Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday 56 - #31

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Every Friday we share the first sentence (or so) of the book we’re currently reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My Book Beginning:  

Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver

ONCE IN SOME NEAR-FORGOTTEN time a traveler making his way across these mountains on foot wandered into our valley which is known as Trial.  Warm and dusty and overwearied, he came to our door and eased his heavy pack and asked for refreshment and Devola brought him a pail of water from our spring, pure and so cold it made him clench his teeth. 

My Thoughts: While the beginning doesn’t necessarily tell us where these mountains are, the fact that their valley is known as Trail tells us that life must not be easy in the area.  I actually read this book a very long time ago when I was in maybe the 5th or 6th grade and I’ve been thinking about the books I used to read when I was in school and decided to re-read this.  The cover on the right is the original cover from the 1974 published version I would have read.  At that time the book was published by Scholastic, though the very original publisher in 1969 was Harper Books.

What do you think?  Don't forget to leave your book beginning below and to link-up at Rose City Reader.  


Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice on every Friday.

To Play along here are the Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your post below. 
*Don’t forget to add your post URL (not your blog url) at Freda’s Voice.  
*It's that simple.

My 56 (Also from Where the Lilies Bloom, page 56): 

Mrs. Connell returned her glasses to her face.  She put her hands in her lap and resumed her rocking.  Behind the polished panes of the glasses, her eyes were a soft, light blue, oddly alight. 

My Thoughts: Mrs. Connell is not a very nice character in the book and no one in the Luther family is happy to spend any time in her company.  While this particular part doesn’t really tell you what’s been going on, it does let you know what Mrs. Connell looks like.

So what do you think?  Like how the book sounds? The cover on the left is the cover on the current edition of the book I’m reading, which is published by Harper Teen with a copyright date of 2001.  Which cover do you like better?  Don’t forget to link up at Freda’sVoice.  

About Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver

Mary Call has promised her dying father to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain, and never to take any help from strangers. She is determined to keep her word. No matter what. At first she is sure she can manage. Romey, Ima Dean, and Devola help gather herbs to sell in town; the riches of the mountains will surely keep the family clothed and fed. But then winter comes, fast and furious, and Mary Call has to learn that the land where the lilies bloom is also a cruel and unforgiving place, and it may take more than a promise to keep her family together. 

Don't forget to post your meme's and link up at both host locations.  

Have a great Friday! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review Tour for The Faberge Entanglement by Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes

Welcome to my stop on the Review Tour, presented by Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours, for The Faberge Entanglement by Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes.  Please leave a comment or question for either of the authors to let them know you stopped by.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  

The Faberge Entanglement
By Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes

Publisher:  Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 306 Pages
Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781311271457

Purchase Links:  Amazon   B&N   Smashwords

About the book:

Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux’s father, the billionaire CEO of Frontenac Global Security has been kidnapped. His ransom is not cash in a numbered offshore account, or a briefcase of Bearer Bonds but something utterly unique, incredibly valuable, and until recently, hidden away from the world.

The kidnapper seems to know Saber very well, and knows that the next day, through her work as an elite translator she will be in the same location as the Object. She must steal the Object and deliver it to the kidnapper to ransom her father.

Adrian Steele, a British Intelligence agent has just come off of two harrowing missions. Upon returning to London for a well-earned rest, he learns that his friend and fellow agent, has been murdered in Moscow, but not before he made use of a unique Object as a mobile ‘drop site’ for the valuable intelligence he was carrying.

The drop site is traveling from Moscow to England. Steele insists on completing the mission to honor the death of his friend, Gerry Cornell.

At an ultra-chic quasi-diplomatic gathering in a mansion in Windsor, England, Saber and Steele meet and find themselves faced with a powerful, undeniable attraction. But at the moment, this compelling attraction is very inconvenient.

In reality they are at the mansion to check out the security arrangements — for their own reasons — to steal the Object, a FabergĂ© egg worth thirty million dollars. But who will get to the egg first?

Fabergé eggs are very famous for their unique surprises. Saber and Steele are about to be very surprised, indeed.

And when Saber clashes with Steele; more than sparks will explode!


She is the author of the first two books of the Time Frame Series. Loves travel, discovering new foods to try, reading and writing. She currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie and her hedgehog Quiller.

Contact Links

Enjoyed an exotic, adventure-filled childhood, following her anthropologist father and travel writer mother to the farthest corners of the world. She later took inspiration from her Aunt Sophia Francesca and became the author of romantic adventure novels. She alternates her time between Los Angeles, and a family property located in Yorkshire England.

A priceless art treasure, a kidnapped father and revenge for a fallen comrade all take center stage in The Faberge Entanglement, a romantic suspense thriller from authors Lesley Meryn and Elle Brookes.  Exotic locations, colorful characters, and an interesting mystery quickly grabbed my attention and never let go.  Filled with plenty of action, danger and romance, this is a story romantic suspense readers will no doubt enjoy.
The authors do a good job introducing the reader to their primary characters, Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux and Adrian Steele, right from the start.  While I would have liked a little more development at the start of the story, the authors jump right into the action right away, I was able to figure out what was going on quickly and was quickly drawn into the story.  I liked both Saber and Adrian right away, in fact I think I connected with Adrian a little quicker than I connected with Saber, and enjoyed how the authors gave us alternating chapters from their separate points of view.  Both intelligent, resourceful and attractive, it was easy to understand their instant attraction, even if the timing was lousy.

The secondary characters provided background, color and some made significant contributions to the story.  I thought the villain was well portrayed and developed.  The dialogue is snappy, the action was almost non-stop, and the mystery was well developed.  The story is quickly paced and takes several twists and turns.  The authors definitely keep the reader engaged and I kept wondering if Saber and Adrian would figure out a way to get the “treasure”, the information they needed, and keep their romance alive.  Especially since the stakes were so high for both of them.
Will Saber and Adrian working together enable them to locate the “Faberge Egg”? Will they be able to save Saber’s dad and get the information Adrian’s friend died for to the right party?  What will happen between Saber and Adrian once their adventure is over?   You’ll have to read The Faberge Entanglement to find out.  I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of these author’s work.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Crowns

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Bridging the Gap Promotions, for Passion, Posion & Puppy Dogs by Sally S. Smith and Jean Steffens.  Please leave a comment or question for either author to let them know you stopped by.  You may enter their tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on their tour by clicking on the banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

Passion, Poison, & Puppy Dogs
By Sally S. Smith & Jean Steffens
A Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mystery, Book 1

Publisher:  Gemma Halliday Publishing
Release Date: April 20, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Female Sleuth
Length: 206 Pages
ISBN: 9781943587469

Buy Links:   Gemma Halliday Publishing      Amazon     Nook    iBook    Kobo    Smashwords    Print  

About the book:

—In this dog eat dog world, it’s people you have to keep your eye on.

When Lizzie Jones, pet sitter extraordinaire, is asked to watch over her best friend's two spoiled dogs at the posh gated community of Craggy Hill Estates, the last things she expects is to wind up in the middle of a homicide. But that's exactly what happens when she finds her best friend's cheating husband and Danger Cove’s celebrity bodybuilder champ, Mr. Jupiter, floating face down in his hot tub. To make matters worse, the police aren’t looking any further than the wife for a suspect—isn’t it always the wife? Well, not in this case—at least Lizzie refuses to believe it.

Between dealing with Craggy Hill's hot security guard, Tino Morales—who also just happens to be the man who broke Lizzie’s heart in high school, caring for her grieving friend, and watching three rambunctious dogs, Lizzie has her hands full. So she recruits her famous granddad, retired network field correspondent, Jimmy John Jones, to help her put two and two together to find the real killer. Was Mr. Jupiter murdered by one of his women on the side? A jealous, disgruntled employee? Or someone with a bitter and deep-seated hatred of the superstar? It's up to Lizzie, Jimmy John, and Lizzie's own pug, Vader, to crack the case before the killer claims another victim...this one much closer to Lizzie’s own heart!

Visit the Town of Danger Cove official website!


"I was thinking about you too," I said. "I had a terrific time last night. Dinner, dancing. What more could a girl ask for?"

He smiled down at me, lifted my hand over my head, and led me to circle beneath our arms. Humming softly, he pulled me into a slow dance and whispered in my ear, "There are all kind of rhythms to the bachata. You like this one?"

Whew. When exactly had his cute-and-cuddly factor flipped the switch to hot and sexy? I was so caught up in the nearness of him that I actually made it a few beats before stepping on his toes and causing him to flinch in pain.

Dang. "Sorry, Tino. I guess I should have warned you that I'm a notorious klutz."

He was all dewy-eyed and cuddly. "But the cutest klutz I've ever seen." And before I realized what he had in mind, he bent his head, pulled me in at the waist, and planted a kiss on me. Our lips met softly, then tightened as we pushed against each other, caught by surprise at the heat we were generating.

I stepped back, breathing hard. He blinked a few times and ran his hand through his soft dark hair.

"Oh my," I said.

"Caliente," he said.

"Yes." I shook my head to clear it. "You can say that again."

Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens Author Bio
The international best-selling writing team of Sally J. Smith (right brain) and Jean Steffens (left brain) make up equal halves of one totally functional writer’s mind. Creative and intuitive and organized and systematic? What could be better than that?

The two desert dwellers work together side-by-side, literally finishing each other’s sentences, putting together their novels faster and more efficiently than they ever could individually. 

When their heads aren’t together over a manuscript, you’ll find them with their families, at a movie, the yoga studio, the mall, or out-to-lunch—in the food sense, not the spaced-out sense, well…most of the time. Their current series include Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino Novels, Mystic Isle Mysteries, Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mysteries, and coming soon, Aloha Lagoon Gabby LeClair Mysteries, and Digby Sloan Mysteries.

Visit our website, look around, and sign up for our newsletter. We love hearing from our readers and always answer our e-mails:
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

Youtube: Passion, Poison, & Puppy Dogs:

2 great giveaways!!

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Valid tour wide (US & Intl)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
- and -
The Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs Give-Away: A Digital or print copy of the book, a coffee mug of adorable Vader, and a bib apron with our celebrity pug.
Go to our Smith and Steffens, International Best-Selling Authors FB Page by Saturday May 12th. Comment under Vader's picture to enter and win a bib apron and coffee mug starring Vader, our celebrity pug, & your choice of a digital or paper copy of the book.

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Bridging the Gap Promotions, for Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock.  Please leave a comment or question for Nicky to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

Lost in Wonderland
By Nicky Peacock
The Twisted and the Brave, Book 1

Publisher:  Evernight Teen Publishing
Release Date: April 14, 2016
Genre: Suspense, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Length: 31K Words, 124 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77233-811-9

Buy Links:    Evernight Teen     Amazon      B&N 

About the book:

Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder...

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

14+ due to violence and adult situations


Before I can scream, he stuffs me in his trunk. It is dark, smelly, and contains an empty plain black plastic bag and a dirty shovel; these are not good signs. I put my hands to the top of the trunk and push. It is locked. I wasn’t getting out till he wanted me to. I resign myself to curl into a ball, the acidic-smelling sweat of his palms still imprinted on my bare, narrow shoulders. I should be listening out for the car engine, hearing when it slows for corners or revs on open roads. I should be testing the resilience of all the sides of the black space around me. I should be doing all the things they tell you to do, but I don’t. I simply stay in my little ball, quiet and patient.

The car bounces up and down and I realize we’re not on the main road anymore. He’s taking me somewhere remote…

We come to a soft stop. The slam of a car door shivers through the metal of the vehicle. I know what is going to happen. It’s so inevitable that it’s almost laughable. Death comes to everyone at some point; what is that saying, “No one can avoid death and taxes.” Funny the things you remember when you’re in danger. I suppose your brain tries to distract you with all sorts of useless crap, anything to keep you from shutting down and freaking the hell out. I grab at my forearm, an almost robotic reaction, feeling down it to check that my tracking chip is still there. The hard edges beneath my skin make me smile. My small, metallic friend never lets me down, never abandons me.

The lid to my dark place is pulled up and I see him. His face is blank. There’s no hint of emotion or even intent other than what can be derived through his actions. His hands are sturdy as he pulls me from the trunk and stands me up before him. Being barely five feet tall, I only stand to his chest. I look down to the ground between us and see the cheapest sneakers in the world, ones probably made by enslaved third-world children. Man this guy is pure evil.

“Don’t worry, girl.” He puts a hand on my cheek and graces me with a twitchy smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. The hand lingers longer than usual polite social circles would allow. My eyes widen. I know that I am one of many girls he has brought here—one of the many that he planned to rape and strangle, then leave used and vacant by the side of the road, a hollow tangle of floppy limbs. How do I know this? Because I know him. I was looking for him. I’m not who, and what, he thinks I am. I’m not a fourteen-year-old girl, scared by the death sentence before her. No, I am something else entirely.

I smack his palm from my cheek and use the momentum to reach over with my other hand to grab his wrist. I position myself in front of him and use his own body weight to pull him down and over my now bent back. He hits the ground so hard he cries out. I keep hold of his arm and twist it around and under. He moves his body, angling it in the same direction in an attempt to ease the tension I’m creating.

“Stop!” he yells, those crappy sneakers frantically pumping to find enough purchase to get him to his feet.

I push harder till I hear the bone snap. He screams, but thanks to the remote location he has taken us to, no one hears him. I let go of his wrist and turn to retrieve the shovel from the trunk. I take a minute to loom over him. He is trying to get up, but the weight and pain of his broken arm is putting him off-balance. Funny how fragile the human body actually is, even one that belongs to a sick serial killer.

I raise the shovel and smack it over his knees. He howls and tries to shield himself with his good arm. An arm that is not intact for long, as I turn the shovel and this time use the edge to dig into his flesh. Blood pools on the ground and he begins to crawl. I’m not sure where he’s trying to go. I think his goal is just to get away from me. I walk the few steps to where he’s managed to drag himself to then bring my weapon down hard onto his skull. The splintering sound of bone meeting metal is my cue to get on with the operation. I pull my cell phone from my pink sparkle-covered jeans and dial the only number on it. An automated message greets me. “Off with their heads.” I take a breath and look over at the mangled mess of the serial killer they knew as the Doll Maker. “Here, here,” I say. The call rings off and I know that I have to make my exit now. They will come and clean up the mess. No one will ever know that the Doll Maker was an accountant with really bad shoes, and I mean really bad. It’s not till they’d stopped moving that I see peeling luminous go-faster stripes adorning their sides. Yeesh. The blood splatter does little to hide their ugliness.

I stoop and check for a pulse, finding none. His skin is already clammy and I could swear slightly rubbery, but in truth it is probably just my imagination.

I throw down the shovel and begin the trek back to civilization. The night air is bitter and cruel, so I pull up my lilac hood against it. An unmarked black car zooms past me. They were quick tonight. I rub my hand up my forearm and feel the comfort of my chip. My chip is a constant friend, albeit a chatty one; they will always be able to find me, know where I am, where I’ve been. Not that I’m complaining. I was lost once, when I was very little. And although that fear bubbles in my mind every day, I beat it back with my chip. I’ll never be lost again; or at least that is what my adoptive parents tell me. Wonderland doesn’t lose its operatives.

 About the Author:
Nicky Peacock is a published author of both YA and adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance and horror fiction. She lives in the heart of the UK, where she has run a writers' group for over 4 years to help new writers find their feet on the path to publication. A member of both the Society of Authors and the British Fantasy Society, Nicky has had over 30 stories published in various anthologies. She loves to talk to readers, so please feel free to either get in touch with her through her blog, or on any of the social media below.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Excerpt Tour & #Giveaway for When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge

Welcome to my stop on the Excerpt Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge.  Please leave a comment or question for Nesly to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may also follow all of the stops of his tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  

When the Serpent Bites
By Nesly Clerge
The Starks Trilogy, Book 1

Publisher: Ingram Spark
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Length: 406 Pages
ISBN:  978-0996501705
ASin;  B01350WD38

Add to Goodreads 

Buy Link:   Amazon 

About the book:
Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.


Demory glanced again at Starks’s file in the few minutes before his patient arrived. Police statements taken from people who knew Starks were consistent about the man never having previously demonstrated any violent tendencies. Family often lied, but not neighbors and business associates, who usually had no reason to hold back with the truth.

Kayla Starks’s statement, of course, was derogatory. And, as expected, Margaret Hessinger’s statement was scathing.

Having been through a bitter divorce himself, he knew that a person can be pushed beyond a rational point. Although he didn’t condone the action, he could sympathize with Starks for snapping the night he went to his wife’s former lover’s house. The problem was he was still snapping. In here. The last place where he could or should do that. The last place he might ever live, if he didn’t get a grip.

The inmate arrived one minute early.

Demory smiled and motioned for him to sit. Once the guards left and the door was closed, he asked, “How are you doing?”

Starks rubbed the back of his neck. “How do you think?” He rested his clasped hands on his lap and stared, unseeing, at them.

“Why’d you try to end your life?”

Starks looked him straight in the face and said, “You’re kidding, right?”

Demory waited.

“You’re familiar with my trial?”

“I followed the news, and I ordered and read a copy of the trial transcript after I knew I’d be meeting with you.”

“Then you know what my wife did. Finding out what my wife really was—and that she willingly spoke against me—fucked me up bad. Everything I’d ever worked for, what it did to my kids . . .  Then coming here, being locked in isolation for so long . . . I just wanted it to stop.”

“What did you want to stop?”

“Pain, humiliation, memories that run on a loop. And feeling like I have to live in constant fear.”

“I’d like to talk about the event that led to you being in here; what happened at the Hessinger house.”

Starks’s head jerked up. “I don’t want to discuss it.” He pointed at the file in front of Demory. “Anything you need to know about that night and what happened before that night is information you’ve already read. No need for me to repeat it.”

“I’m afraid we have to discuss it. If I have to ask you each session, I will, until you tell me about it.”

After a minute of silence, Starks answered. “I lost control, went over the edge.”

“What sent you over?”

“He had no shame. Only wanted to shame me. Blame me for my wife cheating with him.”

“How’d he do that?”

Chains rattled when Starks swiped at the trickle of sweat on his cheek. His gaze traveled quickly around the room, his breaths became shorter. Demory waited.

“It’s a long story.”

Demory’s smile was sympathetic. “Time is on our side.”

Starks nodded, looked away.

“Your file indicates you’re still married but that you and your wife had been separated almost a year at that time. Why did you want to talk to Hessinger then? Why attack him then?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing. Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, will be available in 2015, with the sequel to follow in 2016. His debut novel explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting. When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.

Official site:

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