Book 12: HEART OF THE OCEAN Review


Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore
ASIN: B00AVMIK8Q (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: January 2, 2013
Publisher: Mirror Press, LLC


A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want?
Except for maybe her life.
In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.
While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.
After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza’s life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt’s death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Eliza Robinson is pleased to spend time with her Aunt Maeve, but she is hurt that her parents have all-but exiled her to Maybrook, Massachusetts. As she struggles with her feelings about her “exile,” she also struggles with the idea she may be losing her faculties since she began hearing voices; especially since the voice initially urged her to jump off of a cliff. Later that night during a storm, the voice leads her to discover her aunt’s murdered body. When she seeks helps in the midst of the storm she finds it in a stranger, Jonathan Porter. Following her arrest and release, Eliza continues to hear the voice and begins to realize it may be the voice of Jonathan’s deceased mother, Helena.

Eliza quickly realizes that she is just as constrained by the Puritan society her aunt lived in as she was by the elite societal values faced in the city. Eliza commits to trying to find information for Jonathan and this leads to Helena’s diary and a host of problems. Eliza must contend with the repercussions of her refusal of the proposal by Thomas Beesley, her father’s business partner and that of Puritan and Maybrook resident Nathaniel Prann. She must also fight against her feelings toward Jonathan. Eliza continues to hear Helena’s voice even as she travels back to New York, and even France and England. She knows that Helena is trying to provide her with guidance, but will she be able to discover the truth behind Helena’s disappearance and death without putting her own life in jeopardy again?

I rather enjoyed Heart of the Ocean but found it initially to be somewhat of a slow read, especially when reading about Eliza and her early days in Maybrook (before and after her aunt’s death). The pace picked up quite a bit after Eliza is presumed innocent and she returns to her aunt’s home for a while. Her return to New York provided a nice twist as she struggled against societal and familial constraints. I enjoyed reading about the relationship, or lack thereof, between Jonathan and his fiancée, Apryl Maughan. One of Eliza’s enemies is Thomas Beesley, a spoiled, petty and vengeful man. Just when you think you know where the story is going Ms. Moore provides a neat little plot twist to take you in an entirely different direction. If you enjoy historical fiction with a hint of a gothic romance and pinch of suspense, then I recommend Heart of the Ocean.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from I Am A Reader Not A Writer Book Blasts and Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast: FREAK OF NATURE




Freak of Nature

Donate Body to Science. Check.

When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.




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Author Julia Crane



Julia Crane is the author of the YA paranormal fiction novels: Keegan’s Chronicles, Mesmerized, Dark Promise and Eternal Youth. Julia was encouraged by her mother to read and use her imagination, and she’s believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Julia has traveled far and wide to all the places her grandmother told her about, gaining inspiration from her journeys to places like Nepal, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Italy, France and many more. And who knows? Maybe the magical creatures she writes about are people she met along the way.

Julia Crane has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.





Links



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Book Blast Giveaway Details


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash


Ends 1/27/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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THE TUTOR’S DAUGHTER Extras

Earlier this month I reviewed The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen (a great historical romance read). Now I’d like to share the book trailer and provide you with an opportunity read the first chapter of this wonderful book.

Watch the trailer:



Read the first chapter here.


I hope you’ll enjoy these extras.  Happy reading!

Giveaway & Guest Post: Author G. Gordon Dean

SCAM FACTORY by G. Gordon Dean

SCAM FACTORY started out as a dream I had about a job interview with a high-end consulting firm. I initially thought that my dream would make a great movie, but I decided to write a book instead. As I began to develop the plot and storylines I realized I could tie it all in with, past and current, real life events in the U.S. from 2001-2009. It was also relatively easy to combine some of my business experience, and people I have run across over the years, into this story. I grew up in Las Vegas and lived there for about thirty-five years so knowing about Scams, or coming up with my own for this book, wasn’t so hard. The TRUE events that led to the U.S. financial crash, mass business failures, and declines in property values in late 2007 were nothing but ammunition for this novel.

SCAM FACTORY is not a story about the guy in the white cowboy hat saving the town and riding off into the sunset. It is fiction based on reality with a ‘true to life’ outcome. The characters in this story get away with White-Collar crimes just as the real life participants did. The characters are sadistic and have a knack of getting away with almost everything, just like the in real world. It is as simple as that. One of the messages I wanted to convey in writing this story was to show what kinds of professionals were out there exploiting our businesses and citizens without legal retribution. The characters are mostly cold, calculating, and narcissistic.
I figured that using a first person narrative was the best way to tell the story. There are many subjects involved in this story so I divided SCAM FACTORY into four parts to further make it easier to read and understand. Loyalties are lost and revenge is certainly in the plot, but figuring out how to write about it was the key to the story. There is no mention of any existing, or real life, companies-only industries and fictional business entities. Another challenge was making the fictional writing seem realistic. Several of the initial book reviewers were asking if some of the events in the story actually took place. The answer is probably yes, except that only a hand full of people knows how those events really took place.

The consulting firm (TierGroup) in this story, that represents the seventeen major industries, is politically neutral. The idea is that if your money is green then TierGroup, and its clients, do not really care what your political affiliation is. This is also very relevant in the real world, but it seems to be changing for the worst. Although SCAM FACTORY contains many dark sides, it strongly reflects a ‘behind the closed door’ characterization of the reality we have faced over the last six years. The lessons we are still learning as a country are obvious and it may take many more years to recover. Control, perception, manipulation, and greed are still the number one driving forces in the business world today, but on the other hand, there are always two sides to a coin. Only time will tell.

Enjoy SCAM FACTORY and become a fan on Facebook.



About the author:

G. Gordon Dean is a Real Estate agent and Business Consultant currently living in Arizona. He has been a media buff for over two decades. As a media buff he has kept himself well aware of past and current events in business, government, and politics. He lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for over 30 years. This is his first novel.

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About the book:

SCAM FACTORY by G. Gordon Dean
ISBN: 9780985927882 (ebook)
ASIN:  B009RP6NU0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 15, 2012


Whoever said ‘white-collar crime doesn’t pay’ never lived in Washington D.C. TierGroup is a business consultancy firm located in the heart of DC. Its Division Heads have a very cold and calculating unorthodox approach to conducting business. Protecting and serving their clients is the only thing that matters. Nevertheless, loyalty can swing both ways in this journey through greed, corruption, and absolute lack of accountability.
As a former Las Vegas Casino Surveillance Director, Michael Crayter, a straight shooter, becomes an unaware, almost, employee of TierGroup in mid-2001. His transformation takes many shapes from idea man to fraud guru. He embarks on a journey to Iraq, through Hurricane Katrina and eventually takes part in one of the biggest scams in the history of the United States – the TARP funding program. His boss, Charles “The Czar” Zarin, is the ultimate manipulation mentor. Michael Crayter’s experience will last for more than eight years and will make his old Vegas job seem like child’s play.
The investment opportunities the United States has to offer during this time frame are seemingly endless and the public joins in on the greed. The whole country is riding high on the inflated value train with careless abandonment. There are no regulations followed or laws unbroken by the Mortgage Lenders, Stock Brokers, and Bankers. The bubble is getting bigger and the clock is ticking. It’s every man for himself. Divide and conquer. Borrow and spend. No one sees the tsunami coming, except for Charles Zarin. Capitalism will be turned upside down and the money spigot will run dry.
By late 2007 the bubble bursts and our country’s economy is left in ruins. The Treasury is sent in to bail out the white-collar thieves. While losing most of its clients TierGroup and Michael Crayter are left to fend for themselves. The tables are turned on the fat-cat bankers who caused the meltdown. Michael Crayter uses his hard gained experience to get even with the fake bastards. Almost everyone loyal to TierGroup gets away with highway robbery and the American taxpayer is left holding the bag. Michael Crayter begins to tell his story, in this Four Part first-person narrative, during a 2005 interview at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Tribute Books has graciously offered to provide one ebook copy of Scam Factory to a lucky The Book Diva’s Reads reader. To enter, please use Rafflecopter entry below. The winner will be chosen and notified on February 1, 2013.

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Book 7: COVER OF SNOW Review

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman
ISBN: 9780345534217 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345534231 (ebook)
ASIN: B00957T4ZG (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books


Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown. . .and its darkest secrets hidden.


Nora and Brendan Hamilton had, by all appearances, a happy marriage and good life. At least that’s what Nora thought before she woke up one morning and found that her husband had committed suicide. The only question that Nora can focus on is why? After the funeral and life for most of the residents of Wedeskyull, New York returns to a sense of normalcy, Nora begins her quest to answer why her husband killed himself. Little does she know that this quest is placing not only her life, but the lives of others in grave danger. Will she be able to uncover the truth before she is silenced?


I found the first few chapters of Cover of Snow to read a little slow and my focus on the book began to pall. However, after setting aside the book for a few hours, I found myself immersed into Nora’s world and intrigue and read to the last page without interruption. Brendan’s personal history is slowly revealed over the course of the book, and it’s almost as if we are learning about Brendan at the same as Nora. The relationship between Nora and her sister Teggie came across just as loving and sometimes awkward as most sibling relationships during moments of personal trials. Teggie is loving, supportive and understanding, as well as impatient and brutally honest with Nora. But it is perhaps Teggie’s impatience as much as the local mishaps in Wedeskyull that push Nora forward. 

Nora is portrayed as an outsider that had married into the Wedeskyull family. At first her marriage and connection to the Hamilton family are a plus but they quickly become more of a curse or hindrance as she continues to investigate her husband’s death. She doesn’t have the support of her mother-in-law or the police department. She’s constantly cautioned to let things go and forget about the past. But the more Nora learns, the more she realizes that she didn’t really know anyone in this small town and that there isn’t anyone she can trust. Nora is fighting the harsh weather just as much as she is fighting against the natural tendency of small town’s residents desire to keep and protect secrets of the past. I enjoyed the twists and turns Nora takes as she searches for the truth. I thought that Ms. Milchman did an admirable job in describing life in a small town as well as in creating a mystery-suspense read that kept me guessing until the bitter end. If you enjoy mystery-suspense and are seeking something new to read, then I can wholeheartedly recommend Cover of Snow.  

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Guest Post: Author Patrick W. Carr



Themes that Resonate: Writing for Impact
Patrick W. Carr

There’s this movie that I can’t help but watch. It’s sentimental and manipulative and if I’m channel surfing and it’s on, I’ll watch it even though I’ve seen it at least a dozen times before. I wouldn’t even say it’s my favorite, but the ending always makes me cry. Surprisingly enough, it’s not “Lord of the Rings.” Everyone who knows me will be shocked. No, the movie is “Field of Dreams.” That last scene where Kevin Costner gets to meet his dad and redeem their relationship busts me up every time. Those kinds of scenes, the ones that make us cry, and the ones we write that make our readers cry, are what turns a book from an exercise in diction and vocabulary into an experience.

For those of you who are trying to write for a more emotional impact, I would suggest reading “How to Read Literature Like a Professor,” by Thomas C. Foster. The author expounds on the themes, and their origins, that create powerful stories. There are too many to list, but I’d like to point out three of my favorites.

Redemption. This one is my favorite. You might have guessed that by the lead in to this article. As a Christian, you would expect this theme to permeate my writing, but the concept of redemption, be it salvation, relationships, or kingdoms is part of our culture. Didn’t Luke Skywalker redeem his father, Darth Vader (Anakin) in the end? In “Field of Dreams” we’re led to believe that the point is to redeem “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s expulsion from baseball for gambling. In the end we discover something much more powerful: Ray Kinsella has built the field to redeem his the relationship with his father.

Sacrifice. There seems to be a trend here. Many of our strongest themes come from the Bible. In the first Star Wars movie, which was actually the fourth in the series once all the prequels were made, Obi Wan (played to perfection by Alec Guiness) sacrifices himself so that Luke and the rest can escape. As the still voice later that helps Luke defeat death in the form of the death star, Obi Wan becomes a type for the Holy Spirit, sent to us once Jesus died and ascended. I didn’t hesitate to use this as a them in my own writing though I usually boil it down to this: The sacrifice of the innocent to save the guilty.

Orphan. Who could forget the scene in the musical of Oliver Twist, “Boy for Sale.” This theme, especially in epic fantasy, often hearkens back to our Arthurian legends. One of my favorite retellings of this story occurs in the wonderfully written series, The Belgariad, by David Eddings. Like many themes it is utterly predictable, but the retelling is deftly handled with enough twists to keep us hooked until the last page. In many cases, our protagonist is orphaned symbolically. For example, he or she may be rejected by the rest of their family, or perhaps discover that they were adopted.

These are the themes common to epic fantasy, but you will often find them interspersed in other genres. Romance, a genre with incredible reach, has its own set of themes. If you write Romance, you betray them at your peril. Every reader knows before they pick up the book that the guy and the girl will get together in the end and that love will conquer all. The requirements of the genre require skill in order to bring a fresh story to the marketplace. I attend a writer’s group that is predominantly populated with romance writers. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the skill and effort they bring to their craft and owe much of my writing success to their instruction.

Pick up a well-told fantasy and you will find very strong elements of romance contained within it. In Lord of the Rings, Eowyn falls in love with the unattainable (for her) Aragorn, who is destined to marry Arwen Evenstar. Eowyn’s heart is rescued by the attentions of Faramir in the house of healing. There are almost too many themes to count going on.

Look at your writing. Does it resonate? Are you working the themes that make up the mythos of your audience? We write because we have something to say. It may be a complicated story of redemption or a simple tale of triumphant love. Keep your theme(s) in mind and by the time you get to the last page, you’ll discover you’ve written a more powerful story. In many cases you’ll discover themes woven into your story you were unaware of at the time.



About the author:

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.


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About the book:

In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.





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Book Excerpt: EDGE OF THE PAST



Edge of the Past by Jennifer Comeaux
ISBN:  9781481118880 (paperback)
ISBN:  9781621351061 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00AEFAWD6 (Kindle edition)

Emily’s skating career and personal life have never been more golden. She and her partner Chris have won every competition they’ve entered this season, and she’s found the man of her dreams in her coach Sergei. But when one of the biggest competitions of the year takes Emily and Sergei to Russia, Sergei’s past explodes into the present and makes Emily doubt everything in their future.


Excerpts:

Excerpt #1

After I got comfortable in my pajamas, I climbed into bed with my laptop to check email but never made it to my inbox. Thinking back to the conversation at dinner, I pulled up a search engine and typed Sergei Petrov and Elena Gorshkova. With a click on the Images tab, I landed on a page of photos from Sergei and Elena’s competitive days.

I’d looked at the pictures before – Sergei and Elena with their World Junior Championship gold medals, action shots from their winning free skate, and their celebration in the kiss and cry when they received their scores. But now I studied them longer, knowing I’d soon be in the city where all the history had taken place.

Elena and I had the same petite build, perfect for pairs skating, but our other physical features differed greatly. Her raven hair, cut in a bob, contrasted with my long, dark blonde locks. And her eyes were brown, almost black – the total opposite of my blue ones.

Even though Sergei and I had a lifetime together ahead of us, a twinge of something – perhaps jealousy, perhaps curiosity – hit me as I stared at the photos. Elena had given birth to Sergei’s child. His first child. They’d always have that bond, no matter the time and distance between them. Going back to Russia would surely trigger old memories for Sergei, especially since his father was obsessed with past mistakes.

I shut my laptop and burrowed deeper under the blankets. The ghosts must finally be put to rest.

Excerpt #2

In the cold, gray underbelly of the Ice Palace, I flexed my knees and bounced up and down on my skate guards to stay warm. Waiting for our turn to skate was the hardest part. It gave me too much time inside my head.

Sergei stood a few feet from me, staring down the hall. He had a faraway look in his eyes, the one he got on the rare occasions we talked about his days as a skater. The last time he’d stood in this corridor, he was part of Russia’s brightest young pair. He and Elena were already being talked about as future Olympic champions. But then one careless moment had ended it all.

Excerpt #3

Mom’s eyebrows were still raised as she returned to her seat. I stayed standing and tapped Sergei’s arm. “Can we talk for a sec?”

I led him away from the table to a quiet spot near the entrance. A couple of Canadian ice dance coaches passed us, and we swapped brief hellos. I retreated further into the corner and looked up at Sergei.

“What was your dad angry about?”

Sergei rubbed the back of his neck and let out a frustrated sigh. “He wasn’t happy that he left work and now you’re not skating.”

I laughed dryly. “So, now he has something else to hold against me.”

“No, it’s not you.” Sergei touched my cheek. “He doesn’t even know you. It’s just him… and the way he is.”

“When you said he’s not a ray of sunshine, you weren’t joking. He didn’t even shake your hand.”

“He’s never been good at expressing emotion.”

“I’m sure glad you got your mom’s personality.” I tugged on the end of Sergei’s purple tie.

He smiled and wrapped his arms around me, but I could feel the tension in his body. What else could go wrong on this trip? With two days left in St. Petersburg and three more in Moscow, I was almost afraid to ask that question.

Excerpt #4

After dessert of Russian fruit cake, my parents helped Anna clear the table while Sergei and I went over to his room, if one could call it that. We stood between the bed and a tall wooden cabinet, and there was barely enough space for us to move. I thought of my bedroom in my parents’ house – the four-poster bed, my own bathroom, the window seat where I loved to read. Sergei hadn’t enjoyed any such comforts growing up.

“This bed looks even smaller than a twin,” I said. “How did you fit in this?”

He laughed. “When I had my growth spurt at fifteen and hit six feet, it got tough.”

“I can’t imagine not having a door for privacy. There were many times I needed to shut out my mom’s nagging.”

“I guess since I never had a door, I didn’t know what I was missing.”

“Where’d you keep all your stuff?” I asked.

“My clothes were in here.” Sergei tapped the cabinet. “Everything else got crammed under the bed.”

“It’s nice you had a window,” I said, running my hand along the sill. My fingers stopped when I reached a carving – one Russian word etched into the wood.

Elena.

Excerpt #5

Sergei pressed me up into the star lift, and I noticed some of the other skaters idling and watching us. We sped past them, and Sergei set me down, preparing for the closing seconds of the program.

In time with the final piano notes, I edged away from Sergei, and he rushed toward me, trapping me in his arms for the ending pose. I gasped at the passion with which he grabbed me. His eyes held my gaze then slowly drifted down to my mouth, and my body hummed from the fiery energy between us. I leaned into his chest and squeezed my fingers harder around his biceps.

A few of my training mates erupted with applause and whistles, and Sergei jerked backward. He didn’t say anything as he took off to cool down, leaving me alone in the middle of the ice with more than my muscles burning.

Excerpt #6

I went inside the small room and pulled the curtain shut. The ivory satin dress hung on the wall. The first time I’d tried on the gown, we all ended up in a mess of tears – me, Mom, Aunt Debbie… even Aubrey, who was the least sentimental person I knew.

Stripping out of my clothes, I stepped into the dress and peeked around the curtain. “Mom, can you help me?”

She maneuvered around the dress’s long train as her fingers carefully made their way up the long row of delicate buttons. When she finished, Mom held my skirt and we moved out into the shop and in front of the huge mirror on the far wall.

My chest tightened as I stared at my reflection. Louann’s final alterations made the dress fit my petite curves perfectly. I ran my hand across the off-the-shoulder neckline and down the draped bodice to the A-line skirt, sliding my fingertips along the cool, silky material. I hadn’t wanted any frills on the dress, so the gown had a simple yet elegant look with only a touch of beading. It was everything I’d dreamed, just like I’d thought my life with Sergei would be. The tightness in my chest rose to my throat, creating a painful lump.

“It’s so beautiful,” Mom said. “I know I say that every time I see it, but it’s true.”

I nodded and attempted to speak, but no words came. Only tears. I tried to breathe them back with quick gasps, but I couldn’t stop them as they seeped from my eyes.

Excerpt #7

With each mile we traveled, my stomach grew tighter with nerves. My moment in the spotlight was fast approaching, and I prayed I wouldn’t humiliate myself.

We arrived at the rink, and I dressed in the bathroom before gathering with the other skaters in the locker room. I opened the door to peek at the crowd and saw the bleachers filling quickly. I recognized a lot of the faces – parents of club members, adult skaters, kids from the Basic Skills classes – and they were all expecting me to skate like a national champion. An Olympic medalist. But I’d earned those achievements with Chris, not on my own, and my last memory of skating alone had given me nightmares for years.

My palms began to glisten with sweat. Breathe, Em, I commanded, but I couldn’t stop the trembling in my knees.

About the author:

Jennifer Comeaux earned a Master of Accounting from Tulane University and is a Certified Public Accountant in south Louisiana. While working in the corporate world, she sought a creative outlet and decided to put on paper a story that had played in her head for years. That story became Life On the Edge, her first published novel.

When not working or writing, she is an avid follower of the sport of figure skating, travelling to competitions around the country. Those experiences allow her to see a different side of the sport and serve as an inspiration for her writing. Jennifer is blessed with a wonderful family and many friends who have encouraged her to pursue her dream of being a published author.

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Book Excerpt: HARBOUR FALLS



Harbour Falls by S.R. Grey
ISBN: 9780615700298 (paperback)
ASIN: B00A06OMQM (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: October 31, 2012
Publisher: author


Best-selling author Maddy Fitch, researching material for a new novel, returns to her hometown of Harbour Falls to investigate a disappearance that has haunted the tiny Maine coastal town for the past four years. Maddy soon discovers that the case has gone cold, but the prime suspect, Adam Ward, is hotter than ever. Now living on an isolated island, Maddy takes up residence near the sexy Mr. Ward’s home. As she begins to seek out answers, the mystery deepens, putting Maddy in jeopardy. 

Lies, secrets, deceptions. Nothing is ever what it seems in Harbour Falls. 

A steamy novel that immerses the reader in an intricate storyline that will keep them glued till the very last page.



Excerpt:

The Harbour Falls Mystery was the real reason I was here. I had every intention of basing my next novel on the facts of the case. I was tired of fiction; I wanted to write a true crime novel. Plus there was a little part of me—the detective that lurks in all of us—that dreamed of solving this case.

But nobody knew that this case held more than a professional interest for me. Not because the main locale was Harbour Falls, and not because the mystery involved the disappearance of a local I’d once known. And, truth be told, had once envied. Nor was it the fact that this local, Chelsea Hannigan, had gone missing the night before her wedding. Scandalous, though it was.

What piqued my curiosity was the man Chelsea had been on the verge of marrying—Adam Ward. He was the man at the center of the mystery. He was the man whose life had been altered when Chelsea disappeared, after he was named as the number one suspect.

What role, if any, had he played in her disappearance? Though never formally charged, many believed he was far from innocent.

Well I was here to uncover the truth. There was just one small problem.

Contrary to what I’d told Ami, I was interested in Adam Ward. Still. Despite how ridiculous I knew it was, I couldn’t wait to run into Adam. Would he even remember me? Maybe not. But I wasn’t the shy girl I’d been back then.

Of course I was playing with fire. If he ever suspected I was investigating him in order to research my new novel, he’d hardly be pleased. I might even see firsthand just how supposedly dangerous he could be.

At the thought, a little shudder ran through me. Whether it was due to fear, excitement, or both, I wasn’t sure. I knew I should analyze it and get my head straight before I ended up in trouble.

But I’d run out of time. Because the fog began to lift, and in the distance, Fade Island came into view.



About the author:

S.R. Grey is the author of Harbour Falls, first in the Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy. She resides in western Pennsylvania. She has both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris College, as well as an MBA from Duquesne University. And though she enjoys working in sales and consulting, her true passion lies in writing. Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.

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Book Blast and Giveaway: HEART OF THE OCEAN




Heart of the Ocean
by Heather B. Moore

A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost  . . . a handsome stranger  . . .
What more could Eliza Robinson want?
Except for maybe her life.


In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.


While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.


After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza’s life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt’s death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.




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Author Heather B. Moore
Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ’s Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler).

Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).




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Book Blast Giveaway
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Ends 1/27/12


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Book Blast and Giveaway: GRACIER




Gracier by Milissa R. Bailey

Everyone around her knows. Everyone she trusts has lied. And the one man who held the key to Jessica McCabe’s past is dead.

Welcome to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Lives are peaceful, streets are quiet, but behind the tranquility is many a tale to be told. Veterinarian Jessica McCabe has returned, but it is not the homecoming she had expected. Her grandfather, Jonas McCabe and Gracier’s longtime vet has died, leaving behind the practice they had hoped to share.

The reading of Jonas’ will sets off a series of events that bring into question Jessica’s birthright, the truth surrounding her mother’s untimely death and her grandfather’s sanity. With her world turned upside down she is thrown into a partnership with Matthew Cassidy, the man who chose his family’s wealth over Jessica’s love.

Her determined spirit leads Jessica to stay, continue the veterinarian practice and return to the life and the community she loves. But a secret loft and a box filled with a hidden past change the course of her life once again.

Longtime family friends, Dr. Andrew Harrison and retired Sheriff Chester Caughlin know the truth. A promise made to a dear old friend to protect the girl they helped raise is one they intend to keep. But the wheels of fate have been put in motion. The people entrusted with protecting Jessica from the past are losing control. The small town of Gracier, Iowa holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.



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Praise

“Milissa Bailey has set the perfect stage for the next book in the series with her intriguing characters that are as unpredictable as an Iowa tornado and as genuine as the county fair. The labyrinth of their lives makes you want to learn more about the secrets of Gracier”.  – D. Bahrenfuss – Editor

“I was pulled in with the depth of this story and couldn’t stop myself from finishing the second half in one sitting. GRACIER is a beautiful reminder of all that is important in life. Bailey has a wonderful gift and I hope she will continue to “breathe”!”
–Leisa Anslinger, author of Forming Generous Hearts, Here Comes Everybody

“…think Jennifer Chiaverini or Jan Karon” – Burlington by the Book

“It was one of those books that I stayed up late reading and picked back up the minute I woke up! ” -Mari Kait

“Milissa Bailey’s depiction of small town Iowa is both charming and mysterious–the perfect combination to captivate readers.” -C.G.Reader

“Add to that a group of supporting characters you can’t help but love. Gracier is a must read.” -Shari

 “I couldn’t put the book down…can’t wait for book #2!!!!” -RJW





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Author Milissa Bailey

Milissa Bailey grew up among the rolling fields of rural Iowa, where she continues to live with her husband, and three children. In her debut novel she draws upon her rich knowledge of the Midwest as she welcomes us to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Readers are introduced to a cast of characters they will come to know, love and hate. Vivid descriptions, palatable anguish, forbidden romance and touches of humor lend itself to the stories weaved in this idyllic setting. The small town of Gracier holds many secrets and those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover that not everything has been laid to rest.

Milissa, along with her husband, own a marketing firm located in Iowa. She is currently at work on the second book in the Gracier series.





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$100 BookBlast Giveaway (starts January 9th)

Ends 1/20/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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