Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dead of Night Carlyle Labuschagne New Cover


COVER REVEAL
DEAD OF NIGHT Book One of the Aftershock Novels
AUTHOR : Carlyle Labuschagne
PUBLISHER: Fire Quill Publishing



Dead of Night has be re-signed to Firequill Publshing
with new edits and a new subplot.

Releasing soon!


About Dead of Night

In a dark and desolated After Earth, love still does exist, but the cost of bearing such a flaw is death.


World War III has left Earth in utter turmoil. People’s beliefs are said to be the cause of the worldwide destruction. After The Clearing new laws are set about - to show certitude in anything besides the law is weak and chargeable as mutiny. To be illogical and have faith in religion is illegal, to be limitless is dangerous. And Illness is seen as a defect – all flaws that are inexcusable.


But to love is the greatest betrayal of all man kind. It is a fault the world has long forgotten and punishable by death, a fatal risk Aecker and Opel are fully prepared to take - because in love there is freedom. But how far can they push back before it claims their lives and of those they care about?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Touch Me Not by Apryl Baker Cover Reveal

TOUCH ME NOT, a New Adult Romance by USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Apryl Baker, releases this September through Limitless Publishing!



 ✰ ✰ SYNOPSIS ✰ 
A past tragedy has left Lily James burdened with a devastating secret…

Since the death of her twin sister, Lily can’t bear to be touched. Not accidentally, not casually…and certainly not intimately. This makes it impossible for her to confess to her best friend Adam Roberts that she’s in love with him. She can’t give him the sort of relationship he needs, so she watches in silence while he plans his wedding with someone else.

Enter Nikoli Kinkaid, the campus manwhore…

Nikoli is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of women, and he wants to add Lily to his list of conquests, but she wants nothing to do with him—until he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He’ll teach her to enjoy human contact again, giving her a chance to win over Adam, while Nikoli uses all his considerable charm to seduce her.

But Lily raises the stakes…

Lily loves cars. Her late father was a racer, and she grew up under the hood of a car and on the racetrack. Nikoli has a limited edition 1970 Plymouth Barracuda she covets, so she informs him the terms of their deal also require he not sleep with anyone for six months. If he does, she’ll win the car. If she surrenders and ends up in his bed, his beloved ’Cuda is his to keep.

In an intricate dance of control and surrender, a reluctant friendship becomes something more. Lily begins to crave things she never believed she could, and Nikoli realizes there is more at stake than his reputation.

If Lily overcomes her phobia, will she crave Adam’s touch as she’s starting to crave Nikoli’s? 

Or will she only find pleasure from the touch of a semi-reformed manwhore?



 ✰ ✰ ✰ MEET THE AUTHOR: 
APRYL BAKER  ✰ ✰ ✰

So who am I? Well, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.

Growing up in a small town, I learned a lot of values and morals, I also learned parents have spies everywhere and there’s always someone to tell your mama you were seen kissing a particular boy on a particular day just a little too long. So when you get grounded, what is there left to do? Read! My Aunt Jo gave me my first real romance novel. It was a romance titled “Lord Margrave’s Deception.” I remember it fondly. But I also learned I had a deep and abiding love of mysteries and anything paranormal. As I grew up, I started to write just that and would entertain my friends with stories featuring them as main characters.

Now, I live Huntersville, NC where I entertain my niece and nephew and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce…lol.

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Belong to Me by Laura Howard (4 stars)

About Belong to Me

Belong to Me by Laura Howard
(Moore Crossing #1)
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Kate and Noah thought they had the kind of love that could last through anything. Until their world crumbles out from beneath them. 

After months of separation, the tragic death of Jack, Kate's twin and Noah's best friend, throws them back together. As they try to heal from the horrific loss, will they be able to overcome old wounds or are they destined to live separately forever?


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Review

Kate and Noah discovered love together but didn't build a solid foundation first. When things got tough, she bolted. Then, Kate's twin brother dies and she heads back home. Noah's there. They can't deny the magnetic attraction, but can it ever be more?

I look for four things in a memorable romance: strong characters (no whine, please), a slow build, emotions, and reality. I know... I'm not typical. Every once in a while, I can get lost in the love-at-first-sight quick read. But for something to stick with me, there has to be more.

Belong to Me hits on all of these points really well. Kate is a strong character who doesn't sit around and pine for Noah. When he disengages from the relationship, she leaves. Even when she comes back, she forces him to confront what went wrong the first time. Not until after giving into attraction, but I'm okay with that. Raw magnetism is cool. Overlooking life to be with someone (puppy dog eyes) is not. (It might also have something to do with the fact that I'm raising three girls who are now 15, 13, and 10). 

As far as emotions and reality, this story scores a home run. Not only is Kate dealing with her brother's death, but her family is suffering, she's reconnecting with her first love and facing their problems, and an old wound (a devastating loss) is reopened. You can't help but feel for everything she's going through. It's real life. And finding love even with the challenges of real life... to me, that's a true love story. Not love in a void.

I do wish there had been more of a slow build, but it's hard when the relationship started (and in backstory seemed to actually happen slowly) before the first page. Can I ask for a prequel novella? Still, by the end, I believed in them and was rooting for them. 

Oh, and I'm sappy about my endings. I love epilogues where we find out what happens in two or three years. Heck, maybe even five to ten. I don't want to give away what I wanted for this couple, but I didn't get it, and it left me a bit disappointed.

Overall, however, this is a heartwarming and memorable read. Perfect for those who love a New Adult romance with heat (but not erotica light like too many are), challenges, and rewards.

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Hypnotist by Gordon Snider (3.5 stars)

About The Hypnotist 

Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Helm Publishing (August 3, 2009)


In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. But there are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.


Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who hypnotizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels. Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, disappears, Marta realizes she has been taken by the evil man who confronted her. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, one of San Francisco’s most prominent citizens. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them. This is confirmed when Marta discovers Byron having an intimate conversation with Lillie Collins, the daughter of one of the city’s most elite families. Marta is flushed with jealousy. However, Lillie defies social customs, and her rebellious nature fits naturally with Marta’s. Despite her envy, the two women become close friends. Marta is caught up in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens and brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm. For lurking in the background is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man’s hypnotic embrace? Then the earth trembles, and Marta’s world will never be the same.


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Review

Most people would  Marta Baldwin is a spoiled rich girl, but they only knew part of the story. Not only is her brother running their family business, and livelihood, into the ground, but she devotes her time to helping those less fortunate.

Her world is shaken by an encounter with a hypnotist, who uses his ability to kidnap young women (it felt like modern day human trafficking). He becomes obsessed with her, because she seems impervious to his abilities. A game of cat and mouse ensues. Will she make it okay? Will anyone in the area be safe?

One of the reasons I picked this book to review was the San Francisco setting. I've lived in the Bay area for the last two years, and I find the area fascinating. In that way, this book succeeded... the reader is transported to San Francisco in the early 1900s. I love it when setting becomes a character, and that was very much true here.

Still, for me to love a book, there has to be an intriguing and memorable main character (bonus points for multiple characters who fit the bill). Again, the book scores points here. Marta Baldwin bucks the rules society has for her, shows determination and strength, and faces problems head on. I love these qualities in a heroine. Plus, the book is full of other interesting secondary characters.

Then there's the aspect of a captivating storyline with unique elements. Again, the novel scores. I love the paranormal twist of a hypnotist with subtle abilities, something that could explain some of history's lesser understood crimes. 

Why 3.5 stars? 

I'm sure after reading the praise above, you're wondering why not a higher rating. It comes down to editing and missed opportunity. As an editor myself, I have a keen eye. For an incredible story, I can look past some mistakes. Lord knows nobody is perfect. But there were too many (pronoun issues galore) and some odd sentence structure that I stumbled over (which is always a negative because it pulls the reader out of the story). And I thought the book could have been so much better without the romance and with more paranormal/drama elements. It could have been deliciously dark.

Finally, alternating point of views can be amazing, but too often they are confusing. I liked seeing into the hypnotist's mind (actually would have liked more of it), but changing tenses on top of point of view changes proved a bit cumbersome to me.

Overall, however, The Hypnotist is an intriguing story that would appeal to fans of historical fiction (with a particular interest in San Francisco and the time period) and mysteries.

Rating: 3.5 stars

About Gordon Snider


Gordon Snider has written three non-fiction books, including his latest, I’m Travelling as Fast as I Can, which takes a humorous journey to far-away-places around the world. When he moved to California’s Central Coast in 1999, he began writing fiction. The Origamist is his fifth novel and a sequel to his third, The Hypnotist, a very popular historical thriller that is set in San Francisco in 1906. The other novels include: Sigourney’s Quest, an adventure story about a woman’s harrowing journey across Tibet; The Separatist, a mystery/suspense novel set in modern San Francisco; and Venice Lost, an adventure/fantasy about a man who becomes lost in time in Venice, Italy.

Gordon has lived in California nearly his entire life. Home has ranged from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with stops in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach. Currently, he and his wife, Fe, enjoy walking the beaches and observing the migrating whales from their home in Pismo Beach. It is, he says, the perfect setting for creative writing.

Find out more about Gordon and his books on his website.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 

Please visit other stops on The Hypnotist blog tour page.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs Excerpt Tour

About Starlight on Willow Lake

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (August 25, 2015)

Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs on a journey to a charming Catskills town that feels like home and where a cast of brilliantly drawn characters awaits in a poignant story of reconciliation and the healing power of love.  

Mason Bellamy’s world is fast, loud and decorated with the most extreme risks. Nothing can tempt him to give up his high-rolling Manhattan life and high-maintenance girlfriend—not even family. When he’s called home to upstate Avalon to help his quadriplegic mother in her deepest time of need, he sets his mind on temporary, determined to craft a way to care for her from a distance.

Alice Hayes is supposed to be his best solution. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet struggling caregiver as a live-in nurse gives Alice and her two daughters shelter, his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to escape to his adrenaline-pumped, no-attachments routine. But Alice’s beautiful presence promises to repair Mason’s frayed family ties. And his unstoppable attraction to Alice could lead to the most exhilarating thrill of his life.

“Wiggs’s storytelling is heartwarming… [for] romance and women’s fiction readers of any age.”—Publishers Weekly
.
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Excerpt
“I’d kill the fatted calf for you, but I’m a bit indisposed at the moment,” Alice Bellamy said when Mason arrived at the estate on Willow Lake.

“That’s okay. I’m a vegetarian anyway.” Mason wondered if his mother realized that he had not eaten meat since the age of twelve.

Crossing the elegant room to where she sat near a window, he bent down and brushed his lips against her cheek. Soap and lotion, a freshly laundered blouse, the smells he had always associated with her. Except in the past, she’d been able to offer the briefest of hugs, to reach out with her hand and smooth the hair back from his brow, a gesture that had persisted since his childhood.

Concealing a wrenching sense of sorrow, he took a seat across from her. He studied her face, startled at how little she had changed—from the neck up. Shiny blond hair, lovely skin, cornflower-blue eyes. He’d always been proud to have such a youthful, good-looking mom. 


“You broke your collarbone,” he said.

“So I’m told.”

“I thought you’d be in a cast or a sling or something.”

She pursed her lips. “It’s not as if I need to keep my arm immobilized.”

“Uh, yeah.” Since the accident, he didn’t know how to deal with his mother. Who was he kidding? He’d never known how to deal with her. “Are you in…does it hurt?”

“Darling boy, I can’t feel anything below my chest. Not pain or pleasure. Nothing.”

He let several seconds tick past while he tried to think of a reply that didn’t sound phony or patronizing or flat-out ignorant. “I’m glad you’re all right. You gave us a scare.”

More silence echoed through the room, an open lounge with a massive river-rock fireplace, fine furnishings and floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with books. Everything was spaced and arranged to accommodate his mother’s chair. There was a corner study with a big post office writing desk and another corner with a powerful brass telescope set on a tripod. The baby grand piano, which had occupied every house the family had ever lived in, was now a resting place for a collection of photos.

The ever-present view of Willow Lake was framed by French doors, which could be operated by a switch. “So anyway,” he said, “we’ll get you fixed up with a new helper right away. My assistant is working with a couple of agencies already.” He checked his watch. “I’ve got plenty to keep us busy for the day. The lawyer is coming in half an hour. Are you up for that?”

“Lawyer?” She frowned then took a sip through a straw from the coffee mug affixed to the tray on her chair.

“My attorney in the city recommended someone local, from here in Ulster County—”

“Whatever for?”

“To deal with the negligence suit against the caregiver who let you fall down the stairs, and the outfit he works for.”

“Oh, no, you don’t. It was just a stupid accident,” she said. “Nobody’s fault.”

“Mom, you fell down a flight of stairs with a three-hundred-pound motorized chair. It’s a miracle you weren’t crushed. Somebody was negligent—”

“That would be me,” she stated. “I leaned on the control and drove myself off the rails.”

“Then the chair manufacturer is at fault.”

“No lawyers,” she said. “What I—what happened was no one’s fault. There will be no lawsuit. End of story.”

“Mom, you’re entitled to a settlement.” If there was one thing Mason couldn’t stand, it was people failing to take responsibility for their actions.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “I won’t hear another word about it.”

He sent Brenda a text message to cancel the lawyer. “Whatever you say. That gives us more time to meet with potential new caregivers.”

“Lovely.”

“Adam warned me that you were going to be a sourpuss.”

“I bet he didn’t say sourpuss. He’s a firefighter. I’m sure he has a more colorful term for me, like hell-bitch.”

Adam is a saint, thought Mason. St. Adam. He silently cursed the saint for having left already. Adam and Ivy had stuck around until their mom was discharged, then they both had to leave; Adam to his training and Ivy back to Santa Barbara to prepare for her move to Europe.

“I printed out the résumés of the candidates we’re meeting with,” he said. “You want to go over them now, or—”

“I think I’d like to go out into the garden now.”

He gritted his teeth, looking away so she wouldn’t see his annoyance.

“You’re annoyed,” she said. “You can’t wait to leave. You’ve got one foot out the door.”
Damn. Busted. He schooled his face into a pleasant expression. “Don’t be silly. I’m glad I’m here to spend some time with you.”

“Right.” She nudged a lever on her chair and rolled toward the French doors. “Let’s go inspect the property you bought. You’ve never even seen it in the summer.”

He stood aside, impressed by how nimbly she used her chair to operate the switch plate, which opened the doors. When he stepped out on the deck, the view and the cool clarity of the air stole his breath. “Wow,” he said.

“You did well,” she told him. “I do appreciate everything you’ve done for me—moving me to Avalon, getting this house adapted for my needs, hiring a staff. If I’m going to be a cripple the rest of my life, I might as well do it in style.”

“I thought we weren’t going to say cripple.”

“Not when I’m being polite. I don’t feel terribly polite these days.”

“Let me savor the view for a few minutes, okay?” The last time he’d seen the property, it had been blanketed in snow. The estate had been known as the Webster House, having been built in the 1920s by descendants of Daniel Webster himself. For Mason, the decision to acquire and restore the house had not been based on historical significance, prestige or even investment value. He wanted his mother to have a nice place to live, near Adam—aka her favorite—that could be quickly adapted for her special needs.

During that process, he had come to appreciate the benefit of having a big extended family living in a small town. His cousin Olivia was married to the contractor who had restored the fanciful timber-and-stone mansion to its original gloss as a grand summer residence from days gone by. His cousin Ross was married to a nurse who specialized in adaptive living. Another cousin, Greg, was a landscape architect. Olivia was a talented designer in her own right, so in a matter of months, the place was ready for his mother and Adam, and their staff of live-in help.

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. 


Connect with the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter . .

Excerpt tour for STARLIGHT ON WILLOW LAKE:

Monday, August 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 4th: The Sassy Bookster 
Wednesday, August 5th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy 
Thursday, August 6th: Sara’s Organized Chaos 
Friday, August 7th: Raven Haired Girl 
Monday, August 10th: Mom in Love with Fiction 
Tuesday, August 11th: The Romance Dish
Wednesday, August 12th: Written Love Reviews 
Thursday, August 13th: Books and Spoons 
Friday, August 14th: A Chick Who Reads 
Monday, August 17th: Urban Girl Reader 
Tuesday, August 18th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books 
Wednesday, August 19th: FictionZeal 
Thursday, August 20th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, August 21st: The Bookish and The Romantic



Thanks to TLC for including me 

on the excerpt tour.
Please visit other stops on the Excerpt tour as listed above.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff (5 stars)

About The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (July 28, 2015)

Adelia Montforte begins the summer of 1941 aboard a crowded ship bound for America, utterly alone yet free of Fascist Italy. Whisked away to the seaside by her well-meaning aunt and uncle, she slowly begins to adapt to her new life. That summer, she basks in the noisy affection of the boisterous Irish-Catholic boys next door, and although she adores all four of the Connally brothers, it’s the eldest, Charlie, she pines for. But all hopes for a future together are throttled by the creep of war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Needing to distance herself from grief, Addie flees – first to Washington and then London, where the bombs still scream by night – and finds a passion at a prestigious newspaper. More so, she finds a purpose. A voice. And perhaps even a chance to redeem lost time, lost family – and lost love. But the past, never far behind, nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is a beautiful story of love and redemption about a woman struggling to find her voice and her way amidst the turmoil of World War II.”—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is a heartfelt, stirring love story set against the turbulent backdrop of war-torn Europe and the American home front.  Jenoff’s meticulous research, a feisty heroine, and a sweeping plot makes this book a real page-turner.   A lovely story with a delicious and unexpected ending, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is definitely one for my keeper shelf.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

“Pam Jenoff’s unforgettable story of a life disrupted by the chaos of war held me captive from beginning to end. When it comes to bringing an era to life, this author has no peer. It’s a powerful, moving drama of love, loss and redemption—heartbreaking, authentic and ultimately uplifting.”—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“I won’t soon forget Adelia Monteforte, the strong, loving and compassionate heroine in Pam Jenoff’s The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach. I was moved by Adelia’s courage as she navigates family, career and a tender, surprising romance, all in the shadow of World War II. A warm and heartfelt story of emotional survival.”—Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author
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Review

World War II is a brutal time in our world history; a time most of us can barely believe happened--as if it were a horrible nightmare. For Adelia, it's very real. Her parents, in an effort to ensure her safety, send her to her aunt and uncle in America. 

During the summer in America, she meets an amazing family. Charlie, the eldest of the four boys in the family, catches her eye and declares his love for her--just before he enlists. With him gone and after a horrible tragedy, she bolts. First to Washington, DC, and then to London. 

No matter how far she goes, the past seems to find her--shrouding her true fate.

Adelia is an amazing character born and grown in a compelling story. The perfect combination. She wants to make a difference and trusts her instincts, even when her heart creates conflict with feelings. Her story is an emotional roller coaster, but she doesn't jump off and run for cover. 

There's sweet romance--not always from where you expect it, which is one of the things I really loved about this book. It's not one clear, fated relationship. There's an idea that Adelia deserves love and will find it, which doesn't mean she has to jump at the first opportunity. Although first loves are hard to resist.

She has quite the journey throughout the story--from naïveté to personal growth, acceptance, passion, loss, decision, and love.

Add to that the tragedies of a horrific war, and you can imagine the torrent of emotions you'll face as a reader. It's a beautifully written story of love and loss that'll tug on your heart strings. 

Fans of historical fiction and romance will absolutely adore this book, but quite frankly, I can't think of a reader who wouldn't appreciate the beauty of this story.

Rating: 5 stars

About the Author

Pam Jenoff credit Dominic EpiscopoPam Jenoff is the Quill-nominated internationally bestselling author of The Kommadant’s Girl. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. Jenoff’s novels are based on her experiences working at the Pentagon and also as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam Website | Facebook | Twitter


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.