Friday 31 March 2017

#BookReview A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner @SusanMeissner @BerkleyPub @FreshFiction

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life .

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistancespy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner is a wartime mystery novel about two women who have both gone through much during the war and are going to America on RMS Queen Mary as war brides. Simone Deveraux lost her father and brother who both got shot for being part of the Resistance. She had to stay hidden for fear of the Gestapo who is after her. Annaliese Lange married a brutal Nazi and the voyage to America is her ticket to freedom. On the voyage truths be revealed and only one of them will, in the end, disembark in New York Harbor.


Wishlist March: Want to read 2017

This month I'm going to list 5 books that are being published this year that I really, really want to read. This 5 books are all part of a series that I enjoy to read. 


The final book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river.

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee's only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected?

But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four. An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices.


Mind Game takes Jane MacGuire back to Scotland where she continues her search for the treasure she’s been chasing for years. But now she’s being plagued by dreams of a girl in danger. Who is this girl, and what is she trying to tell Jane? And will Jane figure it out before it’s too late—for her and the mysterious young woman? Things are further complicated when Seth Caleb comes back into Jane’s life. This time he’s the one in trouble, and Jane will find herself pulled unexpectedly into his world as she fights to save him.

With the adventure, intrigue, and explosive energy that Iris Johansen fans love, Mind Game is a high-octane thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.


The truth was dead and buried…until now.
When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy - and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?


Hunting a killer within New York's urban jungle becomes the biggest case of Alexandra Cooper's career in New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein's latest unputdownable thriller. 

A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don't always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking drive-by murder of an important city employee someone Alex has worked with for years the trio must discover who the bigger snakeis: the killer or the victim.

Investigations into the death provide more questions than answers, as a tangled mess of secrets slowly comes to light. From bribes to secret societies, from big-game hunting to the illegal animal trade, from New York City zoos to behind closed doors in government buildings, Alex will have her work cut out for her if she wants to uncover the truth and uphold the integrity of the office she has so proudly served.


A covert mission
A royal demand
And a race against time

The fourth title in Genevieve Cogman's witty and wonderful The Invisible Library series, The Lost Plot is an action-packed literary adventure.

In a 1930s-esque Chicago, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy guns are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs dragon contest. It seems a young librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences for Irene's job. And, incidentally, for her life . . .

See other Wishlists:

Stephanie at Layered Pages

#BookReview Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong

Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The disappearing hitchhiker is one of the hoariest urban legends, and no one knows that better than Gabriel Walsh, a lawyer who grew up on folklore and myth. When author of books on the supernatural Patrick brings Gabriel a case of a hitchhiking woman in white who vanished on a country road after accepting a ride from a businessman, Gabriel knows the Cainsville elder is just trying to wheedle into his good graces. But Gabriel is a man in need of a mystery, one that will get him back into someone else’s good graces. His investigator, Olivia Taylor-Jones, has blown town supposedly on a simple vacation. But when she left there was a rift between them and…he misses her.

Gabriel is well aware the only thing Olivia loves more than a good mystery is a weird one, and this hitchhiker case more than fits the bill. As Gabriel digs into the story, he’s forced to face ghosts of his own and admit that the woman in white isn’t the only one who has lost her way.

With Lost Souls, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong weaves an unmissable novella-length tale connected to her fan-favorite Cainsville series.


I read my first book by Kelley Armstrong a couple of month's ago. The book was OK, not as fabulous as I had hoped it to be, but still enough interesting to make me want to read more from the author. And, this novella felt like a good second book to read. Now, I don't know anything about Cainsville, but this novella was very good and I hope to get a chance to read the books in the series someday.

Lost Souls starts with Gabriel getting a case from Patrick about a hitchhiking woman in white who vanished after getting a ride in the care of a businessman. It doesn't seem to be a very troublesome case, but it's just the case that Gabriel needs to lure Olivia back after they had an argument and she went on a holiday with her boyfriend. So, this case may be just the thing to smooth things over since he doesn't want to lose her as an employee and as a friend. But, there is something really weird going on and even Patrick starts to think that something is off with the case...

Now, I'm a newbie with this series, but I do love paranormal series and this urban legend case fascinated me. I also enjoyed discovering more about the characters and learning more about Cainsville. In short, I was hooked and after I finished this novella was all I could think of that I need to read this series and I'm actually right now thinking of buying the first book...

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

Thursday 30 March 2017

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer

The Lost Children by Helen Phifer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to an ancient gurney...

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the asylum’s wrongs.

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose?


I really, really wanted to like this book, but for me were there just too many things that bothered me to truly enjoy reading this book. The Lost Children started off great, with the discovery of a dead body in the old asylum and I enjoyed the flashbacks during the books progress to 1975 when young Lizzy is committed to the asylum. I was intrigued by the story and wondered what the past had to do with the present murder.  However, I started to feel a bit annoyed with Detective Lucy Harwin as the story progressed, especially her private life. Her ex-husband had left her for another woman, and to be honest can I understand him and I can also understand why their daughter wanted to live with him instead of Lucy. Lucy, in my opinion, acted more like a woman in her early twenties than her thirties. The worst thing is that I felt the same about Mattie, and yes he is a few years younger than Lucy, but it felt like they were adolescents not grown adults working as cops. And Mattie's crush on Lucy did not amuse me either.

Then we have the case, it was just too predictable and Lucy made some extraordinary leaps in the investigations that astonished me. I mean the kind of "I have no evidence to support this, but I think this is right since I'm clairvoyant, so let's go for it. No, she's not clairvoyant, but there were moments when I honestly thought she was since everything could be normal, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong and of course it was. Then, we have the killers identity, no big surprise there either.

The part I like the best was the flashbacks to asylum if the book had focused more on the past and the girls there and had a stronger case with more mature characters would I have loved this book. This book had potentials and the first half of the book is good, but the later half just didn't work for me so much.

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

Cover Crush The Owl Always Hunts at Night by Samuel Bjork

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!

The thrilling follow-up to Samuel Bjork’s internationally bestselling I’m Traveling Alone, which the Wall Street Journal calls “tense and smartly constructed”

When a troubled teenager disappears from an orphanage and is found murdered, her body arranged on a bed of feathers and surrounded by candles, veteran detective Holger Munch and his team are called in to the scene. Star investigator Mia Kruger, on temporary leave while she continues to struggle with her own demons, jumps back on the team and dives headfirst into this case: just in time to decode the clues in a disturbing video of the victim before she was killed, being held prisoner like an animal in a cage.

Meanwhile, Munch’s daughter, Miriam, meets an enticing stranger at a party—a passionate animal rights activist who begins to draw her into his world and away from her family.

Munch, Kruger, and the team must hunt down the killer before he can strike again in this sophisticated, intricately plotted psychological thriller by the newest phenomenon in international crime fiction.

Some thoughts about the cover:

This week's feels a bit different from the ones I usual pick, but every time I see this cover I think "how clever with the eyes". The simple colors with only Black, white and yellow is also a perfect combination.

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

Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages

The Horse’s Arse by Laura Gascoigne Blog Tour

Patrick Phelan is an ageing artist who has never made it big but who somehow manages to live on air in a North London suburb.

When not running art classes for amateurs, Patrick wrestles in the shed at the bottom of his garden with his life’s work: a series of visionary canvases of The Seven Seals.

When his wheeler-dealer son Marty turns up with a commission from a rich client for some copies of paintings by modern masters, Phelan reluctantly agrees; it means money for his ex-wife Moira. However the deal with Marty is, typically, not what it seems.

What follows is a complex chain of events involving fakery, fraud, kidnapping, murder, the Russian Mafia and a cast of dubious art world characters. A contemporary spin on Joyce Cary’s classic satire The Horse’s Mouth, The Horse’s Arse by Laura Gascoigne is a crime thriller-cum-comic-fable that poses the serious question: where does art go from here?

Purchase from Amazon UK

The Horse’s Arse and my love affair with art

I grew up in a house full of paintings that my father collected. It seemed natural to have the walls covered in painted views of other places. There were prints of Cairo, where I was born and where my father managed an English bookshop. There were paintings of Italy, where my mother came from, though not the South where she was born in Bari. They were mostly views of Venice, bringing light and warmth to the Cambridgeshire chill.

I was reasonably good at art at school, but that wasn’t where my love affair with it began. I think I can date it to a visit to our house by an old artist called Adrian Daintrey. In those days there was a country house circuit where people of a certain class invited each other to stay for weekends, and charming bachelor artists like Daintrey were in demand as house guests. I must have been around 11 when he first came to stay and after dinner, when the liqueurs were passed, I was given a glass of Crème de Menthe as a treat. My father believed in introducing his children to the joys of alcohol, in small doses. The next time Daintrey came to stay he brought a small bottle of Crème de Menthe, and presented it to me. That was the point at which I decided that artists were wonderful. 

Scroll on a couple of years and the demands of the school curriculum made me give up art for Latin and Greek, which I was better at. My first boyfriend was at art school, but after I won a place at university to study Classics art faded into the background. It was only when I left university, having decided I wasn’t cut out for academic life, that art came back into the picture. I set up a business in Chelsea designing and making patchwork quilts, which by a bit of bad timing coincided with the three-day week. When the business failed, I offered my services as a ghost-writer to the animal sculptor John Skeaping, who lived in the South of France and was working on his autobiography (published in 1977 as Drawn from Life).

Skeaping was formative artist No 2. The Moulin de la Taillade in Castries, outside Montpellier, where he lived with his third wife Maggie was a home from home and the year I spent there was an education in how artists live, not just for me but everyone else who stayed there. Skeaping’s students became friends and opened up a world of other artists to me. After I married and my four-year-old son Spike won a watercolour set in an art competition at the local library, I stole it off him and began painting watercolour landscapes. I was hooked.

In my 40s, with two children in primary school, I applied for a part-time job as editor’s secretary for a couple of mornings a week at the practical art magazine Artists & Illustrators. A few months later they sacked the editor and gave the job to me. As it was a practical magazine, part of the job involved taking artists into a photographer’s studio to document how they worked. For the magazine’s readers the technical nuts and bolts were what mattered – how an artist laid a watercolour wash or built up an oil painting – but what fascinated me was their attitude and way of looking at the world.

Since leaving the magazine and going freelance, I get asked to write about old and modern masters and what fascinates me is that although techniques and ways of painting have changed, artists’ attitudes to life have remained constant. You could transport Caravaggio from the early 17th century to today and he would be on exactly the same wavelength as the artists I have got to know through my work; ditto Rembrandt or Matisse. It’s this way of being in the world, this complete commitment to looking at the world and trying to solve the mystery of how it can be represented, that I wanted to communicate through The Horse’s Arse. 

‘What life is this if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?’ asked the Welsh hobo poet WH Davies. Making time to stand and stare is what artists do, and our frenetic world needs them more than ever.

About the author: 

Currently living in Hampstead, North London, Laura Gascoigne has worked as an art journalist for over twenty years, editing Artists & Illustrators (1994-1999) before going freelance. Laura was born in Cairo in 1950, the daughter of a bookseller and an Italian teacher, and grew up in Brussels and Cambridge before studying Classics at Oxford University. Her sister is the writer Marina Warner. Surrounded as a child by the paintings her father collected, she has always had a passion for art and when not writing about it, she paints.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

#BlogTour The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie @AtriaBooks

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

Publication Date: March 21, 2017 
Atria Books 
eBook & Paperback; 416 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles, Book Three 
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In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable chang


Here we are at the end, the last book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy that started with the Sisters of Versailles and the five Nesle sister sisters, with four of them becoming mistresses to the King before Marquise de Pompadour took over the story and the King's affection in The Rivals of Versailles. In The Enemies of Versailles is Marquise de Pompadour dead and it's Jeanne Becu later Comtesse du Barry that will be the last mistress of the King. With du Barry comes also the end as the French revolution is looming on the horizon. She may not be the one to bring down a dynasty. But, the world she will come to belong to, the court is miles away from the ordinary people. And, the people have had enough! Off with the heads!

The Enemies of Versailles is a fabulous ending to a fabulous trilogy. I have enjoyed each book, but I have to admit that The Rivals of Versailles is the book I loved the most. Why, because I came to adore Marquise de Pompadour. She was such a marvelous person and the one that perhaps was the best for the Louis XV. I found her to be both strong and smart. Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry, on the other hand, is in her own way a very nice person. I did not, however, like her as much as I liked de Pompadour. But, what I liked with Comtesse du Barry is her like of scheming, it was everyone else around her that schemed. I think she would have been just as happy with a comfortable life with someone that she loved. Now, the book also had the point of view from Adelaide, the daughter of Louis XV. And I liked the contrast between the two main characters. Adelaide is such a stuck up person, who all through her life only wants her father's love. But, every mistress he has is an enemy to her, but it's not much she can do about that.

The books can be read separately, but I recommend starting from the beginning. By starting from the first book will you meet a young Louis XV and you get to follow his life through the women that he chose as mistresses. Also, through the books, can one also follow the growing dissatisfaction among the people. 

Sally Christie is a superb author and when I came to the end of this book was all I could think "I want more, I want her to continue the story, I want the story of Napoleon through the eyes of the women around him".

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for The Sisters of Versailles

“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution….historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)

“Sally Christie’s The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV’s France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy.” (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS )

“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy )

“Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)

About the Author

Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages.

 She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto. Visit to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.

You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, March 15
Interview at T’s Stuff

Thursday, March 16
Review at
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, March 17

Saturday, March 18
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Sunday, March 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, March 20

Tuesday, March 21

Wednesday, March 22

Thursday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, March 24

Sunday, March 26
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads It All

Monday, March 27

Tuesday, March 28
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, March 29

Thursday, March 30

Friday, March 31
Review at Bookramblings


Five copies of The Enemies of Versailles are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please see the Gleam form below. Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to residents in the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Enemies of Versailles 04_the-enemies-of-versailles_blog-tour-banner_final

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Regeneration by Stacey Berg Book Tour

Regeneration by Stacey Berg on Tour March 13-April 1, 2017

Book Details Genre: Sci-Fi
Published by: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 384
Series: Echo Hunter 367, #2
Purchase Links:


The Church has stood for hundreds of years, preserving the sole surviving city in a desert wasteland. When Echo Hunter 367 is sent out past the Church's farthest outposts, she's sure it's a suicide mission. But just when she's about to give up hope, she finds the impossible – another thriving community, lush and green, with a counsel of leaders who take her in.
Wary of this new society, with ways so different from the only life she's ever known, Echo is determined to complete her mission and bring hope back to the Church. She's unsure who she can trust, and must be strong and not be seduced by their clean, fresh water, and plentiful energy sources. If she plays her cards right, she may even still have a chance to save the woman she loves.

Read an excerpt:

Echo Hunter 367 studied the dying woman in the desert with grudging admiration. The woman had walked long past what might reasonably be expected, if that lurching stagger could be called a walk. When she couldn’t walk any more she had crawled, and after that she had dragged herself along, fingers clawing through sand until they clutched some purchase, body scraping over rocks and debris, heedless of the damage. Now and then she made a noise, a purely animal grunt of effort or pain, but she forced herself onward, all the way until the end.
I smell the water.
Desperate as the woman was, she had still been cautious. Though an incalculable distance from any familiar place, she still recognized danger: the wind-borne sand that scoured exposed skin clean to the bone, the predators that stalked patiently in the shadows for prey too weak to flee. The cliff edge that a careless girl could slip over, body suspended in space for the briefest moment before her hands tore through the thornbush, then the long hard fall.
Echo jerked back from that imagined edge. It was her last purposeful movement. From some great height, she watched herself collapse in the sand. One grasping hand, nails torn, knuckles bloody, landed only a few meters from the spring’s cool water, but she never knew it. For a little while her body twitched in irregular spasms, then those too stilled. Only her lips moved, cracking into a bloody smile. “Lia,” she whispered. “Lia.” Then she fell into the dark.
For a long time there was no sound except water trickling in a death rattle over stones.
Then the high whine of engines scattered the circling predators. Pain returned first, of course. Every inch of skin burned, blistered by sun or rubbed raw by the sand that had worked its way inside the desert-proof clothing. Her muscles ached from too long an effort with no fuel and insufficient water, and her head pounded without mercy. Even the movement of air in and out of her lungs hurt, as if she had inhaled fire. But that pain meant she was breathing, and if she was breathing she still had to fight. With enormous effort she dragged open her eyes, only to meet a blinding brightness. She made a sound, and tasted hot salt as her lips cracked open again. “Shhh,” a soft voice said. “Shhh.” Something cool, smelling of resin and water, settled over her eyes, shielding them from the glare. A cloth dabbed at her mouth, then a finger smoothed ointment over her lips, softening them so they wouldn’t split further when she was finally able to speak. Lia, she thought, letting herself rest in that gentle strength until the pain subsided into manageable inputs. Then she began to take stock.
She lay on something soft, not the rock that had made her bed for so many weeks, although her abused flesh still ached at every pressure point. The air felt cool but still, unlike the probing desert wind, and it carried, beyond the herbal tang, a scent rich and round, unlike the silica sharpness of sand she’d grown so accustomed to. Filtered through the cloth over her eyes, the light seemed diffuse, too dim for the sun. Indoors, then, and not a temporary shelter, but a place with thick walls, and a bed, and someone with sufficient resources to retrieve a dying woman from the desert, and a reason to do so. But what that reason might be eluded her. The Church would never rescue a failure.
Unless the Saint commanded it.
She mustered all her strength and dragged the cloth from her eyes. She blinked away grit until the blurred oval hovering above her took on distinct features, the soft line of the cheek, the gently curving lips. Lia, she thought again, and in her weakness tears washed the vision away. She wiped her eyes with a trembling hand.
And stared into the face of an utter stranger.
Excerpt from Regeneration by Stacey Berg. Copyright © 2017 by Stacey Berg. Reproduced with permission from Harper Voyager. All rights reserved.

Stacey Berg

Author Bio:

Stacey Berg is a medical researcher who writes speculative fiction. Her work as a physician-scientist provides the inspiration for many of her stories. She lives with her wife in Houston and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas. When she’s not writing, she practices kung fu and runs half marathons.
Visit Stacey Berg on her Website, Goodreads Page, and on Twitter!

Tour Host Participants:

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


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Stacey Berg and Harper Voyager. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dissension by Stacey Berg. The giveaway begins on March 13th and runs through April 4th, 2017. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne Spotlight + Giveaway


"Tremayne...does a terrific job of building suspense until events reach their climax in the midst of a violent storm." - Library Journal

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie's behavior changes, and Rachel's perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the specter of his late mother - David's previous wife. Is this Jamie's way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie's outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife's untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie's words:

"You will be dead by Christmas.”

S. K. Tremayne is a bestselling novelist and award-winning travel writer, and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines around the world. Tremayne has two daughters, and lives in London

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The Fire Child by S.K.Tremayne

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.


Almost Missed You is the kind of book that has a great intriguing start and then when the answers start to come slowly loses some of its appeals. I loved the mystery of why Finn kidnapped his own son when he is apparently in a happy marriage to Bear's mother Violet. It was such a great start, wondering why Finn would do a thing like that. However, the answer to that question made me dislike Finn quite badly. To be totally honest did I want to bitch slap him a couple of times through the book. His decision, his secrets, well it annoyed the crap out of me. Thankfully Violet and Caitlin made the book bearable. Both women are in my opinion victims in this story. Violet who is left with no explanations to why her husband has left her and taken their son with them and Caitlin who is being blackmailed into helping Finn.

Almost Missed You did not turn out to be as good as I thought it would be when I started reading it. I liked the writing, but I did not like Finn's actions and that made the book a bit hard to read. For one thing, I just couldn't understand why Finn never told Violet about certain aspects of his past? Come clean about what happened those two years that it took for them to meet again after the first meeting. That Caitlin and her husband George didn't insist that Finn should tell Violet felt also a bit weird. There are a lot of other things that bothered me, but I don't want to spoil the story, but there are a lot of secrets in this book and those secrets are dragged into the light. 

Almost Missed You may not have made my day. However, it was not all bad, I did like the writing and I wouldn't mind reading more from Jessica Strawser. I also have to admit, despite my dislike of Finn did when I read the ending hope that there would be a bright future for the characters.

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

Monday 27 March 2017

The Echo Man by Richard Montanari Blog Tour

The Echo Man by Richard Montanari

The Echo Man

by Richard Montanari

on Tour March 20 - April 7, 2017


It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim's forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.

As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia's past in the most sinister of ways.

And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think...


"This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari's writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best." -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl
"Richard Montanari's The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man's facial expression is described as "not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything," we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business". – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

For every light there is shadow. For every sound, silence. From the moment he got the call Detective Kevin Francis Byrne had a premonition this night would forever change his life, that he was headed to a place marked by a profound evil, leaving only darkness in its wake.
“You ready?”
Byrne glanced at Jimmy. Detective Jimmy Purify sat in the passenger seat of the bashed and battered department- issue Ford. He was just a few years older than Byrne, but something in the man’s eyes held deep wisdom, a hard- won experience that transcended time spent on the job and spoke instead of time earned. They’d known each other a long time, but this was their first full tour as partners.
“I’m ready,” Byrne said.
He wasn’t.
They got out of the car and walked to the front entrance of the sprawling, well- tended Chestnut Hill mansion. Here, in this exclusive section of the northwest part of the city, there was history at every turn, a neighborhood designed at a time when Philadelphia was second only to London as the largest English- speaking city in the world. The first officer on the scene, a rookie named Timothy Meehan, stood inside the foyer, cloistered by coats and hats and scarves perfumed with age, just beyond the reach of the cold autumn wind cutting across the grounds.
Byrne had been in Officer Meehan’s shoes a handful of years earlier and remembered well how he’d felt when detectives arrived, the tangle of envy and relief and admiration. Chances were slight that Meehan would one day do the job Byrne was about to do. It took a certain breed to stay in the trenches, especially in a city like Philly, and most uniformed cops, at least the smart ones, moved on.
Byrne signed the crime- scene log and stepped into the warmth of the atrium, taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells. He would never again enter this scene for the first time, never again breathe an air so red with violence. Looking into the kitchen, he saw a blood splattered killing room, scarlet murals on pebbled white tile, the torn flesh of the victim jigsawed on the floor.
While Jimmy called for the medical examiner and crime- scene unit, Byrne walked to the end of the entrance hall. The officer standing there was a veteran patrolman, a man of fifty, a man content to live without ambition. At that moment Byrne envied him. The cop nodded toward the room on the other side of the corridor.
And that was when Kevin Byrne heard the music.
She sat in a chair on the opposite side of the room. The walls were covered with a forest- green silk; the floor with an exquisite burgundy Persian. The furniture was sturdy, in the Queen Anne style. The air smelled of jasmine and leather.
Byrne knew the room had been cleared, but he scanned every inch of it anyway. In one corner stood an antique curio case with beveled glass doors, its shelves arrayed with small porcelain figurines. In another corner leaned a beautiful cello. Candlelight shimmered on its golden surface.
The woman was slender and elegant, in her late twenties. She had burnished russet hair down to her shoulders, eyes the color of soft copper. She wore a long black gown, sling- back heels, pearls. Her makeup was a bit garish— theatrical, some might say— but it flattered her delicate features, her lucent skin.
When Byrne stepped fully into the room the woman looked his way, as if she had been expecting him, as if he might be a guest for Thanksgiving dinner, some discomfited cousin just in from Allentown or Ashtabula. But he was neither. He was there to arrest her.
“Can you hear it?” the woman asked. Her voice was almost adolescent in its pitch and resonance.
Byrne glanced at the crystal CD case resting on a small wooden easel atop the expensive stereo component. Chopin: Nocturne in G Major. Then he looked more closely at the cello. There was fresh blood on the strings and fingerboard, as well as on the bow lying on the floor. Afterward, she had played.
The woman closed her eyes. “Listen,” she said. “The blue notes.”
Byrne listened. He has never forgotten the melody, the way it both lifted and shattered his heart.
Moments later the music stopped. Byrne waited for the last note to feather into silence. “I’m going to need you to stand up now, ma’am,” he said.
When the woman opened her eyes Byrne felt something flicker in his chest. In his time on the streets of Philadelphia he had met all types of people, from soulless drug dealers, to oily con men, to smash-and-grab artists, to hopped-up joyriding kids. But never before had he encountered anyone so detached from the crime they had just committed. In her light- brown eyes Byrne saw demons caper from shadow to shadow.
The woman rose, turned to the side, put her hands behind her back. Byrne took out his handcuffs, slipped them over her slender white wrists, and clicked them shut.
She turned to face him. They stood in silence now, just a few inches apart, strangers not only to each other, but to this grim pageant and all that was to come.
“I’m scared,” she said.
Byrne wanted to tell her that he understood. He wanted to say that we all have moments of rage, moments when the walls of sanity tremble and crack. He wanted to tell her that she would pay for her crime, probably for the rest of her life— perhaps even with her life— but that while she was in his care she would be treated with dignity and respect.
He did not say these things. “My name is Detective Kevin Byrne,” he said. “It’s going to be all right.” It was November 1, 1990. Nothing has been right since.
Excerpt from The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. Copyright © 2017 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.
    Richard Montanari

Author Bio:

Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.
He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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

Tour Participants:

Don't forget to check out these other stops - they'll be featuring reviews, interviews & More giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 9th, 2017.
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The Holden by Delores Fossen Blog Tour

About Holden

Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (February 21, 2017)

When a baby goes missing, a Texas marshal and a woman from his past discover there’s a whole lot more behind this kidnapping…

Holden Ryland certainly didn’t become a marshal just to end up busting his ex, Nicky Hart, for taking files from Conceptions Fertility Clinic. But only Nicky knows just what was really stolen: a newborn being held for ransom. A newborn who is kin to both her and Holden. The missing boy is only the start of a mystery that snakes through Texas, winding its way through their families. Bad blood may linger between them, but Holden can protect his nephew back at the Silver Creek Ranch. If they can lay their past to rest to rescue this child, is it possible for them to have a future together?

Purchase Links


Nicky knew that Holden had plenty of questions, but she couldn’t wait any longer. That gunman who’d broken into her house was no doubt on the way to the person who hired him.

And that person might move the baby before she could get to him.

“We have to get out of here fast,” she reminded him.

Even though Nicky was still coughing, she threw the car into Reverse and gunned the engine despite the fact that Holden still had his hand gripped around hers.

Nicky didn’t look at him. Partly because she was trying to maneuver her car out of the garage. Hard to do that, though, with him holding on. He finally let go.

“Start talking,” Holden insisted. He, too, was still coughing and rubbing his eyes. “I want answers, and I want them now.”

Easier said than done. There were a lot of pieces to this puzzle, some that could get her arrested, but the only one that mattered right now was the baby. Nicky had failed her sister in so many ways, but she couldn’t fail this time.

“Who was that man?” Holden added when she didn’t say anything.

“A hired thug. I don’t know his name, but I’m sure he’s already told his boss what happened.”

And what had happened was that things had just fallen apart. Nicky had thought she had more time, hours at least, to come up with a plan. But time had just run out.

She couldn’t help herself. The tears came, and she tried to fight them back. The tears wouldn’t save Annie’s baby. Right now, she had to focus and get to the hotel as soon as possible.

“Where are we going?” Holden demanded, and he took out his phone and texted someone.

Probably one of his cousins or brothers. They were all lawmen, and under different circumstances, they might be able to help. But in this case, they could make things much, much worse.

“The Victorian bed-and-breakfast about ten miles from here.”

“The place out in the middle of nowhere?” he asked.

She nodded. “I’m pretty sure that’s where they’re holding the baby.”

Holden cursed and sent another text. “There’d better be a damn good explanation as to why you’re pretty sure about that. And there’d also better be an equally good explanation as to why you told me Em­mett and Annie had a baby.”

It was hard to think with everything racing through her mind, with her heart racing, too, but she tried. Sometime in the next five minutes she needed to convince Holden that he had to help her.

“This all started when I was investigating the missing senator, Lee Minton,” she said. “I found out he and his wife had gone to Conceptions Fertility Clinic around the same time as Emmett and Annie. So, I went to Conceptions, too, not expecting to find much, but they stonewalled me. That made me push even harder to find out what they were hiding.”

About Delores Fossen

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

Connect with Delores

Delores Fossen’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, March 1st: Becca the Bibliophile – excerpt

Friday, March 3rd: From the TBR Pile

Monday, March 6th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, March 8th: Back Porchervations

Friday, March 10th: A Fortress of Books

Monday, March 13th: Stranded in Chaos

Wednesday, March 15th: A. Holland Reads – excerpt

Thursday, March 16th: The Romance Dish

Monday, March 20th: Books a la Mode – excerpt

Tuesday, March 21st: Books and Spoons

Wednesday, March 22nd: Open Book Society

Friday, March 24th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – excerpt

Monday, March 27th: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt

Monday, April 3rd: Books and Bindings

Thursday, April 6th: The Sassy Bookster

Sunday 26 March 2017

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there's something worth dying for in the past…

From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away by the tides who awakens to find herself in 1921, reunited with the husband she's been mourning for four years. Fans of Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon will fall in love with the mystery, romance and beauty of an isolated South Carolina lighthouse, where a power greater than love works its magic.


I have a tendency to stay away from romance books. However, I have a weakness for time travel books and I like both Kate Morton and Diana Gabaldon books so I just had to read this book.

Faye lost her husband four years earlier and quickly remarried with her husband best-friend, a marriage that, in the end, didn't work out. Now, she is recently divorced and has traveled to South Carolina to take photos for a calendar. There, to her surprise, she discovers a loophole to the past, to the 20s, and to a man that could be a copy of her dead husband. But, can she find happiness in the past? And, can she love a man that may look like her husband, but is a completely different man?

I quite enjoyed reading the book. It did, however, not really move me very much. It was interesting, but I never really connected all the way with the characters in such a way that I felt for them and the story was a bit too predictable without any surprising twist. I actually think I liked the priest the most in the book, but any man that looks like Gregory Peck is a winner for me. It was a nice little story, not a tearjerker, but a pleasant to read. And, if you like time travel romance then this book is for you! 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Saturday 25 March 2017

Bookish updates

Been a great book week, read some fantastic books and gotten some fantastic books. Here is this week in bookish pictures!

New book!

New book!

 Read for Fresh Fiction

 At home...

 Surprise bookmail

Some bargain books

Currently Reading!

Gotten a lot of new eARC's, here is some of them...(some older than a week I think)

#BookReview The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

The Awakening by Amanda Stevens
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Shush…lest she awaken…

My name is Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who lives with the dead. An anonymous donor has hired me to restore Woodbine Cemetery, a place where the rich and powerful bury their secrets. Forty years ago, a child disappeared without a trace and now her ghost has awakened, demanding that I find out the truth about her death. Only I know that she was murdered. Only I can bring her killer to justice. But the clues that I follow—a haunting melody and an unnamed baby's grave—lead me to a series of disturbing suspects.

For generations, The Devlins have been members of Charleston's elite. John Devlin once turned his back on the traditions and expectations that came with his birthright, but now he has seemingly accepted his rightful place. His family's secrets make him a questionable ally. When my investigation brings me to the gates of his family's palatial home, I have to wonder if he is about to become my mortal enemy.


I had thought to read this series from the beginning, but when I got approved for this one on NetGalley did I change my plans. Sure, there is always the risk of not getting into the story when you decide to not start from the beginning. But, I'm glad to say that I had no problems with this book.

First, I want to say that I really love the cover for this book. The ominous single gravestone speaks to me. Well, not in the way that it speaks to Amelia Gray, but then again she's a cemetery restorer who sees the dead. In this book, is it the ghost of a child that haunts her as she works to restore Woodbine Cemetery. Who is the child and who could have killed her? Amelia also has to deal with her ex-boyfriend John Devlin who earlier didn't want anything to with his family expectations, but now seems to have decided to accept his birthright. Could he now be a danger to Amelia and her secret about seeing ghosts?

The Awakening is an interesting book. Now, the case with the dead child ghost is not that mysterious or surprising. But, I enjoyed reading about how Amelia investigates the little girl's death, and the connection it seems to have to her own family. Speaking of her family, I was intrigued by the fact that Amelia's birth mother died while she was still pregnant and that it's a miracle that Amelia was born at all. I'm very curious about her family. Everything concerning her family and the past was really interesting and I seriously need to read the previous books so that I can learn more. I wonder if that's not the thing I liked the most about the book was Amelia, her gift, and her family. The case in itself was not the most interesting things, it's rather everything around it intrigued me. I liked that the ghost child case did reveal things about the past, and that through the dead child did Amelia learn more about certain things that I can't write about without spoiling the book. It's a good book, and I love the ending!

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

Ice Dragon Tales by Hurri Cosmo Blog Tour + Giveaway

M/M Romance 
Date Published: February 2017

Prince Joron of Blade Rain was kissed by a man he had no idea was King Aric of Claymoor Doom. Of course King Aric had no idea the one he kissed was even a man since Joron was dressed as a woman. Disguised to escape the newly crowned king of Blade Rain who just happens to be Joron's brother, Joron is swept off his feet by Aric when he is rescued by him from an assault. Aric is also swept off his feet by the beauty of the "woman" and that one amazing kiss. Aric, who is led to believe the beautiful woman he kissed is actually the princess, immediately goes to the king of Blade Rain and offers for the princess’s hand in marriage and his offer is accepted. Unfortunately, King Aric is now betrothed to Liarta, Joron’s sister. But an emergency has King Aric racing home without finding out the mistake he has made and now Joron must ride to Claymoor Doom to renegotiate the offer since Liarta is in love with someone else and does not want to marry King Aric. 

Imagine Aric’s surprise when he discovers the Prince is the one he thought was the Princess! So Aric does the only thing he can think of. He will release Liarta from her obligation of marriage, but only if Joron takes her place... in the marriage bed. 

Prince Joron of Blade Rain was kissed by a man he had no idea was King Aric of Claymoor Doom. Of course King Aric had no idea the one he kissed was even a man since Joron was dressed as a woman. Disguised to escape the newly crowned king of Blade Rain who just happens to be Joron's brother, Joron is swept off his feet by Aric when he is rescued by him from an assault. Aric is also swept off his feet by the beauty of the "woman" and that one amazing kiss. Aric, who is led to believe the beautiful woman he kissed is actually the princess, immediately goes to the king of Blade Rain and offers for the princess’s hand in marriage and his offer is accepted. Unfortunately, King Aric is now betrothed to Liarta, Joron’s sister. But an emergency has King Aric racing home without finding out the mistake he has made and now Joron must ride to Claymoor Doom to renegotiate the offer since Liarta is in love with someone else and does not want to marry King Aric. 

Imagine Aric’s surprise when he discovers the Prince is the one he thought was the Princess! So Aric does the only thing he can think of. He will release Liarta from her obligation of marriage, but only if Joron takes her place... in the marriage bed.

Things are going well for King Aric. He had Joron safely hidden away. Diagus, although a continuing threat to Joron, had left his castle empty handed, and the Cetin Gang was headed for his dungeons. He should be thrilled but – something was not right. He could feel it. 
Sure enough, when he returns to Claymoor castle, he finds Joron has been kidnapped and he must ride immediately to rescue him. And knowing the culprit, it was not going to be an easy task. However, Aric has a trump card; a letter from a dead king. Seemingly nonsensical at first, it now points a finger directly at a murderer and Aric is convinced Joron is next. Somehow he has to find him and get Joron back into his protective arms before it’s too late. 
Unfortunately, there are other huge pitfalls just waiting in the shadows. It turns out Joron is the true king of Blade Rain and Aric's long dead wife miraculously returns to claim Aric as her own. Between all the lies, murders, and life altering revelations, is there hope for these two at all? 

King Diagus of Blade Rain is in a bind. He is duty bound to produce a royal heir and the only way he knows that can happen is if he beds a woman. Definitely not his idea of Happily Ever After. In fact, far from it. Except instead of walking down the aisle with the princess he has arranged to marry, Diagus is off in the wilds of Claymoor Doom. But there’s a good reason. Rumor had it there was someone near Gray Valley with Diagus’s stark blue eyes. A possible relative and therefore an heir? Was there a chance he might not have to marry a woman, after all? Regrettably, Diagus finds no one matching the rumor’s description. What he does find is a heinous, black magic plot for murder and Diagus is the next on the list.

Tama’s pregnant sister claimed to be carrying the child of a king. Not just any king. The mighty king of Blade Rain. She was determined to get out of the very poor house of Hilman and into the lap of luxury. But fate had its own agenda. Sadly, Tama must raise his nephew all by himself after his sister unexpectedly dies in childbirth. It’s not a problem, though. He loves Aydin as he loved his sister – with all his heart.

However, Tama’s lazy and abusive father, Beourn, is angry and extremely disappointed. Being the grandfather of a crown prince, he was looking forward to moving to the castle and living a life of extravagance. With his daughter’s death, that was no longer possible. So, he does the unthinkable. He kidnaps Aydin with the intent of selling him to the rich and powerful king. Tama is stunned he would do such a thing and chases after Beourn to rescue Aydin.

But he doesn’t get far before he is confronted with a beautiful man being viciously attacked. Of course Tama has to help. If he doesn’t the man will surely die. Except Tama quickly learns the man is far more than just someone in trouble. In fact, the man is a king and will change Tama’s life. Forever.


Tama tried to turn the horse. He needed to get this witch to let go of him. Knowing something was very wrong, Aydin’s whimpers had turned to screaming and crying, and he clung fiercely to Tama’s neck. The princess was maneuvering her horse closer for some reason, maybe it was to try and stop Tama from running, but her horse did not like getting that close to the witch. It reared, dumping the princess to the ground. In response, one of the soldiers leaped off his horse to help the princess, another tried in vain to stop the now-frantic, panicking horse the princess had been riding, and two others tried to move out of the way. In the chaos, no one noticed a new group of horsemen join them.

Suddenly, there was a large man on a horse between Tama and the witch.

“Your Majesty?” Tama whispered.

Diagus turned to Tama, leaned over, planting a kiss on his lips, then came away with a wink. “Looks like you need to be rescued this time.” He turned to face the witch. “Keep your filthy hands off my son and my man. There will be no deal had here today, old woman.”

The old woman tipped her head back and laughed. “So you think, Diagus, son of Mormir. So you think.”

The woods moved then. Six, seven, ten, maybe even twenty or more trees pulled up their roots and lumbered toward the group. Bumpy, gnarly, sick-looking masses of trees came at them, startling Tama and his horse who proceeded to do the same thing the princess’s horse did. The animal threw both Tama and Aydin to the ground, the fake rabbit twirling in the air above them as they went down. Tama pulled Aydin close to shelter him from being injured. However, the fall jarred Tama to the point his head was spinning. He heard Diagus call out to him, but in the bedlam the clearing had turned into, he could no longer see him.

Suddenly he was hit from behind and a blinding pain rocketed through his head. Try as he might, he couldn’t hold on to Aydin, who was ripped from his hands. Tama heard Aydin scream as he scrambled to his feet, fighting off the deadly sharp branches of the monster trees. It had been the witch, that wretched midwife. Somehow, she had gotten to Tama through the mayhem and grabbed Aydin. She was running now, deeper into the marsh.

Tama kicked out but knew there was absolutely no hope of getting free. Were these horrors from a nightmare going to kill them? Or did they have teeth like those grotesque fish and Tama was going to make a hearty meal?

Suddenly, Tama was face-first in the dirt, a pressure coming down hard on his shoulders. But right there near his left eye was the rabbit. Its fur was glistening in the light, standing on end as if it were full of the sparks from Tama’s hair.

“Wubbing my bunny on you!” Aydin squealed as he rubbed the bunny in Tama’s hair, making the strands stand straight up off his head. Tama could feel the snapping as if the rabbit were alive and tiny paws were pulling on his hair, which made Aydin laugh so hard he peed his pants.

As if in a dream, Tama reached out and picked the rabbit up, the snapping sparks tickling his hand, and he felt that tingle flow immediately through his body, frightening him even more than the walking trees had. But it had an odd effect. The trees stopped moving right where they were and once again took root.

Tama pulled on the sleeve of his shirt, which had somehow gotten in the way of one of those roots, but it was held fast to the ground. Tama reached over with the hand that still held the rabbit to either loosen the root or tear his sleeve. Inadvertently, he touched the root with the rabbit, and when it made contact, the gnarly thing immediately withered and died, releasing Tama’s sleeve.

Amazed and confused, he scrambled to his feet and ran to touch the tree that the king was wrestling. The second he did, it withered in the same way. It seemed to scream, then died, even as it attempted to take root once more. It failed and fell over, void of motion and life. He ran and touched a few more with the same results, the others, sensing that they were about to be touched, hurried off into the darkening forest.

The princess’s soldiers didn’t stick around either. They pulled their terrified horses around and thundered out of the clearing, which was no longer much of one, now filled with dead trees, some standing, most fallen. It was obvious they intended on getting as far away from Dark Marsh as possible, leaving the princess sitting on the muddy ground, crying out for them to stop.

About the author

I live in Minnesota where I holds tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I doesn’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I am reading or writing, and I will entertain myself for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it, is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

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