New Releases

June 2020 Book of the Month

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Book of the Month

June Choices are:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar
Literary Fiction

A careless social media comment casts three characters into a web of
violence, politics, and tragedy in India.

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For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies—and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Historical Fiction

A powerful story that confronts race and identity in the
1960s as two sisters lead very different life paths.

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From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.


Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Mystery

A woman inherits her creepy childhood home, only to find it’s haunted by more than just memories. Cue all the spooky Ouija board game chills.

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What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.


One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Romance

Take the best parts of The Bachelorette, mix them with your
favorite rom-com, add a dash of sweet wisdom, and stir.

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Real love…as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.


The Last Flight by Julie Clark
Thriller

Ever wanted a fresh start? This thriller makes it happen.
But the journey there is darker than you could imagine.

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Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

The Last Flight is the story of two women ― both alone, both scared ― and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.


I chose Home Before Dark this month!

Are you going to grab any of these books? Let me know which one you want the most.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: The Honest Liar by Leslie Georgeson @lesliegeorgeson @Shalini_G26

Honestliar
The Honest Liar
by Leslie Georgeson
(The Pact #2)
Genre:  Adult, Romance
Publication:  May 18, 2020

Two friends. One pact. A dangerous plan with an elaborate deception. In a world where they must rely on each other to survive, how far will each of them go to honor the pact?  

Nobody likes a liar.

Yet sometimes lies are essential.

In my world, the truth can kill.

For years I tried to escape the cartel.

But will I ever be free of its pull?

I have a Big Plan, and no one is getting in my way.

Not even a stubborn, sexy cop who won’t keep her nose out of my business.

Jamie Sanderson is determined to end me.

But she doesn’t know how powerful I am.

Even so, some things are beyond my control.

Now she’s in danger.

I will do whatever is necessary to keep her safe.

I don’t want to hurt Jamie, but I’m already buried so deep in the lies that neither one of us will emerge unscathed.

Is losing her really worth seeing my plan to fruition?

Excerpt

The front door of the business opened and people spilled out of the building. All men. All toting the “thug” look. Shifty eyes. Mean expressions. Most under thirty and dressed in low-slung jeans and Tees. They strode to their cars, and the parking lot emptied out.

There was no sign of Rafael Ortiz.

Keith cleared his throat. “Are you sure he’s here?”

“Well, this is his car…” I trailed off as the door opened again, and Rafael emerged from the building.

“Shit,” Keith whispered, his mouth gaping open.

Yeah, shit was right.

Rafael moved slowly, limping as he headed toward us. His face sported numerous cuts and rapidly forming bruises, his left eye was puffy and swollen shut, and bloody tissues plugged his nostrils. He looked hideous. Like he’d taken one hell of a serious beating. I flinched in sympathy. Oh, what a shame to see that beautiful face marred like that.

His open right eye focused on me as he halted before us.

“What the hell happened to you?” I blurted.

His cut lip twitched in a smirk. “Thank you for asking, Detective. Here I thought you didn’t care about me, except to find reasons to arrest me.”

Keith snickered.

“That’s not true.” My face heated. Was I really that rude to him?

He glanced at Keith. “How did you get dragged into her persecution of me? I thought you were my friend.”

Keith reddened. “I simply offered to be her backup since her partner is out sick today. That’s all.”

“I’m not persecuting you,” I denied. “I was just following a lead. I know you’re up to something. All those men who just left here are associated with a cartel.”

Rafael grunted, his right eye centering on me again. “So, once again, I’m guilty by association? This is a gym, Detective. People come here to work out all the time. To fight. To smooth out their issues.”

I huffed. “Well, you obviously just got your ass kicked. Did you get your issues worked out? You look like shit.”

He chuckled softly, wincing in pain. “Oh, you got it all wrong, Detective. I didn’t get my ass kicked. I won.”

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Author Bio

web-18 - Copy

Leslie Georgeson writes romance and suspense, sometimes with a dash of sci-fi or paranormal tossed in to make things more interesting. She is the author of the popular military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. Her other titles include the UNLIKELY HEROES series, the UNDERNEATH series, the standalone romantic mystery, NO SON OF MINE, and the newly released romantic suspense duet, THE PACT. Book one, The Mocking Man, is now available on Amazon and book two, The Honest Liar, is scheduled for an early June 2020 release. Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Stealing the Heiress by Samantha Holt

Stealing the Heiress by Samantha Holt
(The Kidnap Club, #2)
Publication date: May 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance

She was looking for adventure…
Lady Rosamunde Stanley just never expected in the form of a kidnapping.

Well, an almost-kidnapping. The dastardly man only went and took the wrong woman!

But she soon discovers the dark, handsome man is not quite the terrible rogue she thinks him to be and she decides to put his experience to use. Her uncle has gone missing and no one believes her when she says he’s in trouble. Can she persuade Russell to help?

Russell might have kidnapped her, but he has no intention of keeping her. Even if the heat between them is driving him out of his wits and her crazy family makes him long for things a battle-hardened orphan like him should never want.

Their societal divide isn’t the only reason to keep his distance. Rosamunde is a bloody knife-carrying, picklock-wielding madwoman.

A far too appealing madwoman…

He’s not the only one struggling. Rosamunde is finding it just as difficult to fight the attraction, despite knowing it is most likely her over-active imagination leading her down this path. Somehow, she must keep her head around the most exciting man she’s ever met.

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EXCERPT:


“Stay where you are or I shall shoot,” he ordered firmly.


The driver nodded, his hands trembling around his loose grip on the reins. Russell moved around the carriage and glanced through the window to find two women clutched together. He eyed the younger one. Dark haired and attractive, just as Guy had described.


Very attractive. Russell clenched his jaw. Miss Heston looked a little older than the one-and-twenty-year-old he had expected but Guy had certainly downplayed her looks. She peered at him with wide eyes then murmured something to her older companion.


Before he pulled open the door, the woman shoved it and pushed her head out, meeting his gaze head on. Without the hazy glass between them, he had a full view of generous lips, a slightly stubborn chin, and wire framed spectacles that emphasized a warm, nutty gaze. However, there was nothing warm about the way she looked at him.


He let a brow rise. The woman was an excellent actress.


“Come with me.” He kept his voice low, just in case her companion did not know of their arrangement.


“Like hell!”


He blinked at the blasphemy. As far as he knew, the woman they were kidnapping was gently bred and trying to escape the persistent overtures of a gentleman. Still, perhaps she was trying to play the role of helpless victim for her companion’s benefit.


Very well. She wasn’t the only one who could act. He had not read every one of Shakespeare’s plays for no reason. “Come with me or I shall shoot,” he warned her, keeping his tones low and aggressive.


Miss Heston scanned the length of him and lifted her chin. “If it is money you want, I am quite wealthy.” She put her hand to a broach at the neckline of her crimson gown.


Russell’s gaze tracked the movement, unintentionally. He only realized her cleavage had caught his attention when she began to undo the gold and ruby broach. He swiftly looked away and blinked, feeling as though the image of soft skin, dark shadows, and generous curves might well be burned into his mind. Every time he blinked from now on, he suspected he would see the image there again.


Fool. He’d seen many a cleavage in his lifetime. A little glimpse of what appeared to be a most excellent cleavage wouldn’t be the undoing of him. If he could survive on the streets and forge a life for himself from nothing, he could most certainly rid himself of the image of the faintest glimpse of not even a third of a breast.


Or two.


Damn it. He blinked a few more times then scowled when she handed over the broach.


“Here, this is worth far more than you could get for me from ransom.”


He ignored it, letting his frown deepen. Why the devil was she dragging this out? Much longer and the driver might get the courage to fight him or someone would happen along, and Russell could end up getting shot.


“If that isn’t enough…” She hitched up her skirt, revealing a shapely, stocking-clad leg.


Well, the cleavage image no longer bothered him so that was something. He swallowed hard and frowned as she revealed the lacy edge of her stocking and the garter holding them up. Her hand moved slowly to the band and she tugged out a bank note.


Why the hell did this woman keep banknotes in her undergarments?


She reached for the note then curled her fingers around something else—a jeweled handle.


A damned penknife.


She grabbed it swiftly and thrust it outward. Russell dodged back, the blade skimming past his stomach and catching briefly on the fabric.


“Bloody hell, woman.” He grabbed her wrist. This play-acting was becoming far too dangerous. This needed to end now.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling author Samantha Holt lives in a small village in England with her twin girls and a dachshund called Duke. If you’re not sure where to start why not try…

Amelia and the Viscount (Bluestocking Brides #1) for a fun, slightly hot shorter length read. Meet the Chadwick sisters and follow their adventures in each of their standalone stories.

You’re the Rogue That I Want (Rogues of Redmere #1) is a longer read with heat, witty dialogue, a feisty heroine and adventure. All books in the series are standalone.

Sinful Confessions is the first in the Cynfell Brothers Series. These are all novella length and standalone–ideal for a quick dip into the world of the sexy Cynfell brothers.

Wake Me With a Kiss is a sweet, fairytale romance. Twists on Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are also available if you love a clean, fun read.

To Steal a Highlander’s Heart is a full length dive into the world of sexy highlanders. For those who love braw Scots, some steamy scenes, and medieval romance, this series is a perfect escape.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Steel Hand, Cold Heart by Rachel Menard @MissusM @RRBookTours1 #Goodreads #RRBookTours #Fantasy

I’m so excited to announce an amazing giveaway event in honor of Steel Hand, Cold Heart by Rachel Menard! Read on for book details, an excerpt and a link to the event!

Steel Hand, Cold Heart by Rachel Menard
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Adventure/ Vikings
Publication Date: July 2019
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On the island of Helvar, women rule. Sixteen-year-old Carina has trained for most of her life to belong to the coveted Daughters of Hel, the steel-handed Viking warriors who provide souls to the Death Goddess in exchange for the prosperity of their island. Gaining her place hasn’t been easy. She was not borne of the island, but another spoil from another raid, raised by the island Chieftain. There are many who would see her fail, and on her first raid, she does. She doesn’t kill a priestess she should have.

Carina needs to prove her worth or risk losing her place. Before she can, her arch-nemesis drugs her wine and sends her off the isle as a captive of three foreign boys. But what is Carina’s greatest misfortune may turn out to be her greatest gift. The young men are taking her to the jewel of the Southern Isles – Fortis Venitis, a place no other Daughter of Hel can venture. Carina can place Hel’s claims on the Southern isle and return to Helvar with the spoils, a victor.

However there are many obstacles to pass before she reaches her goal. Like her rune stone that everyone keeps trying to steal, the mismatched pirates from a country that no longer exists, and the priest with his poison that melts flesh from bones. But the most dangerous obstacle of all are the odd feelings she’s developing for her victims, especially the knife-thieving captain Nik. That could make it difficult for her to kill him in the end.

Chapter 1

They called me Carina the Unstoppable. No, the name did not render men to terror like Merciless Merle, nor did it inspire awe like Dagna the Destroyer, or command attention like Odda Ironfist. But the moniker was mine. I earned it for the many times I had been knocked flat on the training grounds or limped on bleeding limbs to finish a fight. It was how I earned my place as one of Hel’s Daughters, the Hand of Death Herself.

I leaned over the rails of our longboat, Jörmungandr, aptly named because the figurehead was carved in the image of the giant sea serpent, wriggling its way through the water east toward Frisia. A strong wind held our mainsail, and we bobbed back and forth on gentle waves. These smooth waters were a blessing from the sea giant, Aegir. He approved of our quest, speeding us along our last raid of the season, the last offering to Hel before the long winter.

This was the Daughters’ last raid of the season but my first. I could hardly contain my excitement. I wanted to be there already, to see the villagers’ faces when we arrived on their shore in droves. When we offered their blood to the Goddess Hel.

I curled my steel fingers into a fist. On the eve of my initiation, Thora warned me attaching my steel hand would hurt. Her exact words were, “It feels like cutting your fingers off one by one and pissing in the wound.” Vidar warmed the steel gauntlet in the coals until it glowed sunset red, and I grit my teeth as he slid the molten metal over my fingers. The steel hand burned through flesh and muscle until the metal touched bone. My eyes had watered. A violent scream had gathered in my chest.

I held it back. I didn’t have the luxury of showing weakness, and once the hand was seared to my fingers, I belonged to Hel. She who bears the steel hand has the Goddess’s blessing to take life. That was three months ago. It took that long for my hand to heal, to become useful again.

Goodreads Giveaway

Set sail for adventure, romance and cross-dressing on an epic Viking-inspired journey!

Enter for a chance to win 1 of 50 digital Kindle copes of STEEL HAND, COLD HEART, Grand Prize Winner of the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards! Winners will be selected at random, and their prize will be sent directly to their Kindle device. Giveaway is open from May 15, 2020 through June 14, 2020.

Rachel Menard earned her degree in marketing from ASU, during which time her work was featured in the university paper and her own, self-published punk zine, Chelsea. Her short fiction has been featured in the New England Speculative Writers’ Anthology, The Final Summons and on Cast of Wonders. Most recently, her self-published YA fantasy novel won the Grand Prize in the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book awards. For more of her writings and ramblings, visit www.rachelmenard.com.

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May 25th
Book Dragons Not Worms – https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1
Paige Cloud – https://www.instagram.com/turnthe.paige.394/
The Faerie Review – http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Reads & Reels – http://readsandreels.com

May 26th
Jennifer Mitchel, Bibliolater – https://www.jennifermitchellbooks.com
Balancing Books and Coffee – https://www.instagram.com/balancingbooksandcoffee
Misty’s Book Space – http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

May 27th
Tsarina Press – https://www.tsarinapress.com
Breakeven Books – https://breakevenbooks.com
Sophril Reads – https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

May 28th
I Smell Sheep – http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Jessica Belmont – https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

May 29th
The Magic of Wor(l)ds – http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
Rambling Mads – http://ramblingmads.com

Book Blitz Organized By:
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New Releases

Book Blitz: Haunted End: Whispering Lilly by Elizabeth Price @chaosonpaper @btwnthelinespub @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books #Paranormal #Mystery

Happy release day to author, Elizabeth Price! Check out her latest book, Whispering Lilly, a Haunted Ends novel!

Haunted End: Whispering Lilly
by Elizabeth Price
Mystery/ Paranormal
Publication Day: May 26th, 2020
Publisher: Between the Lines
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The Dead Inns paranormal investigations team is back in action with an all-new television show, Haunted Ends. With the help of their new ghostly member, Sam, the show’s popularity has grown far beyond San Francisco. Rocky, the show’s paranormal psychic, along with Sam, agrees to investigate the murder of a young college girl, Lilly Rosenberg. While doing so, the two are reunited with old friends as well as meeting new interesting ones… bodies optional. Their spooky adventure leads the crew of Haunted Ends into peril, fighting for their lives in the middle of the Mojave desert against the ghost of a long-dead serial killer, Irving Keegan.

Rocky lifted his eyes from his straining fingers. The sun hovered above the horizon, casting a golden glow over his pale skin. A fat speckled pigeon landed on the weather-worn bricks onto which his cramping fingers desperately held. Inches above him stood an open window, taunting him with a sheer white curtain that blew like a billowing cloud in the cool San Francisco breeze. The curtain reached down and tickled the tips of his spiky bleached-white hair. He knew if he reached out to grab the curtain, the rod would snap under his weight and he would plunge six stories, straight into oncoming traffic, causing quite a red splat on the asphalt below.

He glanced between his dangling legs to the busy street filled with spectators and anxious commuters. His eyes widened to the size of spotlights as all breath left his lungs. His fingers shifted, grasping tighter to the crimson brick wall. Why did he look down? He knew better. Yet, it wasn’t every day a person found themselves dangling vicariously outside a six-story window.

The headlights of passing cars and the flashing red lights of several emergency vehicles below resembled a swarm of fireflies. He hated fireflies. They reminded him of a time when he was eleven and had been forced to go to summer camp. The boys in his tent group held him down and forced him to eat fireflies to see if his stomach would glow. The fireflies didn’t stay with him long enough to find out.

“What the hell, Rocky?” Rose called from the open window.

Rocky jumped, his foot losing his hold for only a moment. He regained his footing, breathing out a gasping sigh. “Geez, Rose!” Rocky turned his attention to the window. “Hey, a little warning next time.”

“There’s going to be a next time? You’re anticipating doing this… whatever this is you’re doing again,” she said as she hung her head out the window.

“Gawd, I hope not,” he grumbled.

Rose crossed her arms over her chest, the sleeves of her gray suit pulling slightly at the elbows. “So, I have to ask, how’s it hangin’?” she asked as she leaned further out the window. Rocky replied with a drop-dead glare. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.”

“Just once, I…” Rocky started, realizing only after a few words how hard it was to speak while hanging off a ledge, “…wish you’d learn.”

Elizabeth grew up in Redlands, California as an only child. The lack of siblings, cousins, or even kids in her neighborhood to play with sparked her imagination to life. She spent most days entertaining herself with elaborate stories, even doing so when her attention should have been elsewhere—like on her schoolwork.

As a teen, Elizabeth dove headfirst into the geeky culture of Star Trek and other science fiction and fantasy novels. She became so consumed that she spent all her free time and allowance on new books—eagerly anticipating their arrival. When she felt hindered by her limited allowance and the inevitable waiting period between new releases, it dawned on Elizabeth to revisit the creation of her own stories. This is where she was truly born as an author, pouring her imagination into multiple genres.

In 2009, Elizabeth graduated from California State University Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, emphasizing Entertainment Studies. She has taken numerous writing classes to hone her craft—everything from script writing to copywriting, story writing and more.

Elizabeth has been happily married to her supportive husband since 2001. He greatly encourages her in her writing endeavors and accompanies her on trips to haunted locations—her favorite pastime. She currently lives with her husband in Corona, California.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Return Addresses by Michael A. McLellan @McLellanBooks @RRBookTours #ReturnAddresses #RRBookTours #BlogTour #Giveaway

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Michael A. McLellan has a new book out in the world! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a fantastic giveaway — A $20 Amazon gift card, and a copy of Return Addresses!

Psst, bloggers and book reviewers! There is also going to be a blog tour June 10th to the 26th, if you’re interested! Visit R&R Book Tours for more info!

New Final FINAL 4
Return Addresses
by Michael A. McLellan
Publication Date: April 13, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Press

“This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust anybody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.”

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?

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Excerpt

He saw the tents and the plastic tarp lean-tos too late. He was already underneath the highway overpass. The waning daylight barely penetrated the area, and the makeshift shelters were tucked back away from the road, in the shadows. If he’d seen them, he would have stopped and backtracked to the frontage road he’d passed a few hundred yards back. Breathing heavily, he slowed to a walk and kept his eyes forward.

“Hey, dude, what are you running for?” Came a voice from his left.

He turned toward the voice. Two men were walking toward him from the group of haphazardly placed shelters about twenty feet from the sidewalk. Gauging that he was less than halfway through, he turned around and started back the way he’d come. The men picked up their pace to a jog and cut him off. They stood on the sidewalk in his path. Sean stopped short of them and they casually walked forward, closing the distance. He was more afraid than he’d ever been in his life. His legs were shaking and he felt sick to his stomach. One of the men was old and had long, matted gray hair that hung to his chest in clumps. His clothes were tattered and filthy. The other was younger, maybe thirty. He was wearing a red hoodie and gray sweat pants that were so dirty they’d turned black in places. He had the hood up and masses of brown dreadlocks spilled out of the sides. The smell of the two men reminded Sean of spoiled food and urine.

“What are you running for, kid?” the older man repeated.

Sean took a step back. “I…I must have gone the wrong way.”

“The wrong way? Ha! You got that right. This is the wrongest way you could go.” The man turned and glanced in the direction Sean had came from. “You got anyone with you?”

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Author Bio

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | Goodreads| Twitter

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New Releases

May 2020 Books I’m Excited About

Books I'm Excited About

Hey Everyone!

A new month a new set of releases.  There are 4 books that are coming out this month that I am excited about.

Defy or Defend
Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
Delightfully Deadly Series
Steampunk, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Expected publication:  May 3, 2020
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A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. The bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.

New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

SPY

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office’s best and most decorative fixer. She’s sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.

VERSUS KNIGHT

Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.

Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.

In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.

“This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans.” ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review (Soulless)

Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone, but chronologically follows Poison or Protect before the start of the Parasol Protectorate Series. It’s Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In The Shadows from the hilarious author of the Parasol Protectorate books, perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Jodi Taylor, or Meljean Brook.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains fraternizing vampires and one very curious young lady, who asks about seduction, sometimes in detail but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.

House of Dragons
House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess
(House of Dragons #1)
Young Adult, Fantasy
Expected publication: May 12, 2020
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Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?

When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….

THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.

THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.

THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.

THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.

THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

Recipe for Persuasion
Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
(The Rajes #2)
Adult, Romance, Retelling
Expected publication: May 26, 2020
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Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?

Rico Silva, that’s what.

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy.

The Jane Austen Society
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Historical Fiction
Expected publication: May 26, 2020
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Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

Are there any books that you are looking forward to this month?

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