Thursday, 20 July 2017

#CoverCrush: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!



A stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire's Alex award-winning Wayward Children series, which began in the Hugo and Nebula finalist Every Heart a Doorway

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire's Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children in a stand-alone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.



Some thoughts about the cover:

This series has some of the best covers I've ever seen and I simply adore this the third books cover. Isn't this cover simply gorgeous? The colors in the sky, the red ocean and of course the tantalizing open door...

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court


Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum


indieBRAG

#BlogTour His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray (@ShelleySGray) @partnersincr1me

His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

His Guilt

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour July 10 - August 10, 2017


Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray delivers the next novel in her Amish of Hart County series—a suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay…

Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction, Amish Fiction
Published by: Avon Inspire/HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062469134 (ISBN13: 9780062469137)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #2 | It is a stand-alone novel

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
Horse Cove, Kentucky
August 4

He was watching her again.
As she handed her customer change across the counter of the Blooms and Berries nursery, Waneta Cain did her best to pretend that their newest employee was not inordinately interested in everything she did. He was simply observant.
Surely, it was just her imagination playing tricks on her anyway. Mark Fisher was probably trying to see how she handled the checkout counter. She used to watch Mr. Lehmann all the time when she’d first started at the nursery.
That had to be the reason.
“Thanks for your help, Neeta,” Mr. Killian said, interrupting her thoughts. “I’d be lost without you.”
“I’m simply glad I could help ya,” she told the Englisher with a bright smile as he lifted his box of seedlings from the wide well-worn countertop. “See ya soon.”
The man tipped his ball cap. “You sure will if I can’t get these to bear fruit. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck and good blessings, too.” After helping him with the door, she let it close behind her with a satisfying thunk.
She chuckled to herself. That Mr. Killian was a terrible gardener but a frequent customer. She sincerely hoped that one day he would develop that green thumb he wanted so badly.
“Do you always act that way?”
A shiver coursed through her as she turned.
Meeting Mark’s dark-brown eyes, which seemed to be studying her intently, she struggled to appear calm. “Like what?”
Mark stepped away from the row of metal shelves located in the back of the store. He’d been unpacking boxes and restocking shelves for the last hour. Methodically sorting and organizing merchandise while she helped customers. “Like they’re your friends,” he replied. “Like you’re so happy to see them.” Stepping closer, he lifted his shoulder. “Is that how you really are… or is that just an act?”
She didn’t care for the way he seemed to be insinuating that she wasn’t genuine. “It’s not an act. Mr. Killian is in her a lot. He’s nice. We are friends.”
“He’s English and must be fifty years old.”
“I don’t see how that matters. I can like people who are different than me.”
“Maybe you can. But you were sure smiling at him a lot. Or do you do that on purpose? To make sure that he will return?”
His question made her uncomfortable, but his sarcastic tone made her angry. “I don’t know why you are asking such things. I really don’t like what you are suggesting. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary or smiling at customers in any special way. I’m just being my regular self.”
“Huh. So you treat everyone with smiles and kindness. You are friends with all sorts of people. Even people who are different from you. Except me.”
“I’ve been perfectly amiable to you,” she retorted. Except, of course, that was a lie.
“I don’t think so,” Mark murmured. “I’ve been her seven hours, four of them barely six feet away from you.”
She knew that. She’d known exactly where he was every moment they’d been together. “And?”
“And during all that time you’ve hardly said ten words to me. You sure aren’t smiling at me.”
She opened her mouth, closed it again. What could she say? He wasn’t wrong.
Mark stepped closer, invading her space. She could see the fine brown hairs on his forearms now. Noticed that he hadn’t shaved in a day or two.
“Is it because I was taken in for questioning?” he asked quietly, his dark-brown eyes watching her, as if he feared she would run. “Or, is it just me? Do you not want anything to do with me, Waneta?”
Her palms were sweating. She fisted both as she tried to come up with an answer. He was right on all accounts. She was uneasy around him.
Fact was, Mark Fisher was a large man. Tall and well-muscled. He had a rough way about him, too. It was disconcerting.
Of course, she’d always felt uneasy around him. He’d been an angry teenager, always glaring and short-tempered with most everyone. After he finished school, he’d worked for a few people around town. Rumor had it that his brother, Calvin, had taken off as soon as their mother did. Mark had even lived in Mr. Lehmann’s home for a time, until he was taken in for questioning about Bethany’s assault.
And after he was questioned, then let go for insufficient evidence, he disappeared for two years.
Now he was back.
Mr. Lehmann assured her that Mark hadn’t done anything wrong, but a lot of people in the community still believed that he was the masked man who’d beaten Bethany Williams. It wasn’t much of a stretch. Bethany had told lots of people that her assailant was over six feet tall and was very strong. But she also said she wasn’t able to identify the man.
Few other details had circulated after that. Then Bethany and her family moved up north, practically the moment she was released from the hospital.
Realizing Mark was still waiting, Waneta said, “I haven’t spoken to you much because we don’t’ know each other.”
His eyes narrowed. “But that’s not really true. We knew each other once. We did go to the same Amish school.”
“You were ahead of me in school. We hardly talked then.” He was only three years older than herself, but they were miles apart in terms of how they’d lived their lives. He’d also been the kind of boy she’d been a little scared of. He was rough and always seemed so angry.
For a second, he looked dumbfounded. “So, you do remember.”
“Of course I remember you and your brother, Calvin. Our school wasn’t that big, Mark.” Feeling pretty good about how self-assured she was sounding, Neeta folded her arms across her chest. “But that was a long time ago. Years have gone by.”
“Yeah. You’re right,” he said slowly. “Years have gone by. Practically a whole lifetime.”
He sounded so sad. She wondered what was going through his head. Did he regret hurting Bethany? And what had been doing for the two years since it all happened? Why had he even come back to Horse Cave? Surely, there were other, far better places to start over.
The door jangled as a couple came in. Like Mr. Killian, they were regular customers. James and Katie Eicher were Amish and lived on a large farm on the outskirts of town.
Glad for the reprieve, she smiled at them. “Hiya, Katie. James. How can I help you?”
Just as Katie was about to answer, her husband put a hand on her arm. “Go wait in the buggy, Kate.”
Katie looked at her husband in confusion, then blanched when she caught sight of Mark. Without a word, she turned and walked back out the door.
When it closed again, James glared at Mark. “What are you doing here?”
Mark lifted his chin. “I work here.”
“Is that true, Neeta?” James asked. “Did Henry actually hire him?”
“Jah. Today is Mark’s first day.” Unsure how to handle his anger, she cleared his throat. “Now, um, how may I help you?”
“Where is Henry?”
She looked around the room, which was a ridiculous exercise, seeing as it was perfectly obvious that Mr. Lehmann was not there.
“He’s out back,” Mark said, pointing to one of the four large greenhouses behind the retail store. “You want me to go get him for ya?”
“I don’t want you to do a thing for me,” James said. “I’ll go find him myself.”
Mark rocked back on his heels. “Suit yourself.”
Neeta winced at his flippant tone.
James, however, looked irate. Pointing a finger at him, James said, “I’m telling you now, Fisher. You stay far away from my wife. Don’t talk to her. Don’t even look at her.”
Instead of looking cowed, the corners of Mark’s lips lifted. “Or what?”
“Or I’ll do everything I can to ensure that you leave here for good.”
Mark narrowed his eyes. “Are you threatening me?”
Ignoring Mark again, James turned to her. “I can’t believe you are working in here with him. Do your parents even know?”
Before she could say that they did not, James strode out the door. It slammed in his wake.
For a good couple of seconds, Neeta stared at the door. She tried to calm herself, especially since she’d just realized that her hands were shaking.
Why was she so rattled? Was it because she was afraid of Mark Fisher?
Or because James’s anger had been so scorching?
“You never answered him,” Mark said from behind her, startling her out of her dark thoughts. “Do your parents know that you are working here with me?”
“Nee.”
“Why not?” he asked. “Is it because you’re afraid that they’ll want you to stay far, far away from the dangerous Mark Fisher, too?”
Before she could answer, the door opened again. This time it brought in Mr. Lehmann.
He looked from Mark to her and signed. “I came to check on how you two are doing after James Eicher’s visit. It doesn’t look like you’re doing too gut.”
“I’m fine, Mr. Lehmann,” she said. “But, um, well, it’s four o’clock.”
“Which means it’s time for you to get on him,” he said with a kind smile. “Grab your things and get on your way. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
She smiled weakly as she turned toward the back storage room, where her belongings were stowed. For the first time since she’s started working at the nursery, returning to work filled her with dread.
She didn’t trust Mark. Worse, she didn’t trust herself when she was around him.
Excerpt from His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
  Shelley Shepard Gray

Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:


Don't Miss Your Chance to Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelley Shepard Gray and HarperCollins. There will be 4 US winners of one (1) print edition of His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray. The giveaway begins on July 10 and runs through August 10, 2017.
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

#BookReview How We Found You by J.T. Lawrence (@pulpbooks)

How We Found You by J.T. Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would you sacrifice your son to save your daughter?

There’s something different about Kate’s four-year-old son. He wasn’t created the old fashioned way. Now a violent cult wants him dead and Kate will do anything to protect him – until they take her daughter.

In tomorrow’s world, Kate is haunted by a brutal past. Struggling to navigate a life that seems like an experiment in virtual reality, her paranoia threatens to consume her. But when someone tries to kidnap Mally, she realises she was absolutely right to be afraid.
With only hours to go before the cult's prophecy is to be fulfilled, Kate and Seth face more danger than they’ve ever imagined, desperate to keep him safe. However, the charismatic leader of the cult has other ideas, which puts Kate in an impossible position. Who will she choose to live, and who will she have to sacrifice?

Glimpse JT Lawrence’s chilling vision of the all-too-near future in this dark psychological thriller with a twist that will send you reeling. How We Found You is the second book in the riveting series When Tomorrow Calls.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it. Start reading How We Found You now.


**********

I've been putting off writing this review. For some reason are the 5-star reviews sometimes the hardest one to write. I mean how will I be able to express how much I enjoyed reading this book? Even now I'm a bit lost for words. But, I will give it a try.

How We Found You is the sequel to How We Found You. I've not read the first book, but I did not find it hard to get into this book, although I did several times during this book think that I really need to read How We Found You to get the backstory to the story in this book. Just to get the know the characters that I've come to care for, a bit better.

The setting for How We Found You is in the future, not that far for in the future, but it feels like another world. The futuristic technology is one aspect that made me love this book. To read about how everything has progressed fascinated me. But, there are those that are afraid how the progress that sees the birth of children not through the usual way as a sign of the end. For Kate does this mean that there are those that want to kill her son. And, they will try every means necessary to succeed.

First, I want to say that this book intrigued me from the beginning. I loved the setting of a futuristic South Africa, of a cult after children to stop a prophecy and of a mother who that will do everything to protect her children. The writing is fabulous, I was pulled into the story and the only thing I regretted was not reading the How We Found You first. Yes, you can read this as a stand-alone, but I personally would have started with book one. But, at least I have the first book to read now.

I will end this review by saying that this book is marvelous and I greatly enjoyed reading it!

I want to thank TBConFB for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

#BookReview: Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge (@mjarlidge) @MichaelJBooks

Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy. But when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone. Hiding her personal connection to the victim - and a double-life which must remain secret at all costs - Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead. As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but also her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice. Confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web? But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death . . .

**********

The Helen Grace series is a favorite of mine and last night did I decide to start listening to the book. A bad decision to start late at night btw since I had to force myself to stop listen quite early one since it was pretty late and I had to work today. Anyway, I'm really thankful that I have the next book as an audiobook was well since this one ended with a frustrating cliffhanger. I'm also glad I did not read the book and then had to wait until the next book was published!

In Little Boy Blue must Helene Grace tackle a very personal case. The murder victim is someone that she knew, but for reasons can't she tell her fellow colleagues that she knew the person in question. Now, she has to keep her emotions in check while trying to find the devious murderer. But, how long can she hide the truth?

As usual, has M.J. Arlidge written a thriller that from the start captivated me. I quite enjoy listening to this book. Elizabeth Bower is a great narrator, and her ability to change her voice for all the characters make it easy to know who is who. Also, the book is so thrilling that the hours just fly away when you're listening to the book.

I did suspect the identity of the killer, I'm not quite sure when it hit me who the person probably would be. However, it made the book more interesting to listen to. Was I right about my suspicious or not made the book more thrilling? Btw, yes I was right...

Little Boy Blue is just as the previous books brilliant. I do recommend reading this series from the beginning and not from book two as I did. This is a series that definitely is best suited to read in order.

#BookReview Blame by Jeff Abbott (@JeffAbbott) @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway

Blame by Jeff Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes the person you thought you knew best...Turns out to be someone you never really knew at all.

The crash that killed him

Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane's note: I wish we were dead together.

A girl to blame


From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: Why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?

The secrets she should forget

Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message: I know what really happened. I know what you don't remember...


**********

Oh, this book is good. Blame is the kind of book that I felt right from the start will turn out to be great. I've read a book by Jeff Abbott before (The First Order book 5 in the Sam Capra series) and I knew he can write, and I was eagerly awaiting the day I could start reading this book. I was however when I started to read the book a bit surprised about how young Jane was, only 17. I had after reading the blurb imagined her older.

Jane's memory loss is not just from the accident two years ago. She can't remember the last three years of her life, not her father's death neither the new friends she made in high school. So, all she can go after is what all the people, her mother and the friends she has left tell hers. Her life isn't easy, memory loss and almost everyone thinks she is responsible for the death of David in the car crash. That she meant to kill them both. But, was she really suicidal? It's time for Jane to find out what really happened two years ago, was it an accident, or was she trying to kill them both? Or was someone else involved in the crash?

I love the fact that pretty much everyone acted so mysterious and suspicious in this book. From Jane's mother to her friends. Jane can't be sure whom to trust and it doesn't help that so doesn't remember more than glimpses the last three years of her life. It's a thrilling book to read, fast-paced, and I had a hard time figuring out how it all would end. They all seemed to have secrets.

Blame is a great book. If you like psychological thrillers will you love this one!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Blame by Jeff Abbott

#BookReview Afterlife by Marcus Sakey

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion — a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people — until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect — and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.


**********

In hindsight should I probably quite early on, just stopped reading this book when I realized that it was not working. Except, my middle name is apparently stubborn and I thought the idea of the book was so fantastic that I couldn't understand why I just couldn't get into the book. I mean it's nothing wrong with the writing, the characters did not annoy me either. I just felt a bit listless reading the book, and I think it's because I just didn't care that much for the story or for the characters. It was just not a book for me.

This will not be a long review. I have nothing really good to say about it, nor bad. I can understand why the story would appeal to readers, I just couldn't feel it myself. I think if the story of this book appeals to you, should you give it a go. The concept is interesting, with an afterlife where you can either become an eater and get godlike powers or try not be "eaten". If I had cared more for the characters would I probably have enjoyed the book more. However, I cared very little about Claire and Will's life and, romance and their angst and that made the book a bit slow to read.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

#BookReview Look Behind You by Iris Johansen @StMartinsPress

Look Behind You by Iris Johansen
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A serial killer is on the loose in San Diego, and he has a most unusual M.O.: With each kill, he leaves behind objects with unclear meanings. Most of the recent killings are centered near Kendra Michaels’ home and office, so it comes as no great surprise when the FBI shows up at her door. The investigators soon make a startling discovery: the left-behind objects are actually souvenirs of other unsolved serial murder cases in various U.S. cities. And the new cases feature “holdback” characteristics of the other murders unknown to the general public. Kendra realizes that the killer has come to challenge and taunt her. The investigators become his newest targets, even as Kendra slowly begins to suspect that one of them may be the killer himself. She must find the killer as the body count rises, and to do so she relies on her own ”dream team” of agent-for-hire Adam Lynch and private investigator Jessie Mercado. They must risk everything to defeat a psychopath whose terrifying plan is years in the making.

**********

Look Behind You is book five in the Kendra Michaels series. I have only read the previous book, Night Watch in this series, but I have read several of Iris Johansen's Eve Duncan books.

I was curious to see how I would about this book. Night Watch was OK, but not as interesting as the Eve Duncan books usually are. Eve is such a wonderful character and I haven't warmed up to Kendra in the same way. However, I did find that the storyline in this book was much more interesting than in Night Watch, and I have slowly started to come to like Kendra. It helps that I think the female characters in this book are pretty awesome, besides Kendra do we have her best friend Olivia and showing helping Kendra is private detective Jessie who once was a bodyguard to a famous singer. However, my big problem is Adam Lynch. I just can't seem to warm up to him. And, yes like I wrote in my review for Night Watch does he remind me of Quinn, Eve's significant other. Just less interesting. Lynch macho man style just annoys and bores me. I hope one day to warm up to him. But, his over protecting style and know it all just makes me grind my teeth.

Nevertheless, the story is not at all bad, the hunt for the serial killer is interesting and intense and I was really baffled over the identity of the killer. Truly, and utterly stunned! Too bad that Adam had to get back from China. I was thinking of giving the book four stars, but a big heart to heart between Adman and Kendra made me realize that I was not totally enjoying the book. But, still, the revelation of the killers must be rewarded so I give it 0.5 more stars just because of that!  It really sucks when the main character falls for someone and you don't feel any chemistry between them. Still, it's a good book and I wouldn't mind reading the ones I've missed.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Monday, 17 July 2017

#BookReview The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo (@AlyssInWnderlnd) @FreshFiction

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.


**********

The gorgeous cover of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN FLORANCE caught my eyes a couple of months ago and the book's description about the muse of Botticelli who inspired him to paint The Birth of Venus sounded very intriguing. I love reading historical fiction about real people and I was very happy when I got the chance to read this book. The Birth of Venus is a very famous painting, but I have to admit that Sandro Botticelli's life is not something that I had any knowledge about. However, that made the book even more intriguing to read since through this book did I get a fictional glimpse into the painter's life which made me yearn to learn more about him.

READ TEH REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BlogTour Duplicity by Jane Haseldine (JaneEyre77) @partnersincr1me #giveaway

Duplicity by Jane Haseldine | Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour Banner

Duplicity

by Jane Haseldine

on Tour July 1-31, 2017

Synopsis:

Duplicity by Jane Haseldine
In Jane Haseldine’s new novel of riveting suspense, Detroit newspaper reporter Julia Gooden is up against the city’s most devious criminal—and her own painful past. Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished façade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.

Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims—including the prosecution’s key witness—and leaves David critically injured.

Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives—including her children’s—hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters…

What Reviewers are Saying about Duplicity:

“Haseldine has a gift for atmosphere, setting, and suspense, and the many twists and turns will keep readers guessing.”—Library Journal

“Julia, introduced in The Last Time She Saw Him (2016), is ferociously bold and persistent as she deals with professional and personal adversity laced with duplicity in this action-packed, plot-driven mystery. This is hard-bitten crime fiction with changes ahead for its unrelenting series protagonist.”—Booklist

“Haseldine (The Last Time She Saw Him, 2016) uses her experience as a crime reporter to bring authenticity to this exciting and gritty tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: April 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 149670407X (ISBN13: 9781496704078)
Series: Julia Gooden Mystery #2 | Duplicity can be read as a stand alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
Glenlivet, light on the rocks. A cocktail waitress with bright fuchsia lipstick delivers the drink and motions her head in the direction of the aged fifty-something women two tables down. The recipient of the cocktail turns his head toward the hoots and low whistles from the likely recent divorcees who are ogling him like a lusty spectator sport.
“Want to join us, hon?” the ringleader asks and adjusts her leopard print halter-top to reveal an extra inch of orange, tanned cleavage. In case her intent wasn’t clear enough, the woman scoops a sugar cube from her champagne cocktail, places it between her teeth and starts sucking.
“No thank you,” the businessman answers coolly and places the unwanted drink back on the cocktail waitress’ tray.
He turns his back on the spurned women and locks in on a tall, willowy blond in a white dress that clings to her slender curves as she moves fluidly across the casino floor in his direction.
She pauses at his table, slides into the empty seat across from him and carefully tucks a leather briefcase between her legs.
The rowdy commotion from the neighboring table of women abruptly stops as they wordlessly concede, they’ve been bested by a thoroughbred.
The businessman slips an Italian charcoal grey suit coat over his tall and tightly muscled frame. He tips back the last few sips of the drink he ordered for himself ten minutes earlier and heads toward the lobby, not bothering to look back. He knows the blond will follow.
In the elevator, the mouth of a camera lens captures its occupants’ activities. The pair stand close, but just far enough apart so it doesn’t look obvious they are together, just two attractive strangers in an elevator heading up to their respected rooms. The blond stunner holds the briefcase in her left hand and takes a risk. She lifts her pinky finger up and brushes the back of the businessman’s hand for less than a second.
The elevator arrives on the VIP floor, the best the MGM Grand has to offer.
The blond bends down, slides a key out of the front pocket of the briefcase and opens the hotel room door. Inside, the man stands in front of the floor to ceiling windows. He takes a quick pan of downtown Detroit and then snaps the curtains shut. When it is safe, when they are alone, the blond, now anxious and wanting, drops the briefcase and goes directly for his zipper.
“Wait.” He takes the briefcase over to the bed, opens it, and fans the stack of bills across the mattress like a seasoned blackjack dealer some thirty stories below.
“Two million. You don’t trust me now?” the woman asks with a contrived pout.
He ignores the question until the cash has been fully accounted for.
“Come here,” he commands.
He starts to remove his coat, but she is already there.
“I’ve missed you,” she whispers and cups her long, delicate fingers around his crotch.
He reciprocates by running his hand across the thin silk of her dress directly over her breast, and then squeezes until the blond lets out a gasp.
The blond easily submits when the man pushes her down hard on the bed, letting him believe he still has the upper hand, that he is the aggressor. She stares up at his beautiful face, his breath coming faster now as his body starts to move in a rapid, steady rhythm above her. She doesn’t mind when he closes his eyes. He wants her again, reestablishing her position of control, at least for now. That’s all that matters.
When they are finished, the businessman turns toward the wall in disgust.
“I knew you weren’t through with me yet,” she says. “You take all your hostility out on me in bed. You’re a rough boy, but I like it.”
He ignores her, gets up from the bed, still naked, and heads to the bathroom. The blond is useless to him now. She knows it but still holds on.
“The birthmark on your ass is so sweet. It looks like a crescent moon with a shooting star underneath,” she remarks. “Come back to bed and let me take a closer look.”
The man spins around, anger flashing in his eyes as if the blonde’s comment violated something personal.
“Shut up,” he says.
“No need to talk dirty to me. You know I’ll give you what you want, as long as you give me my share of the money.”
“When it’s over, you’ll get it. That’s the agreement.”
“How do I know you won’t screw me?”
“Because I’m not that guy. The money will be in a safe place.”
“I want access to it.”
“I don’t think so.”
The door to the bathroom slams shut and she is dismissed. Inside the shower, he scrubs every trace of the woman off his body, hoping she will be gone when he comes out. But the blond is still in bed. At least she is sleeping.
The businessman climbs back into his suit, grabs the briefcase and closes the hotel room door quietly behind him. The second elevator in the hallway opens and he disappears inside just as elevator one chimes its arrival to the VIP floor. Its single occupant emerges, a man, squat and thick but moving swiftly like a gymnast. He wears all black, a bulky windbreaker, sweatpants and a baseball cap as if he’s just come from the hotel gym. He lets himself into a room with a key he extracts from a bulky fanny pack that flanks his waist. Inside, he quickly assesses the scene, pulls a tiny camera out from its hiding place inside a fake antique clock on the dresser and tucks it into his coat pocket.
He then retrieves a razor blade and scarf from the pack and heads toward the bed where the blond is still sleeping.
The man moves silently as he eases his body onto the bed. He inches forward across the mattress and then straddles the blond with his hips, locking her in place until she is prone and pinned to the bed. Without opening her eyes, she smiles, thinking her lover has returned. She flicks her tongue across her lips and then opens her mouth expectantly.
“Shhh,” he whispers. “You pay now. We know what you did.”
The woman’s eyes fly open, and she tries to scream out her assailant’s name, but he cuffs one stubby hand across her mouth before she can utter a word. He lifts the razor from his pocket and begins to gently slide the unsharpened side of the blade down her stomach until it reaches the top of her public bone.
“Please!” she begs. “I’ll give you what you want.”
The razor stops short before it makes its final descent.
His breath is warm and steady against her ear. “How do you know what I want?”
“Money. I’ll give it to you.”
He pauses as though considering the request and flicks the dull side of the blade back and forth across her skin.
“God, please. You don’t want money then. Okay. Just tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.”
He shakes his head and teases the sharp edge of the razor blade against her leg.
“Who is it?” he whispers as the razor makes a tiny, precise knick on the inside of her thigh, drawing a single drop of blood that trickles down her ivory skin like a crimson teardrop.
“The name. I’ll give you the name!” she pleads. “Sammy Biggs, the Butcher. He’s the one. I just found out, I swear. I didn’t betray you. He did. Now please! Let me go.”
The hired hand sighs deeply, as if savoring an indulgent pleasure, now finally satisfied. But not quite. Lessons must be learned and never forgotten. The man stuffs the scarf down the woman’s mouth to muffle the pain of her penance. It is engrained in his soul those who sin must atone. He clasps the razor blade between his thumb and middle finger and cuts the blonde’s left earlobe off in one clean slice.
“Hail Mary, full of grace,” he prays as he pulls out a locket from underneath his black T-shirt. He kisses a likeness of the face of the blessed Virgin Mary etched into the front of the gold necklace charm and stuffs his newly won keepsake from the blond into his pocket.
Chapter 2
Concrete, grey, cold, and quickly passing is the only thing Julia sees. The running started the previous summer when she was at the lake house, the place she mistakenly thought would be a sanctuary for her boys after the separation from her husband David.
The runs started as just one lap around the rocky coastal loop along Lake Huron. But when Julia migrated back to the Detroit suburbs for a second shot at her marriage, her runs progressed and three times a week turned into seven and the start times became earlier and earlier.
Five a.m. Julia conquers the stretch of her Rochester Hills comfortable suburban neighborhood within five minutes. She expands her perimeter to downtown and then all the way to the Auburn Hills border. Ten miles today. No negotiation.
Julia races through the darkness just starting to break and ignores everything she passes, the funky downtown stores, the tidy homes with daily papers waiting on the icy driveway blacktops and the Assembly of God church with its bulletin board warning “Sin: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”
None of the scenery matters. The steady rhythm of her sneakers pounding against the concrete pushes Julia forward, getting her closer to some invisible finish line as she race her one constant opponent: herself.
Spring officially arrived in Michigan a week prior, but the depressing mounds of frozen grey snow from another cruel Midwestern winter obviously didn’t get the memo. Julia pushes herself harder and starts to sprint as she passes her oldest son Logan’s middle school, her half-mile mark to home, and breathes in deeply. The cold air stings as it goes down, but it’s worth it. Julia is certain she can smell the beginnings of the ground starting its impatient thaw and the bulbs, in a deep slumber since October, beginning to stir. Change is coming and she is ready for it.
A car drives by slowly, reaches the corner and then turns back around in her direction. Julia instinctively moves away from the curb and reaches down toward her waist pack. Instead of a water bottle, Julia packs protection, pepper spray and a folding knife with a three-inch blade. Paranoia always ran hard and deep after what happened to her brother when Julia was a little girl, compounded by twelve years covering the crime beat, not to mention a deranged religious fanatic who kidnapped her youngest son. For Julia, it all adds up to one thing: Trust no one.
The car slows to a crawl as it approaches a second time. A dark sedan, nondescript, probably a Ford model about five-years-old with tinted windows, Julia calculates as her hand sweeps inside her pack. She runs her fingers across the flat side of the knife’s blade as the car’s driver side window opens.
“Hey, Gooden, I thought that was you. If you’re going to jog in the dark, you better wear brighter colors or you’re going to get mowed down out here,” Detroit Police Detective Leroy Russell says. Julia recalls Russell lives somewhere in the Rochester Hills community, where his ex-wife is an assistant professor of journalism at Oakland University.
Julia finally exhales, her breath turning into a puff of white that disappears into the frigid late March morning. Now knowing she won’t have to engage in hand-to-hand combat, Julia fixes her gaze back on Russell whose trademark Mr. Clean buzz cut looks freshly-shaven. She feels the sting of adrenaline coursing through her body as the fear leaves her.
She begins to respond to Russell when the smell hits from the open car window. Julia makes out the distinct aroma of almost metabolized late-night, heavy drinking and Old Spice, the latter applied so liberally, it makes her eyes sting.
“How are you doing, Russell?” Julia asks. “Are you on the early shift?”
Russell reaches toward his glove compartment and extracts a green bottle of Excedrin which he pops open and then crushes four white tablets under his tongue.
“Retirement party last night for Sergeant Walter Shaw,” Russell explains. “I’m meeting Navarro for breakfast, so hopefully an order of scrambled eggs and home fries will soak it all up before a hangover hits.”
“You and Navarro are meeting up to discuss the Rossi trial,” Julia states, no question necessary. “I caught both your names on the prosecution’s witness list.”
“That’s right.”
Julia jogs in place without realizing it and strategizes how she can pump Russell for information for her story. The court part of the crime beat is her least favorite, despite the fact Julia is married to a lawyer. To her, courtrooms feel like tight little boxes where various versions of the truth run fast and loose amidst the big show, and the winner is often selected not by the culmination of the presented facts, but by which side puts on a better performance.
“I heard there’s going to be a surprise witness the prosecution is going to pull out at the last minute. Do you know anything about that? We can go off the record. You know I won’t burn you. I just need a name,” Julia pushes.
Russell reaches up and massages his right temple with his index finger.
“I don’t know,” he says. “Even if there is some last-minute witness, Judge Palmer probably won’t allow it if they aren’t on the list. Why are you asking anyway? You’ve got a much better source at home. You and David are back together, right?”
“We’re working on it. I can’t ask David though. It would be a conflict of interest. The D.A.’s office doesn’t want to get sued for leaking information to the press. Plus, David and I are pros. Neither of us would cross that line.”
“Come on. You can’t tell me you don’t pull some favors in the bedroom to get your husband to talk. Sex is a woman’s secret weapon. It always has been since the dawn of time. A sweet, firm ass has toppled many a mighty man. I’m more of a leg man, myself though,” Russell says as he gives Julia’s well-toned runner’s legs a nod of silent approval.
At thirty-seven, Julia has long mastered the fine art of the dodge and weave around unwanted advances. Unless the guy is completely out of line, Julia ignores the come-on like it never happened. The talent serves her well covering the cop beat, where egos and virility are often intertwined, enormous, and surprisingly fragile.
“Where are you and Navarro having breakfast?” she asks.
“Chanel’s in Greektown. You want to join us?”
Julia gives just a hint of a smile. Dodge and weave successful.
“Thanks for the invite. I’ll try.”
“All right, Gooden. Tell the assistant D.A. we’ll see him later. And be careful out here in the dark,” Russell answers and raps a red-chafed hand outside his driver side window before he disappears behind the tinted-glass.
Julia watches Russell’s car pull away and a small shiver runs down her back.
(Don’t ever take a ride from a stranger, Julia, or I swear, I’ll kick your butt).
The sudden childhood memory jolts her, and Julia starts to sprint as if she could race fast enough to outrun the passage of time and warn her younger self to lock the door the night her older brother Ben was taken.
Julia finally reaches home, nowhere left to run. She drops onto the front step, looks up at the first soft lights of dawn finally penetrating through night’s heavy cloak of darkness and chokes back a sob. She knows how to get through the pain. She always has. Julia pushes her emotions down deep and focuses on what she can control.
Her mind clicks off the pieces of the Rossi story she will have to assemble and file into some kind of compelling piece to run in the paper’s online edition before opening arguments. The facts will be the bones of her story: Nick Rossi’s illegal Detroit empire is believed to encompass hijacking and shipping stolen goods, mainly computers and electronics, illegal gambling and drug trafficking. Both the feds and the Detroit PD had been trying to nail him for years. Rossi finally got busted in a city police sting courtesy of hidden cameras placed in the VIP suites of the MGM Grand Hotel. Images on the tapes showed payoffs to the former Detroit mayor and a city councilman, in addition to drug trafficking and cash exchanges for high-stakes gambling bets.
Julia kicks at the frozen ground with the toe of her sneaker and assembles the color elements she will add as sidebars to the main article, the ones that will make the story real to the readers and ultimately make them care: the seventeen-year-old West Bloomfield high school track star who overdosed and died at a party after he graduated that night from ecstasy to heroin for the first and final time, courtesy of Rossi’s stash. Then there is the story of Rossi himself, only nine years old when he witnessed the rape and murder of his mother during a home invasion while the young Rossi bore silent witness as he hid inside a closet and watched the horror unfold through a crack in the door. Since Rossi’s dad had taken off before his son was born, the young Rossi moved in with his uncle, Salvatore Gallo, who ran a moderately successful dry cleaning business with a small bookie operation on the side. Julia and Salvatore Gallo have history, and Julia makes a mental note to herself to call Gallo before she gets to the courthouse to see if he’ll talk.
Julia’s cell phone buzzes inside her waist pack. She looks suspiciously at the phone. 6:15 a.m. Even as a reporter, no one calls that early unless it’s an emergency, and she knows David is still at the house with their boys, Logan and Will, who are sound asleep. She is about to hit the ignore button but stops at the last second when she recognizes the number. Gavin Boyles, the acting mayor’s chief of staff. The other piece of color she needs for the story.
“Gooden here. You’re lucky I’m up.”
“You told me you ran at dawn, so I figured I’d catch you before you got into the newsroom,” Boyles answers. “I checked online a few minutes ago, and I didn’t see your story posted yet.”
“It’ll be up later today. Do you have something for me?”
Boyles, a former TV news anchor before he became a flack, still has the oozing, ultra-smooth voice of a game show host. Julia met him ten years earlier at the scene of a major fire that obliterated a Detroit high-rise and eighteen of its residents who were trapped inside. Boyles showed up late and asked Julia if he could take a look at her notes and she could debrief him on the situation.
“Always working the story, that’s why you’re so good,” Boyles says.
“You’re too kind,” Julia answers and plays the pleasantry game while she waits for Boyles to cut through the bullshit.
“Are you including Mayor Anderson in the story?
“Acting Mayor Anderson?” Julia asks.
“Semantics. We’d prefer not to have Mayor Anderson’s name mentioned unless it pertains to how he is working tirelessly to turn the city around since former mayor Slidell’s indictment for his involvement in the Rossi case. If you write another story about how Slidell took bribes from Rossi to shut him up, you’re doing a disservice to the people of the city. Detroit has suffered enough, don’t you think? You could turn this into a positive story.”
“And how has Anderson turned the city around exactly?”
“Public perception. I want to share something with you. This is off the record for now, all right?”
“Of course,” Julia answers and wonders whether the call might not be a complete waste of her time after all.
“Mayor Anderson will be holding a press conference today announcing a strategic task force dedicated solely to promoting all things positive in Detroit, including a volunteer-driven beautification project to help improve blight. It was my idea. Detroit is trying to make its way back. The residents don’t need a rehashing of another corrupt city official story.”
“Politics isn’t my beat.”
“Neither is business, but your articles are hurting the casinos. Detroit got gutted after the auto industry crashed, and God knows we can’t afford to take any more hits. There’s a responsibility, a fine line, we journalists need to ethically tow.”
“I’m still a journalist. Last I checked, you weren’t.”
On the other end of the phone, Boyles blasts an obnoxious guffaw.
“Always blunt, aren’t you? The press conference is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on the steps of city hall. I assume you’ll be available since the trial will break for lunch. Mayor Anderson specifically asked for you to be there.”
“Thank you for the invitation. I’ll run this by my managing editor and let her decide who to send. You know how this works. It’s not my call.”
“Got it. I’ll call Margie myself and put in the request. I’m surprised the paper is letting you cover the story when your husband is prosecuting it. Good for you though. You won’t have to work as hard this time.”
Julia grits her teeth and forces herself to still play nice. She may need Boyles in the future.
“I always work hard.”
“I just meant…”
Julia cuts off Boyles before he can finish. “Thanks for the call and the heads up on the press conference.”
Julia gives her phone the finger, the sentiment she’d really like to give Boyles directly. Instead, she shuts her phone off and heads into the warmth of her house that hits her like a blowtorch. She strips off her North Face jacket and then peels off her running pants and nylon shirt that stick to her clammy skin. She frees her curly, dark brown hair from its ponytail and pads softly down the hall as not to wake the boys. Inside the office, she leans over the desk and begins to search for her competitor’s coverage of the Rossi trial. She pulls up the Detroit News website and feels a tug in her stomach. In addition to a big picture preview story on the case, Julia knows the Detroit News reporter is writing a sidebar profile on David as first chair for the prosecution and his likely run for D.A. next year, a promise David made to himself after he gave up a lucrative private practice partnership six months earlier to become a public servant. Still standing, Julia bends down closer to the desk and begins to search whether the Detroit News found out about the surprise witness, or worse, if they got the name before she did.
***
Excerpt from Duplicity by Jane Haseldine. Copyright © 2017 by Jane Haseldine. Reproduced with permission from Jane Haseldine. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

author
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane writes the Julia Gooden mystery series for Kensington Publishing.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Join In for Your Chance to Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jane Haseldine. There will be 2 winners of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 1 and runs through August 1, 2017.
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Friday, 14 July 2017

#BlogTour The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans (@be_the_spark) @jennymarston_xo

Where dreams come true…?

Wendy Clayton stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. Instead, she has a ‘nice’ life. Nice job. Nice flat. Absolutely no men. Until her life is turned upside-down when her elderly neighbour, Eulalie, passes away and leaves her the Château of Happily Ever Afters!
But there’s a catch: she must share the sprawling French castle with Eulalie’s long-lost nephew, Julian. And no matter how gorgeous he is, or how easily she finds herself falling head over heels, Wendy needs to find a way to get rid of him…
Because surely happily ever afters don’t happen in real life?

Escape to beautiful France this summer with this uplifting romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Kat French, Caroline Roberts, and Holly Martin.

READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK!

Until today, the biggest step I’ve ever taken outside of my comfort zone is doing the weekly shop in Sainsbury’s instead of Tesco. As I sit in the back of a taxi with a driver who chatters at me in French, oblivious of the fact I can’t understand a word, I realise that my comfort zone has been well and truly left behind.
I’ve never been to France before and, on reflection, it was a mistake to tell the chauffeur de taxi this, as he’s spent the past hour giving me a complete history of the country and the delights of the Normandy region. At least, I assume that’s what he’s doing. He’s been rattling on for ages and the only word I’ve understood so far is the ‘bonjour’ when I first got in.
The countryside here is beautiful, green hills that stretch out for miles, dotted with handsome black and white cows. The roads close up as we get closer to the château, lined with overhanging trees and hedgerows bustling with birds. I have no idea where we’re going. The château is so remote that even Google Maps didn’t cover it, and as we trundle down an overgrown lane that looks only suitable for tractors, I’m sure he’s taking me to the wrong place. There is a château in the distance, popping into view occasionally through the trees, but it’s massive, and it only gets bigger as we get nearer.
This can’t be it. It’s huge. And completely alone. There’s nothing else around for miles, just fields and trees and more cows.
When the driver turns in, I’m convinced he’s gone to the wrong place, because this is insane. I cannot own a place like this. Well, half own. It’s the kind of place you’d expect the queen to live. If Buckingham Palace was in the middle of the French countryside, this would be it. There’s a moat. After we’ve turned into the property and driven down a driveway so long that if the airports ever get overcrowded, planes could easily come in to land on it, there’s an actual moat and an actual bridge that the taxi drives across. I’ve never seen a moat in real life before. It’s impossible that I now own a house that has one.
There has got to be a mistake.
‘Are you sure this is the right place?’
‘Oui,’ the driver says.
Even I can translate that.
Across the bridge is a large square courtyard and gravel crunches under the car tyres as we come to a stop.
It’s been a long drive and it’s cost me more than I’d budgeted for, but trying to understand French trains and buses and however many connections it would’ve taken to get this deep into the Normandy countryside wasn’t something I could cope with today.
The driver is getting my suitcase out of the boot before I’ve even had a chance to process it. After giving him almost every one of the euros I hastily drew out of a cash machine in a French train station this morning, following a panicked realisation that I was in France and completely unprepared, with only my British bank card and a British twenty-quid note in my purse, he leaves me standing in the courtyard, wondering how I’m going to call him back, because he’s obviously brought me to the wrong place.
This can’t be it. I mean, I know the solicitor threw around figures like a million euros, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this big. The building itself is so huge it seems ridiculous that anyone could live in it. Row after row of double windows stare down at me, five floors of them, a tall pointed roof, and towers at each corner, their spires stretching up into the blue sky. I’m not sure if it looks like a castle from a fairy tale or the kind of place you’d need Scooby Doo regularly on hand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

Author links:

The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters:
Will also be available from all other ebook retailers.

Giveaway: 
French-themed stationery goodie bag.
1 x Paperchase Paris notebook and pen
1 x The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters notebook
1 x little Eiffel Tower model
1 x Eiffel Tower bookmark
1 x The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters magnet

1 x Signed postcard

Thursday, 13 July 2017

#BookReview The Bourne Initiative by Eric Van Lustbader @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway

The Bourne Initiative by Eric Van Lustbader
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

General Boris Karpov, head of the feared Russian FSB, is dead. But Karpov has reached out from the grave with an unstoppable cyber operation he conceived before his murder, aimed at the heart of the United States—a way to steal the president's nuclear launch codes. Who has taken over the operation? Karpov trusted only one man: Jason Bourne. But can Bourne be working against his own country? 

The U.S. Government is convinced of his treason, and is doing everything in its power to kill him. Flushed from cover and gravely wounded, Bourne's only hope is to join forces with his bitterest enemy: a powerful Somali terrorist named Keyre, and his protégée, the Angelmaker. If he hopes to survive, Bourne has no choice but unravel the mystery of Karpov's last legacy—a weaponized code that may bring about the unthinkable: a violent end to America.


**********

I have seen a couple of the Bourne movies, but I have never read any of the books. So, I was curious to see how I would like this one, written Eric Van Lustbader who took over the series after Robert Ludlum died. To be perfectly honest was I never really that fond of the movies since I had a hard time accepting Matt Damon as a secret agent/spy role. But, while reading this book did I feel a yearning both to read the previous books and see the movies. So, perhaps this time will Damon suit the role better.

The Bourne Initiative is book 14 in the Jason Bourne series. I found the story to be easy to get into and I quite liked reading about Jason Bourne trying to survive attacks from left to right and "work" with a hated enemy, Keyre, a notorious Somali terrorist, and the man who "created" the Angelmaker. 

I quite liked Bourne working with Mala "The Angelmaker", and I got curious to learn more about Bourne, his past. So, I definitely want to read the previous books. My big problem was that, despite liking, Bourne's POV was I not always overly thrilled about the rest of the books POV. And, that meant that my interest in the book story went a bit up and down while I read this book. However, it got better towards the end, when everything came to a head.  

I quite enjoyed the book, despite my interest waning now and then when the shifted POV's away from Bourne and it will be interesting to read what will happen next! 

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

The Bourne Initiative by Eric Van Lustbader

#CoverReveal: Lost in the Lake by A J Waines (@AJWaines)



Lost in the Lake by A J Waines

Jacket Blurb

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

The second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series, Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.

Pre-Order on Amazon from 13 July 2017

Release date: 7 Sept 2017

UK (99p):

US ($1.28):

AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 & 2016 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) in 2016. She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or join her on Twitter, Facebook or on her Newsletter


  

#CoverCrush The English Wife by Lauren Willig



First, I want to explain to new visitors that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor house in England, they had a fairytale romance in London, they have three-year-old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and named it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to try to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?


Some thoughts about the cover:

There are several things about this cover that I love. First, the colors that make me think of autumn, then the wonderful frame that circles the title and the frames cover that matches the colors of the picture with the woman. And, I love the cut off face of the woman standing in the middle of the cover. Some dislike cut-off faces on covers, but I love it!

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages






indieBRAG

#BlogTour Contrary to Popular Belief by Neil Anthes #spotlight @Authoright

Did early Christianity evolve from Roman culture and customs? Was it based on truth?
Were the social issues of the early Roman Empire a driving force to adapt old customs to a new philosophy?

A young Hebrew man seeks answers beyond his religious traditions by spending fifteen years travelling and studying spiritual principles in India and Alexandria, Egypt. Upon returning to his homeland his message of self-awareness is feared by the elders and Temple priests.
At the same time the ruling elite in Rome are determined to use this controversy to their advantage. Keen to find a solution to the social and economic issues that have developed after their relentless conquests of foreign lands, they find that the young man's spiritual message can be altered to suit their needs.

Contrary to Popular Belief is a thought-provoking novel inspired by Christian faith, and the quest for truth.


Amazon UK 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Neil Anthes grew up in Central Canada, the middle child of six, and always had an interest in human behaviour. In University, he studied Psychology along side the Sciences. Upon graduating he was introduced to meditation, Eastern Mysticism and the teachings of Emmet Fox. These works grabbed his imagination more than his traditional Christian upbringing.

At the age of seventeen he had his first mystical experience which left him in awe of Creation. His perception of Divinity and the relationship between mankind individually and collectively was then different from his religious traditions. He quietly lived his life with this perception. In 2014, he published a book describing these experiences and his perceptions on various aspects of life. The book is entitled Moments in Time.
He had a career in the Medical supply field as an International business manager and small business owner. His employment took him across North America as well as the UK. He retired from that field in 1996 to pursue his passion for photography. He travelled to such places as Eastern and Western Canada, Arizona, France, South Africa, Sicily and Italy to study with professional photographers. He is now a semi-professional photographer who also teaches seminars with his wife of 38 years, Mary, regarding all aspects of digital photography.

Today he lives in the Southern Interior of British Columbia Canada where he is an avid reader of anything related to individual spirituality.

Website: http://www.neilanthes.com/