Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Blast: Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play by Ellen Mansoor Collier

NEW ADULT Jazz Age Mystery
Title: Flappers, Flasks, and Foul Play
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier


Flappers Flasks and Foul Play

Date Published: July 2012 

Synopsis: "Boardwalk Empire" meets "The Great Gatsby" in this soft-boiled historical mystery, inspired by actual events. Rival gangs fight over booze and bars during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston: the "Sin City of the Southwest." Jazz Cross, a 21-year-old society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette. 
During a night out with her best friend, Jazz witnesses a bar fight at the Oasis--a speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook. But when a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses there and later dies, she suspects foul play. Was it an accident or a mob hit?
Soon handsome young Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn't talk. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz but, despite her mixed feelings, she refuses to rat on Sammy. As turf wars escalate between two real-life Galveston gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. Jazz must risk her life and career to find the killer, exposing the dark side of Galveston's glittering society.

EXCERPT

Why in the world was Fed Agent Burton here? Everyone stopped working to watch him make his grand entrance. People don't usually parade around in a newsroom: They sort of shuffle or stumble or stomp—unless a story's really hot, then they'll run. I felt like running away too, but I stayed glued to my chair, pretending to work, my heart racing.

Burton seemed to enjoy the attention as he headed my way. He was hard to ignore: Standing before me, all six feet-plus of golden skin and hair, he towered over my desk. Looking up, I noticed the curious eyes watching us in the too-quiet newsroom. The reporters stopped typing, fingers poised over keys, hoping for a scoop. My boss stared with unabashed interest.

"To what do I owe this disturbance?" I adjusted my cloche cap, acting nonchalant.

He grinned at me, then looked around the suddenly still office. "I need to ask you a few questions. Can we go somewhere private?"

"What do you want?" I put on a brave face so the newsboys wouldn't see me sweat.

Burton scanned the hushed room. "You really want to discuss it here, out in public?"

He had a point. Did I want the whole staff listening in on my private conversation? He probably wanted to discuss Sammy, who was no one else's business.

"Let's go outside," I agreed. Head down, I followed him past a leering Hank, feeling like a naughty kid going to the principal's office.

Nathan entered the newsroom, a camera slung over his shoulder, stopping to stare at Burton. "Jazz, is everything jake?"

"Everything's berries." I smiled to pacify him but, I admit, I had the jitters.

"I remember him. Your boyfriend?" Burton seemed amused.

"He's the staff photographer." I ignored his crack. "And a good friend."

Outside, I felt safe among the throng of people and automobiles passing by in a rush. The hustle and bustle of the streets and sidewalks seemed almost comforting. I looked around for Golliwog, our resident stray cat, but she must have been making her daily rounds for scraps.

"How was lunch?" In broad daylight, Burton didn't seem quite as menacing or intimidating. Besides, a group of hard-boiled reporters peered out the newsroom, spying on us.

"Fine." I covered my growling stomach. "What brings you here?"

"Sorry to barge in that way." He smiled, tugging on his hat. "But I had to get your attention. You wouldn't give me the time of day the other night."

"Can you blame me? A raid isn't exactly the best way to meet new people."

"I think we got off on the wrong foot." He stuck his hands in his pockets, jingling some change. "Perhaps we can talk over dinner, instead of standing out here on the sidewalk?"

"Dinner?" Was he serious? "Just like that?" I snapped my fingers. "You waltz in as if you owned the place—like you did at the Oasis—and expect me to dine out with you, a total stranger, because of your badge? You've got a lot of nerve, mister."

"I wouldn't be a Prohibition agent if I didn't." He looked smug. "How about tonight?"

Ellen Mansoor Collier

Author Bio

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines including: FAMILY CIRCLE, MODERN BRIDE, GLAMOUR, BIOGRAPHY, COSMOPOLITAN, COUNTRY ACCENTS, PLAYGIRL, etc. Several of her short stories (both mystery and romance) have appeared in WOMAN'S WORLD.
A flapper at heart, she’s the owner of DECODAME, specializing in Deco to retro vintage items (www.art-decodame.com). Formerly she's worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising sales and public relations. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism. During college, she once worked as a cocktail waitress, a short-lived experience since she was clueless about cocktails. Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play is her first novel, inspired by real people and places. Currently, she’s working on the sequel.
"When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. I love the glamour and excitement of The Jazz Age, but Prohibition was also such a dark and dangerous time in American history. Jazz isn’t a debutante or socialite, she’s a reporter caught in between the two halves of Galveston society, struggling to do the right thing despite all the temptations and decadence of the era."

TAGLINE:
“Boardwalk Empire" meets "The Great Gatsby" in this soft-boiled historical mystery, set during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston: the "Sin City of the Southwest."
Links to Buy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Blast: The Exception to the Rule by Beth Rinyu



The Exception To The Rule

The Exception to the Rule
ISBN 0615739229 (ISBN13: 9780615739229)
Contemporary Romance
Date to be Published: 12/19/2012
Synopsis: 

When Katrina “Kat” Vallia, an idealistic if somewhat naive 20-something American pediatrician travels halfway across the globe to volunteer in a poor African village, she looks at it as a means of closure. Following a bitter breakup with her unfaithful boyfriend, she decides to throw herself into her work without any distractions from a man. That’s until she encounters Dr. Julian Kiron, a handsome, career driven pediatric oncologist. Even though she tries to fight it, Kat finds herself falling deeply for him; until she painfully realizes that they both want totally different things from life. Not willing to compromise for the other, they sadly say goodbye, cutting all ties. Five years later, Kat’s happy world is turned upside down when she is given devastating news. She must now confront her past and the secret she’s harbored for years. But will saving the one she loves most also rekindle the love she let slip away?


EXCERPT:


We talked for some time and I could tell he was getting tired, his skin looked paler than usual and the light color of his eyes just enhanced the dark circles that were beginning to form underneath.
“Are you tired?” I asked.
“A little,” he finally admitted.
“But I thought you didn’t get tired,” I teased as I got up to grab the blanket from the other couch, turning off the overhead light. I looked out the window to see a light snow falling. I sat back down on the couch covering us both with the blanket as we watched TV with just the glow of the fireplace and Christmas tree lights. He had his arms wrapped tightly around me as I rested my head on his chest. 
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“For what?” he asked.
“For being here.”
 I smiled when he pulled me closer and gently kissed my head. It didn’t take long before I heard his breathing begin to change and as I looked up I saw he was sound asleep. I put my head back down on his chest, kissing it softly. Just knowing he was here beside me, listening to his heartbeat and feeling him breathe, put my mind at such ease that it wasn’t long before I was fast asleep too.


Beth Rinyu

Author Bio
Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen - or in today's world a touch of the keyboard. I have been writing poetry for years and finally got the inspiration to write my very first novel about a year and a half ago. Once I started the idea's kept flowing, my fingers kept typing - and here it is! It's a beautiful love story that focuses on so many different relationships: the love of a man and a woman, a parent and a child, friendships and those that are not bound to us by blood but by love. So, I'm hoping all of you get as much enjoyment reading this as I did writing it! Oh and here's a little bit about bit me - my life is not as interesting as the story or the characters in it, but then again whose life is? I was born and have lived in New Jersey my whole life. I'm a mom of twin teenage boys, a teenage step-son, a crazy Border Collie and a cat with an identity crisis! I guess you can say writing is my form of Calgon! I am married to a wonderful guy - but we'll keep that between us, I don't want him getting a big head! Thanks for taking the time to learn about my book and me! If you decide to read it (and I hope you do!) please be sure to go on and review it for me - yes, even if you don't like it!



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Wild Card Tour: The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


My thoughts:  This is a great book with some very interesting combinations.  I was a little "green" when I asked to review this book, and didn't realize that I would need a juicer.  It has peaked my husband's and mine's interest enough though, that we are now shopping for the best juicer for our money.  We were able to explore the chapter on smoothies a little bit though.  A lot of the smoothies call for spinach and I haven't gotten up my courage to try one with spinach yet, but I am sure that day will come.  We aren't using the book a whole lot right now - but when warmer weather hits, I can see us having smoothies (and maybe by then we will own a juicer!) a lot more!





Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Siloam (January 8, 2013)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has taped HealthWatch for CNN and scores of TV and radio shows and has appeared in Shape, First for Women, Women’s World, Men’s Journal,Vogue, Quick & Simple, Marie Claire, and Elle Canada. Cherie earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the Board of Regents, and has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington.



Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Juice and smoothies are sweeping the nation! Why? They’re fruity, delicious, easy to make, and packed with powerful nutrition. It’s no wonder everyone is enjoying the convenience and great taste of these healthy meal and snack alternatives. Bring your blender or juicing machine into the twenty-first century with the most updated versions of Cherie’s recipes to be found anywhere—more than just refreshment, these recipes enhance your energy and boost your mental and physical health.



Product Details:

List Price: $17.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 162136030X

ISBN-13: 978-1621360308






AND NOW...THE INTRODUCTION AND A FEW GREAT RECIPES! CLICK ON RECIPE PICTURES TO SEE THEM LARGER:








The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies



Introduction



MORE AND MORE celebrities, athletes, and people of all ages and walks of life are turning to juicing and green smoothies to lose weight and to improve their overall health. Why? Because they have found that juicing is changing their lives—giving them more energy, better sleep, stronger immune systems, brighter skin, and a younger appearance. It’s even helping their bodies heal from a variety of ailments. Below is a testimony I received recently from someone who has read my books and come to me for counseling.



It’s been about a month since you last spoke with me. You may not remember me because you talk with so many people. But I will never forget you. I told you about the more than fifty pounds of fluid I had retained. Using both natural and medical prescriptions, I had not been able to get rid of that fluid. I have also not been absorbing my food. You told me not to worry about my diet because I already had a healthy one but to add a green juice drink with every meal. About three weeks before I spoke with you I started drinking pure cranberry juice every day, and that was helping with the fluid. Over the three weeks I lost fifteen pounds, but I would bounce back and forth with my weight. When I added the green juice drinks, it put my body in high gear. I have lost thirty pounds. The water weight is literally just falling off of me.

You have no idea how much better I am feeling. I have energy and can physically work. I have not had energy or felt good since my last baby was born twenty-five years ago. I have not been able to push my body to work for the last five years. Now I am splitting firewood and stacking it. I  shoveled rock for our drainage system in our yard. I can  clean my own house again. Yesterday I cleaned house and stacked two cords of firewood. If you haven’t stacked  firewood, let me tell you, that’s a lot of wood. And I can walk again. For the last two years I have been fighting just to walk up and down my short driveway, feeling totally exhausted  and in pain afterward. Now I am easily walking a mile and have energy to burn. I feel great and have no pain when I’m  finished. And my fibromyalgia pain is almost gone.
For the last five years I have been fighting to stay alive.
 Now for the first time in years I feel alive. I am no longer on Lasix and have cut back most of my nutritional  supplements. I was taking over $500 worth of supplements a month, and it was bankrupting us. Last year my doctor told  me to apply for disability because my body was dying. I  could no longer function. The naturopathic physician I used  to work for told me that my husband and I needed to accept  the fact that my body was dying. He told us to purchase  better health insurance and prepare for the worst. I wish he  could see me now.

Long story short, Cherie, I am so grateful to you for taking  the time to talk with me. I know you probably hear stories  like mine all the time, but for me it’s new and life saving.  Thanks for pointing me to the path of life. You have been  one of God’s blessings and a lifesaver in the most literal  sense of the word.


 I hope her story encourages you to juice every day. With more than four hundred delicious recipes, The Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you change your life, just as juicing has changed the lives of thousands of people who have adopted this plan for themselves—people just like me. My life changed years ago when I discovered the healing, vitality-producing power of freshly made juices and raw and whole foods.



Sick, Tired, and Completely Toxic



I sat by the window in my father’s home in Colorado staring at the snow-topped mountains in the distance, imagining that people were enjoying the hiking trails; perhaps someone was climbing the mountain that day. It was early June and a beautiful, sunny Colorado day. I wished I had the strength to just walk around the block. But I was too sick and tired—I could barely walk around the house. I had been sick for a couple of years and just kept getting worse. “Would I ever be well again?” I wondered.



I had to quit my job when I turned thirty. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that made me so sick I couldn’t work. I felt as though I had a flu that just wouldn’t go away. I was lethargic and constantly feverish with swollen glands. I was also in nonstop pain. My body ached as though I’d been bounced around in a washing machine.



 I had moved back to my father’s home in Colorado to try and recover, but not one doctor could tell me what I should do to improve my health. So I browsed around some health food stores, talked with employees, and read a few books. I decided that everything I’d been doing was tearing down my health rather than healing my body. When I read about juicing and whole foods, it made sense. So I bought a juicer and designed a program I could follow.



I began my health program with a five-day vegetable juice fast. On the fifth day my body expelled a tumor the size of a golf ball. I was totally surprised that in five days this amazing result could take place. I never did have the tumor tested because I was too taken back and overwhelmed by the event. I just flushed it away.



I then continued to juice every day and ate a nearly perfect diet of live and whole foods for three months. There were ups and downs throughout. On some days I felt encouraged that I was making some progress, but on other days I felt worse. Those days made me wonder if good health was an elusive dream. I didn’t realize I was experiencing detox reactions—no one had told me about them. I was very toxic, and my body was cleansing away all the stuff that had made me sick.



But one morning I woke up around 8:00 a.m., which was early for me, without an alarm sounding off. I felt like someone had given me a new body in the night. I had so much energy I actually wanted to

exercise. What had happened? This new feeling of good health and vitality had just appeared with the morning sun. Actually, my body had been healing all along; it just had not manifested fully until that day. I felt such a wonderful sense of being alive! I looked and felt completely renewed.



With my juicer in tow and a new lifestyle fully embraced, I returned to Southern California and my friends a couple weeks later to finish writing my first book. For nearly a year it was “ten steps forward” with great health and more energy and stamina than I’d ever remembered. Then all of a sudden I took a giant step back.





The Night I’ll Never Forget



The Fourth of July was a beautiful day like so many others in Southern California. I celebrated the holiday with friends at a backyard barbecue. That evening we put on jackets to insulate against the cool evening air and watched fireworks light up the night sky. I returned just before midnight to the house I was sitting for vacationing friends, who lived in a lovely neighborhood not far from some of my family members. After such a full day I was in bed shortly after I arrived at the house.



I woke up shivering some time later wondering why it was so cold. I rolled over to see the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. That’s when I noticed that the door was open to the backyard. “How did that happen?” I thought as I was about to get up to close and lock the door. That’s when I saw him. Crouched in the shadows of the corner of the room was a shirtless young man in shorts. I blinked twice, trying to deny what I was seeing.



Instead of running out the open door, he leaped off the floor and ran toward me. He pulled a pipe from his shorts and began beating me repeatedly over the head and yelling, “Now you are dead!” We fought, or I should say, I tried to defend myself and grab the pipe.



Finally it flew out of his hands. That’s when he choked me to unconsciousness. I felt all life leaving my body. In those last few seconds I knew I was dying. “This is it, the end of my life,” I thought. I felt sad for the people who loved me. Then I felt my spirit leave. It felt as though it just popped out of my body and floated upward. Suddenly everything was peaceful and still. I sensed I was traveling through black space at what seemed like the speed of light. I saw what looked like lights twinkling in the distance.



But all of a sudden I was back in my body, outside the house, clinging to a fence at the end of the dog run. I don’t know how I got there. I screamed for help with all the energy I had. It was my third scream that took all my strength. I felt it would be my last breath. Each time I screamed, I passed out and landed on the cement. I then had to pull myself up again. But this time a neighbor heard me and sent her husband to help. Before long I was on my way to the hospital.



Lying on a cold gurney at 4:30 a.m., chilled to the bone, in and out of consciousness, I tried to assess my injuries, which was virtually impossible. When I looked at my right hand, I almost passed out again. My ring finger was hanging on by a small piece of skin. My hand was split open, and I could see deep inside. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled off to surgery. Later I learned that I had suffered serious injuries to my head, neck, back, and right hand, with multiple head wounds and part of my scalp torn from my head. I also incurred numerous cracked teeth, which led to several root canals and crowns months later.



My right hand sustained the most severe injuries. Two of my knuckles were crushed to mere bone fragments and had to be held together with three metal pins. Several months after the attack I still couldn’t use my hand. The cast I wore, which had bands holding up the ring finger that had almost been torn from my hand and various odd-shaped molded parts, looked like something from a science fiction movie. I felt and looked worse than hopeless. The top of my head was shaved, and my eyes were totally red and swollen. I had a gash on my face, a weird-looking right hand, terrorizing fear, and barely enough energy to get dressed in the morning.



I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t sleep at night—not even a minute. It was torturous. I was staying with a cousin and his family, so there was no need to worry about safety from a practical point of view, but that made no difference to me emotionally. I’d lie in bed all night and stare at the ceiling or the bedroom door. I had five lights that I kept on all night. I’d try to read, but my eyes would sting. I could sleep only for a little while during the day.



But the worst part was the pain in my soul that nearly took my breath away. All the emotional pain of the attack joined with the pain and trauma of my past to create an emotional tsunami. My past had been riddled with loss, trauma, and anxiety. My brother died when I was two. My mother died of cancer when I was six. I couldn’t remember much about her death—the memories seemed blocked. But my cousin said I fainted at her funeral. That told me a lot.



I lived for the next three years with my maternal grandparents and father. But Grandpa John, the love of my life, died when I was nine. That loss was very hard. Four years later my father was involved in a very tragic situation that would take far too long to discuss here, but to sum it up—it was horrific. He was no longer in my daily life. I felt terrified about my future. My grandmother was eighty-six. I had no idea how much longer she would live. The next year I moved to Oregon to live with an aunt and uncle until I graduated from high school.



As you can probably imagine, wrapped in my soul was a huge amount of anguish and pain—it felt like gaping holes in my heart. It took every ounce of my will, faith, and trust in God; deep spiritual work; alternative medical help; extra vitamins and minerals; vegetable juicing; emotional release; healing prayer; and numerous detox programs to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. I met a nutritionally minded physician who had healed his own slow-mending broken bones with lots of vitamin-mineral IVs. He gave me similar IVs. Juicing, cleansing, nutritional supplements, a nearly perfect diet, prayer, and physical therapy helped my bones and other injuries heal.







After following this regimen for about six months, what my hand surgeon said would be impossible became real. My hand was fully restored and fully functional. He had told me I’d never use my right hand again, and that it wasn’t even possible to implant plastic knuckles because of its poor condition. But my knuckles did indeed re-form primarily through prayer, and my hand function returned. A day came when the surgeon told me I was completely healed, and though he admitted he didn’t believe in miracles, he said, “You’re the closest thing I’ve seen to one.”



It was a miracle! I had a useful right hand again, and my career in writing was not over as I thought it would be. In the end it seemed my inner wounds were the most severe and the hardest to heal. Nevertheless, they mended too. I experienced healing from the painful memories and trauma of the attack and the wounds from the past through prayer, laying-on of hands, and deep emotional healing work.



I call them the kitchen angels—the ladies who prayed for me around their kitchen tables week after week until my soul was restored. It seemed I cried endless buckets of tears that had been pent up in my soul. It all needed release. Forgiveness and letting go came in stages and was an integral part of my total healing. I had to be honest about what I really felt and be willing to face the pain and toxic emotions confined inside, and then let them go. Finally, one day after a long, long journey—I felt free. A time came when I could celebrate the Fourth of July without fear.





A New Beginning



When I look back to that first day in the hospital after many hours of surgery, it’s amazing to me that I made it. My hand was resting in a sling hanging above my head. It was wrapped with so much stuff it looked like George Foreman’s boxing glove. My face had a big cut running down the left side, and my eyes were red—very little whites. A maintenance man came into my room for a repair and did a double take. He asked if I’d been hit by a truck! He was serious. I felt like I had. As I lay there alone with tears streaming down my face, I asked God if He could bring something good out of this horror. I needed something to hang on to.



 My prayer was answered. Eventually I knew my purpose was to love people to life through my writing, juicing, and nutritional information— to help them find their way to health and healing. If I could recover from all that had happened to me, they could too. No matter what anyone faced, there was hope.





Juice Recipes for Health and Healing



In the pages that follow, you’ll discover a wide variety of juices for every possible need and occasion. I have basic juice recipes for those who are getting started and want something simple. There are yummy fruit juice recipes for those with picky palates who want the sweet taste of fruit. Green juices are my favorite and offer the most nutrition; you’ll find a big selection of green juice recipes to choose from.



Check out the chapter on juice remedies and rejuvenators for juice combos that address what ails you. And I think you’ll really like the gourmet juice chapter that has a lot of unique combinations and delicious drinks. There’s also the green smoothie chapter with one hundred smoothie recipes and great combinations. And I also included my old favorites from The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution. Have fun trying some new and unusual combinations. There’s a lot to choose from with more than four hundred recipes.



And if you’re struggling with your health, there is hope for you, no matter what health challenges you face. Never, ever give up. There’s a purpose for your life, just as there was for mine. You need to be healthy and strong to complete your purpose. To that end, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you live your life to the fullest. My hope is that this book of delicious recipes will truly inspire you to juice each and every day and that you will experience firsthand the healing, rejuvenating power of fresh juice and green smoothies.





















Monday, January 28, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop (Jan 29 - Feb 4)


Young Adult Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and BookLove101.  As you can guess - this giveaway hop is featuring Young Adult Books!   I am giving away an ARC of Hades by Alexandra Adornetto.


Heaven Help Her.

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

The story that Alexandra Adornetto built in her New York Times - bestselling debut, Halo, comes alive in action-packed and unexpected ways, as angels battle demons, and the power of love is put to the test.



This giveaway is open to U.S. only and will end at midnight on 2/4/13.  After entering my giveaway, be sure to continue on with all the others listed below!


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Book Review: Into the Dark by Stacy Green and giveaways!

Title: Into the Dark
Author: Stacy Green
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing

About the book:  Branch Manager Emilie Davis is having a day like any other–until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank’s money. Emilie is his prize, and he’s come to claim her.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate. 

HOW WILL IT END?

Who is the man the media has dubbed the “Taker?” Why is he after Emilie, and what is the connection he’s convinced they share?

Emilie can’t run from the Taker, and she can’t escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle. 

But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate for the threat to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life, and it may cost her everything.



My thoughts: Loved it!  The action starts immediately with the bank heist and doesn't slow down.  You are introduced to Emilie, Nathan and the Taker all within the first few pages.  Emilie has had a pretty tough life, including an unhappy childhood.  As the book progresses you learn more and more about her life and begin to see why she thinks the way she does.  At the same time though we are learning about Nathan's and Julian's (Taker's) backgrounds and how each of them had tragedies, yet all turned out so differently from each other.

Even though this is set in Las Vegas, it has very little to do with the gambling and casinos that everyone associates with Vegas.  What you hear about are the homeless and those living in the tunnels and sewers under the city.  Just today I turned on Inside Edition to see them interviewing one couple that was living in this very sewer system.  I found this to be quite a coincidence, as the many times that I have been to Vegas, I never even knew of this problem.  

But back to the book - the tension builds throughout as they get closer and closer to figuring out who the Taker is - and begin to uncover how his plan came to be.  Clues start to crop up helping them to identify him and they are able to link him to another crime committed years before.  It does a very good job of tying it all together at the end.  I am looking forward to Stacy's next book!

~I received a complimentary ecopy of Into the Night from the author in exchange for my unbiased review.~



She is  doing a signed print giveaway via Goodreads until the end of the month. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16133730-into-the-dark

She is also doing a character contest for anyone who signs up for her newsletter through the end of the month. Everyone who signs up will be entered into the contest to have their name as a character in an upcoming Delta Crossroads book.





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Follow Stacy online at her blog, www.stacygreenauthor.com
Twitter @StacyGreen26
Facebook Stacy Green, Author
Sign up for Stacy’s newsletter for exclusive excerpts and information!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd (w/ giveaway)


Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd, Virtual Blog Tour

An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While signs point to murder, vital questions remain. Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?

One small clue leads the Inspector to a firm built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine. Lewis French, the current head of the English enterprise is missing. But is he the dead man? And do either his fiancĂ©e or his jilted former lover have anything to do with his disappearance—or possible death? What about his sister? Or the London office clerk? Is Matthew Traynor, French’s cousin and partner who heads the Madeira office, somehow involved?

The experienced Rutledge knows that suspicion and circumstantial evidence are not proof of guilt, and he's going to keep digging for answers. But that perseverance will pit him against his supervisor, the new Acting Chief Superintendent. When Rutledge discovers a link to an incident in the family’s past, the superintendent dismisses it, claiming the information isn't vital. He’s determined to place blame on one of French’s women despite Rutledge's objections. Alone in a no man's land rife with mystery and danger, Rutledge must tread very carefully, for someone has decided that he, too, must die so that cruel justice can take its course.


My thoughts: Don't let the fact that this is the 15th Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery scare you off from jumping in.  This was the first one that I have read and it read very well as a stand alone.

Set at the end of WWI in England, the country is still shadowed somewhat by the memory of the war, and it still plagues Inspector Rutledge as well.  He was forced to kill a man, Hamish, under his command, for failure to follow orders.  Minutes later, Hamish's body is what saves him from an explosion.  He now hears Hamish in his head, giving advice, giving opinions, giving warnings.  Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't.  He also suffers from claustrophobia as a result of the war and struggles to keep it hidden from his peers.

Rutledge is a likable character though.  He is fair and exhausts all avenues before drawing his conclusions.  He is working for a new Superintendent though, and nobody knows much about the man.  He seems to be pushing for a quicker close to this case than Rutledge would like.  As Rutledge likes to follow the rules (or at least give that appearance), he does what Markham wants him to, while also pursuing his own agenda.

There is much going on in this novel and if you are not paying attention you are sure to miss a clue, or two, or five!  There are unidentified bodies, missing businessmen, and enough suspicious characters to keep you guessing to the end.  I think I might like to go back to the beginning of this series and see how it all started!

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About the author:  Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, two stand-alone novels.  A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Proof of Guilt
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow, Feb 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-201568-6
352 pages
Genre: Mystery

Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview with Stacy Green - Author of Into the Dark


Into the Dark
by Stacy Green

Branch Manager Emilie Davis is having a day like any other–until two masked men storm into WestOne Bank demanding cash. Her hopes of a quick end to her terror are dashed when she realizes one of the men has no interest in the bank’s money. Emilie is his prize, and he’s come to claim her.

When hostage negotiator Nathan Madigan and Las Vegas SWAT enter the bank on a rescue mission, Emilie’s captor makes a shocking escape into the abyss that lies beneath the city: the Las Vegas storm drains, a refuge for the downtrodden and the desperate. 

HOW WILL IT END?

Who is the man the media has dubbed the “Taker?” Why is he after Emilie, and what is the connection he’s convinced they share?

Emilie can’t run from the Taker, and she can’t escape her own past. As her life closes in on her, she has nowhere to turn but to Nathan. The lines of professionalism blur as Nathan becomes determined to save Emilie. Together they venture into the depths beneath Las Vegas and discover a shocking piece of the puzzle. 

But the Taker remains one step ahead. Desperate for the threat to emerge from the shadows, Emilie makes a bold move to reclaim her life, and it may cost her everything.

This has been a fantastic book so far - come back on Monday to see my review!  Meanwhile, please welcome Stacy and let's learn some more about her.


Hi Kristi! Thanks so much for having me today. I’m excited to talk with you and meet your readers.

  How do you typically write?  Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
My process is an ongoing one. When I first started INTO THE DARK, I was a complete pantster. I had a few ideas I loved and wrote the book around them, which meant a lot of rewriting. I didn’t know much about story structure, either, and once I started studying, I realized a lot of what I’d done wrong. I started learning how to plot and outline, and the book went through several phases until it was good enough to be published. Now, I’ve turned into a pretty hardcore plotter. My next book, TIN GOD (April), has a pretty tricky plot, so I had no choice but to plan ahead. I think everyone has their own process, and it’s going to improve with each book.
Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
Everything! When I first decided to try to publish two years ago, I still thought self-publishing was no more than vanity publishing. I thought having an agent and waiting for years was the only option, and I thought I’d have a lot of help in the marketing arena. None of that is true, but the control freak in me loves it. I like being in charge of what I’m going to promote and what strategy–if any–I’ll use. I love that I’ve been forced to come out of my shell and connect with new people. It’s an author’s world now, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
 Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
Lisa Gardner. She is a master of suspense, and I’ve learned a lot from reading her books. She keeps things fresh, too, and creates characters readers attach to.

 Do you have a job outside of being an author? 

 I’m lucky enough to be a stay at home mom, and I do childcare part time. My daughter is in first grade now, and having the little one around is a great way to remind myself not to get stuck in my writing hole. Nothing like a laughing two-year-old to pull you out of a funk!

   What would you tell a beginning writer?

Honestly, I still consider myself a beginning writer. I’ve learned a lot these past few years, but I’ve got so much more to learn. I’d say study your craft. Read books in your genre and think about what you love about them. What makes you come back to an author? Learn about story structure and the rules, but make them your own. No matter what the experts say, there is no perfectly right way to get from point A to B. A great story is what matters, and only you can decide how yours will come to be.


If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
Ooh, this is a great question. There are so many people I’d love to talk with. I’m a big history buff, and the Civil War is one of my favorite time periods to study. I’d love to sit down with Robert E. Lee and find out not only what it was like to fight against the Union he believed in for the sake of the Virginia, but also to meet a true old-fashioned Southern gentleman.
 I’d also have to say Laura Ingalls Wilder, because she’s the first author I fell in love in with. I wanted to be a frontier girl so badly as a kid, and I’ve read all her books dozens of times.

Do you have a favorite quote?
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. –Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 In one sentence, why should we read your book?
It’s fast-spaced suspense with surprising twists and a villain you’ll hate to love.

 How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books? 
They’re very proud. My husband has been really supportive, and yes, he’s read Into The Dark and anxiously waiting to read the next one. My parents are extremely happy, especially my mom. She’s wanted this for me as long as I can remember. She’s got some serious health issues, and it means a lot that she’s been able to see me published.
Silly questions –

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Flying. I dream about flying a lot. Not sure what that means!

 Night owl or early bird?
Preferred night owl but forced into being a reluctant early bird.

 Talk or text? 
Text. Hate talking on the phone.

  Favorite tv show?
 Bones, Criminal Minds, Supernatural

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why? 
Ancient Egypt. I’m fascinated by the time period and used to collect a lot of Egyptian sculptures. I would love to be able to see how they really lived.
Thanks again for having me, Kristi!
AN EXCERPT FROM INTO THE DARK
Excerpt Three

Emilie’s resolve faltered as they reached the tunnel entrance. She peered over Nathan’s shoulder at the triad of pipes branching off in different directions. Big enough for a tall man to walk through easily, their murky blackness was as foreboding as anything Emilie had ever experienced.

She pressed the button on her flashlight and shined it into the abyss. Four other lights joined hers, and the inner concrete walls of the tunnel became visible. Graffiti was scrawled over them. A bevy of cockroaches scuttled away from the intrusion.

Emilie followed Nathan and Chris across the threshold and tried not to give in to the claustrophobia that immediately wrapped itself around her. The tunnel was wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side with room to spare, but the sense of being closed in was amplified by the heavy silence. The group’s splashing feet echoed and then faded away into the never-ending darkness. How deep were the channels?

A smell resembling the rotten egg she’d once dropped on Evan’s porcelain kitchen floor hit her full force. Emilie’s hand flew to her mouth.

“Something else, ain’t it?” Chris’s voice broke the uneasy stillness. “I liken it to a men’s locker room filled with dirty socks and jocks after a five-mile run.”

“If you guys stink this bad, you need medical help. Christ.”

“At least my stomach’s not rumbling anymore,” Nathan said.

“Shit, I could eat,” Chris said.

“You can always eat. You’re like a human trash compactor.”

“Do you guys have any idea where to find Snake?” Avery’s voice came out muffled.

Chris turned around and shined his light on Avery. “Dude, that hanky over your face ain’t gonna stop the stink. Embrace it. Feel the burn.”

Emilie laughed as the knot in her stomach began to uncoil. The banter made it easier to forget why she was here.

Her right foot suddenly came down on something hard in the shallow stream of water. She stumbled into Nathan’s back before an arm caught her from behind.

“Watch it,” Avery said. “Last thing you want to do is fall face-first in this.”

“Sorry.” Emilie clutched the hem of Nathan’s thin T-shirt. “I tripped over something.”

She shined her light into the two-inch-deep water. A pair of soulless black eyes stared back at her. A child’s doll lay abandoned, its once-blond hair soaked with the filthy water.

Children lived down here?

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The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.


Stacy Green


BIO
Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog,
Turning the Page. 

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.


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