Book Review: “Spirit of the Book” by D. E. Howard

ABOUT THE AUTHORdehoward

D. E. Howard was born and raised in the small seaside town of Southport where she still resides and dreams of a wo
rld where chocolate is better for you than an apple and of giving up her day job to become a full time writer.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Do you believe in magic?
Ellie Forrester didn’t.

Raised an only child by a mother who never hid her resentment Ellie learned from an early age to be self sufficient.

sotbFinally moving away from her mother’s negative influence Ellie thought her small run down flat was a little piece of paradise.

The old book she found hidden away didn’t seem to be anything remarkable but Ellie soon discovered that it contained far more than just the words on the pages.

Ellie soon discovered that not only did magic exist but it was within her reach.

Do you believe in magic?
Ellie Forrester does!

MY REVIEW

A Magically Delightful Read

Ellie Forrester is a plan girl who has lived a lonely life. She plans and succeeds in whatever she endeavors, but she has no friends. Her only family, her mother, is a sad woman that never gave her any attention. Then she moves out on her own to discover she has a gift.

After the beginning chapter or two, the story moves at a good pace. I gave he story 4.5 and rounded up to 5 stars. The characters are well-fleshed out and enjoyable. Spirit of the Book has a wonderful plot and a satisfying ending. Excellent writing.

Get your copy of Spirit of the Book today!

Next scheduled books and short stories for my Review List are:
Waterlillies Over My Grave by Patricia Guthrie (Completely Read – Review Coming Soon)
Dragon Fireside Tales by Adam Boustead (Just started)
Trusting Jack by Beth Hale
Haunting Megan by Rebecca Riley
Trafficking by Bill Ward
Beyond the Hidden Sky (Star Trails Tetralogy Book 1) by Marcha Fox
Jem by Michelle Abbott
Everything to Lose – Gavin Shawlens Thriller #2 by Gordon Bickerstaff

Book Review: “Papala Skies” by Stephen Geez

stephenGeezAbout The Author

Stephen Geez earned his undergrad and grad degrees at the University of Michigan. A composer, producer, publisher, and writer, he watches too much television but prefers diving tropical reefs. Watch for his essays, stories, and more books at http://www.StephenGeez.com.

Bestselling Books:Invigilator, Fresh Ink Group Short Story Showcase #1, Papala Skies

papalaSkiesAbout The Book

Chicago native Rochelle DuFortier likes to imagine the future, her world a series of picture postcards so vivid they sometimes seem real. When a foolish mistake at thirteen causes her mother’s death, she’s sent to a secluded Hawaiian valley, an outsider “haole-girl” among pidgin-speaking boys who hurl flaming papala spears under the full moon to summon her mother’s spirit. After boarding school and a prestigious university back east, the ambitious young woman is torn between chasing new career opportunities, discovering her mother’s heritage in a remote French village, and meeting obligations pulling her back to Hawaii.

On this island steeped in ancient mythology and modern superstition, Rochelle tests the possibility of sharing pieces of her life with those whose beliefs she barely understands and never intends to embrace. She dives the depths of a pristine coral lagoon, conceals bodies in a subterranean lava tube, and challenges the eruptions of a living volcano, even as she deciphers the truth about her mother’s death and struggles to satisfy new debts born of old betrayals.

Papala Skies is the story of a young woman who makes all the right choices, only to find herself living an unexpected life. It is about the need to belong, and seeking one’s own version of truth amid such differing cultures’ responses to wrenching loss and abiding grief. It is about yearning for a sense of place, yet having to confront new ways to honor the love of family and friends.

Will Rochelle lose what matters most, or might she learn what the smart octopus already knows?

My Review

Intriguing and Character Driven

The vivid descriptions of imagery virtually transport you to the Hawaii island, and carry you to the city of Chicago, an ivy league university, and to France.

A complex story with tragic situations and reactions. The main character, Rochelle, is faced with the challenges of getting on with her own life or helping others with their challenges. Her life does not turn out as she always thought it would.

There’s an underlying suspense surrounding how Rochelle’s mother died, and Rochelle’s guilt over her mother’s death is felt throughout most of the story. But that’s not all. There are primary forces driving chaos in her life and those she’s come to love. There’s the complexity of plots and sub-plots as Rochelle is drawn from one tragedy to another.

The characters are so well-drawn that you feel you are right there with them, wanting to help but unable to prevent the next heartbreak life throws their way. You will cry, laugh, and revel in their victories over life’s unrelenting obstacles.

I highly recommend this character-driven tale with strong relationships, as well as intrigue, action, and yes, some romance too.

Purchase PAPALA SKIES today.

Next TEN books and short stories on my Review List are:
Babe Driven by Lizzie Chantree (completed reading, review coming soon)
Cupid’s Quest by Lori Soard (starting 8/23/2016)
Return of the Gulls by Maureen McMahon
Taken by the Huntsman by Mistral Dawn
Myth and Magic by Mae Clair
Spirit of the Book by D. E. Howard
Waterlillies Over My Grave by Patricia Guthrie
Dragon Fireside Tales by Adam Boustead
Trusting Jack by Beth Hale
Haunting Megan by Rebecca Riley

#RRBC Spotlight Author: Micki Peluso

With great pleasure I’d like to introduce to you, Micki Peluso, this week’s Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author. Welcome, Micki!

What’s In A Word?

“In the beginning was the word . . .”
John 1:1 King James Bible

words_img

Remember the childhood taunt, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me?” (from Robert Fulghum). This is not true. The “pen is mightier than the sword,” and the complexity of language plays upon everyday living. It can be subtle,(my favorite) sarcastic, ironic, menacing, hateful, loving, instructive; the list is long. Ultimately words hurt much more than stones, because the scars from hurtful words do not always heal.

Writing is how I express emotions that cannot be exposed through any other outlet. All the feelings that encompass my psyche, subconscious mind, and yes, even soul, are transposed to a large yellow legal pad with an Erasermate pen. This most sacred experience allows me to examine my feelings from other points of view, vent words that hide from me verbally as I cope with the school of life–hoping to pass the test.

Words make or break relationships, erase the tears of a crying child, soothe an aching heart, cheer on an athlete, or manipulate an enemy. Words are power and it is essential to learn to use them wisely, to understand their strength. As applied to writing, proper word choice is critical to a successful essay, short story or novel. Making an error in word usage can change the tempo and alter the perspective of any given piece of writing.

Years ago, four years of Latin was a required course in High School. Students groaned, but this arcane language was the best example of how the nuance of a word can completely change the meaning of a sentence or story. English, based in part, on Latin, is no different.

The words one uses in narrative or description develop character traits and personality.”He was a tempting, seductive piece of work,” shows the reader much about this character, as does, “She donned her reading glasses and began stamping books the children brought to the library desk.” Words in dialogue express emotions and character behavior. Words are all one has to work with, both in real life and in writing. It is prudent to choose them well. Roget’s Thesaurus should be every writer’s bible, packed as it is with synonyms that shift context and meaning in subtle ways.

Who and what I am or hope to become is evident in my stories. In romance, I am the character searching for love, in paranormal, I am the character facing his/her demons, real or imagined. Humorous stories disguise me in my character’s take on the foibles of daily living. In every story that I write, I am there–in words.

“Words express ideas, name things. They carry you from one place to another. . .  When your words change, you change.” Taken from The World Book Complete Word Power Library. “‘In the Miracle Worker,’ based on the life of Helen Keller, the little blind and deaf girl’s mother asks the child’s teacher what is to be taught first. “Language, I hope, replies the teacher . . . what is she without words?” Taken from the Dictionary of Problems and Expressions,” by Harry Shaw.

My losses, sorrows, joys, loves and dreams are forever etched in print. They cannot exist without me or me without them. Yet, I do not write to live, or live to write. Writing helps me make sense of the drama called life. Writing defines me. 

It is an avenue of escape in an uncertain, sometimes frightening world – where love is fragile, dreams shatter, hope is dashed, then renewed. Writing takes me through the dark tunnel to the awaiting light. I will one day pass on to another realm with writing as my epitaph. Writing is not what I do . . . It is who I am.


lastscan (4)Micki Peluso began writing after a personal tragedy. This lead to a first time publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a career in Journalism. She’s freelanced and been staff writer for one major newspaper, written for two more and has published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges, magazines and e-zine editions. Her first book was published in 2012; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called, . . . And THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG which won the Nesta CBC Silver Award for ‘Writing That Builds Character’, won third place in the Predators and Editors Contest and first place for People’s Choice Monthly Award. This book is close to her heart since it’s a deathbed promise to her dying child. It has the humor of ‘Cheaper by the Dozen,’ with the heart of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird. Some reviewers liken her writing to a cross between Erma Bombeck and Harper lee. She has over a dozen short stories in ‘Women’s Memoirs’, ‘Tales2inspire’, and ‘Creature Features’. Two of her short horror stories were recently published in an International Award winning anthology called “Speed of Dark.” She is presently working on a collection of short fiction, and slice of life stories in a book collection called, ‘Don’t Pluck the Duck’, due to be released in late 2017. Her first children’s story, ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ will be released in June of 2017. Author Peluso is a multi-genre and speculative writer who plans to tackle novels next.

000_bookcover for email normal (3)And The Whippoorwill Sang
by Micki Peluso

It is a day like any other, except the intense heat wave has broken and signs of early fall are in the air.

Around the dining room table of her 100 year old farmhouse Micki Peluso’s six children along with three of their friends eagerly gulp down a chicken dinner. As soon as the last morsel is ravished, the lot of them is off in different directions. Except for the one whose turn it is to do the dishes. After offering her mother a buck if she’ll do them, with an impish grin, the child rushes out the front door, too excited for a hug, calling out, “Bye Mom,” as the door slams shut. For the Peluso’s the nightmare begins.

Micki and Butch face the horror every parent fears—awaiting the fate of one of their children. While sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room, Micki traverses the past, as a way of dealing with an inconceivable future.

From the bizarre teenage elopement with her high school sweetheart, Butch, in a double wedding with her own mother, to comical family trips across country in an antiquated camper with six kids and a dog, they leave a path of chaos, antics and destruction in their wake. Micki relives the happy times of raising six children while living in a haunted house, as the young parents grow up with their kids. She bravely attempts to be the man of the house while her husband, Butch is working out of town.

Hearing strange noises, which all the younger kids are sure is the ghosts, Micki tiptoes down to the cellar, shotgun in hand and nearly shoots an Idaho potato that has fallen from the pantry and thumped down the stairs. Of course her children feel obligated to tell the world.

Just when their lives are nearly perfect, tragedy strikes—and the laughter dies. A terrible accident takes place in the placid valley nestled within the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On a country lane just blocks from the family’s hundred year old haunted farmhouse, lives are changed forever.

In a state of shock, Micki muses through their delightful past to avoid confronting an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension.

One of her six children is fighting for life in Intensive Care. Both parents are pressured by doctors to disconnect Noelle, their fourteen-year-old daughter. Her beautiful girl, funny and bright, who breathes life into every moment, who does cartwheels in piles of Autumn leaves, who loves to sing and dance down country roads, and above all loves her family with all her soul. How can Micki let this child go?

The family embarks upon yet another journey, to the other side of sorrow and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin. . .to weep. . .to laugh. . .to grieve. . .to dance—and forgive.

To learn more about Micki Peluso, or to purchase her book, …AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG,
please visit:
Twitter: @mickipeluso
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndTheWhippoorwillSang
Website: http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/
Email: mallie1025@aol.com
 

Book Review: “Dangerous Liaisons (Royal Command, #1)” by Sarah Stuart

About The Author

sarahStuartSarah Stuart lives on the edge of a quiet English village where wildlife sightings are common, though becoming less so. Hunting with dogs is now illegal in the UK: it goes on in secret and incidences of this are almost impossible to prove in court. Many of her dogs are, or have been, rescues and only those who enjoy the limelight perform onstage. 50% of her royalties are donated to animal charities.

Dogs were Sarah’s opening into show business. During a period when she lived in Wales she supplied them to professional companies using Aberystwyth University’s Arts Centre Theatre during student vacations. Many musicals and plays performed there were on their pre-West End premiere run, which gave her an unrivalled opportunity to talk to directors, choreographers and the many other vital members of the backstage staff, and the performers. These ranged from actors and actresses in their first, or early, roles to worldwide superstars of stage and screen. That experience, and her association with the Northern Ballet, underpins the vivid portrayals of show business triumphs and heartbreak.

Sarah has studied English language and literature, and history, with delight since her early teens. She is a qualified adult literacy tutor and has written short stories, in addition to other resources, for her students. Her published articles have been in magazines dedicated to wildlife and dogs. The Royal Command series, her debut into full-length fiction, has been well received. Book One, Dangerous Liaisons, is a Romance Finalist in the Independent Author Network Book Awards 2015 and the first version of this book, now lightly edited, gained a five star rating from Readers’ Favorite within weeks of publication.

Sarah’s hope is that readers will enjoy her novels as an escape from reality, but be left understanding that fame and fortune often comes at a high personal cost. Also, an increased perception of the threat to animals: those shot in the name of sport for trophy heads, endangered species, many poached for their fur and ivory, and tragically discarded pets.

About The Book

SARAH.STUART1-DLLizzie, daughter of a wealthy Scottish laird, inherits Margaret Tudor’s secret diary. A decoded message reads “I direct and beseech my heirs to find love where they may”. Lizzie falls in love with Michael, a poor aspiring actor whom she helps become a superstar. Lizzie passes the diary to their daughter, Lisette, who is influenced by Queen Margaret’s manipulative, vengeful, granddaughter, sparking dangerous passions and betrayals. Can Lizzie outwit the paparazzi or will the scandal of adultery and incest end in tragedy for them all?

My Review

Fast-paced Family Saga

I enjoyed this book and the second part lives up to the title of Dangerous Liaisons. This book could’ve been two separate books, the two parts are so different. The love story of Lizzie and Michael is breathtaking. The second part reminded me of V. C. Andrews’s family sagas of which I’ve been a huge fan.

While I could buy the forbidden sex the first time it happened, from the way the male lead was portrayed as never straying during his entire marriage up to this point, no matter how long he’d been away or how tired he’d been from traveling, I couldn’t buy it happening more than the one time. It seemed out-of-character for him to me.

Gorgeous new book cover.

Next TEN books and short stories on my Review List are:
The One Discovered: Chronicles of Diasodz, Book 1 by Yvette M. Calleiro
Bravura (The Music We Made Book 1) by Lisa Kirazian
Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwendolyn Plano
Finch’s Crossing by Katheran Allen
Flash 40: Life’s Moments by Janelle Jalbert
The Bloody Shoe Affair by Joy York
Son of My Father by Peggy Hattendorph
Papala Skies by Stephen Geez
Babe Driven by Lizzie Chantree
Cupid’s Quest by Lori Soard

#RRBC Spotlight Author – Kim Cox

spotlight

https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com

Asheville, North Carolina USA —Rave Reviews Book Club is pleased to introduce, Author, Kim Cox as their “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the week of May 22-28, 2016. Kim’s featured book, All This Time, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Book Description

ATT-kindleCoverAt thirty, Jenny Morgan’s biological clock is ticking. But as a fashion magazine CEO with a busy schedule and no significant other, her wish is unlikely to come true. When her father receives a terminal diagnosis, he wants a grandchild before he dies. With her religious beliefs, a sperm donor isn’t an alternative. Jenny’s only option is her single co-worker and best friend, Trevor Drake. Can she really trust him to be a good husband?

Trevor has loved Jenny since college, but she only sees him as a friend with no ambition. After he finds out her predicament, he proposes and sets out to prove he can provide everything she needs. Jenny is determined to have a prenuptial agreement with an “out” clause after one year. Can he convince Jenny of his love by then?

As if they don’t have enough on their plate, someone at the magazine is out to sabotage their marriage, their impending parenthood, and the magazine. Jenny is nearly killed in one such attempt. Can Jenny and Trevor work together to uncover their common enemy?

To learn more about Kim Cox, or to purchase All This Time, please visit:

Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/kimcox

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimcoxauthor

For more information on Kim Cox, Rave Reviews Book Club, and other great authors, visit:

https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com

Rave Reviews Book Club authorizes the immediate use of any of the above information (in part or in whole) for publication.

#EggcerptExchange: STRANGER AT MY DOOR by Mari Manning

I am participating in the Author Helping Authors – Egg-cerpt Exchange.

Today, I am featuring Mari Manning, author of Stranger at My Door.

eggs

Character Interviews

Dinah Pittman, heroine of Stranger at My Door

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in Texas. I’ll tell you the name, but it doesn’t matter since no one’s ever heard of it. It’s El Royo. For the first 17 years of my life, I loved it, then a crime destroyed my family, and I couldn’t get away fast enough.

When is your birthday?

I’m 25, so you do the math. I was born on November 1, and my mother, who believed in the stars, painted the night sky at it appeared the day I was born on the ceiling of my bedroom.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Pay back the money my father stole.

Rafe Morales, hero of Stranger at My Door

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on Hacienda Osito, which means Little Bear Ranch in Spanish.

Worst fear or nightmare?

I’ve lived through my worst fear – I watched someone I love die before my eyes. Something broke in me that night. Most people call it my nerve. My mother swears it’s my alma, which means soul. Whatever it is, I hope it mends, but I don’t believe I will ever be whole again.

About “Stranger at My Door” by Mari Manning

SaMD_500 resizedThe only thing standing between Dinah Pittman and a murderer is a man she’s afraid to trust …

As far as Dinah Pittman is concerned, men can’t be trusted. Especially cops. Her own father was a cop and a convicted felon who stole a small fortune before dying in prison. The best part? No one knows where the money is…and someone is willing to kill off everyone who knows anything about it.

And Dinah is next.

Rafe Morales left the Dallas police force to settle down to a simpler life in the small Texas town of El Royo. Instead, he finds himself protecting an infuriating, tough-as-nails, oh-so-sexy victim—and driving himself crazy with a thoroughly unprofessional desire.

But as the body count rises, Rafe and Dinah must find a way to trust each other…before they both end up dead.

From the Book

The front door rebounded and clipped Rafe’s shoulder. He kicked it closed with his boot before raking his flashlight beam across the unlit entryway. The hall was clear. His heart thumping against ribs, he burst into the living room. His light hit the figure of a woman, and his feet froze. He tilted the beam up and framed Dinah Pittman’s expressionless face.

Most girls would have screamed or hid when he kicked in the door. Not this one. She had balls, he’d give her that.

Her forearm lifted to shield her eyes from the light. “Who are you? What do you want?” She sounded tired. “I already told Teke, I don’t know where the money is.”

Rafe lowered the flashlight and rolled his shoulder to loosen a tight muscle. There were about two dozen abandoned bungalows in this part of town. When he saw a candle flickering in the window, he’d expected a confrontation with teenagers or maybe a squatter.

He stepped into the candlelight. “Officer Morales, ma’am. Got something against electricity?” As soon as the words were out, he regretted them. The pink flyers. She’d needed money to turn on the lights.

Her mouth tightened. “Get out.” Turning to a small table by the window, she gathered up scattered cards, probably her tarot cards. Had she found customers already?

He studied her as he summoned up an appropriate apology. She wore cut-offs and a white T-shirt. His eyes swept down her slim legs to her bare feet and red toenails before he could stop himself. Why were pain-in-the-ass women always hot?

“I didn’t mean to upset you—”

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“That’s tough to do with you around.”

Her hand stilled for a moment, then returned to its task. “You could have knocked.”

“Sometimes we get squatters in these abandoned houses. They’re more likely to be discouraged by a show of force.”

“I could have been a mass murderer. Aren’t you supposed to call for backup?” She glanced down at his flashlight. “If I was a bad guy with a gun, you’d be dead, Officer Morales.”

“Rafe.”

She’d read him right. He’d tried to pull out his service revolver when he broke down the door, but—predictably—his hand had turned to Jell-O. After two years, he still couldn’t get past the night in Dallas when his beautiful, daring Sam’s luck ran out, and he’d avenged her but failed to live up to his own lofty ideals. So he relied on the element of surprise and big fists.

Gathering up the cards, she set them in a neat stack. “As you can see, I am not a squatter.” Her gaze flickered to his flashlight, then back up to his face. “There’s an empty house about two blocks down if you’re determined to rescue one.”

The corner of his mouth inched up. She’d be a handful…for the right man, which sure as hell wasn’t him. Not anymore. “Thanks for the tip.”

About Mari Manning

_MG_7338-67Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be published by Entangled later this year. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.

She and her husband live in Chicago.

Buy links to all the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-at-my-door/
Contact Mari at manningillinois@gmail.com
Visit my website at www.marimanning.com
Follow me @mari_manning on Twitter

Book Review: “The Budapest Experiment” by Maurice G. Miller

About The Author

mauriceMaurice has been involved in the creative arts since his teenage years. Having worked and played in rock/blues bands for most of his adult life, the artistic role models that he came to admire were those authors, musicians, and philosophers that wrote the books, poetry, lyrics, and music that touched and moved the souls of generations. Counted among his favorites authors are J.D. Salinger, Earnest Hemingway, Dante Alighieri, and Kahlil Gibran. Deciding to take a break from the music career, he has rededicated his creative energies toward writing.

Then there is the “business geek” side of him. With an MBA degree, and having started several ventures, he has an obsession for creating new business ideas, digging into data analytics, and dissecting statistics. This passion for entrepreneurship is reflected prominently in his writing style.

Maurice’s debut fictional novel, “The Budapest Experiment”, an international thriller, was released on May 25, 2015 and is available now on Amazon.

Lots more can be found, including book info, social media contacts, and blog posts, at: http://www.mauricegmiller.com.

About The Book

Blurb:

At what price would you sell your soul…?

budapestThis captivating thriller weaves business, politics, seduction, power, and religion all into a compelling tale of international intrigue.

Set in 1991, during the dawn of the Post-Communist era in Hungary, this novel chronicles the exploits of Michael, an adventurous but struggling American entrepreneur.

During this period of tumultuous political, economic, and social change, the Russian Mob is taking advantage of the ensuing turmoil to entrench itself deeper into the business landscape of the former Soviet Bloc countries.

Navigating through the streets of Budapest, Michael immediately senses an air of mysticism and lurking danger. Things begin to heat up, as a series of business dealings and events leads him to a consulting position with the ‘Organization’.

Seduced by their women, money, and power, Michael becomes entangled in the web of Mob culture. An examination of conscience reveals a spirit ravaged with feelings of guilt and betrayal, but a rapidly growing bank account serves as the means to justify his actions.

Pondering his future, he wonders if he can balance this extreme Budapest lifestyle with his ‘ordinary’ family life back home. After padding his wallet for the past several months, would the Organization let him just walk away, or would there be consequences?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Warning: Ends on a cliffhanger – sequel coming out soon

My Review:

Captivating and Intriguing Thriller

Looking to dive into the International business scene of Hungary, Michael believes nothing can touch him and jumps head first into the deep end of business with the Russian Mafia. He has a guardian angel but can she even save him from himself and the disaster he’s heading into? He knows he shouldn’t do the things he does, but he seems almost helpless to stop himself as he is seduced by the excitement, money, and beautiful women to the point of naivety.

I loved the way this story began and ended (although, warning, it was a cliff hanger). It’s an intriguing and action-packed story with lots of description and Budapest flavor. It’s filled with lots of descriptive sex scenes and I’ll admit I moved over the last few as there were too many for my taste. It is well-written and moves at a pretty good pace. I do think it could be cut down to about 300 pages while still carrying the plot and characters.

I’m pulling for Michael because even though he’s done a few bad things, like cheating on his wife and working for the mob, he appears to be a decent man, filled with guilt as he’s caught up in the craziness of it all.

 

Next TEN books and short stories on my Review List are:
Seeker (Seeker Series, Book 1) by Amy Reece (Started – 16% read)
Dangerous Liaisons by Sara Steward
The One Discovered: Chronicles of Diasodz, Book 1 by Yvette M. Calleiro
Bravura (The Music We Made Book 1) by Lisa Kirazian
Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwendolyn Plano
Tate by Barbara Stewart
Finch’s Crossing by Katheran Allen
Flash 40: Life’s Moments by Janelle Jalbert
The Bloody Shoe Affair by Joy York
Son of My Father by Peggy Hattendorph

#EggcerptExchange: HOMETOWN HEARTACHE by M. J. Schiller

I am participating in the Author Helping Authors – Egg-cerpt Exchange.

Today, I am featuring M. J. Schiller, author of Hometown Heartache.

eggs

new-york-gray HOMETOWN HEARTACHE teaser

 

Blurb ~

HometownHeartache_CVR_MEDNash is trying to make a name for himself in the art world…

But when he meets a realtor to buy a gallery, he is stunned to find Chloe sitting at the table with the man. He has never stopped thinking about her since she disappeared from his life without a trace. Is it too late to win back her love?

Chloe has finally found a way to leave her past behind her…

But her heart leaps out of her chest when she sees Nash. How can he be here? Now…after all this time? On the surface, she pulls herself back together. But underneath she feels she is about to shatter. After remaking herself, how can she deal with being faced with Nash and the life she knew before?

If this chance meeting doesn’t rip Chloe and Nash apart, he will.

Little do they know, someone has been lurking in the shadows, manipulating them all along. If he has his way, the two will never be reunited. Even if he has to take one of them out to ensure it.

Excerpt ~

Outside, I paid a valet attendant to let me park my truck near the front, so I could see her come out. Minutes later, the pair strolled through the door, Jack seeming miffed and Chloe obviously trying to reassure him. As I watched, she reached up on her tiptoes and pulled his head down to whisper in his ear. He laughed and slid his arms around her, letting his hands move down to grab her ass, tightly housed, I saw now, in a short black skirt. My eyes wandered, as his hands had, over her firm rear and the seeming endlessness of her legs, lengthened even more by the racy black heels she wore. They cut a pretty picture—Chloe, light and sensual, Jack, tall, broad-chested, with dark blond, well-groomed hair and a glowing smile. My hands gripped the steering wheel, observing until the valet maneuvered a sleek, red Ferrari into the spot in front of the hotel where the awning and red carpet ended. Jack reached to open the door for her. She folded her long legs into the vehicle, laughing, head tilted flirtatiously as her eyes danced over the high-priced realtor.

An unfamiliar tightening in my chest grabbed me, and I fought to swallow the fire which seemed to be rising within me, choking me with its intensity. I automatically steered my beat-up, blue pickup truck onto the street behind the red Ferrari, following it through the thick knots of traffic in the downtown theatre district. I could see through the rear window she was sitting nearly on top of him.

Don’t those things have stick shifts, for God’s sake?

Purchase Links ~
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AHIS2TK/

Author Bio ~

Profile Pic 4 even biggerMJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a nineteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and seventeen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

Website:
www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/MJ-Schiller-Romance-Author/286382241460365?ref=hl

Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/mjschiller/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/mjschiller

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-Schiller/e/B009JOQFQQ/

Character ~

Favorite place to visit– no question, our treehouse! Nash’s and mine. Well, it’s not exactly ours, unless you count squatter’s rights. We sort of…appropriated it.
Significant other- none. Significant or not.
Worst fear or nightmare– someone touching the real me.
Favorite food– it’s gotta be za. Pizza, that is. And chocolate. Or maybe chocolate coated pizza. Now that’s an idea!
Wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between?- money actually doesn’t mean much to me. All I need is enough to pay my bills and occasionally get a new outfit. Even when I do get a new outfit, you can bet it’s an affordable one and not some designer piece.

HometownHeartache_Teaser

 

#EggcerptExchange: LETHAL DISPOSAL by Kasia Radzka

I am participating in the Author Helping Authors – Egg-cerpt Exchange.

Today, I am featuring Kasia Radzka, author of Lethal Disposal.

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Lethal Disposal
by Kasia Radzka

Blurb

002Lexi Ryder vowed to never return to the Gold Coast, but after a desperate phone call from an old friend, she returns only to learn her friend is dead.

Was it murder or an accident?

Lexi finds herself embroiled in a game of politics, assassinations and secrets. A world where people are not who they seem.

Detective Matthew Ryan wants Lexi as far away as possible from him and the case. But Lexi knows too much. After a public assassination they discover that whoever is responsible is willing to go to great lengths to dispose of those who get in the way of their plans.

Is Lexi willing to risk her own life to seek the truth?

Money, status, and power. Some people will do anything to get it, others will do whatever it takes to keep it.

Excerpt

He pushed her hard and she slammed into the wall of the building, the rugged bricks cutting her palms as she tried to protect herself from the impact. This couldn’t be the end. She turned to face her attacker. She didn’t recognise him. In the darkness she could just make out his features. He had a face that could easily get lost in a crowd, olive skin, a freckle beside his eye, and brown hair. It’s funny the details you notice when you face your killer.

“I’ll give you whatever you want, please, take my keys, my wallet, there’s two hundred dollars in there, just don’t hurt me, please,” Lexi pleaded as he pushed her against the wall.

He stared at her. No smile. No reaction. Then she noticed the glimmer of a gun in his hand.

He pushed even closer until she felt his lips against her ear. “You’ve been asking too many questions.”

Lexi squeezed her eyes shut and pushed him away with all the strength that she could muster as pain seared through her body. She kicked him but he grabbed her by the neck and pulled her towards him pressing the cold metal barrel against the flesh of her lower back. This was it. She was about to die. And all for nothing. She wondered if Dana had known she was going to die at the exact moment her car had veered off the road and slammed into the tree.

Purchase Links
http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00YAC0NLA/

Author Bio

IMG_3510Kasia Radzka is an author, athlete wannabe, food & wine lover, and blogger, living with her husband and son on the Gold Coast, Australia. A run along the coastline generally gets her muse buzzing. You can contact her at kasiajradzka@gmail.com or stop by her website www.kasiaradzka.com.

Author Links
http://www.kasiaradzka.com

Character Questions:

  1. Nickname
    Lexi
  1. Job –
    Freelance Investigative Journalist
  1. Level of schooling, or self-taught –
    University Degree and the school of life
  1. Birthdate –
    5 May
  1. Birthplace –
    Melbourne, Australia
  1. Currently residing in…
    Gold Coast, Australia
  1. Favorite type of pet –
    Dog, but she has no room for one in her life at the moment
  1. Favorite place to visit –
    Europe
  1. Significant other –
    It’s complicated
  1. Most important goal –
    To figure out who killed her friend
  1. Worst fear or nightmare –
    Failing the people she promises to help
  1. Favorite food –
    Wine, burgers, and rockmelon – not necessarily in that order.
  1. Wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between?
    Wealthy, but doesn’t like to advertise it.
  1. Secret desire or fantasy –
    If she told you it wouldn’t be a secret.
  1. What would you do if you won the lottery?
    Give half to charity, invest the other half and continue investigating stories.

 

#EggcerptExchange: One Small Victory by Maryann Miller

I am participating in the Author Helping Authors – Egg-cerpt Exchange.

Today, I am featuring Maryann Miller, author of One Small Victory.

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One Small Victory
by Maryann Miller

BOOK BLURB

Final cover -with border7-12Life can change in just an instant.

That thought wove its way in and around her mind as Jenny fingered the clothes jammed along the wooden rod in the closet. His funny T-shirts promoting the likes of “Prince” and “Dilbert.” His one good shirt, only worn under duress. His leather jacket that still carried a faint aroma reminiscent of saddles and horses.

Sometime soon she’d have to clean out the closet. Isn’t that what usually happens?

Tears burned her eyes and she turned away. She didn’t know what was supposed to happen. No one had ever told her. And a multitude of questions swam through her mind like restless minnows in a pond.

There were books on choosing a college. Books on how to plan a wedding or how to help your child find a job. But no one had ever written one on what to do when your son dies.

Thus begins what is a mother’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child. For most women, that loss would hold them in a grief so pervasive they couldn’t function, but Jenny Jasik doesn’t give in to the paralysis. After discovering how rampant drugs are in her rural Texas town, she bullies her way onto a Drug Task Force and works as a confidential informant to help bring down the main distributor. This isn’t done without considerable risk, not only to her safety but to her sanity and to the sanctity of her family.

EXCERPT

She sank to the edge of her bed, the pain threatening to drag her into the dark abyss. Her blood pounded so loud in her ears it took a minute to realize someone was knocking on the door.

“Mom?” Scott’s voice called from the hallway. “Can I come in?”

Jenny took a deep breath, then rose and opened the door.

“I was wondering . . . uh,” Scott’s eyes had difficulty resting on hers. “Has Dad called back yet?”

She shook her head.

“Well, uh . . . do you want me to call him?”

Again, she shook her head. “It’s something I should do. I’ll try again as soon as I’m finished here.”

Scott hesitated a moment more, then backed out of the doorway. Jenny quickly closed the door. Better that he not see the flush of anger that warmed her cheeks. She’d tried to call Ralph last night, sometime during those hours of agony between leaving the hospital and finally collapsing for a brief period of fitful sleep, but there’d been no answer.

Last night she’d been too numb to care. It was just so typical. He had never been there for her, or the kids. Not while they were married, and not in the years since he’d left. Most of the time she just accepted it and tried to ease the disappointment for the kids as much as possible. But even though little was said, the message was clear. Ralph wasn’t involved with the kids. Not like a father should be.

But the truth was like a kick in the gut this morning.

“You stupid, sorry, son of a bitch,” Jenny said, running a brush through her dark hair with quick, angry strokes. “Why should I care how you find out? I should just clip the obituary and send it to you.”

It gave her a perverse rush of pleasure to consider doing that, but she wouldn’t. She couldn’t. Out of respect for the fact that he was Michael’s father, she would call again.

Jenny crossed the room and picked up the phone on her bedside table. Still no answer after ten rings, and she started to worry. Maybe it wasn’t even his number anymore. He had a penchant for moving and not getting around to giving them the new number for weeks. She could try him at work later, but she wasn’t even sure that number was current.

Longevity, either professional or personal, was never one of his strong suits.

She slammed the phone down. “Couldn’t you be there for me? Just once?”

AUTHOR BIO

newheadshot-3Maryann Miller is a best-selling author of books, screenplays and stage plays. One Small Victory was her first hardcover release. Other books include a police-procedural mystery, Open Season, which is the first   in a new series that features two women homicide detectives. Think “Lethal Weapon” set in Dallas with female leads.  Miller has won numerous awards for her screenplays and short fiction, including the Page Edwards Short Fiction Award, the New York Library Best Books for Teens Award, and first place in the screenwriting competition at the Houston Writer’s Conference.

BUY LINK

One Small Victory is available in paper, electronic, and audio. Links to all formats are on Maryann’s Book Page on her website:
http://maryannwrites.com/books/one-small-victory/

AUTHOR LINKS

Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Maryann-Miller/e/B001JP7Y1S/

Facebook Author Page
https://www.facebook.com/Maryann-Miller-176896965725974/

Author Website
http://maryannwrites.com/

Character Questions for Jenny Jasik:

What on earth possessed you to join a drug task force?

If I hadn’t been numb with grief, I might have reconsidered. Everybody kept telling me to, even my best friend, Carol. But I just got so mad when I found out that drug dealers were hanging around the school and other places where kids, even very young kids, were put in danger. People keep saying we need to do something about drugs, so I figured, why not? It took some convincing to get the captain to agree, and I know he was shocked when I passed the tests to work undercover with the task force. I think I was shocked, too.

So what now? Will you do it again?

Are you kidding? I was scared to death most of the time, so I don’t think I’ll do it again. Although, I must say that I liked that Jenny who took no crap from the drug dealers and actually made a huge difference.

Did you have any previous law-enforcement experience?

Heck no. I barely graduated from high school. Like so many young teens, I was madly in love, or so I thought, and couldn’t wait for Ralph and I to get married. Getting pregnant sort of helped that along. And like a silly teenager who believes every word a guy says, I thought we really would live happily ever after.  That didn’t happen. Ralph didn’t want to be a husband any more than he wanted to be a father. I’m only sorry that it took so many years for us to figure that out. However, had it not, I wouldn’t have had my three wonderful kids.

What was the most difficult part of your life?

That’s pretty obvious, I think. Losing Michael was like losing part of myself. I’d heard people say that a parent should never outlive their children, and I’m here to tell you the truth in that. Even thinking back to that horrible day the pain is as strong as it was then. There were days I didn’t know if I even wanted to go on without Michael, but I had the other kids to think of. And then the opportunity to get some vindication. That helped.

Do you see another man in your life in the future?

Funny you should ask. I worked with a detective, Steve. He was the one I reported to and who held my hand through the whole process of applying and then working on the task force. We both recognized that there was some chemistry between us, but his professionalism held him back. Plus, we were both dealing with a lot of emotional pain. He had lost his wife. So we didn’t want to rush into some kind of relationship that would put his job at risk and maybe we weren’t ready for anyway. Now that some time has passed, we are considering trying to make something work for us. Maybe I can convince Maryann to write that story. I’ve been bugging her about it.