Tag Archives: great books

Book Marks: Crushing by Elena Dillon

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Elena Dillon today. She writes YA (Young Adult) novels with lots of action and suspense and emotion. Read on as she tells us about her free-this-week novel, Crushing.

Crushing coverElena: How do you all feel about love triangles? I know some people love them, and some people hate them. When I sat down to write Crushing I hadn’t thought much about them either way but I also didn’t intend for Crushing to have one as a key part of the romance. Not in my plan at all. I thought I was writing a teenage mystery with a romance. Shows what I know.

The problem started when one of the characters that I intended to be kind of a jerk, Dominic, had other ideas. As it turns out, he’s had a crush on Rory, the main character for a long time. And he refused to be a jerk, he was a sweet guy. He was her friend and, by the way, he had no intention of stepping back and letting this new guy step in and take his girl. Wait, what?

Rory and the other love interest each had a different viewpoint about this situation which added to the complexity of the story. I actually had conversations with Dom, in my head, explaining what I had planned, but he was extremely uncooperative. The entire book felt like one long battle. Looking back I realize I shouldn’t have worried. It all worked out in the end.

All that being said Crushing is all about love, friendship, and choices. I had no idea writing a love triangle could be so complicated. It was a really fun book to write, but I’m not sure who was in charge, me or them.

Crushing is available for Free on Amazon October 19th – October 23rd!

Here’s an excerpt of one of the scenes:

A small clinking sound coming from the balcony distracted me. Huh.

Then another one. Clink.

I got the chills. What was that?

I stood up and slowly moved over to the French doors. On my balcony were two pennies.

Clink. Another one hit the glass right between my eyes.

My heart in my mouth, I looked out into the yard. Gage was standing there holding the puppy and getting ready to throw another penny. He jerked his head toward the beach, turned, then went through the gate on the side.

Oookay. I guess I was just supposed to follow? Why were all the males in my life so overbearing? I huffed and put my shoes on. I needed to revert back to my old ways a bit. My parents were still up, and no way would a walk on the beach go over without a fight. And walking with Gage wouldn’t be any better in their eyes.

I went out onto my balcony. The drainpipe was still there even though it didn’t look quite as sturdy as it did a few years ago. I hadn’t shinnied down a drainpipe in years, but I imagined the process hadn’t changed that much. Good thing I had on appropriate shinnying clothes.

As I climbed over the rail and reached out for the drainpipe, I felt a flurry of excitement. Trouble—an old friend I hadn’t visited in a while. I had to suppress the giggles that wanted to bubble out of my chest. I missed this. I made it to the bottom without too much damage, although I wouldn’t be wearing a skirt anytime soon, what with the scrape on my knee now.

I came through the gate, and he and the puppy were waiting at the beginning of the beach path. By the time I caught up, the puppy was running ahead toward the water and then running back to us, barking and tripping over her feet. Her paws were almost the size of my palms. I think she had grown since I saw her yesterday, and Gage must have given her a bath because her fur was fluffy and she looked even more adorable.

He didn’t say anything; we just started walking. This felt weirdly familiar. Because of his stutter, we had spent a lot of our childhood not talking. If I had something to say, I would just jabber on like a monkey in a tree, and he listened. Too nervous for speech now, though, I tried to figure out exactly what I wanted to say.

We walked and our arms brushed. The squirrels in my stomach were at it again, and now they were doing the Mexican Hat dance. Really? I needed to calm down. I annoyed myself.

Clear and beautiful, the night was made for a walk on the beach. I loved the sound of the ocean, and most nights I fell asleep with my balcony doors open. A bit of a breeze blew, but even though it was still winter, it was only a little chilly.

We found a small sand dune and sat down to watch the puppy running at the waves and barking. Gage was looking out over the water. He looked relaxed, but I could barely keep my knees from bouncing. I really had to focus to keep myself calm. I breathed deep.

“So why didn’t you tell me who you were the other day?” I blurted out.

He laughed. “Sorry, I guess I was shocked you didn’t recognize me. I’m pretty forgettable, huh?”

“Well, since you don’t look the same at all, and you are about a foot and a half taller, I think I should get a pass.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “I hear you’re either a drug dealer, a cheater, or you got the dean’s daughter pregnant. Should I be worried about being out here on the beach with you? I came prepared.” I dangled my keys with the pepper spray my dad insisted I keep at hand. I knew I was perfectly safe, but I wanted the real story.

He laughed. “Wow, is that what’s going around? I guess I’m not surprised. We Southerners do love our gossip. I didn’t actually do any of those things, but in the spirit of honesty, I did get expelled.”

I nodded. If I let my mouth run away with me now, I would never get the story out of him.

“It was for fighting.” He did have the grace to look a little embarrassed. “I would imagine you aren’t shocked about that, but it was unavoidable so—”

“So that’s why you’re back? Because you got kicked out of school?”

He opened his mouth to answer, when the puppy came skidding to a halt right in front of us and decided to shake the water and sand off her body all over us. I shrieked and tried to block it with my hands, but too late. Lovely. Good thing she was cute.

“Did you come up with something to call her?” I asked while I was attempting to brush myself off.

“Bailee.”

“Cute. What made you pick it?”

“Well, we had to bail her out, so it seemed to fit. She reminds me of you, actually.” He nudged me with his elbow.

“I remind you of a dog?” He was obviously not trying to win any points with me. First I’m fat, and now I remind him of a dog.

“Uh, no. She reminds me of you. Getting herself into messes I have to get her out of.”

“Oh really?” I smiled. “Well it’s been a long time since you have attempted to get me out of any messes.”

“Until yesterday. And tonight.”

I frowned at him. “As a matter of fact I was thinking earlier that my life has never been more dramatic than since you showed back up.”

“So it’s my fault?”

“Well, it stands to reason. My life seemed normal before, and it’s been upside down since you got back . . .”

“Ah. I see.”

That reminded me.

“Hey what did you mean when you saw me in the storm drain and said ‘of course’?” I glared at him again.

“Just that. Of course you would get stuck in a storm drain trying to save a puppy.”

“You act like you know me now. You don’t, so don’t pretend you do.” I wasn’t sure why, but I was mad. It didn’t make any sense, since I was pretty sure he hadn’t had a choice about leaving. Still, he didn’t get to pretend like he knew anything about my life now.

He didn’t say anything, just turned away. Now I felt bad.

We stared out at the ocean for a while just listening to the waves. I thought about when he left. There had been a hole in my heart where only he fit. I had shut off that part of my heart and didn’t even realize it. We weren’t the same people now, and I didn’t know if we would ever be able to get back to the closeness we had when we were kids, or if I wanted to.

The puppy had finally tired herself out. She came over to me and climbed into my lap, then she curled up and went to sleep. She was adorable.

There was something I wanted to ask him. I wasn’t sure if I should, but I really needed to know.

“What happened with that fight? I don’t understand.”

“Holden’s a tool,” he said with a grimace.

“Well, yeah, but you knew that when we were eight. Why would you hit Dominic when Holden was the idiot?”

His face got serious, and he didn’t answer right away. He looked back out to the ocean.

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“Umm, no.”

He looked back at me. “That didn’t sound too convincing.”

“Well, we’re good friends. It’s complicated.”

He rolled his eyes. “You’re either dating or you’re not. I’m hoping not, since you’re out here with me. That wouldn’t be cool.” He sounded disapproving.

I didn’t want him thinking I was like that. Eww.

“We aren’t. Our parents would love it, and I don’t think he would object, but he hasn’t asked, and I made it clear I don’t want a boyfriend. Clear enough?” Sheesh.

“You don’t want a boyfriend, or you don’t want him for a boyfriend?”

“As you well know, I have two very large overprotective brothers and a dad who still likes to think I’m six years old. Would you want to deal with that?” I realized he had turned the conversation back to me and away from him. Convenient. “You still didn’t answer me.”

He looked back out to the ocean before he answered. For some reason I knew the answer was important.

“I don’t like him. He should have made Holden let go of you himself. No guy has the right to put his hands on a girl against her will. Ever. If you aren’t doing something about it, you are enabling it, and I hate that almost as much. Even if he isn’t your boyfriend, as your friend he shouldn’t have allowed it. If you don’t believe me, ask your brothers.”

Wow. Okay. I think I hit a sore spot.

“I guess I can see your point of view. I don’t actually think Dom saw it until you guys started pushing and shoving, but okay. He probably doesn’t take Holden seriously, since we see him like that a lot.”

“He grabs you a lot?” He was starting to look angry.

“No. He’s obnoxious and drunk a lot. I appreciate that you were concerned, but it wasn’t necessary.”

He shrugged. “That’s your opinion.”

“I can take care of myself. I’m not sure why nobody gets that.” Why were guys so irritating? Ugh.

“Yeah I saw how well you were taking care of yourself.” He didn’t look convinced.

I wasn’t getting anywhere. I looked at the time on my phone. I didn’t want to go, but I also didn’t want my parents to check in and find me gone. That would not help my situation.

“I’d better get going.”

I handed him Bailee so I could get up. She was obviously exhausted from her adventure. “I’m glad your uncle let you keep her.” I rubbed her head.

“Yeah, I think he feels bad because he isn’t home much.”

“I worried he would make you take her to the pound,” I said as I brushed myself off.

“Well, I think he wishes he could change his mind now,” he said with a laugh.

“What happened?”

“She chewed a pair of his seven-hundred-dollar shoes. Not a banner moment for her.”

“Oh man. Poor Bailee.” I reached over and gave her a scratch. “It’s not fun to be labeled a troublemaker.” She looked at me sleepily and licked my hand.

I worked up the nerve to ask him something I’d been wondering about since he came back.

“So…” We started back up the beach toward home.

“Uh-oh.” He laughed.

“No more stutter?” I asked.

“Nope. Gone for good.”

“I’m going to be totally nosey here. What happened?”

“It’s fine. When we moved to Florida, my grandma and I took foreign language classes.”

“And that helped?”

“Yup. She read somewhere that it could help. I became fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.” He shrugged like it was no big deal. “Once I could speak another language without a stutter, it pretty much went away. Totally gone by the time I was fourteen.”

We had stopped in front of my gate. I reached out and gave him a hug, squishing Bailee in the process.

“Whoa. Okay.” He hugged me back.

“I’m sorry. I’m just so happy for you.” I knew it must have been more work than he let on. I was relieved he didn’t have to live with that stutter forever. I could feel tears behind my eyes trying to get out.

“It’s okay, Rory. I’m all good.” He shook his head at me.

I gave him another squeeze, then let go and stepped back.

He walked me through the gate up to my back door. I turned and we just stared at each other.

“I’d better go in.”

“Wouldn’t want the parents to know you are out with the bad boy and not the ‘Mr. Perfect’ they’ve picked for you,” he said.

I felt bad that he knew how my parents felt about him. My life was not usually this full of drama. I huffed out a breath. “Sorry.”

“Here, give me your phone. I don’t want you to have to climb down a drainpipe just to talk to me. I thought you would just come out the back door like a normal girl. I should have known you would do things the hard way.”

We exchanged phones and put our numbers in.

He handed me back my phone. His face was serious all of a sudden. “Now I won’t lose you again.” He gently brushed his fingers over my cheek and pushed a piece of hair behind my ear.

I shivered. We stood there staring into each other’s eyes. Bailee yawned a huge yawn, and the moment was lost.

“See you,” I whispered as I snuck in my back door. I turned and looked through the window. He was still watching me. When he turned and walked away, there was a tiny ache in the area of my heart. I already missed him. Not good.

* * *

Elena DillonAuthor, Elena Dillon, is the winner of a Weta Nichols Writing Award and an InD’tale RONE award. She was also a finalist in the Book Buyers Best, the Published Maggie’s and the Reader’s Favorite Awards all in the Young Adult category. She writes sweet teenage romance with sass, suspense and swoon.

Elena has never lived anywhere besides Southern California, which is probably a good thing since she hates being cold and is terrified to drive in the snow. She loves being a wife to her husband of twenty-five years and a mother to her three kids and high-maintenance bulldog, Brutus. A self-proclaimed nerd, she spends her days writing and catering to Brutus, who considers her “the help.”

Liliana’s Letter by Alina K Field

Liliana's Letter ebookI’m excited to host my friend, Alina K. Field, whose new book Liliana’s Letter released today! Congratulations, Alina! And I understand you’re giving one lucky commenter an ebook copy – yay! Please tell us a little more about your story.

Alina: Thank you for hosting me today, Kitty!

Today is release day for my latest Regency novella, Liliana’s Letter! After I finished my novel Bella’s Band I went to work on another Regency series. But a character from Bella’s Band, the hero’s uncle, nagged at me to tell his story, so I put aside my other project to reveal the story of how Lord Grigsby, the dependable, conscientious, dutiful Baron, found his own true love.

This was a great deal of fun to write, also a bit of a challenge because it’s a prequel to the novel. I found myself going back and forth between the published novel and the manuscript, thanking my lucky stars that I had not gone into a lot of detail about the characters in the novel!

I love that the baron found his true love and I hope readers will enjoy the story, too! Here’s the book’s description, and I included an excerpt at the end as well.

Liliana’s Letter

The Matchmaker

Lord Grigsby wants nothing more than to retreat to his study, but a promise to his long-dead sister has forced him back into society to broker the marriage of his nephew to the heiress whose money can save the young man’s earldom. If only the young lady’s starchy hired companion would move out of the way.

The Matchbreaker

Hired to launch an heiress’s society debut, seemingly straitlaced spinster Liliana Ashford’s future as a professional chaperone depends on the girl’s successful marriage. But Liliana had her own close encounter with a scoundrel years ago, and she won’t let her charge be forced into marriage to the same kind of rogue, no matter how hard the man’s widowed uncle tries to woo Liliana around to the match.

Secrets and a Scandalous Murder

A shadow from Liliana’s past appears bearing an unfortunate letter she wrote long ago, and then the earl is murdered, evoking the scandal of the season. While she scrambles to make a respectable match for her charge before her own past can be exposed, Grigsby sets about finding his nephew’s killer—and Liliana’s secrets.

EXCERPT:

The woman at Grigsby’s side was like a lightning rod expecting a bolt to strike, or like a Fury about to deliver one. This close, scent wafted from her, roses and lemon, he’d guess. Tall, straight, and stiff, underneath her self-possession was a temper ready to unleash. He would bet on it.

Intriguing. He dared to poke her ire. “You clearly don’t approve of the match. Do you intend to openly oppose it?”

Her head whipped around, and she glared. “It’s not for me to approve or disapprove. Katie—Miss Mercer—will decide.”

Passion flashed in her eyes, sending an answering spark through him. She was magnificent—though so very mistaken. “Really? Then her father is more liberal than I expected.”

She looked him over more closely. “What do you know of this matter?”

I might ask you the same question. Her tone had been stiff, like the crystallized dome covering bubbling lava. He fixed her with his sternest glare, not entirely surprised at her cheek.

His glower didn’t impress her. She lifted her shoulders higher. Stood a little taller, proud, lovely, and filled with indignation.

Quite righteous indignation. He gave into an unmanly sigh, truly weary of his responsibility for Thomas. “I know a good deal, Miss Ashford. I have been negotiating for these nuptials. The arrangement is my doing as much as Mr. Mercer’s. Much more than it is my nephew’s. He is probably the least culpable, except for his abominable behavior.”

She clenched her hands tightly. “I see.”

“Thomas’s mother was my older sister. I made a promise to her that I would look after him.” Her gaze softened, and she bit her lip in a way that made him want to taste the part that she was nipping.

And where had that thought come from?

“And your nephew needs money and an heir.”

He nodded. As a woman of the ton, of course she would understand how marriage worked. Marriage wasn’t about love, or the bride’s approval, or a plump lower lip that begged to be kissed.

“He needs money most of all. He has a younger brother in the army who would make a far more dutiful earl.”

He covered his mouth with his hand. The words had rolled out, shocking him. He rarely spoke this frankly with any woman.

Very well, he never spoke this frankly with any woman.

She released a soft breath. “And there is the matter of the ore.”

His mouth gaped and he quickly closed it. Mr. Mercer had shared that information? Well. “That part of the county is rich with newly discovered veins of iron.”

That information brought her up straighter. She looked away, gazing intently at a thick, dark spot of foliage, making him want to pry into that sharp mind.

“I see,” she said. “I believe we should go back in now.”

Not yet. He tucked her hand over his arm but did not move. “I had hoped we were not finished talking. I’ve learned your Christian name is Liliana, but I don’t know anything else about you. I don’t know where you’re from or anything about your family.”

He sensed her bristling, and waited for some reaction, perhaps a slap, verbal, or, with a woman of her passion, even a physical one. Strictly speaking, he was importuning her, and damn if he wasn’t enjoying the nerves rippling through her.

* * *

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can purchase Alina’s novella at Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. You also have a chance to win a free ebook copy by leaving a comment below! 🙂 Alina will randomly pick one winner in a few days.

Alina K FieldAward winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases.

Visit her at:
Her website – http://alinakfield.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AlinaKField
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

Book Marks: Instant Happy Journal – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Instant Happy JournalInstant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn

I love journals! I love happy things! I love the cover of this journal!  I just love this!!! Ok, now that I’ve gotten control of myself, I’ll explain why I love this so much.

Goodreads Summary

This colorful diary inspires journalers to apply happiness guru Karen Salmansohn’s Instant Happy principles to their everyday lives, with 365 prompts to encourage a year of gratitude.

On the heels of Karen Salmansohn’s wildly popular gift book Instant Happy comes this happiness journal, with daily prompts to help you think about and apply happiness wisdom to your own life. Each page features a specific intention, inspiring quote, surprising scientific fact, or thought-provoking question to ponder.

When you approach your day with Salmansohn’s “happiness prompters” in mind, you amp up your ability to notice (and create!) many more joyous moments in your day. But that’s just half of what it takes to live a supremely happy life.

This journal teaches the top two habits of happy people: to naturally set their intention to enjoy a happy day, then end the day reflecting on what made them happy. When you end your day writing about what went right, you further strengthen your happiness mindset. With fill-in dates so that you can write and reflect at your own pace, this little journal features a graphic design and fresh attitude perfect for today’s modern happiness-seeker. 

My Thoughts

If you read the beginning of this post (which I’m assuming you did or you wouldn’t be at this part), you already know how I feel about this journal.  I am so excited that I was given the opportunity to review it! I absolutely love journals so you can probably just imagine how excited I was when this was delivered to my house!

This Journal isn’t just a blank, write whatever you did that day type of journal.  It has little prompts at the beginning of every page encouraging you to focus on happy things.  Such a wonderful idea!  Especially in the “post all of your troubles and drama on social media” days we live in!  Sometimes people just need a boost of positivity and this journal helps you find the good in each day and situation!  I love it!

I decided to give this copy to my daughter and I’m planning on buying one for my niece and one for myself. If you like keeping a journal, or you know someone who does, then I definitely recommend picking up a copy of this journal.

There are so many prompts that I loved but here are two that I thought I’d share:

Love yourself for who you are now. Believe in who you have the power to become.”

“Be a kind person. Yes, even to jerks. Let them be jerks. You be a kind person.” 

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

Book Marks: Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore

Drawing FireLast week I finished my friend Janice Cantore‘s newest book, Drawing Fire, book one in the Cold Case Justice series. When I was done, I emailed her with “Wow!” in the subject line and told her this is definitely her best book yet!

The story is categorized as romantic suspense, but I would say it’s more a police book with heart. It’s set in Long Beach, California, where Janice used to be a police officer. The intertwining plot lines are so interesting that I would sometimes forget about one of the story threads when we came back to it because I was so into what was going on with the other threads.

But the whole thing comes together in such a way that you feel a sense of closure and justice. Yet the last page or two gives you a sense of what might be coming in the other books in the series. I’m super excited to read book two and asked Janice WHEN??

But – LOL! – I forgot this book is rather new. It just came out in May, so the next book won’t be released until sometime in 2016. Janice doesn’t have a date yet.

If you’ve been reading my posts about books I’ve read (generally categorized under “Book Marks” here), you know that I like lots of action, I really want to like the characters, and I want the story to pull me smoothly along without me having to stop and try to figure out what’s doing on. If there is a faith element or someone is wondering about or talking to God, I usually like that, too. Drawing Fire gave me all that and more. I fell asleep reading two nights in a row because I really wanted to find out what happened next! I really liked this book!

I don’t give many books 5 stars, only the ones that keep me up at night dying to finish. But this is a 5-star book to me. 😀 I can’t believe I’m going to have to wait 5+ months for the next book in the series!

Book Marks: The Bones Will Speak – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Cover image of the novel, The Bones Will SpeakThe Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks

Goodreads Summary

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he’s been appointed God’s executioner.

In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim’s grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter.

The murderer is a “lone wolf,” a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood – and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race -not grace – provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.

My Thoughts on the Book

If you like watching Criminal Minds then you’ll probably love this book!  Seriously, it was like watching an episode of Criminal Minds, CSI, or something like that, except without any bad language or inappropriateness.

This is actually book 2, which I didn’t realize until after I started this book, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. It could have been a stand-alone and be equally as good.  I had a little trouble getting into the book at first, although I think it was just me and my overwhelmed mind at the time, but after the first few chapters I was hooked.

The Bones Will Speak is the first book that I have read by Carrie Stuart Parks.  I enjoyed her writing style, and the fact that she is actually a forensic artist shows.  Her knowledge of it makes the book even more believable.  I really hope Carrie Stuart Parks writes another book and continues the series.  I will definitely pick it up if she does and I highly recommend reading The Bones Will Speak!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for my honest review.

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews

Book Marks: The Pilgrim by Davis Bunn

The Pilgrim book coverWhen I read that The Pilgrim was the story of Constantine’s mother, Helena, I was eager to read it. As I got to know Anthony and Cratus and some of the other characters, I enjoyed it even more. Add in a perilous journey through enemy territory being chased by a massive brute who is eager to kill – I’m in!

As always, Bunn’s book is well-written and draws you in from the beginning. But for all the action and adventure in the stories in the Bible, I rarely feel like I’m sitting on the edge of my seat biting my fingernails with historical Biblical fiction, so I don’t read a lot of it. Since this story isn’t actually from the Bible, I’d hoped it would be closer to the nail-biting end of the reading spectrum. (I figure some Biblical fiction is somewhat sanitized so as not to offend.) But there was only one (really good!) scene when I wondered who would live or die.

The other scenes where I expected more action and anxiety faded off into nothing bad happening to our protagonists. Not just that the enemy didn’t attack, but also without any clear indication that the people believed God intervened, that it was faith that made the difference. Why didn’t the enemy attack? Why did they think the enemy didn’t attack? If I was supposed to see their faith growing as they prayed for deliverance and were delivered, it was too subtle for me to gather from the text. Instead, I felt like I didn’t know what was going on, like I was missing something. (Yes, I saw their faith growing over the course of the book, but it didn’t seem to be very linked to being saved over and over.)

And the book ended like that for me – like I was missing something. I expected the vicarious thrill of victory over the enemy and the joyful glow of feeling God had delivered them as promised. I expected to hear even the briefest mention of how Helena and Anthony and Cratus saw a change in their lives. But instead, the end gave me an arm’s length description of how Helena’s work changed a nation.

That’s great, but that’s the history side. I wanted the more personal side of how Helena was changed, but I never got close enough to her. Almost like a friend who never really lets you in, and eventually you give up and realize this person will never be the close kind of friend. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what I look for in fiction, so that’s the disappointing part of the story for me.

If you already like this genre of fiction and/or if you like Bunn’s other books, you’ll like this one. But for me…well, I felt like I tried to make a new friend and ended up knowing her as little in the end as I did in the beginning.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

3 1/2 stars

BOOK MARKS: New Release Today – TRIAL RUN by Thomas Locke

Trial-Run-Thomas-LockeI’m thrilled to be part of the street team for Davis Bunn, who also writes speculative fiction as Thomas Locke. Today, his new book TRIAL RUN is out! Here is the teaser:

Where does perception end and reality begin?

Can your mind actually cause something to happen in the “real” world?

What happens when we throw out our conception of the limits of space and time?

When science, government, and big business clash, who will ultimately have control of our information, our privacy, and even our very thoughts?

One thing remains clear:

What you don’t know can kill you.

Personally, I think the book is far more interesting than the above promo copy makes it sound. 🙂 It’s all of the above plus some really interesting characters who make you want to know what in the heck they’re doing and why! You can read a free sample of Trial Run here. There is even a video trailer for the book! And here is the review I wrote on Amazon:

I was hooked on the concept as soon as I read the short story prequel, Double Edge. I’m a complete neuroscience nerd and love the fringe science intertwined with known science in this story. The characters are all different and compelling, and you really get into why everyone is doing what they’re doing. Maybe the bad guys are a little too “bad-guy-like” but the other two groups of people make up for it.

By the last page of chapter 32 (almost halfway through the book), I was gasping at what I thought was happening! New and different and really exciting concepts!

The reason I gave it four stars instead of five was that it seemed to me – just my opinion – that the excitement kind of leveled off. It kept getting more intense till about three-quarters through, and then seemed to be the same level of excitement to the end. It was good but… I like it better when it just keeps getting worse until the last few pages, and you can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen. Also, there were some things brought up in the story that were SUPER INTERESTING and you didn’t get a good explanation, just an okay explanation, like you would find out more in the next book. I know it’s a series, but I like a book to feel finished to me, and I felt there were a few things left out.

All that to say, I LOVE this kind of psychological thriller! And I definitely want to read the next book! I’ve got to know what happens next! Haha!! I hope you like it, too. 🙂

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.DoubleEdgeQuoteGraphic_02-700x366

Double Edge is a free short story prequel, so you should definitely check it out. They also wrote better promo copy for it.  🙂

Discover how it all began in this explosive prequel to Trial Run

There isn’t much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her—now—just might accomplish it.

Knowing little more than her beautiful name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job.

But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty—if the two of them survive the test.

Leave behind your perceptions of what is possible and race into the unknown corridors of human consciousness in this breakneck prequel to Thomas Locke’s Trial Run. Click here http://tlocke.com/fault-lines/ to download “Double Edge,” free from your favorite online bookseller.

And if you’re interested, this is my review of Double Edge:

I just finished this psychological neuroscience thriller and I can’t wait to read more! Thank goodness this short story is just the prequel to Thomas Locke’s new book, Trial Run, which is waiting on my bedside table. (Is it bedtime yet? Please say yes so I can go read it!)

I am a complete nerd when it comes to brain science and this story has got me reading as fast as I can. The characters are diverse and interesting and are leaving me with a dozen questions I hope are answered in Trial Run. If you are at all interested in what might happen the more we learn about how to manipulate the brain, you’ve got to try this short story! I think you’re gonna love it!

As you can see, I really enjoyed both stories. Try them out!  😀

Davis-Bunn-2015

 

Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at http://tlocke.com.

 

Book Sale Today – 20 Books at 99c Each!

PreLaunchImage2Hi friends!

I’m participating in a book sale today with 19 other writers. There’s a little something for everyone, and each of the books are only 99c today. Most books will be on sale today only, while some like mine will be 99c for a few days. Check them out! 🙂

Stuck With You by Kristy Tate

Calling All Glass Slippers by Jacqueline Diamond

Jack Fell Down by Michelle Knowlden

Heart’s Desire by Susan R Hughes

Emerald Fortune by Lou Nelson

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts

A Deadly Denial by Kathy Bennett

Unexpected Superhero by Yours Truly! 😀

Neighbors by Michael Payne

Ghost of My Dreams by Angie Ray

Love at the Beach (3 books in 1) by Laura Taylor

Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

The Ring That Binds by Linda Carroll-Bradd

She Likes It Tough by Geralyn Corcillo

Shadows Till Sunrise by Chris Marie Green

The Bachelor’s Baby Promise by Barbara McMahon

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick by Donna Fasano

You Don’t Know Jack by Adrianne Lee

Big and Bright by Jan Hudson

Demon Lover by Kathleen Creighton

 

One Day Sale on 20 Romance Novels – Only 99 Cents Each!

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books – all in various sub-genres of romance – will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. 🙂 And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. 😀 Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick 

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy

Book Marks: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Power of HabitMy friend Lauraine picked up The Power of Habit a couple weeks ago and liked it so much, she bought me and our friend Kathleen a copy before she’d even finished reading it. I started the prologue right away because I was curious – and procrastinating.

Before I got to the end of the prologue, I was hooked! This book is fascinating! By the time I was a third of the way through, I already understood both how habits worked and how to change them. Yay!

If you’re at all interested in habits, what happens in your head when you have a routine, and the neuroscience behind it all, you will love this book. And there is more information, including fun and easy to follow videos, on his web site.

At the very least, you’ll have a simple plan for adding or changing your habits. And changing for the better is worth it!

5 stars, Loved It