Lying Next to Me Author: Gregg Olsen Publication Date: May 21, 2019 Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Description: No matter what you see, no matter what you’ve heard, assume nothing.
Adam and Sophie Warner and their three-year-old daughter are vacationing in Washington State’s Hood Canal for Memorial Day weekend. It’s the perfect getaway to unplug—and to calm an uneasy marriage. But on Adam’s first day out on the water, he sees Sophie abducted by a stranger. A hundred yards from shore, Adam can’t save her. And Sophie disappears.
In a nearby cabin is another couple, Kristen and Connor Moss. Unfortunately, beyond what they’ve heard in the news, they’re in the dark when it comes to Sophie’s disappearance. For Adam, at least there’s comfort in knowing that Mason County detective Lee Husemann is an old friend of his. She’ll do everything she can to help. She must.
But as Adam’s paranoia about his missing wife escalates, Lee puts together the pieces of a puzzle. The lives of the two couples are converging in unpredictable ways, and the picture is unsettling. Lee suspects that not everyone is telling the truth about what they know—or they have yet to reveal all the lies they’ve hidden from the strangers they married.
Praise for GREGG OLSEN'S NOVELS:
“Gregg Olsen's Envy is a riveting page-turner that I could not put down. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, Envyexplores a serious topic--cyberbullying--in a fantastic, well-crafted story. Can't wait for the next Empty Coffinnovel!” ―Nancy Holder, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked saga, Dear Bully contributor
“Gregg Olsen's Envy offers an interesting view on the devastating effects bullying can have, not only on the individuals involved from both sides, but on the community at large.” ―Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine trilogy
"Sure to spice up your reading repertoire!" ―GirlsLife.com
"Olsen's characters jump to life and his plots are so intricate you never see the killer coming….a definite hit!" ―RT Book Reviews
“Dark and addictive…” ―Jordan Dane, critically acclaimed author of In the Arms of Stone Angels
“Olsen writes with authority, drawing inspiration from actual headlines and crime…” ―Publishers Weekly
"WICKEDLY CLEVER! TWISTED." ―Lisa Gardner
"OLSEN WRITES RAPID-FIRE PAGE-TURNERS."―The Seattle Times
"GRABS YOU BY THE THROAT."―Kay Hooper
You can purchase Lying Next to Me at the following Retailers:
Photo Content from Gregg Olsen
Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.
The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.
In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People, Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.
The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.
Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
The Naming Game (The Company Files: 2) Author: Gabriel Valjan Genre: Historical Mystery/Crime Fiction Publication Date: May 4, 2019 Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Purchase Links:Amazon | Goodreads Synopsis: Whether it's Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name.
The right name.
When Charlie Loew is found murdered in a seedy flophouse with a cryptic list inside the dead script-fixer's handkerchief, Jack Marshall sends Walker undercover as a screenwriter at a major studio and Leslie as a secretary to Dr. Phillip Ernest, shrink to the stars. J. Edgar Hoover has his own list.
Blacklisted writers and studio politics. Ruthless gangsters and Chief Parker's LAPD. Paranoia, suspicions, and divided loyalties begin to blur when the House Un-American Activities Committee insists that everyone play the naming game.
Praise for The Naming Game: "With crackling dialogue and a page turning plot shot-through with authentic period detail, Gabriel Valjan pulls the reader into the hidden world of the 1950's Hollywood studio scene, involving murder, McCarthyism and mayhem." ~ James L'Etoile, author of At What Cost and Bury the Past
"Terrific historical noir as Gabriel Valjan takes us on a trip through post-war Hollywood involving scandal, McCarthyism, blacklisting, J. Edgar Hoover and, of course, murder. Compelling story, compelling characters - and all the famous name dropping is great fun. Highly recommended!" ~ R.G. Belsky, author of the Clare Carlson Mystery Series
"Brilliantly written, Gabriel Valjan's The Naming Game whisks the reader back in time to postwar Los Angeles. Spies, Communism, and Hollywood converge in a first-rate thriller." ~ Bruce Robert Coffin, Agatha Award nominated author of Beyond the Truth
At seven minutes past the hour while reviewing the classified documents at his desk, one of the two colored phones, the beige one, rang. He placed the receiver next to his ear, closed the folder, and waited for the caller's voice to speak first. "Is this Jack Marshall?" "It is." "This is William Parker. Is the line secure?" "It is," Jack replied, his hand opening a desk cabinet and flipping the ON switch to start recording the conversation. "I don't know you Mr. Marshall and I presume you don't know me." A pause. "I know of you, Chief Parker." "Were you expecting my call?" "No and it doesn't matter." Jack lied. "Fact of the matter, Mr. Marshall, is an individual, whom I need not name, has suggested I contact you about a sensitive matter. He said matter of security so I listened." "Of course. I'm listening." "I was instructed to give you an address and have my man at the scene allow you to do whatever it is that you need to do when you arrive there." "Pencil and paper are ready. The address, please." Jack wrote out the address; it was in town, low rent section with the usual rooming houses, cheap bars, about a fifteen-minute drive on Highway 1 without traffic. "Ask for Detective Brown. You won't miss him. Don't like it that someone steps in and tells me how to mind my own city, but I have no choice in the matter." Jack ignored the man's defensive tone. He knew Detective Brown was a dummy name, like Jones or Smith on a hotel ledger. Plain, unimaginative, but it would do. Most policemen, he conceded, were neither bright nor fully screwed into the socket. A chief was no different except he had more current in him. The chief of police who ruled Los Angeles by day with his cop-syndicate the way Mickey Cohen owned the night must've swallowed his pride when he dropped that nickel to make this call. "Thank you, Chief Parker." Jack hung up and flipped the switch to OFF. Whatever it was at the scene waiting for Jack was sufficient cause to pull back a man like Bill Parker and his boys for twelve hours. Whoever gave this order had enough juice to rein in the LAPD. Jack took the folder he was reviewing and walked it across the room. He opened the folder once more and reread the phrases 'malicious international spy' and, in Ronald Reagan's own choice of words, 'Asia's Mata Hari', before closing the cover and placing it inside the safe. His review will have to wait. He put on his holster and grabbed a jacket. Betty came out on the porch as he was putting the key into the car door. "I won't be long. Please kiss the children good night for me." "Can't this wait, Jack? The children were expecting you to read to them tonight. Jack Junior set aside the book and you know Elizabeth will be crushed." "It can't wait. I'm sorry. Tell them I'll make it up to them." "You need to look them in the face when you tell them sorry." He opened the door as his decision. She understood she dealt him the low card. "Want something for the road?" "No thanks. I'll see you soon." He closed the door with finesse. He couldn't help it if the children heard the car. He checked the mirror and saw her on the porch, still standing there, still disappointed and patient, as he drove off. Detective Brown, sole man on the scene, walked him over to the body without introducing himself. Jack didn't give his name. At six-fifteen the vet renting a room down the hall discovered the body. Detective Brown said the veteran was probably a hired hound doing a bag job - break-ins, surveillance, and the like. Recent veterans made the best candidates for that kind of work for Hoover, Jack thought. Worked cheap and they went the extra mile without Hoover's agents having to worry about technicalities like a citizen's rights going to law. "What makes you think he was hired out?" Jack asked. Brown, a man of few words, handed Jack his notebook, flipped over to the open page he marked Witness Statement and said politely, "Please read it. Words and writing are from the witness himself." "The man was a no good 'commonist'." "Nice spelling. A suspect?" "No, sir. The coroner places the death around early afternoon, about 2ish. Our patriot was across the street drinking his lunch. I verified it." Jack viewed the body. The man was fully dressed wearing a light weave gabardine suit costing at least twenty-five. The hardly scuffed oxfords had to cost as much as the suit, and the shirt and tie, both silk, put the entire ensemble near a hundred. Hardly class consciousness for an alleged Communist, Jack thought. The corpse lying on his side reminded Jack of the children sleeping, minus the red pool seeping into the rug under the right ear. The dead man wore a small sapphire ring on his small finger, left hand. No wedding band. Nice watch on the wrist, face turned in. An odd way to read time. Breast pocket contained a cigarette case with expensive cigarettes, Egyptian. Jack recognized the brand from his work in the Far East. Ten cents a cigarette is nice discretionary income. Wallet in other breast pocket held fifty dollars, various denominations. Ruled out robbery or staging it. Identification card said Charles Loew, Warner Brothers. Another card: Screen Writers Guild, signed by Mary McCall, Jr. President. Back of card presented a pencil scrawl. "Find a lighter or book of matches?" Detective Brown shook his head. Jack patted the breast pockets again and the man's jacket's side-pockets. Some loose change, but nothing else. The man was unarmed, except for a nice pen. Much as he disliked the idea Jack put his hands into the man's front pockets. Nothing. He found a book of matches in the left rear pocket, black with gold telltale lettering, Trocadero on Sunset. Jack flipped the matchbook open and as he suspected, found a telephone number written in silver ink; different ink than the man's own pen. Other back pocket contained a handkerchief square Jack found interesting, as did Detective Brown. "What's that?" he asked, head peering over for a better look. "Not sure," answered Jack, unfolding the several-times folded piece of paper hidden inside the hanky. The unfolded paper revealed a bunch of typewritten names that had bled out onto other parts of the paper. It must have been folded while the ink was still wet. It didn't help someone spilt something on the paper. Smelled faintly of recent whiskey. Jack reviewed what he thought were names when he realized the letters were nonsense words. "Might be a Commie membership list. Looks like code." But Brown zipped it when Jack folded the paper back up and put it into his pocket. "The paper and the matches stay with me. We clear?" "Uh, yes sir. The Chief told me himself to do whatever you said and not ask questions." "Good. Other than the coroner - who else was here? Photographers, fingerprints?" "Nobody else. Medical pronounced him dead, but nothing more. Chief had them called off to another scene - a multiple homicide, few blocks away. We're short-staffed tonight. The Chief said he'd send Homicide after you leave. They'll process the scene however you leave it. They won't know about the matches or the paper. Chief's orders." Jack checked his watch. Man down, found at six fifteen. Chief called a little after seven. He arrived not much later than seven forty. The busy bodies would get the stiff by eight or eight thirty, the latest. Perfectly reasonable Jack thought. He squatted down to see the man's watch, noticing light bruising on the wrist and the throw rug bunched into a small hill near the man's time hand. Intriguing. "Thank you, Detective. I'll be going now. If I speak to the chief I'll let him know you've done your job to the letter." "You're welcome. Night." Jack knew he and the chief would be speaking again. Outside on the street, Jack pulled out his handkerchief and wiped both hands for any traces of dead man as he headed for the parked car. Compulsive habit. He pulled up the collar on his jacket. It was cold for late May. The street sign said he was not far from Broadway. In this part of town thousands lived crowded in on themselves as lodgers in dilapidated Gothic mansions or residence hotels, working the downtown stores, factories, and offices, riding public transit and the other funicular railway in the area, Court Flight, a two-track railway climb towards Hill Street. Los Angeles changed with the world. The war was over and there was a new war, possibly domestic, definitely foreign. Court Flight is gone, ceased operations. Its owner and his faithful cat had passed on. His good widow tried. In '43 a careless brush fire destroyed the tracks and the Board of Public Utilities signed the death warrant; and now Jack was hearing whispers Mayor Bowron planned to revitalize the area International Style, which meant dotting the desert city with skyscrapers. Jack opened the door and sat behind the wheel a moment. He took the family once to nearby Angels Flight. Junior wondered why there was no apostrophe on the sign. Betty tolerated the excursion, indifferent to Los Angeles because she preferred their home in DC. He released the clutch. Betty disliked LA because it changed too much without reason. She might have had a point. He shifted gear. Pueblo city would level whole blocks of thriving masses just to create a parking lot. He pulled the car from the curb. *** Excerpt from The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2019 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabriel Valjan is the author of two series, The Roma Series and The Company Files, available from Winter Goose Publishing. His short stories have appeared in Level Best anthologies and other publications. Twice shortlisted for the Fish Prize in Ireland, once for the Bridport Prize in England, and an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest, he is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime National, a local member of Sisters in Crime New England, and an attendee of Bouchercon, Crime Bake, and Malice Domestic conferences. Catch Up With Gabriel On:gabrielvaljan.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!Tour Participants:Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 22, 2019 and runs through June 24, 2019. Void where prohibited.
Dry Bones: The Valley (Long Live Dead Reckless #3) Author: Safari Spell Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance Publication Date: June 18, 2019
In the third novel in the LONG LIVE DEAD RECKLESS series, Talor must find a way to remember what everyone wants her to forget…or lose herself forever.
As a Grigori Princess, Talor has everything most women could ever want: love, eternal beauty, wealth, and power. Supernatural servants bend to her every will and no material desire is denied her, but that rose-colored reality begins to crack when she hears a mysterious voice speaking through music.
After a violent encounter with a sinister figure in the countryside, her husband Rami turns cold and possessive, blaming her for the growing storm between the Grigori and the Dissent. Confused and heartbroken, Talor soon becomes less like a princess and more like a prisoner in her own home.
But as the list of enemies seeking to abduct her from the Valley grows, she begins to wonder what it is they know that she doesn’t. When she is faced with an unthinkable choice, she must be braver than she ever thought possible if she is to discover the shocking truth that will change everything.
Safari Spell is a native of Albany, Georgia. Author of the Long Live Dead Reckless series, she has a BA in Journalism from Valdosta State University. She currently lives in North Georgia with her husband, two children, and a backyard jungle harboring all the dinosaurs everyone thinks are extinct. Her dreams include chasing autumn around the globe and having a wallaby sidekick.
I am so excited that TAKEN BY THE PHANTOM by Isabella King is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Isabella King, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card and also this framable art of Phantom of the Opera, International, courtesy of Tempest Books and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
TAKEN BY THE PHANTOM (The Phantom of the Academy #1)
I’ve never felt at home at Juilliard. My stagefright always makes me choke when I’m under the spotlight, something my classmates enjoy watching. But when I’m dragged into a new world—where singing is more than a talent, it’s magic—I can’t hide my voice anymore. This new power is tempting, but terrifying forces swirl around the kingdom of Cantus.
Missing girls, rivals at my new academy, Rebels, demons slaying people in the street—and it all leads back to him.
The mysterious, powerful Phantom, who lurks beneath the school and demands he be my teacher—demands which soon grow into something deeper, darker. But if I want to survive this place, or have any hope of going home, I may have no choice but to give in to him… and all he desires.
Author's Note: Taken by the Phantom is the first book in a Magic Academy Romance series that will set your heart--and other parts of you--on fire.
And for once, I cannot help myself.
I am scarcely more than shadow, not nearly as full in form as she or Suzanna. Perhaps she will not notice or name the sensation of touch. Perhaps she will believe it a cast of the magic. Perhaps, perhaps, she will know it is me.
Just her hair. A touch. It is all I need.
I lean close to her, alight my fingertips upon her arms. I am not fully man, but half in shadow, and yet I can feel the rain soaked into the cloth, the heat of her skin just beneath. She inhales sharply when I touch her, lips parting further, eyelids fluttering. Shh, I think. A moment more. One touch.
She grants me my wish, her eyes remaining shut, and leans back ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, into me. I draw nearer still, savoring the ripple of her hair, stirred by my breath. I am close enough I could press my lips to the vital curve of her neck, close enough I could slide my hands over her breasts, pull her flush against me, test the fit of her curves against mine.
What pleasure is there in that?
She arched herself against me when we met in the Hall of Mirrors. She consumed her own fear like the snake’s tail and came out stronger for it. Yet now her eyes remain closed.
I suddenly want to scream at her to open them. To look at me, to touch me, to want me. And yet she does not. She is little more than silk, supple against me, shaped by my contours. I press myself closer, my body against hers, and brush my fingers along the length of her arms.
Still she remains in the rhapsody of Suzanna’s closed-eye song, and still the darkness swells between the light in heady thrusts.
But Krissy does not sober. She rests her hands in my palms, her thin fingers like porcelain, dainty and fine, mine in black leather, monstrous beside them. With me beside her, she is a sun in eclipse, half-swallowed by darkness.
Her breathing has deepened; it matches mine, step for step. We are in tandem as I press myself to her, the curves of her hips, fuller in contact than in sight. That hunger inside of me stirs once more. Against the swell of her body, I harden and smother the alien urge to gasp.
Then her fingers tighten on mine, and at once there is silence.
By day, Isabella King is just another small-town gal hiding behind her Mac.
But by night she’s a fire-breathing, sword-wielding, ass-kicking heroine—just like the ones in her books. She’s determined to better the world, with her sword or with her pen, one adventurous love story at a time.
Below The Fold ( Clare Carlson #2) Author: R.G. Belsky
Genre: Mystery Publication Date: May 2019 Publisher: Oceanview PublishingNumber of Pages: 357ISBN: 978-1-60809-324-3 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Every human life is supposed to be important. Everyone should matter. But that’s not the case in the cutthroat TV news-rating world where Clare Carlson works. Sex, money, and power sell. Only murder victims of the right social strata are considered worth covering. Not the murder of a “nobody.”
So, when the battered body of a homeless woman named Dora Gayle is found on the streets of New York City, her murder barely gets a mention in the media. But Clare―a TV news director who still has a reporter’s instincts―decides to dig deeper into the seemingly meaningless death. She uncovers mysterious links between Gayle and a number of wealthy and influential figures. There is a prominent female defense attorney; a scandal-ridden ex-congressman; a decorated NYPD detective; and―most shocking of all―a wealthy media mogul who owns the TV station where Clare works. Soon there are more murders, more victims, more questions. As the bodies pile up, Clare realizes that her job, her career, and maybe even her life are at stake as she chases after her biggest story ever.
R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His newest mystery, Below The Fold, is being published in May 2019 by Oceanview. It is the second in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY'S NEWS, came out in 2018. Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series - THE KENNECONNECTIONION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS AND BLONDE ICE - about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News. Belsky won the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville in 2016. He has finished as a Finalist for both the Silver Falchion and David Awards. And his first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, was named Outstanding Crime/News Based Novel by Just Reviews in 2018 and was a Finalist for Best Mystery of 2018 in the Foreword INDIES Awards. His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City. Catch Up With Our R.G. Belsky On:rgbelsky.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook! Tour Participants:
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.G. Belsky. There will be (1) winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 01, 2019 and runs through June 02, 2019. Void where prohibited.
Bright Burning Stars Author: A.K. Small Genre: YA Contemporary Release Date: May 21, 2019 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.
But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.
“Bright Burning Stars is the compulsively readable story. I was breathless and battling tears up until the very last stunning turns onstage and beyond. A dazzling, heart-wrenching debut.”— Nova Ren Suma, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Room Away from the Wolves
“The fascinating, competitive ballet world may get the YA novel it deserves with Bright Burning Stars...Pitched as an immersive, propulsive story into the world of ballet, Bright Burning Stars is also notable for the way it tackles sensitive topics such as mental illness and eating disorders.”—EntertainmentWeekly.com
“Debut author Small, herself a dancer, brings authenticity (fascinating day-to-day details abound) to what it takes to flourish or wither amid the soaring highs and crushing lows of a competitive dance school while sensitively exploring the girls' many emotional and physical extremes... Addictive, angst-y, and heartfelt.”—Kirkus Reviews
Bright Burning Stars is a dark young adult contemporary novel that focuses on two best friends, their time at a prestigious ballet academy in Paris, and what they are willing to do to become the best and win the ultimate prize. I don't have any dance background, so I found the plot of this book to be very interesting for many reasons. I've read other books and I've seen movies about ballet and how intense and cutthroat it can be, especially when something like the Prize - a spot on the corps de ballet - is at stake, but I thought this novel took an even deeper look inside this world and the people who make it their entire lives. There's definitely some heavy topics discussed throughout the book - some may even be considered triggers - and I thought it was fascinating that the author included them. It made the characters all the more realistic because they were fighting inner demons and real world problems just like the rest of us. It made me connect with them and really empathize with their situations.
I loved the two main characters - Marine and Kate. What made the book really stand out for me was the author's use of the dual narrative (alternating between Kate and Marine) and the use of the first person POV. This is by far my favorite writing style because it allows the reader to connect on a deeper level to the narrator(s) and get inside their minds. This was definitely the case with this novel and I thought it made the story all the more intense and real. We get to see what each girl is thinking and feeling throughout the book, their hopes and dreams, their fears and insecurities, and their true feelings about everything around them - from themselves to other people and even ballet itself. I loved that the author chose to write the story in this way and I don't think it would've had the same positive effect if it had been done in another POV. This was a perfect fit and really allowed the reader access to both main characters at once.
I'm not going to go into the plot because I don't do spoilers and the majority of the book contains big events and revelations about the characters. I'll just say that it was an inside look at the dark side of ballet and also the dark side that people have inside of them. The story had a quick pace, which made it hard to put down. It was well written and most of the aspects of the novel were wonderfully done, which made it a huge surprise when I found out this was the author's debut. It definitely speaks to her talent as a writer and storyteller, and I'll be keeping an eye out for her next release. I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of YA fiction, contemporary fiction, and fans of ballet or other dance related books.
A.K. Small was born in Paris. At five years old, she began studying classical dance with the legendary Max Bozzoni, then later with Daniel Franck and Monique Arabian at the famous Académie Chaptal. At thirteen, she moved to the United States where she danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet for one summer in Seattle and with the Richmond Ballet Student Company for several years. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and has an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband, her puppy, and her three daughters, and practices yoga. Bright Burning Stars is her first novel.
A Soul Reclaimed Author: Shayna Grissom Publication Date: April 1, 2019 Genre: YA Fantasy
Hell is divided into seven regions. The first region is designated for the purest of souls, the seventh is for the evilest. There was once a king of Hell, but the steward family has ruled for centuries.
Nora, the stepdaughter of the steward is undone when her mother and step-father take away her beloved tutor, Peter. When Nora confronts the steward and her mother, the discussion is heated and ends with the steward in inexplicable pain.
Shortly after, Nora finds herself in the Starry Wood. Peter told her of the perils within the forest, and it’s not long before the inhabitants of the wood find her.
A giant hunter named Aegis comes to Nora’s aid. He is drawn to Nora, compelled to protect her from the steward’s assassins, the giants, and the evil souls who escape the seventh region.
Together, they travel the seven layers of Hell to discover why the steward is so threatened by a teenage girl.
He assumed the corset was the culprit of my breathing problems and tried to remove it. At first, he attempted to untie it, but when the laces didn't free me from the stills, he resorted to breaking the strings. Being free of the corset helped some, but it didn't stop the hyperventilation.
A knock at the cabin door only made things worse for Aegis. "Hello, this is the second mate, Mr. Torres. Is everything all right in there?"
Aegis opened the door and brought the man in. "I can't get her to stop doing that," he said in a panic.
"What were you doing to her?" the man accused.
"What?" Aegis realized what the man thought. I was half dressed and hysterical.
"No, I didn't touch her—I thought the corset was hurting her. She was upset and started making that noise, and I didn't know what to do."
Mr. Torres swung into action. He stepped into the bathroom and produced a bag. Aegis watched him suspiciously as he held it over my mouth and nose. After several inhalations, I could breathe normally. Working intermittently with the bag, I caught my breath. The pounding in my temples was so loud all I could do was close my eyes and shield myself from daylight.
Aegis sighed in relief. "Thank you so much. I didn't know what to do." The second mate seemed confused by that statement. "You've never seen her hyperventilate? Are you newly married?"
"No, not married—I'm her escort," Aegis said.
Mr. Torres didn't seem convinced.
"I am employed by her family to take her to the third region to stay with her aunt. Normally, her mother accompanies us, but her mother was sick."
The second mate approached my bed and kneeled on the floor beside me. "Miss, is it as he says?"
"I'm so sorry," I said. "I've never done that before. It's as he says. Aegis would never do anything to hurt me."
Mr. Torres nodded in satisfaction. "It's all right. I have six girls at home, so it's an everyday occurrence in my house."
I laughed despite the looming exhaustion. "That sounds like great fun. I don't have any siblings."
"Oh, well, you're welcome to pay us a visit. Our house is the one that everyone avoids in the fourth region."
"I thought that was Abigail's bed and breakfast," I teased.
Mr. Torres laughed. "We are Abigail's ugly stepchild. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
I shook my head.
"All right. If you need me, I'll be on deck," he said.
Aegis showed the man out while thanking him profusely. He closed the door and rested his head against it. For all his worry of trackers and outlanders, it must never have occurred to him that his biggest battle would be to protect me from myself.
Shayna Grissom was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She currently resides in Seattle with her husband, two children, and her beloved pets. Shayna draws inspiration for her writings from binge-watching too many shows with far too much wine. She is a lover of the macabre, the strange, natural sciences, and films that feature vivid colors and imagery. Her favorite film director is Guillermo Del Toro, and her favorite books growing up were Anne Rice novels.
Van Sato’s got labels. Tourettes, ADHD, SPD – words that have defined his existence since the time he was old enough to know what they meant. Now, Van wants to prove he’s more than an acronym, a syndrome, a problem kid. He takes a summer job as a day camp counselor to prove he’s capable of independence and moving on to the next phase in his life. Maybe, he might even make a friend while there. Someone who’s got just as many or even more labels than him. Someone who understands what it’s like.
Tabby Dubanowksi wants to forget about everything, the hospitalization, the judgment, the whispers behind her back. As a camp counselor, she will be admired, looked up to, and able to help people who don’t know anything about her old life. Tabby wants a fresh start and a chance to re-ignite her passion for film-making, if only for one summer.
After running away from their pasts, Van and Tabby collide in a storm cloud of attraction laced with self-doubt, insecurity, shame, and blame. Now, with Van feeling like he might have to quit his job, and Tabby struggling to quell the urge to cut, they will struggle to find themselves in a world designed to keep them apart.
I can go on forever about the cover for You, Me, & Letting Go! because I love it so darn much. Overall, it’s adorable and eye catching, and I love the colors (teal is the color for Tourette awareness). I can tell careful consideration was put into making this cover because it represents my story and characters so well. I love having Van and Tabby both on the cover, and they are pretty much exactly how I imagined them. Any stock photo of random teenagers could’ve been used to toss on the cover, but the designer (Melissa Liban) made sure to find the perfect two that fit. And the background is awesome because it’s partial instructions on how to create something in the book. If this wasn’t my book and I saw the cover, I’m quite certain it’d draw me in and ask me to read it.
Katie Kaleski has started down many career paths and held many jobs—indie craft store clerk, pizza maker, photo developer, shoe salesperson and cashier, dental assistant in the army, daycare teacher, student teacher—but her favorite one by far is being a writer.
She’s originally from Chicago, so she says things like pop, gym shoes, and front room. Her favorite food group is sugar, and she loves writing young adult novels.
The Rule of Many (The Rule of One #2) Author: Ashley Saunders Genre: YA Dystopian Publication Date: May 7, 2019 Publisher: Skyscape
Born to a death sentence in a near-future America, rebellious sisters herald a revolution—if they can survive.
Twins Ava and Mira Goodwin defy the Rule of One simply by existing. The single-child law, ruthlessly enforced by Texas’s Governor Roth, has made the sisters famous fugitives and inspirations for the resurgent rebellion known as the Common.
But the relentless governor and his implacable Texas State Guard threaten that fragile hope, as Roth consolidates his power in a bid for ultimate authority.
As Ava and Mira relinquish the relative safety of their Canadian haven to stand against Roth, new allies arise: Owen, a gifted young programmer, impulsively abandons his comfortable life in a moment of compassion, while Zee, an abused labor camp escapee, finds new purpose in resistance.
The four will converge on Dallas for a reckoning with Roth, with nothing less than their destinies—and the promise of a future free from oppression—on the line.
Disobedience means death. But a life worth living demands rebellion.
Limos and luxury cars line the extensive circular driveway, stuffed with partygoers ready for the welcoming bash. Mrs. and Mr. Cross have already arrived with much fanfare from their son and his doting employees. I wonder if Ciro’s sisters are here.
I hear him get on the microphone, introducing his unwitting parents onto the stage of the overflowing banquet hall, the governor of Alberta and the mayor of Calgary looking on from the front row.
Everything’s falling nicely into place. If only the man of the hour would show.
I look at my watch: 7:30 p.m. He’s late. Ava’s knee bounces furiously, as if she can shake out her anxiety.
“He’ll come,” I say.
From our hideout in the corner of the foyer, shadowed and easily overlooked, we have the best seats in the house. A perfect vantage point to see and be unseen. Ava scans the budding festivities through the glass walls on our left. I keep my eyes on the glass windows straight ahead, seeing past the dazzling flares from the cars’ headlights, holding out for the first glimpse of the president.
A string quartet begins to play, and an electric energy pulsates through the hotel, enlivening the crowd around us with a giddy exhilaration, and I can’t help but feel it too. Eager, I spring to my feet. I pace up and down our tucked-away corner, checking the time, watching Emery from across the room, waiting on her signal.
“Do you hear that?” Ava asks. She stares up at the ceiling. I move beside her as we listen to the muffled roar of whirling blades slicing the air somewhere above the building.
“A helicopter,” Ava says.
We look to Emery, who stands near the entrance, her gaze locked skyward. Guests file past as she removes a headscarf from her pocket, drapes the silk over her distinctive curls, and pulls it into a tight knot at the back of her neck. She folds her right arm over her chest, our cue to move.
I feel, rather than see, Barend steal into place behind us, our long shadow, as we push to the end of the foyer. Pawel detaches himself from the crowd and crosses our path as he follows Emery out the front door. “Lots of luck,” he whispers earnestly. Like luck has anything to do with it. It’s all up to us.
Our target is the oversized clock that consumes the entire wall alongside the vacant concierge desk. Ava stops before the number six, and we slip behind a false door and stride side by side down an empty staff hallway. Three right turns, two left, a final door, and we’re outside.
There are no lights behind the hotel and no people. The night is chilly and moonless, but we find the footpath we were directed to take and make our silent way to the small grove of trees just twenty yards out.
Ten paces in, Ava and I turn from the path and weave through the evergreens until we spot the narrow clearing that is to be our stage. We position ourselves in its center, shoulder to shoulder, and wait. Somewhere to our right, concealed within the trees and darkness, Barend stands guard.
When told of the plan, Emery immediately authorized the private rendezvous. She knows pleading our case face-to-face with the president is the only way. Cameras and screens provide a barrier, Emery said. The media paints you solely as American rebels. Let him see how human you are. With Pawel at her side, Emery is to meet and escort the president here, while Ciro entertains his parents and guests, keeping them safely ignorant inside the banquet hall.
The minutes tick off, and Ava starts to shiver from either the cold or nerves. Or is that me shivering? Ava and I brought no weapons with us, to show good faith. No guns, no knives. Just us, with our naked conviction and hope.
This could be our last stop, a final end to the endless chase. A place to plan and plot and devise our crucial counterattack.
Ava nudges me with a sharp elbow. She points to the trees in front of us. Two distinct shapes emerge, a faint silhouette floating behind.
“Ready?” I whisper needlessly. Ava tightens her jaw, and I ball my hands into white-knuckled fists. I take a big gulp of air and exhale slowly. My breath comes out in swirling smoke, reminding me of a dragon. There’s a fire inside me, and suddenly I feel warm and calm. One look from Ava and I know she feels it too.
The outlines become faces and bodies. Emery appears first, then President Moore, with Pawel a few steps behind. I stare at Moore, transfixed, my eyes glued to the man who can grant us refuge.
He stumbles forward, as if his own eyes have not yet adjusted to the dark. I search his every feature, looking for any hint of surprise, or shock, or understanding. But his face, though startlingly attractive in the starlight, is blank. Indifferent.
“President Moore,” Emery says, “this is Ava and Mira Goodwin.” He looks at us cross-eyed, his round eyes squinting as he takes us in. We all stand motionless, awaiting his response.
“You don’t look identical to me,” the president finally states, his thin voice magnified in the still night air. “One of you’s slightly taller, the other rounder.”
The leader of the free world opens with an insult. My first reaction is to defend my identicalness. Surprising, when all I’ve ever wanted is to be seen as different from Ava.
“Sir—” Ava and I speak at the same time.
The president laughs. “Ah, there it is.” The ground spins as he turns to leave. “This conversation will be moved to a different setting. Just the twins and me.”
Barend detaches from the shadows. Pawel and Emery enclose my sister and me. Ava grabs my arm, her grip tight enough to bruise.
“We do not agree to any change—” Emery starts, but Moore shouts over her.
Everything shatters, all plans and expectations smashed to pieces.
A gunshot rings out, then two more.
“Run!” Emery yells.
The last thing I see is Ava’s face, twisted in fear and fury.
Then something covers my eyes. My mouth.
I’m thrown over a bulky shoulder, the deafening sounds of a helicopter growing louder with every footfall. With every one of my muffled screams.
I’m shoved against something solid. I reach out, arms flailing, but there’s no one beside me. Ava.
I feel the chopper lift into the sky. Two spinning blades taking me higher and higher away from Common ground.
Hailing from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders are award-winning filmmakers and twin sisters who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. While researching The Rule of One, they fell in love with America’s national parks, traveling the path of Ava and Mira. The sisters can currently be found with their Boston terriers in sunny Los Angeles, exploring hiking trails and drinking entirely too much yerba mate.
Breaking the Rules Author: Tinthia Clemant Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Publication Date: April 15, 2019
Love isn’t supposed to hurt.
Hedge witch Shannon Baldos isn’t looking for love. She isn’t even looking for sex. She’s looking for the courage to finally leave her gaslighting husband’s ass. So the last thing she needs is a distraction, like the town’s land-grabbing yet oh so sexy property developer, Adam St. John.
Then again, maybe a little distraction is exactly what she does need.
Growing up under the domineering thumb of her maternal grandmother, and then married to a misogynistic husband, thirty-nine-year-old Shannon Baldos has learned that love hurts. For almost seven years she’s lived under the thumb of her abusive husband, all with the guise of wanting to give her son a stable home. The truth? She’s stayed because she’s a coward. Still is. But maybe, with heart fluttering, groin throbbing, Adam St. John by her side, or on top of her, under works too, she might discover some hidden courage and finally take her son and escape. As for falling for St. John and his pirate grin, not a chance. Rule #1: Don’t fall in love.
Referred to as an emotional train wreck, Wexford’s successful developer, Adam St. John, has rules. A lot of them. Created to keep him well-insulated from further pain and disappointment with regards to life, and love. At forty-nine, he’s quite happy with his life of solitude. With three divorces under his belt, he’s in no hurry to add a fourth. Besides, there are more than enough women willing to keep him warm at night. But when he meets the town’s green-eyed witch with the freckles splattered across the bridge of her nose, and the hips that sway under her flowing skirts, one night of passion leaves him craving more. Maybe it’s time to break a few rules.
In her newest novel, Breaking the Rules, Tinthia Clemant has woven a story about one brave woman’s determination to take back her life as she learns that love doesn’t always hurt.
Shannon fiddled with the buttons of her dress as she and Justin waited for their coffees. Outside, rain fell on people rushing by the window of the coffee shop. She moved her attention from the scene outside to her two-month-old son in the carrier next to her. He was the most beautiful baby she’d ever seen, and it still amazed her that he’d formed inside her body.
“Are you listening to me?”
She looked up at her husband of one year sitting on the opposite side of the booth and nodded. A sense of hopelessness washed over her. She’d tried to do everything right—paid for the train tickets with cash and not her credit card, hadn’t used her real name, all the little tricks she’d picked up from watching movies over the years. She’d even cut her hair. Yet Justin had found her after only two days. She wouldn’t make a very good spy.
“Say something,” Justin demanded, loud enough that the people across from the booth glanced over.
Shannon rubbed at her forehead. “I’m sorry, my head is pounding.” Hopefully, the lie would keep his anger at bay.
“Do you have anything you can take?”
He reached across the table and grabbed the diaper bag. After rifling the contents, he removed a pocket-sized tube of Advil, along with her cell phone.
She watched her phone slide into his coat pocket. “What are you doing?”
“I’ll hold on to your phone. Now that I’ve found the two of you, you won’t be needing it.” He poured four pills into his palm and held them out. “So, what do you think?”
“I need my phone.”
“I…I’m expecting a call.”
She struggled to come up with a name that wouldn’t set him off. “Maureen,” she lied a second time, hoping he didn’t know she hadn’t spoken to her coworker since quitting the ad agency.
“If she calls, I’ll give it to you. Now, back to what I said. What do you think?”
“What do I think about what?”
She received a severe frown as a response before he said, “You’re doing it again.”
“Not listening to me. How about thinking about me for once and not always yourself?”
“Yeah, you’re always sorry after you do something.”
She glanced at the baby. Satisfied he was still sleeping, she adjusted his blanket and returned her attention to the table, where she stared at her coffee.
Justin’s tone softened. “You make me do and say things. If you acted better, I wouldn’t be so hard on you.” He reached across the table again, this time offering his hand.
Shannon bit into her lower lip in the exact spot she’d recently opened with her right canine. Blood meandered through her teeth, and she slowly placed her hand in his.
“That’s my girl. What I said was, if you and Chad come back home where you belong, I’ll go to couples counseling like you asked. I can change.”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what?”
“I don’t know what to do.”
He lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles but then squeezed her fingers, driving her wedding band into the side of her pinkie. “I’m not the bad guy, Shannon. Most of the time I’m only joking around, but you take things much too serious. You know what your problem is? You’re too sensitive. You need to lighten up.”
The baby squirmed and drew her attention. Chad scrunched his face, coloring the round cheeks so that he resembled an angry plum. “I have to clean him.” She moved from the booth and looped the strap of the diaper bag over her shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”
Justin pushed his chair back from the table and walked with her to the bathroom. “I’ll wait right here,” he said, positioning himself against the wall. She pulled on the door, but he blocked it. “I’m taking you back, Shannon. You need me—you’re too weak to raise a kid on your own.”
He released the door, and she entered the bathroom.
While changing Chad’s diaper, distant voices filled her ears, voices that belonged to ghosts who wouldn’t stay vanquished. In her mind she was a child of six and hiding under her grandmother’s heavy, wooden desk.
‘Don’t you walk away from me, young lady.’
The memory of the voice was like a cold wind, the kind that could get under her coat and raise goosebumps up her back.
She knew her mother would speak next; the memory was always the same—never changing because the dead wouldn’t allow it.
‘For Christ’s sake, Mother, I just buried my husband.’
‘Keep your voice down, Katherine. Do you want everyone to think you’re hysterical?’
‘I don’t care what people think. This is not the time to have this conversation.’
‘This is the perfect time. What are you planning on doing? Raising the child on your own? You know you’re not equipped for that.’
‘I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my daughter.’
‘No, you’re not; you’re too weak. You need me.’
In the restaurant bathroom, Shannon squeezed her eyes closed, recalling the spider that had crawled up her young shin and how she’d placed her hand in its path and lowered it back to the floor. It had scurried out from under the desk, and her grandmother’s thick-soled shoe had turned it into a black splotch. That was how she felt now, like a spider with a dark shadow hanging over her head, ready to drop and crush both her and Chad.
“Shannon.” The doorknob rattled. “Hurry up.”
“I’ll be right out.” She unbuckled Chad from the changing table, returned him to his carrier, and paused to stroke his dark brown hair. In exchange for her tender touch, he cooed. She kissed his cheek and whispered, “I’m sorry munchkin. I tried.”
Tinthia Clemant was born in Medford, Massachusetts, over sixty years ago. Her childhood was a happy one. She lived in a loving home with her three siblings, mother and father. Her imagination soared as she passed the days enacting the scenes from the stories that spun through her mind.
Tinthia always wrote. From the time she first picked up a pencil, or perhaps it was a crayon, she wrote. Stories about searching for secrets. Stories about joy and sadness; friendship and betrayal; and, of course, stories about true love.
She self-published her first book by stapling six pages together. Her marketing plan was simple--give the book to her mother for Mother's Day. Marketing her indie-published books has gotten a whole lot harder but she pushes on, knowing the worlds she creates will take each reader on a magical journey.
A romantic women's fiction author, Tinthia fell in love with romance when she witnessed, at the impressionable age of five, the power of true love. On the silver screen of the Meadow Glen drive-in, she watched Prince Phillip defeat Maleficent's tangled web of thorns and the fire-breathing dragon so he could save his lady love. As Phillip pressed his lips against Sleeping Beauty's, she understood the power of true love's first kiss.
As a hopeful romantic, Tinthia has searched far and wide for that special someone who will take her breath away. Unfortunately, she has yet to find love's magical kiss. However, she learned a lot about herself along the way and uses these lessons to weave her stories and the strong (and older) heroines she brings to life.
Tinthia lives on the banks of the Concord River and spends her time teaching science at a local community college, gardening, painting, tending her flock of Mallards (follow her natural history blog at: concordriverlady.com), reading, and, of course, writing about journeys, disappointment, joy, and true love. Her two favorite men are Ben and Jerry and she wishes they would bring back the summer flavor, Blueberry Cheesecake.