Review ~ Gone Girl

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Title: Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publication Date: Jan. 1, 2012

Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction/Mystery/Suspense

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Goodreads * Amazon

My ****4 Star**** Review

So, I have to confess that I was a little slow at getting into this one. However, I read it alongside a group of friends, and a couple of them devoured the book from page 1. I think it’s just a matter of personal preference. I want a hero/heroine. I want to connect with someone. This isn’t one of those books. But, if you’re a lover of “who done it” books, and you don’t need to feel faith in anyone, then this will probably be your book!

It is one giant mystery. I will say that it is highly probable that you will figure out who did it, too. But, it’s still not predictable. Even if you figure it out, you won’t have figured out the whole scenario, and you’ll still be impressed. I was, and I didn’t even really “like” the book. I can respect the writing and the story, though. I have to admit that even though I didn’t like the characters (because of their character, not lack of development), I still found myself at times flipping quickly through the pages to figure something out.

Wrapping this up, if you NEED hearts and flowers, then this isn’t for you. If you love a good crime mystery, then I highly suggest it! Would I read another Gillian Flynn? It’s certainly possible.

Happy Reading,

Alison

4.5* Review ~ Verum @Court_Writes

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Title: Verum

Series: The Nocte Trilogy #2

Author: Courtney Cole

Publication Date: Feb. 2, 2015

Genre: New Adult Psychological Suspense

The truth shall set you free.

My name is Calla Price and I’m drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I’m being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don’t know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I’m entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It’s just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.

My ****4.5**** Star Review

Have you read my review for Nocte yet? If not, HERE it is.

You should read it if you’re looking for my review for Verum because this book is a whole lot of what the first book was. Except, you can expect to be even more thoroughly confused! A WHOLE LOT more confused. This book made zero sense, and yet I know it will make complete sense.

I have to warn you, though, that it is completely maddening. COMPLETELIY!!! I wanted to get on here and give it a 3 star rating just for driving me CRAZY. Uh, it’s a good thing this is just a trilogy because I don’t think I can take much more!!

Nonetheless, if you loved the mind freak that Nocte was, you can expect nothing less from this book!

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Consequences by Aleatha Romig

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Title: Consequences

Series: Consequences #1

Author: Aleatha Romig

Release Date: Aug. 5, 2011

Genre: Contemporary Dark Suspense/Thriller/Erotic

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Aleatha Romig comes a suspenseful thriller about secrets and deception, passion and love, choices and consequences.

Every action has consequences.

Waking in an unfamiliar bedroom in a luxurious mansion, Claire Nichols is terrified to discover that a chance encounter led her into the cruel hands of her abductor, Anthony Rawlings. Claire has no understanding of why she’s there, but it’s been made abundantly clear–she is now his acquisition and every action has consequences.

Learn the rules to survive.

Facing incomprehensible circumstances, Claire must learn to survive her new reality–every aspect of her livelihood depends upon the tall, dark-eyed tycoon who is a true master of deception. Driven by unknown demons, he has no tolerance for imperfection, in any aspect of his life, including his recent acquisition. Anthony may appear to the world as a handsome, benevolent businessman, but in reality Claire knows firsthand that he’s a menacing, controlling captor with very strict rules: do as you’re told, public failure is not an option, and appearances are of the utmost importance.

Captivate the captor.

To fit together the pieces of the puzzle, Claire must follow his rules. Will her plan work, or will Anthony become enthralled by Claire’s beauty, resilience, and determination, changing the game forever? If that happens, will either of them survive the consequences?

Nobody ever did or ever will escape the consequences of his choices.–Alfred A. Montapert

Amazon * Goodreads

My ****4 Star**** Review

Wow. This was a twisted one! If you like dark and mysterious then this may be the book for you. If you like spinning psychological tales where you can’t tell who the bad guy is or what’s really happening, then this may be for you.

I have to confess that I put this book down almost half way through, and didn’t pick it back up for quite a while. I couldn’t see where it was going and it was driving me crazy. I actually took a peak at the ending to see if I liked where it was going and determined I didn’t.

Well, after reading a review for the most recent book in the series, I realized I didn’t at all know where the story was going. The end of book one was misleading. So, I decided to give it another try.

Turns out I had put the book down right before things started getting interesting. And that ending? Well, I had COMPLETELY misinterpreted it because there were key details I didn’t know yet.

Am I happy I picked it back up? Yes. Will I continue with the series? Maybe. Okay, probably. It’s not one where I’m dying to know what’s next, but I’m definitely intrigued. I’m just not sure if I can handle the mind assault at this moment.

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I’ve been reading a LOT of books like this lately – books where you just can’t figure out what on earth is going on. The Nocte series, Mud Vein, and Never,Never. I’m sure I can add more to the list, but these are all books I’ve read this year. This seems to be a growing trend, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I’m one to flip to the end because I’m dying to know if things will work out okay, and in these books, things aren’t always okay. I can handle that every now and then, but I feel like my mind needs a break – like I need to get lost in a sappy love story where everything is hunky dory. That’s hilarious, because usually those are boring….

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Mud Vein @tarryn__fisher

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Title: Mud Vein

Author: Tarryn Fisher

Release Date: April 5, 2014

Genre: Dark Psychological Thriller/Mystery

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat… and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

My *****5 Star***** Review

I love you and hate you, Tarryn Fisher!!

Oh, my gosh!!! This book was maddening from start to finish! Tarryn leads you on to then leave you second guessing yourself. Then you’ll think you have it figured out again only to second guess yourself. But, wait! It might be – NOPE! Wrong again! And on and on and on and on and on…

Will there be a happy ending or horrific deaths? Is this a love story or not. Who will be destroyed in all of this? Will people be changed for the better or worse?

WHO IS BEHIND ALL OF THIS?!? Is it him? Is it her? Is it a stalker? WHO IS IT?!?

These questions will drive you completely INSANE!!! You’ll be on the edge of your seat WAITING, DYING for something to happen – ANYTHING to happen. But, you’ll just continue to be driven through the slow and painful torture. It is MADDENING!

So, I say this book is definitely NOT for everyone. But, if what I described sounds like your cup of tea, then by all means have at it!

Anyway…love and coke. The consequences for both are expensive: you get a mighty fine high, then you come barreling down, regretting every hour you spent reveling in something so dangerous. But you go back for more. You always go back for more.

Happy Reading,

Alison

The Buried ~ Blog Tour w/ Review & 2 Giveaways

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The Buried

THE BURIED by Shelley Coriell (October 28, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

“It’s cold. And dark. I can’t breathe.”

Successful, ambitious state prosecutor Grace Courtemanche is at the top of her game. Then she gets a chilling call from a young woman claiming to be buried alive. Desperate to find the victim before it’s too late, Grace will do whatever it takes . . . even if it means excavating the darkest secrets of her own past and turning to the one man she thought she would never see again.

FBI agent Theodore “Hatch” Hatcher is a man without roots-and that’s the way he likes it. But when a grisly crime shatters Cyprus Bend, Florida, Hatch is dragged back to the small town-and the one woman-he hoped was in his rearview for good. Forced to confront the wreckage of their love affair, Hatch and Grace may just find that sometimes the deepest wounds leave the most beautiful scars-and that history repeating itself may just be what they need to stop a killer . . . and save their own hearts.

B&N * BAM! * iBooks * IndieBound * Amazon * GooglePlay

Excerpt

Hatch slipped his gun into the holster at his back and walked up the steps of Grace’s back porch. Instead of going inside, he settled his elbows on the rickety railing and stared out at the black. Like the young women buried in those wooden coffins, he and the others trying to crack this case were in the dark. The splintered wood dug into his elbows.

But his team was at his back. Jon was in the middle of the hunt. Hayden, a world-renowned criminal profiler, was walking in a killer’s shoes and getting into the twisted place that was this unsub’s head, and Berkley was giving the killer a face. He smiled. And maybe he’d call Evie, the SCIU’s bombs and weapons specialist. His fiery little teammate had a way of lighting things up. Grace had called the group he worked with his family. He’d always called them his team. They were the men and women he’d fight for and put his life on the line for. Wasn’t that what one did for family? Wasn’t that what he was doing for Alex? For Grace?

His head lolled forward and hung between his forearms. The steamy swamp was clouding his brain again, blurring and tumbling his truths. The first time here the fog had been so thick he couldn’t see anything beyond Grace.

A wedge of light cut across the porch, and Grace’s bare feet padded across the rough boards. She joined him at the railing but said nothing.

He aimed his interlaced hands at the pitch black night. “No bogeymen.”

More silence. She was probably thinking again. About Janis’s fight for her life, about the killer’s next move, about old bones. Grace didn’t know how to unwind and shut down, something that usually came as natural as breathing to him. He sucked in a long breath of warm, soupy night air clogging his throat.

Grace raised an arm, her fingertips sliding down his back, the touch so light it may have been more about him wanting her touch than her actual touch. Shifting so she stood behind him, she ran her other hand down his back. He pulled in a breath, the air sliding through his lungs now lighter and sweeter and cooler. Her fingers brushed along his waist and slipped under his shirt, skin settling on skin.

Every muscle in his torso tightened, trapping the sweet breath in his lungs. And still her fingers traveled, gliding along his ribs, across his chest. His lower body stirred. She pressed against his back, her thighs and midsection molding to his. This time his lower body quaked, sending a tremor to his brain.

He settled his hands over hers. “Whoa there, Princess.” He spun so they were shadowy face to shadowy face. “What’s this all about?”

Grace’s tongue darted over her lips, more nervous than naughty. “Bacon.”

He blinked. “Bacon?”

She knotted her fingers in the bottom of his shirt. “Bacon, Theodore. I am bacon. You are bacon.” With each line, she drew him closer. Her teeth dug into her bottom lip. “You do like bacon, don’t you?”

“It’s…uh…nice. I’m partial to hickory smoked. With grits. And eggs. Over easy.” Easy. Yeah, it would be so damned easy to pull Grace into his arms. He jammed his hands in his pockets because letting them slip across Grace’s skin would take them to a place neither one of them needed to go.

Grace’s lips curved in a soft smile. She rose on her toes, her breath fanning his neck, his jaw. Her hands, her mouth, her words, everything about Grace was so soft and easy. The fog. Must be the fog. A gauzy steam blurred everything but the woman before him. Too close. She was way too close.

He unclenched his hands and settled them on her arms. “I’m not sure what this is all about, but last time we talked about this, about us, forever wasn’t on the table, at least not for me, and that’s still the case.”

“I know.” Her sweet breath danced across his skin.

“Damn it.” He pushed her away, out of arm’s reach. He needed space between them. An ocean would be nice. “Then why are you doing this?”

She closed the space between them in half a heartbeat but didn’t touch him. “Because old dogs die and newborn babies never get a chance to live.” Her lips trembled. “And because someday soon you’ll sail off into the sunset.” She lifted her hands in surrender. “And there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it, any of it. So until then, Hatch, I’m going to make the most of every moment I have with you, and according to Allegheny Blue’s vet, that means having an extra slice or two of bacon.”

My ****4.5 Star**** Review

This is the second book in Coriell’s Apostles series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. You can find my review of The Broken, the first book in the series, HERE.

It’s not often that I say the second book in a series is better than the first, but it happens from time to time, and this is one of those instances. This story never dragged. I was hooked from the start and kept plowing on through. Sleep deprivation was my only obstacle.

I connected quickly to the main characters, and even several of the minor characters. I’d have to admit that I even had a soft spot for Blue, and I’m not even a dog person. Grace seemed a little too concerned about pleasing her dead father in the very beginning, but that was the only odd characteristic I noticed throughout the whole story. I felt like the love story behind the mystery was so much better in this story than the first, and it was never bad in the first book. You could feel the chemistry between Grace and Hatch, but their relationship was so much more than lust, and I appreciated seeing that. But there were so many other great relationships in this book, too. Shelley’s good at throwing in quirky characters, too. Speaking of which, I enjoyed the little appearance of Smokey Joe from the first book.

It was really amazing to me that one moment I’d be swooning in the middle of a love scene, and the next I could feel the absolute intensity and seriousness of a situation the characters had found themselves in. The mystery was well-presented. About 70% of the way in I thought I had guessed how things were going to play out. I was mostly correct, but it was still a long shot and there were still many surprises. It definitely wasn’t easy to guess how things would play out, and I remained in suspense.

I’ll also have to point out that Shelley is very good at ugly. This is definitely not a story for the faint of heart. At one point I quickly covered my mouth with my hand trying to hold my stomach down. It was rough! However, I managed to trudge through the one very gruesome scene. You can expect some strong language, child abuse, and just a few briefs moments of horror.

I also appreciated that the story didn’t end too abruptly. I liked getting a little picture of what things looked like after all the dust settled.

I highly recommend this to mystery lovers, especially if you like a romance mixed in!
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Giveaway Time!!!

Win 1 of 15 copies of The Buried!!!


Enter Here!!!

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The second giveaway is for a print copy of The Buried. Prize available to US & Canada only.

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About the Author ~ Shelley Coriell

shelley coriell

A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and restaurant reviewer. These days Shelley writes smart, funny novels for teens and big, edgy romantic suspense. A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, she lives and loves in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue Weimaraner. When she’s not behind the keyboard, you’ll find her baking high-calorie, high-fat desserts and haunting local farmers markets for the perfect plum.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!

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My ****4.5**** Star Review

Every now and then I like to take on a book for review that I’m not sure will interest me. I don’t like limiting myself to the books that I “typically” read. For me, I tend to like some romance in my books. This book is far from that category. I can’t say that it is completely without any romantic elements, though.

I decided to give this book a try as a read-aloud to two of my kids, ages 7 and 10. I had to lighten a little of the language, but there wasn’t much there. I think I used the word “heck” a whole lot in place of “hell,” but I’d definitely recommend this for early teens. My 10 yr old son absolutely LOVED it! He has requested me to get the rest of the series. We even did some research into the history behind the Yukon Gold Rush, and read the poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” as a result of the book. It was a great educational experience for the three of us!

While I loved the educational side of the book, I’d be lying if I said that was what drew us in. It was the suspenseful adventure! We were right along side of Kitty and experienced everything she did. It was exhilarating! We loved guessing the outcomes and answers to the mysteries. Sometimes we were right, or one of us anyways. Other times all of us were left with our jaws dropping, shouting, “NO WAY!!!” It was an adventure for us! We’re looking forward to the next great experience with Kitty Hawk!

*I received a free copy via Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review.*

You can currently pick up the next 3 books in the series!

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ What it Takes by Kathryn Ascher

What it Takes

Title: What it Takes (Rocky Creek Series, #1)

Author: Kathryn Ascher


Genre: NA / Romance / Suspense


Publisher: BQB Publishing


Release Date: May 27, 2014

Book Description

After graduating college, Kelsey Morgan left her small-town Virginia roots to make it in L.A. After years slogging in commercials and music videos, her movie career is finally taking off. But she’s still miles behind her current costar, and Hollywood playboy, Patrick Lyons. Kelsey does everything she can to avoid Patrick off-set, hoping to not become fodder for the supermarket tabloids that scour the streets for Patrick, trying to get an exclusive look at him and his alleged woman of the week. Kelsy has successfully kept Patrick at a distance, and her reputation intact, until her drunkard brother-in-law Richard threatens to ruin everything by selling her darkest secret to the highest bidder. Now the victim of blackmail, Kelsey has nowhere else to turn but to Patrick’s arms. But, can he be trusted? Or will the past destroy them all before she can find out if he’s the hero she needs?

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My ****4 Star**** Review

Kelsey Morgan waited a whole year to be intimate with Tim and he waited for her. But, apparantly that doesn’t always mean anything. Tim bolts for the door when she reveals she’s pregnant.

The story then jumps ahead about 6 years. Kelsey’s now an actress paired up with Patrick Lyons, playboy extraordinaire. Kelsey will have none of it, though. As a matter of fact, she’s down right rude when it comes to her manners dealing with Patrick. Patrick slowly starts breaking through, however, revealing he has more than just a one-night stand in mind.

When the movie’s done, he chases her home where he meets her sister Janelle and five year old Zach. Kelsey had allowed Janelle and her husband Richard to adopt Zach. However, things didn’t turn out so well after Richard started drinking and leaving marks on Janelle. So, Janelle and Zach are living at Kelsey’s. Richard is not at all happy. Plus Kelsey and Janelle’s mother isn’t pleased with them in the least. A woman should have to tolerate and love her husband regardless.

Things turn really ugly with Richard, and Kelsey struggles with whether to trust Patrick.

The romance sucked me in and the whole Richard debacle really added some tension. The villians in this book are really done up well.

Negatives? The only thing that really bugged me was the ending. I had hoped for better closure between Kelsey and Zach.

Who would I recommend this to? I you’re a fan of romance and suspense, this has both! You’ll experience some violent scenes and some steamy sex scenes. Would I read another Kathryn Ascher novel? Absolutely! This is a great debut!

Warnings: violence, strong language, sex scenes

*I received a copy via NetGalley and BQB Publishing in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Kathryn Ascher

kathryn ascher

Born and raised in Virginia, Kathryn Ascher tried her hand at poetry and fiction in high school, but put it all aside when she went to college. After graduating from Virginia Tech with her degree in communications, she married her college sweetheart and went to work for a local radio station. After her first child was born, she became a stay-at-home mom and began spending her free time crafting and reading.

It wasn’t until after the birth of her third child and a blind book exchange that Kathryn decided to give writing another try. When she picked up her first romance novel, she immediately knew that was the genre for her. She was drawn to the strong lead characters and the quirky secondary characters, the settings, the humor, and most importantly the feelings of falling in love for the first time. She hopes that her readers enjoy these aspects in her writings as well.

Kathryn recently moved from Roanoke, Virginia to Land O’ Lakes, Florida with her husband and three children.

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Happy Reading,

Alison

Vengeance is Mine ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

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vengeance is mine

Synopsis

Driven by a traumatic, violent event in his teenage years, Benjamin Tucker, bestselling true crime author, is obsessed with helping authorities solve savage crimes near his home turf of Holly Springs, North Carolina. When a series of decapitated female victims is found in neighboring communities, he is helplessly drawn in to the investigation to help bring the killer to justice. But in a bizarre twist of events, the psychopathic murderer becomes fascinated with Tucker and stalks him, presenting him with unimaginable, grotesque gifts. The hunt for the killer turns personal and Tucker isn’t sure if he’s become the killer’s idol or his next victim.

Vengeance is Mine, a gripping thriller with a healthy dose of droll humor, is a tale of sadistic revenge guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Giveaway Time!!!

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

1 Winner will receive Autographed Print Copies of Fractured Persona and Vengeance is Mine + $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

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Harry Krebs

About the Author ~ Harry James Krebs

After receiving his BA in applied physics from Aurora University in Illinois, Harry spent thirty-seven years with United States Department of Energy Contractors as a senior mechanical engineer. He designed, built, maintained, and operated large experimental detectors for high-energy physics experiments at national laboratories such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Superconducting Super Collider, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University.

Krebs always wanted to write mystery novels, but his engineering career left him little time to write until now. His first novel, Fractured Persona, is based on a recurring dream where he would wake up in someone else’s body and life.

The author and his wife currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina with their Chihuahua, Lucille.

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Happy Reading,

Alison

True Blue ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway

TRUEblue

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Date Published: May 16, 2014

Synopsis

Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.

Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life. He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town. Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.

There is very little gray in Joey’s line of work as a Lt. Detective–it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father’s murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.

Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?

The third book in the DeLuca Family Series, TRUE blue can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

Musa Publishing * Amazon * B&N * Smashwords

Excerpt

Chapter One

Lieutenant Detective Joseph Anthony DeLuca Jr. of the Chicago Police Department knelt beside the victim and lifted the edge of the plastic sheet to expose the bloodied head and lifeless torso. His gut clenched. This never got easier, but this guy was a cop, a detective under his own watch, and that fact irked him even more.

“How the hell did this happen?” he asked Sergeant Davis, the slain detective’s immediate supervisor.

Oh, yes, he’d gotten the quick initial briefing when he’d arrived on scene. A convenience store robbery in progress. Shots fired. Officers responding, but before backup could arrive, more shots fired, and then a car screaming down the street and Detective Mark Beattie, pursuing on foot, struck down, his body flying through the air on impact, his head smashing against the pavement when he landed.

“Why was he here in the first place?” Lieutenant DeLuca added, ignoring the sweat that beaded on his brow. The late afternoon heat was stifling. The August sun’s hot rays radiated off the pavement. It didn’t help the sick feeling in his gut.

“He was following up on a lead on a previous robbery attempt,” Sergeant Davis said, “questioning a woman in the apartment across the street. As near as we can tell, he must have heard the first gunshots and he ran outside to check it out.

“We got the call at 3:47 for shots fired. According to witnesses, right after the first shots were fired, a man wearing a ski mask ran out of the store and took off on foot. Seconds later, another guy comes running out of the store, again wearing a ski mask. From what we’ve put together so far, when the second suspect came out of the store, Beattie called out that he was a police officer and told him to stop. About the same time, a car pulled up in the parking lot and a woman started to get out.

“The suspect began shooting toward Beattie, and Beattie returned fire, but then the suspect ran toward the woman’s car. He grabbed the woman and threw her aside so he could get into the car. That’s when Beattie took off after him on foot, right about the time another car came racing down the street. The car slammed into him. Beattie didn’t have a chance. Near as we can figure, it was the getaway car.

“The woman’s sitting in one of the patrol cars. She’s pretty shook up. Her eleven-month-old baby was in a car seat in the back. Both are okay. The suspect never made it out of the parking lot. It seems Detective Beattie got off a fatal shot before he was struck by the car. CSU is still working over the perp.”

Lieutenant DeLuca’s jaw clenched as his eyes focused on the bloodied features of his detective. Beattie was a good man, one of his best. He’d left a wife and two children, middle school age. Just last week, the man was telling him about a trip he was planning to take with his family to the Wisconsin Dells. He remembered the light in Beattie’s eyes as he talked about how excited the kids were.

“EMS worked on him for a full twenty minutes before calling it,” Davis continued. “CSU found a bullet hole in his neck and one in his chest. Not sure what really killed him—the impact, the gunshots, or smacking his head on the pavement. Take your pick.”

“What about the owner of the convenience store?” DeLuca asked.

“Deceased.”

Lieutenant DeLuca shook his head. “Are they done here?” He nodded down at Beattie.

“Just finished up, for now.”

The lieutenant eased the edge of the sheet down and said a silent prayer for his detective before looking up again at Davis. “Then let’s get him the hell off the street. Has his wife been notified?”

“I’ve already sent one of our men over there.”

“We’re not releasing his name until I know his wife’s been notified.”

“Right.”

“Any chance the first guy out of the store is the same one that slammed into Beattie?”

The sergeant shook his head. “I don’t know. The timing’s pretty tight. So far, none of the witnesses have put the two together.”

“Then we’re looking for a third suspect.”

“I think so. I’ve got officers canvassing the area.”

Lieutenant DeLuca glanced around at the crime tape surrounding the scene, at the crowd of gawkers and media already assembled around the perimeter. He hoped their man got there before word got to Beattie’s wife. With today’s instant information age, he was sure the news of another cop killing in the city of Chicago was spreading like wildfire across the airwaves, as well as the Internet. He glanced again at the assembled media. They’d want an official statement soon.

“What about the hit-and-run?”

“We’ve got a description of the vehicle. Put an APB out on all channels. Nothing yet, but we’ll find him, Lieutenant.”

“You’re damn straight we’ll find him. What about the prior attempted robbery? Any leads there?”

“We’re checking the surveillance video. We’ll be putting a description of all the suspects out within the hour, along with the video. Of course, they’re all wearing ski masks, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and somebody will recognize them. The two robberies could be tied together.”

“Best guess?”

“Gang bangers.”

“In the middle of the day?”

“A dare. An initiation, maybe. Crazy what these punks are trying now.”

The lieutenant’s stomach burned. No matter how hard they tried to clean up the streets, some days it seemed like the gangs were getting the better of them.

His cell phone buzzed. He reached into the inside pocket of his suit coat and pulled it out. The caller ID indicated it was Andi, his wife.

Officer Andrea DeLuca was a detective, too. She would have heard about the incident already. She’d also know who was shot and that it wasn’t him.

Deciding he wasn’t ready to talk to her about it just yet, he let the call go to voice mail. Less than thirty seconds later, it buzzed again, this time indicating a text.

You okay?

He sighed and texted back.

Yes.

Are you going to be able to make it to the dinner tonight?

Damn, he’d pretty much forgotten about the dinner. His sister Angela and her boyfriend had invited the DeLuca clan, along with about fifty of their closest friends, to the soft opening of her boyfriend’s bistro. His sister had been pretty adamant about all of them attending.

He texted back, Chances are, not. Go on without me.

Understand. Love you.

He paused for a second and then typed, Me too, and hit send. Why did he hesitate? He didn’t exactly know. Things had been tense between them lately, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why. Perhaps it was because he was up for a promotion soon and he was working long hours to try to not screw it up. Between that and Andi’s own dedication to their chosen line of work, it seemed they were spending less and less time together. He glanced back down at Detective Beattie. The team had returned and was now placing his body into a body bag. He frowned. Maybe it was time he and Andi did some re-evaluating.

He was about to slip the phone back into his pocket when it buzzed again. Glancing once more at the caller ID, he didn’t recognize the number or the area code. It definitely was not one of his fellow officers or a member of his family. Ignoring the call for now, he slipped the phone back into his pocket and scanned the assembling media again. No less than three satellite trucks had joined them.

According to his cell phone, it was 4:53—just in time for the evening news. Loosening his tie, he took a step toward them. The temperature was a searing ninety-seven degrees. Add in the humidity and the heat index, it had to be about one hundred and five. The heat didn’t help the tension in the streets. It was a well-known fact that crime, including homicides, went up when the temperatures rose.

He glanced up at the sky. They could use a cold front to come blowing through, complete with thunderstorms. It would be a welcome relief.

But there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

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About the Author ~ Susan Rae

susan rae

Susan Rae grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia College, Missouri with an emphasis in creative writing. She penned her first melodrama in fifth grade for a Girl Scout Drama badge. Complete with hero, heroine, and dastardly villain, it wasn’t so different, really, than the romantic suspense she writes now.

“I love writing romantic suspense because it allows me to combine a sexy, passionate love story with a gritty suspense tale—in my opinion, the best of both worlds. It also allows me to express my appreciation for the outdoors in the settings that I recreate on the page.”

Freefall, Susan’s second novel, takes place in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine Forest and beautiful Door County. ICE blue returns to the busy streets of Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan to continue the story of the DeLuca family which began in her award winning first novel, heartbeats. In TRUE blue, the third book in the DeLuca Family series, Susan was thrilled when it became apparent that her characters must take a trip to Montana’s majestic Glacier National Park.

When she is not sketching characters, you might find Susan on the golf course working on her handicap, or traveling around the country seeking out new settings for her novels with her husband and empty nest puppies, Ginger and Nikute. To read more about Susan’s novels and the writing life, please visit her website/blog at http://www.susanrae.com

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Happy Reading,

Alison

Mind Games ~ Promo Blitz & Giveaway

MindGames

Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance / Mystery

Date Published: 4/10/2014

Synopsis

Beware your heart and soul…

Evan broke Cassie’s heart two months ago, and she still doesn’t know why. She throws herself into family, friends and her new job at the sheriff’s department, but nothing helps. The only thing that finally allows her heal and move on is the love of a new man, mind mage Matthew Blair. Cassie finds him…irresistible.

Matthew may also be the only one who can help keep the non-magical residents of Eagle Rock from going crazy over the murder of a beloved pastor’s wife. It looks like a sorcerer is to blame, but while Cassie tries to figure out who, others take matters into their own hands. With tensions running so hot, a single spark might set Eagle Rock ablaze. Book 3 in the Cassie Scot series.

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Excerpt

Rick was still on some tirade about the heat, possibly trying to blame an August heatwave on sorcery, or perhaps the wrath of God, when I got the oddest sense of foreboding. It was a tingle, one of those things that is easily dismissed in the moment but, in retrospect, makes you think, I had a feeling…

Upon entering the diner my impression of danger strengthened, though it took me a minute to pinpoint the source of the threat. I noticed two things at once: First, Mrs. Meyer’s oddly shifty gaze as she worked the cash register, and second, the nervous expression of the stooped, middle-aged man standing opposite her.

The tinkle of bells startled the man in front of the register more than it should have. He turned slightly, took a good look at Rick and me in our deputy’s uniforms, and let out a cry of alarm. The next thing I knew he held a pistol in his shaking hands. “Don’t move!”

I froze. In that microcosm of time between instants, I gathered that Rick and I had interrupted a robbery and the man probably thought someone had called the cops. There was a sense of desperation about the man that made him seem wild and unpredictable – a dangerous combination, especially for a man holding a deadly weapon.

When time resumed, everyone in the diner began to panic. More than a few people screamed. Dishes fell and broke. Everyone scrambled for cover, most sheltering under tables.

In the midst of the chaos, the man’s shaking hand jerked upward and fired a shot into the ceiling, showering plaster and debris all !over a quaking Mrs. Meyer.

“I said don’t move!” He brought the gun back down and aimed it at me. “Drop your weapon.”

With painstaking slowness, I moved my fingers toward my sidearm. To my right and just behind me Rick stood stock still, not going for his weapon at all.

“Don’t try anything!” the gunman warned. He waved the gun at Rick. “Drop your weapon, I said!”

“It’s okay,” I tried to make my voice sound soothing. “You don’t want to hurt anyone. If you put the gun down, we can work something out.”

My gun was halfway to the floor when Rick suddenly withdrew his weapon and aimed it at the gunman, pairing the two of them off in a good old-fashioned Mexican standoff. “Drop your weapon!” Rick shouted.

For a second, I truly believed I would die. The gunman looked crazy and desperate enough to start shooting at a moment’s provocation. I even thought I saw his finger tighten around the trigger.

The gunman opened his mouth as if to speak, but then something rather odd happened. The only physical signs were his eyes, which took on a sudden vacant expression, and his fingers, which went limp. His gun clattered to the floor.

Not sure what had just happened, but not about to let the opportunity pass me by, I rushed up to the man, kicked the gun away, and twisted his hands behind his back. He didn’t even resist as I forced him to the ground, slapped cuffs on him, and patted him down in search of other weapons.

Rick came up beside me. “You shouldn’t have lowered your weapon. I had it under control.”

I doubted it. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but Rick’s move might have gotten me killed. It wasn’t the right time to discuss it, though, so with one knee on the gunman’s back to make sure he didn’t move, I radioed the station for backup. After that, I scanned the crowd for signs of injury. Everyone seemed fine, if rattled, but one face in a nearby booth caught my attention.

Matthew Blair, state senator, son of the mayor, and powerful mind mage, winked at me. Casually, he unfolded his wallet, slid a couple of bills onto the table, and walked outside. But he left me in no doubt that he had used his talents on the gunman to force him into docility.

On a positive note, Rick left the department that afternoon. I’m not clear if he quit or if the sheriff fired him, but he decided to head up private security for his church. I couldn’t feel too surprised when I’d never had a partner last much longer than a month anyway.

 

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Cassie Scot

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

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About the Author ~ Christine Amsden

Christine Amsden

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

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Happy Reading,

Alison