Monday, September 30, 2013

BLITZ: "Leap of Faith" - by Jamie Blair [Xpresso Book Tours]

Lies.  Suspense.  Babies. It's all here!

"Can true love be built on lies? A teen on the run seeks relief and redemption in this gripping, romantic read.

Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth:

Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers—Faith kidnapped her.

Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?"


Jamie Blair spent most of her teen years choreographing moves for her dance team routines, kissing boys on the couch after her mom went to bed, and pondering the mood enhancement qualities of Lemon Heads when consumed with Diet Coke. Writing under Kelli Maine, she’s the USA Today bestselling author of Taken. Leap of Faith is her debut New Adult novel.


“I’m Chris.” His eyes are hazel. They’d be bluer or greener depending on what he wore. His gray shirt keeps them the in-between shade. He plays a few more chords and sets his guitar on the couch beside him. “Well? What do you think?”
I glance around. There’s not much to it, but it works. “How much?”
He rubs his chin. It’s covered in stubble. I imagine how it would feel against my cheek, and my face gets hot.
Addy squirms and lets out a small shriek. Chris’s eyes dart to her. This could be the deal breaker.
She squawks again. “What time is it?” I ask, realizing she’s probably hungry.
He shrugs. “Around five or six. She need to eat?”
“Yeah. Guess I better go so I can feed her.” I take a step toward the door.
“Here,” he comes forward, reaching his arms out. “I’ll hold her. Go on out and get her a bottle. You have one with you, don’t you?”
I nod, watching him take Addy out of my arms, place her against his chest, and rub her back. “Do you have kids?” It seems like a dumb question, but he’s a natural with Addy.
He laughs. “No. Fortunately, I’ve never been in that predicament.” He looks from Addy to me, and his face falls. “I mean…”
Right. He thinks I got knocked up. I’m a teen mom. “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” I smile, trying to put him at ease. “I’ll be right back.”
After opening the door to the stairs, I glance over my shoulder. He’s running his fingers over the top of her head and bouncing her gently. “Shh, baby, don’t cry. Mommy will be right back.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 28, 2013

REVIEW: "Assured Destruction: Script Kiddie" - by Michael F. Stewart (Tribute Books Blog Tour)

"Jan Rose no longer steals data from the old computers she recycles. She doesn't need to. As the newest member of the police department’s High Tech Crime Unit, the laptop of a murderer has landed on her desk. Her job: to profile and expose a killer.

But that’s not all.

A creep lurks in the shadows, stalking a friend, and Jan must stop him before the hunt turns deadly. The clock counts down for Jan to save her friend, her job, her boyfriend—maybe even her life."

Formats: paperback & ebook
Release: August 2013
Pages: 156
ISBN: 9780981269979
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press


After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.


It is not unheard of for the government to hire individuals who have caused them heaps o' trouble for virtual reasons.  Who better to protect computer systems than someone skilled at hacking?  Who better to track down con artists than a con artist?  I'm sure they have means of weeding out the goofs from those who are actually able to take their mischievous skills and wield them in the fight for justice...but what if the person wielding some made skills is 16 years old and is seriously not taken seriously due to her youth and *cough* unconventional methods?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BLITZ: "Kinetic" by S.K. Anthony [Xpresso Tours]

Oooooo, talk about an electric book!!


"Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…"

Kinetic by S.K. Anthony
Series: The Luminaries, #1
Publication date:  September 2013
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy

S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!

Website   -    Goodreads   -   Facebook   -   Twitter (@SKathAnthony)

...and now for the tantalizing EXCERPT
"Coming to my feet, I ran into the vault and found myself at the bottom of what seemed like three floors. It was filled with storage units, all next to each other. It reminded me of prison cells, each of them with their own armored doors. I smelled more smoke coming from above, so I ran up the first set of stairs and let my nose guide me. I saw the figure trying to melt one of the armored doors, and I launched myself at him. He was ready for me, though, so I found myself thrown across the room like a ragdoll. I pretended to be injured as he approached me, and when he was close enough, I kicked his feet from under him and he fell, hitting his head on the concrete floor. I jumped on him and pinned his hands down just as he looked up at me.

And there he was, Nick Logan. My ex-husband.
I stared at the face I'd once loved, now with a patch covering his left eye and scars running all the way down his jaw. They were almost hidden under his days-old beard and wild, dark hair. His deep hazel eye looked at me, empty, daring me to speak first. I punched him."

Are you interested in receiving a copy of this fabulous book?  Send me your name and email address ("KINETIC" as the subject line) and I'll hold a drawing.  Winner announced on October 1! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 23, 2013

GUEST POST: "Been There. Done That" - by Michael Jackson [Fire and Ice Book Tours]

Near death experiences?  What about death experiences?  The Bible speaks of people who have died and come back to life (true resurrection reserved for Christ, he didn't die again)...but what about when this happens today?

"Death is the most certain thing in this life! Yet as far back as written history can be traced, it is the most uncertain, and heavily-debated topic of discussion for mankind!
Are Heaven and hell literal and Eternal destinies, or are they merely figurative manifestations for behavioural guidelines that have been handed down through our ancestors?
With a lack of definite knowledge regarding this subject matter, we must rely on faith in Some All-Powerful Entity! Or is life as we know it the end of our story?
I do not wish this upon any human being, but I died 8/18/2001. I am Blessed to remain here!
Therefore, I can think of no other possible reason that I was spared, given a second chance, other than sharing my experience with Everyone that I can for the rest of this life!

The one question that everyone on Earth has which is Only discovered after their demise,”Is there a Heaven and hell?”, is answered right here. I died August 18th, 2001 in a motorycle wreck.
This is no fictional novel. I am informing you of what to expect when your inevitable demise occurs! What you do with the information afterwards is up to you. Consider this a Literal cheat sheet for the Ultimate Life Test…"

Death: Been There. Done That. by Michael Jackson
Virtual Book Tour Dates 9-16-13 - 9-30-13
Genres: Religion and Spirituality


"August 18th, 2001, was the one that I consider to be the halfway point of my life. As well as one that is burned into the minds of my loved ones. It was The Pivotal turning point in my life! Coincidentally, this was less than a month prior to one of the most recent infamous dates that the world knows! 8/18/2001, three weeks later was 9/11.
     Apparently, once they had stabilized me, the docs informed my family that I had been revived three times, after which I was in a coma for about 11 or 12 days. The earliest memories, in the wake of, my awakening, were a series of pictorial flashes in my mental disposition. 
I recall looking up at the television from my hospital bed, and seeing the World Trade Center collapsing. At that point I had not regained my cognizance, I was still in a dream-like state of mind, so I was not perceiving what my eyes were seeing! 
     I wasn't able to apprehend the Tragic reality of what was going on in NYC at that moment in time! Aside from those few still-image flashbacks, I only remember random faces of those who were visiting me &/or with me in the hospital room."

"Writing is a skill that I have always possessed, but have never utilized until recently. It was my specialty all throughout the school years… I excelled in the English classes and nearly failed the dreaded subjects of math. I earned a BA in Communications Studies because I am good with words. I learned of the power of words, concerning both the damaging affects they produce, as well as the Joy they induce! “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”-James 3:8 & “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits”-Proverbs 18:21. Words are powerful! Writing equals venting. It is a wonderful form of expression, a one-sided conversation. There is no debate with the words that you state, no one to contend, they’re your words, that’s the end.
“Death: Been There. Done That.”, is my first publication, as well it is basically a documentary of my life. It is a personal account of the thirty-three years that I have lived. The title of this work is self-explanatory. I have died before, and I felt compelled to give my testimony to All who are breathing! It was a feeling of obligation to tell my story, a necessity, not an option. It doesn’t matter what else I choose to write next, there can be no piece more important for you to read, no other combination of words more Vital to comprehend than those that are in “Death: Been There. Done That.” The purpose for writing about my experience is to encourage those wheels in your head to start spinning! I absolutely attest that what I wrote is 100% Truth. Yet I can’t prove it, so as far as you’re concerned, it could be my simple opinion. This is why I declared my intention to be of a thought provoking sort.
The name that I was given at birth was Michael Jackson. As much as I would like to avoid this topic of discussion, I have decided to put the spotlight on this white elephant. I was born in between MJ’s “Off the Wall” & “Thriller” albums, and I have lived life vicariously throughout All of his ups & downs over the years! I used to hate it, but I grew to love it! My life has been fun! It played a major role in shaping my personality along with my sense of humor! Not many people can make a total stranger laugh out loud from delivering a six-word introduction, “Hi, my name is Michael Jackson.” I just wanted to clarify that it is Not a pen name, nor a marketing scheme. It is what it is. Thank you mom & dad. With that being said, I hope you will now focus on the writing!

Michael Jackson"

Friday, September 20, 2013

BLITZ: "After the Fall" - by L.G. Castillo [Xpresso Book Tours]

Ah secrets....they always come out....

"There’s a Spanish proverb that says, “From the thorn and the pain, a flower is born.” Naomi Duran never really understood what that meant until she became an archangel.

Finally reunited with the love of her life, Naomi thought she had everlasting love and happiness in Heaven. Even with the rebellious Lash by her side, she learns that life as an archangel isn’t easy.

When secrets of the past are finally revealed, tempers flare, brother is pitted against brother, and Naomi and Lash face the greatest threat to their relationship: choosing among love, family, or duty.

In the end, can this family of broken angels forgive past mistakes, or will they carry the thorn in their hearts forever, ripping their family apart?"

After the Fall by L.G. Castillo 
(Broken Angel #2) 
Publication date: September 15th 2013 
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

L.G. (Linda) Castillo wrote her first story when she was ten and has been writing ever since. She took a break from writing fiction and poetry to focus on obtaining her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is now a licensed psychologist and currently works as a professor at a Texas university. Although she has published her psychological research in several professional journals and books, her dream has always been to publish a novel. Lash is her debut novel and was written during the 2012 National Novel Writing Month event.
Author Links:

"Rachel’s cloak fluttered as she sped through the dark tunnel. He was there. She could feel him.
Shivering, her fingers fumbled with the heavy material as she drew it closer to her body. Puffs of white drifted from her mouth as she panted, trying to catch her breath. With each step she took, it was as if her angelic powers were being drained away. She stopped and slumped against the damp wall of the cave, unable to take another step. Could she do this? Even if she managed to reach him, would she have any power left to save him?
Gabrielle had warned her it would be like this, but Rachel had dismissed her, especially when she first stepped into Hell. It looked just like home! Lush grass and fragrant flowers lined the landscape as far as she could see. Snowcapped mountains stood as a backdrop against the clear blue skies—even the stream was located in the same exact spot as in Heaven. If it wasn’t for the unnerving feeling in the pit of her stomach and the hairs that stood on the back of her neck, she would have sworn she was home.
Considering Lucifer held his captives at the Lake of Fire, she had assumed Hell was a vast empty land of sweltering heat. It wasn’t until she found the cave hidden behind a waterfall that she finally understood what Gabrielle meant about not letting her guard down. The cave was frigid. The icy air seemed to seep into her pores and deep into her bones, causing her teeth to chatter uncontrollably.
She wished Gabrielle had given her more information about what to expect. She would’ve dressed warmer. Gabrielle had only gone once, and she had waited on the outer boundaries of the cave. According to her, one time had been enough. It had taken her days to recover from the experience.
Only Raphael knew what Hell was really like. He had made Gabrielle wait for him while he bravely went through the deepest depths of the cave to reach the lake. He was the only person she knew of who had gone down and returned—alive.
If only she could have asked Raphael about what to expect and how to prepare. She sighed. If she had, there was no way she could’ve slipped away unnoticed. She would’ve been reported to Michael and more than likely, would’ve been put on watch until it was too late.
A sob escaped her at the thought of his death. She slapped a hand over her mouth, horrified as the sound echoed in the darkness, bouncing off the walls. Her body shook as she wrestled with the thought of losing him. She had to pull herself together. If she were caught, it would be the end for both of them.
She took a resolving breath and pushed herself off the wall. I can do this. I won’t lose him.
Her feet scraped across the floor of the cave as she trudged forward in the darkness. As she rounded a corner, she came up to a pair of tunnels.
Which way should I go? Her eyes watered, and she bit down on her lip, frustrated. She was tired. So tired. If she chose the wrong one, she didn’t know if she would be able to make it down the second. Time was running out. She had to make a choice, now!
She was about to go down the tunnel to her left when she heard a moan from the right.
It’s him!
She raced toward the sound with renewed energy, and within minutes, she came into a large cavern. Heat slammed against her body, making her cringe in pain from the abrupt change in temperature. She stopped suddenly, her arms flailing out as she tried to regain her balance and not fall into the molten lava that appeared right before her eyes threatening to singe the tips of her toes.
The lake!
Immense heat blurred her vision, and she rubbed her eyes. All she could see was a sea of red heat. Where is he?
Searching through the haze, she finally saw a faint figure, motionless. She blinked again and gasped when her eyes finally focused.
No! It can’t be him.
Across the lake, chained to the wall, naked, was the one person in her life who she couldn’t be without. The one person for whom she would defy the orders of the most high of archangels just so she could save him.
Tears spilled down her heated cheeks as she took in his once magnificent body, scorched by the lava that splashed onto his skin. His beautiful downy-white wings were now a grotesque black. With each movement he made, feathers turned to ash and fluttered lifelessly to the ground.
Uriel,” she croaked.
Uriel lifted his head, and pained eyes looked back at her, a startling blue against the black of his charred face. “No,” he groaned. “Leave. Leave now. He’ll be here—”
The cave rumbled, and lava sprouted into the air. A splattering of the searing liquid fell onto his chest. He arched his back and screeched.
I’m coming, Uriel!” She tore off her cloak and flicked her wings open.
It’s too late for me,” he rasped. “Don’t do this.”
No, it’s not. I don’t care what the others say. You’ve redeemed yourself. You deserve another chance.”
He looked deep into her eyes. “Forgive me. I’m unworthy of you.”
There is nothing to forgive. I love you.”
Desperate to find a way to get to him, Rachel looked around the cavern. She swallowed hard as she flit her wings and with all the strength she could muster, propelled herself into the air. She was only able to get herself a couple of feet off the ground. It was as if an invisible barrier was holding her down. Frantically, she looked around for another way to get to him and saw a narrow stone path with lava washing across it. There was no other way to him.
With all her might, she pushed herself upward, trying to get distance from the fiery liquid. The cave shook again, and a wave of lava slammed against the walls, sending droplets of lava flying into the air and onto her wings.
She wailed in pain and began to fall.
No, Rachel. Go back,” Uriel moaned.
Before Rachel could tell him there was no way she was leaving him, she felt a rush of air on her back. An arm wrapped tightly around her waist and yanked her away from the lake, away from Uriel.
Take her…Gabrielle,” Uriel gasped. “Keep her…safe.”
You have my word,” Gabrielle said as she tightened her hold on Rachel.
No!” Rachel screamed, struggling against Gabrielle’s steel-like arms. “Let me go. Let. Me. Go!”
Rachel stretched out her arms as if just by doing so, she could hold on to him. “Uriel! Uriel!”
Just as Gabrielle flew out of the cavern, a loud thunderclap rocked the cave, and the sound of his screams ripped through her, mixing with her own.
Then, silence.
He’s gone.
She fell limply into Gabrielle’s arms as they flew back through the frigid tunnel. The cold spread to her face, her hands, and then crept into her heart and the deepest part of her soul until there was nothing left except a dark numbness. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore.
When they flew out of the waterfall and into the sunlight, she stared lifelessly at the clouds drifting overhead. And though the sun shone down on her face, she couldn’t feel its warmth. She doubted if she would ever feel it again. The cold emptiness in her heart would be there forever because Uriel was dead."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

BOOK FEATURE: "The Art of Forgetting" - by Peter Palmieri (Virtual Book Tours Cafe)

Every now and then a book finds you.  This is one such book!!  I have a psychology degree and work in the mental health field, so anything to do with anything regarding human behavior fascinates me.  Also being fascinated by biology and having worked on the fringes of the medical field (I served at a group home), I was immediately pulled in by "The Art of Forgetting", a hugely medical / psychological book...and the cover is AWESOME!!  While this post is a book feature post - and I'm more than happy to feature this book! - know that I received permission to do a review as well.  I simply CANNOT wait to read this book!!

Oh, and the author grew up in one of the places I desperately want to visit.  Italy!!

Don't forget to scroll all the way to the bottom of this don't want to miss the giveaway!!

"Dr. Lloyd Copeland is a young neurologist who is tormented by the conviction that he has inherited the severe, early-onset dementia that has plagued his family for generations – the very disease which spurred his father to take his own life when Lloyd was just a child. Withdrawn to a life of emotional detachment, he looks for solace in hollow sexual trysts as a way to escape his throbbing loneliness. Still, he clings to the hope that the highly controversial treatment for memory loss he’s been researching will free him from his family’s curse.

But when odd mishaps take place in his laboratory, his research is blocked by a hospital review board headed by Erin Kennedy: a beautiful medical ethicist with a link to his troubled childhood. The fight to salvage his reputation and recover the hope for his own cure brings him face to face with sordid secrets that rock his very self-identity. And to make matters worse, he finds himself falling irretrievably in love with the very woman who seems intent on thwarting his efforts."

Genre: fiction: medical (medical suspense)
Publisher: self
Release date: June 2013

Peter Palmieri was raised in the eclectic port city of Trieste, Italy. He returned to the United States at the age of 14 with just a suitcase and an acoustic guitar. After attending public high school in San Diego, California, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Animal Physiology from the University of California, San Diego. He received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed his pediatric training at the University of Chicago and Loyola University Medical Center. More recently, he was awarded a Healthcare MBA by The George Washington University. A former student of Robert McKee's Story seminar and the SMU Writer's Path program, and a two-time attendee of the SEAK Medical Fiction seminar taught by Tess Gerritsen and Michael Palmer, Peter is now busy practicing general pediatrics at a large academic medical center while working on his next medical suspense.
      “Isn’t it a sin to have some thoughts, Father Roy?” Mrs. Langdon said in a near whisper.
     Father Roy was breathless. “About tulips?” he asked, attempting to sound nonchalant, but his voice quivered.
     “As a man, do you ever feel the urge to –”
     “I am not the one in confession, sister,” Roy said. It was not the first time someone had tried to ask him that question – a query impertinent souls seemed compelled to ask a young priest with the looks of a Hollywood movie star.
     “I’m so ashamed, Father. I don’t know what’s happened to me. I just don’t know what to do any more.”
Father Roy grasped the silver crucifix hanging over his chest and rubbed it between thumb and forefinger. He considered giving a short discourse on the tenth commandment but decided on a more pragmatic approach.
     “When our path grows dim and we’re in peril of losing our way, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of our commitments. Our commitments define who we are. When I step in the shadows, I remind myself of the covenant I made with God.”
     “My husband sickens me.”
     The suddenness of the statement left Father Roy speechless.
     “We haven’t had sex in over six months,” she said. “I wanted you to know that.”
     “The Diocese offers couple’s therapy for marital conflicts. Perhaps –”
     “Couple’s therapy!” Mrs. Langdon said with a sour chuckle. She shook her head. “I’m such a fool. For some reason I was under the impression that we…” She pulled a crumpled handkerchief out of her handbag, dabbed her nose and sniffled. “Tell me my penance, Father.”
     Roy hesitated. “Your penance is to reflect on the holy sacraments of our church. And… say a rosary.”
     “Am I absolved of my sins?”
     Father Roy made the sign of the cross, trying not to make it appear perfunctory and said, “Go in peace, sister.”
     He listened to the clicking of her heels resonating off the church’s tiled floor as she walked away, brought a knuckle to his lips and inhaled deeply through his nose. How was it that he had still not learned to recognize when women were attracted to him? Was he doing something to garner this type of attention? Could he whole-heartedly deny that he enjoyed it?
     A figure entered the confessional and sat heavily on the wooden bench. “Forgive me father, for I’m about to sin.”
     The musty smell of stale beer and sweat permeated the enclosed space making Father Roy sit back and turn away.
     “How long has it been since –”
     “You know damn well the last time I went to church, Roy.”
     “Andrew?” Father Roy studied the silhouette through the perforated partition. “Is something wrong?”
     “It started, Roy.”
     “I’m sorry?”
     “It has begun. How did Churchill phrase it? Not the end of the beginning but the beginning of the end… or maybe I’m saying it all wrong. I don’t know, you’re the one with the fancy schooling.”
     “Maybe we should go in the Parish office.”
     “It’s been going on for months. I know you’ve seen it too. You just didn’t want to say anything and of course I’ve been trying to hide it. That’s the Copeland family way, isn’t it? Ignore things, deny they’re happening, hide all the evidence and go about your business with a stiff upper lip. Isn’t that what Pops did?”
     “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But he did know. He couldn’t deny that in the last year he had witnessed his brother’s worsening mood swings and those barely perceptible moments of hesitation that were becoming more frequent. Those same tell-tale signs he had witnessed in his father when the illness had yet to progress to its extreme. Signs that made Roy feel powerless, like a sandcastle on a beach in the face of a slowly rising tide. So he ignored it all, said nothing, and prayed.
     “At first I thought I was just overworked, you know,” Andrew said. “Pulling overtime, staying out late with the boys, getting burned by the candle at both ends, so to speak. Then this morning, I’m driving to work. I got my thermos and lunch pail on the front seat. I get on the Eisenhower, same damn route I’ve taken for twelve years. But today I get to South Damen and I realize I don’t know where the hell I’m going. I don’t have a fucking clue!”
     “Andrew, please.”
     He lowered his voice. “I don’t have a flipping clue, Roy. I pull over in front of Cook County and I start bawling like a kid in a department store who can’t find his mom.”
     “Have you been drinking?”
     “It’s not the booze, Roy. It’s not the damn booze.”
     “Have you seen a doctor?” the priest asked.
     “What for?”
     “They might be able to help.”
     “Like they helped our father... who art in heaven?” Andrew snorted. “You know there’s not a damn thing they can do.”
     Roy swallowed hard. He wiped beads of sweat from his upper lip as a rhythmic pounding grew in his temples.
     “You’re frightening me, Andrew.”
     “I’m frightening you?” Andrew let out a chuckle. “Hell, Roy, you never had nothing to be frightened of your whole life except God above.”
     Someone knocked on the door of the confession box.
     “Hold your piss out there! The stall’s taken,” Andrew said in a gruff voice. There was a timid shuffling of feet, then the resonating silence of the church. “Roy, I’ve never been good with words, and I don’t like to wear my feelings on my sleeve like a damn chevron, but I want you to know something. I want you to know that you’re the best damn brother I could have ever asked for.”
     Roy felt a pall of guilt draping over him. “I’m the one who should say that to you.”
     “Just hear me out. I know I haven’t always told you, but I’m proud of you. I’ve always been proud of you... even when you made us lose at stick-ball.”
     “Which was all the time.” The men chuckled.
     “You made me a better man,” Andrew said.
     “After all you’ve done for me I can’t bear to hear you say that.”
     “I thought this was a confessional. Don’t people come here to get things off their chests?”
     “They come to be absolved of their sins,” Roy said.
     “And you can do that?”
     “God can do that. It’s never too late to open your heart.”
     “It’s too late for me. But I do need to get something off my chest.”
     “I’m listening.”
     “It’s time to come clean with you about something, Roy. Something you should have known long ago.” Andrew rubbed his massive hands together, stopped suddenly and cracked his knuckles. “Two things we Copelands have always been able to do: hold our liquor and keep a secret.”
     “I’m afraid I’m not so good with the liquor part,” said Roy.
     “No, I suppose not, padre,” Andrew said with a wistful smile. The wooden bench creaked as he shifted his weight and leaned into the partition. “Now listen carefully. I can only stand to say this once.”
The two men sat with their heads inches from each other as Andrew spoke in a hushed tone. At one point Roy let out a gasp and recoiled. Andrew paused as his brother gazed at the darkness hanging over the floor – the priest’s eyes darting about – and resumed his soliloquy when Roy leaned heavily towards him again.
Andrew murmured for another minute or two. Finally, he straightened and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as if to brush away the bitterness of the words from his lips. “Just promise, if something happens to me, you’ll take care of the bride and child.”
     “What’s going through your mind?” Roy said between heavy breaths.
     “Just promise me.”
     “You know I would never abandon them.”
     “That’s all I needed to hear.” Andrew cleared his throat and sat silently.
     Roy felt as though he were inching towards the edge of an abyss. That he would fall into the darkness if left alone to ponder his brother’s revelation. But an even stronger fear was pulsing through his veins. There was something in Andrew’s countenance: an eerie sense of relief, a cool resoluteness that sent a shudder down the base of Roy’s neck.
     “Maybe I can come by the house tonight,” Roy said. He wanted to punch through the partition, to clench his brother and not let him leave.
     “You got customers waiting,” Andrew said. “Business is good for you these days.” Andrew got to his feet. “Good-bye, Roy.”
     “Godspeed, Andrew.”
     When Andrew opened the oak door of the confession box, a small man wearing a tweed jacket stood outside, a crest of wild gray hair spilling over his wrinkled forehead. The man’s eyes opened wide at the site of the large police officer stepping out of the confessional and he began to finger the well-worn fedora he held by his paunch, turning it in his hands as if it were a steering wheel. Andrew stopped in front of him and said, “Give a man a chance to pull his pants back up, will you?”
     Roy greeted the next penitent in the confessional but his mind remained on his brother. How was it possible to feel such dread and deliverance, contempt and gratitude, guilt and utter relief all in the same breath? He had witnessed souls under severe strain shift from throes of laughter to sobs of despair in the span of a few seconds and always wondered how this was possible. But now he understood. He rested his head in his hands, elbows digging in his thighs, and tried to catch his breath.
     A sound like a hollow crack startled him. Not the sound of a kneeler. It must have come from outside. It brought his focus back on the words of the old gentleman who confessed that he lied to his wife about going to Cicero and losing fifty bucks at the Hawthorne race course, and that he harbored less than charitable feelings towards the Negroes who were moving westward into good Irish neighborhoods.
     The murmur of voices reverberated off the church’s arched ceilings. Then a single plaintive voice: “Someone call an ambulance. A cop’s been shot!”

     Now seriously people, how can one NOT want to read the whole book after this excerpt?!

     And for the giveaway......

Giveaway: Signed Paperback & Bookmark Prize Pack, 3 Ebooks, 2 Bookmarks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 15, 2013

REVIEW: "Jack Canon's American Dream" - by Greg Sandora (Virtual Book Tours Cafe Blog Tour)

"It’s the steamy summer of 2016 in Washington, D.C. just days before the Democratic National Convention. A long and painful recession has left ordinary Americans suffering, spawning the hottest Presidential Contest in history. Jack Canon, a man born into privilege, a witness to great social injustice is going to be President of the United States–no matter what! Desperate and corrupt, the leader of the free world orders a hit to slow him down. The plan backfires–the wrong people are dead–a manhunt points to the unthinkable–The President of the United States.

Rewind one year, Jack’s focus on redistribution of wealth and energy has made him powerful enemies. Once his friends, Rogue Billionaires, Oil Sheiks, the Mob, all want him gone. The current President wants him alive–thinking he can win against an unabridged liberal. A Universal Raw Nerve of wealth vs. poverty is exposed becoming a thrill ride as deep machinations of espionage, geo-politics and deception, even murder play out. Kind and charismatic, Jack’s just naughty enough to have you falling for him like one of his loving circle of loyal friends. Of course he’s flawed, a dedicated family man, faithful to one woman, but in love with two. Is it his fault his best friend is impossibly jaw dropping beautiful? Think the crime and passion of the Godfather meets the romance and innocence of Camelot. A story that could spark a movement, a book that can seed a revolution. A heart thumping climax so shocking you’ll pull the covers and draw the shades! One things for sure, through all the drama and suspense, you’ll be pulling for Jack!"

"I’m originally from the Portland, Maine area and lived and worked there for years before moving to Southwest Florida. I am currently working on the sequel to Jack Canon’s American Destiny – which will be titled Jack Canon Clean Sweep. The sequel will be available in about three months.

My Dad and Mom were artists, my father painted and my mother wrote poetry and loved to garden. Most Saturdays we loaded up the 1970 Chevy Impala to trek to a one man show somewhere or other. I took a different track graduating with a business degree; owning and operating an Award Winning Franchise Fitness Center. Currently a professional manager I am living in Florida with my beautiful wife and children, and following my passion.

Some of my other projects include a children’s book called Sammy the Sea Turtle – about an infant sea turtle taken from his nest the night he was to find his way to the sea. Sammy lives with the family until their son – the boy who took him, graduates from high school. On that day Sammy, backpack in tow – begins the long journey home.
My second project in the works involves angels – a man during a visit to Bar Harbor Maine encounters an angel; quite accidentally, he is told – she was not supposed to make him aware of her existence. Only three others have ever seen the real thing. Naturally he falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful creature."

     Politics are important, whether or not we follow every politicians word or merely get involved when it is time to vote.  But who are politicians?  What makes them tick?  How do things work behind the scenes?  Personally, I'm much more interested in politics from a human behavior standpoint than due to any interest in polity...I leave that bit to my poli-sci major husband.  However, even I acknowledge that politics make or break countries, leaders, people.  But what happens when a kind-hearted man pursues a life course which puts him in the midst of a heartless political machine?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BLITZ: "Deadly Kisses" - by Kerri Cuevas (Xpresso Book Tours)

We all remember our first kiss....kind of hard to forget.  Yet what if that kiss means something a little...different?  What if a kiss means you are a goner?  Or does it....

"Aiden Grant has a killer kiss.  Literally. And it’s not every reaper who gets to work with the Sixteenth President. Sure, Honest Abe likes to throw out history lessons with reaping assignments, but when you’re favored by the ancients, grim reaper life is pretty sweet for a newly dead seventeen-year-old.

Then things get messy.

Aiden is assigned to reap the soul of Bee, the only girl he has ever loved. When Aiden’s kiss of death fails, intertwining their souls, she is still very much alive and they are both in trouble. The ancients want Bee, who has special powers of her own, and they’ll do anything to get her.

Some rules are meant to be broken, even if that means Aiden must bargain with his own soul to save Bee. Who knew the afterlife could get so complicated?"

Deadly Kisses by Kerri Cuevas
Publication: March 5th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Kerri Cuevas was born and raised in Rhode Island. She moved to New Hampshire in 2005. When she's not writing, she's chasing chickens on her small farm or searching for the ultimate mac-a-cheese recipe.

Kerri went to college for Early Childhood Education but now writes books for young adults full-time. Her storytelling stems from watching too many horror flicks as a teen, but she no longer needs to sleep with the lights on.

Website  -  Goodreads -  Facebook - Twitter 

I think this book sounds really intriguing...but then again, one of my favorite shows is "Dead Like Me".  : )

From the author...
"And to celebrate the upcoming publication of Deadly Darkness, book 2 in the Deadly Kisses series (WiDo Publishing, 2014), I’m having a signed book giveaway with one original piece of artwork that will be signed by the artist (there are eight pieces to choose from).

BUT that’s not all. Butch agreed to do a FREE BOOK TRAILER for one lucky person interested in having one made for them. The offer will be good for one year. Good luck and see below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaways."


Giveaway #1 Signed book of Deadly Kisses and one original picture signed by the artist (there are 8 to choose from)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2 One Book Trailer (Good for one year)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 5, 2013

REVIEW - "Chasing Memories" (by Tia Silverthorne Bach) [Tribute Books Blog Tour]

"There isn’t another way; not now. The others are coming. I can’t let them have you…

Seventeen-year-old Reagan has a problem: She can’t remember what happened the night her brother was taken.

Now, the dreams haunting her from the incident are becoming more intense by the day. All the while, the lines between what’s real and what’s a product of her paranormal-obsessed mind are becoming blurred.

Is she losing her mind or has she just stepped into a world she thought only existed in books?

Caught in a web of worried parents, competing boys, Wiccan relatives, protective amulets, and psychiatrist babble, Reagan must determine the truth before it’s too late."

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Pages: 296
Publisher: self-published 
Release: May 22, 2013

Kindle buy link ($3.99)
Amazon paperback buy link ($12.99)
Barnes and Noble paperback buy link ($12.99)

Tia Silverthorne Bach is an avid reader, sometimes runner, involved wife and mother, and rabid grammar hound in addition to being a multi-genre writer. Her three daughters were born in Chicago, San Diego, and Baltimore; and she feels fortunate to have called many places home. She's the award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies, a coming of age story written with her mother. Tia's office is wherever her laptop takes her and any place that's conducive to allowing a wild imagination like hers to flourish.

Web Site  I  Author Blog   I  Book Review Blog   I   Facebook   I   Twitter    I   Goodreads - Tia   I   Goodreads - Book

Beware the things that go bump in the night...we are told this as very young children.  As we grow older, we learn bumps in the night are caused by things falling off shelves, jackets sliding to the floor, branches against the window....or are they??  What if those bumps have claws and fangs, and invade our dreams, making us truly wonder what happened to a loved one whose death and disappearance we can't quite remember?

The Good
Let's see.  A young lady named Reagan is living a typical teenage life filled with hot boyfriends, gossipy girl friends, high school drama, and the like.  Her family goes on a camping trip during the summer before her senior year of high school, a year of school for which she has planned for ages, and her life takes on a new shape.  

Supposedly attacked by a wild animal, Reagan wakes up to a new world of horrible nightmares, physical pain that disappears as she heals abnormally fast, and loss of memory surrounding the disappearance of her brother...oh, and some supernatural family drama and pesky psychiatrists.

I have a brother.  If he disappeared or died, I'd want to die as well.  In this I found a relatable character in Reagan.  Friends who are interested in all the "dirt" they can get their hands on?  Yep, can relate with that as well.  I was home schooled, so the high school drama I can only relate to in theory when compared with my college experience.  That all being said, the characters in this work are extremely relatable and likeable (well, for the most part).

The story line clips along at a fairly good pace.  Certain time frames that would add little to the plot are appropriately skipped over, while other bits receive much more attention.  The story wraps itself around readers' heartstrings and refused to let much so that when the book ended (on a cliffhanger, no less), my thought was the same as my thought when "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" was over: "That can't be the end!".  Well, yes, it can.  Bach wants us to read the rest of the books, after all.  :)

As a young adult book, this work reaches into life experiences age-peers to Reagan are experiencing at the same time, while throwing in some unexpected drama.  Reagan has a grandmother who can do things that are just a bit odd.  Eventually it comes out that she is a Wiccan.  How's that for a surprise?

Literary elements? The suspense is built well, characters are built fairly well, vocabulary is in keeping with the intended audience, etc.  It is a pretty good book.  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
Now, here is where I warn readers: do not get involved in Wiccan activities.  This book makes it look like all fun and games, white magic that helps and the like.  There is no such thing as white magic.  White magic leads very quickly to dark magic, which definitely should be avoided.  Yes, I believe in magic...but in a different form than many would attribute to the event.  Getting involved with Wiccan stuff is messing around with spiritual forces that should be left alone...completely alone.  These forces do not like human beings and will do anything and everything to undermine their thriving in whatever way possible.  If you want to chat with me about this, shoot me an email - I'm more than willing to chat about my views, beliefs, and knowledge about this topic.

Okay, back to the book.  : )  

While this is a good read, there are a few issues.  First, the characters are a tad flat.  This can happen in a young adult book sometimes, and it definitely happens here.  The main characters are fleshed out pretty well, just some other main characters are not...and that bugged me.  Perhaps they are fleshed out a bit more in the remaining books in the series.

Next, this book was a fast read.  This was a bugly in the sense that I was able to read it so fast that I'm afraid things were missed, simply because the language and sentence structure are so simple that it is a breeze to breeze through.

Next, this book was so aimed at its audience that those whom annoy members of that audience were painted in a very bad light.  Audience = young adults.  Who do young adults have conflict with?  Adults, of course.  Mothers, psychiatrists, school officials - all here are depicted in extremely negative lights with little time spent on figuring out their motivations (except for Mom).  I was annoyed by this as I work with at risk youth trying to show them how adults can be allies to their struggles, and I felt like this supported "adults wanna bring you down".

Overall this is a pretty quick, fairly good read. It did not make my Top 10 favorite books of all time, but there is pretty steep competition in my mind for that list (and it, of course, includes lots of canonical items).  There were good things about it, and bad things about it.  There's a petty major thing the main character is figuring out, and I don't want to spoil it...but it's a doozy!!  

Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5.


a Rafflecopter giveaway