Book Showcase: DANGEROUS GROUND by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter Banner



Dangerous Ground

by Susan Hunter

on Tour February 17, 2020 to March 20, 2020



Synopsis:


Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter


A Murder Among Friends …

Everyone is anxious to connect with actor Ryan Malloy when he returns to town for his 15-year high school reunion. Everyone except crime writer Leah Nash. She doesn’t have many fond memories of Himmel High’s golden boy. But it turns out she’s not the only one who isn’t a fan. Before the weekend is over, Ryan Malloy is murdered.

The hard-headed but soft-hearted Leah is unwillingly drawn into investigating his death by the pleading of Ryan’s terminally ill mother. She soon discovers that Ryan’s self-absorbed journey through life trampled on the dreams of a number of people. His old girlfriend, his best friend, his own brother, a local businessman—there’s no shortage of suspects—or secrets. But the solution eludes Leah, until the past and the present collide in a dangerous confrontation that threatens one life and ends another.





Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 364
ISBN: 1698530994 (9781698530994)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 6
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




Read an excerpt:




Chapter 1

I parked my bike just inside the cemetery gates. It took only a few steps down the tree-lined path for the heat and humidity of a mid-summer Wisconsin day to slide away into the cool dark shade. Overhead, the soft murmur of thousands of leaves stirring in the light breeze accompanied me as I walked slowly toward my sister’s grave. Both of my sisters are buried in the cemetery just a few miles outside of Himmel, Wisconsin. My father is as well. But today it was Annie I’d come to visit.

My heart beat a little faster as I neared the gravesite. I’m not afraid of the dead. It’s the memories they leave behind that haunt me. Quiet Annie with her soft voice and big blue eyes, too shy to join the other laughing, shouting kindergarteners at recess—but the first to run over to comfort a little boy struggling not to cry on the first day. Imaginative Annie, commandeering our wide front porch as a sailing ship for her and her cat, Mr. Peoples, to travel around the world. Kind-hearted Annie, sharing her Halloween candy with me when I’m forced to surrender my own treats as penalty for talking back. Sweet, brave, compassionate, eight-year-old Annie, who ran into a burning house to save Mr. Peoples twenty-two years ago, and never came back.

Over all the years since, people—my mother, my aunt, my therapist (yes, I went that route once), my best friend—have reassured me that her death wasn’t my fault, that I was just a child. But, I was older. I should have been watching over her. I should have seen her slipping back to the house after we’d all escaped. In my deep heart’s core, I can’t ever forget that.

Now and then, and always on her birthday, I go to the cemetery to see her. I know that she isn’t really there. But her grave is an anchoring spot for me. I catch her up on the good, the bad, and the ugly happenings in my life. She knows what hurts me, and she knows what frightens me—secrets I don’t share with anyone else. I tell her what our mother is up to, and how others she knew in life are doing. I say all the things to her that I would if she were still here. I try to make up for the fact that I’m alive, and she isn’t. But, of course, I never can.

When I’m talking to her at the cemetery, it feels as though she can really hear me. And I know that she answers. Not right there, at the grave, but later, in unexpected ways. Sometimes, I hear Annie speak to me through a chance remark a stranger makes, or a phrase that leaps out at me from a book, or a sudden flash of insight on a problem I’m wrestling with. I don’t share that belief with very many people. If I did, I might be forced to resign my membership in the Doubting Thomas Society, to which all good journalists should belong. But I can’t accept that those occurrences are just coincidental. I really can’t.

So, on the anniversary of her birth, once again I sat down on the bench in front of her grave and told her how sorry I was that she had died. That I hadn’t saved her. That I still missed her. And then I told her what was really going on in the seemingly successful life of Leah Nash, former small-town reporter, current true crime author, and soon-to-be business failure.

***

When I say I talk to Annie, I mean that literally. I have a one-sided, out-loud conversation with her, though only when I’m sure I’m alone. Some people already think I’m crazy. No need to give them additional proof. On this particular day, I had a serious problem weighing on my mind.

Not long before, I had made what seemed, at the time, like a brilliant decision. The Himmel Times Weekly, the paper where I’d started out in journalism, and where I’d found a home again after a self-inflicted career injury, was closing. I decided to buy it. I asked a wealthy, community-minded, local attorney, Miller Caldwell, to invest with me. And then I asked a lot of other people—reporters, an editor, stringers, office and sales staff—to work very hard, for very little money, in the hope that together we could keep the Himmel Times alive.

It was exhilarating at first. But it had become an increasing source of anxiety for me. Just as we were getting off the ground, Grantland County Online, a digital-only news site (and I use the term “news” loosely), had gotten a major infusion of capital and a new publisher. Now GO News, as it’s more commonly known, was kicking our butt.

“The scariest thing, Annie,” I said, “is that we’re barely keeping our heads above water, while GO News keeps getting bigger. They don’t have the expenses we do—no print edition, no delivery costs, and they don’t spend a lot of staff time fact-checking. Plus, they started Tea to GO. Did you know that the cool kids say, ‘spill the tea,’ when they mean ‘what’s the gossip?’

Tea to GO is full of ‘What married school official was seen in Milwaukee with a very attractive staff member last Thursday night? Did we say late, last Thursday night?’ That kind of garbage. It’s almost all blind items—the better to avoid lawsuits, my dear. But people are eating it up. Every time you go into the Elite Café, someone is trying to figure out who the latest gossip is about.”

I paused for a bit of a wallow in self-pity. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t tried to shake things up at the Times, to get us moving ahead, but so far nothing I’d done had made much difference.

“We have a good team. Miguel is much happier since he gave up the managing editor job. He really didn’t like bossing people. And Maggie McConnell is doing great in that spot. She’s got the instincts, the skills, and forty-five years in the news business behind her. If she could only spin straw out of gold, she’d be perfect. But since she can’t, we’re making do with a budget so lean it might as well be made out of turkey burger.

“I gave Allie Ross—you remember, I told you about her. She’s the high school kid we’ve been using as a stringer. Anyway, I gave her a part-time job for the summer in the office. She’s doing the routine stuff, obits and inside pages copy—weddings, anniversaries, club news. She’s got promise, but she’s only fifteen. Troy, the other reporter besides Miguel, is a little bit of a suck-up—and his news judgment isn’t quite there yet. Still, he’s a hard worker. The stringers are a pretty mixed bag.

“Now, here’s a twist I bet you didn’t see coming. I hired Mom to take April Nelson’s place as office manager. I know, I know, it’s a dicey move. But she’s smart, and efficient, and she gets the job done. Plus, she comes cheap. It’s been a little challenging, I admit. Remember when I used to get mad at her and say, ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ and she’d send me to my room?

“Well, now I’m the boss of her, only I don’t get to send her to her room. Yes, OK, I’m not supposed to be doing the day-to-day. That’s Maggie’s job. I understand that. But I can’t just hide away in my office and write my next book if the paper is falling apart two floors below me, can I?

“Everybody took a leap of faith when we reopened the Times, and everyone is putting everything they have into it. I can’t let them down. I have to find a way to keep us afloat. I just didn’t know it would be so hard, Annie.”

I paused for a breath before I wrapped things up.

“And then there’s Gabe. I don’t know. I like him as well—no, probably better than—anyone I’ve gone out with in a long time. He makes me laugh, and he’s really smart. And he likes strong women who speak their minds. In my experience, a lot of men don’t. So what’s the problem, right? Well, it’s not exactly a problem. It’s more that I’m afraid a problem might be coming. Lately, it feels like he’s pushing me a little, like for a commitment or something. Can’t we just enjoy each other? Can’t we just be without getting all serious, and defining things, and making plans? I don’t want to change things. That’s when things go bad, when you try to change them.”

I slumped back against the bench with a sigh. Usually, when I lay everything out to Annie, it makes the issues seem a little more manageable. This time it all still felt overwhelming.

Then, a voice spoke.

***

Fortunately for my mental health, it wasn’t Annie’s. I turned and looked behind me.

“Coop! How long have you been standing there?” I asked, trying to remember exactly what I’d said out loud. It’s not that Coop and I have major secrets. He’s my best friend, after all. Still, I don’t tell him everything I tell Annie.

“Long enough,” he said with a grin that didn’t offer me much comfort. I tried to move the conversation away from my chat with Annie, particularly the Gabe part.

“What are you doing here?”

“Your mom said you were here. I called your cell, but it didn’t go through.”

“Yeah. It’s a dead zone—pun totally intended—in the cemetery, except for the hill. What did you want?”

“Nothing. I brought something for Annie.”

I looked down at his right hand and saw that he carried a small pot of pink flowers. Pink was Annie’s favorite color. Tears sprang to my eyes. I quickly blinked them away.

“That’s so nice. Why?”

He shrugged. “I know what today is.”

I’m all about keeping my tough outer shell polished, but I was so touched, I couldn’t keep up the facade. “You’re a pretty great friend, you know that?”

He smiled, but he looked embarrassed, and tried to cover it by moving to put the flowers next to Annie’s headstone.

“Did you really come just to put flowers on Annie’s grave?”

“No, not just for Annie. I took some to Rebecca, too.” He was kneeling, positioning the flowers, with his back to me. I couldn’t see his expression.

“Oh.”

Rebecca had been Coop’s wife and my nemesis until she was killed last year. I wasn’t happy that Coop had lost someone he loved, but I couldn’t pretend I was sorry she was gone. She’d done everything she could to break up our twenty-year friendship and came close to succeeding. I couldn’t think of anything nice to say about her. So, I employed the Thumper rule, and didn’t say anything.

Coop apparently didn’t want to get into the subject of Rebecca either, because as he stood and turned to me, he said, “I’ll walk out with you. I’ve got my truck. We can throw your bike in the back and you can ride home with me.”

“Yes, please. I didn’t realize it was so hot. I just about sweated to death pedaling out here.”

“Yeah, I can see that,” he said, taking in my damp, bedraggled hair, slipping from its hair clip, and the beads of moisture coalescing into a river of sweat running down the side of my forehead. “You kind of look like you just took a shower.” He sniffed the air, “Except you don’t have that shower-fresh scent.”

“Shut up,” I said. “I’m a head-sweater from way back. Deal with it.” I smiled though, because there’s something very nice and very easy being with a person who really doesn’t care how you look—or in the present situation—smell.

We walked together in companionable silence, until I’d decided he hadn’t heard any of my one-sided conversation with Annie. That dream died in the next minute.

“So, what’s going on with you and Gabe? He’s a nice guy, Leah. You’re not getting ready to toss him overboard, too, are you?”

“No. Why would you say that? And what do you mean by ‘too’?”

“You really want to go there?” He cocked an eyebrow. It’s a not very funny running joke between Coop and my mother that I always find a reason to cut my romances short.

“No, I don’t. I thought you didn’t believe in illegal surveillance, and what do you call lurking around cemeteries where people are having a private conversation? It’s nothing. Really.”

He looked at me for a second, but all he said was, “OK.”

Our conversation was cut off as a tall woman in her fifties, her hair pulled back and hanging in a long, gray braid down her back, appeared and abruptly crossed the path in front of us.

“Hello, Marcy,” I said.

She looked up as though surprised we were there.

“Leah. Coop.” She nodded but didn’t stop to talk. We knew where she was going. To the top of the hill on which sat a small granite building that resembled an ancient Greek temple. The family mausoleum held Marcy’s grandparents, her own mother, and Marcy’s baby daughter, Robin. One day, it would hold Marcy, too.

We watched in silence as she reached the building, pulled a key out of her pocket, unlocked the door, and slipped inside, like a ghost gliding through a wall. It had been sixteen years since Marcy White’s baby had died, and she still came every week. People said she brought a different book each time and read it to Robin. They said it like it was something weird, or even crazy. Not me, though. I understood why she did it.

“You know what, Coop?” I asked, as we continued on down the path.

“What?”

“I’m calling bullshit on death.”

***



Excerpt from Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter.  Copyright © 2019 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.




Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:


LeahNashMysteries.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:



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






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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 17, 2020, and runs through March 21, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Guest Post: Tina Kashian – ON THE LAMB


Hello, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone is staying warm and dry with this crazy weather. Most of my friends know that I am not a cook, but the one thing I do is collect recipes. Strange habit, I know but I’m absolutely fascinated by recipes especially those from different countries. Needless to say, I jumped for joy, figuratively speaking, when offered the opportunity to host another visit by Tina Kashian, author of the Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean Mystery series, including the latest in this series, On The Lamb. I don’t want to give you too much information, but Ms. Kashian will sharing some behind-the-scenes information on this series with us AND a recipe. Who knows, I just might give this recipe a try? Please join me and welcome Tina Kashian. Thank you, Ms. Kashian for visiting with us today.






Thank you for inviting me to chat with your readers about my new release, On the Lamb. It’s the fourth book in my Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean mystery series.

I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in New Jersey, and my Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore. In On the Lamb, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ and her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. Managing a restaurant is hard work and when Lucy is invited to a beach bonfire with friends, she’s excited for a night out. But things take a turn for the worse when a disliked, local landlord shows up on the beach and gets in a screaming match with one of Lucy’s friends, Melanie Haven, owner of Haven Candies on the boardwalk. And when that same landlord is found dead on the beach after apparently choking on a piece of Melanie’s salt water taffy, Melanie is in a sticky mess of trouble. It’s up to Lucy to investigate and help her candy maker friend before salt water taffy disappears from the boardwalk forever.

Many scenes in the series take place on the Jersey Shore boardwalk. I vacationed at the Jersey Shore as a kid and we continue to visit with my two girls every summer. We can’t imagine a beach vacation without going to one of the eateries, riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel, and enjoying the famous salt water taffy and fudge at the candy shops.

As for beach bonfires, I’ve attended quite a few myself. The sound of the surf, the sand between my toes, the ocean breeze, and the blazing bonfire all make for a unique experience. But thankfully, I’ve never experienced a murder at any of them!

I’m sharing a Mediterranean recipe for couscous salad from my own family’s restaurant below (the couscous is featured in On the Lamb as well!)



Lucy’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad
¾ cup uncooked couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1½  cup cubed tomatoes
1½  cup peeled cucumber
½ cup halved pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup chopped sweet onions
2½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


In saucepan, heat chicken broth to boiling. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand five minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In large bowl, place tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and onions. Stir in couscous.

Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Enjoy!



Read the blurb below to find out what happens when Lucy does find a dead body at a Jersey shore bonfire.




On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)

by Tina Kashian

About On The Lamb

On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10:      1496726057
ISBN-13:      9781496726056
eBook ISBN: 9781496726063  
Kindle ASIN:  B07R8WVPMX



Lucy Berberian is busy preparing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant for Easter on the Jersey Shore—but a batch of sweets is to die for…

Bikers are thundering into the seaside town of Ocean Crest for the annual Bikers on the Beach gathering that raises funds for injured veterans. It’s a big boost for the Kebab Kitchen, as well as for local businesses like Melanie Haven’s candy shop. But Melanie is about to find herself in a sticky situation.

When Melanie and Lucy attend a beach bonfire, a local landlord is found dead after apparently choking on a piece of salt water taffy. Melanie, who was known to have a contentious relationship with the victim, is quickly skewered as the prime suspect. But Lucy is determined to prove her friend’s innocence before the real killer coasts free . . .

Recipes included!



Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:     IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N NOOK Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  eBooks  |  Google Books  |  iBooks  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook  



About Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian is a bestselling author, an attorney, and a mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and the first book in her Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean mystery series, Hummus and Homicide, spent six weeks on the B&N bestseller list. Please visit her website at http://www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!


Author Links


 

  • Website: tinakashian.com

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  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaKashianAuthor/

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  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/TinaKashian1

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  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tinakashian/

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  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16902011.Tina_Kashian


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    Guest Post: Kate Parker – MURDER AT THE MARLOWE CLUB



    Good Day, book people. I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I’m incredibly happy to welcome today’s guest. Our guest today is not only taking time to step off the pages to visit with us but she’s also stepping a bit out-of-time. Fresh off the pages of Murder at the Marlowe Club by Kate Parker, I give you Miss Emily Gates. Thank you, Miss Gates, for taking the time to visit us today and provide us with some background information. I hope we won’t keep you too long from your job at Duquesne’s Millinery or your fine detecting work.





    Hello, I’m Emily Gates. Kate Parker is making a study of murder cases where I’ve been instrumental in bringing killers to justice. So far she’s written two books about me, The Killing at Kaldaire House and Murder at the Marlowe Club. To give her credit, I think Kate has done a good job of reporting on my adventures.

    I should introduce myself. I’m a milliner, designing and making hats at Duquesne’s Millinery. The firm was started by my mother and her cousin, Noah. My childhood memories revolve around countless hours of practice making ribbon flowers and dyeing feathers, cutting felt, and blocking forms. It’s a good thing that I spent so much time learning the business, since a fever that crossed London when I was eighteen killed my mother and struck my little brother deaf at the age of eight.

    My father? You want to know about him? Why? We don’t get along. He was no help when my mother was alive nor when she died, and he’s been no help since. My mother warned me that he was useless, that he was a crook, that his entire family were criminals, and I should have nothing to do with any of them.

    I agreed with her about my father, but I’ve always had a soft spot for my grandfather. I’m his only granddaughter amid more than a dozen grandsons, and he’s always treated me as his favorite. Despite the division of boys’ activities and girls’ activities during the reign of the old queen that have continued into the new century, Grandpa always included me in his lessons. I learned to pick locks, find hidden compartments, pickpockets, do sleight of hand, and even perform some elementary safecracking along with my cousins.

    Once my mother died, I was so busy keeping the business running and raising my brother that I didn’t have time to see my father’s family. My father didn’t come to see my mother when she was dying, so I have had no desire to see him since.

    Five or six years passed before I could raise my head to look around. The business was thriving, as much as any business could that depended on aristocrats. Unlike normal people, many aristocrats pay their bills rarely, if at all. It has to do with the sale of crops from their estates, which is fine for them, but not so much for tradespeople who like the prestige of aristocratic clients but not their slowness in paying bills.

    Matthew, my little brother who is deaf, had outgrown the local schools, and I wanted to send him to a prestigious boarding school for deaf students. That would require every penny I could spare, which meant I would have to find a way to urge my aristocratic clients to pay me first. I decided I would have to use some of the skills I learned from my father’s family to get them to pay up. The second time I tried an unconventional bill collection method, I met Lady Kaldaire and became involved in my first murder investigation.

    Somehow, we survived that adventure, but when a friend of Lady Kaldaire started losing family members, she decided I was the best choice to find their killer. And so we began the adventure called Murder at the Marlowe Club.


    Kate Parker enjoys her travels into the heart of Edwardian London with Emily Gates. Their current story is Murder at the Marlowe Club.



    Murder at the Marlowe Club (The Milliner Mysteries)

    by Kate Parker

    About Murder at the Marlowe Club





    Historical Cozy Mystery
    2nd in Series
    Publisher: JDP Press (February 24, 2020)
    Print Length: 209 pages
    Digital ASIN: B083M97VWP


    Purchase Links    – Amazon  – B&NAppleKobo


    A corpse in a corset. A dangerous gambling den. A perilous path between safety and peril.

    London, 1905. Leading milliner Emily Gates’ illegal shortcut through a private park in the rain brought her straight to a scantily clothed corpse. Then her route took her straight into the hands of the indefatigable Lady Kaldaire, who recognized the body as a relative of her longtime friend, the Duchess of Wallingford. Lady Kaldaire blackmailed Emily before to find Lord Kaldaire’s killer. Why not this murderer, too?

    Emily has plenty of reasons why not, but finding links between her father’s nefarious family of crooks and conmen and the debauchery of the secretive Marlowe Club involves her in the investigation led by the handsome Inspector Russell of Scotland Yard. Emily discovers more than she expects about the licentious world of the corpse through her aristocratic customers, including Georgia, heroine of the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, now the Duchess of Blackford.

    Are the scandal rags correct, or has the victim been maligned by a mastermind who’ll stop at nothing to gain everything?

    This is a historical cozy mystery with no graphic violence, sex, or foul language. Just exciting action, mysterious events, and surprising endings.




    About Kate Parker


    Kate Parker grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books and her father’s library of history and biography books. Now she can’t write a story that isn’t set in the past with a few decent corpses littered about.

    Author Links

    Website – www.KateParkerbooks.com, Facebook – www.facebook.com/Author.Kate.Parker, BookBub – www.bookbub.com/authors/kate-parker



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    Book Spotlight: I KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO DIE by Michael J. Bowler






    I Know When You’re Going to Die

    by Michael J. Bowler 

    Genre: YA Mystery, Thriller





    Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death. 

    His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike. 

    Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all.




    **only 99 cents until March 10th !!** 





    Purchase Links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo





    Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a Master’s in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University, a Teaching Credential in English from LMU, and a Master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.




    Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads 






    $25 Amazon gift card

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    Guest Post: Seeley James – DEATH AND BETRAYAL

    Death and Betrayal by Seeley James Banner


    Good day, my bookish peeps. Have you ever wondered about an author’s writing habits or quirks? Some authors will only write by longhand and only use certain types of pens, others will write only using typewriters. Some authors may only write in the mornings and others may prefer the evening hours. Today, Seeley James, author of the Sabel Security Thriller Series, including the latest release Death and Betrayal stops by and answers one burning question of mine about writing quirks, namely if he has any writing quirks. Thank you, Mr. James, for stopping by and sharing with us.



    What are my writing quirks?


    My writing quirks revolve around my view, which forces me to become a chair hopper. Throughout the course of a day, I make multiple moves. I start out sitting in a standard desk chair at my desk and using my desktop computer with a view of my garden outside my office window. My first move of the day is to the glass-top table on my patio with the slingback captain’s chair. Oddly, this is the best chair I own in terms of butt and back support. I often sit outside for hours because I enjoy a view of the pool and many hummingbirds around my fountain. In the winter, and yes we do have winter in Phoenix, I bring that chair inside and use a different writing surface in my office with a view of the desert on the north side of my home. Later in the day, I move back to my desk, now raising the keyboard and monitors using a hydraulic standing desk my children gave me for this past Christmas. Some evenings, I move to the living room and work using my laptop and a lap desk while sitting on a sofa. On some occasions, I like to visit a coffee shop in a crowded urban setting and watch people walk by. Changing the view changes my perspective. Sometimes a scene gets a complete rewrite when I change my real world view.





    Death and Betrayal

    by Seeley James

    on Tour February 17 – March 20, 2020



    Synopsis:
    Death and Betrayal by Seeley James


    Jacob Stearne, ex-Army Ranger and current Sabel Security operative, is about to propose to his girl when he discovers that “next generation” weapons are being shipped to our enemies. Some factions in the US government ask him to find the perpetrators while others work to make sure he fails. His intended fiancé does not understand his disappearance and he can’t give an explanation. When Jacob sets out to expose the billionaire intending to auction off national secrets, he is fired, expelled, and hunted by the government that once awarded him medals. If he ever wants to return to his homeland, he must insert himself into the dangerous world of technology smugglers. It’s a place where only the aggressive and ruthless survive. In the cutthroat world of modern-day pirates, every breath he takes may be his last. He must ask himself, can he outsmart the most corrupt billionaires in history before democracy is destroyed? Can he lose the woman he loves to save the nation?




    Book Details:


    Genre: Thriller
    Published by: Machined Media
    Publication Date: February 18th 2020
    Number of Pages: 300
    ISBN: 978-1-7333467-2-6
    Series: Sabel Security Thriller #8
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads




    Author Bio:


    Seeley James

    Seeley James’ near-death experiences range from talking a jealous husband into putting the gun down to spinning out on an icy freeway in heavy traffic without touching anything. His resume ranges from washing dishes to global technology management. His personal life ranges from homeless at 17, adopting a 3-year-old at 19, getting married at 37, fathering his last child at 43, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim at 59, and taking the occasional nap.

    Seeley’s writing career began with humble beginnings including publishing short stories in The Battered Suitcase leading to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Seeley is best known for his Sabel Security series of thrillers featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard and operative, veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god.

    Seeley’s love of creativity began at an early age, growing up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture in Arizona and Wisconsin. He carried his imagination first into a successful career in computer technology sales and marketing, and then to his real love: fiction.



    Catch Up With Seeley James On:


    SeeleyJames.com, Instagram,Twitter, Goodreads, BookBub, & Facebook!


    Tour Participants:



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






    Giveaway!:



    This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Seeley James. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 17, 2020, and runs through March 22, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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    Book Spotlight: HER QUIET REVOLUTION by Marianne Monson

    Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of Martha Hughes Cannon — Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senator by Marianne Monson
    ISBN: 9781629726090 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9781629737966 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9781629726175 (audiobook on CD)
    ASIN: B0848PBL1V (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Shadow Mountain
    Release Date: February 18, 2020


    Based on the life of a pioneer woman who overcame tremendous odds, Her Quiet Revolution tells the true story of Martha Hughes Cannon: Wife. Mother. Physician. Senator. Suffragist. Polygamist.

    When her baby sister and her father die on the pioneer trail to Salt Lake City, Mattie is determined to become a healer. But her chosen road isn’t an easy one as she faces roadblocks common to Victorian women. Fighting gender bias, geographic location, and mountains of self-doubt, Mattie pushes herself to become more than the world would have her be, only to have everything she’s accomplished called into question when she meets the love of her life: Angus Cannon, a prominent Mormon leader and a polygamist.

    From the American Frontier to European coasts, Martha’s path takes her on a life journey that is almost stranger than fiction as she learns to navigate a world run by men. But heartache isn’t far behind and she learns that knowing who you are and being willing to stand up for what you believe in is what truly defines you.

    Her Quiet Revolution is the story on one woman’s determination to change her world, and the path she left behind for others to follow.






    Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon Audiobook on CD  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Audiobook on CD  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |   Kobo eBook




    Meet the author

    MARIANNE MONSON received her MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and primarily writes on topics related to women’s history. She has taught English and Creative Writing at the community college and university levels and is the author of eleven books for children and adults. She is the founder of The Writer’s Guild, a literary nonprofit, and writes from a 100-year-old house in Astoria, Oregon.



    Connect with the author via Facebook, Instagram, or her website




    This spotlight brought to you by Shadow Mountain

    Guest Post: Anna Belfrage – A FLAME THROUGH ETERNITY



    Good day, my fellow book people. There are many cultures and religions that teach and believe in reincarnation. I’ve often heard, growing up in the Black community, that someone was an “old soul” and had obviously been here before. Today, I’m pleased to welcome author Anna Belfrage who explores the idea of reincarnation in her series, The Wanderer, with the latest release A Flame Through Eternity. Ms. Belfrage will be discussing the notion of reincarnation and second-chance romance. Thank you, Ms. Belfrage, for stopping by and visiting with us today, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these subjects. Without further adieu, I give you Anna Belfrage. 





    Reincarnated lovers – putting a spin on “second chance” romance



    There is something rather intriguing about the idea of reincarnation. Imagine being given an opportunity to try again, rectify past mistakes. Assuming, of course, that the reincarnated person remembered what their mistakes were the first time round.

    This was the premise for my series The Wanderer, the last installment being A Flame Through Eternity. Unfortunately for my male MC, he remembers every single fruitless life he’d led, desperate to find the woman he loved, betrayed and lost in that very distant first life. I wonder what that would do to a person—to have memories of so many existences one doesn’t quite know which are valid for which life. I imagine it takes a person of great spiritual strength to not go crazy under that pressure.

    Now my Jason progresses upwards with each life, learning the hard way to become a better person. His antagonist—a soul as old as he is, just as burdened with the memories of multiple lives—has rather gone the opposite way. Where Jason wants to make amends, Sam wants revenge for the wrongs he perceives Jason has done him. What Sam wants, Sam usually gets.

    Personally, I believe that if there are people who leap from life to life, they are mostly unaware of their previous existences—precisely for the reason that otherwise they’d probably have spent their lives in an institution somewhere, their mental equilibrium shattered by unwanted and confusing memories. Accordingly, my female MC has no memories of Jason or Sam or of the little place on the southern coast of the Black Sea where she lived out her very first (and far too short) life. But Helle has dreams, recurring vivid images that have her sitting up in bed as she tries to understand why her heart is breaking with grief, a yawning sensation of loss engulfing her as she whispers “Jason”. Not that Helle has any idea who this Jason might be…

    When I was younger, I was fascinated by the stories of people who one day woke up and insisted they were someone else. Boys who began speaking ancient Persian, women who wept as they named the children they’d seen die in plagues and famines. I suspect there is little truth in most of these stories, but I can’t help wondering if some of them aren’t genuine. I especially remember one of these stories (as I recall, I read it in Reader’s Digest, and yes, I know this does not qualify as a verified source, but I loved those booklets, inhaled my way through them). A young man living in a modern Brooklyn woke up one day and insisted he had to travel to the Middle East. In fluent Arabic, he explained he had to go and find his wife, assuring her he was still alive, still here. His present-day parents were desperate. In a twist of ironic fate, they were Jewish and knew for a fact that no one had ever spoken Arabic to their son. And yet, here he was, word-perfect in a language no one had ever taught him. Creepy stuff, hey?

    The story obviously left an indirect impact on me. My Jason refers to one life as a minority Greek living in Smyrna (present-day Izmir) just as the Ottoman Empire crumbles and is replaced by a nationalistic Turkish state ruled by Atatürk. In that life, Jason sees his Greek family destroyed by the uncontrolled Turkish soldiers. In his first life, however, Jason detested the Greek colonists who made their way along the Black Sea coast. I suppose my take on reincarnation is that, if it is possible, it has as its purpose to broaden our human experience and allow us to experience life from various points of view. Just like Hinduism and Buddhism teaches, with each life a person would acquire more wisdom and better karma until achieving a state of spiritual purity that allows for eternal peace as part of the brilliant whole. 

    In A Flame Through Eternity, all Jason wants is to finally get his chance at a Happily Ever After with his Helle, the woman he has pursued in life afterlife. Since they met up in the here and now in A Torch in His Heart, their life has been something of a rollercoaster, elation, and joy at finally being together balanced by the blackest of fear that this time too, their ancient re-born antagonist Sam Woolf will find a way to destroy them, squashing that dream of a long and happy life. Jason’s and Helle’s story is a steamy, contemporary romance with paranormal ingredients and a lot of action. But at its core lies a genuine interest in what makes us human, how we evolve as spiritual beings and whether or not we do, in fact, get more than one shot at this marvelous business called life. I hope some readers will discover those deeper depths and be as titillated by the notion of reincarnation as I am!






    A Flame Through Eternity, Book Three in The Wanderer Series, by Anna Belfrage
    ISBN: 9781838593759 (paperback)
    ASIN: B081J54L18 (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Troubador Publishing


    It started 3,000 years ago. It ends now. Who survives the final confrontation?


    According to Helle Madsen, being the protagonist of a time-spanning epic love story has some things going for it, primarily Jason Morris. Because seriously, meeting up with your fated lover after 3 000 years apart is not bad—at all. Unfortunately, where Jason goes, there goes Sam Woolf, yet another very, very ancient acquaintance—with the fundamental difference that Sam is not into Happily Ever After. He’s into destruction, more specifically of Jason and Helle.

    Helle may believe in second-chance love, but she sure doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Okay, she didn’t believe in stuff like that until she met Jason Morris a year or so ago. By now, she has accepted that sometimes impossible things are quite, quite possible—like an ancient princess being reborn as an ambitious financial analyst.

    Finding Jason was like finding the part of her that had always been missing—a perfect match. But handling Sam Woolf, the reborn version of their ancient nemesis is something of a trial. No sooner do you have him well and surely beat, but up he bounces again. Sheesh, will it take an oak stake to permanently rid their lives of him?

    Sam Woolf is a powerful adversary. Too powerful, even. Jason and Helle will need help from unexpected quarters to finally bring this tangled, ancient love-and-hate triangle to some sort of conclusion. Question is, will they survive the experience?





    Purchase Links: #Commission Earned  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  !ndigo  



    Meet the Author

    Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveler. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history, and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavors. Plus she always finds the time to try out new recipes, chase down obscure rose bushes and initiate a home renovation scheme or two.

    Her last release, A Torch in His Heart, was a step out of her comfort zone. Her most recent release is A Flame Through Eternity. Having previously published historical fiction & historical romance, with this first book about Jason and Helle Anna offers a dark and titillating contemporary romance, complete with a time-slip angle and hot & steamy scenes.



    Connect with the author via her WebsiteFacebook, or Twitter.





    TOUR PARTICIPANTS


    Instagram Tour


    Monday, February 10th: @thereadingchemist

    Monday, February 10th: @mixed_matched_socks

    Wednesday, February 12: @livingmybestbooklife

    Friday, February 14th: @books_with_bethany

    Saturday, February 15th: @sincerelykarenjo

    Sunday, February 16th: @sarahandherbookshelves

    Tuesday, February 18th: @nurse_bookie

    Wednesday, February 19th: @simplykelina

    Friday, February 21st: @_ebl_inc_


    Review Tour

    Monday, February 17th: Bewitched Bookworms

    Tuesday, February 18th: Nurse Bookie

    Tuesday, February 18th: The Book Diva’s Reads – Author Guest Post

    Wednesday, February 19th: Stranded in Chaos

    Friday, February 21st: Living My Best Book Life

    Monday, February 24th: Cheryl’s Book Nook and @beastreader

    Wednesday, February 26th: Openly Bookish

    Thursday, February 27th: Sincerely Karen Jo

    Thursday, February 27th: Audio Killed the Bookmark – Author Guest Post

    Friday, February 28th: @falling4romance

    Monday, March 2nd: @barr_bookworms

    Wednesday, March 4th: From the TBR Pile – Author Guest Post

    Friday, March 6th: Treestand Book Reviews

    Friday, March 6th: Broken Teepee

    Monday, March 9th: What is That Book About – Author Guest Post

    Tuesday, March 10th: Jathan & Heather – Author Guest Post

    Wednesday, March 11th: @balancingbooksandcoffee

    Friday, March 13th: The Lit Bitch – Author Guest Post

    Monday, March 16th: The Sassy Bookster – Author Guest Post

    Wednesday, March 18th: Read Love Blog – Author Guest Post

    Monday, March 23rd: Book Fidelity – Author Guest Post



    This guest post and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours

    2020 Book 62: THE OTHER MRS. by Mary Kubica

    The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
    ISBN: 9780778369110 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9781488099601 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9781488208157 (audiobook – digital)
    ISBN: 9781094097886 (audiobook – CD)
    ASIN: B07XVPBRMV  (Audible audiobook)
    ASIN: B07PRMP8GY  (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Park Row Books
    Publication Date: February 18, 2020


    Propulsive and addictive, The Other Mrs. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

    She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs.

    Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

    But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.





    Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible Audiobook  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  B&N Audiobook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks.com  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Kobo eBook




    Will and Dr. Sadie Fount have relocated their family from Chicago, Illinois to a small coastal island in Maine. Ostensibly the reason for this relocation is Will’s sister’s death by suicide and their guardianship over Will’s 16-year-old niece Imogen. Reality is a bit more nuanced than that. Their eldest son Otto was being bullied at school and facing expulsion for bringing a knife to school. Sadie dealt with a death from a routine procedure at her job as an emergency room physician, suffered a bit of a breakdown, and subsequently resigned rather than deal with seeing a therapist. The only two members of the family that apparently had no issues in Chicago and are having no difficulties adjusting to life in Maine are Will and 7-year-old Tate. The move has been difficult for 14-year-old Otto and Will’s niece doesn’t seem to want anyone around, much less her uncle and his family. Sadie is trying to adapt to being a small-town physician, her marriage is a bit shaky, and she’s experiencing some lost time. She initially writes this off as being due to the change from city to more rural life, the bustle of the small-town medical practice versus the well-staffed metropolitan emergency room, and just living in a somewhat gloomy house where someone died by suicide. Things aren’t great in Maine, but they are progressing until one of the Founts’ neighbors is found murdered, discovered by the woman’s 6-year-old stepdaughter while the child’s father is traveling out of the country on business. Based on a neighbor’s report of an argument between Sadie and the murdered woman, the police zero in on Sadie as a person-of-interest and she didn’t even know the woman that was killed? As the island police investigate the murder, Sadie begins to question everything and everyone around her. Why has Imogen said things to Sadie that she then denies to Will? Why does Imogen keep her room padlocked? Why has Otto become so hostile and aloof? And why do people keep saying they’ve seen Sadie doing or saying things that she’d never do or say in places she’s never been? Is someone trying to frame her for murder? If so, what’s the motive? Can Sadie uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim?

    I’ve had the pleasure of reading all of the previous books by Mary Kubica so I knew I had to read The Other Mrs. when offered the chance and am I so glad I accepted that offer! The Other Mrs. was a dark and twisted read and I mean that in the best possible way. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, the author threw a nice twist into play and I was left guessing again. This story is told in alternating perspectives of three characters, Sadie Fount, who we know is married to Will, a practicing physician, and mother of two boys. The other two voices we know very little about other than what they reveal. Camille is apparently someone that Will met before Sadie and someone he’s continued to have an affair with throughout his marriage to Sadie. Camille is the jealous stalker type and comes across as one scary lady. The third voice is that of Mouse a 6-year-old girl. All we know about Mouse is that she lives with her father until he brings home a new wife. Mouse’s stepmother is physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive but commits all of the abuse when the father is traveling for work. There is a lot to parse and unpack with The Other Mrs. and I can’t tell you too much because then you’ll know what’s happening, who did it, and why. What I will say is that this is an amazing read that deals with a host of issues including suicide, murder, bullying, gaslighting, and mental health issues. I can also tell you to expect the unexpected and prepare for one heck of a read with The Other Mrs. For those of you that love psychological suspense/psychological thrillers, The Other Mrs. may just be the perfect book for you. For those of you that have read other books by Mary Kubica in the past, I probably don’t have to tell you to grab a copy of this book because it’s probably already on your TBR list, but just in case you haven’t already decided to read this one, put it on your list. Actually, put it on the top of your TBR list because you’ll want to read this one as soon as possible. I enjoyed reading The Other Mrs. and look forward to rereading again in the future just to make sure I didn’t miss anything the first time around.

    Happy Reading y’all! 



    Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. 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.”

    Book Spotlight: RUN GIRL RUN by Willow Rose




    Run Girl Run 
    Harry Hunter Mystery Series Book 2 
    by Willow Rose
    Genre: Mystery, Thriller




    Willow Rose’s beloved detective, Harry Hunter is back in this thrilling second installment of the bestselling series. 

    When a mother and her child are pulled out of the harbor in their car, the case seems pretty straightforward for Miami PD and Detective Harry Hunter. 

    Everything points to a murder-suicide. 

    They were homeless, living in their car, and the mother decided to end it all for them both by driving into the water. 

    But the case is not what it looks like, Detective Harry Hunter soon realizes. 

    Harry’s daughter is carrying devastating knowledge about their deaths, and soon she becomes the killer’s next target. 

    As Harry races to protect her, he is betrayed by someone he thought he knew, leaving him terrified of trusting anyone in a town filled with liars. 

    RUN GIRL RUN is the second book in the Harry Hunter Mystery Series.



    Purchase Links:  Goodreads * Amazon




    All the Good Girls
    Harry Hunter Mystery Series Book 1




    This novel is the first book in Willow Rose’s electrifying new Harry Hunter series.

    Detective Harry Hunter of Miami PD’s homicide squad throws himself into a case no one asked him to solve.

    Four teenagers from one of Miami’s affluent neighborhoods are murdered on a boat. Another is found in a dumpster. All five of them go to the same school and are on a list of witnesses to another crime.

    Because he’s in bad standing with his boss, Harry is given the task of protecting a possible future victim, but Harry isn’t always known to follow his boss’s orders.

    Soon, he’ll risk everything while racing to stop a killer who has left everyone else in the homicide squad shaking in terror. 

    ALL THE GOOD GIRLS is the first book in the Harry Hunter Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.



    **Only 99 cents!**  


    Purchase Links:  Goodreads * Amazon



    The Queen of Scream aka Willow Rose is a #1 Amazon Best-selling Author and an Amazon ALL-star Author of more than 60 novels.


    She writes Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Horror, Supernatural thrillers, and Fantasy.

    Willow’s books are fast-paced, nail-biting page-turners with twists you won’t see coming. Several of her books have reached the Kindle top 10 of ALL books in the US, UK, and Canada. She has sold more than three million books.

    Willow lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.



    Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads




    $50 Amazon Gift Card

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    Book Showcase: PARABLE OF THE BROWN GIRL by Khristi Lauren Adams



    Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color by Khristi Lauren Adams
    ISBN: 9781506455686 (paperback)
    ISBN: 9781506455693 (ebook)
    ASIN: B07VHP8M6Z (Kindle edition)
    Publisher:  Fortress Press
    Release Date: February 4, 2020


    The stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl, minister and youth advocate Khristi Lauren Adams introduces readers to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams bring their stories front and center where they belong. By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural and theological truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices. Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girl is a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention. 






    Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |  eBooks  |  Google Play Books  |  Kobo eBook



    Read an Excerpt


    Chapter 1
    Parable of the WEAK BROWN GIRL



    Why would God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?

    —Deborah, age nine

    For a nine-year-old girl, Deborah had a very sharp and opinionated mind. She was curious and perceptive, yet also quite innocent. About a week prior to Deborah’s ninth birthday, her mother brought her to see me for counseling. She wanted Deborah to have someone to share her inquisitive thoughts with outside of her family and friends. In the time we’d been seeing one another, Deborah and I talked about many things. She often described school as her “happy place.” One could feel the warmth of her big, bright smile when she talked about her friends and her classes. At school she felt safe, contrary to what she described as feeling trapped at home. She lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment with her mother and her mother’s boy friend, who was recently released from jail after two years. Before he returned, Deborah slept in a room with her mother, which she loved because of how close she felt to her mother physically and emotionally.

    Now she slept in the living room on their big, dusty, brown couch, which she described as old and worn. The middle dipped low when she lay on the couch and she often awoke with her back aching, but her mother thought Deborah was being dramatic when she complained about it. However, Deborah’s grievances indicated she felt distance between her and her mother and no longer had a sense of security and safety at home. Deborah’s mother was usually tired from working most of the day to support herself, her daughter, and her boyfriend. It had been six months since her mother’s boyfriend had moved in, and Deborah didn’t feel comfortable with him in her home. When she told her mother this, her words fell on deaf ears, just like all her other complaints did. Her mother thought Deborah was jealous but also believed Deborah would adjust to the situation eventually.

    Deborah had a black-and white-marbled composition notebook she used as her journal. She didn’t structure her thoughts in a particular way, filling the notebook mostly with pencil-drawn pictures and poems. Knowing these were her private thoughts, I told Deborah she did not have to read them to me. Sometimes, she would bring the journal and have it idly on the desk. Other times, she wanted to read her thoughts from the past week. One day as she read, I glanced into the notebook and saw a picture she’d drawn, but I couldn’t quite make out who or what it was.

    “What’s that?” I asked.

    Embarrassed, she tried to hide it, but I promised I wouldn’t judge anything she drew or wrote. When she showed me the picture more closely, I was horrified. It was a picture of a girl with a gun to her head and the words “What’s the point? No one cares.” Something inside of me knew Deborah was the little girl. I asked her about the picture and she said it was an old drawing. Upon seeing the concerned look on my face, she tried to reassure me she’d just been having a bad day when she’d drawn it.

    We sat in silence for a moment while I tried to gather words. Deborah seemed more concerned with my reaction than the actual drawing, and I sensed she didn’t want me to worry. When I finally found the words, I tried my hardest to impress to her that her life was important and that although things were difficult, people loved and cared for her. I also told her she had a life with purpose just like everyone else and God hadn’t made a mistake when creating her. She paused to think about my words and then desperately asked one of the most profound questions I’d ever heard.

    “Why did God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?”

    I’d explained to Deborah that we would journey through life’s questions during our time together. I’d warned I wouldn’t always have the answers, but we would do our best to find them. This was a time I had no answer. As our session for that particular day ended, I promised wewould revisit her question the next time, which would be the following week. As the intervening days passed, I grappled with her question, unable to get it out of my head. I was also ashamed to admit I had been in that exact theological crisis more times than I could count. Why did God make me a warrior, when I, just like Deborah, was simply a weak human being? Numerous challenging moments in my life have led me to question my abilities. When I would outwardly struggle, people would quote, “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, my abilities felt like failures. It was—and still is—hard to admit to feeling this weakness, even though I had been in leadership positions before where I had to portray strength. I realized a nine-year-old could articulate one of life’s important questions in a way that I never could.

    Nevertheless, I knew I’d have to tell Deborah something more than typical, “You’re not weak—don’t say that. You’re brave and strong.” Why did we respond with this comforting platitude even though it was not the truth for most of us? Adults especially give these types of fabrications when communicating with children, believing to protect them from painful realities. Was it better to tell a child uncomfortable truths at a young age or to lie so they can maintain unchallenged happiness? In this case, I did not want to lie. I had to tell Deborah the truth, which meant I needed to figure out an appropriate response to her question.

    A week later, I went to our next session with the intention to pick up where we left off. I waited for her nervously and quietly. Deborah walked into the sparsely decorated room and sat across from me at our usual table. I couldn’t tell if she looked tired because of a long day at school or because of her sleepless nights on her couch at home. I told her I had been thinking about her question all week and I finally had an answer. As I looked into the face of that troubled yet innocent nine-year-old little girl, I said, “Just because you are weak, doesn’t make you less than a warrior. Warriors can be weak.” She might not have grasped the totality of that statement, but nevertheless, she looked relieved to know she could still be considered a warrior. Her weakness did not negate her strength.

    If our truest selves are not always strong, why do we place such emphasis and privilege on constantly embodying strength? This quandary is a theological and human in nature, and one many black women and girls especially have to face throughout their lives.

    We are human; therefore, we are strong and weak. Many of us, particularly black women and girls, have not been taught how to graciously give ourselves space to live with weakness. Weakness makes us acknowledge our inabilities and surrender to forces outside of ourselves for help. All of this contradicts our understandings of success and strength. We have difficulty seeing power in weakness.

    Deborah’s struggles as a young black girl wrestling with a perceived mantle of strength reminded me of similar struggles I’d had my entire life. While I marveled at Deborah’s courage to ask her question, I later realized I’d had to garner my own courage to respond, to admit warriors can be weak and that I can be weak. I, a strong, independent, black woman, can also be vulnerable and fragile.

    Black women have not had permission to be both. We need to be seen for all of who we are. I am proud of the strength in my DNA as a black woman and warrior, yet I am also grateful for the grace that gives me space to be weak when I need to be.

    Deborah made me confront my own weaknesses. I still don’t know why God created us to have both weakness and strength. However, as 1 Corinthians suggests, God uses the weak things of the world to shine a light of truth on the strong. God chose to become incarnate in the weakness of Christ in order to present a powerful gospel of truth to the world. Weakness was the chosen one. Therefore, do not discount weakness. God resides with us in both our strength and our weakness; neither limits God.



    Excerpt from Parable of the Brown Girl by Khristi Lauren Adams. 
    Copyright © 2020 by Khristi Lauren Adams. Published by Fortress Press. 
    Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.






    Meet the author

    Khristi Adams is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain, instructor of religious studies and philosophy, and co-director of Diversity at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Previously, she worked as Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. Khristi is also the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference” that began summer 2017, which is an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls ages of 13-18. Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity. Khristi is also currently an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. Her ministry and youth advocacy have been featured on CNN and her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Off the Page, and the Junia Project. When not in residence at The Hill School, she lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.



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