Book Showcase: DEAD END by Leigh Russell

on Tour Jan 27 – Feb 28, 2014


Book Details:
Genre:  Mystery & Detective; Women Sleuths
Published by:  Witness Impulse
Publication Date:  1/28/2014
Number of Pages:  384
ISBN:  9780062325631
Series: DI Geraldine Steel #3, Stand Alone
Purchase Links:    


When headmistress Abigail Kirby’s corpse is discovered in the woods, police are shocked to learn that her tongue was cut out while she lay dying. Then, shortly after a witness comes forward, he is blinded and murdered. With mangled dead bodies appearing at an alarmingly increasing rate, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel is in a race against time to find the killer before he claims his next victim…

Read an excerpt:

Abigail Kirby lay on the table like a waxwork model, her face cleaned-up to reveal her square chin. Geraldine approached and forced herself to look at the victim’s open mouth: between even teeth the stump of her tongue looked surprisingly neat. Abigail Kirby stared back as though in silent protest at this scrutiny. 

The pathologist looked up and Geraldine recognized the tall dark-haired medical examiner who had examined the body in the wood. ‘Hello again Inspector. You’ll forgive me if I don’t shake hands.’

Geraldine glanced down at his bloody gloves.

Author Bio:

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English. For many years a secondary school English teacher, she is a creative writing tutor for adults. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in North West London. Her first novel, Cut Short, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award in 2010. This was followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, and Fatal Act in the Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series. Cold Sacrifice is the first title in a spin off series featuring Geraldine Steel’s sergeant, Ian Peterson.

Catch Up With the Author:    

Tour Participants:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
on Tour Jan 27 – Feb 28, 2014

Guest Post: Vincent Zandri, author of THE SHROUD KEY

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to participate in another Partners In Crime blog tour and host a visit by Vincent Zandri, author of The Shroud Key. Mr. Zandri will be discussing his muse: Florence, Italy.


Chase Baker is not only a true Renaissance Man, he’s a man who knows how to find trouble. A part-time resident of Florence, Italy, his resume reads like a modern day Da Vinci or Casanova. Writer, private investigator, tour guide, historian, treasure hunter, adventurer, and even archaeological sandhog, Chase is also a prolific lover. Unfortunately for him, his dangerous liaisons all too often make him the target of a jealous husband. Now, at the direct request of the Florence police, he finds himself on the trail of an archaeologist by the name of Dr. Andre Manion who’s gone missing from his teaching post at the American University. But having worked for the archaeologist several years ago as a sandhog on a secret but failed dig just outside the Great Pyramids in the Giza Plateau, Chase smells a renewed opportunity to uncover what just might be the most prized archaeological treasure in the world: The mortal remains of Jesus. But how will Chase Baker go about finding both the archaeologist and the Jesus Remains? With the help of Manion’s beautiful ex-wife, Chase will manage to secure an up-close and personal examination of the Shroud of Turin, not only to view the famous image of the crucified Christ, but to unlock the relic’s greatest secret which is none other than a map, or a key, detailing the precise location of Jesus’s body. Fans of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler and JR Rain will find The Shroud Key an irresistible adventure. 

My Muse Florence

The first time I came to Florence it was for love. At least, being in love was the plan since I was on my honeymoon with my first wife. This is back in the late 1980s when I harbored the insane idea that getting married right out of college would be the fun thing to do. Barely in our twenties (I couldn’t even grow a beard yet), we returned Stateside from the honeymoon to no money, mounting bills, and misery. I was a young writer looking for his start which no one would give me, or so it seemed at the time, and it didn’t take too long for my wife and I to realize our major mistake. She went her way and I packed up my bags, went straight on to writing school. 

The second time I came to Florence with a woman I “loved” was in the late 1990s. It was a crazy time for me then since I was trying to find out how many different ways I could piss away a $250K advance from Delacorte Press for the publication of my first big book, The Innocent (formerly titled, As Catch Can). Despite my partying like a rock star (and even playing drums in my editor’s band, Straw Dogs), the book would go on to sell a ton of copies over three editions. But the marriage, alas, would not fare so well. As much as I loved my second wife, she could not compete with the love I had for words and the nomadic writing life. We split up, but I never stopped loving her. 

The third time “love” brought me to Florence was in the late 2010s. This time the love interest was an artist and art professor from New York. It was her first time in the Renaissance city and I recall leading her by the hand down the narrow Via Faenza all the way to where the Via Zannetti ends at the Via De’ Cerretani and the Piazza Del Duomo. I asked her to close her eyes while we inched our way out into the piazza. When I told her to open them, the first thing she saw was the marvelous white and green marble of the massive cathedral. I thought she would pass out from shock. In any case, she cried real tears over the experience. I must admit, I too became choked up at her come-to-Jesus reaction. Three months later she broke off the relationship without warning. 

So when it comes to Florence and love, I guess you could say I’m three and out. Or, in the words of my publicist, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. 

I haven’t always come here for love however. I’ve been coming to Florence for a number of years now to work. Initially, it seemed like a good place to base myself back when I was writing for RT, and some other global news and trade outlets. I might travel on assignment to West Africa or Moscow, and then instead of heading back to the States and locking myself in my one bedroom apartment, I found it much nicer to work out of romantic Florence. Unlike my love life, Florence always seemed to work like a lucky charm for me when it came to my writing. 

I recall just three years ago, I was here working on some stories for RT when I got word that the then Governor of New York declared that the Empire State was going to go bankrupt in just two week’s time. It was late in the day and I’d already started on a cold beer when I quickly pitched the story to my editor out in Gorky Park. She approved it, giving me just a couple hours to research and write it. Somehow I managed to deliver the piece in just under an hour and half. That night it was the lead story in Eastern Europe. Dumb luck? Or did Florence have something to do with it?

After that experience as a freelance journalist, I kept coming back to Florence for longer and longer stays. This time as a novelist. Since 2008 I’ve managed to write at least three novels here. These include my two “Florence” thrillers, Blue Moonlight (Yes, there’s a rooftop chase scene atop the Duomo) and The Shroud Key (The main character is a writer/adventurer who lives in New York and Florence and who’s always in trouble with the ladies. . .Go figure!). Presently I’m here completing the first drafts of two new novels: Moonlight Weeps and a new stand-alone, The Breakup. I’ve been here only a week, but thus far, I’m ahead of schedule. 

If I had to put my finger on it, I really couldn’t tell you why Florence works for me as a writer. My life here isn’t all that much different from my life back in New York. I get up, make the coffee, sit down at the computer and, in the words of Papa Hemingway, “bite on the nail.” Towards noon I’ll get in a run and/or a visit to the gym. Then I’ll write until maybe five o’clock at which time I’ll head to a favorite local watering hole for a beer or two. My adopted local tavern in Florence is the Fiddler’s Elbow in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Like they do when I walk into my favorite bar in New York, the barflies will welcome me with a “Hey Vin!” On occasion someone will ask me if I won the war of words today. I’ll usually respond with, “I’ve won the battle, but never the war.”

So then, why do I keep coming here, year after year? Is it the coffee, the food, the wine, the way the rain-soaked stones in Piazza Della Repubblica glisten from the bright lights that shine down on them from the revolving carousel? Maybe it’s never being sick of walking past the Florence Cathedral and seeing the larger than life stone chiseled faces of Cambio and Brunelleschi, the former looking dejected in his failure to engineer a proper dome for the structure, the latter looking upwards at his crowning achievement. Perhaps it’s the way the mighty Arno makes you feel when you walk along its banks, the heavy brown-silted water making its way towards Pisa and eventually, the sea. Or maybe it’s simply the art. For Florence is a living museum. It’s all about the art. 

Sure, Florence isn’t without its faults. It’s full of mosquitoes and drunks who walk the streets in the middle of the night wailing indiscernible words to no one in particular. There are hordes of tourists especially in the summer and early fall months. It’s certainly not the cheapest place in Italy. All I know is that every time I come here, I can depend upon something good happening to my career. Two years ago I spent the much of the summer here with my son, Harrison, who is now also a writer. During our stay I got a call from my agent. He’d landed me a seven book deal with Thomas & Mercer along with a very nice advance. And just a day after I landed here last week, he sent me an email telling me he’s working on a possible movie deal for my standalone literary thriller, The Remains

So the luck continues, but not the love. Or perhaps I’m wrong about that.

You might recall the second wife I mentioned just a few paragraphs ago. The one I left but whom I still loved? She’s coming to see me for the holidays. Turns out, we’re giving our love another try. Or, in the context of this thread, we’re rewriting our story together. A small part of that story will once again take place in Florence. It’s true that this ancient city of art and inspiration will always be my writing muse. The one place I can count on for providing me with strings of sentences, paragraphs, and polished pages. But it will never take the place of finding true love. True love is where the heart is. It knows no bounds, no limits, no geography. It certainly can’t be pointed to on a map or discovered in a travel magazine. 

This time, I’m not letting go. But then, you never know. This is Florence after all.

About the author:

Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon author of The Innocent, Godchild, The Remains, Moonlight Falls, The Concrete Pearl, Moonlight Rises, Scream Catcher, Blue Moonlight, Murder by Moonlight, The Guilty, Moonlight Sonata, Moonlight Weeps, Full Moonlight, The Shroud Key, and more. He is also the author of the Amazon bestselling digital shorts: Pathological, True Stories, and Moonlight Mafia.

Harlan Coben has described The Innocent (formerly As Catch Can) as “. . .gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting,” while the New York Post called it “Sensational. . .Masterful. . .Brilliant!” 

Zandri’s list of publishers include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink, StoneGate Ink, and Thomas & Mercer. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri’s work is translated, or soon to be translated, into many languages including the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for Living Ready, RT, Globalspec, as well as several other global news agencies and publications, Zandri lives in New York and Florence, Italy. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

Follow the tour:

Buy the Book:

Book Excerpt: HEMPHILL TOWERS by Leona Pence

Hemphill Tower by Leona Pence
ISBN:  9781771274395 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00G5U6T6I (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Publication date: October 23, 2013

Riley Saunders has her dream job. As an art director at a leading advertising agency, she works every day with her two best friends, Stella and Birdie. All three have been assigned to ensure that the Grand Opening of the Peterson Art Museum is nothing short of a success.

When a girl’s night out at a hot new Italian restaurant ends with a spilled bottle of wine, it sets in motion a series of events that leaves Stella and Birdie caught up in whirlwind romances, and Riley fearing for her life at the hands of a deranged stalker. But, when the handsome museum curator, Trent Peterson, learns of her situation, he vows to keep her safe.

In a quick-paced tale of fine art, wine forgery, and the Russian Mafia, Riley and her friends soon discover their pursuit of love will require them to expose a crime, thwart a murder, and trust the one thing that has never failed them…their friendship.

Read an Excerpt:

Trent, having just come from a dinner meeting, looked as if he’d stepped off the pages of a men’s fashion magazine. She invited him inside to show him her meager collection of art that she’d acquired over the past ten years. He looked closely at the paintings and grinned when he saw the one painted by his mother.

“You have one of my mother’s very first original paintings. I’m not sure if you realize how much this has appreciated in value.” His hand swept over the painting. “The museum would pay you to allow us to use this at our opening. We’ve devoted one room to display her artwork. Most of her early paintings were sold at a modest price.” He shrugged. “We haven’t had much luck locating them.”

“I’d be happy to lend it to you without payment.”

“Thank you, but I want you to think of this as a business arrangement. I’d rather pay you than a lot of other people I deal with, and remember, an amount is budgeted for this by the museum trustees.”

She pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I’m proud of it. It will be nice to see my small contribution hanging in your museum.”

“Your other paintings are good too.” He walked over to examine one hanging above her couch. “Your choices say a lot about you.” He smiled down at her.

“Such as?” A quizzical grin played around her mouth.

“Well for one, you chose vibrant colors, which suggests a zest for life. You chose pictures that did not give away everything at first glance, suggesting an in depth character with an inquisitive mind. Lastly, this rug and couch pillow suggests you love the color red.” He laughed at her expression.

“You must be psychic.” She smacked his arm. “Can we take this painting along tonight so I can see where it will hang?”

“If you wish. Do you have a soft blanket to wrap it in?”

“Yes, just a moment.”

Riley brought a velour blanket from her closet. Trent wrapped the painting carefully and carried it to his car, a luxurious black Jaguar. He opened the passenger door for her before carefully stowing the painting.

The museum was not far. Within minutes, he drove into an underground garage to a parking spot reserved specifically for his private entrance. He unlocked the door, retrieved the painting from the car and followed Riley inside. The door opened into a dimly lit foyer. She noted a few offices off to one side. A curved hallway on the other side led into the main part of the museum.

A security guard shined a flashlight beam on them before acknowledging Trent.

“Good evening, Mr. Peterson, I knew you were coming in tonight, but I had to check anyway.” He lowered the flashlight.

“As I would have expected you to. You’re doing a good job, Kenny. Thank you. We’ll be in several of the rooms tonight. Ms. Saunders is going to look around while I do some work in the Victorian Room.”

“Okay, Mr. Peterson, I’ll bring up the lights for you.” Kenny nodded as he walked away.

Riley could not contain her excitement. She loved the smells associated with museums. This one, being new, emitted all sorts of aromas, oil paint, wall paint, varnish, wood. That she could enjoy the artwork without moving through crowds of people made it even more special.

“Come along, I’ll show you my mother’s display room.” Trent juggled the picture under his arm and took her hand just as the lights came on.

They followed the wide hallway until it curved leading into a three-sided open room. It had been designed for easy viewing. Trent removed the cover from her painting and hung it with care on a wall that had been allotted for his mother’s earlier paintings. Riley looked around in fascination.

Trent smiled at the rapt expression on her face. “I’m going to leave you for a short time while I work. If you need me, just call my cell. The other guard knows we’re here also. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help or directions to specific rooms.”

“Okay, Trent, I’m ready to explore. If you can’t find me when you’re finished, just call my cell.” She laughed.

“I shouldn’t be more than an hour.” He started back in the direction from which they’d come.

To Riley, the hour passed in a blink. She was so engrossed at what was spread out before her eyes, she wasn’t even aware that Trent stood beside her until his fingers brushed hers. Then, she became very aware of him. With his arm touching hers and the scent of his cologne, he radiated an aura of masculinity that engulfed her.

“What do think of our museum,” he asked softly.

“It’s magnificent, Trent. I’ve just gotten a good start. Have you really been gone an hour?”

“Actually, I’ve been gone an hour and a half. I guess you didn’t miss me at all.” He feigned indignation. “Let’s walk through the rooms so you can get a quick look. I know you’re a working girl. I don’t want to keep you out too late, and as you saw, time can get away from you.”

He took her hand and they spent the next two hours moving quickly through galleries and different exhibitions. She got an idea of where she would like to spend more time when she returned for another visit.

It was midnight when he pulled up in front of her apartment. He walked with her, and waited while she unlocked the door. She turned to say goodnight, but her words stuck in her throat as she looked at him. She knew he was going to kiss her; she knew she wanted him to. She lifted her face and his lips found hers. The Earth spun faster and faster until her whole body felt weak. She pulled her lips away and clung to him until her knees held her again. They both stood silently for a moment, lost in the wonder of what had just transpired. Finally, he said very softly. “Goodnight, Riley, I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Meet the author:

Leona Pence started reading romance novels as a teen. She graduated from Nancy Drew stories to Harlequin Romance, and then to her favorite author, Barbara Cartland and her vast Regency romance collection. Happy endings were a must.

Leona began writing late in life after the death of her husband of forty-four years. They married on her 19th birthday after a three month courtship – and yes – love at first sight really did happen.

She enjoys reading, writing, online pool, and especially being a Mentor in F2K, a free online writing course.

Connect with the author:     Blog     |     Twitter     |     Facebook

Buy the book:



Guest Post: Frances Fyfield, author of DEEP SLEEP

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to participate in another Partners In Crime blog tour and host a return visit from Frances Fyfield, author of Deep Sleep. Ms. Fyfield will be discussing drugs and what makes the perfect murder weapon.


Pip Carlton is a devoted husband and a highly respected pharmacist, cherished by his loyal customers. When his wife dies in her sleep, with no apparent cause, he is distraught. Comforted by his caring assistant, Pip ignores the rumors about Margaret’s death, relieved that the police seem to have moved on. 

But Prosecutor Helen West refuses to believe that Margaret simply slipped into her final slumber. As she probes deeper into the affairs of the neighborhood, she uncovers a viper’s nest of twisted passion, jealous rage, and lethal addictions. 

As a sudden act of violence erupts, shaking the community, one lone man, armed with strange love potions, prepares to murder again…


“C” is for CHLOROFORM. The Perfect way to commit Murder?

This drug is well out of fashion now, has been for decades, but it has quite a history and is a major character in Deep Sleep. A drug with a personality all of its own, Chloroform was referred to in early mystery stories as the favourite knock-out drug of Victorian muggers of the more humane sort, ie, those who preferred to render their victim unconscious by gas rather than by cosh. (Method: pour chloroform liquid on to a pad, approach victim from behind, grab him by the neck and put the cloth pad over his face before he has a chance to scream. Victim breathes in and passes out, giving You, the robber, enough time to go through his pockets and run away with his watch.)

So far, so good.

As it happens, Chloroform is a clumsy drug and also a poisonous one. It was one of the first anaesthetics ever used in the Western world and will still be used when nothing else is available, because it is instantly effective. As such, it was a great relief to surgeons, because it made the job so much easier if the patient did not notice the removal of his appendix or the trepanning of his brain. Instead of five people to hold the patient down, it required only one to administer the drug, (Hence the invention of the Aneasthetist as a professional. (My father was one of these, old enough to have used chloroform. I dedicated this book to him.)

Chloroform was a miraculous discovery, but like all drugs, had side effects, vis, the body cannot process it or digest it, and can only store it in the vital organs, where it does damage. The initial dose is a true knock-out drop which causes temporary unconsciousness, a minute or two. Enough time for the mugger, but not for the surgeon about his business. 

So, they gave the patient a little more, and then a little more, and then a lot more. Result; the patient went into a nonrecoverable, comatose state, or died later of organ damage and system shut–down. If the patient ingests large quantities of this stuff, he will die. (Small quantities, imaginatively delivered, are a different matter.) Happened it was a little counter-productive in many cases. The surgeon did a great job on the leg, or the head, admired his work, left for home and the patient died anyway. (Surgeons are a bit like that.) 

The Profession of Aneasthetists developed a mask, ie a fabric on a frame, to be put over the face of the patient, so that chloroform liquid delivery was carefully controlled. It is a heavy gas: the vapour sinks away and a lot of it misses target. Liquid chloroform dripped on the mask over the face of the patient, to maintain a level of unconsciousness for as long as the operation took, but never to deliver a dose too toxic. Also to avoid direct contact with the skin, (since chloroform burns slightly, leaving white marks). Something which a murderer would have to take into account.

Killing someone with chloroform takes time, effort and skill. First, render unconscious, then, drip, drip, drip. Initially, it leaves no trace; just another, unexplained death due to unknown causes. Then there is the other, recreational use of chloroform (and Ether; anyone out there old enough to remember gas and ether at the dentist?). A good sniff of chloroform is an aphrodisiac, heightening desire and performance in both sexes. Kind of early day Viagra. (In a subsequent book, Undercurrents to be published as a Witness title, I’ll be dealing with the side effects of Viagra, too. I love the side effects of drugs.) Drugs with this effect are dangerous material.

Chloroform is such an old fashioned drug, no one tests the dead body for it anymore. No one would notice if you got it right.

In Deep Sleep, I have a sad Chemist, who knows all about the good and bad properties of Chloroform. Cheap kicks, convenient, inexplicable death and an unexploded WW2 bomb in London providing an opportunity. That’s what this book is about. Also, nice, good people, like a good cop and a good prosecutor who can’t get along. Oh dear.

Frances Fyfield

About the author:

“I grew up in rural Derbyshire, but my adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal, all inspiring places. I was educated mostly in convent schools; then studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. Years later, writing became the real vocation, although the law and its ramifications still haunt me and inform many of my novels. 

I’m a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. When I’m not working (which is as often as possible), I can be found in the nearest junk/charity shop or auction, looking for the kind of paintings which enhance my life. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, I’m relaxing by the sea with a bottle of wine and a friend or two.” Frances Fyfield

Connect with the author:


Follow the tour:


Buy the Book:





Guest Post – Cami Checketts, author of THE COLONY

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to participate in this blog tour organized by Kathy at I Am A Reader and host a visit by Cami Checketts, author of The Colony. Ms. Checketts will be talking about an all-too important topic, “Helping Children Love to Read.” 

Helping Children Love to Read

My oldest son is addicted to reading. I started reading to him in the womb and he’s never stopped. I used to start a book with him and then he’d just take off. My second son – different story, until he was ten I read every book (except for his homework) aloud to him, but then something sparked and he is now an avid reader. My third son – struggles. I know it’ll click soon, but right now he’s in special programs at school and at the bottom of the curve. My fourth son loves listening to stories, but would rather play the iPad if given the choice.

We all know how important reading is, but how can we force (I mean encourage) our children to see the value. As those of you who have more than one child know, what worked with one will completely flop with another, so I try a lot of different techniques and sometimes one of them is effective. 

  • Read Aloud – Start reading aloud when they’re infants and don’t quit, unless they’re running away from you with fingers in their ears screaming, stop the madness. When they’re teenagers and no longer want you reading to them, maybe you could read the same novels and discuss them. 
  • Make the library and bookstore special treats. My younger boys love to ride our bikes to the library, the older boys prefer choosing an ebook to download to their iPod. They all know every holiday they’ll receive a book as a present.
  • Have books everywhere. The only room in our house that isn’t loaded with books is the kitchen and that’s only because we try not to ruin our books and because we need to actually talk to our oldest once in a while without his eyes glued to a book.
  • Be a good example. My husband isn’t a reader, but I remind him often to have the boys see him reading the newspaper or his scriptures or pretending to read one of my books (the romance is a bit hard on the tough guy). If your children see you finding joy from reading, they will usually want to explore that themselves.
  • Read age-appropriate books. I think this is one of the mistakes I made with my second son. My oldest and I were having so much fun with chapter books that I would read my second son’s books quickly and then settle down to read for hours with my oldest. My second guy would usually stay with us during story time, but I’m not sure he got much out of it. If you can, try to set aside a time to read to each child on their level. It’s also okay to read a bit above their level, but plan on explaining words or situations they don’t understand. When we read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas it took us months, but my son still enjoyed it. We also enjoy reading below their level sometimes. Every one of my boys still laughs at Junie B. Jones, even if they won’t admit it.
  • Read what they want (most of the time) – I try to let my boys pick out their own books, but I also pick out one I want to read to them. They have to give my book forty pages. If they hate it, we quit. And sometimes I have to grit my teeth through their books (have you read Captain Underpants?), but that’s part of being a mom.
  • Keep it fun – I always ask the librarian or bookstore employee for humorous kids’ books. We also come back to some of our favorite funny series over and over again. The Fudge Series by Judy Blume and Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley make us laugh no matter how many times we read them. I would love to hear about your favorite children’s series, funny or not.

I am definitely not an expert on this subject, but with four boys I keep trying different things. Reading is such an essential part of development and success in school and beyond, I hope each of us can find the best way to instill a love of reading in each of our children. Please share what works for you and your family.

About the author:

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Berenstain Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

Connect with the author:     Website     |     Twitter     |     Facebook

Book Blast: THE COLONY by Cami Checketts

The Colony by Cami Checketts

To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property.

Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion.

While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.


“Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren’t widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards.”  ~Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy

Grab your copy for just $2.99!

Follow the Tour Schedule

Download a FREE copy of The Broken Path by Cami Checketts!

From January 7th to 11th The Broken Path is available for FREE on Amazon

Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Berenstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog:

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

Connect with the author: Website    |     Twitter      |     Facebook     |     Fitness Blog

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/31/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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.

Bookish Review of 2013, part 2

I never realized how difficult it would be to come up with a list of my favorite books from one year. Please consider that I read over 400 books in 2013, so if I loved only 10% of my total reads this list would have over 40 books on it. Part one of this list noted ten books that were read between January through June only. Part two will list books that have been read between July and December.

Favorite Books Published in 2013 (read July – December)

My one hundred and forty-second read of the year was The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. This contemporary literary fiction read was an amazing story of friendship, jealousy, and artistic freedom. This book was a Scotiabank Giller Prize Nominee for 2013.

Next was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, my one hundred and forty-third book of the year. Life After Life raises the question of what would you do if you had the opportunity to live your life over and over again until you get it right? Is it possible to get it right? Life After Life was a Goodreads Choice Winner for 2013, and was a Costa Book Award Nominee for Novel as well as a Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee. 

Murder by the Book by Eric Brown was my one hundred and forty-fourth read of the year and the first book in the Langham and Dupre Mystery series. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more in this series (hey it’s books and mysteries…what’s not to like?).

My one hundred and fifty-first read of the year was Unseen by Karin Slaughter. This book features two of my favorite characters, Sara Linton MD and GBI agent Will Trent. Add in the Georgia settings mixed with intrigue, mayhem and suspense and it all adds up to a great series and some wonderful reading. 

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley was my one hundred and sixtieth read for the year. This was another book that featured an excellent combination of contemporary and historical fiction with just the right amount of romance and a touch of intrigue and the paranormal. I enjoyed reading The Firebird so much that I read all of Ms. Kearsley’s other books within a few weeks after finishing this one.

I’ve read many of author Chris Bohjalian’s novels over the years (if you haven’t read any of his books, start with Midwives and read the rest!), and was pleased when offered the opportunity to read and review The Light in the Ruins. This was an amazing historical fiction focusing on the effects of World War II on one Italian family. 

Stranded by Alex Kava was my one hundred and sixty-eighth book of the year. This mystery-thriller is the eleventh book in the Maggie O’Dell series by Ms. Kava. The characters remain just as captivating in this book as they were in the first and this story was one that I simply could not put down (and made me just a tad bit fearful of stopping at a highway rest area any time soon). Do you enjoy mysteries? If you haven’t given the Maggie O’Dell series a try, then you’ll definitely want to add them to your TBR list.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall was my one hundred and eighty-third read of the year. This coming-of-age story is set in Mississippi in 1963 and was an amazing read. Every now and again I’ll get the chance to read a book that takes my breath away and this was one of those books.

Julia Keller is an accomplished and Pulitzer prize winning journalist and a phenomenal author (not to mention a native West Virginian and a fellow Marshall University alumnus…Go Herd!). Her first book, A Killing In the Hills, was released in 2012, features Bell Elkins and is set in a fictional southern West Virginia town. The second book in this series, Bitter River, was my  one hundred and ninety-third book of 2013.

The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan was my two hundred and sixth read and one that rather defies categorization. Is it Science Fiction? Possibly. Is it a Mystery? Sort of… Is it historical fiction? Yes, but it is also a contemporary story that encompasses science fiction, mystery and historical fiction making for one outstanding story.

Michael Crichton meets The Time Traveler’s Wife in this powerful debut novel in which a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, awakens in the present day…A gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller, Stephen Kiernan’s provocative debut novel raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity-man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid playing, as a living being: A curiosity.” 

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was my two hundred and eleventh read for the year. Did I enjoy it? YES! What’s not to enjoy in a Neil Gaiman urban science fiction/fantasy tale.

I had the pleasure of hearing author Jason Mott speak at the BookMarks Book Festival in Winston-Salem North Carolina in September 2013. I also had the pleasure of reading his books: The First (The Returned #0.5), The Sparrow (The Returned #0.6), The Choice (The Returned #0.7), and The Returned. The Returned was my two hundred and forty-eighth read for 2013 and I’m still thinking about this book. I eagerly await the television series, slated for 2014, based on this book. I’m also looking forward to reading more from this amazing author.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain was my two hundred and fifty-eighth book of 2013. This story is another blend of historical and contemporary fiction and examines the effect of state-mandated sterilization on North Carolina residents in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve got to say that this was a book that I found hard to read at times due to my tears. Yes I know it is fiction, but I also know that it is based on reality and that made it all the more heartbreaking.

One of my non-fiction reads for the year was The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood and my three hundred and fourth read for the year. Yes, this book is linked to the movie The Butler, but the movie is actually based on a Washington Post article written by Mr. Haygood in 2008 about former White House butler, Eugene Allen.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay was my three hundred and fortieth book for 2013. This epistolary novel combines a coming-of-age story with romance, self-awareness, and drama. This debut novel is classified as Christian Fiction but it is a story that I feel anyone from any religion can read and thoroughly enjoy.

Diane Setterfield’s Bellman & Black was my three hundred and forty-second read. To say that Ms. Setterfield has a way with words is a massive understatement. Her debut novel The Thirteenth Tale is one of my all-time favorite reads and I’ll now have to add Bellman & Black to that list. Bellman & Black is much more than a ghost story or a cautionary tale, it is – quite simply – a great read!

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio was my three hundred and fifty-fourth book and the third book by Ms. Jio that I’ve read this year.

Gabrielle Zevin’s In The Age of Love and Chocolate is the third book in the Birthright series and my three hundred and eighty-second read of the year. 

I’ve limited this list to books I rated as 3.5-5 star reads only. If I had included books read in 2013 but published prior to 2013 the list would have included close to 75 titles. I’ll just mention some of those other great 2013 reads here: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Healing by Jonathan Odell, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent, Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, Run by Ann Patchett, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill. I began 2013 by reading and reviewing a book by Julie Klassen, The Tutor’s Daughter and thought it would be nice to end the year by reading another Klassen title, Lady of Milkweed Manor. I’m glad I did as it was another enjoyable inspirational story by Ms. Klassen and my four hundred and twelfth book of the year.

For a complete list of books I’ve read during 2013, please click here. I’m not sure what 2014 may bring, but hopefully I’ll be blessed to read just as many good books during the course of the upcoming year as I have this year. I seriously doubt if I’ll be able to read another 400+ books, but I’ll definitely try.

Happy reading my friends!