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.

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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.*

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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

The Buried ~ Sneak Peek & 2 Giveaways

The Buried Sneak Peek Blitz

The Buried

Book Blurb

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.

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Note from Shelley Coriell

When I was five or six, I got out of bed one night to get a drink of water. As I walked by the living room where my mom and dad were watching TV, a woman on the screen was clawing her way out of an earthen grave. The sight of that mud-covered hand and sound of her choked breathing left me frozen with fear.
For years I had nightmares about being buried alive. I’d wake up cold and shaking and gasping for air. To this day, I fear not being able to breathe. So of course I wrote a book about it!
In THE BURIED, Grace Courtemanche—an ambitious, successful state prosecutor—is pulled into a world of terror and self-doubt when she receives calls from victims buried alive, and she must turn to the one man she swore she’d never need again, Hatch Hatcher, a rootless, smooth-talking FBI crisis negotiator in town to deal with a long-buried secret of his own.
Grace and Hatch’s story, book #2 in the Apostles Series featuring Parker Lord’s elite FBI team, was a tough one for me to write. I actually had to set it aside for two years because it was too dark. But when I finally figured out what the story was really about—family—I found my light, and even a bit of laughter, to balance all that dark.
I can’t wait for readers to join me for another dark and twisty but ultimately uplifting story of hope and the healing power of family.
-Shelley Coriell

Excerpt from THE BURIED by Shelley Coriell (On sale October 28, 2014)

As the bay of hounds tapered off, the huddle of men and women in the parking lot broke, moving swiftly. Hatch, on the other hand, moseyed to her side, his gait slow and easy, but there was nothing conciliatory in his eyes. “You should have told me.” His mouth and jaw barely moved as he spoke.
She tried to ease away, but he moved with her. “Told you what?”
“Hmmmmm, where should I start?” With his free hand, he jammed a finger in the air. “One, you received threats from a convicted felon. Two, you received nine phone calls from a girl presumably buried alive. And three, as we speak, a forensic team is sifting through dirt in your backyard looking for human bones.”
“It’s none of your business.”
“Oh, Princess. Dear, dear Princess.” He moved closer, a big, graceful, golden cat. He stopped a hairsbreadth from touching her, but the heat of his skin warmed her, nipping at the chill that had set in yesterday with Lia’s phone calls. When he spoke, his breath fanned her face in a low, rumbling half-purr, half-growl. “You have been and always will be my business.”
The words, the closeness, so Hatch. For a moment, she considered sinking into his strength and warmth, which proved how deeply rattled she was by the past twenty-four hours.
Hatch didn’t seem to notice the crazy thoughts flitting around her brain. He grabbed her elbow and led her toward a sheriff’s department SUV.
“I’m not going home.” Her boots dug into the damp earth.
Hatch opened the SUV’s passenger door. “I wouldn’t dare suggest it.”
“I’m involved in this.”
“That’s obvious.” He pointed to the seat.
“Where are we going?”
“Into the swamp to search for Lia Grant. Together.”
The humid air had left her hair a riot of waves, and she jammed a wayward curl behind her right ear. Together wasn’t hard for her. She was a team player when she had to be, and Lia Grant needed the biggest team they could muster, and frankly, Hatch was on a winning team. She’d be an idiot not to ally herself with him. She hopped in the SUV. “Where to?”
He reached into his pocket and took out a coin. “Call it in the air?”
“Wait! You’re going to let a coin toss determine our course of direction, which could very well determine if a girl lives or dies?”
Hatch fingered the coin. “Do you have a better plan?”
“Surely there’s a more systematic way to handle this. What does Agent MacGregor recommend?”
An enigmatic smile tugged at Hatch’s mouth. “Like all of us on Parker’s team, Jonny Mac understands the value of a good coin toss.” Hatch tossed the coin in the air, adding. “Heads we go right, tails, left.”
She snatched the coin in mid-air. Decades of tennis had done wonders for her hand/eye coordination. “I don’t think so.”
Hatch swept his hands at the dense forest stretching out behind the bait shop. “Fine, Princess. Lead and I shall follow.”
Grace cradled the coin in her palm. She’d already played the phone messages from Lia, listening for ambient sounds, ideally something like a jet plane, which could be tracked. But in all of the voicemails, she’d heard nothing but Lia’s increasingly desperate words.
I’m in a bad place, a really bad place.
A hand settled on her knee. Golden and steady. This was not Hatch her ex-husband but Hatch the Apostle. Hatch who was a master in a crisis situation. She ran her thumb over the face of the coin, and with quirked lips tossed it in the air. The coin spun and fell on the ground between them.
“Left.” Hatch pocketed the coin and with a seriousness she’d never seen from him, climbed into the SUV and drove into the swamp to find a girl who’d been buried alive.

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About the Author ~ 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/Release Day ~ The Broken by Shelley Coriell

The Broken

The Broken (The Apostles #1)


Author: Shelley Coriell


Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)


Release Date: Apr 29 2014


Genre: Thriller/Romantic Suspense

Book Description

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim-and only survivor-of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . .

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My ****4 STAR**** Review

So, it’s been a while since I’ve read a good crime thriller. This had all the things that I think make one great. The plot was full of things to keep you guessing. It wasn’t predictable and the characters were well-developed. Plus, there’s a good romance built in, which makes almost any story better if you ask me.

The story revolves around Kate. I admired her strength through all she had endured. I really appreciated that she wasn’t another weak personality. I also enjoyed her friend Smokey Joe immensely. He may be old and blind, but boy was he a fighter!! Then there’s Agent Hayden Reed – Mr. Clean Cut. Yummy! I loved that he had the whole put together tough guy thing going and then the hard to get to soft guy. But, most of all I loved his protective nature.

The sexual tension between Kate and Hayden was often palpable, and I was definitely pulling for them the whole way through. I will have to admit that there were a few times that their actions seemed a little rushed towards each other. I know when you’re involved in some high intensity stuff, it’ll often lead to a rushed relationship, but it still felt just a little weird a few times for me. This wasn’t the overall feel of their relationship, though. Throughout the majority of the book I found myself laughing with them and cheering them on!

Let me not forget the bad guy. In truth, I have to say bad guys. I’m not giving anything away here, so don’t make ANY assumptions on what I just said or you’ll be confusing yourself! So, needless to say, the bad guys were just SICK. You’ll encounter some rather gruesome and downright disgusting things in this story. I would NOT recommend it for the faint of heart. I know for me one of the hardest things to read about in a book is rape, especially of a child. I’ll say here that this is talked about but not described, in case this is an issue for you. Nonetheless, expect to encounter some violent scenes, and of course there’s strong language, too.

As far as the plot goes, I only found it to drag a little bit about 20% in for a short bit. I know the foundation of the story was still being laid, and it wasn’t a big drag. This really says a lot for me. I often find crime thrillers to drag a LOT, but that wasn’t the case here. This book keeps you on your toes.

Overall, this is a story of hope. I liked that it had a strong underlying theme. I really enjoyed it and I definitely look forward to reading more of Shelley Coriell’s books!! I recommend this to all of you crime thriller lovers out there, especially if you’re one that likes a good romance mixed in. Just remember – not for the faint of heart! An easy 4 stars!

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Shelley Coriell

shelley coriell

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and novels for teens. Her debut YA, Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, was a 2012 Indie Next Pick and Publishers Weekly praised her for her “sparkling wit and great skill in creating complex characters with memorable personalities.” A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, Shelley’s new romantic thriller series, The Apostles, will debut in April, 2014 from Grand Central Forever. Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at http://www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

Happy Reading,

Alison