Sunday, 23 July 2017

Review: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

A woman vanishes on a solo hike in California’s Desolation Wilderness and leaves behind a family reeling from the loss of this charismatic, enigmatic wife and mother, who, they come to learn, was very good at keeping secrets. A bold departure from the author of the national bestseller All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.

Billie is vibrant—a beautiful, outdoorsy California mom, a far cry from the reckless youth she’d been, but her troubled past seems only to enhance her natural charisma and allure. She and her husband Jonathan have an enviable life - a great house in Berkeley, a lovely, sensitive daughter, friends, nice things. As their daughter Olive reaches adolescence and needs her mom less, Billie throws herself into extreme sports—marathons, scuba diving, rock climbing. These challenges make her feel alive, but one day, on a solo hike in the Desolation Wilderness, she vanishes from the trail—no body, only a hiking boot, is found. Her family is devastated. Jonathan drinks; Olive grows remote. But a year after Billie’s death, Olive starts having waking dreams—hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he uncovers a secret that sends him on his own quest for the truth—about Billie, their marriage, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.


Kindle Edition, 369 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Spiegel & Grau 
Genre: Mystery/Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Almost a year had passed since Jonathan and Olive lost their beloved Billie. She went hiking alone and when she didn't return home a week long search indicated that she probably died in the woods even though a body was never recovered. Jonathan was struggling to get a death certificate and parent his teenage daughter Olive.

One day at school Olive got a strange vision that had her believing that her mother was alive and that she needed to find her. As events played out and different things were discovered, she was able to convince her father of the possibility as well.

Sound good? I thought so!

I had to let a little time go by to think about this book before I wrote my thoughts on it. I wasn't one hundred percent certain of how I felt about it. Let me try and break it down.

The family aspect of this book was thoroughly enjoyable. It showed how a broken family worked their way through hard times in order to achieve the kind of relationship that they both desired. They struggled a lot but you could feel the progression of their relationship as the story unfolded. I believe at the heart of this book although it was technically a mystery, there was a beautiful family drama. From Jonathan's use of alcohol and his lack of money management to Olive's struggle to know who she really was, it was a joy to watch them grow.

Was Billie really dead or was she alive? If so, what happened to her? These were the questions that kept me reading in order to find answers. More things were discovered about Billie as each page was turned. She wasn't the person that Jonathan had always thought she was. In fact, he found himself angry at the person that he thought was the love of his life. So this is where I had to take pause. I had some early guesses as to how it would play out. Unfortunately for me it played out exactly how I thought it would, to the very last page, which took a bit of the excitement and shock value out of it for me. I was trying to decide if I made some really good guesses or if the plot was that transparent to everyone. This was partly why I couldn't decide how I felt about the book. On top of that, Olive's visions felt slightly out of place in the grand scheme of things and didn't really make the most sense when it came to the final outcome of the book.

In the end I felt like Watch Me Disappear was a good and enjoyable read even though I had it figured out early. I don't think it was that easy to figure out and I just had some lucky guesses. Besides, the evolution of Jonathan and Olive's relationship was enough to keep me engaged anyway. I will definitely be watching for more work from this author.


 
About the Author
A little about me: I'm the author of the novels THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE and ALL WE EVER WANTED IS EVERYTHING, which was a New York Times bestseller and published in a dozen countries around the world. My books tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts; while my first two books were more satirical, my latest is a suspense. I'm also very much a California writer, and my books are set across the state.  

Connect with Janelle

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review: Need You (The Garner Brothers #1) by Stacy Finz


The Garner brothers are poster boys for the ski resort town of Glory Junction, California. But as much as they love outdoor thrills, they know how to create indoor thrills, too . . .
Colt Garner thrives on adrenaline. As Glory Junction's police chief and the co-owner of Garner Adventure, he knows where to find danger and excitement. Unfortunately his new neighbor, fussy, transplanted city girl Delaney Scott, is anything but a thrill, even if she is as gorgeously curved as a killer ski slope. They have nothing in common but a shared driveway they're arguing over . . . and a mutual attraction neither of them can fight.
Starting over was not in designer Delaney's plans. But now that her rotten ex has walked away with the rights to her brand, she needs to reinvent herself, and fast. It's not easy with bold, brash Colt next door, too handsome for his own good, and, she's sure, too unreliable for hers. But as small town life throws them together again and again, Colt and Delaney find that simple romance may be the most exhilarating gamble of all . .

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Zebra Shout

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!  The expected publication date is July 25th, 2017.

I am no stranger to Finz' work as I had previously read some of her Nugget series.  This is a brand new series taking place in Glory Junction which is just thirty minutes up the road from Nugget.  No need to worry if you have not read the Nugget series, it is not required however for those who have you may experience some nostalgia when a character or two is mentioned in passing.  So far it seems the focus on this series will center around the Garner brothers however who knows where it may grow to when it is all said and done.

I am a fan if Finz' writing and this story is the perfect example of why.  I will try to articulate it however sometimes the words don't come out right when I try to put pen to paper (hence the reason why I am reviewing books and not writing them!).  Here goes....

This genre of story can get old fast, particularly if you read a lot of them as I do.  There is a formula to them and for the most part the storylines usually do not stray too far from this formula.  Most of the time he formula is something like this, I hate you, I want to see you naked, I get you naked, I am in love with you but there is some obstacle (usually in my head) preventing us from being together. As a result, it makes it difficult for a story to stand out.

This story stood out for me because although it did remain pretty true to the formula, I could actually see the evolution of the relationship.  It wasn't just a physical attraction that somehow ended up in true love as I have a hard time buying in to that.  I want to see emotional connections and a realistic relationship.  This story had it.

Although it started out with Cole and Delaney in the "hate each other" mode, you could see where the tides started to shift, and it wasn't overnight.  You saw the turn in to a tentative truce and friendship, then a genuine friendship, followed then by the physical and emotional relationship.  Don't get me wrong, the physical attraction is evident throughout however the couple goes through the actual stages of a relationship all within the pages of the story.  I liked this, it is realistic.  True love never (yes I said never) comes from a physical relationship only so it is nice when as a reader I can see the relationship develop in a realistic manner.  Add to this that the story keeps moving at a good pace even though we see all of these stages.

That is all I am going to say about the story.  I am a fan of Finz and I am excited about this new series.  I believe the next story is going to focus on Coles brother TJ.  I cant wait to see who will be able to take his mind off of work!

Misc:  As I was reading the story I couldn't help but feel that Josh, Coles brother, already had a story yet this is the first in a series.  Turns out his story was told in a Christmas story that Finz wrote.  I will have to go back and check to see if I have read it, and if not pick it up.


About the Author


Stacy Finz is an award-winning former newspaper reporter. After more than twenty years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. She is the author of the Nugget Romance series (Kensington/Lyrical Press) about a small mountain town that has a strange way of giving people unexpected reasons to start over--and find the most irresistible chances to fall in love. Look for her Garner Brothers series (Zebra) in 2017.



Friday, 21 July 2017

Book Blitz: Kayos: The Bad & the Worse by Tracy A. Ball

KAYOS: The Bad & The Worse
By Tracy A. Ball


Blurb:
Hell has two fires— war and women

Lareina Elliot discovered her idea for making students loyal to the government is being implemented to further the war. It has become her life’s work to undermine that effort.

Agent Christian Deverell promised to protect Lareina, always. But that was before he flipped sides, before their history got dirty, before he commissioned her adopted brother to assassinate her.

Cpl. Silas McKade never misses. He has a death warrant for Lareina—the woman who means everything to him— and a soul full of hatred for Christian—- the man he wants to be. He’s either going to break Lareina’s heart or stop it altogether.

Available on Amazon!
Snippets:

#1
There was no mistaking the resolution in her tone. “If you want to shoot me, you’ll have to do it in the back.”
He leveled her a mean look.
“Mr. Deverell, sir.” An officer came into view. Two others followed him escorting Jericho Parks.
“That’s her!” Jericho pointed. “That’s her! She did it. She’s responsible. I want to press full charges! She was behind it all!”
His outburst made up Christian’s mind. He raised his weapon and unloaded three caps. Like dominoes, the DoP’s went down one after the other. Jericho screamed. He fell to his knees and covered his head. Christian studied Lareina. “Three days.”
He watched her eyes dart to the left in that telltale manner.
“I need at least a week.” Urgency caused her voice to rise.
“You’re only getting three days.” He was in no mood to bend. Three soldiers lay dead. He had compromised enough.
“Fine. I’ve got to go.”
One hand extended, gun still pointed toward Jericho, in the event he attempted to run, with his other, Christian grabbed Lareina’s arm, pulling her to him. He put every ounce of his frustration into his kiss. It was either that or break her neck. And he was strongly contemplating the latter.
Lareina allowed it. She wanted, craved his touch as much as he craved hers. Theirs was a dance with the devil; irresistible and impossible. The tangles had become knots and he only gave her three days. It wasn’t enough. She could hardly wait.
The kiss ended, but the intensity remained. He sighed, letting the heat recede.
She whispered, “I have a pretty long to-do list, Christian. Unfortunately, you’re not on it.”
He licked the corner of her mouth, matching her tone. “I am the list.”
She pressed her cheek against his lips. “Well, you’re not getting done tonight.”

#2
“I don’t want you in jeopardy. Is that so hard for you to understand?”
“We’re in a war. I’m a criminal. Is that so hard for you to understand? We’re fresh out of those bubbles you like to put me in.”
“You don’t have to help them hurt you, Lareina. You don’t.”
“No. I can get to them first.”
“That’s what I’m for.”
“I know.”
There was nothing to say to that. They were silent.
Silas knocked once and let himself in. If he cared what they thought of his intrusion, it didn’t show. “I’m here to interrupt your little powwow.” He directed his conversation to Christian. “I know you’re a big man, all scary and shit. But that don’t mean a damned thing around here.” He slapped two pills down on Lareina’s nightstand. “Your antidote. You better take it within the hour.” He ignored her raised eyebrows, keeping his focus on Christian. “You’ll need one of those every night for at least a week. Here are your choices…You can be a part of the solution, or you can wake up and start chasing us again. But I have to say you really are shit at it. You ain’t that hard to elude. So give it a good think.” He turned to leave.
“Silas!” Lareina wanted to laugh. She sooo wanted to laugh. She put a restraining hand on Christian. “You drugged us?”
Silas glanced back, unrepentive. “My way is effective, decisive and keeps you out of the mix. You can’t think straight with him around, anyway. Maybe you need to be asleep.”
“Boy, I’m going to beat the snot out of you.” Her uncontrolled grin nixed the threat.
“When I’m in the market for a mosquito bite, I’ll let you know.” He let himself out.
Silas was Silas. Lareina knew that when she collected him. She created him. Damn, he was good.
Christian was another matter altogether. He hadn’t said a word. That was never a good thing. “Christian?”
It took a minute before he responded. When he did, it was devoid of emotion. He snapped his eyes at her, deeply sincere with his intent. “You might want to start getting unattached and resign yourself to knowing I’m going to kill him. I’m informing you now, so when it happens you will be able to recall I warned you.”
Lareina felt a chill.

#3
Yukiyo surveyed the room. “Why would you get a room with one only bed?”
“Would you prefer to lose your virginity in the car?”
She failed at not smiling. “You’re an asshole. I’m not sleeping with you. And, for your information, I’m not a virgin.”
“The hell you ain’t.” He moved faster than she expected. Tackling her, he forced her to the bed and covered her body with his, using just enough of his weight to keep her pinned. “You’re smart, you’re sexy, you’re dangerous, and you impress the hell out of me.” He reached his hand between them to unbutton her pants.
“Get off.” She resisted by squirming once. “That’s not what you think.”
“You’re the liar in this relationship, not me.” He undid her zipper and slid his hand inside. “You chose me. You defended me. Don’t you think I owe you for that?” He slow stroked her, loving that even as her body went soft and she moved against his hand, she kept her eyes open, fixed on his.


Author Bio:
Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She has an equal number of conservative and liberal friends. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.
Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love.

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website/newsletter sign up: https://tracyaball.wordpress.com

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Survive By the Team by Cindy Skaggs

Survive By The Team
By Cindy Skaggs
Blurb:

The wild ride continues in this highly addictive series.

Mandi Gault never met a man brave enough to openly date a mortician, so when a good-looking man with twelve-pack abs invites her to dinner, she's not asking any questions. Too bad he's trying to kill her.

Danny Gault died in a conspiracy threatening Team Fear--his defunct military team--so when Gault's sister winds up in the hospital, former teammate Stills is forced to leave the safety of the team's compound. He recognizes her attacker as a member of a rogue military unit with orders to eliminate Team Fear. Now they're on the run while they unravel why Team Echo wants her dead.

As the danger escalates, they share a wild night of down and dirty fun that would put a blush on a corpse, but Stills made it clear it was one and done. Now he must decide if he's brave enough to forget about vengeance and live.

Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this fast-paced romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.


Teaser #1
From the first date to her last, she’d always chosen the wrong man. The charming doctor with the perfect smile did nothing for her. Not even the good-looking deputy. This man, however? Butterflies on steroids. Attraction to the deadly soldier was foolhardy. Stupid, even. He was a stone-cold killing machine, and the cracked lip that was starting to scab gave him that devil-may-care appearance that lit her hormones on fire.

Teaser #2
For twenty-four hours he’d lost himself in the glow of her beautiful soul. He’d die remembering that day. One day when he’d almost had the American dream. He meant the kiss to be light, but the moment their lips collided, his plans went to hell. She sparked something in him and he went deep, not letting up until they were breathless and she was leaning on him for support.

Other Books in the Series:


http://amzn.to/2v6NNyj

Excerpt:
They met in the middle. He lowered until his breath brushed her lips. She levered up and tilted to the right. One tiny move until their lips would touch. Day-old scruff teased the nerves in her right cheek. The arms he wrapped around her flexed like a bodybuilder’s. So damn sexy. The pulse in her neck ticked faster as delicious anticipation warmed her belly.
He groaned even as he trailed his lips along her soft skin. “You’re a sister. There are rules against this kind of thing.”
“My brother’s not here to object.”
“Then I have to object on his behalf.”
“Do you really think he’d rather I ended up with someone like that deputy than one of his teammates?”
“In a heartbeat, sugar.”
His lips captured hers. Toyed with her, kissing along the edges until breath panted from her lungs, yet he maintained iron control. Slow, the pace killing her and freeing her to simply experience. Nips at her bottom lip tugged an invisible string to her core. Dips and feints as he teased, giving her a taste here, a brush there, the barest whisper of his lips on hers before he slipped away to attack from another angle. The man kissed like he had a lifetime. Or maybe that he wanted one.


Author Bio:
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado where she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into fast-paced romantic suspense. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. She also plays the flute, makes crazy-good sculptures out of tortilla dough, and can wrangle the neurotic dog without getting mauled. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.

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Book Blitz: A Scottish Wedding by Hilaria Alexander

A SCOTTISH WEDDING
By Hilaria Alexander

Blurb:
Fans of Lost in Scotland will love revisiting the heather-covered highlands as Sam and Hugh try to make their happily-ever-after a reality in this follow-up novel!
TYING THE KNOT!
Ladies, Hugh MacLeod is off the market! We caught up with the sexy hunk from Abarath and his fiancée, makeup artist Sam Farouk at an event in Edinburgh. The pair met last year while working together on season one. The Scottish actor looked handsome in a tailored dark grey suit, while the raven-haired beauty at his side turned heads in a golden lamé gown which channeled the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress of the same color. Ms. Farouk played coy when asked about the engagement, only revealing that the ring belonged to Hugh’s grandmother. With a dreamy look to her groom-to-be, Ms. Farouk confessed his proposal was “fairytale worthy." MacLeod charmingly deflected each one of our questions about season two of Abarath, saying he would get in trouble if he told us anything. When we asked if a date had been set yet, the engaged couple looked at each other for a brief second. Soon, they replied in unison in a way that turned us into mush. Ms. Farouk added that it will all depend on Hugh’s schedule and his commitment with the show. We wish the very best to the groom and the bride-to-be and we hope to bring you more news about their upcoming nuptials!

Available on Amazon!

OTHER BOOKS IN SERIES!
Book #1 Lost in Scotland:

EXCERPT #1
“The World’s End,” she mumbled. “Why does it sound so familiar?”
“Probably because it’s one of Edinburgh’s oldest establishments. You might have heard someone else talk about it.”
“I don’t think so, I don’t recall any conversation…” She trailed off. I glanced her way as her frown turned into sudden realization. “Of course! How could I be so stupid?”
“What?” I asked.
“The World’s End!”
“What about it?”
“It’s where Jamie and Claire go after their reunion in Voyager!” I gave her a look of confusion and she sighed, exasperated. “Hugh, remember Jamie Fraser from Outlander? Best book boyfriend, fictional husband, no-one-can-hold-a-candle-to-him, all-around badass hero?”
I raised my eyebrows in response, only a wee bit offended Sam didn’t care for Abarath quite the same way.
“Don’t give me that. We talked about this—Abarath is no Jamie Fraser. Different ballpark, MacLeod. Claire and Jamie’s love story withstands time and space!” she tried to reason. “Maybe I will change my mind about him if he stops being such a damn flirt!” She wasn’t wrong there; unlike Jamie Fraser, Abarath had no qualms about not being monogamous.
“Fine. You’re right. Can we go now, lass? I’m ready for a pint.”
“Of course. Let’s go,” she said, taking my hand and leading the way. We walked for a few minutes, fingers laced together, and then she stopped in her tracks again.
“Um, Hugh…you should take the lead.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I have no bloody idea where The World’s End is.”
I pursed my lips together, noticing how cute she sounded when she said bloody.
“Dinna fash yourself. I ken my away around here, neach-gaoil.”
“Why is it called The World’s End, anyway?”
“Because, once upon a time, that was where the city of Edinburgh ended. The walls of the city were just a few steps away, the world’s end, ye ken. Everything outside those walls was foreign and dangerous—a bit like you, in a way,” I told her with a smug smile.
“Har har,” she replied, laughing and igniting a warm ache in the middle of my chest.
“You know what, though, Sam?”
“What?”
“I wouldn’t want it any other way.”


EXCERPT #2
“I just want you to know you are perfect to me, just the way you are. How dare Winston say you look fat?”
He gave me a shy smile followed by a nod.
“Well, he said I got soft in the middle.”
“Soft?” I asked in a horrified tone.
“That’s what he said.”
“I don’t like Winston Styles very much anymore. How could he? How could he tell you you’re going soft?”
“It’s not that big of a deal, Sam. I just have to do it. I don’t have much of a choice, after all.”
“No one can tell the difference, Hugh, believe me. I touch you all the time. You are anything but soft.”
“I did gain weight, Sam. Don’t say I didn’t. Look.” He took off his thermal Henley and stared at me with arms open to show me I was wrong. Well, maybe he was just slightly, slightly less taut around his waist, but I would call it slight bloating, not weight gain.
“This is insanity,” I muttered. “And if you’re soft, what does that make me?”
Granted, I wasn’t the one who often had to be shirtless in front of a camera. Still, I instinctively looked down at my belly and tightened the muscles of my abdomen, trying to make my little pouch disappear, and Hugh noticed.
“Don’t. Don’t do that, Sam. You’re beautiful. I love this spot right here,” he said, brushing the skin right below my belly button, “this slight curve here…that leads to the sweetest valley.” His accent was maddeningly sexy when he spoke in a low, gruff voice.
I loved the way he said valley. It drove me insane, just like his touch.
His fingers across my belly sent a shiver traveling across my skin, and a sweet ache bloomed between my thighs.
“And I love this,” he said, tracing the curve of my hip, going up to the hollow of my waist, tracing a finger around the curve of my breast.
I sighed and looked up to him. His eyes were the bluest of blue when he stared at me intently, with arousal, but then something flashed across them, as if he’d forgotten something, and the maddening intensity disappeared.
“Winston just wants to make sure I get back on track and keep up with the regimen I was following. He said it might be difficult with my fiancée spoiling me at home. I’ll have to be strong and resist your culinary talent, lass.”
I shook my head as I kept surveying the area. Soft. What an absurd notion.
EXCERPT #3
“You’re so bad,” he whispered.
“Shush, you love it,” I replied as I locked the stall door behind us.
“I do.” His accent was deeper whenever he said that, and I couldn’t help but fantasize about the day he was going to say that in response to taking me as his wife.
For the time being, he was taking me elsewhere.
“Bad girl,” he whispered in my ear, his erection pressing against my back. I turned around and he was grinning, his eyes wild with desire. He pinned me against the wall, one of his hands grabbing a fistful of my hair.
His mouth captured mine and his tongue traced the shape of my lips before wrapping around my tongue in a fluid tempo. He broke the kiss too soon and my back arched, my hips looking for more friction. One of his hands slid under my shirt, pulling my bra down, teasing my heavy breast and my hard nipple.
“What if someone finds us here?”
“Unlikely,” I replied in a whisper as his mouth placed slow, deep, searing kisses on my neck.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because…I just sent several trays of food to the tables. No one is coming in here unless their bladder is ready to burst.”
“So clever,” he teased. “But what if they do? What if someone comes in here?”
“Well, in that case…I bet you can be very still…and very quiet, too. Can’t you?”
He hummed, but his eyebrows were pressed together.
“What is it? Don’t tell me you’ve never had bathroom sex before.”
A grin flashed across his face and he shrugged. “What if I haven’t?”

Author Bio:
Hilaria Alexander was born and raised in the south of Italy, where her family still lives. She was bit by the travel bug early on and lived in Tokyo and Orlando for a while before settling down in Oklahoma City with her husband and kids.
She loves books—obviously—as well as movies and TV, and is addicted to award shows. She can’t play an instrument to save her life, but she loves music, which is one of her biggest inspirations when plotting new stories. If you have questions about her or her books, ask her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at hilaria_alexander@outlook.com. For excerpts, news and giveaways, join her readers group.


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