Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of Lost Child: The True Story of a Girl Who Couldn't Ask for Help by Torey Hayden

Author: Torey Hayden
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 2019

In a forgotten corner of Wales, a young girl languishes in a home for troubled children. Abandoned by her parents because of her violent streak, Jessie—at the age of ten—is at risk of becoming just another lost soul in the foster system.

Precocious and bold, Jessie is convinced she is possessed by the devil and utterly unprepared for the arrival of therapist Torey Hayden. Armed with patience, compassion, and unconditional love, Hayden begins working with Jessie once a week. But when Jessie makes a stunning accusation against one of Hayden’s colleagues – a man Hayden implicitly trusts – Hayden’s work doubles: now she must not only get to the root of Jessie’s troubles, but also find out if what the girl alleges is true.
A moving, compelling, and inspiring account, Lost Child is a powerful testament once again of Torey Hayden’s extraordinary ability to reach children who many have given up on—and a reminder of how patience and love can ultimately prevail.

I'll start by saying that I have not read any of Torey Hayden's other books about her time as a special education teacher.  I am also not a psychologist.  I know that this is a recounting of her own experience and keeping that in mind, I thought this was an interesting read.  The story of Jesse was so heartbreaking and I was definitely riveted by her story. It was so sad to see that this child was neglected for so long. 

However, I'm not sure that I agreed with the way the investigation or therapy was handled.  I could see where mistakes were made by multiple people.  Hindsight being what it is, I wonder if this child could have had help a lot sooner that she did.  Repeatedly, we are told by the author that she was not experienced in sexual abuse cases, but she was allowed to continue to hold sessions with Jesse after her accusation.  She also pointed out that she was not supposed to bring up Joseph, but she repeatedly brought up his name and asked what I felt were leading questions. I mean, it ultimately did help the truth to come out.  I wish we could have seen more of the outside investigation and the perspectives of the social worker and police.  It might have given me a more rounded view of how everything went down.

I should warn that there is very explicit language and descriptions of abuse in this book.  So, that may steer some people away.  I think ti's worth picking up.  If only to gain insight into how neglect and abuse can shape a child's behavior.  I was glad she included an epilogue.  It was nice closure for the reader.

Purchase Links

About Torey Hayden

Born in Montana, USA, Torey Hayden has spent most of her adult life working with children in distress. Now living in Great Britain, she divides her time between writing and volunteer work with several British charities. Torey is author of numerous internationally best-selling books about her experiences as a special education teacher and therapist. She has also written two novels and two children’s books.

Find her at and connect with her on Facebook.

Tour Stops

Thursday, October 3rd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, October 4th: Openly Bookish
Monday, October 7th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, October 10th: Helen’s Book Blog
Friday, October 11th: Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader
Monday, October 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, October 17th: Instagram: @crystals_library
Tuesday, October 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 23rd: Instagram: @simplykelina
Friday, October 25th: Literary Quicksand
TBD: Monday, September 30th: Read Till Dawn
TBD: Friday, October 18th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Release Day: Girl in Luv & Boy in Luv by Jay Crownover and Rebecca Yarros

Girl in Luv and Boy in Luv, which make up the Luv Duet by Jay Crownover and Rebecca Yarros, are now available to read for free as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The books will be on sale for only 99 cents for a limited time!

Make sure to come back on Saturday for a review of the duet!

GIRL IN LUV by Jay Crownover & Rebecca Yarros

In Luv Duet, #1 | 99 cents


Grab your copy: Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)



Langley Vaughn is in desperate need of a date. But not just any date. She's looking for a date to the wedding from hell. It isn't every day you're forced to be in the bridal party while your first love marries your archnemesis…otherwise known as the world's worst stepsister. The entire situation is a nightmare, and Langley is sick and tired of taking orders and forcing a fake smile. She's done being the bad guy when she was the one who was wronged. She needs to find a date who's not afraid of her family's money…someone willing to shake things up. She needs someone outside of her normal social circle, someone ready to go to war with the well-to-do. She needs someone who won't back down. Someone willing to play the complicated game of tug-of-war she's been engaged in with her family for years. Never in a million years did she think she was going to stumble across her very own heroic heartthrob when she set her crazy plan in motion. Not only does Iker show up for her time and time again, he also forces her to finally fight for herself. He says he's only there for the money…but his actions speak so much louder than his words. Iker Alvarez would do anything and everything to get his hands on some quick cash. Not just any cash, but enough to make sure his younger brother gets into the college of his dreams. Thank goodness for a desperate, pretty little rich girl with too much money and her heart set on an outrageous scheme. Being in the right place at the right time might just be the answer to both of their prayers—and this smart soldier has never let a golden opportunity slide by. Iker doesn't mind coming to Langley's rescue and being her plus-one…as long as the price is right. Only, he didn't plan on liking the blonde socialite as much as he does. He is totally unprepared for the pull he feels toward her, coupled with his growing desire to protect her from the vultures and villains living under the same roof. He wants to be the guy who keeps her safe and gives her the courage she obviously needs to fight back… But someone else, someone far more powerful and influential than Langley's wealthy family, has dibs on Iker's time and on his future. He knows he isn't the guy Langley can count on in the long run, but damn, if he doesn't want to do everything in his power to be that man.  


BOY IN LUV by Jay Crownover & Rebecca Yarros

In Luv Duet, #2 | 99 cents


Grab your copy: Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)



Distance sure as hell made his heart grow fonder… But it shattered hers into a million pieces. Langley Vaughn knows she's never going to make the same mistake again. Who falls head over heels in love in a week? Langley did, and she's regretted it every day since she handed her heart to a boy with too many secrets and too much baggage. Iker doesn't fit into Langley's world, and he made it clear he doesn't want to. He left before she even got a chance to try and change his mind or to prove to him how good they could be together. Langley's spent the last nine months healing her heart and making big plans for the future. Plans that absolutely don't include Iker… even though he's back, looking better than ever, and saying all the right things. Iker Alvarez knows he made the biggest mistake of his life. At first, the pretty blonde in the red dress was nothing more than a means to an end. But, she quickly became so much more. As soon as Iker walked away from Langley, claiming it was for her own good, he knew he screwed up. He left her so she wouldn't worry about him when he deployed, so she wouldn't waste her time waiting around for a guy who was never going to be good enough for her. Only, nine months and a deployment later, Iker still can't get Langley out of his head… and he totally underestimated the hold she has on his hardened heart. He's a guy who's not sure how love should work, or how to go about winning his girl back…he's about to get a crash course in both.  



Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road. Connect with her: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Reader Group    


Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. Her new Renegade Series features Wilder and the upcoming Nova, and is sure to keep your heart pounding. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years. When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same. Connect with her: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Reader Group  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2019

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her--and who won't make it out of the woods?

It's been exactly one year since Sara's sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn't know whether her former friends no longer like her...or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to "play the game" and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca--before she's lost forever. And even though she's hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends--and their cameras--following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

I have been looking for a good YA horror/thriller for a while.  I definitely found it in Rules for Vanishing.  Honestly, it's best to go into the book not knowing a whole lot about the plot.  Basically, Sara's sister disappeared a year before.  Sara is convinced Becca disappeared on a mysterious road that only appears once a year.  Determined to find her, she and a group of friends set out to find the road.

This was a really creepy book.  I was on edge throughout the story.  There are a lot of twists and surprises.  I found myself questioning what was actually happening multiple times.  The characters were interesting and I genuinely cared about what happened to them. What I loved was that they were not the usual stereotypes of teens that we tend see in a lot of these types of books.  That was pretty refreshing.  I really liked how the story was told through multiple perspectives and interviews.  It made the story more interesting.  

I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a good thriller that will mess with your mind.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review: The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden

Author: Christopher Golden
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 2019

In one ancient variation on the myth of Pandora's Box, there were two jars, one for Pandora and one for her sister, Anesidora. One contained all the blessings of the gods, the other all the world's curses. Now, in a subterranean city in Northern Iraq, archaeologist Sophie Durand has discovered a secret chamber covered in writing that confirms that version of the tale--a chamber which contains a single jar. "Weird shit" expert Ben Walker joins Sophie's team just as the mystery deepens and grows ugly. Those who believe the myth want to know which jar has been found in the Pandora Room, the one containing blessings, or the one full of curses. Governments rush to lay claim, but jihadi forces aren't waiting for the dust to settle. Whatever the jar contains, they want it, no matter who they have to kill...or what will emerge when they open it. For Sophie, Walker, and the others, the Pandora Room may soon become their tomb.

The Pandora Room is the second book featuring DARPA operative Ben Walker.  This time around, he is called to Iraq to investigate an unusual find in an archaeological dig. If Ben Walker is on the case, you know the find has the potential to be dangerous.

While I enjoyed this one, I didn't like it was much as the first book, Ararat.  There were some creepy scenes and moments that I was holding my breath waiting to see who would make it out alive.  I also still like Ben Walker as a character. I fewlt like I got to know him a little better in this book.  Kim,from the first book, is in this one was well.  She is suffering from PTSD from the events of the first book.  I thought that was fairly realistic because you would expect there to be residual effects from a horrifying experience.'  I"m not sure I loved where their relationship went here.

The story overall, was just kind of OK.  I kind of felt like there wasn't anything very unique about it.  It really reminded me of the first book, right down to the evil and the possessions.  I wish the story was in a different setting.  Once again, they are isolated and have to go through harrowing conditions to escape.  Hopefully, the next book will be a fresh story.  I do like this character and I want to see what he does next.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Review: One Step Ahead by Denver Murphy

Author: Denver Murphy
Publisher: The Book Folks
Publication Date: January 2019

Retired from the force, Detective Superintendent Jeffrey Brandt goes native. He stabs a woman but holds back from killing her. Frustrated that no one takes any notice, he ups his game. Next time, he’ll kill.

Brandt fully knows how the police work. He’ll use this knowledge to win a sick game; after all, he’s chosen the rules.

The crime scenes are spotless, Brandt’s covered his tracks. There is no forensic evidence. Yet each killing has his unmistakeable print.

Faced with the challenge of discovering his identity is DCI Stella Johnson. Quick-witted and uncompromising, she rises to Brandt’s macabre challenge. But if she finds the killer, what will she do given that he is always one step ahead?

Who will win this mortal battle of wits between hunter and hunted?

One Step Ahead was a pleasant surprise.  It was a random pick off my library's Overdrive site.  The first in a trilogy, it features a disgruntled retired Police Detective who decides to turn into a serial killer.  The story is told in the  duel perspectives of DS Jeffery Brandt (the serial killer) and DCI Stella Johnson.  

What I really liked about this book was getting into the head of Brandt and seeing his rationale for turning to this particular life of crime.  We also get to see his slow decline into madness as well as how he progresses to get more and more violent in his attacks.  I really liked the main character, Stella.  She is a very smart and intuitive detective.  Even though we, the readers,  know who is committing the murders, it was still interesting to watch Stella and her partner figure things out.  

The book ends on a major cliffhanger.  I definitely want to continue with the trilogy to see what comes next for these characters.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

I really wanted to love Imaginary Friend.  After reading the synopsis, I was expecting a scary read.  Instead, I got a strange, not completely clear, religious diatribe about the devil, angels and possibly the virgin Mary (?).  I'm not sure.  I mean I think the author was going for a good vs. evil theme.  However, it really failed to produce.  The book was way too long.  There were too many perspectives.    Don't get me wrong, the book started out great.  Very creepy and I wanted to know more.  But somewhere about the midway point, it lost momentum. 

I also want to comment on the age of the main character, Christopher, and his friends.  I really wish that authors would be more accurate with children's ages and behaviors.  There is no way a seven year old would be able to get away with or do the things that these kids did throughout this entire book.   There is a scene where the parents drop their second graders off at a hill for sledding and then leave them there for the day with no adult supervision.  What parents do that?  They all talked more like they were in middle school. Even right down to the way the two "mean" kids in their class acted.  Their insults were too mature for seven.  I probably would have bought into it more had they been in middle school. 

I'm not sure I would really recommend this one.  The synopsis really didn't prepare me for all of the religious symbolism.  Not that I am opposed to it, I just wasn't really sure what the author's goal was with the book.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie

Author: Deborah Crombie
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: October 2019

Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most enchanting regions, famous for its rolling hills, golden cottages, and picturesque villages.

Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant. The Talbot family is wealthy, prominent, and powerful—Melody’s father is the publisher of one of London’s largest and most influential newspapers. The centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity harvest luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After fifteen years in London’s cut-throat food scene, Viv has returned to the Gloucestershire valleys of her childhood and quickly made a name for herself with her innovative meals based on traditional cuisine but using fresh local ingredients. Attended by the local well-to-do as well as national press food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.
But a tragic car accident and a series of mysterious deaths rock the estate and pull Duncan and Gemma into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the killer has a connection with Viv’s pub—or, perhaps, with Beck House itself.

Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it closer to home, tied up in the tangled relationships and bitter resentments between the staff at Beck House and Viv’s new pub? Or is it more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv and those closest to her?

A Bitter Feast is the 18th book in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series.  It's only the second one that I have read.  Taken as a police procedural, I did really enjoy the mystery.  There were a number of suspects, so it was hard to figure out who the culprit was.  Through flashbacks, we learn a little about the victim and why he was in town.  I also enjoyed the working dynamic between Gemma and  Duncan.

Since, I have only read the first book in the series, I did feel like I was missing out on a lot of relationship back story.  In the first book, Gemma and Duncan are only partners and not even romantically involved.  There were also a lot of references to earlier cases of which I didn't understand the context.  However, I didn't find any of this took away from my enjoyment of the mystery.  In fact, I want to go back and read the earlier books to see how Duncan and Gemma got to this point in their relationships and careers. 

Purchase Links

About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Find out more about Deborah at website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Instagram Features
Tuesday, October 8th: Instagram: @wherethereadergrows
Tuesday, October 8th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf
Friday, October 11th: Instagram: @megsbookclub
Saturday, October 12th: Instagram: @reallyintothis
Sunday, October 13th: Instagram: @amanda.the.bookish
Tuesday, October 15th: Instagram: @jessicamap
Friday, October 18th: Instagram: @giuliland
Monday, October 21st: Instagram: @alixreads
TBD: Thursday, October 10th: Instagram: @_ebl_inc_
Review Stops
Tuesday, October 8th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, October 10th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, October 11th: Instagram: @slreadsbooks
Monday, October 14th: PhDiva
Monday, October 14th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, October 15th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, October 15th: Write – Read – Life
Wednesday, October 16th: Jessicamap Reviews
Thursday, October 17th: Thoughts From a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Thursday, October 17th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, October 18th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, October 22nd: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, October 23rd: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, October 24th: Amy’s Book-et List

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review: Killing November by Adriana Mather

Author:Adriana Mather
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 2019

It’s a school completely off the grid, hidden by dense forest and surrounded by traps. There’s no electricity, no internet, and an eye-for-an-eye punishment system. Classes include everything from Knife-Throwing and Poisons to the Art of Deception and Historical Analysis. And all of the students are children of the world’s most elite strategists—training to become assassins, counselors, spies, and master impersonators. Into this world walks November Adley, who quickly discovers that friends are few in a school where personal revelations are discouraged and competition is everything. When another student is murdered, all eyes turn to November, who must figure out exactly how she fits into the school’s bizarre strategy games before she is found guilty of the crime…or becomes the killer’s next victim. 

For the most part, I enjoyed Killing November.  It is, in some ways, a typical boarding school YA mystery.   I liked the setting and the main character.  I kind of felt badly for her because she had been lied to and found herself in a strange situation.  I also liked most of the supporting characters, especially the ones that became her allies.  I won't say who because you can't really trust anyone in this book.  I was kept guessing as to the identity of the murderer.  So why didn't I love it?

If there is one thing I have can't stand in books is when a character ends up some place, like a school, secret island, or facility that has rules.  Why would that annoy me?  Well, when the main character has no idea what the rules are and no one around said main character will give a clue as to what the rules are, yet they expect the character to follow them. (Can we say The Maze Runner?) Sorry for that mini rant, but that is what really frustrated me about this book.  That entire scenario went on way too long and just irritated me.  Had November not been such an interesting character, I might have DNF'd the book.   However, I did end up liking the book enough to want to read the next book to see what happens with November and the search for her father.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Author: Jenn Bennet
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publiocation Date:Arpil 2019

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

Serious Moonlight is the latest YA romance and the second one I have read from this author.  I really enjoyed Starry Eyes, so I was excited to read this one.  I ended up really enjoying this story. It's not just a romance.  It deals with grief, loss and figuring out where you fit in life.  

The main characters were wonderful. I appreciated Birdie's love of mysteries and how she would build a profile of the people she met.  I loved her relationship with her godmother. I also loved the relationship Daniel had with his family  The slow burn of the romance between Birdie and Daniel was greatly appreciated.  There was no insta-love. Despite their initial encounter, I liked that they became friends first.  I also appreciated the way the author handled the subject of sex in the story.  The characters actually talked about it maturely and responsibly.  That was refreshing.

I probably would keep this one to older YA readers.  Along with the sexual content, there is talk of suicide and depression. That could be a trigger for some readers, so keep that in mind.  Ms. Bennett has another hit on her hands.  I am looking forward to her next book.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Spotlight: Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman

Author: Zoe Fishman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Publicatin Date: (September 24, 2019) 

 A provocative and timely new novel by the author of Inheriting Edith, one that will haunt you long after the final page is turned…

Sylvie Snow knows the pressures of expectations: a woman is supposed to work hard, but never be tired; age gracefully, but always be beautiful; fix the family problems, but always be carefree. Sylvie does the grocery shopping, the laundry, the scheduling, the schlepping and the PTA-ing, while planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah and cheerfully tending her husband, Paul, who’s been lying on the sofa with a broken ankle.  She’s also secretly addicted to the Oxycontin intended for her husband. For three years, Sylvie has repressed her grief about the heartbreaking stillbirth of her newborn daughter, Delilah. On the morning of the anniversary of her death, when she just can’t face doing one…more…thing: she takes one—just one—of her husband’s discarded pain pills. And suddenly she feels patient, kinder, and miraculously relaxed. She tells herself that the pills are temporary, just a gift, and that when the supply runs out she’ll go back to her regularly scheduled programming. But days turn into weeks, and Sylvie slips slowly into a nightmare. At first, Paul and Teddy are completely unaware, but this changes quickly as her desperate choices reveal her desperate state. As the Bar Mitzvah nears, all three of them must face the void within themselves, both alone and together. 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Karen Shacham

About Zoe Fishman

Zoe Fishman is the bestselling author of Inheriting EdithDriving LessonsSaving Ruth and Balancing Acts. She’s the recipient of myriad awards, including a NY Post Pick. She’s been profiled in Publisher’s Weekly and The Huffington Post among others. Her writing has been published in The Atlanta Journal Constitution as part of their moving “Personal Journey” series. Zoe worked in the New York publishing industry for thirteen years. She was recently the Visiting Writer at SCAD Atlanta and currently teaches at Emory Continuing Education and The Decatur Writers Studio, at which she is also the Executive Director. She lives in Decatur with her family.
 Find out more about Zoe at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Instagram Features

Tuesday, September 24th: Instagram: @book.hang.o.ver
Wednesday, September 25th: Instagram: @jennsbookvibes
Thursday, September 26th: Instagram: @simplykelina
Friday, September 27th: Instagram: @tarheelreader
Saturday, September 28th: Instagram: @nerdybooknurse
Sunday, September 29th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark
Monday, September 30th: Instagram: @thebookclubmom
Tuesday, October 1st: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Review Stops

Tuesday, September 24th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, September 25th: Comfy Reading
Friday, September 27th: Instagram: @barkingaboutbooks
Sunday, September 29th: The Reading Corner For All
Monday, September 30th: Instagram: @readingmama_reviews
Wednesday, October 2nd: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Wednesday, October 2nd: Girl Who Reads
Friday, October 4th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, October 7th: Instagram: @kraysbookclub
Tuesday, October 8th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, October 9th: Instagram: @beccasbookishlife
Thursday, October 10th: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, October 11th: she treads softly
Monday, October 14th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, October 15th: Instagram: @books_with_bethany
Wednesday, October 16th: Literary Quicksand

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of Jesse's Girl by Tara September

Author: Tara September
Narrator: Verla Bond
Length: 3 hours 37 minutes
Publisher: Plus it Up2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: Sep. 6, 2019

Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse's girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she's not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade's hidden family secret. Yet, Reade can't seem to love anyone except the one woman he can't have. Or can he make her mine? 

When Gwen Clark's senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless, and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof - in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams...if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.

Buy Links
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My Thoughts:

Jesse's Girl was an enjoyable novella.   Gwen and Reade have loved each other for a long time, but Gwen has been married to Read's best friend.  When Gwen's husband takes all of their money and leaves the country with his mistress, Gwen must turn to Reade for help.

 The audiobook was very well done.  It's only about 31/2 hours long.  Even though it is short, it's got a pretty slow burn romance. I really liked that aspect as it's unusual to find in a short story. I enjoyed the couple.  They had great banter and excellent chemistry.  I only wish that the book was a little longer or had an epilogue.  I definitely recommend this one if you are in the mood for a short and sweet friends to lovers romance.

Click the play button for an audioclip!

Jesse’s Girl Giveaway: $50 Best Buy gift card & Jesse’s Girl audiobook

About the Author: Tara September

Tara September is an award-winning... and losing contemporary romance writer living in Southwest Florida.
Tara is proud to be the world's most okayest mom to clones (identical twin boys). When not writing out her daydreams, she blogs over at When Tara Met Blog @tarametblog, a lifestyle and parenting blog of 14 years.
Holding a master's degree in journalism from NYU, she previously was the Corporate Communications Manager at WWE and PR Manager for The Walt Disney Company, Consumer Products.

About the Narrator: Verla Bond
Verla Bond is an American actor, improvisor, and storyteller, who makes her home in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys performing on the stage and screen, but especially loves recording audiobooks, where she gets the privilege of playing all kinds of diverse characters, such as British vampires, Irish leprechauns, and Southern gentlemen.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Author:Diana Biller
Publisher: St. Martins' Press
Publication Date: October 2019

It’s 1875, and New York’s Gilded Age is in full swing. After fleeing her abusive husband, Alva Webster spent three years being pilloried in the newspapers of two continents. Now he’s dead, and she’s returned to New York to start over, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion for her new home decoration book and hopefully her reputation in the process. So when the eccentric and brilliant Professor Samuel Moore appears, threatening her fresh start with stories of a haunting at her house, she refuses to give him access. Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. A pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, Sam’s latest obsession is ghosts. When he learns about a house with a surprising number of ghost stories, he’s desperate to convince its beautiful owner to let him study it. Can he find his way into her house…and her heart? About the 

The Widow of Rose House is a debut novel and a perfect paranormal romance for the season.  The story follows Alva who has returned to the US to start over after her husband is murdered.  She originally left the US under an umbrella of scandal.  Determined to make a life for herself, she buys a house that is rumored to be haunted with the intention of making it over and publishing a book about it.  

The best part of this book is Sam and his determination to woo Alva.  I loved this character and he is on my book boyfriend list.  He's a genius, inventor, sometimes scatterbrained and hopelessly enamored with Alva.  Their first love scene was so refreshing.  His patience and understanding of Alva 's past made me love him more.  I was just so fun to watch these two fall in love.  I also loved Henry and Sam's family.  I'm not sure if this is going to be a stand alone, but I would love to see Henry, Benedict and Maggie get their own books.

As for the ghost story, I liked the twist on the ghost and how it worked.  That's all I will say about it so I don't spoil anything.  The setting was sufficiently creepy and good way to get you in the mood for the spooky season.   I highly recommend this debut novel.  I am excited to see what this author some up with next!

Enjoy this excerpt!

New York City, February 1, 1875

“Excuse me,” a deep voice said. “Mrs. Webster?”
Oh, for heaven’s sake. Couldn’t she stand outside for one minute without some intrepid lothario assuming she must be wait­ing for him? In the less than seventy­two hours she’d been back in the States, she’d been propositioned eleven times. Twice by friends of her father’s.
She glanced over her shoulder at the man, receiving an instant impression of big, though he stood mostly in the shadows. “I don’t know you,” she said, her voice flat. “Go home to your wife.”
“But I don’t have a wife,” the man said. He took a hesitant step towards her, leaving the shadows, and her eyebrows lifted. He looked more like a laborer than a man finishing a dinner at Delmonico’s, for all he was dressed in a suit and tie. Sort of dressed, she amended; the suit looked like it had been made for someone two inches shorter and two inches narrower across the shoulders. “Do I need a wife to talk to you? Is it a chaperone sort of thing? I have a mother, but she’s in Ohio.”
Alva blinked. “You’re not very good at this,” she observed. “I’m not a man, but I don’t think it’s standard behavior to invoke one’s mother at a time like this.”
They stared at each other in puzzlement. He was attractive in the sort of way she’d always imagined the heroes of western folktales to be: tall, broad shouldered, with a strong nose and a square jaw. He could stand to add barber to the list of people he needed to see, though, the one that started with tailor. Actually, looking at the way his dark blond hair fell into his eyes, she thought he’d better have it start with barber and go from there.
“There’s been a misunderstanding,” he said finally. “Perhaps if I introduce myself—my name is Professor Samuel Moore.”
He held out his hand. She looked at it, looked up at him, and did not extend her own. Bafflingly, he smiled at her, as though she’d done something rather clever.
Was he really a professor? He certainly didn’t look like one, not that it mattered, because she made it a policy, these days, never to talk to strange men—
“A professor of what?” she heard herself saying, although she was pleased it at least came out with a nice air of sarcasm and disbelief.
“This and that,” he said, still smiling. “Engineering, mostly.” She looked at his rumpled clothes. Yes, she could see that, one of those men who always had a tool in one hand and a grease can in the other. She didn’t know they were giving professorships out to men like that, but why not, after all? She was as appreciative of things like trains and working carriage wheels as the next
And now she’d gone and encouraged him. Stupid. “I see,” she said as coldly as she could manage. “Well, I’m not interested, so I’ll wish you good evening.”
“But how can you know if you’re not interested?” He shook his head in confusion, still smiling at her. The smile was . . . impressive. “I haven’t even explained my proposition, yet.”
“I find that if you’ve heard one proposition, you’ve heard them all,” she replied. Stop talking to him, you idiot. “They’re not as unique as men would like to believe.”
“But—who else has approached you? Was it Langley, from Yale?” His tone turned plaintive. “How did he hear about this before me?”
“Piers Langley,” he said. “No? I can’t think of anyone else reputable—look here, if you’ve been approached by anyone from that quack Santa Fe institute you should know they’re absolute frauds.”
“Institute?” Alva said faintly. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Your house, of course. I hadn’t realized I was so behind on the news.” His face fell—What must it be like to let all your emotions float freely on your face?—but he nodded gravely. “If it’s Langley, though, he’s an excellent researcher, and a decent human, too.”
“It’s not Lang—what do you want with my house?” It was her turn to sound plaintive.
“But that’s what—” He stared at her, his brows crunched together. “Oh god. I wasn’t—I wouldn’t—”
To her astonishment, a distinct touch of pink appeared in his cheeks. He cleared his throat.
“I beg your pardon, ma’am. Henry warned me—that is, I shouldn’t have; my proposition is not of an intimate nature.”
“I’m coming to understand that,” she said.
“You thought . . . do men . . . they must—good lord.
She began to feel in charity with this befuddled giant. “In­ deed,” she said. “I quite agree. But I must ask again—what is it you want with Liefdehuis?”
“To study it,” he said. “One of my personal interests is in metaphysical energies, you see, and from what I’ve heard, your house may prove a most interesting case. Your ghost story is so recent, you know. I hardly ever hear one claiming to be that new—”
He broke off as she shook her head. “You almost had me convinced that you were unlike the majority of your sex,” she said. “And now I see you are. I’m just not sure insanity is much of an improvement.”
To her surprise, he smiled again. “You’re not the only one who thinks so,” he said. The embarrassment had left his face; he was quite relaxed once more. A man who apologizes for a propo- sition and grins at an insult, Alva thought. Where did you come from, Professor Moore?
“And I’ll admit there’s no conclusive evidence yet,” he continued, “but what I have collected looks extremely promising. Certainly promising enough to warrant extensive study.”
A hint of cold pierced her thoughts. Firmly, she banished it. “You’re talking about ghosts,” she said.
“Maybe,” he replied. “Or I could be studying some kind of alien intelligence that just happens to concentrate in areas cor­ responding to local folklore.”
“Alien intelligence.”
Invisible alien intelligence,” he clarified. “At least invisible to the naked human eye. But ‘ghost’ is probably the easiest term.”
“People tend to go a bit strange when you talk to them about invisible alien intelligences,” he confided. “Which is odd, when you think about it, because why are the shades of one’s dead ancestors any less unsettling?”
She found herself nodding before the rest of her wits caught up with her. “No,” she said, not because the word corresponded with any particular question, but because she had the feeling the only way to survive here was to stick to very black­and­white words. His nuances were both compelling and sticky. “I’m afraid I won’t give you access. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’m about to start several months’ worth of building work.”
“Don’t decide yet,” he begged. “I’m willing to pay you for the privilege, and I promise I won’t be in the way . . . although there is rather a lot of equipment, so I suppose—”
The boy hailing cabs caught her eye and gestured as a hansom pulled up beside him.
“That’s mine,” she said. “I’m sorry I can’t help you. Good evening.”
“Wait!” he said. “I’ll—I’ll send you a letter. Henry said that was the way to do it—I’ll write you and explain more.”
“It won’t help,” she said as the cab boy helped her into the carriage. “I’m sorry. Good­bye, Professor Moore.”
Finally, he sighed acceptance and raised his hand. “Good evening, Mrs. Webster.”
As the cab pulled away from the sidewalk, though, she looked back at him, to find him staring after her with his hands shoved in his pockets and that apparently irrepressible grin back in place. An uncomfortable lightness expanded in her chest as she watched him standing head­and­shoulders taller than the passersby around him, looking back at her as though he would be perfectly happy never to look at anything else ever again.
What couldn’t I get, if I could look at people like that? she thought, and settled grumpily back against her seat.

About the author:
Credit: Lantz Simpson

Author DIANA BILLER lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their very good dog.

 THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is her debut novel.