Blog Tour | Playing With Fire by April Henry | Review

Playing with Fire
April Henry
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: January 19th 2021
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

When a fire cuts off a popular trail in the Oregon forest, a small group trapped by the flames must find another way out―or die―in Playing with Fire, an unrelenting teen-vs-nature YA thriller by New York Times bestselling author April Henry.

Natalia is not the kind of girl who takes risks. Six years ago, she barely survived the house fire that killed her baby brother. Now she is cautious and always plays it safe. For months, her co-worker Wyatt has begged her to come hiking with him, and Natalia finally agrees.

But when a wildfire breaks out, blocking the trail back, a perfect sunny day quickly morphs into a nightmare. With no cell service, few supplies, and no clear way out of the burning forest, a group of strangers will have to become allies if they’re going to survive. Hiking in the dark, they must reach the only way out―a foot bridge over a deep canyon―before the fire catches them.

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I was hoping that this book would be thrilling and keep me on my toes, and it sure did. It’s fast paced to the point of being frantic in some places, which perfectly suited the situation the characters were in. Definite trigger warnings if wildfires is something you have dealt with, or if you have a fear of fire – the way the story is told is very real and true to what people may experience in some cases. Going along this survival story with these people is anxiety inducing as they run into obstacle after obstacle, which made it a harrowing read, but also made it fly by. If you’re looking for something that will keep your pulse racing until the end, check this one out.

Author Bio:

April Henry is the New York Times–bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels The Girl in the White Van; Girl, Stolen; The Night She Disappeared; The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award and won the Anthony Award for Best YA Mystery; Count All Her Bones; The Lonely Dead; Run, Hide, Fight Back; and The Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, the first two books in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.

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Blog Tour | Agent Under Siege by Lena Diaz | Review

Can they outsmart a killer …who’s already escaped justice?

The Kentucky Ripper is in prison…or is he? When no one will help Teagan Ray find the man who really abducted her, former profiler Bryson Anton agrees to investigate. But soon their search takes two jolting turns—brutal attacks from a cunning suspect…and a powerful mutual attraction.

Buy Links | Harlequin | B&N | Booksamillion | Amazon | Indie bound

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I did not expect to love this story as much as I did. This was a thrilling story that just flew by while I was reading it. I loved how three dimensional Bryson, Teagan and some of the others in this story were, and how the relationships were portrayed. Diaz’s writing was so easy to get lost in and the twists and turns in the story just keep you within the story and needing to know what happened next. I also enjoyed that Bryson and Teagan seemed like actual people with actual problems, who were willing (though sometimes reluctantly) to work through those problems and issues. All in all I really enjoyed this story and would definitely read from this author again.

Lena’s heart belongs to the rolling hills of her homestate of Kentucky. But you’re more likely to see her near the ocean these days in northeast Florida where she resides with her hubby and two children. A former Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® finalist, she’s also a four-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award and a Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller. When not writing, she can be found sprucing up her flower beds or planning her next DIY project.

Author Links | Website | Facebook | GoodReads

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Book Blitz | The Winter Heals by Marie McGrath

The Winter Heals
Marie McGrath
(Honey Cove, #2)
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

It was almost impossible to heal when everyone was out to get you.

Shelby Rowe was stuck between two worlds—the one she wanted and the one everyone else wanted for her. As the daughter of a prominent family in Honey Cove, Shelby’s life was out of her control. Her friends, interests, and even her love life was controlled by others.

When a new girl moves to town, Shelby’s life was turned upside down as she gets a glimpse of what life could be like—no obligations, no pressure. As the Christmas break begins, Shelby is left stuck between what is expected and what she feels is right. Split in half, Shelby has to make decisions to correct her life and heal her spirit.

Will she allow others to control who she is? Or will she finally go out on her own?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Luke watched me as I eyed Priscilla and Tabitha from across the room. “Don’t panic, Shelby. You’re by far the most beautiful one in this ballroom tonight.”
“Thanks, Luke, but I’m not worried about what anyone else looks like.”

He nodded and smiled, but it didn’t quite make it to his eyes.

I probably wouldn’t have believed me either. I wasn’t fully lying, just wasn’t the entire truth. Priscilla had a chance to outdo me; it was just her insecurities that came back for her. If she had more confidence, people wouldn’t hate her as much for the nasty things she always inflicted on others. Although, I supposed someone else could say similar things to me. I certainly hadn’t always been the nicest one around. I had done plenty of cruel things, things I still was ashamed of, but I tried to change. That had to account for something, right?

Priscilla and Tabitha spotted me and strutted my way.

Luke tightened his grip around my arm and into his chest. Did he think I needed protecting?

Tabitha leaned forward to air-kiss my cheek. “Shelby, darling. You look fabulous.”

I reciprocated the gesture. “As do you. This color is stunning on you.”

She smiled and swished her dress against her ankles.

Priscilla’s eyebrow arched as she came closer for a hug. “Beautiful accessories, Shelby. It all really makes your eyes pop.”

I strained to smile, knowing anything they uttered about my appearance was merely a nod to social etiquette. It wasn’t genuine, at least not in the way I longed for a true compliment.

“Your mother outdid herself this year, Shelby,” Tabitha said.

“I’ll let her know you think so.”

Luke cleared his throat and nudged my side with his elbow.

“Sorry, ladies, how rude of me. You know Luke, obviously, but he’s my date.”

Luke grinned from ear to ear. “Ladies, you both look radiant this evening.”

They both curtsied.

“Well, we would love to stay and chat all night, but we must socialize with the guests. I’ll see you two later.”

I pulled Luke to stand at the second Christmas tree halfway between both exits.

Luke’s eyebrow rose. “Why did we walk away from them? We should be mingling with everyone.”

I snorted. “Please, Luke. I will mingle with the people who matter. Those two don’t matter. They will just gossip about anything they hear anyway, not worth our time.”

“Then who should we talk to, in your opinion? I think they matter to everyone else. If you aren’t flaunting me to your friends, what will people say?”

“They will have plenty to say, and we can discuss things with them when we are stuck at a table for dinner.”

“I suppose.” Luke moved his arm around me and hovered his right hand on the small of my back.

I bit the corner of my lip to avoid from shivering—or worse, cringing at his touch. It wasn’t awful, but it was more than I wish I had to endure.

“You know, you never told me if I looked dashing or not,” Luke said with a devilish grin.

I smiled. “You and I both know you do, especially with all of your matchy-matchy to my dress color.”

Luke feigned shock. “Is that a compliment from Shelby Rowe. Oh man. Alert Santa we’ll have a blizzard.”

I rolled my eyes. “Dramatic much?”

“Not at all. I only seem to get snarkiness from you.”

I shrugged. “Not always.”

“I apologize. You’re correct. I get snarky Shelby unless we’re pretending to be together. In which case, I get hushed-tone snarky Shelby.”

I giggled. “Is that so? How does one emanate snark in a hushed-tone kind of way?”

“I think you know how.”

I smiled and looked into his hazel eyes. Okay, so he could be charming when he wanted to.

“There it is.”

“There’s what?”

“A genuine smile.”

My father, with my mother in tow, strutted toward us. “Shelby and Luke, how splendid. You both look exquisite,” my father said. “Are you ready to meet a few people, Shelby?”

I followed my parents as Luke accompanied me. I straightened my frame and plastered a smile on my face. It was showtime.

An older couple stood to the side of the ballroom.

My father shook the older man’s hand and clapped his back. “Mr. Wyatt, this is my daughter Shelby and her date, Luke Warrington. Shelby, Mr. Wyatt is the head of sales at Rowe Industries.”

I curtsied as Luke shook the man’s hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wyatt,” I said.

“Hello again, sir,” Luke added.

My mother looked between us all but stayed silent. Her voice echoed in my head, “A true Rowe woman is seen but not heard. She makes her presence known but never overshadows the man she is with.”


Author Bio:

Marie McGrath lives in a small rural town in Maryland. She hopes to inspire others with her stories. Her favorite genres to read are YA Romance and Contemporary Fiction. She loves the color turquoise, tigers, and listening to music.

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Blog Tour | Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd | Review

Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd delivers an all-new thriller, featuring a bold and brash female protagonist.

WRONG JOB
Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement—and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.

WRONG NAME
Evie’s escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.

WRONG ALIBI
At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own fam
ily?

BUY LINKS | Harlequin  | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Walmart | Google | iBooks | Kobo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I did not expect this book to fly by as fast as it did and was surprised by how fast it seemed to go. This is my first experience with Dodd’s writing but I was pulled in by the writing and the way it flew by. I did feel like it could have been honed a bit as sometimes it did seem that some things weren’t necessary, or were affecting the other aspects of the story in ways they didn’t need to, but overall it was a really enjoyable read with vibrant characters. I look forward to picking up some of Dodd’s other books in the future when looking for a good mystery.

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called “scary, sexy, and smartly written” by Booklist and, much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at www.christinadodd.com.

SOCIAL | Author Website | TWITTER: @ChristinaDodd | Facebook | Insta: @ChristinaDoddBooks | Goodreads

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Book Blitz | Murder Mittens by R.J. Blain

Murder Mittens
R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies, #13)
Publication date: December 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.

Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.

Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.

Warning: contains magic, humor, cranky shapeshifters, cats, murder, and mayhem. Proceed with caution.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Why was murdering irate, irrational, ignorant, and flat-out wrong customers illegal? The idiot on the phone rambled about how it wasn’t fair that dumping coffee on his router invalidated his warranty.

I thought it wasn’t fair his stupidity might lose me IQ points, and I’d learned long ago that humans—or lycanthropes, such as myself—didn’t come with warranties or guarantees. I had bills to pay, and murdering one of the customers wouldn’t pay my bills.

Then again, in prison, I wouldn’t have to pay any bills. Every day by the end of my shift, I considered incarceration as a viable option.

Free board, free food, good medical care, and asshole inmates to beat on sounded a lot better than dealing with an idiot customer.

“Sir,” I said in the hopes of circumventing his tirade. Mr. Edward Lavell ignored me.

The idiots always ignored me. I bet my gender had something to do with it. On average, the men finished their calls five minutes faster, and every supervisor to review the situation came to the same general conclusion: customers took men in tech more seriously than women, and I, unfortunately, sounded too feminine.

“Sir,” I repeated, only to be ignored again.

Why couldn’t I just hang up on him? Oh, right. I valued my job. As I valued my job, I couldn’t hang up on him, I couldn’t curse, I couldn’t threaten to rip his throat out, and I couldn’t indulge in my desire to murder him.

There was a time and a place for murder, and on the job at a call center for a cable internet company was not the time nor the place.

For the fourth time since calling in, Mr. Lavell explained that it really wasn’t his fault he’d dumped coffee on his router.

“Sir, liquid spills are right in the contract for the router. I’m sorry, but I can’t change the rules for you. Spilling coffee on your router invalidates its warranty.”

“It’s not my fault the cup holder in my computer has a mind of its own,” he complained.

Wait. What?

His computer’s cup holder has a mind of its own? The realization I dealt with someone far worse than just an idiot sank in. Every call center had legends of Code Red customers, who were in an entirely different class from the standard 1-D10T and the unfortunately common PEBKAC. With Mr. Lavell, I had it all. A problem certainly did exist between the keyboard and chair, and he’d definitely deserved his flag as an 1-D10T.

Until his call, I had remained safe from the evils of a Code Red customer.

By the time I got off the phone with him, I’d need some alcohol and someone to kill.

It’d be easier to find someone to kill than the alcohol; me and booze just didn’t mix, and I’d been banned out of every damned bar in town to keep the peace.

Maybe I could whip on some makeup, grab a gray wig, and pass for a little old lady. With my face covered in burn scars, it wouldn’t take much to pull off some makeup artistry and transform myself into an older woman rather than a mutilated one. I could become a conventional beauty given an hour and the right products. An old lady wasn’t an impossibility.

Alternatively, I could shift, pay my family a visit, and steal a bottle of liquor from one of the cabinets. With the number of lynxes running around the place, they might not even notice me before I made off with my alcoholic prize.

As sighing was not acceptable when dealing with paying customers, I took a moment to steel my nerves before saying, “Sir, computers do not include cup holders.”

That caught his attention. “What?”

“Sir, computers do not include cup holders,” I repeated, already dreading the moment I would have to explain what a CD was, how they were used, and what the player’s actual purpose was. Few systems still had any disc drives at all, as most companies had moved to online downloads of their programs and games.

The next few minutes of my life would not be fun, and I typed a message to my supervisor warning him I had a major 1-D10T on my hands, a possible Code Red situation, and to make sure he was aware I faced the demise of some IQ points, I notified him the customer had opted to use his disc drive as a coffee cup holder.

“What the hell is this thing for, then?”

“CDs, sir.” I closed my eyes and waited for the meltdown.

“First, you claim I invalidated my warranty, and now you’re telling me my cup holder plays music?”

“As this is an internet company, sir, I can’t help you with your CD player. However, it is not a cup holder, nor should it be used as one. As for your router, you owe $35.79 on the device. Once you finish paying for the damaged equipment, I can schedule a tech to come to your home and install your new router. Since you’ve been a customer for so long, I can waive the fifty dollar installation fee. Your monthly bill will not change if you opt to pay off the damaged equipment and start a new rental.”

If he gave me a hard time, I’d take my time and give him all of his options. None of them would be as good as my initial offer. I cracked open an eye and checked my messages with my boss.

He wished me the best of luck and promised to send flowers to my funeral. He also begged me not to tell my brothers about the menace wasting my time. If any one of my forty-seven brothers found out I dealt with customers screaming at me five days a week, they’d go on a rampage.

That my boss knew my family drove me crazy on a good day.

I figured my idiot family had gone on a hunt to meet my boss, and because we were all infected with lycanthropy, my boss wouldn’t have thought twice about their behavior.

Lycanthropes had a reputation.

Most days, it wasn’t a good one.

Only an idiot would piss off a bunch of male lycanthropes out to protect their precious little sister. Unfortunately for me, I counted as an endangered species, as the odds of a lycanthrope having daughters in the first place fell somewhere in around ten thousand to one.

I needed to notify my mother she needed to have more daughters. While she was at it, she needed to give me a new name, because nobody ever believed Harri was a woman’s name. I figured she’d meant to name me Harry because she’d expected yet another boy, swapping out the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ to make things easier on her.

When on the job, I went by Christine because Christine seemed gloriously feminine and nobody on the team used their real names. Technically, I was supposed to change my name every day, but I went by Christine for all new callers, and I only rotated through when I knew I was dealing with someone who gave me issues.

My method worked well enough, so my boss didn’t complain.

While Mr. Lavell spluttered and began the tedious process of mulling over his options, I began making plans for after work—assuming I escaped from my job without succumbing to the temptation of informing the customer he was most definitely wrong, he needed to go back to school to join the modern world, and it wouldn’t hurt if he learned to be civil.

I had to explain his options four times before he finally conceded he should stick with his old plan, pay for the damaged router, and move on with life. It took an extra ten minutes of listening to him whine before he finally hung up.

Above all, I hated the rule that we were not supposed to hang up on clients. It wasted time. Had I been allowed to just hang up, I would have wished him a good day, disconnected the call, and began the tedious process of adding notes to his file so the next customer service representatives stuck with him knew they had trouble on their hands.

My phone rang, but instead of a customer, my phone reported my boss wanted to speak with me. With slumped shoulders, I accepted his call and answered, “Sir?”

“I listened in on your Code Red.”

I hated when my boss actively monitored my calls; thanks to how the system worked, he could listen in on me at any time. But, a job was a job, and with my scarred face, finding a job became troublesome at best—and nobody in the call center knew or cared what I looked like. Oh, well. Before I jumped to conclusions, I’d ask. “What’s my grade, sir?”

“You did fine. You stayed professional, you didn’t come across as too condescending, and frankly, there’s no sane tech on this planet stays totally cool a Code Red. It could have been much worse.”

I checked the clock, breathing a sigh of relief that I’d hit the end of my shift and wouldn’t have to take any more calls. “What do you need?”

“I had a question about your schedule. You’re off for the next week, correct?”

“Yes, sir.” I had plans, and they involved the International Most Wanted List along with every legal bounty list I had managed to get my hands on in the past month. If my boss tried to put an end to my hard-earned vacation, I’d finally do what I should have done months ago, snap, and quit.

I wanted him to cross my last line so badly.

“Ted wants an extra shift. How would you feel about an unpaid day added to your vacation? I’ve already gotten approval if you’d like to claim the unpaid day.”

Score. I’d bid for time off almost a year ago, but sick days were the bare minimum the state allowed, which accounted to five for the entire year. An extra day tacked onto my vacation might let me bag an extra bounty.

Any day I bagged an extra bounty was a good day in my opinion.

“I can take an unpaid day, sir. That’s fine. Can you send me an email confirming the unpaid day off?”

“It’ll be in your inbox within the next ten minutes, and I’ll CC human resources notifying them you’re excused for that day.”

“Okay. Will the rest of my schedule remain the same once I’m back from vacation?”

“Yes. Ted just asked for extra hours, and the others with seniority declined the day off.”

I bet; on our income, every hour mattered. Most who worked for the call center had seen better days. I lived like I’d seen better days and I looked like I’d seen better days, but appearances lied. I only worked at the call center to maintain appearances. Thanks to depression in my teens and therapy that hadn’t gone like my parents had wanted, my entire family demanded I check in at least three times a week to ensure I remained human.

They believed if they took their eyes off me, I might shift into a lynx and never come back.

Two years ago, they wouldn’t have been wrong, but I’d found a new purpose in life. Not a single one of my brothers would approve, my mother would have yet another litter of kittens, and my father would be so disappointed.

Personally, I thought it was obvious. I worked in customer service. I was a prime candidate to become a murderous asshole. I did so legally, on behalf of the government and other legal entities, and I did so for a filthy amount of money.

Smiling stretched my scars, but I did it anyway. “If anyone needs any extra hours, I can afford another day or two off,” I offered. “I can take up to a week unpaid. I’ve been saving up to take some time off if any opportunities allowed.”

It would delay paying for the expensive procedure required to piece my face back together and remove the evidence of the fire that’d almost killed me as a child. It took a lot of magic to convince the lycanthropy virus I wasn’t supposed to be a scarred wreck.

A lot of magic cost a lot of money, and I figured I might have the three million dollars within five years if I landed a bounty every weekend and took on some of the more dangerous jobs. While I waited for my boss to mull over my offer, I considered the various jobs on offer.

I liked hunting other lycanthropes. Unmated males were easy catches, and the fugitives usually brought in a pretty penny. The last one I’d bagged as a live capture had added fifty thousand to my bank account.

Then again, if I landed an entire extra week, I’d make up the lost hours with a single small bounty, and anything else would be extra cash in my savings account.

My boss grunted, signaling he’d come to a decision. “I’ll keep that in mind and pitch the offer. I’ll email your personal and work addresses if there are any takers plus text your phone.”

“Thanks, sir. Have a good evening.”

“You, too.”

He hung up, and before something could go wrong, I clocked out, filed my paperwork for my final call, and logged out of the system so I couldn’t be sucked back into doing even more work.

If all went well, I’d be a hundred grand richer by the end of the week and that much closer to being able to look in the mirror without wincing.


Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

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Blog Tour | Mine to Keep by Rhenna Morgan | Review

Bonnie Drummond is from the wrong side of the tracks, raised in a family of liars and criminals. No matter how hard she tries to stay on the straight and narrow, she always finds herself sucked back into the family drama, forced to sacrifice everything she’s earned to protect her family.

But this time they’ve gone too far—crossed the wrong people—and to save them she’ll have to put her life on the line.

Roman Kozlov, enforcer for a New Orleans mafiya family, is the poster child for the life Bonnie is struggling to escape. But he’s also as alluring as he is dangerous, and it doesn’t take long for their lives to begin to mesh.

With Roman, Bonnie finds the family she never had.

As their race for answers heats up, so too does the budding romance between them. And with danger nipping at her heels and love threatening her heart, Bonnie must come face-to-face with her past if she wants to have a future.

Buy Mine to Keep | Harlequin.com | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | KoboGoogle

After reading Hers to Tame I was excited to get the chance to read more from Rhenna Morgan and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. I really enjoyed this story as well as the relationship between Roman and Bonnie. Bonnie of course was hesitant to some things because of her history with her family and Roman was definitely an alpha personality, but the way things came together was wonderful.

Though this one is part of a series you can definitely read it without reading the previous books. Morgan’s writing style is quick to read and has a ton of not only character development, but the plot is paced really well and constantly keeps you going forward.

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at http://RhennaMorgan.com. You’ll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.

Connect with Rhenna Morgan | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Blitz | The Christmas Spirit by Alexandrea Weis

The Christmas Spirit
Alexandrea Weis
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: October 27th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“Ghostly occurrences and ancient folklore make this feel like a modern, romantic twist on A Christmas Carol. ~Library Journal

SOMETIMES IT TAKES ONE BROKEN HEART TO HEAL ANOTHER.

Courtney Winston is a writer on a deadline. Eager to finish her book and get over a recent break-up, she ditches Christmas with her family and retreats to a secluded cabin in the mountains.

Appliances rarely work, and cell service is spotty, but Courtney senses there is more to her rustic rental—something dark and haunting.

Then Peter, the attractive Stone Mountain Lodge owner, and a meddling cook, Mrs. Finn, keep coming around, shattering her peace and offering advice on how to fix her heavy heart.

Courtney grows closer to Peter, but Mrs. Finn warns her of his troubled past. Undaunted, Courtney sets out to win him over. But being with the brooding stranger may end up costing her more than she ever imagined.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Peter collected the chopped wood and set it on top of the pile against the house. Then he went around a corner, still not looking at her.

She waited on the step, refusing to go after him, but not mad enough to head inside and get out of the cold.

When he returned, he had three more heavy logs in his arms. Peter dumped them by the stump, keeping his eyes on the wood.

“Good morning,” she said, unable to stand the silent treatment any longer.

He ignored her and set one of the logs on the stump. He lifted his ax, centering the blade over the wood.

The ax came down, perfectly splitting the log in two. He worked methodically as he retrieved one of the halved pieces.

Another thunk cleaved the wood into smaller portions.

“Are you still mad about me beating you?”

He collected the pieces and brought them to her woodpile, keeping quiet.

She folded her arms, growing annoyed.

“I didn’t do anything to you that isn’t done a hundred times a day in any hockey rink across the country.”

He picked up another log and set it on the stump.

The heat in her cheeks rose. “Was leaving me in those woods your way of getting even? Well then, congratulations. One cheap shot deserved another.”

He lifted his ax and ran his hand up and down the handle. “I didn’t leave you. I made sure you could follow me back.”

“Am I supposed to be grateful to you for scaring me to death?”

He poised the ax blade above the log. “You’re not dead. Not even close.”

A loud crack reverberated as the ax drove into the wood.

A slither of satisfaction coiled through her when the blade got stuck halfway through the log.

With one arm, he picked up the ax and slammed the jammed log against the stump, but the stubborn log held on. Peter’s cheeks reddened as he raised the ax again and kicked at the determined chunk of wood.

“You need to sharpen your ax,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone.

He finally looked up at her. “What would you know about chopping wood?”

She smirked. “I know a dull tool when I see one.”

Her point made, Courtney turned back into the cabin, leaving him to stew.

But the moment she shut the door, it flew open. He stood in the doorway, the vexation in his eyes mirrored the knots in her stomach.

He put his hands on the doorframe, digging his nails into the wood. “I’m not mad about the game. I’m not a child.”

She pulled her robe closer. “Then why are you acting like one?”

The harsh lines in his brow softened. “I should never have come to you. I should have stayed away and left you alone in this cabin.”

Her first reaction was to balk at his confession, but then the meaning behind his words sank in, hitting her harder than any blow from his ax.

“Is that why you ran off the other day? Because you regretted knowing me?”

“I could never regret that. You have been a shining light in my very dark world.”

Author Bio:

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

Weis writes romance, mystery, suspense, thrillers, supernatural, and young adult fiction and has sold approximately one million books. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. http://www.AlexandreaWeis.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter


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Blog Tour | A Wolf For a Spell by Karah Sutton | Review

The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar.

Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body!

Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.

Book Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While I knew a little about Baba Yaga and some of her attributes, I have never really read a story involving her and I’m so glad this was my first. We follow a few different perspectives in this story with Baba Yaga being one of them, the others being Zima (a wolf) and Nadya (a young girl). At the surface this could certainly be framed as a fairy tale, but I felt it went much deeper than that. The three characters we follow as well as other characters go through transformations. There’s a lot of narrative about not taking things at face value and forming their own opinions/decisions. There’s also a lot about learning to face your fears or rise above fear when you feel it.

I absolutely flew through this story and was engrossed the entire time I was reading it. I did not want to put it down since I was so absorbed. The style of writing was easy to read and just kept me hooked the whole time.

Karah Sutton has loved Baba Yaga, ballet, and blini ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage in the third grade. Her hunger for adventure inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she would find talking trees and the occasional wood elf. Karah spent four years as a bookseller before she turned to writing her own fiction. A Wolf For a A Spell is her first novel.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Make sure you check out the rest of the exciting posts on the blog tour! You can locate the tour scheduled on the TBR and Beyond Tours page.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Link by Link: An Anthology of Haunted Holidays

Link by Link: An Anthology of Haunted Holidays
Publication date: December 2nd 2020
Genres: Holiday, Paranormal, Supernatural, Young Adult

“‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link…’”-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Link by Link is a collection of 9 stories of ghosts, spirits, and creatures unnamed, all come to teach lessons we won’t soon forget. From sweet Christmas tales to terrifying holiday hauntings, these stories take a dive into the past in the hopes of creating a better—or at least different—future.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo



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Blog Tour | Pretending by Holly Bourne | Review

In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.

He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.

Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.

When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

BUY LINKS | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Books | Bookshop.org

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is my first experience reading a book from Holly Bourne and overall I did find it to be an emotional and impactful read. The absolute win for this book was how April was written and the glimpses we got into her psyche and how she worked through things. Did she always take the right path or do the right thing? No, but who does. Since this is the first time I’ve read anything by Bourne I can’t speak to how alike it is to her other books, but the writing style was easy to get into and flowed really well in my opinion.

Be aware that there are definite trigger warnings for sexual assault, rape and doubting self worth. It is an emotional story and while there is definitely a lot of humor thrown in, I wouldn’t necessarily call it light hearted or a light read. It definitely is tackling a number of issues that can be triggering to people, or may be more on the emotional side for people, so know that going in.

Overall I did feel it was an important story to tell, if at times hard to confront, and did enjoy the reading experience. In the times we are in it is a good story for when you are wanting to examine things that are happening in current society, and how someone who is healing from assault (as well as other lifelong issues) can come back from that and continue to live their lives.

Holly Bourne is a bestselling UK-based YA and Adult Fiction author and is an Ambassador for Women’s Aid. In 2019, she was an Author of the Day at the London Book Fair, and was named by Elle Magazine’s weekly podcast as one of “Six Female Authors Changing the Conversation in 2019”. Pretending is her US debut.

SOCIAL LINKS | Author website | Twitter: @holly_bourneYA |
Instagram: @hollybourneya | Facebook: @Holly.BourneYA

Happy reading!