Archive for February, 2017


Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World by P.F. Citizen One

A series of short, true life stories, which are the product of the travels and observations of one man. The stories are a miscellaneous collection of the funny and sad, of tragedy, love and friendship. And they are all, in a way, unexpected.
Unexpected takes you on a journey from a Brazilian working on the oil rigs of Venezuela, who gets the shock of his life, to the uplifting story of a Chinese beggar living on the streets, entertaining passers-by with his songs and surviving through the mercy and kindness of others.

There is a story for each of us in this book. Each one is subtly different and each carries either a message of hope for lost, or of caution for the unwary.

Unexpected is just that. Just as life is and just as the course of our lives run, at times unexpectedly.

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 P.F. Citizen One

Author’s Bio

Working as a Petroleum Engineer has enabled Citizen One to travel to many different countries. As a result, the stories feature characters from different cultures and nationalities- an element that adds excitement and variety to the stories.

Love, injustice, friendship are central themes throughout the book. Each story is unique and helps readers to be aware that regardless of what is going on in their lives, at any given time, something unexpected (good or bad) could completely change their life.



My Review

4 stars

This is a collection of seven stories from around the world. You will meet a man that cheats on his future wife and gets a surprise, a man that takes a joke too seriously, and some special biscuits. The stories are only a couple pages and all end differently than you expect them.

This is a great book when you have only a few minutes for a break. But it also makes you think about how other people behave and react. It’s true that we don’t know what happens to other people but this is a quick reminder that nothing in life is going to turn out like you expect.

If you are looking for a great, quick read I recommend you checking out this book. I can’t wait to see what P.F. Citizen One comes up with next.

I received Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced by opinion of this book.

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Revealing Nicola

Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever Tour Banner

Revealing Nicola

by Sam Cheever

February 21, 2017 Book Blast

Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever


She has to overcome a lifetime of secrets…the shock of discovery.

He must protect a treasure that has turned passion to hate… reason to incoherence.

Poisoned by danger, intrigue, lust, and greed…their very survival is in the balance.

Can they endure the conspiracy and find love? And if they do…will it be enough?

Book Details:

Genre:Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Electric Prose Publications
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 183
ISBN: 978-1-63587-971-1
Series: La Fortuna DeVitis #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | iTunes 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

A coughing sound engaged Franco’s training and he had her on the ground beneath him before the second shot was fired.

The roast chicken exploded, sending shredded meat across the table and raining over them.

Nici’s eyes were wide with fear. “What?”

“Stay down. Don’t move.”

He crawled off her, reaching for his piece as he positioned himself between the car and the table. From the trajectory of the shots, Franco figured the shooter had gone high, probably sitting in a tree to the south of their position. If Nic stayed down on the ground between the table and the Jeep she should be out of his range. But he had no intention of leaving her there.

He needed to get her into the car and out of that park as fast as he could.

Another shot sighed past, hitting the side of the car. Behind him, Nic yelped and he was afraid she’d been hit. “You all right?”

“Other than peeing myself? I’m just dandy. You need to get down, Franco. You’re going to get shot.”

He couldn’t help smiling as his gaze slid slowly along the perimeter. “I’m the bodyguard, remember? I’m the one who’s supposed to get shot.”

“Don’t even joke about that.”

There! A dark form shifted between the branches of a tree, seventy-five yards away. Franco dived to the ground as three rounds peppered the table, spewing food in a messy arc around them. “Damn! This guy’s good.”

“Well yeah, I can see he’s really pissed off at that potato salad.”

Franco barked out a laugh. “Keep it down back there. I’m trying to concentrate.”

“Well can you hurry? I really do have to pee and I’m thinking you don’t want me to squat right here.”

The words were light but her voice quavered with fear. He nodded. “You’re right. Let’s quit screwing around with these jerks. When I say ‘go’, I want you to roll over to the car and slide underneath it. Move as quickly as you can to the other side and climb in. Keep your head down.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll be right behind you.”


Franco lifted his head so he could see the guy in the tree. He hadn’t moved. He scanned the roads around the park and saw they were empty. Then he checked his magazine and found it half full. Hopefully it would be enough because his spare ammo was in the canvas bag in the back of the Jeep. He’d beat himself up for his carelessness later. At the moment he had bigger problems.

The SUV he’d seen driving past had pulled into position on the opposite side of the park, pinning them in.


He slid back down, assessing his options. “No good. They’ve got the other side of the car covered now.”

She sighed so long and hard he glanced her way. She was glaring at him. “I told you I needed my gun.”

He shook his head, thinking fast. There had to be some way… Franco shoved at the picnic table but it was bolted down. Too bad, he thought, it would have made a good shield while they climbed into the car. His gaze caught on the trash can beside the table. It was metal, hopefully filled with a nice depth of neutralizing trash. It wasn’t much but it was the best chance they had. “Okay, new plan. I’m going to lay down cover fire while you climb into the Jeep on this side. Lie down on the floor in the back.”

“Then how are you going to get in?”

“I’m going to use that trash can as a shield.”

Silence met his statement. “While shooting, opening the car door, and driving away?”

“I didn’t say it was a good plan.”

“Here’s a better one. Give me the gun. I’ll provide cover while you grab the can and we can both use it to get into the car.”

“Not a chance.”

“Dammit, Franco! What’s the point in my having all this self-defense training if nobody will let me use it?”

“That’s a last ditch plan.”

“This is about as last ditch as it gets, homey.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face. “I just gained new respect for your brother. If I was him I’d have introduced you to the nuclear wedgie at an early age.”

“Give me the gun, Franco.”

He would have liked to blow a hole in her plan. Unfortunately it was better than his. Dammit! “Okay. But try not to shoot me with it.”

She took the gun, ejected the mag like an expert, checked the rounds and slammed it back home. Then she sat up and slid across the grass to the table, peering over it. “That’s the shooter up there?”

“Yeah. You won’t be able to hit him but…”

Nic settled the muzzle of the gun onto the table and closed one eye.

“You shouldn’t close your eye…”

“Shut up, this works for me.”

“Okay, whatever, shoot the bad guy in the tree. Not the good guy sprinting toward the can. Got it?”

“Shoot the mouthy bodynapper with the can and gain myself some peace and quiet. Got it.”

“Lord help me.”

“Just go already, before these guys get restless.”

Right on cue, the Jeep jerked under a fresh round of bullets from the SUV. Franco glanced over the hood and saw that they were on the move. “The SUV’s coming on. We’ve got to do this now.”

“That’s what I said,” Nic murmured. She fired into the tree and Franco took off running.

Several more rounds sizzled through the air as he threw himself to the ground behind the can, some of them heading for him.

The can jerked under a couple of rounds, one of which went in high and passed straight through.
There was a yelp behind him. Panic flared. “Nic?”

“I’m fine. He just stomped on my last nerve.”

Franco grabbed the can and hunkered behind it as a fresh round of bullets slammed through the air toward the shooter in the tree. There was a yelp and a rifle pinwheeled through the air to the ground, followed by the darkly clad shooter.

“Well, damn.”

“Lose the can, Martin. Here come the bad guys.”

She opened the door and threw herself inside as the SUV barreled toward them, a gun sticking out of the front passenger side window. Franco flung himself into the Jeep, trying to keep low as he clambered into the driver’s seat, and turned the key, gunning it forward as soon as the engine caught. Bullets continued to ping off the metal sides and back. A back window shattered and glass sprayed over them.

Franco headed for a copse of massive evergreens, figuring the guys in the SUV would have a harder time hitting them with a bunch of trees around. They slipped under the drooping branches and the shower of bullets stopped as they barreled across a thick carpet of dried needles. The sharp tang of evergreen filled the car as he took a turn on two wheels and headed toward the back of the park, keeping sight of the SUV driving alongside the thicket. The big car was managing to stay even with them and the occasional tree trunk exploded under a wayward bullet.

Nici’s head popped up.

“Stay down.”

“Hit the street, there’s a delivery truck backing out of that driveway there.”

She was right. If they could tuck in behind the truck…

“Hold on!” He jerked the wheel hard right and the passenger side door squealed as it scraped along a row of trunks with prickly branches. They emerged from the evergreen copse and hit a sidewalk, heading straight for a hydrant.


He jumped as she squealed. “Stop that! You scared the crap out of me.” He jerked the wheel and the car missed the hydrant by inches, heading for a fat gray squirrel holding an acorn, its shiny brown eyes wide.


“Oh for god sakes!” He jerked the wheel again, barely missing the stupid rodent, and they dropped with a bang of tortured suspension into the street just as the boxy white truck started toward the intersection. Franco tucked the Jeep in on the opposite side of it, blocking them from the SUV’s view, and took the first turn into a large subdivision as the truck lumbered on down the street.

A few quick turns later brought them out of the subdivision and Franco headed for the highway, the SUV nowhere in sight.

Excerpt from Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever. Copyright © 2017 by Sam Cheever. Reproduced with permission from Sam Cheever. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven’t already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html Subscribe to Sam’s newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
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Website: www.SamCheever.com
Blog: http://samcheever.com/blog/
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Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sam Cheever. There will be 1 winners of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Giftcard. The giveaway begins on February 19th and runs through February 27th, 2017.

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Dreamslippers Series Boxed Set

By Lisa Brunette

Genre: Mystery, Female Sleuths, Romantic Suspense


“This might possibly be a ‘great book.’” – Sharon E. Leighton, a reader in Canada, on CAT IN THE FLOCK

“Lisa Brunette’s FRAMED AND BURNING is a brilliant, suspenseful whodunit…” – Anthony Award-winning writer of the Inspector Chen series, Qui Xiaolong

“The plot runs deep, and the characters are both quirky and interesting. This is a total whodunit mystery that will keep you on edge until the very end!” – Sage Adderley, on BOUND TO THE TRUTH


What if you could ‘slip’ into the dreams of a killer? This family of PIs can. They use their psychic dream ability to solve crimes, and that isn’t easy.

In Cat in the Flock…
Following a mother and girl on the run, apprentice dreamslipper Cat McCormick goes undercover inside a fundamentalist church. Is its enigmatic leader guilty of domestic violence? Did his right-hand man really commit suicide?

My review is coming soon.

In Framed and Burning…
It was supposed to be a much-needed vacation in Miami, meant to snap Cat out of a persistent depression. But when her great uncle’s studio goes up in flames, killing his assistant, Cat must find out who’s really to blame.

Check out my review here.

In Bound to the Truth…
The dreamslippers don’t quite trust their client. Did Nina Howell really fall under the spell of a domineering, conservative talk show host—as her wife claims?

PLUS explore Amazing Grace’s back story in the bonus story found ONLY in this boxed set!

Check out my review here.

For readers who enjoy strong female leads, quirky, well-developed characters, and a dash of dating drama with their mystery. Fans of J.A. Jance, Mary Daheim, and Jayne Ann Krentz will love Cat and “Amazing” Grace!



About the Author

Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne du Maurier and Taylor Caldwell.

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

Follow Lisa online:

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The author is hosting a HUGE giveaway:

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A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr

Book Details:

Book Title: A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult fiction,  430 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  Jan 31, 2017

After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Audible  ~  Barnes and Noble  ~  Goodreads

Lauren Carr

Author’s Bio

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Post

Ten Fun Facts about the Thorny Rose Detectives

By Lauren Carr

  • Lieutenant Murphy Thornton USN of Lauren Carr’s Thorny Rose Mystery series is the son of Joshua Thornton of the Lovers in Crime Mystery series. Fans of Lauren Carr’s mysteries may have first been introduced to Murphy in her first two books A Small Case of Murder and A Reunion to Die For. In those two books, Murphy was only seventeen years old. He has since grown up.
  • The female half of the Thorny Rose couple is Jessica Faraday, the only daughter of Mac Faraday of Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mystery series. Lauren Carr fans may remember briefly meeting Jessica in Old Loves Die Hard in which her and Tristan’s mother was murdered.
  • Murphy met Jessica when he foiled a kidnapping attempt in Three Days to Forever.
  • Murphy has an identical twin, Joshua Thornton Jr (J.J.), who is seven minutes older. J.J. was featured in Killer in the Band (Lovers in Crime Mystery). Murphy and J.J. are mirror twins, meaning they are truly mirror images of each other. For this reason, J.J.’s heart, liver, and spleen are on the opposite side of his body from Murphy’s.
  • Health conscious Murphy is a pescetarian, a vegetarian who eats fish. He also avoids alcohol, caffeine, processed sugar, and dairy products. Jessica drinks coffee loaded with gourmet creamer, sugar, and eats chocolate pop-tarts for breakfast.
  • Jessica named her pure bred blue merle Shetland sheepdog Spencer after her grandmother, the late mystery writer Robin Spencer. Murphy calls the sheltie Candi after his first girlfriend who kissed and loved everybody—especially the basketball team.
  • Newman, Murphy’s Basset Hound is a forty-five-pound couch potato who came with Murphy’s first apartment in Washington DC. Newman came with the worn recliner, left by a fellow navy officer sent overseas, that the mixed breed calls his home.
  • A television addict, Newman taught himself how to work the television remote.
  • Jessica’s younger brother, Tristan, is dating Murphy’s younger sister Sarah, a midshipman at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. An undergraduate at George Washington University, Tristan works as an intern at the Smithsonian Museum. They met at Jessica and Murphy’s wedding in Three Days to Forever.
  • Jessica and Murphy have a virtual butler named Nigel, the central computer that manages their smart house. A prototype, Nigel was designed by a team of computer experts, which included Tristan. In addition to controlling the house’s lighting, temperature, and pantry management, Nigel also manages the estate’s security, as illustrated in Candidate for Murder when the virtual butler and Gnarly the German shepherd take on a team of black ops assassins.



One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally)

Ends April 22

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I See You


I See You by Clare Mackintosh

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

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 Clare Mackintosh psychological thriller author

Author’s Bio

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their three children.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times bestseller and was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, and was the winning title of the readers’ vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV’s Loose Women’s Loose Books. Her second novel, I See You, is a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Clare’s books are translated into more than 30 languages.

Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.

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My Review

4 stars

Zoe Walker is riding on the train when it breaks down. To help waste the time she reads sections of the newspaper that she normal doesn’t. There she finds a picture of herself in the classified ads with a phone number and a website that doesn’t go anywhere. She brings this to the attention of her family but they just pass it off as someone else looking like her. The next day a similar ad is in the newspaper but it has the picture of a different woman, on that later turns up dead, then another one. Kelly Swift is the disgraced police officer that this case is assigned. She is trying to gain her place in the force after a previous case. Will they be able to stop the killer before another woman loses her life?

Just the knowledge that no matter what you do you are on a camera somewhere is creepy. With advancements in technology it is meant to keep us safe, but how can that be used against us? This is a story of just that idea. It seems stalking has taken on a new level when you don’t have to go out to find someone. Someone has taken this idea and is now connecting stalkers to victims.

This is a scary idea when you think about how much people spend behind a computer for everything from work, games, porn, and more. This book fits right into this idea. What would you do if you found yourself in Zoe’s place? How would you get the police to listen? It give me the creeps just thinking about it. This is a good thriller. I will be looking out for other books by Clare Mackintosh.

I received I See You from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Aeschylus


The Aeschylus by David Barclay

Two hundred and fifty oil workers mysteriously vanish from the offshore Aeschylus drilling platform without a trace. Production stops. Communications cease. The Valley Oil Corporation finds itself on the brink of disaster and prepares to send an investigative team deep into the south Atlantic.

Kate McCreedy, daughter of the late U.S. Vice President, is whisked into a secret board meeting shortly after inheriting a windfall of Valley Oil stock. Her father not only left her his fortune, however, but an envelope containing covert satellite images of The Aeschylus. Believing the images are linked to the developing crisis, she volunteers to join the team.

Upon arrival, they discover the platform is overgrown with a massive, tentacle-like fungus, and the missing workers are nowhere to be found. Kate delves deeper into the mystery, discovering a nearby island, an abandoned military base, and a secret dating back some eighty years. It’s not long before she must make a choice: assist in a corporate cover-up, or destroy her family legacy with the truth.

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 David  Barclay

Author’s Bio

David Barclay lives in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Kristen Merry Ravenell. His short fiction has appeared in Infernal Ink, Acidic Fiction, and in audio format on The Manor House podcast. The Aeschylus is his first novel.

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My Review

4 stars

Kate McCreddy’s father, the vice principal of the USA, has recently died. Besides being the vice-president, he was also a board member of Valley Oil, the same company she works for. With his passing, he has willed his stocks to Kate. But something has happened to the Aeschylus platform. Two hundred and fifty men have disappeared, the platform has been destroyed, and a strange black growth is all over. Kate flies in with a former security manager and a Black Shadow group to figure out what happened.

At the same time we follow along with two scientists and ones two daughters as they are captured by Nazi’s. There is an island with a strange black growth that they want them to figure out how to control it. But there has to be more to the demand than just the black growth. With the top scientists in several fields at the island, it is clear that the Nazi’s have something bigger planned.

This is an interesting story told from two time frames. Clearly something in 1938 that the Nazi’s did relates to the present day damage to the Aeschylus oil platform. Katie might come from an influential family but she is determined to make her own way in the world. When she learns of her inheritance in Village Oil and decides that she should go on the scouting mission to figure out the big picture.

There is more to the story of the Aeschylus when they find a survivor and learn that the damage did not take 24 hours but much longer. There are also several other groups involved and it becomes clear that someone wants to cover up the whole incident.

Then there is the story with the Nazi’s. Something is clearly happening and they want to use it as a weapon. This story progresses along with the Aeschylus and seem to be linked. Reading this was almost like watching a horror movie. You know that something bad was going to happen but you were curious at the progression of the story.

Over all this is not a bad story. It seemed to take it’s time to build up steam. Because of that I admit that I had a hard time sticking with the story. But once everything got rolling then it was easier to keep reading the book. It was well worth sticking with it just for the conclusion. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for other books from David Barclay.


I received The Aeschylus from Candid Book Reviews for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Walk Away


Walk Away (Camaro Espinoza – 2) by Sam Hawken

Former combat medic Camaro Espinoza is trying to put her past behind her. She knows she’s done bad things – but they were always for good reasons.

Then her calm, anonymous life is interrupted by a distress call from her sister Annabel. She’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with petty criminal Jake Collier, and she needs Camaro’s help.

Camaro has always protected Annabel, and she won’t stop now. But the situation is more dangerous than she realises. Jake has a sibling of his own, an ex-Marine named Lukas who is as unhinged as Camaro is uncompromising. And he and Jake are planning a much bigger crime.

As the federal marshals pick up Lukas’s trail, and a bounty hunter with a debt to settle closes in, Camaro’s smart enough to know that standing her ground is the last thing she should do. But even with a freight train like Lukas barrelling towards her, if there’s one thing she can’t do, it’s walk away.

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 Sam Hawken

Author’s Bio

Sam Hawken is the best-selling and Crime Writers Association Dagger-nominated author of the Camaro Espinoza thriller series, as well as the critically acclaimed Borderland Trilogy.

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My Review

5 stars

Camaro Espinoza is trying to adjust to civilian life when she gets a coded message from her estranged sister Annabel. It seems that Annabel’s boyfriend Jake knows that she has some money and has plans for that money. Camaro goes to help out her sister but learns that Jake has a brother that is an ex-marine, Lukas on his side. But that is not all, there are others that are out to get Jake and Annabell. Camaro definitely has her hands full trying to protect her sister and neice.

Camaro is a kick ass woman that is a former marine nurse. She has training to heal and to kill and a soft spot in her heart for her sister, even if they are estranged. Of course she is going to go help Annabel. But there is so much more going on that is going to keep Camaro on her toes if she plans on keeping everyone safe.

I love a great female lead that doesn’t deal with nonsense. She knows what needs to be done and does it. This is a great thriller as you follow along as Camaro tries to stop Jake and Lukas. I have not read the first book or the novella about Camaro but after reading Walk Away I will be definitely be checking them out.

I received Walk Away from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Healing of Howard Brown



The Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison

“This is your last chance to do something right, son. Don’t screw it up.” With these words ringing in his 60-year old ears, Howard Brown, Jr., sets out from Kentfield, California to find his wayward and possibly psychotic sister and return her to their dying father’s bedside. The search leads him to the Brown family’s ancestral home near St. Francisville, Louisiana, where his Southern cousins have apparently conspired with his sister to bilk him out his inherited, potentially oil-rich property. At the same time, he discovers that a long dormant birthmark in his sternum is a portal to the land of the dead. His consciousness is suddenly inundated with terrifying visions of murderous rebels, bloodthirsty zombies, and visitations from a rogue’s gallery of twisted ancestors, until he fears that he is just as crazy as his sister and everybody else in their labyrinthine family. Wounded to his core, doped up and strung out, Howard discovers that his salvation is beating loud and clear within his own weary heart, and that all he has to do is listen.

The Healing of Howard Brown is a capacious and energetic family saga of self-discovery, delivered with an authentic voice that is supple, smart, somber, witty, ironic, self-revealing, self-doubting, and wonderfully lyrical. Themes of family, trust and responsibility to others, the national as well as personal past, and the life of the spirit resound throughout, with a cultural resonance involving class and race, the North and the South, the definition of masculine identity, and, centrally, the nature of mature love in a multitude of relationships–husband-wife, brother-sister, father-son– in the face of a debilitating mental illness that runs like a poison vein through the family tree.

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 Jeb Stewart Harrison

Author’s Bio

I’ve been involved in a wide range of creative endeavors throughout my career. As a professional writer, I’ve written novels, short fiction, ad copy, brochures, radio and television spots, video scripts, film treatments, interactive scripts, articles and all things social media. In addition to writing prose, I’ve written dozens of pop songs that have received airplay on college and alternative radio stations around the world, (and now iTunes and Pandora Internet Radio), and have performed in sleazy bars and concert halls alike. I also paint landscapes in oil of my beautiful home in Marin County, California and and have sold over 30 original pieces over the past several years.


“But what does he do for money?” That and more questions are answered here, along with bounteous information about HACK and it’s evil creator.

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My Review

5 stars

Howard Brown is a sixty year old retired high school English teacher. He has just lived with his father in his final moments of cancer. With his passing, it is up to Howard to return to the family plantation to find his sister, Sisi that disappeared years earlier. But as Howard makes his way to St. Francisville, Louisiana and revisits his home, family, and those that still live there, Howard starts making discoveries of his own.

Howard comes from a family with lots of trouble from alcohol, drug use, mental illness, abuse, and so much more. Howard has been living his life but with the passing of his father he has to reach out and deal with all that he has been ignoring. Just that makes this a wonderful story of healing. But then there is Sisi and his cousins. Is Sisi as crazy as she appears or does she have her own plan? And what is it about the possibility of oil on the family plantation?

The Healing of Howard Brown is not one of my usual reads but I when I was asked to take part in the tour I was interested. I’m so happy that I read this book. It is beautifully written, wonderful imagery, and has such a heartwarming story as you follow along with Howard healing from the past. This is a wonderful story and one that I strongly recommend.


I received The Healing of Howard Brown from Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.



3 Odes to Mr. Booper

My name is Howard Brown and that is what I am called. Not Howie, not Hal (that’s my father, not me), not Harry, especially not Harry. Not Ward. Not Brownie or HB. Not even Junior, or at least not anymore, except by my sister who used it just because nobody else did. For thirty years I answered to “Coach,” and still do when one of my ex-hoopsters or students spy me buying smokes at the Seven Eleven.  I don’t mind still being “Coach;” it conjures a vision of youthful vitality that, like clean living, has all but faded from my view. In truth, I remember getting out of the shower, just a few days after my father’s miraculous change of plan, and almost fainting at the sight of my supersized old man-boobs in the mirror. Had there been a scalpel handy, I might have performed a spontaneous double self-mastectomy. It was a moment of truth that I’ll never forget: standing before myself in the mirror, praying for the miracle of booblessness and wondering how the fuck did you get so old?

Outside observers might have accused my Mom, Marjorie Brown nee Evans, of negligence in the matter of my potential existence long before I was born. The seeds of her negligence were not just seeds; they were chocolate covered peanuts, specifically. And candy bars, cookies, glazed jelly donuts, pistachio ice cream, pineapple upside down cake, potato chips, corn dogs, cheeseburgers, and every sort of crap a girl could stuff into her pudgy cheeks on a Lake Michigan beach in Evanston, Illinois, 1934. My mother, Marjorie Brown, told me with pride that she was once referred to as “Large Marge,” “Marge the Barge,” “Heavy Evans” and just plain “fatso” in the schoolyard, the Indian Hills swimming pool and the Johnson Street Beach.

But when her hormones, kicked in and she began take an interest in boys the eating abruptly stopped. All manner of eating. Two years later, at sixteen, she became a model for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and started to show up on local billboard and magazine ads, always bearing plenty of leg and a tight sweater. “Large Marge” was now “Take Charge Marge:” the miracle weight loss model of Chicago.

Unfortunately, when it came time to make babies my mother’s famous figure was not be tampered with. Fueled by a steady diet of scotch, cigarettes and Librium, she gained just 11 pounds, five of which were me, a grossly underdeveloped wet rat with a disturbing hole the size of a dime in my sternum. Much later I was told that this mysterious hole brought about an endless battery of medical tests for the first year of my life and that my parents fretted over it to distraction. Later, when I started to get a handle on language, I learned that my mother referred to my hole as my “chown hoon dong,” though it would be many years before I knew what that meant. Had I known how that little hole would wreak havoc upon my life, I might have asked for it to be plugged up with something. Chewing gum. Concrete. A dog turd. Anything!

Then I started to grow, and grow, and grow some more at an unusually rapid clip. At 10 years old I was five feet, nine inches. At 12 I was six-two. At 15 I was six-six, 160 pounds; one of those skinny guys that disappears when they turn sideways. And I was so hopelessly uncoordinated I couldn’t even walk down the street without falling all over myself. Now, I see it as the beginning of what was to be a long, acrimonious, dysfunctional relationship with my body; a body that seemed to have a mind of it’s own, completely independent of the supposed control panel in my cranium.

It started with the hole in my sternum. Then, when I was around 11, an orthopedic surgeon noticed my unusually upright stance on the putting green and announced to my father that I had a serious back problem. Later, tests revealed that a crucial factory part – the “Scotty’s Collar” – had failed to fully develop in my lumbar vertebrae. Or it became deformed as a result of playing too much golf during my remarkable growth spurt.   Regardless of the cause, the doctor ruled out contact sports (much to the chagrin of the football coach, who figured all I had to do was stand in front of the opposing quarterback with my arms raised) lest my spine crack and confine me to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Basketball was okay – hoops being a different game in those days – even though I had a hard time running from one end of the court to the other without falling on my face. Golf was never in question, regardless of my broken back. It was what Howard Browns did, period. I imagine that even if I had been born with my head screwed on backwards, golf would still have been okay.

Golf exacerbated my back problems, of course. So did everything else. By the time I retired from teaching at 55 everything I did, from taking out the trash to sweeping the patio, caused excruciating pain, accompanied by lightning bolts shooting down my thighs. I felt supremely gypped. I had been looking forward to retirement, albeit in a rather vague and hazy way: I would get back to my landscape paintings, practice my guitar, walk Mr. Booper in the watershed, hone my cooking skills, tinker in the tool shed, putter in the garden, and join a men’s group. Instead, I was afraid to move.

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Heartache and Sin



Heartache & Sin
By Charles Soto
Genre: Suspense, Drama

When a Midwestern farming town is hit hard by a crop-destroying drought, people are willing to put their faith into anything that might bring them some relief.

Steven Wheaton is burdened by the effects of the drought on his farm, and heartbroken knowing that the chances of starting a family with his wife Karen have been damaged by her recent diabetes diagnosis.

Devastated, Karen turns to the new pastor in town, looking for faith and guidance…but even her relationship with God cannot fill the void in her life.

When ulterior motives collide with harrowing miracles, where does the line between good and evil begin?

Amazon     Goodreads


Author’s Bio

Charles Soto is a moving and unconventional fiction author of Heartache & Sin, The friend Request, Pride and a Prayer and the ghost writer of the Auto-Biography, Frias with Love (Where we come from, where we went).

Along with his diversity as an author and his capabilities of writing in a profound array of genres, his talents as a sculptor and expertise in the painting and decorating field has enabled him to supervise such projects as the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, NV., Pantageous Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis, MN., as well as many more iconic Structures.

Charles Soto was born in Las Vegas NV., and throughout his childhood was raised in the Bay Area of Alameda County on the outskirts of San Francisco, CA. He now lives in Northern Minnesota with his wife of thirty years and their two daughters.

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I would like to say thank you to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to be part of this tour.


Writing has always been an influential part of my life. Even in my early years of childhood I can remember staying up into the wee hours of the next morning writing juvenile stories, anticipating the moment when I could share them with my parents. The satisfaction I received was more than intrigue. It brought me a sense of accomplishment that still to this day I can find nothing to replace it.

True, the literary world is a far cry from the Painting/Decorating profession I relied on for the majority my life. Whether I was supervising the finishing trades on magnificent projects, such as the MGM Grand Casino & Hotel or Penthouse Expansions on top of Caesar’s Palace in, Las Vegas, NV.  The challenges and achievements that reflect in my passion I hold just as rewarding as my success in writing.

Through decades of my life, I had always struggled with writing. It called to me and held me prisoner until I would finally abide by its conscience, surrendering any spare time and the long hours it takes to write a novel.

The hard facts were always there. Time was a virtue I rarely took for granted. Besides supervising enormous construction projects, I was a father and a husband and my time was always spoken for. But still, I never took writing stories for granted and would often find myself working on my novels into the early am hours of the next morning. Recalling visions of my childhood and any chance I had to write. It still astonishes me, and in some ways I hold sacred, how the power of words can grip your soul and adhere to your conscience. To make you understand and accept and interpret its meaning.

I have other passions of course, from building our own home, with wood elevators and giant tropical fish tanks embedded into the walls, I have in inspiration for the arts. I learned at an early age how to create sculptures, using ceramic mediums and alabaster stone. The creativity aspects always came easy for me, and I feel blessed to have a family that understands my passion.

For decades I wrote and learned my craft. No matter how hard the challenge or how much I failed, I refused to give up on something I found so rewarding.

I learned that writing is more than just words. It’s putting yourself out there and challenging yourself for the entire world to view. Regardless of what others interpret, you have to risk your own sense of worth to reveal the person you are inside.

It still amazes me how far I have come since my early years of trying to write a novel. The thought of writing a book can be overwhelming and at times frustrating. But, I learned to place the magnitude of that in the same way as I did in my construction profession—one brick at a time.

First, I decide what kind of book to write. The same way you would, what kind of home do I want? I place each sentence on that same foundation as I would a stud for my walls. I build my paragraphs to support my chapters. Like load baring walls. Each serving a purpose like the rooms in your home. It’s a funny analogy I guess, but it’s how I look at it. It helps me to navigate where I want my story to go and guides my readers for what I hope they’ll interpret.

It wasn’t until I had a horrible accident at work when I finally focused on my writing—I mean truly focus. I fell three stories to a cement parapet below and suffered a broken leg and severe concussion. It took me years to recover and it still amazes me I survived such a drastic fall, let alone recovering to the full state of condition I was before the accident. But, ever since that day, I had never looked back on my writing and had only pushed forward.

Besides my family, writing became the most important thing to me after that. Time became my friend instead of enemy and when I write the hours seem to slip away and I get lost in my imagination. Most times I’ll spend twelve to fourteen hours a day in front of my lap top working on a novel, not even realizing where the day has gone. I like those days. It means the story is maturing and the characters are coming to life.

I read various authors and genres. But, when I think about the people who inspired me in writing it always comes from prose and the lyrics in music. Great lyricists like, Jim Morris, Bob Dylan and Freddie Mercury always grabbed my attention and made me think. When I first listened to the master of space, lyricist and drummer, Neal Peart my imagination held no boundary. He inspired me to sore and reach the outer limits of my conscience. I bonded to his words of praise, ‘success is not the work of spontaneous combustion…you must set yourself on fire.’ I tried to live by that theory and keep in mind that the most important substance of writing is…without no one to read, words serve no purpose.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I would love to hear your feedback and what you think of my novel, Heartache & Sin. If you have a chance look me up on face book or find me on twitter. You can even visit my website AuthorCharlesSoto.com to get to know me better.

Charles Soto/Heartache & Sin

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A Ghostly Reunion


A Ghostly Reunion (Ghostly Southern Mysteries – 5) by Tonya Kappes

Emma Lee Raines sees dead people

Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.

There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.

But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 Tonya Kappes

Author’s Bio

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Website     Faebook     Twitter


My Review

5 stars

Emma Lee Raines, owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, sees the murdered dead after a conk to the head and they need her help to cross over. This time Emma is getting ready to attend a high school reunion when she discovers her nemesis from high school is going to be there. Jade Lee Peel is a prom queen turned reality star and not going to let anyone forget. Then she turns up dead and starts bothering Emma to find her killer. But something is going on, Emma doesn’t share any information and even try to be helpful.

This is a great little cozy mystery. Emma is a sweet lady that would rather someone think her looney than admit she talks to ghosts. The only way to get Jade out of her hair pronto is to get her to the other side, willingly or not.

This is a great story that had me guessing throughout the book. But I love the location of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky and all the colorful people that live in this little town. I was laughing so hard at Emma talking to Jade and trying to not let those around her know what was going on.

This is the first book I have read from Tonya Kappes but it will NOT be my last one.

I received A Ghostly Reunion from Partners in Crime for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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