Book Spotlight: THE LIFE WE ALMOST HAD by Amelia Henley

THE LIFE WE ALMOST HAD by Amelia Henley book coverThe Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
ISBN: 9781538754818 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781538754825 (eBook)
ASIN: B09HQMQ7LN (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Read Forever
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Romance

From the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author comes an emotional romance that is “beautifully written and plotted” (Candis).

This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet, but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.

Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.

Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide, and time is running out…

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

Meet The Author

Author Amelia Henley headshotAmelia Henley is a hopeless romantic who has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heart-breaking, high-concept love stories.

Amelia also writes psychological thrillers under her real name, Louise Jensen. As Louise Jensen, she has sold over a million copies of her global number one bestsellers. Her stories have been translated into twenty-five languages and optioned for TV as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers list. Louise’s books have been nominated for multiple awards.

Connect with the Author: Amazon | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website 

 

 

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Book Spotlight: DECEIVED by Mary Keliikoa

DECEIVED by Mary Keliikoa book coverDeceived, Kelly Pruett Mystery #3, by Mary Keliikoa
ISBN: 9781603818650 (paperback)
ASIN: B09Q7SG18K (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Camel Press
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Suspense

 

In the third thrilling book in the Kelly Pruett mystery series—Her world was falling into place. Then women started dropping off the map.

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Praise for the Kelly Pruett Mystery Series:

“Following up on a multi-award nominated debut mystery is no easy task, but Mary Keliikoa succeeds and then some in DENIED. In Kelly Pruett, Keliikoa has created a three dimensional private eye whose humanity and determination make you both want to root for her and ride along next to her on an investigative thrill ride. Bravo!” – Matt Coyle, Shamus, Anthony and Lefty Award-winning author

“A solid sequel with a relatable detective and an enjoyably knotty plot.” – Kirkus Reviews, for Denied

“A satisfying mystery novel whose detective, in pursuing a sympathetic case, learns more about herself and her family” – Foreword Clarion Reviews, for Denied

“An action-packed novel with a strong heroine, a likable cast, and an engaging central case.” – Publishers Weekly’s BookLife, for Denied

“An entertaining detective story with a personable lead” – Kirkus Reviews, for Derailed

Meet The Author

Author Mary Keliikoa Headshot

MARY KELIIKOA is the author of the Shamus finalist and Lefty, Agatha, and Anthony award nominated PI Kelly Pruett mystery series, as well as the upcoming Misty Pines mystery series featuring Sheriff Jax Turner slated for release in September 2022. She has had mystery shorts published in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s. She spent the first 18 years of her adult life working around lawyers. Combining her love of all things legal and books, she creates twisting mysteries where justice prevails.

At home in Washington, she enjoys spending time with her family and her fur-kids. When not at home, you can find Mary on a beach on the Big Island where she and her husband recharge. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is. To learn more about Mary’s life and work, please visit: https://marykeliikoa.com/ .

Connect with the Author: Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

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Book Showcase: A DISTURBING NATURE by Brian Lebeau

A DISTURBING NATURE by Brian Lebeau book coverA Disturbing Nature by Brian Lebeau
ISBN: 9781953865496 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781953865502 (ebook)
ASIN: B09VYK2NKD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Books Fluent
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Mystery | Suspense

When FBI Chief Investigator Francis Palmer and Maurice Lumen’s paths collide, a dozen young women are already dead—bodies strewn in the woods across southern New England. Crippled by the loss of their families and haunted by mistakes, they wrestle with skeletons and ghosts neither understands. Who is destined to pay for the sins of their fathers, and who will pay for their own?

Under a celebrity veneer, the Beast in Palmer simmers. Called back from an investigation that’s gone dry in Seattle to his field office in Boston, he’s assigned to a case closer to home. Without closure and carrying the scars of every predator he’s hunted down, Palmer’s thrust into a new killer’s destructive path and forced to confront his own demons.

On the surface, Mo Lumen seems an unlikely suspect. Abandoned by the Great Society and sheltered from the countercultural revolution, he’s forced to leave Virginia under the shadow of secrets and accusations. Emerging in Rhode Island, burdened with childlike innocence, reminders of the past threaten to resurrect old carcasses.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

A psychological thriller set in the summer of 1975, A Disturbing Nature explores the concept of two deaths, blurring the line between man and monster.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Read an Excerpt:

Palmer pushes his apartment door open with the key still in the knob. Six months of stale, pent-up air swarms the hallway and infests his nostrils, a bitter greeting following a prolonged absence. Suitcase wheels echo off bare walls and his two daughters smile at him from their easel-backed five-by-sevens as he shuts the door with his foot and heads to the shower.

Water drips from his hair and collects around his feet, the sting of leaving Seattle’s acid rain mixing with the anguish of returning to Boston’s polluted harbor. He wipes the walls and squeegees the glass, clearing the mist, but leaving the grime. Staring into the mirror as he shaves, Palmer sees The Monster. Still in his head. Still on the loose.

It feels twelve hours later than it is. Palmer closes the curtains to shield himself from the unforgiving midday sun, turns on the television to drown out the vehicular fist thrusts and extended fingers of Boston traffic, and props up a pillow to receive his aching head. Nothing worth watching, he shuffles to bed and stares at the phone on the nightstand. He knows he can’t call; she’ll be at work and the girls will be with their friends. He reaches for the receiver, grabbing a cigarette instead. Sitting at the edge and lighting, he takes an extended drag before resting his head in his palms.

The contrived tension of a soap opera playing in the living room and the heated burbles of Mr. Coffee working in the kitchen serve as background noise to Palmer’s rambling thoughts. Why did Osmond have to go on vacation now? Why would he fly home on a Monday? One more day isn’t so bad, he assures himself, but it’s been over a month since Osmond and Ross left Seattle. They’ve talked on the phone once since then, but Osmond didn’t mention anything about a vacation at the time. This is the longest stretch they haven’t worked together in eighteen years, all the way back to when Osmond was hospitalized.

Palmer knows Osmond kept him safe when the nightmares started. He protected Palmer when The Beast tried to take over, succeeding almost every time Palmer sought to explore the darker path. He shared the responsibility with Marilyn for bringing Palmer back to the respectable world of white-collar family man. Palmer walked the edge and Osmond held his hand.

Again, Palmer looks at the phone. This time he knows there’s no point; Osmond’s on a flight back from Antigua. Palmer pulls himself from the edge of the bed and staggers to the bathroom. Dumping several Valium down his throat, he checks the red clouds forming on the outside edges of his eyes and yawns. Are Ted’s eyes bloodshot, too? Juggling law school and nighttime activities? How many more young girls?

Palmer scoops the excess foam from a can of shaving cream on the counter, smearing it across the mirror. He sees the lines in his forehead and the creases in his neck, nothing in between. This time, Ted’s eyes do not stare back. Palmer knows he must have closure and take down monsters like Ted before they get to his daughters. And he needs a new investigation to purge his mind of The Monster’s depravity.

He walks back to bed, his eyelids almost closed, and crawls under the covers. He imagines Osmond poolside, sharing a rum punch with his wife. Marilyn and the girls are swimming in the pool while he lounges under an umbrella with a scotch mist and a crossword puzzle. And he’s himself again, until the Valium wears off. And the demons return.

Excerpt from A Disturbing Nature by Brian Lebeau.
Copyright © 2022 by Brian Lebeau
Published by arrangement with Books Fluent

 

Meet The Author

Author Brian Lebeau

One month after The Beatles arrived, with much fanfare, in America, Brian Lebeau was born, unceremoniously, in Fall River, Massachusetts, home of the infamous Lizzie Borden. After being awarded an “A” in high school English once and denied a career in music for “lack of talent” repeatedly, he taught economics at several colleges and universities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before moving to Fauquier County, Virginia, to work as a defense contractor for two decades. In the psychological thriller A Disturbing Nature, Mr. Lebeau merges three key interests: a keen fascination with everything World War II, a morbid curiosity surrounding the motivations and mayhem of notorious serial killers, and a lifelong obsession with the Red Sox. A Disturbing Nature is Mr. Lebeau’s first book.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Website
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Book Spotlight: BLAME IT ON THE BRONTES by Annie Sereno

BLAME IT ON THE BRONTES by Annie SerenoBlame It On The Brontës by Annie Sereno
ISBN: 9781538721438 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781538722688 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781549191176 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09S54DLS2 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09FJM7F6S (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Romantic Comedy

 

She’s going to write her own happy ending.

English professor Athena Murphy is an authority on the novels of the Brontë sisters. But as they say in academia, publish or perish. To save her job, Athena decides to write a biography of C.L. Garland, the author heating up bestseller lists with spicy retellings of classic literature. Tracking down the reclusive writer and uncovering her secret identity, though, means Athena must return to her small midwestern hometown where Garland—and her ex-boyfriend, Thorne Kent—live.

Seeing Thorne again reminds Athena that real life never lives up to fiction. He was the Heathcliff to her Catherine, the Mr. Rochester to her Jane. Not only did their college breakup shatter that illusion, but they also broke each other’s hearts again a second time. Now she has to see him nearly every…single…day.

The only solution is to find C.L. Garland as quickly as possible, write the book, and get the heck out of town. As her deadline looms and the list of potential C.L. Garlands dwindles, Athena and Thorne bicker and banter their way back to friendship. Could it really be true that the third time’s a charm?

Athena and Thorne have a love story only a Brontë could write, and the chance for their own happily-ever-after, but first, they’ll need to forgive the mistakes of the past.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

Advance Praise

“A delightful third-chance romance with Brontë brooding and rom-com banter. You’ll be rooting for Thena and Thorne!” —Jenny Holiday, USA Today bestselling author

“In Sereno’s charming, contemporary romance debut, the love of literature takes center stage… [English professor Athena Murphy] runs into her former lover, Thorne Kent, who owns the town’s main hangout, the As You Like It Café, where our frenemy protagonists trade Amy Sherman-Palladino-like barbs to the delight of the gossip-loving patrons. Sereno is a gifted writer and readers will watch for her next book.” Booklist

“A swoon-worthy hero in a story that’s everything a rom com should be—smart, sexy, funny, and charming to boot!” —Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author

“Delivers plenty of tongue-in-cheek literary witticism and small-town heart… The novel’s heart lies in its quirky, memorable characters. Readers will find themselves laughing through the familiar tropes.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sereno’s novel is witty and entertaining, and fans of the Brontë sisters will undoubtedly appreciate the fun she has nodding to their books.” Kirkus

Meet The Author

Author - Annie Sereno
Author Annie Sereno

Annie Sereno holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania as well as master’s degrees in library science and British and American literature. Among other libraries, she was privileged to serve Harvard University and The National Geographic Society. When she’s not expressing her imagination with pen and paintbrush, Annie gardens, swims, and haunts art museums. In possession of a well-worn passport and memories of all the places she’s called home, she shares her life with her husband and two sons. Mildly (okay, seriously) obsessed with birds, Celtic music, and all things Australian, she believes there is no such thing as a former librarian, no time to read, or too many shoes. She currently lives with her family in New Jersey.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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Book Spotlight: JUST THE TWO OF US by Jo Wilde

JUST THE TWO OF US by Jo WildeJust the Two of Us by Jo Wilde
ISBN: 9781538755068 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781538755051 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781549110719 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09W4JQ3PN (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08HLNLZWD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Forever Books
Release Date: April 12, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Romance

A couple on the brink of divorce after 35 years of marriage gets a second chance to rediscover their love now that a pandemic lockdown has forced them to spend more time together.

Julie and Michael Marshall have stayed together through thick and thin, through better and worse — and, for the last few years, it has mostly been worse. As their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary approaches, Julie realizes something: she doesn’t want to pretend anymore.

Divorce papers at the ready, she’s just about to have The Talk with Michael when everything changes. Lockdown begins and Julie and Michael face the greatest terror they can imagine: uninterrupted time with each other. But, when stripped of all distraction and forced to meet eyes across the dinner table, could it be that Julie and Michael might find a way back to where they first began?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

Advance Praise for Just the Two of Us

This emotional second-chance tale promises both tears and smiles.—Publishers Weekly

“Exactly the sort of witty, insightful and heart-warming book for these solitary times.”—Culture Fly

“A hilarious and uplifting story about what happens after ‘happy ever after’.”—Chat Magazine

“A brilliantly warm story for our times.”—People’s Friend

“This book transcends the story of the recent pandemic to become the heartbreaking story of two warm, lovely people who have forgotten how to communicate . . . A gentle, touching story that’s very pertinent to our times.”—NFOP Magazine

Meet The Author

Jo Wilde wanted to be an author from the moment she could pick up a pen and was writing boarding-school novels by the age of nine. She studied English literature at Cambridge University, but made the early mistake of thinking she ought to get a ‘proper job’, rather than write, and went into Factory Planning — a career that gave her some wonderful experiences, amazing friends and even a husband, but didn’t offer much creative scope. When Jo had children she began writing in the brief gaps provided by sleeps, playschools and obliging grandparents, and she published short stories and serials in all the women’s magazines. Jo has now published a range of fiction novels, including historical novels as Joanna Courtney and contemporary fiction as Anna Stuart.

Connect with the Author: BookBub | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

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Book Spotlight: STILL THE NIGHT CALL by Joshua Senter

Still the Night Call by Joshua Senter
ISBN: 9781737585602 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781737585619 (eBook)
ASIN: B09L5765JL (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09B2WDT5Y (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Roubidoux Press
Release Date: January 14, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Literary Fiction

Kirkus Reviews “BEST INDIE BOOK OF 2021”

Still the Night Call is about Calem Honeycutt, a 32-year-old Missouri dairy farmer of few words. But just because he’s quiet doesn’t mean he’s simple. In fact, Calem’s internal voice eloquently leads us through his wondrous yet tortured past, his fears for the future of his beleaguered rural world, and his carefully laid plans to remedy the vicious Night Call that haunts his present. All he has to do is get through one last day on the farm, then he can free himself of being a straight, white, middle-aged man with nothing in his possession but a gun and a prayer.

Through the eyes of Calem, Still the Night Call delves into the quickly diminishing world of Midwestern farmers whose livelihoods have become fodder for politicians and trade wars while their traditional values have become the subject of scorn and culture wars. The result is a struggling working class whose worth has been reduced to mirthless caricatures and economic dust, and who are desperately looking for hope anywhere they might find it.

 

Advance Praise

“Senter’s impressive novel is a truthful, honestly told story…A candid tale that triumphantly understands the Midwestern psyche, delivering moments of beauty and tragedy.” — Kirkus Reviews

“In this chilling novel, readers follow a young dairy farmer staring down his last day on his family’s southern Missouri farm. This book’s power lies in its relevance and its authenticity…” — The US Review of Books

“Senter’s story resonates on levels that wouldn’t have been possible even several years ago…In many ways, STILL THE NIGHT CALL is a call to action. The first step is reading this book. The second lies in recommending it for discussions about free will, choice, civil war, and social change.” — Midwest Book Review

Meet The Author

Author Joshua Senter

Joshua Senter was raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri where he was homeschooled along with his four sisters on a five hundred acre cattle farm. Josh moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and three years later, received a bachelor’s degree in filmmaking from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, along with Ninth Term Honors.

In 2002 he began writing for the hit Showtime series The L Word. A year after that, he joined the international phenomenon, Desperate Housewives, where he was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of America award for his episode, “Don’t Look at Me.” In 2013 Joshua began writing and co-producing a new show for ABC Family, Chasing Life. During that time his debut novel, Daisies, was published by Diversion Books. In 2014 Joshua moved over to MTV where he began working as a writer/producer for the hit series Finding Carter.

In 2015 Joshua was placed on the Tracking Board’s Young and Hungry List as one of the top 100 writer’s working in Hollywood. In 2016, 2017, and 2018 Josh wrote pilots for ABC, FOX, and NBC respectively. A Valentine’s Day movie he co-wrote for Freeform, called The Thing About Harry, aired in February of 2020 and was nominated for a 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie. Still the Night Call is his sophomore novel.

Connect with the Author: Goodreads | Instagram | Website

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Book Spotlight: BEHIND THE LIE by Emilya Naymark

BEHIND THE LIE by Emilya Naymark

Behind the Lie by Emilya Naymark
ISBN: 9781643858920 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781643858937 (eBook)
ASIN: B094GN9S9D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Domestic Mystery | Thriller

NYPD detective turned small town PI Laney Bird is in a fight to save lives—including her own—after a neighborhood block party turns deadly.

A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney’s life—and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with her friend’s disappearance, she’ll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.

As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there’s fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy’s involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.

Laney’s personal life unravels as she’s drawn into her missing friend’s dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family’s included.

Advance Praise

“A captivating story that leads to an emotional but satisfying bittersweet ending.” — NY Journal of Books about Hide In Place by Emilya Naymark

“Devastating. Immersive. And somehow, still redemptive… A brilliant and tense mystery with heartbreaking characters—and a gasp-worthy solution. Do not miss this! Emilya Naymark is a star.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today Bestselling author of Her Perfect Life

Meet The Author

Author Emilya NaymarkEmilya Naymark was born in a country that no longer exists, escaped with her parents, lived in Italy for a bit, and ended up in New York, which promptly became a love and a muse.

She is the author of the novels Hide in Place and the upcoming Behind the Lie, out February 8, 2022.

Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTERY.

When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. You can find her at her website: https://www.emilyanaymark.com/author.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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Book Spotlight: HELLO, REST OF MY LIFE by Rick Lenz

Hello, Rest of My Life by Rick Lenz
ISBN: 9780984844265 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780984844289 (eBook)
ASIN: B09CVBZ1W7 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Chromodroid Press
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Time Travel | Fantasy

 
 A TIMELESS LOVE STORY

When Danny Maytree, an ambitious young 1970s film actor, met Samantha on a blind date and fell in love, he decided he no longer cared about Tinseltown stardom. He still acted sometimes, but he became a writer too.

Now married and in their seventies, they find a dog whose faded tag has the name “Tali” and a Beverly Hills phone prefix from fifty years earlier.

Writing a time travel novel in 2021, Danny gets a call from a mysterious, velvet-voiced acting agent. He has a meeting tomorrow in Beverly Hills. Tali, in one of their singular “conversations,” questions Danny’s motives.

Now, Danny is in Beverly Hills-not at the meeting, but in the elegant home where he lived in 1974, forty-seven years ago. He is twenty-seven again, bewildered, but with a second chance at his Hollywood dream.

He doesn’t want it, because Sam is not in this world.

Unhappy in his new “now,” he realizes his journey back to “Kansas” hinges on the magic of film. A sharkish agent helps him navigate Hollywood’s rocky shoals. A worldly-wise teen and a New Age fortune-teller offer spiritual advice. And a sexy wicked witch throws a monkey wrench in his path.

Advance Praise

“…Readers of time travel stories are in for a special treat, because Hello, Rest of My Life isn’t your usual saga of becoming stuck in the past and searching for the way home. Its special blend of philosophical and moral dilemmas, flavored with humor and a heavy dash of romance, sets it apart from other, more singular accounts. The events give readers plenty of thought-provoking moments as Danny reaches for truths in the past, that he never allowed himself to consider in his former life with Sam.” — Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“…his prose approaches poetry on nearly every page … So we now know that Rick Lenz can likely enter any realm of storytelling and succeed.” — San Francisco Review of Books

Hello, Rest of My Life is an emotionally gutting, beautifully written, passionate story of second chances with a twisty time-travel plot that will blow your mind while mending your heart.” — USA Today best-selling author, Pamela Crane

Meet The Author

Rick Lenz is a graduate of the University of Michigan, past member of the Actor’s Studio, and active member in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is a veteran Broadway, television and film actor who first came to national attention when he repeated his Broadway role in Cactus Flower, in the film version—opposite Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. He went on to appear in a long list of television series and movies, and to act opposite many of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars—Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne (in Wayne’s final film, The Shootist), and many more. He is also a playwright and author (The award-winning The Alexandrite and more recently, Impersonators Anonymous). His memoir, North of Hollywood has recently been published in its second edition. You can find out more about him and his journey to becoming a writer on his website https://www.RickLenz.com.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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Book Showcase: THE RESURRECTION OF FULGENCIO RAMIREZ by Rudy Ruiz

THE RESURRECTION OF FULGENCIO RAMIREZ - RRuiz

The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez by Rudy Ruiz
ISBN: 9781982604615 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781665088121 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781982604639 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781982604271 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781982604233 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B086FN3RZR (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B085YGFRZR (Audible audiobook)
Release Date: October 12, 2021 (paperback release)
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Magical Realism | Fantasy | Latino Literature

In the 1950s, tensions remain high in the border town of La Frontera. Penny loafers and sneakers clash with boots and huaraches. Bowling shirts and leather jackets compete with guayaberas. Convertibles fend with motorcycles. Yet amidst the discord, young love blooms at first sight between Fulgencio Ramirez, the son of impoverished immigrants, and Carolina Mendelssohn, the local pharmacist’s daughter. But as they’ll soon find out, their bonds will be undone by a force more powerful than they could have known.

Thirty years after their first fateful encounter, Fulgencio Ramirez, RPh, is conducting his daily ritual of reading the local obituaries in his cramped pharmacy office. After nearly a quarter of a century of waiting, Fulgencio sees the news he’s been hoping for: his nemesis, the husband of Carolina Mendelssohn, has died.

A work of magical realism, The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez weaves together the past and present as Fulgencio strives to succeed in America, break a mystical family curse, and win back Carolina’s love after their doomed youthful romance. Through enchanting language and meditations about the porous nature of borders—cultural, geographic, and otherworldly—The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez offers a vision of how the past has divided us, and how the future could unite us.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

1986

ONE

The obituaries were always the first thing he turned to in the newspaper. He started doing it the day he learned she’d married another man. There in the still cool blue of the breaking dawn, in the shadowy, unlit recesses of his dank and dusty old drugstore, he sat high behind the elevated counter, perched on the ripped vinyl cushion of an old stool. He wiped his black horn-rimmed reading glasses on his white guayabera. First the left lens. Then the right. He plopped them firmly on the prominent arch of his hawk-like nose. As was his habit, one he learned from his grandfather (God bless his soul), he licked his left index finger religiously before turning each page. Although he knew from experience that the obituary section would be buried in the back, he still worked his way slowly through the town rag. World news, the national scene, sports: all he had lost interest in about twenty-five years earlier. The feeling of suspense coiled tightly in his chest, his heart beating a little harder as he paged to the last section, the one with the obituaries at the end. But still, he flipped methodically through the broad sheets. Floods, murders, elections: All these were irrelevant to him. All that mattered was the tiny newsprint on the last page, but still he flipped through . . . just in case the death he was waiting for had miraculously made the headlines.

For years he had wondered—sitting there beyond the fortress-like barrier of the pharmacy counter, in the shadows of the sun rising over the gleaming dome of Market Square—how the news would come. Would the man die suddenly of a massive heart attack? Would he be struck by one of the city buses that careened past his storefront day after day? Or would it come slowly? Would cancer or liver disease silently suck the life from his withering body? He did, after all, have a reputation for drinking tequila and smoking cigarettes of the filterless kind.

Or would he be killed purposefully by another man, a man bearing a grudge, perhaps? The husband of one of his jilted lovers, one of his putas or queridas. In the end it wouldn’t matter how or why. All that mattered was when. And when the time came, he had told himself for years, he would not shed a tear for the man he once called his friend, for the boy he once ran with on the streets of La Frontera. No señor. Miguel Rodriguez Esparza deserved whatever pain the blessed Virgen de Guadalupe saw fit to send his way. He was a two-faced traitor. He had been a pampered little pretty boy his entire life. He had lied and cheated to steal his love when their youth was in full bloom, when their blood was still on fire for this adventure he once thought was life. And then he had betrayed the most holy of sacraments, his own ill-fated and ill-conceived marriage, with his womanizing and his gambling and his never-ending hypocrisy. Even though over the multitude of squandered years, he had come to realize that Miguelito was not solely to blame for his suffering, he still welcomed his old friend’s death like the survivor of a heinous crime awaiting the final verdict and punishment of his or her assailant. No mercy for Miguel, the opportunist who had profited from—and cultivated—his misfortune. No, no señor. He doubted many tears would be shed at all when the twenty-two stinking letters in Miguelito’s putrid name finally dried in black ink on the obituary page. Twenty-two: “M-i-g-u-e-l R-o-d-r-i-g-u-e-z E-s-p-a-r-z-a.”

He lifted the penultimate page in the section to reveal his destination.

“Obituaries,” the bold black letters sprawled across the top. Some scattered pictures. More than usual for a Wednesday.

“Maria de la Luz Villarreal, dead at the age of eighty-three . . .” La Señora Villearreal, hmm, better send flowers. That woman had been special, hadn’t she?

“Dagoberto ‘Beto’ Treviño, dead at the age of fifty-five . . .” It was about time, the quack had been stealing the nest eggs from viejitas for years, long after he forgot whatever it was he learned in that medical school down in Panama. Viejo sinvergüenza. There was no question where he was headed.

“José Pescador . . . dead at the age of seventeen . . .” Dios mio, his thick, black brows furrowed at the thought. Why so many dead teenagers in this once sleepy town? But he knew the answer all too well. It shared a dirty five-letter name with the legitimate versions sitting in bottles on the shelves right behind him. Las drogas. Drugs. No self-respecting pharmacist called himself a druggist anymore.

And then . . . there, below the pregnant teen mother killed by her enraged boyfriend (of course, they never gave the true story in the paper, but over the years he had learned how to read between the lines), and right above Doña Eufemia Clotilde de la Paz San Cristóbal, was an almost pathetic entry. One that he might have missed on any other day were it not for a bright reflection of the morning light bouncing off a passing bus, hitting his pharmacy degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and flashing ephemerally over a paragraph simply starved for words. His eyes blurred in disbelief at the sight of the name, and his left hand clutched hard at his chest as he leaned into the paper to stumble over the phrases. “Dead at the age of forty-six. Survived by his wife.” No children. No pallbearers. His hands quivered as the paper slipped from his fingers, floating like a parachute toward his feet. No picture. No excuses. No glory. Just twenty-two letters sitting on the floor of the funereal drugstore. His glasses cracked when they fell on the tile.

Dazed, he searched his stunned mind for what to do next. For the first time in what seemed like forever, he would vary from his routine. There was no time to line up a relief pharmacist. He simply had to close the store for the day. His daily parade of viejitos and charity cases would no doubt be surprised by his absence. He had kept that store open religiously for two dozen years since he roared back into town with his papelito in hand. His little paper. The diploma, which kept vigil behind the counter, hung on the side of a shelf. Work was all he had known. Filling prescriptions. Helping the needy. Dispensing herbs when the Medicaid gave out. And now he stood mute and dumbfounded, gawking at himself—as if he were contemplating a complete stranger—in the small mirror over the porcelain pedestal sink in the corner. He watched himself lower his tan Stetson hat over his wavy, black mane. His hazel eyes squinted as he straightened out his thick mustache. His image passed like a translucent ghost across the glass pane of his storefront door swinging shut. Bus brakes exhaled their squeaking lament. And the doors to City Hall creaked open across the street as the beggars and drunks skulked into the ancient alleyways. In his khaki overcoat and matching hat, he stepped through the mist of his own breath like a smoldering beast rekindled and unleashed on that crisp December morning. He moved with an elegant determination past merchants sweeping their doorsteps. Their puzzled faces turned to follow him. Doing the mental math, it dawned on him that this morning marked twenty-five years since the day he lost her. And now, she was free again.

Turning the corner, Fulgencio noted the presence of Maria de la Luz Villarreal. Appearing sixty years younger than in her obituary photo, she accompanied her weeping daughter on a wrought iron bench beneath the Spanish arches of Market Square. Weighing whether to pay his respects, he decided it was more respectful to allow them time to grieve.

As he strode by, however, he overheard her tell her daughter, “There goes Don Fulgencio Ramirez . . . que distinto se ve . . .”

“How’s that, Mamá ? How does he look different?” She dabbed mournfully at her mascara-streaked eyes with an embroidered handkerchief.

“Maybe the maldición is finally lifting,” La Señora Villareal whispered reverentially. “He looks . . . pues . . . He seems . . . alive.”

Excerpt from The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez by Rudy Ruiz.
Copyright © 2020 by Rudy Ruiz. Published by Blackstone Publishing. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Photo_Rudy Ruiz

Rudy Ruiz is a writer of literary fiction. A native of the U.S.-Mexico border, his earliest works were published at Harvard, where he studied literature, creative writing, government and public policy, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Seven for the Revolution was Ruiz’s fiction debut. The collection of short stories won four International Latino Book Awards. Ruiz’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals including BorderSenses, The Ninth Letter, New Texas, and the Notre Dame Review. In 2017, Rudy Ruiz was awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction. In 2020, Ruiz was a finalist for both the Texas Institute of Letters’ Best Short Story Award as well as the Texas Observer’s annual Short Story Contest.

In 2020, Blackstone Publishing released Ruiz’s novel, The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez. The novel received critical acclaim and was named one of the “Top 10 Best First Novels of 2020” by the American Library Association’s Booklist. The novel was long-listed for the Reading the West Awards and was a finalist for the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel.

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Book Spotlight: LOST LOVE’S RETURN by Alfred Nicols

LOST LOVE'S RETURN by Alfred Nicols book cover; sepia-tone pictures, top picture is of WW1 hospital room featuring patients and nurses, bottom picture is of a man facing a woman on a cobblestone street.

Lost Love’s Return by Alfred Nicols
ISBN: 9781953865281 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781953865168 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781953865175 (ebook)
ASIN: B091QBVNT9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Books Fluent
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Historical Romance

 “Fans of long-lost love will appreciate the sincere bond between Peter and Elizabeth as they navigate the ups and downs of rediscovering each other.” –BookLife

In 1918, in a dramatic battlefield scene on the Western Front, young American soldier Peter Montgomery sustains a severe wound. He’s transported to a British hospital, where he falls hard for Elizabeth, a young English nurse, and she for him. Upon his release, they engage in an intense love affair, forever changing both of their lives.

Separated and shipped home, Peter tries desperately to reconnect with Elizabeth, but the War and the Spanish flu epidemic have the world in turmoil. Despite his every effort, desperate and in great distress, he is unable to reconnect with her. And then, suddenly, all hope is gone.

For the next twenty-seven years, Peter stoically meets many challenges in his life: finding a way to make a living during the Depression; being a devoted father to his son, born eleven months after marriage to a woman he does not love.

This debut novel from Alfred Nicols takes you from the battlefields of Europe during WWI to postwar Mississippi and into WWII and begs one question. Will true love prevail?

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Meet The Author

Author - Alfred Nicols

ALFRED NICOLS received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. Following military service, he had a career as a lawyer, a state trial judge, and a federal judge. He and his wife, Mary, live on rural acreage in Mississippi. Lost Love’s Return was written as an effort to leave his children and grandchildren, perhaps others, insight into issues in life and the value of family ties, even to imperfect people.

This spotlight brought to you courtesy of Books Forward