Guest Post: Baer Charlton – SECRETS OF THE GOLD

Good day, my bookish peeps. I’m preparing for my winter hibernation by ordering a new bookish blanket and some loose-leaf oolong teas. I’m also trying to select from the 2000+ titles on my TBR list books to read over the next few months. Growing up, I could always be found in a corner somewhere reading a book. I usually attended my younger brothers’ football and baseball games and carried a book to read. Many of my younger brothers’ friends are shocked to learn that they have a sister until my brothers described me as the girl sitting in the bleachers reading a book or the girl in the corner with a book. Amazingly, most of these adults remembered “the girl with the book” from their childhood game-playing days. It’s kind of funny what we remember and what we end up associating with certain memories. Today’s guest is Baer Charlton, author of Secrets of the Gold, and he’ll be discussing his writing origin story and childhood memories. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Mr. Charlton, for stopping by today, the blog is now all yours.

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When and why did you begin writing?

Stick with me here. This is about the mystery of the human spirit and condition.

I grew up a Forest Service brat. The youngest of four. The summer I was almost four, my brothers and sister had tied me out over a fire ant nest. I had swollen up like a beach ball enough to shred the hand-me-down shorts and t-shirt. The hospital was two hours away.

About halfway there, I had returned to normal size and was drowning in my father’s t-shirt and boxer shorts. I remember the day because mom bought me a new pair of shorts and t-shirt. New. For me. I’m sure I kept smelling the newness.

As we sat in the coffee shop, I realized the only time mom was ever alone and I wouldn’t have to compete with my siblings was when she was setting type or printing on her small printing press. So I asked her to teach me how to set type. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to read. Each letter is an icon. The combined icons make up the icon of a word. And so on and so on. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was picking my way through the books on the bottom shelves of my parent’s library. When I reread The Hunchback of Notre-Dame several years later, it was a different story, but just as captivating.

Setting type and then printing on a hand-operated printing press is tedious to mind-numbing. Five hundred business cards, one at a time, has you standing at the press for a long evening. Over the years, this produced thousands of hours of just my mother and I, quietly surrounded by the sound of the ka-chink-a-rattle, and the smell of ink. We talked about many things. Nothing was off the table. In either my life or hers.

But we also talked through stories. The notes mom wrote in a cribbed font on yellow three-by-five cards. The small stack eventually grew to a little more than an inch thick. It was bound in two printers’ rubber bands of vulcanized rubber, so they never break. One was red and the other blue.

A few years after she passed from cancer, my father handed me the stack, saying he was pretty sure she had wanted me to have it. I knew exactly what it was.

I took it home and placed it in the back of the top drawer of my new desk.

A few years later, I was cleaning out the desk for the new computer with a “real” hard drive. In the back of the top drawer, I found the old friend.

The red band came off the stack and right onto my left hand. The blue on the right hand. It was as automatic that day as it had been fifteen years before. I could hear the birds outside and smell the ink on the press, and what was left of the White Shoulders mom would dab judiciously behind her ears for church.

As I cracked open the packet, a tiny piece of yellow paper fell onto the floor. I stared at the single word hand-printed in Uncial Romana, our favorite font. I realized this word was the total of my inheritance. And the boot on my butt. The word “publish” wasn’t about the stack of stories, it was about the one I would tell on my own.

Three months later, Rider Magazine published the first of many stories and articles. It was a start. ♦

Secrets of the Gold

by Baer Charlton

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton

Concealed in his jacket are ingots of gold; he just doesn’t remember why.

A young girl running from an abusive foster home kidnaps an older biker with a mystery for a past.

Leaving the mining town in Colorado and crossing state lines, anything can happen.

What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.

But in the cold of the desert night, life lessons can go both ways—even if they are not about a million dollars in gold.

Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.

Praise for Secrets of the Gold:

“kept me spellbound”

“you will have a very hard time putting this book down!”

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Coming of Age, Female Sleuth
Published by: Mordant Media
Publication Date: March 2022
Number of Pages: 374
ISBN10: 1949316203
ISBN13: 9781949316209 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781949316216 (eBook)
ASIN: B09TZF6ZXB (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Kobo eBook | Books2Read | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Baer Charlton

Baer Charlton is an Amazon Best-Selling author and a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him worldwide in search of the unique.

As an internationally recognized Photo Journalist, he has tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many other wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.

His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.

His copyrighted logo is “WR1T3R.” Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.

There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Whether it is a Marine finding his way home as a civilian or a girl who’s just trying to grow up, Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.

Catch Up With Baer Charlton:
www.BaerCharlton.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @BaerCharlton
Twitter – @baer_charlton
Facebook – @WR1T3R

Tour Participants:

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Book Showcase: FORGET ME by Lisa Sherman

FORGET ME by Lisa Sherman book cover, black cover, text in hot pink, pink floral petals in background, white-framed photograph with broken glass featuring  an embracing couple (man & woman)Forget Me, Forget Me Not Book 1, by Lisa Sherman
ISBN: 9781645407362 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781645407355 (ebook)
ASIN: B0B8QQ91KT (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Speaking Volumes LLC.
Release Date: August 22, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Mystery/Suspense

How can you know who you really are if you can’t remember your past?

Wanda Dellas is living someone else’s life: that’s the sense she’s had since a mysterious accident robbed her of her long-term memory. Lost and barely scraping by, Wanda cleans offices at night in order to support her young daughter.

Then Wanda sees a news report about a presumed dead businesswoman, Claire Stanbrick. Bad enough that Claire bears an uncanny resemblance to Wanda. But it turns out Claire went missing around the same time as Wanda’s accident, too. Plus, she can’t shake the sense that Claire’s husband Jack, who’s serving time in prison for Claire’s murder, is innocent. And she’s beginning to develop feelings for him. But which feelings are real and which are just figments of her fractured memory?

Answers to the past often come at a price.

As Wanda learns more about Claire, she realizes Claire didn’t have the picture-perfect life Wanda imagined . . . a fact someone following her is determined to keep a secret. And the more Wanda discovers, the more she faces new dangers that threaten her life . . . or is it Claire’s?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Apple Books | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Google Play Books | Kobo eBook

Read an Excerpt:

My nerves fire hot beneath my skin as I wait for the security guard to vanish. I loop my cleaning bucket over my arm and inch the cleaning cart toward the door, nothing to see here. I’m nonchalant, until I am certain he is out of sight. Then I rush in, leaving the door slightly ajar behind me. The room smells of mold, of dust and mothballs, but mostly of secrets. I breathe in the air, the same air Claire used to breathe, and wonder what discoveries await me.

The office has a presence to it, of life lived, of love. The familiarity of the space butters my skin. But I’m not sure why. I feel warm and bubbly. I want to dance. It seems as if I’ve seen it all before: the desk chair with the wobbly arm, the triangular table wedged into the corner, the half-bookcase standing against the back wall. But have I?

Piles of files and folders litter the floor. Old computers sit in a mound, crammed in a heap against the back wall. A desk sits at an awkward angle in the center of the room, stacked high with boxes. A thick layer of dirt coats the desktop from end to end. I run my pinky through it. This place hasn’t been cleaned in years. I pull out a can of wood cleaner and wipe the desk down with a cloth, polishing the sides, pressing dust out of the carved crevices. But I can’t just spend my time cleaning. I need to see if there’s any information I can find that will shed light on whether or not I am Claire.

My fingers trace the base of the desk drawer. I tug it open. Inside, two picture frames rest folded up. One with a photo of Claire and Jack, facing each other laughing, the tips of their noses covered in butter- cream, a wedding photo. I giggle and wipe at my own nose. But of course, there’s no frosting there.

The other contains a picture of Claire in a graduation gown, shaking hands with a dean, receiving a diploma. In the photo, she is beaming, her dimples peppering her cheeks, her red hair bright against the black cloth of the gown. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to remember something, anything about that day. The smell of flowering spring leaves in the quad? Shielding my eyes as the sun reflects off the tops of the program covers? The sound of applause as graduates cross the stage? But I’ve got nothing. Even the name of the university evades me. I flip the frame around, slide the metal tab to the side, and pry the picture out. The photo crinkles between my fingers as I read the words on the back. “Class of 2000.” I spin the year around in my mind, to see if it triggers something. My shoulders fall. Nothing.

I stuff the photos back into the drawer when a box, its top partially open, catches my eye. Inside are stacks and stacks of notepads and pens, each with an orange and white SMG logo printed across the top. SMG, Claire’s now-defunct company. I grab a fistful of pens and stick them in my smock. Souvenirs.

The room suddenly feels suffocating. I walk over to the window, press my palms against the glass and look out. The city is peaceful. Most offices are still dark and only a scant few cars make their way along the empty streets below. I rest my hands on top of the ledge, the marble smooth and cool beneath my fingertips. The answer to who I am is not out there.

I am shaken from my thoughts when footsteps shuffle into the room. It’s Astrid, sweet, sleepy Astrid, rubbing her eyes.

“Is it almost time to go home, Mama?”

“How did you know where I was?” I ask.

“I looked in all the rooms. I’m an explorer.”

A panic washes over me as I think about Astrid roaming the hallways by herself.

“Astrid, please. Next time you have to stay put. You can’t go wandering around. It isn’t safe to do that. Someone could see you. I’m not supposed to bring you with me. I could lose my job or worse, you could get hurt.”

She pouts at me. I’ve bruised her feelings. But that’s too bad. I would die if anything happened to her. Die.

I rest my hands on her shoulders. “You’re not in any trouble. Just promise me you won’t wander off again.”

“Promise.” She chews on a strand of hair.

I kiss the top of her head. I’m a horrible mother. It’s my fault we’re even here. She should be at home sleeping securely in bed. But she’s not. She’s stuck here with me. I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I just need to find out what happened to me. How did I end up shot and in the Wisconsin River? The answer to those questions lies somewhere with Claire and this company. It’s got to.

Excerpt from Forget Me by Lisa Sherman.
Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Sherman.
All rights reserved.
Published by Speaking Volumes LLC.

 

Meet The Author

Author Photo: Lisa Sherman, woman wearing jeans and sweater standing in front of blurred outdoor sceneLisa Sherman has always had a passion for stories and the fictional worlds created by her favorite authors. Her love of words led her to pursue a BA in English Literature as an undergraduate. Her interest in jurisprudence led her to law school, where she attained her Juris Doctor degree. Later, Lisa rounded out her love of writing by obtaining an MFA. Lisa has always been fascinated with the “why” behind people’s actions. As a writer of psychological thrillers and women’s fiction, she hopes readers will enjoy getting a sneak peek into what makes her characters act the way they do, especially when faced with challenging or extraordinary situations. Find out more at: https://lisashermanauthor.com/.

Connect with the Author: Instagram | Twitter | Website 

This excerpt brought to you by Books Forward PR

 

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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Author Q&A: Colleen Coble – THREE MISSING DAYS

Good day, book people. I hope everyone has had a great week and been able to get in some reading time. I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your day and help me welcome Colleen Coble, author of Three Missing Days, book three in the Pelican Harbor series to the blog for a little Q&A. Thank you, Ms. Coble for taking time out of your busy writing and reading schedule to join us today. (By the way, I wish you a speedy recovery from your recent knee replacement surgery.)

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1. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

People ask that all the time. They say, “You’re so friendly and outgoing. Why do you write about murder and mayhem?” ☺ It’s the way I’m wired. I grew up on Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I think it’s my way of dealing with injustice. I can’t do anything about the bad things in the world, but I can make sure justice prevails in my imaginary world.

2. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

On Valentine’s Day 2008 my son and daughter-in-law brought me a newspaper article they thought I might be interested in. It read: Bestselling author Colleen Coble realizes lifelong dream of being a grandmother! It was their way of letting me know we had a little one on the way. I’d waited YEARS to be a grandma! That baby was my darling granddaughter Alexa who is now 12, and we have 2 adorable grandsons, Elijah (4) and Silas (2) who all make life perfect. The hardest part is splitting our time because Alexa is in Indiana where we live and the boys are in Arizona. So we have been spending the winter there and making trips to see the little guys.

3. How has being published changed your life?

Oh I love writing! It’s such a fulfilling career. I love all aspects of it—writing, the promotion, the editing (especially the editing!), and everything else. It’s given me more confidence and more purpose in my life. It’s brought wonderful friends into my life.

4. What are you reading right now?

Last Day by Luanne Rice

5. What is your current work in progress?

A Stranger’s Game is set on Jekyll Island, GA. The place is steeped in history and I fell in love with it after a visit. Torie’s family owns the big, historic hotel on the island, though she hasn’t been there in years. When her best friend supposedly drowns there, Torie knows it’s murder because Lisbeth was terrified of the water. Torie goes to Jekyll Island incognito to find out what really happened. But a stranger knows about her quest and is determined to stop her.

6. What would be your dream vacation?

I’ve been lucky enough to actually live some dream vacations. The best ones are with the whole family together. We have gone to Hawaii several times to research the Aloha Reef books (I research while the kids play) and it landed us a new son which led to two little grandsons! Our daughter fell for her divemaster/boat captain, and they were married in 2008.

7. How do you choose your settings for each book?

I pick a place that interests me and that has the atmosphere I’m looking to get in the book. A Stranger’s Game on Jekyll Island had that atmosphere I love, and I was able to weave in some great history.

8. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Stephen King. No one can write characters like the King. I’d love to pick his brain. It might be scary but oh so fun!

9. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Hobbies? What are those? Who has time for hobbies? ☺ I used to crochet and quilt. Now whatever free time I have is spent on promotion, research, or just thinking about the next book. I do love to read though and I always make time for that!

10. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

The hardest thing for me is actually relaxing and not thinking about a book or the next book. Or the next. ☺ I love it so much that it can become an obsession. This time when I turned in my book, I had no choice but to rest because I was having knee replacement surgery. We are about four weeks out now, and the pain is abating which means I’m starting to think about the next book!

11. What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Read extensively in the genre you want to write. Attend at least one good conference a year. And never, never give up.

12. What’s your new book about?

Three Missing Days is the 3rd novel in the Pelican Harbor series. Jane’s teenage son is arrested for murder, and she has to find the real killer. As she plunges into the investigation, she finds a crucial piece of the plot to frame Will can only be found if she remembers three missing days from when she was a teenager.

Three Missing Days

by Colleen Coble

April 5 – 30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

THREE MISSING DAYS - CCoble

Book Three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murderer and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything. It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228543 (ISBN13: 9780785228547)
Series: Pelican Harbor #3 || These books are Stand Alone Mysteries but are better if read as a series!
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Author - Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @ColleenCoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: @colleencoblebooks

Tour Participants:

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

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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble and Thomas Nelson. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) physical set of the first three books in the Pelican Harbor series. (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book 217: LOVE LIES BLEEDING Review

A random mugging turns violent and results in Samantha Moore becoming comatose and suffering brain trauma and other physical problems. She awakes embittered toward life, tormented by pain and dreams of her attack. In an effort to facilitate her recovery, her fiancé and parents reserve a cabin by the lake and a physical therapist as a caretaker. Is this the hoped for new beginning for Samantha or another step in her downward spiral? The answers lie in Love Lies Bleeding by Jess McConkey.

Prior to the mugging and vicious beating, Samantha Moore was a serious business woman and an asset to her father’s firm. She was also an asset to her fiancé, Dr. Jackson Van Horn. Now she experiences severe mood swings, is in constant pain from the damage to her leg and head trauma, and worse has to deal with the profound side effects from the medications supposed to be helping her. Jackson and her parents feel that the best thing for her is to get away from it all, so they set up a “retreat” in the country beside a lake. Jackson had spent part of his youth there and has fond memories of summers at the lake. Unbeknownst to Samantha, her family has also arranged a caretaker. 

Samantha doesn’t have anything against Anne Weaver, the physical therapy assistant, that has been hired but she doesn’t want a care taker. She’s tired of people telling her what to do and how to feel. She’s tired of taking medications that are supposed to help and wind up causing more problems due to their side effects. She’s just tired. 

As Samantha gradually gives in to her surroundings and befriends Anne, she also begins to experience some bizarre dreams. But these dreams aren’t about her. These dreams seem to be rooted in the past, the past of the woman that disappeared from the cabin more than 25 years ago. To make matters worse, she also imagines that she sees this woman on the dock and periodically smells her perfume and cigarettes.

Anne is experiencing her own set of issues. Her teenage son is insistent that he wants to become a musician. Anne’s dreams of becoming a model were dashed when she left home and traveled to New York. She doesn’t want her son’s dreams to become broken or for him to suffer the same disappointments she had in her youth. Can Anne recognize that she can’t control her son’s life forever before she pushes him too far away?

To say that everyone has issues in Love Lies Bleeding is putting it mildly. Jackson is suffering from abandonment issues corresponding to his mother’s death and behavior prior to her death. Samantha’s father is a control freak and presumes that he has the right to tell Samantha, a thirty-five-year-old woman, what to do, how to do it and when it should be done. Anne also has control issues when it comes to her expectations for her son. Samantha has medical and physical problems but those can be gradually overcome, her most pressing issues relate to her fiancé and family. Can she discover what she wants and how to achieve it before it’s too late? Can Samantha and Anne discover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance from the past?

I rather enjoyed Love Lies Bleeding until the end. Samantha and Anne were fully developed characters, with personality to spare and likeable even when they were unpleasant. The story line was believable enough and the action and tension build until the end where everything just petered out. There’s resolution to the story but it felt weak and flat after all of the prior tension. Love Lies Bleeding is a decent read, although it does seem to get bogged down with minutiae from time to time.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from BookTrib. 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 183: UNDER THE DOG STAR Review

Under the Dog Star by Sandra Parshall takes the sultry dog days of summer and adds in a healthy dose of intrigue around missing dogs, a pack of feral dogs, rumors about dog fights, and a wicked killing. The action takes place in rural Virginia and the mysteries are investigated by veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Goddard, and her significant other, Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger.


The veterinary clinic has a wall filled with pictures and notices of missing dogs. There are numerous sightings of a pack of feral dogs that are attacking livestock. Now a local doctor, the owner of the local hospital, has been killed and the killing appears to have been committed by an animal, possibly a dog. It doesn’t help matters any that Rachel and her assistant, Holly Turner, are trying to rescue the “feral” dogs. During these hot and sultry dog days of summer, residents are fed up. Their fire is fueled by the notion that the pack of dogs attacked and killed Dr. Hall. Dr. Hall’s eldest son, Ethan Hall wants results and he’s decided those results include hunting and killing the feral dogs. But as Rachel and Holly begin to trap these dogs, they come to realize the dogs aren’t necessarily feral but starving. They’ve attacked local livestock in order to feed, nothing more. But what’s behind the missing dogs and is it possible that the killing of Dr. Hall was actually murder? Was the good doctor killed by an angry ex-coworker or unhappy patient or patient’s family member? Is there a link between the murder of Dr. Hall and the rumored dog fights? Rachel and Tom do their best to learn the answers to these questions while maintaining personal safety and building their relationship.


There’s a lot of drama as well as mystery in Under the Dog Star. Rachel gets involved in trying to salvage the lives of the adopted children of Dr. and Mrs. Hall, while racing to beat the clock and rescue the wild dogs before they are hunted down. Under the Dog Star is a quick-read mystery filled with interesting characters and tons of action. Look for Under the Dog Star to be released on 09/06/2011 by Poisoned Pen Press.


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

Book 181: CALL ME PRINCESS Review

A brutal rape and beating, online dating and a criminal investigation, these are the primary components in Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel. Although this story doesn’t provide extreme graphic descriptions of the rape, it does start with a graphic description of the beating. This was just a bit off-putting but it does set the tone for the story. All at once we’re forced to view a situation that puts us off balance while immediately becoming sympathetic with the victim and despising the perpetrator. We’re brought back to an even keel when introduced to police inspector Louise Rick. Louise is called out to investigate and feels for the victim as she walks her through the initial interviews and physical examinations. Louise continues her investigation and quickly realizes that this is a serial rapist finding his victims online. Regrettably the next victim is murdered before the rapist can be caught. 


While Louise battles for her victim and pursues her investigation she must also deal with co-workers, family, friends and her live-in significant other. Louise is also concerned for the safety of her best friend Camilla because she’s made a foray into the world of online dating and is meeting her new “friend” at her home. Camilla is a journalist familiar with the hazards of online dating but feels she’s savvy enough to know when someone is trying to take advantage. As the police continue their investigation they realize that the only way to catch the rapist is perhaps to catch him online using Louise as bait. 


All of the characters, dialogue and scenes in Call Me Princess seem quite realistic and credible. The investigatory process and politics were actually quite interesting to read about. Ms. Blaedel starts the story off with a jolt and continues with a high-energy criminal investigation. Call Me Princess is a good suspense read with lots of intrigue and heartfelt emotion.


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

   
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Book 179: DIVINE INTERVENTION Review

Divine Intervention by Cheryl Kaye Tardif begins with mysterious fires and murders that are obviously arson and Gemini lighters being left at the scenes of the crime. Initially these are all the information that Canadian Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Jasmine McLellan and her team have to begin their investigation. Well that is all they have until they arrive at the scene and use their psychic skills to gain additional knowledge. 


Jasmine, or Jasi, is a pyro-psychic. She is capable of discerning information psychically about a fire, its origins and the arsonist. Her partners include a psychometric or touch empath, Benjamin Roberts, and Natassia Prushenko, a victim empath capable of receiving information from victims (living or deceased). All three work as Psychic Skills Investigators or PSI’s in Divine Ops under the guidance of Matthew Divine. Their current case is potentially volatile and highly sensitive because it involves the father of the British Columbian Premier, Allan Baker.


As with most national investigatory agencies, these CFBI agents are stepping on toes with their investigation, especially those of Arson Investigations or AI Chief Brandon Walsh. Sparks fly (pun intended) between Jasi and Brandon, as they do between Natassia and Ben. As this quartet embarks upon their investigation, they begin to realize there is more going on than a potentially politically sensitive murder. The current murder reveals medical malpractice, a for-profit and highly illicit abortion clinic, a previous murder, attempted murder and child abuse within the foster care system and all were covered up. Unfortunately these are secrets that won’t stay hidden. 


The story seemed quite realistic and not at all farfetched given the psychic abilities of the main characters. However, Ben and Natassia seem to have limited secondary roles and are, at times, relegated to doing minor background investigatory work rather than working with Jasi as full partners. The prickly and somewhat off-putting behavior by Jasi takes a bit of getting used to but is accepted as a facade that keeps people away. If she doesn’t have people close then she doesn’t have to worry about them, or so she thinks. To say that Jasi is a bit of a control freak is a major understatement. The arsons, investigations, action and characters (major and minor) provide for a really good story. I would classify Divine Intervention as a mystery-suspense with a slight paranormal and romantic slant. 


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. 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 165: HOTWIRE Review

Bizarre murders, cattle mutilations, and government conspiracies and suspected coverups are at the forefront of Hotwire, the ninth title in the Maggie O’Dell series by Alex Kava. Maggie, an FBI agent, is still recuperating from her last assignment and has been sent to Colorado to lecture at a law enforcement seminar. She is “asked” to look into some cattle mutilations in Nebraska and the story takes off.


Maggie doesn’t just get to see some strange cattle mutilations, but soon spearheads an investigation into the possible electrocution deaths (or murders) and injuries of some teenagers in the Nebraska Sandhills. Both the cattle mutilations and the teens’ deaths were bloodless and have other similarities. While Maggie has her hands full with the investigation in Nebraska, her friends Dr. Benjamin Platt of USAMRID, Washington, D.C. Police Detective Julia Racine, and FBI Agent R.J. Tully are investigating what may be a terrorism case relating to food poisoning in the DC school system. 


Hotwire provides a lot of thrills and suspense but also asks some hard and socially pertinent questions, such as: Why is it the FDA can shut down a business due to tampering or contamination but the USDA can’t do the same under similar circumstances? It doesn’t appear that the food poisonings in DC have anything to do with cattle mutilations in Nebraska or do they? The action and investigations take plenty of twists and turns but kept my attention to the end. It was nice seeing a softer side to Julia Racine as well as seeing Dr. Platt in action once again. Regrettably Tully had only a guest appearance in this story. Hotwire features great characters, great action and a well-developed plot. There’s a lot going on in the story, but Ms. Kava neatly ties it together at the end for a great and quick read.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. 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 162: YOU’RE NEXT Review

Imagine being dropped off and abandoned at a playground as a four-year-old child. Now imagine that you spend the next fourteen years in the foster care system and the only “family” you now have is basically a juvenile delinquent. You don’t know why your parents disappeared or even what your last name was but you are determined to turn your life around. This is Michael Wingate’s life in You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz. 


This psychological thriller builds layer upon layer of intrigue by providing glimpses into Michael’s past. But these glimpses only reveal the past after he was abandoned. Obviously abandonment leaves emotional and mental scars, and Michael has his fair share. As a result he is determined to never let down his daughter Katherine. Michael is now a successful contractor and is about to win an award for building green homes that aren’t completely green. When Michael is confronted by a stranger at the award’s party and basically threatened, he is first confused and then later angry. The anger builds when his daughter is threatened and his wife, Annabel, is seriously injured. What does all of this have to do with Michael? Could his unknown past be rearing its ugly head and intruding on his present? How much of a past could a four-year-old child have had? 


Michael embarks on a hunt for the answers. The only person he knows he can depend on is his childhood best friend and surrogate brother, Shep. When pushed to the edge Michael pushes back and uncovers a history of dirty little secrets that are best kept uncovered. How far is Michael willing to go? Read the book, trust me on this one. If you don’t add any other book to your reading list, You’re Next is definitely one to read. Kat is a lovable and precocious child with a core of inner strength. Michael is a man that wants to do right at any cost but realizes that lifetime sometimes has to be lived in the murkier gray areas. Shep is, well words can’t describe Shep but he is the type of friend you want when backed into a corner and facing really bad guys. I enjoyed reading You’re Next so much that I’ve promptly added many other works by Mr. Hurwitz to my TBR list. I’ve found another favorite author!


Disclaimer: I received this book free from BookReporter.com. 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.”