. Gucker. 

Contest is tour-wide and ends July 21. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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*****

 Click here to follow the Blog Tour for The Purple Heart 

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

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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

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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

Good-Read-icon

*****

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

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

Good-Read-icon

*****

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 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

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*****

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

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*****

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.