Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Chef Maurice and A Spot of Truffle by: J.A. Lang



Title: Chef Maurice and A Spot of Truffle
Author: J.A.Lang
Publisher: Purple Panda Press
Series: Chef Maurice Culinary Mysteries #1
Pages: 240
Format: e-book
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours

Description:

First book in a series of British culinary mysteries.

“They say one should never trust a thin chef. By this measure, Chef Maurice was very trustworthy indeed.”

It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion.

Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.

Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out.

Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

My Thoughts:

This is a new series that is a British mystery.  Early in this book Ollie the mushroom supplier is missing and Chef Maurice is unable to retrieve his mushrooms, but he finds a truffle which is the best mushroom there is and has a feeling there are more truffles and buys a pig to find out if this is the case.

Not long into this Ollie is found dead in a ditch and it's up to Chef Maurice to find out what is going on and to get his mushrooms released from Lucy.  Who had enough anger to snuff out the Mushroom supplier?

This was cute culinary mystery which pulled me in and had me intrigued. This book had lots of funny moments with the pig dreaming about becoming bacon.  The story was really cute and funny and I think any foodie mystery lover will like it!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Dead Girl Blues by: Jim and Joyce Lavene



Title: Dead Girls Blues
Author: Jim and Joyce Lavene
Publisher: Createspace
Series: Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mystery #2
Pages: 264
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours

Description:

When Nashville cop Skye Mertz, and her husband, Jacob, are killed in a wreck, Skye is given the opportunity to come back for twenty years to raise her five-year-old daughter, Kate. With her ghostly mother-in-law's help, Skye hopes to be there until Kate is old enough to take care of herself. 

But three years into her twenty-year service to Abraham Lincoln Jones, the man who gave her the extra time, Skye is beginning to think life might have been easier before she died. 

Abe asks her to investigate the murder of his sorcerer, Harold the Great, a man who was a victim of too many snakes. And the Life Extended People ( LEPs - a nice term for zombies) who work for Abe have begun turning into ghosts and disappearing. Only Lucas, the possibly evil, amnesiac sorcerer who lives with Skye and her family, can save her from being the next victim of the deadly curse. 

To make matters more complicated, Skye has found a lead in solving the riddle of her husband's death. She has never believed Jacob died as a result of the crash, but hasn't been able to prove it. Many other people have lost their lives in the same lonely stretch of highway that he did three years before. Skye goes against Abe's express wishes to discover the truth with a crazy man bent on vengeance. 

Life was simpler when she could just take out a gun and shoot someone.

My Thoughts:

In this book which continues the story of Skye, Debbie, Lucas and their team in this one Skye is asked to investigate the death of Abe's latest Sorcerer Harold The Great.  Abe wonders if Lucas killed him as a way to get hired by Abe, which Lucas denies.  Skye is also trying to investigate the death of her husband Jacob even though Abe wants her to leave it alone.

Like the other book this one grabs you and pulls you in and won't let go until the mystery is solved.  You find yourself reading and definitely not wanting to put it down for anything.  The characters created in this series are great and deal with real issues that you could imagine anyone dealing with.  I loved the storyline and the twists and turns it takes.  Can't wait to see what is next for this team of characters!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review - Carmilla by: Sheridan Le Fanu

Title: Carmilila
Author: Sheridan Le Fanu
Publisher: Wildside Press
Pages: 108
Format: Paperback
Source: Turkish edition sent by Turkish publisher for review

Description:

Nothing remained to assure us that the adventure had not been an illusion of a moment but the young lady, who just at that moment opened her eyes.

My thoughts: 

I just on everything related to vampires ever since I read Bram Stoker's Dracula as a teen; I cannot stop myself. Of course, back in the old days; again, when I was a teenager, it wasn't easy to find new novels with such content. Afterward, with the explosion of Twilight, they were suddenly everywhere. When you think about it, this should've been a good thing for readers like me. However, it got way too ridiculous with vampires that don't drink human blood, vampires that miss their human lives and those that sparkle under the sun. It felt like the original vampires vanished. Carmilla, on the other hand, is an old school vampire story which reminded me why I was so into them in the first place. 

I was already excited when the story started at a castle in Europe. There is a young girl who lives with her father and their servants... Suddenly, an unexpected, enchantingly beautiful, weird guest Carmilla appears... While you're thinking she's going to hit on the father, she goes after the daughter... Spooky buildings, gloomy streets, grey forests and mind games in addition to the thirst for blood... Therefore, an actual gothic vampire story!

In the Turkish description of the book, it says, "Sheridan Le Fanu's women reflect the vampire in us with their tenor toward the darkness and their closeness to death." You can see this very clearly when you look at the main characters Laura and her father; it might have something to do with being young, too, but Laura is more inclined to lean toward the unknown, the darkness. Her father, on the other hand, is a man of scientific beliefs. As opposed to most popular fiction now, Le Fanu focuses on psychologic thrills and the darkness inside the characters instead of the blood, ferocity and sex.

"Literature's first lesbian vampire" Carmilla will surprise you with its atmosphere, obscurities and encounters. If you have read Dracula, you will also clearly see how Stoker was inspired by Le Fanu's work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Broken Hearted Ghoul by: Jim and Joyce Lavene

Title: Broken Hearted Ghoul
Author: Jim and Joyce Lavene
Publisher:  Createspace
Series: Taxi for The Dead Paranormal Mystery #1
Pages: 324
Format: e-book
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours

Description:

It's been two years since Skye Mertz agreed to drive Abe's Taxi for the Dead, transporting his zombie workers back to the man who gave them an additional twenty years of life. She's raising her daughter, with the help of her ghostly mother-in-law, and keeps looking for what killed her husband the night she died.

Now she has a partner - a housewife working off her zombie husband's service - and she's met a sorcerer with amnesia. It shouldn't be surprising that a broken hearted ghoul, bent on getting revenge, should show up too. After all, there's no rest for the dead. 

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Skye Mertz her daughter Kate and her mother-in-law as Skye is working a 20 year deal she made with a Zombie Master Abe running Taxi for The Dead they collect people who have been serving Abe and their time is up.  Sometimes they run sometimes they go willingly.  Skye's partner in the taxi service is Debbie who is working off a sentence for her husband so they are teamed together to pick people up.  A lot happens in this book and pretty quickly.

First thing is the appearance of Lucas a sorcerer who has no idea what is happened to him and how he wound up in Skye's presence.  Then there is someone killing of Abe's workers but no one seems to know why?  And Abe seems determined to keep Skye out of it.  When the heat is on Skye and her team of workers seem determined to save Abe even if he doesn't want saving.

I loved reading this book it was a great adventure and spin on Zombie paranormal anything paranormal is probably in this book or mentioned and it's up to Skye, Debbie, Lucas and others to figure out how to save the day.  The story pulls you in and won't let go until the end.  Definitely great for all those Zombie lovers out there!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Giveaway: Side Trip to Katmandu by: Marie Moore


Marie Moore is offering her book (a physical copy) Side Trip to Katmandu to a lucky winner in this contest all you have to do is:


  • Include in the comments an email address 
  • Be A Follower of Community Bookstop
  • This contest is open to USA residents only

Synopsis of Side Trip to Katmandu:

Sidney Marsh's job as a New York travel agent is on the line. On her last two tours, she and her colleague Jay ended up smack in the middle of murder and mayhem. Their sleuthing sideline did not endear them to their employer, Itchy Feet Travel, so naturally they are relieved when their wealthy friend Brooke requests their presence on a no expense spared tour of India and Nepal. Another agency has made the arrangements, so all they need do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Well, not quite all. Brooke has enlisted them to keep a sharp eye on their fellow travelers, all "friends" who have grown rich from the demise of others. After surviving an attempt on her life, Brooke is certain the culprit must be one of the five: a handsome Scotsman, a Bollywood actress, an investment banker, a Parisian filmmaker, or a twice widowed blonde. Many of the tour accommodations prove to be as dodgy as the reputations of the travelers themselves. After one of the members of the moving house party dies of an apparent heart attack, everyone's nerves are on edge. Sidney can hardly be blamed for assuming a deadly game is afoot... or for falling for Adam, the doting Scotsman. Now, if only she can unmask the killer before the killer beats her to the punch. 
Author Bio:

Marie Moore is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper—first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for her stories. In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency, which she managed for the next fifteen years. The Sidney Marsh mysteries are inspired by those experiences. Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN, and Holly Springs, MS. You can find more information online at www.MarieMooreMysteries.com.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guest Post: Barbara Freethy Author of The Callaways

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks inspiration, romance, and research, plus tells us about how the Callaways' lives resemble her own… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to tell stories! I've been a voracious reader since I was a child, and having a job that allows me to create my own worlds, characters and plots is a dream come true. 

What first inspired you to write the Callaways? Where did you get the initial idea for the series?

I had wanted to write a family series for a while, and I wanted the family to be blended, just to make the dynamics a little more interesting. Jack Callaway was a widower with four small boys when he met Lynda Kane, a divorcee with two small girls. They fell in love, got married and had twins. The eight siblings are now adults and range in age between 35 and 25. I also wanted the Callaways to stand for something. So there's a family tradition of "serve and protect". All the kids are raised with the idea that they need to serve the community, to help others and to always protect the family as well as anyone else in trouble. And the Callaways always seem to find trouble, even when they're not looking for it.

Which of the Callaway siblings is the most like you? How are the two of you similar?

There is a piece of me in every character that I write, which makes it impossible for me to ever pick a favorite. I do like Emma a lot, because she's the one person in the family who has a close relationship with every sibling. She's also independent, brave and loving, which are all great traits. 

Your characters all have such fascinating jobs, and, in reading your novels, it feels like I'm right there with them. How do you perform your research in order to make careers such as a smoke jumper, homicide detective, or Coast Guard rescue pilot so authentic?

I've read quite a few nonfiction books and articles written by smoke jumpers, firefighters, cops, etc. And I have a writer friend who is also a police detective, so I often ask her for help with the more technical aspects. But what's really fun about writing is discovering new things—so I love to write about people in careers I don't know that much about. In THAT SUMMER NIGHT, one of the characters is tied into the pharmaceutical industry, and I had never written a book that delved into that area. I found some of the true whistleblower stories that I read in preparation for writing that book to be fascinating. I think enjoying research is probably a big part of being a successful writer. I was born with a curiosity and an imagination. Writing is a great outlet!

The Callaways all have such beautiful, unique love stories. How do you get in the mindset for writing them? Are any of their stories inspired, at least in part, by your own real-life love story?

I have a wonderful husband who always takes credit for being my inspiration. And while that's true, as a writer I do love to explore stories beyond my own personal experience. I like to bring together couples who complement each other but also drive each other a little crazy. I think love is about finding that one person who pushes you to be better, who challenges the way you think, supports you no matter what and gives you that heady, dizzy, wonderful feeling that comes when you fall in love. 

I love that your novels are not only awesome romances but also have gripping suspense as a central part of the story line. How do you start planning your novels with the romance or with the suspense—or with something else altogether?

I enjoy writing romance that brings a little extra in terms of a plot. So every Callaway novel features a great love story, a puzzling mystery, some family drama and a little nerve-tingling suspense. I don't outline in great detail, but I always have a general idea of the suspense plot points before I begin. The story takes shape and changes as I put myself into the characters' heads. That's part of the fun of writing!

Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?

Since I formed my own publishing company and began independently publishing my books outside of the traditional New York publishing industry, it's been a challenge to get my books into print and into physical bookstores across the country. Late last year, I entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ingram Publisher Services to sell and distribute my books into retail outlets like Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarkets, as well as other bookstore chains. I know there are lots of readers who still prefer to read in print, and I'm thrilled that they'll now be able to read my bestselling digital series in their favorite format! 


About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!
This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.
About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.




Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: On A Night Like This by: Barbara Freethy

Title: On A Night Like This
Author: Barbara Freethy
Publisher: Fog City Publishing
Series: Callaways #1
Pages: 200
Format: e-book
Source: Novel Publicity Book Tour

Description:

'From #1 NY times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect. 


The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn't remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember.

The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle's reputation and hurt the people he left behind. 
 
 Aiden seeks help from an unlikely partner… 
 
 Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister's best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level. Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she's no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She's a woman in search of her own truth. The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time.

Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be. As teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they now?

My Thoughts:

In this new series from Barbara Freethy we meet the Callaways this book focuses on Aiden Callaway who is dealing with a traumatic event when fire jumping and his friend wound up dead.  We Also meet Sara the girl next door who is trying to connect some how with her father although they haven't been able to connect for as long as Sara has been alive.  Are there secrets that no one knows about?  Aiden and Sara reconnect but Aiden had pushed Sara away when she was a teen what will that do to them now?

I loved this series the characters are great and full of life.  I love how Aiden and Sara were down to earth and had to deal with real issues.  It made it such a more meaningful story.  Instead of books that you can't buy the romance angle.  Can't wait to read more about the Callaways next in this series is:


Book Excerpt: On A Night Like This by: Barbara Freethy

Check out this excerpt from #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy's first book in the Callaway family series… Then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!


Sara met the first firefighter as soon as his feet hit the sidewalk. "My father is trapped in the basement," she said. "The door is off the laundry room by the kitchen. Aiden Callaway went to get him, but they haven't come out yet."
"Aiden?" the guy echoed. 
She nodded, not really surprised that the firefighter seemed to know Aiden since so many of the Callaways worked in the department.
"Wait here," he told her. 
She crossed her arms in front of her waist as the firefighters entered the house. Everything would be okay, she told herself. Aiden was with her father, and they were both going to be fine. 
Aiden must have seen the flames from next door and in typical Aiden fashion, he'd run straight into the house without waiting for backup. The Callaways had never been short on courage; sometimes on good sense, but not on guts. And Aiden didn't just end up in trouble; he often went looking for it. At least, he had when he'd been younger. 
It had been more than ten years since she'd seen the very attractive guy-next-door, who had been the object of the most intense crush she had ever had in her life. Aiden had been a bad boy and she'd been a very good girl. But one reckless night had taken their relationship to a new level. Then Aiden had brought it all crashing down. 
Her gut clenched at the memory of what had been the best and worst night of her life. She'd put Aiden out of her mind for a long time, but now he was back, and so was she. 
Only temporarily, she reminded herself. This wasn't her home anymore and never would be. 
"Sara?"
She turned to see Lynda Callaway, Aiden's stepmother, crossing the lawn at a brisk pace. A tall, willowy blonde, Lynda Callaway moved gracefully, like the dancer she'd once been. 
"Are you all right, Sara? I couldn't believe my eyes when I drove around the corner and saw the fire engines and the smoke. What happened? Where's your father?"
"He's inside. So is Aiden," she added. 
Lynda paled at that piece of news, her gaze flying to the house. "Aiden? Aiden's here?"
"Yes. I guess he saw the smoke. He broke down the front door." She glanced back at the house. Smoke was pouring through the front door, flames still visible through the windows in the dining room. What was taking them so long? "Aiden went to get my father. He fell down the basement stairs. I didn't want to leave him, but I couldn't move him." 
Lynda put a reassuring hand on her arm. "You did the right thing."
"I think he broke his leg."
"Your father is a strong man. He'll come through this. 
She'd always thought he was strong, but when she'd seen him on the floor, he'd looked surprisingly fragile and suddenly very human. 
"How did the fire start?" Lynda asked. 
"He was cooking. I distracted him when I showed up. We were upstairs arguing, and we didn't smell the smoke right away. What is taking them so long?" 
"They'll want to be careful moving him," Lynda said, putting her arm around Sara's shoulders. 
It had been a long time since Sara had felt such a motherly touch, and the emotion of it brought tears to her eyes. She'd been a strong, independent woman for a long time, but right now she felt like an uncertain girl who was really, really happy not to be alone. 
They stood in quiet for a few moments, watching firefighters attack the fire from both inside and outside of the house. She saw two men up on the roof, using axes to make some sort of a vent. Their work was efficient and apparently done without any sense of fear. She'd been inside that heat, and she couldn't imagine volunteering to go back in.
"How do they do it?" she muttered. "How do you do it, Lynda? The fire was so terrifying, so out of control, and it was only in the kitchen. How do you not worry every time your husband or sons leave the house?"
Lynda smiled. "I've had a lot of practice. I trust in my husband, my children, their fellow firefighters and their training. That gets me through." She paused, her smile fading away, her gaze turning back toward the house. "I can't believe Aiden is here. He's been impossible to reach the last few weeks. I wasn't sure when or if we'd see him again." 
"Really? Why?"
"He's had some trouble in his life."
"Isn't that usually the case with Aiden?" 
"This time is different."
Before Lynda could explain, Aiden came out on the porch, carrying her father over his shoulders. They crossed the lawn and then, with the help of another firefighter, her dad was placed on the gurney and attended to by the waiting paramedics. 
Sara moved as close as she could get, relieved to see that her father was awake and able to answer questions, but it was clear he was in a lot of pain. Once they had him stabilized on the stretcher, he was loaded into an ambulance. 
"I'll meet you at the hospital," she told him. 
"No, I need you to stay here, Sara. Keep an eye on my house."  
"I'll take care of everything," she promised. "Then I'll come to see you."
The ambulance doors closed. A moment later, he was on his way to the hospital. 
"Do you need a ride?" Lynda asked her.
"Uh, no," she said, trying to pull herself together. Everything was happening so fast her head was spinning. "I have a car. I'll wait until the fire is out, and then I'll go."
"You've grown up into a beautiful, capable woman, Sara," Lynda said with an approving gleam in her eyes. "Your mom would be proud."
"I hope so. I still miss her." 
"So do I. And so does your father."
"That's not easy to believe."
Lynda gave her a knowing look. "Your father is a difficult, complicated man. I've lived next door to him for twenty years, and I don't feel like I know him any better now than when he first moved in. Since your mom died, he's become even more reclusive."
She nodded, her attention distracted by Aiden's approach. Now that they were outside, she could see him more clearly. As his gaze met hers, she felt a familiar rush of adrenaline. He'd always had the ability to unsettle her, to make her feel off balance, dizzy, her heart beating too fast, her words getting choked in her throat. It was silly to feel that way now. Her teenage crush had ended long ago. She certainly didn't intend to go back there. 
Unfortunately, Aiden was still a very good-looking man, even with ash in his brown hair, sweat on his brow, a three-day growth of beard on his face and tired blue eyes. Add in the faded jeans with a rip at the knee and a T-shirt that clung to his broad chest and strong shoulders, and Aiden was still as hot and sexy as ever, maybe more so. 
Sara drew in a breath, trying to dampen down her physical response. She could handle it now. She didn't need to get all worked up about a man who had only once seen her as more than his sister's best friend and the girl next door, and that one time had ended in regret on his part. 
Fortunately, Lynda broke the awkward tension between them.
"Aiden," Lynda said. "I can't believe you're home. Why didn't you call me back?"
"I figured you'd see me soon enough." He paused. "Are you okay, Sara?"
"I'm fine. Thank you for saving my father." 
He shrugged, as if what he had done had been of little consequence. 
"I've been leaving messages for you for three weeks, Aiden," Lynda said.
"I needed some time to clear my head," he replied.
"Well, I'm glad you're finally home. I've been so worried about you since—"
"I'm fine," Aiden said, cutting Lynda off. "I'll be over to the house in a minute."
"All right," Lynda said, obviously sensing that this wasn't the time to grill her son. "Sara, please stop by later and let me know how your father is doing. In fact, come for dinner. We eat around seven, but any time you get back is fine. I'll save you a plate."
"That isn't necessary."
"You won't be cooking in that kitchen tonight. Just come by," Lynda insisted. "There's always room for one more at our house."
"Okay, thanks."
With Lynda gone, she shifted her weight, crossing her arms, then uncrossing them, wishing that Aiden would stop looking at her with those incredible blue eyes. 
"So, is the fire almost out?" she asked.
"Looks that way, but you won't be able to go inside until the fire inspector signs off."
"When do you think that will be?"
"Depends," he said. "Could be an hour or more."
"I'm lucky my dad lives right next door to firefighters. Although it doesn't sound like you live at home anymore."
"Not in a long time," he said shortly, his gaze drifting toward his childhood home. 
She stared at his profile. In his early thirties now, Aiden's features had become better defined, his jaw stronger, his blue eyes harder and more cynical than she remembered. 
His gaze returned to hers, and she couldn't help wishing she looked a little better. She knew she was more attractive than she'd been in high school, because once she'd left her father's house, she'd discovered makeup and hair products, short skirts and high heels. Unfortunately, she'd dressed herself down to visit her father, pulling her hair back in a knot and wearing gray slacks and a button-down blouse that did little to show off her shape. The fire had made her sweat, and she could feel her hair falling out of her bun, so it wasn't her best moment. 
Not that she cared, she reminded herself. There had been plenty of men in her life since high school, since Aiden. She was no longer his adoring fan. 
She searched for something to say, something smart, witty, casual, but nothing seemed right. There had been a time in her life when she'd lived to catch a glimpse of Aiden, and another time when she'd hoped never to see him again, but now here he was, here they were, and she couldn't think of a damn thing to say. 
She tucked her hair behind her ear. "So…"
"So," he echoed. "It's been a long time."
"Yes," she agreed, feeling irritated with her awkwardness. 
"How did you set the kitchen on fire?" 
"I wasn't the one who was cooking," she said. 
Aiden gave her a doubtful look. "You're saying your father did that? Your father who lives by a rulebook and never ever takes a misstep? The man who can do no wrong and cannot tolerate failure in others?"
"Yes. Apparently, he is human," she replied, not surprised that Aiden's assessment of her dad was so spot on. He'd grown up next door, and her father had yelled at the Callaway boys on more than a few occasions. 
"Are you living here now?" Aiden asked.
"No, just visiting. What about you?" 
A shadow crossed his eyes. "I'm not sure of my plans." 
Before she could press for more information, one of the firefighters joined them. "Callaway? What are you doing here?"
"Helping out," Aiden said shortly.
Something sparked between the two men, something intense and angry. Sara felt like she'd just landed back in the middle of another fire. Aiden had always had a million friends and he'd been a guy's guy. To see someone who obviously hated his guts was surprising. 
"Quite the hero. You always land on your feet, don't you?" the other man sneered. 
"If you say so," Aiden said evenly.
Fury burned in the other man's eyes a split second before he pulled back his arm and punched Aiden in the face.
Aiden stumbled backward, his hand flying to his right eye.
Sara gasped in surprise, startled by the unexpected attack.  "What's happening?" she asked, but no one was listening to her.
"That was for Kyle," the man said. "And this—"
Before he could finish his statement, one of the other firefighters intervened, grabbing his pal's arm. "That's enough, Hawkins. Get in the truck." 
Hawkins looked like he wanted to argue, but after giving Aiden another scathing look he reluctantly followed orders. 
"What just happened?" Sara asked.
Neither man seemed inclined to answer her. After exchanging a long look with Aiden, the firefighter gave her his attention. "The inspector just arrived. He'll let you know the damage and when you can go inside." 
"Thanks," she said. 
The firefighter gave Aiden a hard look and then headed to the truck.
"Okay, what was that all about?" she asked Aiden.  
He rubbed his rapidly swelling cheekbone. "Nothing."
"That man didn't hit you for nothing, Aiden. He said it was for Kyle. Was he talking about Kyle Dunne?" 
"Leave it alone, Sara."
"What happened to Kyle?"
Aiden's jaw tightened. "He died, and it's my fault." 
His blunt words shook her to the core. Kyle Dunne was the same age as Aiden. They'd been friends since kindergarten. Now he was dead? Why? How?
It was clear Aiden had no interest in giving her more details; he was already moving down the sidewalk.
 "Aiden, wait," she called, but he didn't turn his head. 
As he walked toward his truck, she noticed a limp in his stride. He'd suffered an injury of some sort. At the same time that Kyle had died? 
Why would anyone blame Aiden for his best friend's death? There was no way Aiden would have let Kyle die without trying to save him. Aiden was a born protector. She'd just witnessed him in action when he'd rescued her father, a man he didn't even like. Aiden would have put his own life on the line for Kyle. 
Memories of Aiden and Kyle together flashed through her mind. She could see them playing catch in the street until well after dark, hosting poker games in the room over the garage for all their high school friends, getting dressed up in suits for their senior prom. Kyle was dead? He'd always been so much fun, a joker and a prankster. Kyle and Aiden had caused a lot of trouble together, and they'd been closer than brothers. Aiden had to be reeling. No wonder there had been so much worry in Lynda's eyes when she'd mentioned Aiden. 
As Aiden pulled his bags out of his truck, she was torn between wanting to ask him more questions and wanting to put some distance between them. 
He was the one guy she'd never been able to forget, the one guy who still haunted her dreams. The last thing she needed to do was talk to him. She had enough problems to deal with. She turned her back on Aiden and headed across the lawn to talk to the fire inspector. 


About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.

About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Bridges Burned by: Annette Dashofy



Title: Bridges Burned
Author: Annette Dashofy
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: Zoe Chambers Mysteries #3
Pages: 287
Format: e-book
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours

Description:

Paramedic Zoe Chambers is used to saving lives, but when she stops a man from running into a raging inferno in a futile attempt to rescue his wife, Zoe finds herself drawn to him, and even more so to his ten-year-old daughter. She invites them both to live at the farm while the grieving widower picks up the pieces of his life.


Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams, of course, is not happy with this setup, especially when he finds evidence implicating Zoe's new houseguest in murder times two. When Zoe ignores Pete's dire warnings, she runs the very real chance of burning one too many bridges, losing everything--and everyone--she holds dear.

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Zoe Chambers and the residents of the town she lives in when a fire breaks out and Zoe arrives to help she fights a man who is trying desperately to get into his house adamant his wife was in the house that they had been removed from.  

I came across Zoe Chambers series in book 2 when we learned a lot about Zoe's family and in this one Zoe finds herself helping out the grieving widow but at what price?

The action and mystery picks up right away.  Who had the most to gain by this fire that was set?  Was someone intentionally trying to kill or was it an accident?  I also love reading about the relationship between Zoe and Pete and to see where it is headed!

Interview with Barbara Freethy Author of Callaway Family

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks writing, publishing, and finding balance, plus gives her advice for new authors… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

You’re an icon in—not just the indie publishing community—but the publishing community in general. Your success is something to which we all aspire. In your opinion, what has been the greatest contributing factor to the success of your novels? 

There are so many factors that contribute to a successful writing career and it's hard to say which ones are the most important, but I do believe that publishing frequently helps to build an audience and also momentum. I don't write as quickly as some authors do or as slow as others; I think I'm somewhere in the middle. But I try to put out 3-4 books a year and I think that helps keep my books in front of the readers. I also write what I love to read. Sometimes that means my books are not part of the hot trend of the moment, but that's okay. I think it's a mistake to try to chase fads. They blow out as quickly as they blow in. And, finally, I look at writing as my career. I work hard at it. I spend a lot of vacations at my computer. But it's a really rewarding career, so it's all worth it! 

Writing and publishing books is not a business for the faint of heart. You have to be a risk taker. You have to be willing to speculate on your income and to be able to live through the slow times. You have to develop a thick skin, because rejection is everywhere: agents, publishers, reviewers, readers… We all know that books are subjective. But if you're up for the task, writing can be an awesome career choice! 

When did you start writing your very first novel, and did it ever get published? How has the world of writing change since you started out?

I wrote my first book when I was pregnant with my second child, who is now a young adult. It was eventually published as a Silhouette romance titled Promise of Marriage under the pen name Kristina Logan. The writing world has gone completely upside down and spun around a dozen times since I wrote my first book, but it's an amazing time to be a writer now. There are so many opportunities for writers to get their books to the reading public. I'm thrilled for the writers who are starting out now, whether they want to be traditionally published or publish themselves. There's more work. There are more changes. But there are also many more opportunities. 

Technology has brought many changes to the world of books, but readers continue to embrace new books, new formats, and—at the heart of every book—great stories. I don't think great stories will ever go out of style.  

What advice do you have for authors who are either aspiring to write their first book or are working overtime to try to get that book noticed?

For writers working on their first book, the most important thing you can do is write all the way to the end. Too many new writers get hung up in the middle or caught up in rewriting the beginning over and over again. To get over the hump, jump ahead in the story or just write something—anything—knowing you can fix it during the editing process. Until you write to the end, you don't know what you don't know. You have to experience the entire process of writing a novel. It takes dedication, determination and stamina to finish a book. But it's hugely gratifying, and there's no better experience than the actual writing. 

For those writers who have published their first book and are working overtime to get it noticed, I would caution against spending all your time promoting that first book. What you really need to do is write the second book and then the third. You have to look at your writing as a career. More books will increase your audience faster than any amount of marketing you do. I urge an 80-20 split: 80% of your time should be spent writing and 20% on promotion. 

Describe your writing process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or something in between?

I am closer to being a pantser than a plotter, but I do always know at least the five main plot points of my story before I begin writing. But part of the fun for me as a writer is telling myself the story. I want to be inspired and surprised as I go along. It makes it more interesting to me. Of course, I would be able to write faster if I outlined, but it just isn't the way my brain works. There's no right way to write, just the right way for the individual author.

What was your reaction when you first found out you broke onto the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers’ lists? How did you celebrate?

Hitting #1 on the New York Times with my novel SUMMER SECRETS was an amazing moment, especially because it was my first self-published title. I celebrated with a lovely dinner out with my husband. What was even more astonishing was that the novel stayed on the NYT list for 5 weeks and since then I've had 19 more novels hit both USA Today and the New York Times. It never gets old! 

How do you find balance between writing, publishing, and promoting your books and the rest of your life? Any tips for the rest of us?

I have no balance whatsoever at the moment! I do try to do something in the world of exercise—take a walk or play tennis at least 3-4 times a week. And I also try to refill the creative well by reading and watching movies and television. Inspiration comes from everywhere, sometimes a song on the radio, a person that walks by, a sign on the road… I think it's important for writers to be out in the world, because all our experiences provide the fabric for our stories! 

Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?

I'm thrilled to be able to bring my bestselling digital titles into print and have the books sold at physical bookstores throughout the country. Partnering with Ingram Publisher Services has allowed me to use their national sales team and distribution system to sell my books into Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarket chains. I know that some readers still love their print books, so I want my readers to be able to read my books in whatever format they prefer. Until very recently print has been under the control of large publishing houses, but now print readers will have an opportunity to get titles by an Indie author, and I think it's a game changer for the publishing industry!


About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!
This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.
About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.






Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review - Midnight's Children by: Salman Rushdie

Title: Midnight's Children
Author: Salman Rushdie
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 647
Format: Paperback
Source: Turkish edition sent by Turkish publisher for review

Description:

Born at the stroke of midnight, at the precise moment of India's independence, Saleem Sinai is destined from birth to be special. For he is one of 1,001 children born in the midnight hour, children who all have special gifts, children with whom Saleem is telepathically linked.

But there has been a terrible mix up at birth, and Saleem’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns. As he grows up amidst a whirlwind of triumphs and disasters, Saleem must learn the ominous consequences of his gift, for the course of his life is inseparably linked to that of his motherland, and his every act is mirrored and magnified in the events that shape the newborn nation of India. It is a great gift, and a terrible burden.

My thoughts:

Some thoughts that ran through my head as I was reading Midnight’s Children: Wasn’t Salman Rushdie in the Bridget Jones movie? He looked rather annoying in that movie, didn’t he? If he’s annoying, how come he’s so funny? When can I visit India? If I do go, will I have to chance to mingle with natives and experience something magical? Has Rushdie ever met Marquez? If I sleep after finishing this chapter, how many hours do I get? Should I ditch work and finish the book…? 

I was totally mesmerized by this book even though I started it without any expectations at all. I was curious about Rushdie, but my heart was set on reading The Satanic Verses, which I couldn’t find, so I settled for Midnight’s Children. India has never been a country that interested me up until now. People I knew who did go to India always talked about it as a dirty, chaotic place, and due to popular culture references, it seemed to me a place for the wealthy to go to in order to escape from the real world. Reading Midnight’s Children did make me believe in the magic that land holds, waiting to blow one’s mind. 

Rushdie’s India is full of weird but sweet people, old wives’ tales, events where the size of one’s nose has a lot to do with their faith. The main character Salim Sina is born on the night India declares its independence from Pakistan, and he becomes famous around the country just because of that. He starts to tell his story beginning with his grandmother and grandfather’s, which made me think “damn; this is going to take forever.” I thought it would take forever for him to get to the point. However, thanks to Rushdie’s funny, magical prose I didn’t even realize how much time had passed when I was 300-something pages in. 

Midnight’s Children will make you meet a different India and make you believe magic is real.

Guest Post Barbara Freethy author of Callaway Family

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks strong women, hot guys and family series… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Eleanor Roosevelt: "A woman is like a tea bag. You don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water." 

This quote perfectly describes the heroines in my new connected family series:  The Callaways. I love to write about ordinary women who get caught up in extraordinary adventures. My heroines don't always know what they're made of until they're tested. 

While we sometimes associate strong female characters with over-the-top roles like vampire slayer or some other kick-ass profession, I believe most women, even the quiet ones, have a superhuman core of strength that enables them to change the world they live in and also to change the men who love them. In my books, the heroine's strength is enhanced, not only by a new and powerful romantic relationship but also her personal journey to find herself. 

In the first book in the Callaway series, ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS, the heroine, Sara, has grown up in a troubled family and is estranged from her father. She grew up next door to the chaotic, fun-loving Callaway family and often envied the relationships she saw on the other side of the fence. She also had a huge crush on the second oldest male in the family, Aiden Callaway. 

While Sara was a studious, serious girl in high school, Aiden was the charming rebel. As teenagers they were not ready for each other, but now they meet again as adults and both are facing pivotal moments in their lives. 

Aiden is recovering from an injury he acquired as a smokejumper and grieving for the loss of his best friend, who died during their last jump together. Sara has come home to repair the relationship with her father, only to discover that there are family secrets that will change everything she thought she knew about her past and her parents. 

Sara has to find the strength within herself to risk her heart on a man who could quite possibly break it, to face a terrible lie and to find a way to forgive her father. Aiden also has to find a way to deal with the secret that took his friend's life. Together these two characters find strength within themselves and also draw strength from each other, which is, really, what love is all about. 

As a reader, I love books that have layers:  romance, mystery, adventure and surprises. As a writer, I strive to bring those same elements to all of my stories. My heroines have to be as strong as the heroes. And I always hope that they inspire my readers in some way, too. 

I grew up reading books about strong female characters, and I know those reading experiences helped shaped some of my own attitudes about the kind of woman I wanted to be. 

Who are some of your favorite female characters? And what do you love most about them? 

About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!
This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That's right; we're celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.
About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.



Respect The Arc