Monthly Archives: July 2015

Book Launch! FINDING US

Finding Us RELEASE DAY

Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: Finding Us (A Nucci Securities Novel)
Author: Debra Presley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 31, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Pop star Abby Murphy is living every girl’s dream. She has fame, fortune, and a handsome boyfriend, a guitar player named Sean. That changes the night she finds him in the arms of another woman. Hurt and betrayed, Abby ends their relationship. But Sean won’t accept the breakup, and she soon learns that he’s had a hidden agenda all along. Overnight, Sean transforms from loving boyfriend to dangerous adversary, and Abby no longer knows who she can trust among her friends and family.

Abby turns to her bodyguard, Danny Nucci, a man who will do everything in his power to keep her safe. But when Abby realizes her feelings for Danny run much deeper than she thought, she refuses to give in to her attraction in order to preserve her new found independence as well as protect Danny from Sean’s machinations.

When Abby finally finds the strength to reclaim her life and acknowledge her growing love for Danny, will she be able to let him in? And will Danny be able to overcome his own demons to be the man she needs him to be? Or will she be forced to let him go forever?

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Meet the Author

DebraPresleyButton.4Debra is a native New Yorker who made her escape to the suburbs. She often returns to her hometown to visit her favorite deli for a bagel with butter, because there’s no better bagel than a New York bagel. When not in search of bagels, Debra spends her time running Book Enthusiast Promotions, an online promotions company that helps indie authors spread the word about their books. She’s also the owner of The Book Enthusiast blog.

She started writing lyrics in her wall-to-wall NKOTB bedroom at the tender age of thirteen while dreaming of the day she’d become Mrs. Jordan Knight. That dream never came to fruition, but she has continued to write. Now she’s working on her first novel.

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Review: BLOOD FEST–CURSING FATE

* A review of the first book in Pepper O’Neal’s Blood Fest series, Chasing Destiny, appeared HERE  yesterday. Also, to enjoy my interview with the author, which took place a few months back, click HERE.

Blood Fest: Cursing Fate

Blood Fest: Cursing Fate

A young tiger shifter escapes from a Lithuanian brothel only to risk her hard-won freedom (and her life) when she returns to put an end to the operation.

I received a print copy of the first book in this series, BLOOD FEST: CHASING DESTINY, from the author and loved it so much I immediately downloaded CURSING FATE and read it straight through the night. Almost everything works in this book. From page one, we care intensely about Tabby and the three youngsters she takes with her when she breaks out of sexual bondage and travels across Europe to the safety of England. She heads there because it’s the home of her only living relative. Chase Alcott–now Fernwood–is the heroine of CHASING DESTINY.

Before she can meet Chase, Tabby must face the leader of the local Weretiger pride. Drake Gatos and Gray, his second in command, were in book one, and it’s great to see them play a more central part in the action. The romantic tension between Tabby and Drake is palpable. The erotic aspect builds more slowly. This is good call by author Pepper O’Neal, as it aligns with the horrific nature of Tabby’s background. Total trust between the pair takes even more work. Tabby has a plan to destroy the brothel once and for all, and she knows overprotective (and kind of overbearing) Drake will try to leave her out of the mission.

Drake is a little thick-headed about things. For me, the only rough spot in the book was watching his missteps with Tabby. I know it was all in the service of telling an exciting story. But he’s such a dolt at one point, that it wasn’t only Gray who wanted to beat the stuffing out him.

It’s a testament to O’Neal’s skill at creating believable characters that the INSANE secret plan Tabby and Chase come up to destroy the brothel seems reasonable. Of course, the operation doesn’t go quite as they imagined, which means lots of action and suspense for readers. It also provides a chance to meet up with Danyer, head of the Los Angeles pride. He’s a favorite of mine from book one, and I hope he eventually gets to star in a Blood Fest book.

The climax is a nail biter. Even better, we’re left with a brand new mystery. Why does Echo, one of the female weres Tabby saved, beg the others not to contact her family now that she’s free?

Book three, where are you?????

Review: BLOOD FEST–CHASING DESTINY

*I received a copy of this book for review purposes.
** A video version of this review was posted on Amazon. You can view it HERE.

I’ve been fortunate enough to feature Pepper O’Neal’s work before, and scored a meaty interview with the author about her writing process and upcoming projects. Catch it HERE.

Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny

Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny

A female PI travels from L.A. to England on a case unaware of her unique heritage or the danger it places her in.

Chase Alcott has no idea that she’s not human. Or that her Weretiger nature is about to burst out full force. Roman Fernwood is a werewolf-vampire hybrid who wants to discover the truth behind a recent death at his estate. His father hires Chase and her partner to investigate. Roman knows at once that she’s going to bring him nothing but trouble once the local Weres discover her existence, yet he can’t help being attracted to her. What follows is a paranormal romance full of action, mystery, and plenty of passion.

Three different Weretiger Prides lay claim to Chase, the one near Roman’s estate, one in Los Angeles, and one in Lithuania. This last one is a nightmare. It’s also the one she was born into, and the leader has good reason to want her back.

Chase is funny and full of sharp edges that hide a loss buried so deeply, even she is unaware of it until the trip to England. She gets a nice match in Roman. He’s less annoying than most alpha heroes. He also doesn’t try very hard to avoid falling for her.

Pepper O’Neal puts Chase into some tight spots. There’s a section toward the end when she’s imprisoned by the villain that had me on edge. The settings are all well done. Whether L.A., Roman’s estate, or the moors of Scotland, I felt transported there. The whole book provides a truly immersive experience.

Roman takes too long to figure out who the villain is. We readers learn the “who” if not the “why” before he does. But the book has a killer climax. And there’s so much more to appreciate about the story than I can cover here. Such as Drake Gatos, head of the local Weretiger pride, and his number two, Gray. Great characters. Also, Chase’s partner. David is so funny and full of life.

BLOOD FEST: CHASING DESTINY had me so worked up by the end, that I rushed to download the second book in the series CURSING FATE. Not a free gift from the author, by the way. And well worth the price. I cannot wait for the third book.

Review: THE LAST CONVERT

When the death of a family friend leads journalist Lukas Novak to investigate a cluster of strange deaths in a nursing home, he uncovers a diabolical scheme with roots deep in the past.

The Last Convert: A Lukas Novak Mystery (The HemiHelix Effect Book 1)

The Last Convert: A Lukas Novak Mystery

This is a prequel to Match Games, a full length Lukas Novak mystery. That book kept me on my toes from first page to last. You can read my review HERE.  The Last Convert has the same complex characterization and an equally intricate plot. We get to meet Lukas in a dark hour. His marriage is over and his wife is bent on alienating him from his children and ruining him financially. Poor guy can’t take a breath without fear that something negative will be reported back to her attorney and used to bankrupt him. To be fair, Lukas has spent his whole marriage hiding the fortune he inherited from his famous brother, a rock star whose recordings still bring in a tidy sum long after his unhappy death.

The point here is that Lukas is in a fragile frame of mind as the book opens during the funeral of a close friend. This emotional vulnerability clouds his judgement as he investigates the events surrounding the man’s death and the surprising beneficiaries of his will. I don’t want to tell too much. I’ll just say Lukas isn’t prepared for the extent of the conspiracy he’s stumbled upon. Nor is he aware how deep in the past the seeds of the crime are buried. The villain behind it all isn’t just some murdering con man out to get his hands on the victims’ worldly goods. There’s a deep pathology involved. A terrible history that will repeat and repeat unless Lukas can put a stop to it. And it’s not clear that he’ll be able to do that.

It’s amazing to me how much character and suspense Schirmer packs into this relatively short work. Yet the pacing is right on. There’s no sense that she’s cramming in plot points or forcing the action.

THE LAST CONVERT is a gritty and action-packed thriller that will keep your heart pounding until the very end.

Review: DUELING MOONS

When journalist Pat Wyatt and her werewolf lover flee Louisiana to escape her otherworldly ex husband, they never expect to face an even more dangerous foe.

Dueling Moons: A Pat Wyatt Novel (The Pat Wyatt Series Book 2)

Dueling Moons: A Pat Wyatt Novel

Sexy and sarcastic Pat is back in all her bad-tempered splendor in this follow up to GRAVEYARD SHIFTS. As the book opens, her new life in bayou country isn’t going as planned. Her obsessive ex has a long reach, and he’s basically left Mike-the-werewolf without the proverbial pot to you-know-what in and also without the means to earn money for another. Meanwhile, Pat’s new boss is a misogynistic pain in the neck, who nevertheless begins to pursue her in a most unprofessional manner.

It turns out that Pat has more to worry about than a complicated love life. Seems someone’s out to kill her. Her ex is at the top of her suspect list, but things aren’t what they appear, and Pat must face the hard truth that some battles must be fought even if they are unwinnable.

It was great meeting up with the characters from the first book. Laura Del adds to what we know about them…or shows us how we didn’t know them at all. New flaws and new strengths make for plenty of exciting conflict. Pat is tested on so many levels, it’s hard to bear at times. You just feel so bad for the girl. I do wish the identity of the main villain was kept a mystery for a little longer. I think this would have made the book even scarier. The climax manages to tie up enough of the plot to be satisfying, while still leaving plenty to look forward to in the next installment.

I enjoyed DUELING MOONS. It’s a perfect mix of laughs, chills and tears.

Review: FROM PIGTAILS TO CHIN HAIRS

Memoir of a mid-western childhood and the author’s experiences with marriage and family.

From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir & More

From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir & More

Becky Lewellen Povich writes in a humorous, conversational style that pokes fun at herself and her subjects even while hitting on points of deep truth and honest emotion. She starts with her earliest memories and travels through her own girlhood with an objective and generally forgiving eye. And it isn’t all Golden Oldies, television shows, and trips to grandma’s house. A sudden and painful divorce not only robbed the author of her father, who moved away, but also of her mother, a difficult and complicated personality.

Through Llewellen Povich’s poignant recollections, we witness how her efforts to rebel against her mother’s smothering hold lead to a hasty first marriage and early motherhood. The union ends with a dramatic escape by mother and child from an army base in Germany. Years later, the author would enjoy a more successful partnership. Though even a happy marriage isn’t insulation against life’s tragedies, as we learn through Lewellen Povich’s story of flying home after seeing her terminally ill older sister, a person who repeatedly stepped into the breach with the emotional support that their mother wouldn’t or couldn’t provide.

The chapters of this memoir are presented in roughly chronological order, but one doesn’t necessarily directly lead to the next in terms of topic. Lewellen Povich’s recollections meander a bit, the way human memory does as we look back and try to make sense of the people and experiences that weave in and out of our lives. Yet, despite the skipping from episode to episode, the author’s chipper voice and honest spirit provide a continuous thread that guides the reader through. The only portion that I personally would have left out are the writing exercises at the very end. Interesting as they are, they don’t seem to fully mesh with the larger narrative.

Overall, I enjoyed FROM PIGTAILS TO CHIN HAIRS. It demonstrates the importance of our own particular lives and the power of memory.

Cover Reveal: MAMARAZZI

Mamarazzi Cover Reveal

 

Mamarazzi

By Brooke Williams

Release Date: September 11, 2015 from Prism Book Group

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Pre-Order HERE

Join the Sept. 15th Release Day Party on Facebook HERE

Enjoy giveaways with a dozen different authors!

 

Danica Bennett isn’t sure what she hates more…her job or the fact that she’s good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she’s falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

 

Add “Mamarazzi” to your Goodreads list HERE

 

 

About the Author

 

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Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.”  Brooke is also the author of “Accept this Dandelion,” “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,”  “Beyond the Bars.” She plans to continue the Dandelion story into a series and looks forward to her first children’s book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).

 

Connect with Brooke:

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Review: SULTRY GROOVE

I love Eden Summers’s Reckless Beat rock romances. SULTRY GROOVE is number four. Here’s a list of the other books in the series. Click on the title to read my reviews:

BLIND ATTRACTION (#1 Mitch and Alana)
PASSIONATE ADDICTION (#2 Blake and Gabi)
RECKLESS WEEKEND (# 2.5 novella)
UNDESIRED LUST (#3 Mason and Sydney)

Sultry Groove (Reckless Beat, #4)

Sultry Groove
Nursing a passion for his best friend’s girl, Reckless Beat drummer Sean Taiden needs a distraction and makes a play for a choreographer, but Melody Jenkins has secrets of her own.

It sure is nice to be back with the Reckless Beat gang. In SULTRY GROOVE, we’re still dealing with the aftermath of the Mason-Sydney-Sean scandal explored in UNDESIRED LUST. Sean, odd man out now that Sydney and Mason have found each other, is in a bad frame of mind. He harbors lingering feelings for Sydney and a general envy of the romantic relationships his bandmates now enjoy. This is coupled with a growing dissatisfaction with his lack of professional and public recognition. He’s the least popular guy in the band, but he also does very little to put himself out there and gain public attention. This is about to change. Sean will have a star turn–literally–in the band’s latest music video.

Melody Jenkins is the choreographer hired to craft a special dance number. A year ago, she was at the top of her career, a sought-after professional working with some of the biggest names in the music industry. That all changed one afternoon (can’t go into detail or it’ll ruin the suspense). Melody is not the dancer she once was…or at least that’s what she believes. This epic change also transformed her personal life, turning a once confident and sexually adventurous woman into a virtual hermit.

When Sean starts his brash campaign to seduce Melody, she’s conflicted. She knows he’s a player. The old Melody wouldn’t care, since she was an even bigger player her. This Melody, though, is unsure of herself and afraid to get hurt.

SULTRY GROOVE is a sensual book. Summers puts Sean and Melody through a lot of angst and soul searching. Melody has it harder than Sean. His biggest issue is deciding what he really wants out of life…especially when increasing public notice proves to be more annoying than it is exciting. Melody’s problem runs deeper, though I think it gets dragged out a bit too far. Still, the feelings are genuine and there’s no quick or easy resolution. I like that Melody isn’t “fixed” by the end.

Of course, one of the best parts of a Reckless Beat book is catching up with all the characters from earlier installments. Ryan’s marital problems, a subplot throughout the series, come to a head and the fallout causes a shocking upset in band dynamics. This is good for us readers…I figure Ryan and Leah’s story is in the works. Can’t wait!

UNDESIRED LUST is still my favorite book in the series, but SULTRY GROOVE is a lot of fun.

Review: IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN CHINA

A short, beautifully illustrated introduction to China for young readers.

If You Were Me and Lived in...China: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

If You Were Me and Lived in…China: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World

This book attempt to give children a brief, flavorful introduction to the geography and culture of china. Each two-page section takes on a specific aspect of the nation…geography, history, food…and included boxed text and a lavish illustration. The text presents Chinese terms along with a bracketed phonetic pronunciation. By the end of the book, the reader has a nice handful of useful Chinese vocabulary words and phrases.

I did find the text a bit cramped and the text boxes dark, especially in contrast to the light, bright and generously proportioned illustrations. illustrations. I read the book on a new tablet with back lighting and I had to almost squint to make out some of the text. Part of the issue is likely the black font is enclosed in a burnt orange text box. A paler color would’ve worked better. And taking the font up even one or two points would have made a big difference.

Overall a fun and informative book.

Review: WHISPER IN THE BLOOD

See a more detailed video review of this book HERE

Family saga about Italian and Irish immigrants who settle the Chicago area in the early part of the 20th century.

Whisper in the Blood

Whisper in the Blood

WHISPERS IN THE BLOOD covers the time period 1909 to 1947 and centers on two families. The Italian Savios are headed by Vito and Maria. They have seven children. The youngest, Francesca, is the one who figures most as times goes on. The Irish Callahans–Meghan, Michael and their son Finn are the other central family.

Meghan is a fascinating character. Born and raised in Ireland, she has a long family history of Druidism and uses her “powers” to manipulate those around her. She focuses her efforts mostly on her husband–she has grand political ambitions for him.

There’s plenty of tension in the book. There’s Ethnic tension–the Irish and Italians look down on one another. When they meet, violent confrontation normally ensues. There’s generational tension between immigrant parents and their children born in America. There are also neighborhood conflicts. Friendships and alliances are often based on social pressure or economic necessity, such as Vito Savio getting involved with “The Outfit” (the organized crime element in the area) after one of his sons makes a bad choice.

Inevitably, Italian Juliet (Francesca) meets her Iris Romeo (Finn) and things get really exciting. The couple doesn’t have an easy road. Will they get their HEA? Well, there’s still the second half of the century to get through.

Montgomery gives readers lots of story. She covers her 40-year time period seamlessly. There are many characters and they are all given attention in a way that doesn’t feel rushed or forced.

There’s a wonderful flavor of Old Chicago. Al Capone days. The music. The small historical details that pull you into the world of the book.

WHISPER IN THE BLOOD is a complex and absorbing family drama. Highly recommended for lovers of fiction with an early modern focus.