Thursday, 30 June 2016

Cover Crush: Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson











Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

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I have a confession to make. I own this book and the next in the series, but I have not yet read them despite finding the cover and the blurb great. So shame on me. Anyway, I love the historical fiction and I love it when its mix in magic or in any way change history. This book looks marvelous. I have read a short novella and loved it and I'm looking forward to getting to this book and read it...(in 2017 perhaps)



There is a similar cover to the book as you can see down below, but I think I prefer the first one since the other looks a bit pale.


Boston, 1765: In D.B. Jackson's Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.

Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can't stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see

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Check out this week's cover crush over at 
Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages 
The Maidens Court

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Náápiikoan Winter Book Blast & Giveaway

Náápiikoan Winter by Alethea Williams

Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Publisher: C.A. Williams
eBook & Paperback; 295 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold.

THE WOMAN: Kidnapped by the Apaches, a Mexican woman learns the healing arts. Stolen by the Utes, she is sold and traded until she ends up with the Piikáni. All she has left are her skills—and her honor. What price will she pay to ensure a lasting place among the People?

THE MAN: Raised in a London charitable school, a young man at the end of the third of a seven year term of indenture to the Hudson’s Bay Company is sent to the Rocky Mountains to live among the Piikáni for the winter to learn their language and to foster trade. He dreams of his advancement in the company, but he doesn’t reckon the price for becoming entangled in the passions of the Piikáni.

THE LAND: After centuries of conflict, Náápiikoan traders approach the Piikáni, powerful members of the Blackfoot Confederation. The Piikáni already have horses and weapons, but they are promised they will become rich if they agree to trap beaver for Náápiikoan. Will the People trade their beliefs for the White Man’s bargains?

Partially based on the works of Canadian trader, explorer, and mapmaker David Thompson, Náápiikoan Winter spans a continent, examining the cultures in flux at the passing of an era and the painful birth of another.

"When we read NAAPIIKOAN WINTER our hearts were swept back in time. Alethea Williams writes with the same authority and beauty that A. B Guthrie, Bernard de Voto, Wallace Stegner, and Conrad Richter imparted to the page. We marveled at the quality of her research, and the precision with which Williams recreated the world of the Blackfeet at the time of white contact. Find the first page, dear reader, and you'll fall effortlessly into a long-gone world filled with both the noblest of humans, and the dross that always follows. This is no Western romance, but the nitty-gritty reality of the Northern Plains. We call NAAPIIKOAN WINTER masterful!" -W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, authors of PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


About the Author

Alethea Williams grew up in southwest Wyoming. Willow Vale is her first novel of the immigrant experience, dealing with the Tyroleans after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. Her second novel details the Irish immigrant experience and the Orphan Train movement in Walls for the Wind. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category. Her third book, a Western American pre-history spanning the North American continent, entitled Náápiikoan Winter is now available.

She also has a collection of newspaper columns in print:Boomer Blues Book: Staying Alive and Sane in the Modern American West. Twice president of Wyoming Writers, Inc. she lives in her native state with long-time friend, Amazon parrot Bob.

For more information please visit Alethea Williams' blog. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 13
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 14
Diana's Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 15
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 16
The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, June 17
#redhead.with.book

Monday, June 20
The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, June 21
Book Nerd

Wednesday, June 22
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, June 24
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, June 27
Broken Teepee
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, June 28
A Holland Reads

Wednesday, June 29
It's a Mad Mad World

Friday, July 1
The True Book Addict

Giveaway

To win a copy of Náápiikoan Winter please enter using the GLEAM form below. Five copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Naapiikoan Winter Blast


The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (SWE/ENG)

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

När den treåriga flickan Coco – tvilling till identiska systern Ruby – försvinner under sin pappas femtioårsfest, väcker fallet en enorm uppståndelse i medierna. Flickans föräldrar är rika och har stort inflytande, liksom de vänner som samlats i det lyxiga sommarhuset vid havet.

Vad hände egentligen den där ödesdigra kvällen?

Handlingen sträcker sig över två helger. Den första är den då Coco försvinner. Den andra den då de mörkaste av hemligheter till sist ska komma att avslöjas…

Den mörkaste hemligheten är en tät och känsloladdad psykologisk thriller – omöjlig att lägga ifrån sig – av författaren till succén Onda flickor.

**********

Den mörkaste hemligheten är den första bok jag har läst av Alex Marwood och kommer inte vara den sista jag tar mig an. Jag älskar mörka psykologiska thrillers och handlingen i denna bok var intressant med en försvunnen liten flicka vars tvillingsyster 12 år senare frågar sin storasyster vad som egentligen hände när de tillsammans åker till deras pappas begravning.

Ja, vad hände egentligen med Coco? Blev hon kidnappad, försvann hon, eller ligger någon av gästerna i huset vid försvinnandet bakom det? Det är några av frågorna jag grubblade över medan jag läste boken. Det är en mörk bok, men inte så mörk som jag hade förväntat mig, mycket pga. av att människorna i boken är så avskyvärda att jag inte förvånades över avslöjanden som kom fram i boken. Boken verkligen kändes som om en studie i människors värsta beteende. Från de som var vidriga i sin hela personlighet till de som med ett falsk leende kunde ljuga och manipulera omgivningen. Kort sagt, jag blev inte så överraskad över vändningarna i storyn pga av att jag redan misstänkte att de flesta människorna i boken var genomruttna och kunde begå vilka som helst brott. De enda som vann sympati var systrarna Ruby och Milly samt Claire när man började känna henne lite mer.

En intressant bok som kändes lite ojämn, speciellt framåt halva boken när jag kände att skiftningarna mellan nutid och dåtid kändes lite segt. Men helt klart en läsvärd bok!

Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...


**********

The Darkest Secret is the first book I have read by Alex Marwood and it won't be the last. I love dark psychological thrillers and the book was interesting to read. A little girl goes missing and twelve years later her twin sister is questioning her older sister on the way to their father's funeral.

What really happened to Coco? Was she kidnapped, did she disappear or is someone among the guests in the house at the time behind it all? That's some of the questions I was wondering about as I read the book. It's a dark book, just not as dark as I excepted it to be. Most of the people in this book are so rotten that I just didn't get surprised by the revelations that were revealed as I read the book. It felt like reading a study on human behavior, and the worst kind. All from those that have a disgusting personality to those that with a false smile could lie and manipulate everyone around them. In short, I never really got surprised when the story took a twist because I already suspected that most of the people in the book were bad to the bone and could commit any kind of crimes. The only people I found some sympathy for was the sisters Ruby and Milly and later on Claire when one got to know her better.

It's an interesting book that felt a bit uneven to read, especially around half the book when I felt that shifts between past and present started to drag the story a bit. But it's definitely an interesting book to read!

Thanks to Modernista for the review copy!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Who Buries the Dead by C.S. Harris

Who Buries the Dead by C.S. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The grisly murder of a West Indies slave owner and the reappearance of a dangerous enemy from Sebastian St. Cyr’s past combine to put C. S. Harris’s “troubled but compelling antihero” (Booklist) to the ultimate test in this taut, thrilling mystery.

London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.

Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

But as one brutal murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Sinclair, Lord Oliphant, that dramatically raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific wartime act of carnage and betrayal. Now the vindictive former colonel might well pose a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds most dear.


**********

With this book have I now read all the books published in the Sebastian St. Cyr series and this is the first one that I have not read in order since I waited for it to be published in paperback and manage to get an ARC of the book that comes after this one and read it some months before this book. I did not mind that terrible, love this series and, despite knowing some things before I read this book did I find the book just as excellent as the rest of the books in the series. 

I can without a doubt, say that this is one of my favorite series. I love historical mysteries and each book in this series has interesting cases mixed with Sebastian's own search for his mother and true father. Now he is also a father, and his wife's father is his arch nemesis which of course makes family life a bit difficult. Then again, his sister already resents him for being a bastard and still standing in line for inheriting the family title. It's not easy for him, and he has a tendency to find trouble. And, this time, he must solve the case of a headless body.  

The case is interesting and I enjoy that Harris has added Jane Austen and her brother to the story. It was hilarious sometimes with everyone around Sebastian's reading this new popular book with an unknown writer. And, the daughter of the murdered man was some years earlier persuaded to not marry a sea captain. Brilliant move from Harris side! 

I think even those that haven't read the previous books will enjoy this book. However, I would definitely recommend a new reader to start from the beginning!

Spotlight: The Blood on My Hands by Shannon O’Leary

The child of a serial killer, Shannon O’Leary revisits her traumatic past in her memoir, The Blood on My Hands.
Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon's childhood years, growing up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.

The responses of those whom Shannon and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. No one, not even the authorities, would help them. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed.

The Blood on My Hands is a heartbreaking—yet riveting—narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding. The strength it took for Shannon to not just survive and escape from her father, but to flourish, heal, and triumph over the trauma she endured as a child is both powerful and moving.

“I used pseudonyms in the book order to protect my family. He was never charged despite the police knowing about his activity. The police investigations were case files and are not available to the public. People outside Australia would not be aware that many of the missing person files in NSW in the 1960s and 70s disappeared under one of the governments of the time (there are only about 6 files for the 1960s),” says O’Leary.

Read an excerpt from the book:

Prologue
I have felt the cold steel of a gun in my mouth and against my temple. 
I have tasted warm blood on my lips and witnessed horrific scenes of mutilation, where nameless people took their last breaths. In my life, I have experienced poverty, met people who had plenty, and lived through fire, floods, and drought. I have befriended the intellectually challenged and physically impaired and have known the mentally ill and misfits who were geniuses. I also assumed anonymity with my mother and brothers without people realizing we had disappeared.


In my youth I was exposed to many facets of raw emotion.


I’ve seen a living heart, beating and pulsating for its last time; seen broken fingers tossed in the wind; and watched a severed head dance. Tormented by recurring memories, I have chosen to write this book and put these ghosts to rest.
I first contemplated suicide at the age of four.

I devised my death plan down to the very last detail but never had the courage to see it through to completion. Instead, my mother’s face would keep interceding, begging me to stay alive. Faced with the fact that I could not inflict my death upon her, I’d pray for miraculous intervention. During hysterical bouts of entreaty, I would beg Jesus to strike us dead at exactly the same moment so that neither of us would feel the pain of enforced separation or the prolonged agony of death.

As a child, I dreamed of better things to come and lived in spiritualistic hope that one day my world would change. I thought my trauma was normal and didn’t know what other families experienced. I thought fear, sad- ness, and horror were just the by-products of a barely tolerable childhood. My self-esteem was nonexistent, and after a while I sought approval through the creative arts. I loved to sing, and as my voice was strong, I sang to cover my feelings of inadequacy and desolation. To me, music represented true happiness, a make-believe world where I could cling to melodious sounds instead of the tortured screaming of my nightmares.

As an adult, I have felt exhilaration when audiences clapped and called my name. At the same time, I have felt myself torn in two, experiencing the immobilizing fear of personal exposure when not protected by the proscenium arch of a stage. When I present myself without camouflage or without a scripted character to protect me, my gut wrenches itself into a catatonic knot, an all-enveloping state of fear. If I feel I am being examined on a personal level, my arms and legs become frozen, and I feel my soul moving toward automatic pilot. I smile and behave in the correct manner, but I’m mentally blank and devoid of all feeling.

I know what it’s like to be branded, to be labeled, and to work within the confines of a title. As a child I was called brilliant, genius, a child prodigy, and a precocious little troublemaker. I was also called an actress, liar, and evil. My teachers admitted they didn’t understand me and often left me to myself. As an adult, I experienced national fame as a children’s TV personality. I have brought joy to thousands of children by teaching them the elements of performance.

It brings me great fulfillment to see children experiencing happiness. It puts my own life in perspective.

I cannot find the words to describe my childhood. Words such as “passionately naive,” “emotionally lacerated,” and “holistically experiential” all pale in significance, in the shadow of living itself. My childhood was so creatively textured that it carried into adulthood without allowing me to become consumed by the insanity playing havoc around me. I am sane and strong, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have felt and seen extreme emotion. I have smelled my own flesh burning. I know what it feels like to have baby snakes wriggle across my body, to smell decay, and to see an eyeball popped between someone’s fingers. Alone, I have spent what seemed like hours in a blackened hole, a makeshift grave with a steel curtain, waiting for death.

Through all this, I stayed courageous and strong.

I treasure the power of love and the absurdity of shock, and I deal with these emotions on a day-to-day basis.

This is the story of my childhood.


Praise:

"The confusion, uncertainty, and sickening foreboding ring true and offer vital insights into the experience of abuse, including the fact that victims had few options, especially in the 1960s." - Kirkus Reviews

"The work is crisp and painfully honest, moving from scene to scene both artfully and factually. Both the mundane and the impossible are treated with equal care, masterfully knitting together the various pieces of O’Leary’s tormented past.” - Red City Review

"The Blood on My Hands is a powerful, dark memoir… This is a story that is going to remain in my mind for a long time.” - 4 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

“Once I picked this up I could not put it down, I needed to see how they got away from the monster who called himself their father, who called himself a husband.” – Sarah on Goodreads

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite the subject matter and hope it manages to help at least one child know that it gets better, life gets better.” – 5 Stars, Sarah Purdy


About the Author:

Shannon O’Leary is a prolific writer and performer. She is the author of several books of poetry and children’s stories, and she has won many awards for song-writing.

Shannon has acted and directed on the stage and on Australian national TV, and she runs her own production company.

She has numerous graduate and post-graduate degrees in education, music, and science. She is a teacher and academic, has five children with her deceased former husband, and lives with her longtime partner in Sydney, Australia.

Her memoir The Blood on My Hands was published in February 2016 and is available for sale on Amazon and Createspace.

Readers can connect with Shannon on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.





Monday, 27 June 2016

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother.

But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss.

Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever . . .

**********
I buddy read this book with Erin, Stephanie, and Heather!

The Tea Planter's Wife is about a young woman named Gwen who arrives in Ceylon to start her new life as a married woman to a tea planter named Laurence who is a widower. But, before we get to met Gwen is there a prolog about a woman with a small child and I wondered what the woman would have for connections to the story.

Gwen meets on the ship Savi Ravisinghe and I was worried for a while that this would turn out to be a love-triangle, but the story thankfully never turned in that directions. However, Savi will have a role to play in the story.

As I stated above did I buddy read this with some friends of mine and that was an interesting experience with us discussed the chapters we had read once every week. But, somewhere along the way the story just didn't move forward at a pleasant pace and suddenly a break in reading and discussing the book happened and weeks passed and we just didn't read more. Then I decided that enough is enough, now I will finish the book. 

So, I'm looking forward to seeing what my friends think about the rest of the books. For me, I was happy to get answers at last, but I still felt that the book story didn't really work for me and my biggest problem was that I never really cared for most of the characters in the book. Gwen just never become an interesting character, and I was constantly irritated by her attitude towards her sister-in-law Verity. And, at the same time, I found Verity highly annoying. So I was constantly frustrated with them both. And, then we have Laurence, Gwen's husband, and to be honest, he was quite dull and even the "mystery" with his dead wife felt a bit dull. The only characters I did like was Gwen's cousin Fran, but she was hardly in the book. 

For me, this book just didn't work. It never really got surprising or engrossing enough to make me truly enjoy the book and the last part of the book I finished just because I had been reading the book so long that I wanted finally to get it off my reading list. I did like it enough to finish the book and I did enjoy part of the book. But, I think the book would have worked better if I had found the characters more likable or at least more interesting. 

I want to thank The Crown Publishing Group for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss! 

A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth Blog Tour

A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth

Publication Date: April 2016 Wise Ink Press
Series: Salt Kisses, Book One
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance/Mer-Stories

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Beautiful Crystal White is the new girl on the remote Starfish Island. During a party on the mainland, she goes for a midnight swim with other party goers where she meets the handsome, intriguing Llyr amongst the waves.
As she heads back to shore she realizes that he is not behind her and that nobody at the party remembers him. Crystal can't seem to shake Llyr from her mind and returns to the beach in the hope of meeting him again. When she finally does, she realizes there may be more truth to the ramblings of the island folk than she thought.
To add more drama to her life, Crystal's mother and her father are at war over a local power station that is devastating local marine life.
Over a sizzling roller coaster summer, it becomes apparent that all these events are not entirely unrelated and Crystal finds herself both caught up in a deep mystical romance and at the centre of an exploding environmental scandal...


About the Author


03_Josie DemuthJosie is a 31 year-old writer from London. Her Salt Kisses books became popular on Wattpad, and are now also serialised on Radish Fiction. A Thousand Salt Kisses is her third book.
For more information please visit http://www.saltkissesbooks.com/ and https://josiedemuthwriting.wordpress.com/. You can follow author Josie Demuth on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Wattpad.

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 6 Review at 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, June 9 Excerpt at Brooke Blogs
Friday, June 10 Review at Bibliotica
Monday, June 13 Interview at I Heart Reading
Tuesday, June 14 Spotlight at To Read, Or Not to Read
Wednesday, June 15 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Friday, June 17 Spotlight at AC Reads
Tuesday, June 21 Spotlight at Fiction Conviction Book Blog
Friday, June 24 Spotlight at A Leisure Moment
Monday, June 27 Spotlight at It's a Mad Mad World
Monday, July 4 Review at A Book Drunkard
Tuesday, July 5 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Friday, July 8 Blog Tour Wrap Up at Book Junkie Promotions

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a signed copy of A THOUSAND SALT KISSES, please see the GLEAM entry form below. Three copies are up for grabs!
Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen
.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!


04_A Thousand Salt Kisses_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Defender by Diana Palmer Blog Tour

About Defender
Series: Her Long Tall Texan
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (June 28, 2016)


The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.

When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling’s life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father’s lowly employee. Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel’s case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.

Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can’t forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won’t hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can’t trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?


Purchase Links

Excerpt

Paul was going through the process of applying to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. He had a friend who was a sniper in one of the two units, and he hoped that his skills and his physical condition would qualify him for one of the openings.

It was going to be a long shot. He was in his midthirties. He’d be competing against guys in their twenties, in much better physical shape than he was, with better weapon skills. But he couldn’t stay in San Antonio and risk running into Is abel, as he certainly would if he continued as a special agent. It wasn’t something that his heart could bear. The rigors of training, and the adrenaline rush of standing on ready night and day for assignments in the exclusive HRT would keep him from brooding too much.

Jon Blackhawk was less than enthusiastic about his plans.

“You’re one of the best agents I’ve ever worked with,” Jon told him with genuine feeling. “I hate to lose you.”

“Hey, I might not even get to apply,” Paul said, chuckling. “They don’t pick just anybody for the application process.”

“You’d have a good shot at it, if that’s what you really want to do,” he added. “You should talk to Garon Grier. He was with HRT for several years.”

“I’d forgotten that,” Paul said.

Jon nodded. “The guys who were on his former team came to the hospital when his wife was about to give birth. She had a leaky heart valve and didn’t tell him. Her life was al most taken by a serial killer when she was a little over eight months pregnant. She lived against all the odds.”

“I’d heard a little about him, but nothing that personal. Poor guy. He seems happy enough now.”

“A wife, a son, a good job and a ranch in Jacobsville. Not bad at all.”

Paul knew what the other man was saying. He pretended not to understand. “Anything else in the pipe about Morris?” he asked, changing the subject.

“We got a tip from a guy who thought he saw him in a res taurant here in the city,” Jon replied. “All our violent-crime agents are leaning on their CIs to see if anybody knows any thing.”

Paul understood the reference to Confidential Informant very well. Every agent had several, usually ex-cons who could be persuaded to feed information back to the Bureau. They were invaluable in tight investigations.

He thought of Isabel, still under the gun, along with Mer rie and Mandy, as long as Morris was on the loose. It unset tled him, thinking that Isabel could die. He’d gone through hell when he left Darwin Grayling’s employ years before. He’d almost gone off the deep end, remembering Isabel’s soft arms clinging to him, her mouth answering his in a hunger that easily equaled his own. She didn’t know, but he’d tried to hire back on two miserable weeks later. Darwin Grayling had been polite and friendly, but he’d already replaced Paul and there were no other positions. He was sorry, but surely Paul would be happier closer to his wife and child, Darwin had said. Paul had had to agree. The lie had carried him too far already to turn back. He just hadn’t known it.


About Diana Palmer

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

Connect with Diana


Diana Palmer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, June 6th: Stranded in Chaos

Wednesday, June 8th: Stuck in Books – excerpt

Thursday, June 9th: Reading Reality

Friday, June 10th: A. Holland Reads – excerpt

Monday, June 13th: Written Love Reviews

Tuesday, June 14th: Mignon Mykel {Reviews}

Wednesday, June 15th: From the TBR Pile – excerpt

Monday, June 20th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt

Wednesday, June 22nd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, June 23rd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Friday, June 24th: Books a la Mode – excerpt

Monday, June 27th: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt

Tuesday, June 28th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, June 29th: Bookaholics Not-so-Anonymous

Thursday, June 30th: What I’m Reading

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.



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I want to think of myself of hardened when it comes to horror. There is just not much that can make me really uncomfortable. Sure books can be intense, but it seldom I really feel pure horror or discomfort. THE HATCHING made me really, really uncomfortable. Sure I wasn't really frightened, although to be honest, there are some really nasty parts in this book. Let me put it this way; do you suffer from arachnophobia? Then, don't read this book. I don't like spiders, I don't have a phobia. But, this book had some scenes that are really nasty that even I found hard to read...

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!



Saturday, 25 June 2016

Kråkslottet (The Crow Castle) by Ewa Christina Johansson (SWE/ENG)

Kråkslottet by Ewa Christina Johansson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

På andra sidan hagen höjde kvinnan blicken och stirrade rakt på mig. Det enda jag var helt säker på var att jag blev kall ända in i benen när hon tittade på mig och jag visste att jag inte ville träffa henne närmare än så här.

Vivas storasyster har köpt ett gammalt hus på landet, och där ska Viva tillbringa sommaren. Men huset får henne snart att känna sig illa till mods. För det finns historier om det här kråkslottet. Historier om en kvinna som kallades Silverhäxan och om två flickor som försvunnit spårlöst …

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Min förkärlek till spökhus fick mig intresserad av denna bok om en gammalt hus på landet med en mörk historia. Nu läser jag inte så mycket ungdomsböcker, men då och då gör jag ett undantagsfall om boken verkar spännande och jag gillade handlingsbeskrivningen på Kråkslottet.

Jag blev positivt överraskad över hur bra boken är, nu tillhör jag fel åldersgrupp, men jag tyckte boken var välskriven och intressant och till en viss mån spännande. För en person i rätt ålder så är boken troligtvis mycket spännande att läsa. Jag gillar Viva och hennes syster och jag fann mysteriet med huset bra, speciellt intressant var det att få reda på att boken har kopplingar till en tidigare bok; Silverhäxan där My som nämns i denna bok har en stor roll. Det enda som jag tyckte var lite konstigt var hur lätt Tuve accepterade att det var något konstigt med huset. Jag hade inte varit lika lätt att övertyga som han var.

Men allt som allt en bra ungdomsbok som varm skulle rekommendera till spökhusfantaster, eller till läsare som helt enkelt gillar en bra skriven bok med paranormala inslag.

Tack till Massolit Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

My love for haunted houses got me interested in this book about a house in the country with a dark story. I don't read much young adult, but now and then I do and exception and this book seemed interested and thrilling and I liked the book's description.

I was pleased with the book's story, despite being a bit too mold for the age group for this book. But, I thought the book was well-written and interesting and even a bit thrilling to read. For a person at the right age should this book probably be very thrilling to read. I liked Viva and her sister and I found the mystery with the Crow Castle really good. And, especially interesting was it to learn that this book has a connection to an earlier book; The Silverwitch where My that is mentioned in this book has a large part in. The only thing I found a bit strange is how easy it was for Tuve, the neighbor's son, to accept that there was something weird going on in the house. I would not have been as easy to convince as he was.

The Crow Castle is a good young adult book that I warmly recommend to haunted house lovers or to any readers that like a well-written book with paranormal aspects.

Thanks to Massolit Förlag for the review copy!

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

Arrowood by Laura McHugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arden's twin sister disappeared when she was eight years old. The last memory she has is of a golden car driving away with sisters in it. Not long after that the family packed up their belongings and moved away from Keokuk. Now almost 20 years have passed and she is back home in. Her father is dead and she has inherited Arrowood, the old family house. For Arden is it strange to be back home, the town isn't as prosperous as it was before and her old home holds bittersweet memories. But, Ben and Lauren, old friends of her are still in town and perhaps she will finally find the answer to what happened to her sisters all those years ago.

This is a book that I hoped would like. I have a weakness for mystery books and two long-lost twin sisters pique my interest. I was pleasantly surprised with not only liking the book, but loving it. Laura McHugh has written an incredibly compelling book that was hard to put down. The one that "I will only read a chapter turns into one hour or twp of reading). I was actually quite sad when the book ended, even though it ended perfectly. It was more like I had come to like Arden, Lauren, Ben, and Josh so much that I wanted to spend some more time with them. 

The mystery is intriguing, are Arden's memories correct, she was only eight and she was a bit sick the day her sisters disappeared. Are the girls dead? Or did someone just take them? Could someone close by having taken them? Someone that are still living in the town? The questions are many and the book will, in the end, reveal the truth of what happened 20 years ago.

I like that Laura McHugh didn't add a love triangle into the story. I was a bit worried when Lauren met Ben and then Josh showed up that it would turn into a sappy love triangle. I hate it when that happens. Everything turned out just perfect, and I think one of the reasons I so enjoyed the book was the fact that the characters were so well-written. They felt normal with faults, even Courtney, the girl from Arden's childhood who could have been written as a jealous overbearing bitch that would do anything to hang on to Ben felt OK as a character. 

The book was intense, sad and thrilling to read. I loved every minute of it!

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Covet by Alison Ryan Release Blitz

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Cover Crush: Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth M. Cameron











Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

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This week's Cover Crush caught my attention thanks to the font and the intriguing house n the background. I love ominous house book covers. And, the woman outside the gate, why is she standing there? What is it with the house. So many questions to be answered...


New York, January 1896. Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned created of Sherlock Holmes, arrives with his wife Louisa at the Britannic Hotel in New York for his first American tour. While Arthur prepares his lectures, Louisa becomes entranced by the vibrant, dangerous metropolis brimming with debauchery and iniquity around every corner. When a woman's mutilated corpse turns up in a Bowery alley, Louisa recognizes the victim as someone she's seen in the hotel. Obsessed with the woman's gruesome death, Louisa starts piecing together clues to reveal a story of murder and depravity -- a story that leads back to the hotel itself and a madman who is watching her every move. 

From Fifth Avenue's glitzy opulence to the smoky boy's club of the New York Express and the Tombs of Lower Manhattan, Winter at Death's Hotel is an electrifying tale of a society caught in the throes of a story transformation and one woman determined to redeem it at whatever cost.

Check out this week's cover crush over at 
Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages 
The Maidens Court

How Secrets Die by Marta Perry Blog Tour + Giveaway

About How Secrets Die
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (June 28, 2016)

As Laurel Ridge embraces a stranger hungry for answers, a sinister truth is awakened

A hard-hitting reporter, Kate Beaumont unearths the deepest lies and brings harsh truths to light. But the story that lures her to the gentle town of Laurel Ridge, Pennsylvania, is closer to her heart than anyone knows. The details of her half brother’s sudden death have never made sense. She owes him justice, yet the one man who can help her is the stubborn sheriff she can’t stand.

Protecting his town is Mac Whiting’s top priority. Everything else—including pacifying a beautiful crusader on a mission best left resting in peace—is secondary. But as Kate’s search embeds her in his world and attracts a skilled criminal, she needs Mac’s protection. Drawn together by deadly secrets, they must find a way to trust each other before a killer silences them both.




Purchase Links
Excerpt

The few belongings Kate had brought with her were quickly unpacked and stowed away in the cottage. She slid a suitcase into the back of the bedroom closet to get it out of the way. The rest of her things had gone into storage in Baltimore.

She hadn’t taken anything from Tom Reilley’s house except for Jason’s things. The rest had gone to a sale. The fewer reminders of life there, the better, as far as she was concerned.

Jason had probably felt the same way when he’d left his father’s house for the last time. It couldn’t have held too many happy memories for him. Although she hoped he might have cherished, as she did, the after-school hours they’d spent at home together.

Kate walked back into the living room. The cot tage was small and compact. The living room had just enough space for a television, sofa and chairs in one end and a bookcase and desk at the other, where she’d immediately set up her computer. Jason would no doubt have set up in the same place. He couldn’t bear to be offline, and he wanted a laptop for gaming.

If a person liked cottage style, the place was per fectly decorated, with cheerful chintz fabric on the fur niture, white end tables and Cape Cod curtains on the windows. There was a small kitchen with a nook for a table and chairs, and a bedroom and bath. The shrub bery and vines she’d noted on the outside increased a sense of isolation, especially where they brushed against the windows.

It was quiet—too quiet for her tastes. She was used to the constant noise and movement of the city. This much solitude would take some getting used to.

Jason wouldn’t have minded it, she knew. As in troverted as he’d been, he’d have welcomed it. Close contact with other people stressed him almost beyond bearing. College dorm life must have been a nightmare for him. It had taken time and maturity for her to un derstand that, but Tom never had. He’d always insisted Jason could be like other kids if he just tried harder.

Small wonder Jason had taken refuge in his fantasy world. There, he could be in control. He could shut out the outside world and focus on the voices in his imagi nation. If she’d understood that earlier, if his father had grasped it at all…

She pushed the thought away. She couldn’t go back. All she could do for Jason now was find out why he’d died, and the key to that had to be in his video diary.

Reluctantly, Kate turned her laptop on. The video diary had been Jason’s closely guarded secret. She’d known it existed, but she’d never had so much as a glimpse of it until two weeks ago, when she’d started clearing Tom’s house for the sale. It still felt as if she were violating Jason’s privacy by watching it.

She clicked the diary file, and Jason’s face ap peared on her screen, looking as he’d so often looked in reality—soft brown hair standing on end as if he’d been running his fingers through it, hazel eyes magni fied by his dark-rimmed glasses, his sensitive mouth unsmiling.

The first time she’d watched it she hadn’t been able to get all the way through even one entry—she’d been crying too hard. It wasn’t that much easier now, but at least she was able to control the tears. Now a session of trying to understand just left her wrung out and ex hausted, her throat tight, her eyes burning.

Even if it hadn’t been for the grief, understanding would have been difficult, due to Jason’s refusal to be ordinary in referring to people. He almost never used names, instead dubbing the people he met with the iden tities of the mythic characters from his favorite books and games. Some Kate could understand a little, like the characters from fairy tales or Tolkien’s books, while others left her banging her head against the wall.

Now that she’d met the cast of characters at Laurel Ridge Financial, she might have a chance of identifying the people he referred to. Maybe even begin to under stand what was happening in his life that disturbed him so toward the end of that summer that he would have turned to pills to dull the pain. Or to end it permanently.

She’d like to believe the overdose had been acciden tal. Unfortunately, she couldn’t convince herself of that. Jason had been clean for so long. He knew, if anyone did, the results of combining alcohol with those strong prescription meds.

Telling her stepfather her feelings would just have made the whole situation worse. Better to keep her opin ion to herself until—unless—she knew for sure.

She clicked the video to start it, and Jason’s soft, dif fident voice sounded, wrenching her heart.

“The King was upset today, and I’m not sure why.” Jason’s eyes were serious, concerned. This had been about midway through his internship. She paused the tape and pulled out a notebook to jot down her impres sions.

The King. Well, that would probably be Bart Gor don, wouldn’t it? He seemed to be running things now.

But what had been his position relative to Russell Sheldon? She didn’t know, and such a simple thing could mean a world of difference in interpretation. She noted a query—find out who was in charge when Sheldon was still with the firm. Probably anyone would know. Like Mac Whiting, for instance, but she dismissed the thought. He was the last person she’d go to for help.

A firm knock on the door interrupted her line of thought. Mrs. Anderson again? She’d already been here twice, once with a freshly laundered blanket and again with a loaf of pumpkin bread. It was easy to see why she’d gotten on Jason’s nerves.

Kate got up, then turned back and closed the file she’d been watching. No one need know about the diary, not now, maybe not ever.

She opened the door, prepared to be polite to her landlady, and found the woman from Financial Ser vices, Lina Oberlin, waiting.

“Ms. Oberlin.” She was frankly surprised. She’d hoped the woman meant her comment about getting together, but she certainly hadn’t expected a visit so soon. “Please, come in. How did you know where to find me?” She hadn’t said a word about where she was staying while she’d been in the office, had she?

“It’s all over Blackburn House already, I’m afraid.” With a restrained smile, the woman stepped inside. “Please, call me Lina.”

“Lina,” she repeated. “How would anyone at Black burn House know?” If she sounded a little suspicious, it was nothing to how she felt. Were people watching her?

“Obviously you’re not used to the way news spreads in a place like Laurel Ridge. After all, we’re right next door. I’m sure someone saw you moving in.” Lina shrugged. “People in a small town are interested in their neighbors.”

“Obviously so.” Kate gestured to the sofa. “Please, sit down.”

Lina had apparently come straight from work, since she still wore the tailored suit she’d had on earlier. She sat down, looking around the room with frank curiosity. “This is really quite nice, isn’t it?” Her gaze seemed to linger on the desk, and Kate was relieved that she had closed the file. “I haven’t seen the inside before, but it’s roomier than I’d have expected.”

“You were never inside when Jason lived here?” Kate sat down opposite the woman.

Lina’s lips twitched in what might have been a smile. “I can just imagine the talk that would have spread if I’d come to visit a young male colleague. I’m afraid fi nancial consultants are expected to be models of recti tude in a place like Laurel Ridge.”

“Yes. I’d say Mr. Gordon made it clear that adverse publicity was frowned on.” She couldn’t seem to keep the resentment from her tone. Gordon’s facile sympa thy had disappeared very quickly at any faint sugges tion of fault on the part of the firm.

“That’s really why I’ve come so quickly.” Lina leaned forward, her pale face intent. “I’m afraid Bart reacted badly, and I wanted to explain. It’s not entirely his fault, you know. Our clients didn’t like seeing the newspaper stories about one of our staff in such a situation.” She shook her head, rueful. “Sorry. I don’t want to hurt you, but that’s the truth.”

Kate suppressed her irritation as best she could. “I understand being concerned for the reputation of the firm.” But Bart Gordon had overreacted, it seemed to her, and she really wanted to know why.

“But you think he was over-the-top.” Lina seemed to know what she was thinking. “I’m afraid he was so annoyed because he was the one who suggested taking Jason on as an intern. He talked Mr. Sheldon into it. Ap parently Jason’s adviser was an old fraternity brother of Bart’s, and Bart agreed as a favor to him. Then, when things went badly…”

She let that trail off, and Kate managed not to point out that things had gone far more badly for Jason than for the firm. She hoped to get information from the woman, not antagonize her.

“Aside from the way it ended, how was Jason doing as an intern? I’m sure you have an opinion, working so closely with him.”

“Well, not really all that closely, I’m afraid. It was actually Russell Sheldon who seemed to take the most interest in Jason. He took the time to work with the young man, and according to him, Jason did very well. He always seemed very conscientious to me—almost too preoccupied with his work at times, I’d say.”

That sounded like Jason. He’d focus on a task to the exclusion of everything else.

“I’m glad Jason found a mentor here. I really should thank Mr. Sheldon personally, then. Is he still living in town?” It would be as good an excuse as any to probe into what the man remembered of Jason’s time here.

Lina looked doubtful. “Yes, Russell Sheldon is quite a fixture in town. Everyone knows him. But I don’t know that it’s a good idea for you to visit him.”

She paused, then seemed to realize she’d have to explain further if she expected Kate to drop the idea.

“The trouble is that Russell has been failing mentally for the past few years. He probably should have retired earlier than he did, to be honest, but he had such a good rapport with our older clients that we hated to see him go. They’d trusted him for years, and it wasn’t easy to convince them that they’d be quite safe in Bart’s hands.”

“Surely a short visit with him wouldn’t hurt…” Kate began, but Lina was already shaking her head.

“I understand the poor man is becoming increasingly erratic. Apparently the least disruption of his usual rou tine causes him to react very emotionally. In fact, his son has been trying to get him into an assisted living facility. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to cause Mr. Shel don any distress, and I don’t imagine he even remem bers Jason at this point.”

“I see.” Somehow she didn’t think she wanted to take Lina’s word for it, as helpful as she seemed. “I’ve hoped people who knew my brother during those last weeks might have noticed some indication of trouble. Anything that seemed out of his normal routine, any change in his attitude…”

There had to be something—something that had pushed Jason into his final act.

“I wish I could be of more help.” Lina spread her hands in a gesture of helplessness. “In retrospect I do think Jason seemed a bit more preoccupied than usual toward the end of the summer, but then he’d been send ing out résumés and looking for a position, so that’s only natural.”

Kate nodded.

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About Marta Perry

Marta Perry realized she wanted to be a writer at age eight, when she read her first Nancy Drew novel. A lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led Marta to the books she writes now about the Amish. When she’s not writing, Marta is active in the life of her church and enjoys traveling and spending time with her three children and six beautiful grandchildren. Visit her online at www.martaperry.com
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Marta Perry’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, June 8th: Reading Reality – review & excerpt
Thursday, June 9th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Friday, June 10th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 13th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Tuesday, June 14th: A. Holland Reads
Tuesday, June 14th: Booked on a Feeling
Wednesday, June 15th: Open Book Society
Thursday, June 16th: Diary of a Stay At Home Mom
Friday, June 17th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt 
Monday, June 20th: Romancing the Book – review & excerpt 
Tuesday, June 21st: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, June 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, June 23rd: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt 
Friday, June 24th: Worth Getting in Bed For
Tuesday, June 28th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, June 28th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 29th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, June 30th: Books a la Mode – excerpt 


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