Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Concrete Smile Book Blast

Concrete Smile

by Bernard Maestas

Book Blast December 13, 2016

on Tour February 1-28, 2017

Synopsis:

Concrete Smile by Bernard MaestasA crooked conglomerate makes a move on fictional Newport City by first attempting to incite a war between its existing criminal organizations before taking over with its own "in-house" group. Hired by a major gang leader to avert the war, freelance information broker Kevin recruits his ex-enforcer, ex-con brother Chance, and Kaity, a reporter with a vendetta, to uncover the conspiracy.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Published by: Rebel ePublishers
Publication Date: December 15, 2016
Number of Pages: 270
ISBN: pending
Series: Internet Tough Guys, #3
Purchase Links 🔗: Coming Soon!

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE BUSINESS HOURS Lost somewhere in Newport City’s densely crowded, late-night skyline, six bulky bodies packed into some unimportant restaurant’s musty storeroom. Bulging with prison muscles and bulletproof vests, their dark skin branded with black tattoos broadcasting their gang affiliation, the men were silent. They crowded around a single rickety card table, the room’s only furniture, and toiled under the dim glow of a single yellow bulb dangling from the ceiling. A masonry bucket full of glittering brass ammunition sat centered between them. None spoke. The rhythmic clicking of guns and bullets was the only soundtrack accompanying the tension. Aside from their silence and the grim, practiced precision with which they pressed the unstamped cartridges into their magazines, they each had one other detail in common: Each man, whether dangling from a pocket, knotted around a wrist, or cinched across his brow, displayed a deep crimson bandana. That bandana, the gang flag of The Reds or Red Nation – the umbrella under which all the African-American gangs in Newport City fell – was the most crucial accessory. Durel Rivers, better known as Bones, set aside his last loaded magazine and grabbed his weapon. Exceedingly illegal, the fully automatic Tec-9 machine pistol, with its taped grip and folding stock, actually had a Federal law banning it by name. A loud slap cut the stifling air as he locked a magazine into the receiver and jacked the first round into the chamber. Bones covered his body armor with a baggy sweatshirt, loose enough to conceal the illicit firearm beneath it, its papoose pocket stuffed with the ready reloads he’d prepared. Behind him, the rest of his crew wrapped up their own loading tasks, donned jackets and hoodies of their own and then followed him out of the storeroom. The creaky storeroom door swung open into the deep gloom of a deserted kitchen. The restaurant’s legitimate business hours long over, the white-coated cooks and staffers long gone, Bones and his crew had special access. He led them past the stainless steel appliances and shelves to and then through the back door. Windows down, keys in the ignitions, a pair of black SUVs waited in the greasy shadows of the narrow alley behind the restaurant. Bones climbed into the shotgun seat of the leading truck while the rest of the crew split up between them, wordlessly sliding into their plush leather seats. Bones gave a simple and wordless nod to the man who took the driver’s seat beside him. Engines came to life with deep rumbles but the music that came on in the cabins was low. They were on a mission and there would be no distractions. As one, the pair of SUVs rolled out of the alley and onto the darkened Newport City streets. While the bustling city of nearly five million had plenty of nightlife, Bones’ crew stuck to the quiet streets of closed businesses, darkened storefronts, and slumbering apartment dwellers. It was late, or more precisely, early in the morning, and only the creatures of the night were out haunting the streets. Moving patiently, always five miles per hour over the speed limit – no more, no less – they rolled to their first stop at the fringe of a housing project complex, a U-shaped cluster of old tenement towers. Silent and pensive, Bones scanned every inch of the block around them, scrutinizing each of the people who made up the sparse nighttime populace. A pair of teenagers with Reds’ flags on display occupied one corner while a homeless man wandered the block further down. No police, no “jackers,” Bones was as certain as he could be of that. He twisted in his seat and said it all to the gangster in the back with another wordless nod. The back door popped, as did that of the trailing SUV, two men emerging into the street and crossing, their hands beneath their shirts and gripping the handles of their guns. As they disappeared into one of the building lobbies, Bones let his attention slip for just a moment. He plucked a cigarette from his pack, set it between his lips, bringing it to life with the click of his lighter, and blew the fumes from his nose. He had only taken two deep drags when the gangbangers emerged. The one from the trailing truck led the way, alert and ready. The man behind had a small gym bag slung over his shoulder. Bones turned to look as the man climbed back aboard the SUV. “All there,” he said simply, ripping open the zipper to give Bones a look inside at the bricklike bundles of cash. Bones straightened in his seat, his cigarette hand pushing out through the open window and waving the trailing SUV forward. Together, they pulled away from the curb and rolled off into the city. It was after three when they finally pulled away from their last pickup in East Charity, a sleepy neighborhood on the southeastern side of the City’s eastern borough. Bones lit up a third cigarette and then threw a glance into the backseat. Aside from the burly gangster riding with them, more of those bulging bags of cash now packed the seat to shoulder height. Over the last hour and change, they had stopped everywhere from drug dens to basement casinos, collecting the week’s deposits. With the trucks laden with money, the first half of the job, in some ways the easy half, was done. Alert, mind focused, Bones allowed himself to relax just a little, let the flood of nicotine calm his blood slightly. From here on, it was a straight drive to their final destination where they would turn over the money to be cleaned. No more stops, no more tense minutes of waiting on the street like sitting ducks. That said, he also knew that the best time to hit the convoy would be now, when it was flush and the crew had backed off the razor’s edge of their nerves. The bold glow of their headlights swung down a street heavy with shadows, most of the streetlights out except for some pale yellow ones at the far end. Bones’ hackles came up and he was just about to order them off the street when shrieking tires sang their discordant chorus into the night as something flashed out of the driveway ahead. No headlights had offered any warning. “Shit!” Bones’ driver seethed as he stood on the brakes, grinding them to a hard halt. In the glare of their SUV’s headlights, Bones now made out the form of the battered minivan that had darted across their path and stopped. He was already pulling his Tec-9 from beneath his shirt when the van’s sliding door scraped aside with a raspy grind of worn metal. Crouched tightly in the back of the van, shoulder-to-shoulder, a pair of masked men took aim and opened up torrents of fully automatic gunfire. The driver beside Bones jerked and flopped violently, his body riddled with relentless fire. Bones himself managed to duck down below the dash, behind the protection of the engine block, the only part of a normal car that would actually stop a bullet. Jagged pebbles of shattered glass rained down on the back of his neck. Behind Bones, the back door kicked open and the armed gangster ducked out as he sprayed the van with his own vicious rake of fire. Without rising from behind the dash, Bones reached out, shoving open the driver’s door and rolling the bloody, shredded corpse of the driver into the street. He was halfway over the center console when he saw his doom. From behind the row of parallel-parked cars lining the far side of the street, cloaked in the heavy shadows, more gunmen popped up, bracing and steadying their rifles on the hoods, trunks or roofs of the parked cars. Bones threw his machine pistol into line but it was too late. The last thing Bones ever saw was the hellish strobes of the muzzle flashes popping in the darkness as they poured another withering hailstorm of copper-jacketed death into the street. *** Don’t shit where you eat. Words to live by in Kevin Wyatt’s book. So, even at three in the morning, making the drive across the Admiralty Bridge into the peninsular eastern borough was just smart business. Polished black paint gleaming, throaty engine growling melodically, Kevin’s ’67 Mustang fastback made short work of the trip, weaving only occasionally around slower moving traffic. An oasis in the night of closed businesses on an otherwise nondescript street in East Charity, a brightly lit parking lot snipped off the corner of the block. It wrapped around two sides of a large diner that, despite its size and popularity with the late-night crowd that knew of its existence, still looked like a greasy hole in the wall. Kevin had grown fond of the place, though. Referring to it as his office, he conducted those meetings there that required a certain degree of public exposure mixed with only a modicum of privacy. He’d chosen the spot for the food initially and had quickly adopted it as a regular haunt. Despite this, no one greeted him by name as he entered and left the biting air of the early November chill in the parking lot. The diner was warm inside, full of the aroma of food frying in grease. At least a half-dozen parties of three or four twentysomethings in nightclub attire were scattered among the booths and tables. His regular booth, the one at the far back corner, just on the fringe of the last overhead bulb’s halo of light, was unclaimed, he noted with a smile. Kevin took another moment to scan the diner’s patrons and confirm that his clients hadn’t arrived yet. He pivoted and swung down the row of booths running along the diner’s storefront of greasy picture windows. As he went, he sloughed his black leather jacket, a dark T-shirt with a stylish designer logo beneath. Though he could have melded into one of the packs of club goers in the diner with his age and good looks, he wasn’t here to socialize. He had a narrow face of mildly chiseled features decorated with a light dusting of freckles that went appropriately with the rusty copper color of his short hair. He was above average height at just under six feet, but his fit and trim frame was not particularly remarkable. A waitress, mopping the countertop with a rag, glanced up as he passed her. She made contact with his bright hazel gaze and a faint smile of passing recognition turned up the corners of her mouth. “The usual?” she asked, getting a nod and a smile in reply. Kevin dropped into his booth’s far side, his back to the wall, his face to the door, and slid into the corner. It was a good spot, behind the wall and out of the frame of the big window while still giving him an excellent line of sight into the parking lot and the establishment. Kevin scanned with intent while taking care to seem oblivious, just another late night customer out for a midnight snack. A nondescript sedan, gray, neither old nor new enough to be noteworthy, coasted to a halt outside. Three young men, cautious and patiently panning their gazes over every angle of surrounding night, sat in the car for a few long moments before dismounting and approaching the diner door. The waitress returned and slid Kevin’s order in front of him just as the trio filed through the front door. She turned and left the table while he raised an arm, brushed with a sleeve of freckles, and waved them over. In a moment’s pause of prudent appraisal, they sized Kevin up from the door before sliding down the row. They were dressed to slip under notice, plain jeans and plainer hooded sweatshirts, but that didn’t fool Kevin for a second. “You the guy?” the first, a deeply tanned Hispanic in his late twenties, asked with no discernable accent. “I am,” Kevin confirmed with a nod. “Have a seat.” “How’d you know it was us?” asked the second, a black man of the same age as the first, as the whole trio – rounded out with a smaller and younger Asian man for diversity – took the opposite side of the booth. “Lucky guess,” Kevin replied plainly. He lifted his steaming cup of black coffee and nursed a sip, careful to keep his eyes above the rim to watch the three of them. “You have something for me?” He set the cup beside the plate holding his so far untouched “Heartstopper” sandwich. The trio exchanged glances before the leader threw one back over his shoulder at the rest of the diner. Kevin didn’t have to look so obviously to know no one was paying them any mind. Satisfied, the leader nodded at the Asian at the end of the booth. He slipped an envelope from the papoose pocket of his sweatshirt, laid it on the table and slid it across. Kevin took the envelope and peeled it open in his lap, leafing through its stack of crisp twenty-dollar bills. He kept his poker face firmly in place as he did, lifting his head to nod to his clients in approval. He reached across the booth, stuffing the envelope into the inner pocket of his jacket and slipping out a coin-sized SD card. He slid it across the table the same way he’d received his payment. The Asian man took it, plugging it into a small tablet and scanning through it. “As promised,” Kevin said, his focus on the leader. “Truck routes, communications protocols and duty rosters for Allied Armored Couriers. Good until the end of the month.” The leader looked from Kevin as he finished, to the Asian, who had completed his scan and nodded. Kevin scooped up his mug and took another sip of his coffee, watching as the leader turned back to him. “How’d you get this?” Kevin smiled a thin smile that didn’t reach his eyes as he lowered the mug. He offered his hand across the table for a shake. “A pleasure doing business with you.” The leader’s eyes narrowed, but he clasped Kevin’s hand in a brief squeeze before he and his crew exited the booth. He watched them leave, as did the waitress, who glanced over at him and met his eyes. This time, his smile was a little warmer as he offered her a shrug and dropped his attention to his plate. *** The Heartstopper was an egg sandwich, in simplest terms. To be more exact, however, it was a heaping serving of scrambled whole eggs capped with a slice of full-fat American cheese and enclosed in two slices of grilled and buttery bread. It was decadently delicious and so worth the bloated feeling in Kevin’s gut as he left his booth, leaving cash, including a generous tip, on the table top and exited the diner. He mounted up the Mustang, kicking it to grumbling life, and swung out of the parking lot, aiming for home. Business for the night finished, it was late and, crucially, he had a very early and very important errand awaiting him in the morning. Blue and red strobes blazed through the Mustang’s rear windshield as the howl of a siren drowned out even the healthy rumble of his powerful engine. Kevin’s heart nearly stopped as his eyes flicked to the rearview mirror framing the police sedan rushing up on his bumper. “Fuck me,” he breathed, hands tightening around the wheel. For half a second, he considered running. Lean fingers coiled around the shifter, his dress boots settled over the pedals, and Kevin sketched out a plan for his flight for freedom. It started with a downshift and a ferocious bellow of acceleration but he had no idea where it went from there. Instead, he reminded himself he wasn’t carrying anything illegal, nor did he have any warrants out for him. At least, as far as he knew. Easing toward the first gap in the row of cars lining the curb, Kevin blinked as the patrol car blew past him. Before he had a chance to relax, crack a smile of relief, three more cops in roaring sedans, their emergency lights screaming their urgency, sirens wailing, blasted down the road. They were moving fast, fast enough that their passing rocked Kevin’s heavy car as they went. Kevin stared after them as they faded into the distance before whipping around the corner at the end of the next block. His hands squeezed the wheel tightly and his mind reached, pondering the possibilities. Slowly, his thin lips spread in a smile. Something big had happened. He had a pleasant influx of new business to look forward to. From CONCRETE SMILE, A novel, By BERNARD MAESTAS © BERNARD MAESTAS
Bernard Maestas

Author Bio:

Bernard Maestas lives in paradise. A police officer patrolling the mean streets of Hawaii, he has a background in contract security and military and civilian law enforcement. When not saving the world, one speeding ticket at a time, and not distracted by video games or the internet, he is usually hard at work on his next book.

Catch Up With Bernard Maestas on His Website, Twitter, or Facebook!

 

 

 

Book Blast Participants:

Tour Participants:

In February 2017 Bernard will be touring with his book Concrete Smile at these stops and more! Visit for reviews, interviews, guest posts, & more great giveaways!

Don't Miss This Snazzy Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Bernard Maestas. There will be 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Concrete Smile by Bernard Maestas. The giveaway begins on December 11th and runs through December 18th, 2016.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Friday, December 9, 2016

OF STILLNESS AND STORM



Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

"I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream---reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family's undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren's past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It's thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

My thoughts...

​I admire Lauren for her courage and ​diligence not to mention her outlook while living in a place that is far less than what she is used to. Her heart is set on fulfilling her purpose and though it is difficult she presses forward while trying to be a good mother to a teenage son who does not want to be there. This is an encouraging story of endurance and love. I enjoyed it very much.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Of Stillness and Storm Michele Phoenix

Monday, November 21, 2016

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR



For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year's Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols, and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.



Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.


My thoughts...

Ace Collins is one of my favorite authors and this book is a wonderful addition to my collection, filled with inspiration it brings joy to your heart as you learn more about the biblical meaning of Christmas. This one chapter a day devotional also has stories behind the popular carols which I enjoyed a lot, he has included gift ideas and recipes for Christmas goodies.

The book would be an excellent gift for anyone but especially those that enjoy Christmas more than any other holiday.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A RABBI LOOKS AT THE SUPERNATURAL



Dispelling the confusion, misinformation and doubt so prevalent today, Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis takes you on an adventure into the heart of the supernatural realm. He'll transport you beyond what you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell to uncover the biblical truth about things like angels and demons, miracles, heaven and hell, good and evil. And he will answer questions such as:

· Is there more to life than we know--a purpose and plan for our existence?
· Is there a supernatural realm of angels, demons, seers, prophets, spirits and the like--or is it all in our minds?
· If God is so powerful, how did the devil get so strong?
· If God is so good, why do bad things happen?
· If God is a healer, why are people still sick?
· Are heaven and hell real or imaginary? Where are they? Who goes where?

Above all, you will discover that you are uniquely wired to live a supernatural existence here and now--and that there is a faithful, loving God who longs for you to embrace with confidence His supernatural work in your own life.

My thoughts...

An interesting book that answers questions many of us have asked...are ghosts real? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do people not get healed from sickness and disease? These are answered and backed up scripturally. Also there are stories from people who have had out of body experiences and have gone to heaven or hell.

Perhaps the most interesting chapter I found is titled, "The Search For Meaning". We all have wondered what is the meaning of life and how do we find it?

These subjects are fascinating and Rabbi Jonathan Bernis discusses these and much more. This is a book I'm sure I'll refer to often.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

THE REMNANT



In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected. Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia.

Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps. Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community.

Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant’s grandparents.

What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn’t return? What if the survivors found themselves living in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where religion is forbidden and all religious texts have been destroyed?

In The Remnant, award-winning author Monte Wolverton tells the tale of a band of concentration camp escapees who trek through the lawless American wilderness on a quest for authentic Christianity, only to come face to face with an unthinkable dilemma.

The Remnant is a fast-paced story punctuated with dry satire, memorable characters and hard questions about religious institutions.

My thoughts...

An unusually interesting book which will leave you with very interesting questions. Steady paced and well written I read it in 2 days. Grant, Dana, & their two teens join with a few friends and plan to escape from a work camp where all religions are banned. The group experiences tough situtations, death, and more. It definitely made me cringe but at the same time I enjoyed the story.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book By Dr. David Jeremiah



Do you have questions in regard to spiritual warfare?

Trusted pastor and bestselling author Dr. David Jeremiah brings clarity to the complex topic of spiritual warfare. From his years of teaching on this subject, Pastor Jeremiah has selected answers to your pertinent questions concerning victory in the spiritual realm.

The Bible says God will ultimately be victorious and win the spiritual war. But it also says He has given every Christian promises and power to win our daily spiritual battles. The book includes 86 questions with answers such as: How does Satan imitate God? Are demons real? What protection does the shield of faith provide? How can I defend myself against a hostile world? How do I “put on” Christ?

My thoughts...

David Jeremiah has written another must read on spiritual warfare...something every christian needs to understand. His well explained guide is a book to hang on to. I like that he offers scripture to answer questions about this subject in an easy to understand way.

With over 200 pages of topics and scripture references this is a helpful resource. An excellent book.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

WAVES OF MERCY by Lynn Austin



Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

My thoughts...

Waiting for this novel was difficult for me...Lynn Austin writes the best fiction! The stories of Anna and Geesje are fantabulous...how I wish the book was twice as long so I could spend more time with these awesome characters. I still think about Geesje's experiences and the wisdom she had.

A wonderful story of what's really important in life. Very inspiring book!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

VOICELESS



Battling his own inner-demons, Jesse (Rusty Joiner: Last Ounce Of Courage, Dodgeball, “Days of Our Lives”) encounters a young, pregnant teen overcome with grief that, after an impulsive abortion, has her family blaming Jesse for more than just her final decision. Jesse’s wife Julia (Jocelyn Cruz: Strike One, This Is Our Time) must come to terms with her own choices and decide if she can support her husband as opposition mounts against him. Comedian Paul Rodriguez also stars as Virgil with James Russo as Pastor Gil.

My thoughts...

An emotionally powerful film filled with love and faith. Controversial, has a bit of violence which isn't unusual due to the subject matter. Good actors, true to life.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ALABAMA IRISH by James Russel Lingerfelt



Brian was raised on "the wrong side of the tracks" in inner-city Alabama. Now, at nineteen, with a troubled past and juvenile record, Brian struggles to earn a living and find a life purpose. When he journeys to New York on a chance trip, Brian meets and falls in love with Shannon; a bright eyed, aspiring actress from California.

Brian returns to Alabama stirred by Shannon's courage and passion for life. With a new zest and reason for living, Brian is determined to turn himself into a man worthy of her love. Unable to afford college, Brian discovers the Os Guinness Scholarship, which provides free tuition to Pepperdine University for Irish students who desire to train for Ireland's ministry. With some innovative thinking, Brian fakes his Irish citizenry, accepts the scholarship, and moves to Southern California to attend school and pursue Shannon.

However, when Brian visits Alabama, all the lies come crashing down and Brian comes face to face with a past he thought was finished. Now, Brian must make a choice: lose Shannon by spinning more lies and choosing vengeance in hopes of putting his past to rest. Or choose honesty and forgiveness and embrace a new life with the only woman he ever loved.

Alabama Irish will make us sit back and laugh, then lay the book down and cry. But in the end, we'll be reminded that no matter our pasts, the possibility to find true love again is never lost.

My thoughts...

I found this to be an empowering book, so well written, causing me to stop and think as I read. Taking readers inside a young man's life as he tries to find his place in this world the author totally captures this man's heart and his growth. Relationship, friendship, forgiveness, and the value of each is explored.

I highly recommend this book, you'll find yourself getting immersed in the story and totally captivated by the characters.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

VALLEY OF THE MOON



San Francisco, 1975. A single mother, Lux Lysander is overwhelmed, underpaid, and living on the edge of an emotional precipice. When her adored five-year-old son goes away to visit his grandparents, Lux takes a solo trip to Sonoma Valley—a chance to both lose herself and find herself again.

Awakened at midnight, Lux steps outside to see a fog settled over the Sonoma landscape. Wandering toward a point of light in the distance, she emerges into a meadow on a sunny day. There she meets a group of people whose sweetly simple clothing, speech, and manners almost make them seem as if they are from another time.

And then she realizes they are.

Lux has stumbled upon an idyllic community cut off not only from the rest of the world but from time itself. The residents of Greengage tell a stunned and disoriented Lux that they’ve somehow been marooned in the early twentieth century. Now that she has inexplicably stepped into the past, it is not long before Lux is drawn in by its peace and beauty.

Unlike the people of Greengage, Lux discovers that she is able to come and go. And over the years, Lux finds herself increasingly torn between her two lives. Her beloved son is very much a child of the modern world, but she feels continually pulled back to the only place she has ever truly felt at home.

A gorgeous, original, and deeply moving novel about love and longing and the power that time holds over all of us, Valley of the Moon is unforgettable.

My thoughts...

"Valley Of The Moon" is an interesting story of time travel, the story of Lux...a single mom of the sixties trying to make a decent living. She decides to go where her parents are and finds a commune whose citizens are living in the early 1900's. Good plot, however, it does tend to be a bit repetitive and somewhat slow paced but if you can get past that it's overall a good read.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

THE POWER OF PRESENCE



Neil Anderson has traveled the world speaking and teaching, and has written many books. Always at his side, supporting him, has been his wife, Joanne, his partner for over fifty years.

Now Joanne is gripped in a long decline, sinking gradually into agitated dementia. She depends on Neil's presence, even calling him Daddy. He has no training as a nurse, but now for long hours he sits at her bedside and cares for her every need. They do not speak much; conversation is a strain. So Neil has used the silent hours to pray, to spend time in God's presence, and to reflect on what this means.

"I have become keenly aware that God is using Joanne's illness to teach me about the power of presence. I'm learning on a much deeper level the purpose of just being there, and what it means to be still and know that He is God. There is an inexplicable peace that comes from knowing I don't have to 'do' in order to 'be' in God's will--to be in His presence--to be in each other's presence."

"It has been a peaceful time of reflection upon the presence of God, and how that has shaped me, our marriage, and ministry. My theology tells me that God is omnipresent, but we are not always aware of His presence, and yet without His presence we are not fully alive."

My thoughts...

The author shares his experiences in caring for his terminally ill wife and his time in the presence of God during these experiences. Even though we may suffer and grieve while on this earth God is always with us. Holding on to Him is what gets us through these times. I appreciate Anderson's story...the real story with the good and bad. He is an example to the rest of us.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

THE SECOND HALF by Lauraine Snelling



Mona and Ken Sorenson are approaching the best years of their lives. Mona's greatest concern is that Ken will learn of the surprise party she's planning for his retirement from his job as Dean of Students at Stone University. They've already been making plans to travel, spend limitless hours in the garden, and Ken is looking forward to working on his woodworking and fishing with his grandchildren. It's what they deserve after years of careful planning.

But things begin to unravel when Ken learns that office politics are about to destroy his department. Can he really just leave, abandoning the work he spent a lifetime achieving? Mona is eager to build her event planning business with Ken's help, but rather than supporting her, he expresses concern that the stress of the work will send her back into the depression she struggles with. Then, just days before Ken's last official day of work, their son, a Special Forces officer in the Army, learns he's being immediately deployed on a six-month mission in Pakistan. Since his wife left him, the only people he trusts to care for his two young children are his parents. In an instant, everything Ken and Mona spent their lives planning changes, and they will need to find strength, both physical and mental, to become parents once more. This is not the second half they wanted, and when their son fails to contact them as planned, they struggle to trust that it is God's plan, not theirs, that matters most.

My thoughts...

Lauraine Snelling knows how to tell a story...she has been a long time favorite author. I look forward to every new book. In THE SECOND HALF she writes about a couple nearing retirement with plans of travel and enjoying each other to the fullest when their son is deployed and they have grandchildren to raise.

Their lives change and what they thought would be their best years is anything but. I really enjoyed this novel, it's realistic, fast paced, and captivating.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

AZELEA'S DON'T BLOOM HERE



In a dark and dying world, Eugene Sulke stands on the cusp of his lifelong dream: a promotion, money, and a home in the affluent section of Old Chicago, called the Fortress, where he can watch the sun set over the azaleas. Only one thing stands in his way–his own fear that he is responsible for the terrible conditions his new home would wall him off from.

Caught in a web of intrigue and the warnings of his wife, Eugene could not see the unfolding chaos around him. Suddenly, his wife is dead, he’s in prison, and then subjected to the government’s final solution–a mind-altering technique that would change anyone from who they are to anyone they want them to be. A rescue is attempted, but Eugene’s own fears become his worst enemy..His friends must convince him to go to New America and face the shocking truth about what destroyed his world.

My thoughts...

2065. The world is dying except for the Fortress. Eugene has caused the catastrophe and is struggling with whether to join the Fortress or stay in the dying world. Things worsen and wow...you'd better hold on to your seat...this awesome novel will give you the chills. Can he trust the government or are they behind a plan to destroy those who won't go with the flow? Eugene realizes he can't trust anyone...at all.

What a fantastic read! Loved it!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Becoming a Woman of Excellence 30th Anniversary Edition



Society beckons us to succeed―to achieve excellence in our appearance, our earning power, our family life. God Himself also beckons us to be women of excellence. But what exactly is He asking? If you’re hungry for God’s perspective on success in a society that bombards you with conflicting demands, feed on the truths of God’s Word that you’ll discover in these pages. You will not only learn to “approve the things that are excellent” but will also experience the joy of becoming God’s woman of excellence. This bestselling topical Bible study has helped over one million women over the past 30 years, and is newly revised and updated so today’s women can discover who God designed them to be in this day and age. Written by Navigator author and Bible teacher Cynthia Heald, the 11 sessions in this Bible study explore what your identity in Christ is and how you can best serve Him.

My thoughts...

If you're wanting to deepen your relationship with God this book is a step in the right direction. Great for group or individual studies for women of all ages. Inside the pages of this study are memory verses, devotionals, and of course the questions for us to ponder. I found it an interesting study.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

DISTANT GOD: Why He Feels Far Away...And What We Can Do About It



There comes a time in every Christian’s life when God feels distant. This feeling can be confusing, discouraging, or even dangerous. Distant God meets us in the middle of this struggle. It helps us think rightly about what we’re experiencing and gives practical ways for drawing near to God. It answers questions like:

What does it mean that God is always with me?
What role do works (like devotion, confession, and repentance) have in all this?
How should I handle spiritual lows and seasons of doubt?
When we feel distant from God, we need voices of truth speaking into our lives. Drawing from the story of the prodigal son, Chris Nye takes us through various reasons why we may feel this way and offers encouragement along the way.

This is not a book of trite answers or easy solutions, but it offers specific ways of drawing near when God feels distant. It also includes stories of Christians throughout history who have faced this issue in similar ways.

Distant God is a biblical and pastoral answer to why God might feel far away and what we can (and cannot) do about it.

My thoughts...

Have you ever felt far away from God? Sure you have, we all have at one time or another. I enjoyed this book very much, they author explained why and what causes us to feel this way. Though difficult to remember that He is always near it's up to us to keep our focus on Him.

A few of the things I found encouraging are the disciplines we sometimes lose interest in...Nye tells us to preach to the choir! The key is...abiding in Him.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE INTERCESSOR'S HANDBOOK



Why don't I see more results when I pray?

In this important book, experienced intercessor Jennifer Eivaz offers a practical guide to effective supernatural prayer. Using biblical principles and her own experiences of spiritual breakthrough, Eivaz shows you how to shift your practical needs to the spiritual realm, take hold of your authority and pray in a way that actually makes a difference.

Practical and to the point, The Intercessors Handbook is full of helpful tools for beginners and seasoned intercessors alike. Learn to take your prayers to the places where the real battle is happening--and experience the victory and results you've been seeking.

My thoughts...

A much needed book in the church today...people struggle with prayer daily and the authors of this book have presented insight and a practical how to change your prayer life. There are testimonies that are encouraging...this would make an excellent training manual.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

FOREVER BEACH



One woman struggling to hold on to what she has.

One woman learning to forgive.

Their lives entwined by one little girl.

Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug addicted mother who abandoned her.

Having grown up in foster care, Ilona Cartwright fights for the rights of children who have no one to fight for them. But to Sarah she is Nonie Blanchard, who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward the past.

Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love.

My thoughts...

One would think by the books cover this is one of those great summer reads...well, it is a great read but not a cozy beach read. Shelley has not written her usual style but has given us a raw look at child abuse and neglect. Things that are very realistic...having worked with children who have suffered abuse at the hands of their parents, family members, etc., I can assure you the author has done her research. Not for the weak at heart but I wish everyone would read it and get involved in stopping abuse.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE SPIRIT CONTEMPORARY LIFE



How would your world change if you regularly experienced the miraculous? And what if this happened everywhere you went—in a way that attracted people to Jesus? It wouldn’t just make a difference in your world...it would make the world different.

It might sound too good to be true...but that’s the Spirit Contemporary life.

While working as a first responder in an ambulance, Leon Fontaine longed to see God’s power at work outside the four walls of the church. He learned through many life-changing experiences that we can all unlock the miraculous in a way that works anywhere—at home, in a hospital, at work—with anyone!

The Spirit Contemporary way of life involves communicating with others as Jesus would...using their language, stories, and settings. Leon draws on biblical truth and personal stories to reveal how this dynamic first-century faith can be yours when you live so in tune with God that you’re guided in ways that are both natural and supernatural.

My thoughts...

This book will change the way you live...it will wake up the church of Jesus. God is ready to use you regardless of where you are in your faith walk. The author presents examples from his life and church that prove Christians can experience the Spirit alive in them.

Very easy to read, inspiring & encouraging, it left me realizing how weak the church is because we are living without the power God has given us. Well worth reading & rereading!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Haven on Orchard Lane



Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career--only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte's estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she's happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions--ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

My thoughts...

A story of a once famous actress that left the fame and fortune to marry the man of her life. All was well until aher husband suffers a financial crisis...Charlotte gives her love her entire fortune. What happens next is an intriguing tale of a woman trying to escape being a prisoner in her own home...after her husband has control of her finances he becomes a different man. What Charlotte goes through is terrible but she emerges victoriously. Great characters, great setting, a really good book.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

SEA ROSE LANE



Two people starting over . . . in a town known for second chances

After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to Hope Harbor--only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed and breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he's constantly distracted by noise, chaos--and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect who's invaded the house with her motley crew. As for BJ, her client's son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn't high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces for to help Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

Come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms

My thoughts...

Hope Harbor is a delightfully charming seaside town that the author depicts in such a way you want to be there! This book has really good true to life characters dealing with many issues. The main characters are Eric and BJ whose meeting begins with a bang. It's a sweet light romance that anyone will enjoy.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE GREAT CARP ESCAPE



Based on a true story, Maddock shares an inspirational fish “tail” of love and discovery for all of God's creation. Abandoned by her mother at age four and raised by a working father, Maddock was left to care for her one year old brother. Her book, a quiet allegory of the Gospel of Jesus, is a celebration of God’s redeeming love in her life.

First released in Canada, The Great Carp Escape has garnered 10 literary award placements. Maddock hopes to spread her message of positive values to children through knowledge and discovery.

“Acceptance of all of God's creatures is beautifully portrayed in this delightful story!” - Henry K. Ripplinger, Bestselling Author

Maddock has been a newspaper columnist, been featured in Reader’s Digest, and on broadcasts including: 100 Huntley Street, CHBC Television, and CBC Radio.

Her children’s title, The Great Carp Escape, is available as a fundraiser for schools, churches, charities and ministries in need and has already raised over $1000 for such causes. As a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Independent Book Publishers Association, Inscribe, and The World Guild, Maddock would like to continue to do something about those ideas that get downloaded into her brain at 2AM.

My thoughts...

We all know a carp is not a beautiful fish...neither are they fit to be eaten. The author has taken the least desirable and woven a tale that is wonderful for teaching children that we are to love and care for all God's children...no matter what they look like. This book is delightful, beautifully written, and illustrated. It isn't just for children, I think it would be good for adults as well to take us back to what God's love is all about. This story would make a great film. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

SPOTLIGHT "BLOOD SYMETRY"



Clare Riordan and her son, Mikey, are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a container of Clare's blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of London.

Psychologist Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatized child uncover his memories, with the hope that it might lead the authorities to his mother's captors. But Alice swiftly realizes Clare is not the first victim… nor will she be the last.

The killers are desperate for revenge… and in the end, it will all come down to blood.

Book Details:

Genre: Thrillers, Crime
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 1444785605 (ISBN13: 9781444785609)
Series: Alice Quentin #5
Purchase Links: Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Symmetry-Alice-Quentin-Rhodes/dp/0062444085
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-symmetry-kate-rhodes/1122821907?ean=9780062444080
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27246452-blood-symmetry

Author Bio:
Kate RhodesKate Rhodes is the author of four previous Alice Quentin novels, Crossbones Yard, A Killing of Angels, and The Winter Foundlings. She is also the author of two collections of poetry, Reversal and The Alice Trap. She writes full-time now, and lives in Cambridge with her husband, a writer and film-maker.

Catch Up:
Kate Rhodes's website http://katerhodes.org/Kate_Rhodes/home.html
Kate Rhodes's twitter https://twitter.com/K_RhodesWriter
Kate Rhodes's facebook https://www.facebook.com/katerhodeswriter

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

LIKE A RIVER FROM ITS COURSE



The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

My thoughts...

Learn intimate details about people during WWII, the author must have spent years researching for this book. It's fabulous. I plan to read it again. The people we meet have stories to tell and those stories are raw...they will tug at your heart. The events were horrific...at times I had to put the book down and just thank God that I am so blessed. Reading this novel has left an impression on my heart that won't go away.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

DWELLING PLACES ~ A Devotional



Do you long for serenity and refuge, peace and hope? Are you seeking a deeper spiritual life through a closer relationship with God?

If you're tired of dwelling in busyness and noise, then perhaps one word a day can change your life. Award-winning author Lucinda Secrest McDowell knows that if you spend time each day turning to God's Word for wisdom and guidance, your faith can flourish and grow.

Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word---such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace---to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

These "dwelling places" that offer the joy of God's promise and presence cover four seasons: fall, Advent, Lent, and summer. Whether in the midst of busy holiday schedules, holy days, ordinary moments, or changing seasons, a deeper faith can be as simple as a single word.

My thoughts...

I have fallen in love with this devotional...what a wonderful refreshing way to start your morning. It left me feeling loved by God and gave me thoughts to meditate on throughout the day that just seemed to be what I needed. God definitely speaks through these lovely words. DWELLING PLACES is encouraging and a blessing, a rejuvenating summer devotional. I'm looking forward to the other three seasons in the book.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Murder Mezzo Forte



He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations, she a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they're probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs. Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.

Can this ill-matched pair's stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college's incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse . . .

My thoughts...

Preston and Mara are at it again in this murder mystery that also has a bit of light romance and some humor that definitely brings a smile to your face. This is a good read and is the second book in the series which I would highly recommend. Preston has auditory hallucinations (musical) and though it could become an interference in the story this one didn't. He is witty and fun. Love these characters.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

THE JUNGLE WITHIN by Charles M



When Evan and Katie said “I do”, they expected to navigate life together side-by-side. But when a car accident and a tawdry affair disrupt life as they know it, Evan and Katie are forced to venture on alternate paths, alone.
In the darkest depths of an unforgiving coma, Evan fights to survive the treacherous jungle of his mind. He embarks on a spiritual journey to understand the meaning of life and the beauty of death…forcing him to face his deepest fear.
Meanwhile, Katie ventures through her own guilt. On a strenuous moral journey, she juggles the consequences of infidelity and the strain of caring for her unresponsive husband.
But are their paths truly separate? Or are they simply on parallel journeys that are destined to converge?

My thoughts...

A wife's infidelity and how each deal with it. Got this book on a Friday and finished it Sunday, it's so good. Like the characters and their development throughout. Captivating...compelling... I've been pondering since I finished it. Very well written with vivid descriptions, the desperation in the characters I could feel. Thoroughly enjoyable!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

THE SPACE BETWEEN SISTERS



Return to Butternut Lake with New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear in a story where the complicated bonds of sisterhood are tested, long-kept secrets are revealed, and love is discovered…all during one unforgettable summer at the lake.

They are two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Win organized and responsible, plans her life with care. Poppy impulsive and undependable, leaves others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, thirteen years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has taken refuge on Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life.

Then, one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on her sister’s doorstep with her suitcases, an aging cat named Sasquatch, and a mysterious man in tow. Although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. At first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict, and painful memories and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart.

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before…all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.

My thoughts...

What a great beach read! I've kept up with this family & others at Butternut Lake and have enjoyed each one thoroughly. This is a story about two sisters...one laid back the other completely opposite. Having grown apart over the years they end up at the family cabin where they empty themselves of all the hurts and pain that have accumulated. Their story is one of emptying, healing, and filling. Along with the bonding they experience romance which makes this an enjoyable read.

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing, this is my honest review.

Friday, June 10, 2016

MY FATHER'S HOUSE



Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant --- her father's love. But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily's struggle to find herself and the life she's lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband's sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices --- abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman's compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she's meant to be . . . in her father's house.

My thoughts...

What an incredibly powerful novel, so well written I felt as though I was there with Lily...a woman that married an abusive man and her journey in life. When her father died she was swept off her feet by a man who promised her the moon. What she got was far from it. The story tells how Lily escaped from that life. I thought she was very immature and didn't wise up with all she'd been through but it really was a good read, fast paced and had a happy ending.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Rose Chandler Johnson is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. My Father’s House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

Purchase your copy here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Student Bodies by Susan Israel

Student Bodies

by Susan Israel

on Tour June 1-30, 2016

Synopsis:

Student Bodies by Susan IsraelDelilah Price is still dealing with the consequences of her recent abduction, but she needs to keep her life on track. In order to survive as an artist in New York City, she has started working as a substitute teacher, which leaves her navigating between two worlds that are foreign to her – students and educators.

Detective Patrick Quick has taken up a big place in Delilah's life. That is, when he isn't consumed by a case. And right now the case that is taking Quick away from Delilah involves a serial rapist and is striking very close to home.

On her way to her first day of work, Delilah witnesses a young girl falling in front of a subway train – or was she pushed? The victim turns out to have been a student at the middle school where Delilah has been assigned to teach and the teacher she is subbing for is a missing person herself. As Delilah gets to know her students and befriends a teacher on staff, she realizes that many have been hiding dark secrets that suggest abuse and worse. And when yet another girl who has hinted strongly that she was abused is a no show to class, Delilah stops counting on police help and follows leads on her own. Putting a dangerous predator on her trail.

The dramatic follow-up to Susan Israel's debut suspense novel, Over My Live Body, Student Bodies is a novel rippling with tension and twists.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Published by: The Story Plant Publication Date: May 31, 2016 Number of Pages: 230 ISBN: 9781611882278 Series: Connected to Over My Live Body by Susan Israel Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

There never seems to be a train lighting up the tunnel when you need one in a hurry, but today one is there and the doors close just as the red message at the turnstile commands me to swipe my MetroCard through again. And again. Damn! I drop my MetroCard and get shoved by someone behind me. I turn around to give whoever it is a dirty look and see a dark-haired young girl wearing a pleated white dress. Late for her confirmation or something like that, I’m thinking. How long is that dress going to stay pristine down here? She looks dazed. I pick up my MetroCard and get through the turnstile on the next swipe, then step out of her way. She swipes hers, too, her hand shaking.

I head for the public phone to my right to call the school I’m supposed to be at to say I’m running a little late. Nobody answers. I’ll apologize profusely when I get there. When I turn back toward the platform, the girl is on her knees, her head bowed. She must really be late if it’s come to this. I’ve never seen anyone kneeling on a subway platform before. She closes her eyes. Commuters make a part around her. A street person starts singing “The Greatest Love Of All” in front of the newsstand, palm extended, asking for handouts. Commuters make a part around him too. They’re just obstacles, like the red, white and blue poles along the length of the platform. I turn back to look at the girl. Behind me I get a whiff of cheap cologne. The same cologne I smelled in Sachi’s bedroom. I whirl around. Anyone here could be wearing that cologne. And a lot of it too. I’m at a disadvantage. I don’t know who I’m looking for. Who here would be Sachi’s type? Do I know Sachi’s type?

I go over to the newsstand to get a bag of M & Ms, sniffling so much from the cologne that the news-vendor gestures to a pile of pocket tissues. “You got a cold? You want these too, miss?” I shake my head. My feet sense the vibration of the approaching train first and I start dropping change in my hurry to pay the vendor before I miss this train too. A scream punctuates the approach of the train. Trains don’t make noise like this. I whirl around and see a man with his hands extended in front of him. I can’t tell if he’s been grabbing at something or pushing something. The girl in the white dress literally flies in front of the train as it hisses to a stop. I cover my eyes for a split second and then force myself to look around me. A crowd forms around where the girl was kneeling just moments ago. More people scream. A couple of people lean over the platform and gag. I turn away again. I don’t want to believe what I think just happened actually happened.

“She jumped.”

“She was trying to get away from that person who grabbed her elbow.”

“It looked to me like he was trying to keep her from jumping.”

“It looked to me like he pushed her toward it.”

“Well, she’s gone anyway.”

“Call nine-one-one, someone, hurry!”

All of these accounts turn out to be soliloquies because nobody’s here to question these people, not yet. I take several deep breaths. I’ve lost the urge to sneeze. Whoever was wearing that cologne is gone. I take a good look at the faces on the platform. Quite a few of them have a distinct greenish tinge, blending well with the mosaics of beavers on the subway wall. I imagine mine must look that way too. I hear the squawk of police radios on the stairway. Suddenly blue uniforms swarm the platform and start buzzing orders. “Okay, everybody, stay back, give the EMS guys a chance to get through.”

“She’s beyond EMS,” one onlooker says.

“You a doctor, sir?”

“Uh, no…”

“Well then, stand back with everyone else and let someone qualified make that determination.”

A few people back up toward the turnstiles. Another officer stops them. “No one’s going nowhere just yet. We got a report this girl was pushed.”

“She wasn’t pushed. Looked to me like she was trying to get away from somebody and lost her footing.”

“That ain’t all she lost.”

“People, I’m going to have to ask you to stay over there by the newsstand out of our way till somebody asks you some questions about what happened here.”

A man standing next to me clears his throat. “I didn’t see anything, can I go?”

“No one’s going nowhere,” the officer snaps.

“Candy, gum, magazines,” the newsstand vendor chants in a heavily accented voice. “Get something to pass the time.”

“We want to talk to you too,” the officer says to the vendor.

I can’t see beyond the wall of blue lined up along the platform. I realize I still have the bag of M & Ms clutched in my hand. I’ve lost my craving for them and it’s so hot on the platform that I’m sure they’ll have melted before I leave. I look around for a trash can to throw them in and see more scuffed shoes descending the stairs. Then I see someone that makes my hand squish the life out of that bag of M & Ms altogether.

“Delilah,” Quick says as he starts toward me. “Did you see anything?” I have a distinct feeling just from the tone of his voice that he would rather I didn’t see anything.

It may be more a question of what I smelled. I shake my head. “I’m not sure. I don’t know if what I noticed would be very helpful.”

“Try me,” he says. Under other circumstances there is nothing I’d rather do. “Wait here. I’ll want to talk to you at the station.”

“I have to wait here?”

He nods. “Afraid so.” He mumbles a few asides to a uniformed cop to his right and then turns back to me. “I can’t say how long we’ll be. We’ve got to talk to a lot of witnesses.” He looks around. “As you can see. We want to talk to anyone who’s handicapped and elderly first, so they can go. We don’t want anyone having heat stroke down here.”

Another detective saunters up to him. “Girl did an Anna Karenina, from what I understand.”

Where did he come up with that? I wonder if an all points bulletin is going to be posted for someone named Vronsky. The uniforms start beckoning potential witnesses away from the platform, toward the benches against the wall and through the turnstiles. A detective sidles up to the newsstand behind me. A baby begins to wail loudly. “I got to nurse,” his mother protests, pulling at one of the policeman’s sleeve with her free hand.

He whirls around. “Hey, don’t do that.”

“I got to nurse. My baby hungry.”

“Sit over there,” he points to the row of benches behind me, next to the newsstand.

I look over at the pay phone, thinking I better call the school to say I’m not going to be able to make it, period, that they’re going to need a substitute for this substitute, and probably call Heidi Obermeyer, too, to tell her to get another model, but the line is longer than the line to cash checks in banks the first of the month. I hate doing a no-show but expect everybody will understand. At least I hope they will. The girl on the tracks is never going to show up for anything again. I’m beginning to smell vomit. I don’t know how long it takes for a dead body to start to smell and I don’t want to find out. I look over at Quick who’s deep in conversation with yet another witness. How can he stand this, dealing with death all the time? I start to walk farther down the platform, as far away from the mayhem as I can, until I can’t go any further.

“Miss, where you going?” someone calls out. I ignore him.

Then, “Delilah!”

I reel around. Quick waves me back and points to the congregation of witnesses clustered around the newsstand. “I need air,” I whisper to him, clutching my stomach. “I feel like I’m going to be sick.”

“Okay, hold on, I’ll get someone to escort you.” I wish I could hold on to him, witnesses be damned. “I want to talk to you at the house, not here. I’ll be there as soon as I’m finished up here.” He keeps watch on me as he takes a uniformed officer aside and then says something to him I can’t hear and gestures for me to go with him. I’d gladly follow someone into a cell as long as it meant getting away from this. But I’d rather it be Quick.

 

Author Bio:

Susan IsraelSusan Israel lives in Connecticut with her beloved dog, but New York City lives in her heart and mind. Her first novel, OVER MY LIVE BODY, was published by The Story Plant in 2014. A graduate of Yale College, her fiction has been published in Other Voices, Hawaii Review and Vignette, and she has written for magazines, websites and newspapers, including Glamour, Girls Life, Ladies Home Journal and The Washington Post. She’s currently at work on the third book in the Delilah Price series.

Catch Up: Susan Israel's twitter Susan Israel's facebook

 
 

Tour Participants:

Don't Miss Your Chance to Win :

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Israel and The Story Plant. There will be 3 US winners. There will be THREE (3) winners for this tour. Each winner will receive one copy of Student Bodies by Susan Israel. US Residents may have their choice of eBook or Physical and worldwide winners will receive an eBook copy. The giveaway begins on June 1st and runs through June 30th, 2016.
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My thoughts...

Substitute teacher Delilah has a man in her life whose time isn't being spent with her and she decides to do something about it. When people start disappearing she does her own investigation which leads her into an exciting but very suspenseful adventure. Those around her have been hiding dark secrets...secrets that could get Delilah into trouble, but that doesn't stop her. I like the fast pace of this novel as well as the great characters & especially liked the ending! Keep them coming Susan!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Killer Nashville Writer's Conference Scholarships

Writers who want to attend the The Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference but who may not have the financial means to go can enter to win The Lisa Jackson Scholarship (deadline July 1) or The Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship (Deadline July 31). Winners will receive funds towards registration, breakout sessions, writing critique sessions, and lodging.

The Lisa Jackson Scholarship: The Lisa Jackson Scholarship is designed to help someone who is struggling financially attend The Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. Funds will be awarded to authors who demonstrate need in an essay format. The money will be used to pay for attendance to the conference, breakout sessions, a critique, and lodging on a case-needed basis. Write a 500-word essay that illustrates your financial need and why you want to attend the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. Scholarships will be awarded by July 31, 2016. The conference is August 18-21, 2016 and is being held at the Embassy Suites Nashville South Cool Springs. Deadline: July 1, 2016. For entry details, see here.

The Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship: The Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship is designed to help someone who is struggling financially attend The Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. Funds will be awarded to authors who demonstrate need in an essay format. The money will be used to pay for attendance to the conference, breakout sessions, a critique, and lodging on a case-needed basis. Write a 500-word essay that illustrates your financial need and why you want to attend the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. The conference is August 18-21, 2016 and is being held at the Embassy Suites Nashville South Cool Springs. Deadline: July 31, 2016. For entry details and prizes, see here.

The Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference was founded in 2006 by writer and filmmaker Clay Stafford as a trademarked charitable production of American Blackguard, Inc. With 500 participants every year, it has developed a reputation as a leading advocate for writers and readers of all genres. The next conference will be held August 18-21, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Join Denise Hunter for ‘The Convenient Groom’ Pre-Premiere Facebook Party

convenient groom - fb event 

Exciting news for fans of Denise Hunter's stories: Her book The Convenient Groom is making its silver screen premiere as a Hallmark Channel Original Movie! Join Denise and other readers on Facebook on June 16th for a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Denise will be chatting about the book, answering your questions about the book-to-movie process, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too: a $100 Amazon gift card and 25 signed copies of Denise's newest book, The Goodbye Bride!

The movie releases two days after the author chat party on Saturday, June 18th, 9 EDT/8 CDT. Click here for details and to find out more about the movie.

Get your copy of The Convenient Groom so you're ready for a fun book discussion. You can order your copy and find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on June 16 for Denise's The Convenient Groom Pre-Premiere Facebook Party!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Life Verse Creative Journal set



My thoughts...

This two-pack of beautiful journals (64 pages each) measures 7.25 x 5.8 x 0.55 and are the perfect size to fit into your bag, bible, or planner. There are fifteen verses highlighted with not only text but journaling prompts as well in one journal. Beautiful illustrations that allow you to use your creativity and let God's Word seep into your heart. The second journal is blank, fill the pages with your artwork, your daily thoughts or feelings, whatever you decide you won't be disappointed in these wonderful books.

I received a copy of this book free from B&H Publishers in exchange for an honest review.