Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

In Another Life tells the story of Lia Carrer, a young widow who lost her husband in a biking accident two years earlier. She returns to the country she loves best, Languedoc in the south of France to work on her dissertation about the Cathars. From her first day, she encounters strange happenings and meets people who seem familiar in ways that they should not. There's Lucas, the enigmatic photographer, with whom Lia is collaborating on a book. There's Raoul, the quiet vintner who lost his own wife and children. And there's devious Father Jordi Bonafe who leaves clues for Lia regarding the Cathars and the murder of Archdeacon Pierre de Castelnau, the event which precipitated the massacre of the Cathar people in 1208.
The Cathars believed in reincarnation for souls that were killed without a chance at redemption. Lia is forced to confront this belief as events unfold and she becomes the instrument for atonement of these lost souls. This is a finely written book, truly descriptive of the beauty of the Languedoc region. I've been to some of the locations in the book and the author absolutely nails the mystical allure of the ruins, countryside, and towns. The story moves along at a good pace, and the two timelines are skillfully woven in to make a cohesive and interesting story. This is a lovely story with themes I will ponder in days to come. I want to thank Netgalley for letting me read this wonderful book.

Link to Amazon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Silk by Chris Karlsen

Historical / Victorian Suspense

Silk on the skin—luxurious, luscious..lethal.

London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence  points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.


Events of the day and the potential satisfaction of giving Napier a bloody nose dwindled. Questions about the murder crept back into Ruddy's thoughts. Morris joined him at his table in the rear of the pub with a Guinness, the popular beer of choice in hand. “You’ve got the look of a man whose thoughts are a long distance from London.”
“No, sadly my thoughts are fixed here in the city. I’m trying to figure out a clue. Ellis’s roommate said she’d sometimes meet with a well-dressed man, a man of means the victim indicated. They’d meet up at the fountain by the British Museum.”
“Don’t know the spot but then the museum isn’t my cup of tea.”
“Not the point. I’m saying it’s odd. What member of the upper class chooses to stroll through a public garden other than Hyde or Regents, where they can see and be seen by one of their own?”
“I agree the wealthy prefer the parks filled with others of their kind but it doesn’t mean a man can’t enjoy someplace different.”
“We interviewed the guard again. The one that discovered the body walks that half of the building. He told us the majority of their male patrons are natty dressers, but he never saw a man like that loitering by the fountain.”
“My guess is: the man is married and can’t afford to run the risk of being seen by a friend of his wife’s. Or, he might live or work in the area and the spot is convenient.”
“Or, he’s a murderer who’s noticed the victim walking through the park on a regular basis, saw it as an opportunity and cozied up to her.”
Ruddy took another swallow of his ale, mentally debating the merit of each theory. “I don’t think he lives in the area. If so, he’d have cut through the park more and been seen by the guards. Not sure about the married man having a tryst idea."
To Ruddy's way of thinking, if the man was married and looking for a tumble, he’d have met her someplace other than the gardens and at a better hour.
Instinct drew him back to his original sense of the culprit and crime. “I feel like this was a crime of opportunity. I’ve thought it all along and can’t shake the sense.”
“If he was just seeking a victim, then why haven’t you had more murders like this?” Morris asked.
Ruddy downed the rest of his beer and put his tankard on the edge of the table where June would refill it. “Everyone has to start somewhere. She might be number one.”

YouTube Video

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.  
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four wild and crazy rescue dogs.  

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Promo Blitz and Excerpt: The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner

Contemporary Fantasy
Date Published:  Eformats- 2/19/16, Print 10/21/16
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours. 

It’s time to find out why she has this power. 

Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.


The memory has haunted me for years.

In the middle of a bright California summer, dark days came. My mother and grandparents spoke in hushed, serious voice, arguing about my absent father. Was it my fault he left? A soft whimper escaped my throat and my eyes burned. I needed a hug, but no one paid any attention to me that day.  So I ran away to the refuge of my grandparents’ garden where I could hide among its statues and flowers.

My eyes lingered over the familiar garden ornaments. I passed the old birdbath, the statues of gnomes, and a cheerful squirrel. I ran one hand over the stone deer. Its brown paint had faded from years under the sun. Walking with quick steps down the gravel path, I made my way to the center of the garden, my special spot where my favorite statue waited.

       A gnarled apricot tree grew there.  Right now it was covered with tiny green apricots. Later in the summer the sweet fruit I loved would ripen. I would get to pick them with my parents, no, just with my mother. My lip trembled. My father wouldn’t be here.

The bright-green dragon lay curled at the foot of the apricot tree, partially covered by vines. My mother called the color jade green—the same shade as my eyes. As a child she talked to all the statues, but I only spoke to the dragon. I named her Daisy. Sitting down next to her now, the tears welled up at last, spilling over my cheeks. I wrapped my arms around my legs, making myself into a little ball of five year old misery.

“Child, why are you sad?” said a woman’s voice.

“Who said that?” I asked, wiping my cheek.

 “I did.”

“Where are you?” I stood and peered at the plants and statues around me.

“Right here.”

“Are not,” I retorted.

A soft laugh filled the air and the woman spoke again. “Perhaps you are right. Easy enough to fix, I suppose.”

The breeze picked up. The space beneath the apricot tree shimmered. Ripples warped the air like the heat over the barbecue when my father cooked. The sweet notes of wind chimes filled the yard. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have any wind chimes. I whirled around to find the noise.

Under the branches appeared an enormous green dragon’s head.

About the Author

Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.
Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World), you can find her online at

Contact Links

Twitter: @Erika_Gardner

Purchase Links

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review: A Shining Star by R. Castro

A Shining Star is a nice read for the Christmas season. Cali works at a foundation that helps children who have been abused or abandoned. She's in the Development office, garnering contributions for the foundation and is very good at her job. She was helped by the foundation in her own youth.
Just before the holidays, Reginal Bosc starts working at the office with the purpose of coordinating a huge donation and expanding the foundation's reach. As Cali and Reginal work together professionally, they find some romance too.
This is a fairly quick read. There are a few disturbing issues that come up as part of Cali's and Reginal's past lives: rape, suicide, and illness, but there is also very heartwarming aspects that will charm the reader. I especially enjoyed Cali's travel to Baden-Baden for a fundraising event. Cali is sweet though she has endured much in her short life, and it was nice to see Reginal come out of his shell. I could easily see this story made into a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blog Tour: The Star-Crossed Saga by Braxton A. Cosby

Braxton A. Cosby - The Star-Crossed Saga Series - Virtual Book Tour

YA Science Fiction/Romance
Publisher:  Cosby Media Productions 

The award-winning StarCrossed Saga series, where teen romance 
blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action, 
adventure and discovery

What Would You Choose: Love or Duty?
As the Torrian Alliance continues its age-old mission of 
hunting down Star-children, King Gregorio Derry
reluctantly agrees to send his only son, William, 
to planet Earth on a mission to bring honor back to the
Royal Family name. The target: Sydney, a young teenage
girl, unaware of her alien heritage. When an unforeseen 
accident delays the assassination, William begins to realize
a connection forming with Sydney and struggles to follow
through with his orders. With the fear of Civil War imminent 
back home, William must make the ultimate choice 
between his irrevocable duty and love, sacrificing
everything he believes. But as a hidden menace emerges
to secure a vested interest, and impossible odds begin to mount
against them, William and Sydney wonder if a connection between
two Star-Crossed lovers is enough to save them from destruction.

Book 1 of the award-winning StarCrossed Saga series, where teen 
romance blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action,
adventure and discovery!

What You Choose, Becomes You…
Against everything he had known as truth, William has
made the choice to protect Sydney from the forces seeking
to destroy her. But just as these two Starcrossed lovers are
beginning to explore their relationship and search for
answers to the mysteries of Sydney’s existence, she 
advances to the next stage of her Star-child evolution—
Supernova—and struggles not only to control her new 
powers, but also the emotions for her new love. William
seeks to find the truth behind Sydney's erratic behavior, 
while overcoming the new threat headed to Earth to
destroy them. With new villains and old allies on the
horizon, and chaos brewing on William’s home world, 
will self-sacrifice prove to be the only way for him to 
achieve victory and defend his love, or is there another
The follow-up to the debut Award-winning novel

The explosive finale to Braxton Cosby’s Star-Crossed Saga trilogy—perfect for fans of TWILIGHT and LEGEND!

What You Believe, Can Destroy You!
William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify 
their love, so much so that William dares to brave the 
depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova 
bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to Torrian
Alliance attack. But with a full scale rebellion in play on
Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian 
hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a 
more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan
– lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits. With 
overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes
a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered
Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where
he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. 
Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the
galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and 
trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice. With Sarah’s 
mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s 
symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and 
destroy evil for once and for all?

Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A.
Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper
to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and 
stimulate thought. PROTOSTAR: BOOK 1 OF THE
currently Young Adult/New Adult series he created. He has written 
over 10 novels, including his new Superhero adventure book, 
THE CAPE is book three of the Dark Spores Series. He lives in
Georgia with his amazing wife and a highly energetic Morkie 
named StarKozy.

Contact Information
Twitter: @BraxtonACosby

Purchase Links

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris

Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris is the story of Anne Marie, or Amrie, who lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana on the Mississippi. She is ten years old when the Civil War starts and by the second year of the war, she and her family and friends are directly impacted when the Federals take New Orleans and start moving up the river to Vicksburg. Her parents are mistrusted by their neighbors because they freed all their slaves before the war even started. Her father is a surgeon stationed in Virginia with the Confederate Army and her mother has taken over his work in treating his patients left in their small community.
Things get progressively worse for the town as the Federals periodically shell the town or raid it, burning and looting homes, raping women, and impressing both free men and slaves. Amrie observes this with growing anger and fear. Meanwhile, people are killed, disappear, and are forever changed by the depredations of this war.
I've read all Ms. Harris' St Cyr Regency mysteries and enjoyed them very much. This book is much different in tone, but the author has successfully presented some issues in the Civil War that is often glossed over in our history books. Aside from Sherman's march to the sea and Gone with the Wind, there have not been many stories told of the women and children left behind and what they really went through. The author researched this story for several years, reading journals, diaries, letters, and other original documents to tell this story. While historical fiction, much of the book is based on real events.
This is an important read for history buffs and indeed, for any who want some background on tensions that still exist to this day between sections of our country.  I heartily recommend this book.
I received this book from the publisher as an ARC and I choose to give an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays Giveaway - win $2200 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Christmas tree light; Winter Background With Frost Fir BranchIt’s the holiday season!

We’d like to bring some joy and share the love.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: The Greater of Two Evils by Jane Thornley

Well, the first book in this wonderful series is still on my TBR pile. Somehow I read the next two and when this latest one came out, I was too excited to go back as I wanted to see what happens next to Phoebe McCabe, antiquity expert and knitter extraordinaire.  (I promise to go back to Rogue Wave soon and see how Phoebe's capers all began).
In this adventure Phoebe is involved with the Russian mafia. Yagar, or Yaggie as Phoebe calls him, is ruthless and bears a grudge against Phoebe's old friend, Foxy. Phoebe and her 'crew' must disrupt his plans and save the day in typical Phoebe fashion.
Phoebe, as always, is wonderful. She seems a little more resigned to the criminal aspect of her antiquities career and as a result feels freer to assert herself. She's grown over the series and I like that very much. Her cohorts are all involved in the story though I confess I was waiting and waiting for Noel to appear. There's lots of knitting too! Another great book in this series.

Link to Amazon