Framed, Book 2 in the Jax Diamond Mystery Series, is releasing tomorrow! Be sure and pick up your copy at the links below. If you haven’t read Book 1, Songbird, you can see the review, an interview with the author, and buy links here.
Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.
Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.
Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.
I’m pleased to share this cover with you all today. The book is called Powerless by Jeff O’Handley and it will be available late this summer!
PowerlessExpected Publication Date: August 24th, 2022 Genre: Thriller/ Contemporary Publisher: Breaking Night Press When all goes dark, they’re left alone. As starvation provokes chaos, can one man defend all he holds dear?
Sunspots, Al-Qaeda, North Korea—no one knows why the power goes out in sleepy little Harpursville, how much of the world is affected, or how long it will last. In one instant virtually every modern convenience stops working, leaving the townspeople scrambling.
For Kevin Barton, the problem is compounded by the presence of his sixteen-year-old daughter’s best friend, Dina, who’s been stranded at the house after yet another sleepover. When Kevin’s attempt to escort Dina home ends in robbery and humiliation, their “second daughter’s” overnight visit becomes a permanent stay. Kevin doesn’t really mind. Dina helps with everything from hauling water to digging a garden, and she does it with a smile. But with food scarce and hunger eating away at reason, her large appetite and constant presence sets the household on edge, causing a rift between Kevin and his wife, Monica.
Help is offered by the man who stops Harpursville from sliding into everyone-for-themselves chaos but then he gives Kevin an unthinkable ultimatum. With the peace of the town and Kevin’s own family hanging in the balance, he faces a two-front war. Can Kevin find the power in himself to protect everything he holds dear?
Buy Powerless to shine a light on darkness today! “A poignant, elegantly written, gripping book that delves deep into an all-too-possible future. You won’t be able to put this down. O’Handley is brilliant and masterful. One of the best books I’ve ever read.” – Lisa Regan, USA Today & Wall Street Journal best-selling authorPowerless is Available on Netgalley!
Jeff O’Handley has been a science and technical writer as part of his job since the late 1980’s, but fiction is his passion. This talented and insightful author provides depth to his characters and explores their stories in a way that can be related to on a very personal level. Jeff can often be found ‘butt-deep in a swamp’ removing invasive species, leading a nature walk in the woods, or promoting recycling as part of his work for a boots-on-the-ground conservation organization. Jeff is a die-hard Boston Bruins fan who loves the outdoors and has a resistance to tech, but grudgingly admits to the usefulness of smartphones and computers. Jeff grew up on Long Island, NY but has embraced the rural life of central New York, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Find out more about Jeff and his work at www.jeffohandley.comCover Reveal Organized By:
Funny Farm is the best memoir I’ve read this year. Laurie Zaleski lived in a beautiful house and had a pretty bedroom and lots of toys until her parents split up. Her mother Annie moved them to a shack in the woods and struggled just to put food on the table. But then Annie brought home a dog–and then another. Eventually, chickens and horses joined the family. Pretty soon people were bringing them stray animals. And that was the early beginnings of the Funny Farm Animal Rescue. Zaleski tells a layered and fascinating story of how her mother had the courage to leave an abusive, but well-to-do and popular husband, and start life over with her children and many, many animals. The stories of the animals are interspersed throughout. Some chapters deal with Laurie’s family trials and her father’s vindictive revenge, while others tell beautiful stories of animals who became part of her family. But it is also a story of Zaleski’s life and how she succeeded in business, and then how she made The Funny Farm an official animal rescue.
This is everything you would want in a memoir–completely honest, fascinating, and heroic in more ways than one. It is easy to see in Zaleski’s life how she learned from the courage of her mother and was not afraid to take risks in business and in life. The love for the animals shines through on every page, and each animal rescue story touches the heart. The honesty is always there, whether Laurie is talking about her cruel father or her mother’s bad taste in men. There is humor, grief, love, and shock in these pages. I recommend everyone read the story of the Funny Farm. I guarantee an inspiring experience, and maybe a few tears. I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LAURIE ZALESKI is the founder of the Funny Farm, a charitable organization located in Mizpah, New Jersey. Since 2000, the farm has welcomed all kinds of rescue animals. Laurie is also the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. She has been named a New Jersey Heartland Hero, is listed in the 2019 Who’s Who of Professional Women, and has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.
We’re celebrating the release of The Stars Forgot Us, by bestselling author R.J. Garcia. This beauty will be available on March 30th. Read on for details and a chance to enter a fantastic giveaway – A paperback copy & a $10 Amazon e-gift card (US only) and an e-book edition if the winner lives outside the US!The Stars Forgot UsPublication Date: March 30th, 2022
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher:Midnight Tide Publishing
Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kelly would love to go back to simpler times. Before his parents’ divorce and the onset of his older brother’s schizophrenia. But when he returns to his hometown, things feel off. After a series of strange occurrences in his new house, Jacob fears the house is haunted, or even worse, he is losing his mind.
To his surprise, Jacob discovers a mysterious teenage runaway, Sanctuary Daniels, living in the house. She reveals she has been kept by a figure known only as Mother, in a place where downstairs children are languishing prisoners, and upstairs children do Mother’s bidding.
Both Jacob’s investigation into Sanctuary’s allegations and their budding romance are cut short when she is reclaimed by evil beings. Beings who unleash terror upon Jacob and his family. Now he must journey to a real haunted house to save his first love and fight for his life.
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My eyes snapped open as three words surfaced in my sleepy brain. You’re not alone. A cold settled into my flesh, making the fine hairs on my arm stand up. I sat up in bed, sucking in a deep breath, and stared into the darkness, unsure what had woken me. My lights were off. It was pitch black. Then the distinct pitter-patter of footsteps sounded down the hall.
“Mom?” When I got no answer, I jumped out of bed and scrambled for the light switch. The overhead fluorescent light blinked on, and I immediately noticed the closet door was partway opened again. This time, I was sure I’d closed it, so I started off with slow, measured steps to investigate. I yanked the door open the rest of the way and hit the closet light. I scoured the walls to discover more writing. The single word, HELP, was written in the same marker on the wall. My pulse skyrocketed. It freaked me out.
I crept back over to the bed and grabbed the blanket, swinging it around my shoulders like a cape, settling down on the drafty hardwood floor. With a shiver of anticipation, I kept my eyes pinned to the door, and strained to hear the slightest noise. It was eerily quiet. Even the wind had died down.
Unexpectedly, I heard a girl’s voice, so soft it was hardly audible, as it drifted up from the floor. It was only the word, “I’m.”
I scooted over to the vent and whispered, “Um…hello?” There was no reply. It could have been a ringing or humming in my ear. Yeah, I’d only imagined it was a voice. Yet, I hadn’t imagined the writing on the wall. I mean, what the hell? I got up and decided to have a look around. If someone was in the house, I had to know. I exited my room and began my search.
I stood face to face with a long and quiet hallway—doors on the left and right. My mind was a hot blank space as a thread of fear tugged me along. My mom’s bedroom was kitty-corner to my room, so I stepped in just far enough to take in the visual of her tucked in bed. Her sleeping sounds were somewhere between wheezes and moans.
“Mom?” I whispered, but she didn’t wake up, and I decided to just let her sleep.
I crossed over to the spare bedroom, smacking on the lights. There was only a desk and Mom’s old computer in the corner. Determined, I was now on a serious hunt and rushed to the closet, flinging the door open. There wasn’t anything. Not even writing on the wall.
Next on the list was Michael’s room. I found him sitting up in bed with a vacant stare. The lights were off, but the blinds were open. Moonlight flitted in, creating shadowy outlines above the chest of drawers that appeared incompatible and menacing.
My gaze returned to my brother as I cleared my throat. “Were you just walking around?”
“Did you hear a girl’s voice, Mike?”
He came to life. “Yeah. I heard her.”
My mouth dropped. “Holy shit, I hoped I imagined it.”
Michael stared at me with an unsettling intensity. “I heard her in the vents, the drainpipes, and in the walls. If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear them all.”
Oh great, I’m losing it too.
My brother nodded approvingly. Tension slid from his features, softening his mouth and jaw muscles. Misery loves company, I guess.
R.J. Garcia is a wife, and proud mom of two smart teens and a chorkie, Zoey She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!
Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors with the daunting task of marketing. If I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do it, and I encourage others to do the same. Below is a humorous and informative book by Bret Thoman, who relates his travels to and eventual life in Italy.
Travel deep into Italy with Bret Thoman as he narrates his lifelong journey from America’s Southland to the South of Italy. Initially drawn to Florence out of curiosity to discover his ancestral roots and study the language, he feels a lure to the South. There, in the slower half, dialects are spoken, America is still revered, and long, lazy lunches are the high point of the day. In his travels, he meets the woman he marries.
The culture of Southern Italy comes to life as experienced through Bret’s in-laws, Whether his mother-in-law is teaching him the secrets of Italian cooking or how to avoid getting sick by closing windows and turning off the air conditioning, his relationship with them wavers from “exasperating to enlightening.”
In the third section, Bret recounts the joys and vexations of living in Italy. While mundane events like getting a driver’s license, paying taxes, or going to a soccer stadium can be maddening, he is ultimately transformed by the Dolce Vita, the Sweet Life. He has become Italian.
If you are curious about your own Italian roots, if Italy is your favorite destination, or if you enjoy wacky travel stories colored by the Italian spirit, you won’t want to miss this one. With an eye for the zany, awkward, and just plain ludicrous, this book will not disappoint.
Now this is the way to educate others about a country they might not have had the pleasure of visiting! This book is filled with colorful stories, anecdotes, and travel experiences from Bret Thoman, who grew up in the Southern U.S. but ended up living in the South of Italy. With takes from historical to humorous, Bret relates his life and travel experiences in a fun and engaging way. It will make you want to visit Italy even more. I really enjoyed his description of Southern Italy and the vast differences between the Italian South and the North. I was intrigued by his description of the slower way of life there, and I’m all on board with the three-hour lunch! His journey from majoring in Italian in college to becoming a part of the Southern Italian culture is a delightful and informative read.
I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bret has a master’s degree in Italian from Middlebury College, a BA from the University of Georgia, and a certificate in Franciscan Studies. He is an FAA-licensed pilot and flew professionally for six years logging over 3,500 hours of flight time. After he left flying, he started organizing and accompanying tours and pilgrimages to Italy for the company he founded in 2004.
Bret began writing initially to provide material for participants on his tours. That turned into a hobby, and then an avocation. To date, he has written six books and numerous articles and has translated over a dozen from Italian to English.
He lives in Loreto, Italy with his wife and three children.
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Self-published Spotlight is my attempt to highlight self-published/indie books. Below is a book description and buy links for Survival of the Fittest, a saga of early mankind, 850,000 years ago. The review will come next week.
Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, Survival of the Fittest is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion. Chased by a ruthless enemy, Xhosa leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following a path laid out decades before by her father, to be followed only as a last resort. She is joined by other fleeing tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant, all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, tragedy, secrets, and Nature itself, Xhosa is forced to face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want to ruin her People. It wants to ruin her. The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia, where ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a slogan. It was a destiny. Xhosa’s People were from a violent species, one fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened their lives except for one: future man, a smarter version of themselves, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.
In 1971, Nan Douglas and her toddler twins arrive on the remote island of Inniscuiilin, long-lost family of the eccentric Miss Campbell. For fifteen years they all live quietly up at the Big House, until the twins start planning their future – forcing Nan to confront their past…
Because someone, somewhere believes that the twins aren’t twins. That they’re not even Nan’s children. And that Nan isn’t Nan.
Only Nan herself can prove them wrong – but it’s a gamble. Win or lose, she’s still at risk of losing her beloved family.
This can be described as a mild psychological thriller, and if there were a genre called psychological cozy, I’d put it under there, although that might sound absurd. This novel is both enraging and engaging. It’s about what happens when the extremely privileged few rear their ugly heads and once again take and use whatever and whoever is not theirs to take or use. However, it’s also about a small island town and its inhabitants. It’s a story about a woman whose life and plans are turned upside down, and what she does afterward. I enjoyed the Island of Inniscuiillan and its residents as well. I was enraged at the behavior of some who think their wants and needs surpass those of others. It raises the questions: “Is revenge ever warranted?” and “How far is too far?”
Recommended for fans of thrillers and cozies, as this is somewhere in the middle.
4.5 stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites with no half-star option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Gill Merton is the non de plume of five writers based around Edinburgh and the Lothians: Simon Bramwell, Coreen Connell, Sheila Corrigan, Anne Hamilton, and Elizabeth Nallon.
Entitled is their first collaborative novel, adapted from an original short story by Sheila Corrigan, and was made possible by funding from The National Lottery Awards For All.
Earlier publications include: The Writing Group: an original stage/radio play (First recorded 2017)and A Way With Words: an anthology of prose and poetry (Pilrig Press, 2015)
Can your heart belong somewhere that you’ve never called home?
When Erica gets a phone call to say her mother, Ione, is ill in St Lucia, she knows she must go to her. Though the island – the place of her mother’s birth – is somewhere that Erica has never seen as her homeland.
Even when the plane touches down in the tropical paradise, with its palm trees swaying in the island breeze, the sound of accents so like her mother’s own calling loud in the air, Erica doesn’t find herself wanting to stay a moment longer than she has to.
But stepping into her mother’s house, she is shocked by what she finds. Her mother’s memory is fading, her once-immaculate house is now dirty and messy, and she’s refusing help from anyone but family. And Erica knows she must stay with her, even though it means leaving everything else behind.
What she doesn’t know is that – even as her mother’s memories get worse – Ione still has a final gift for her daughter. Because the unspoken secrets of their past are about to emerge, changing everything Erica thought she knew about her mother, her home, and who she really is…
This was a heartbreaking read about a woman losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. She is also forced to confront painful truths from the past. As someone who had a parent and grandparent with dementia, I know that towards the end they live mostly in the past, and I know the pain of watching a parent forget you. The author lays this story out in a forthright way, without trying to sugarcoat the truth. Caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s/Dementia is incredibly tough, not very pretty, and you need help. Erica’s journey to get to the point where she accepts help, and the decision about what that is going to entail, is a big part of the story. It is also a journey of acceptance–acceptance of the past, and acceptance of a new future.
I found the descriptions of life in St. Lucia and the Caribbean culture interesting and I hope to learn more about it.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.
Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favorite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Butler, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.
Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.
Teri Altro is a no-nonsense Special Investigator whose whole life revolves around putting drug dealers behind bars. The Valley Walker is a soldier who walked away from the Vietnam war, wandering aimlessly until he is taken in by a Hmong woman in Laos. The meeting in a Michigan drugstore between Teri and the Valley Walker is otherworldly and begins a story that will keep you entranced.
Wow. This is an intriguing combination of crime/thriller, Hmong folklore/mysticism, and the devastation and trauma experienced by soldiers during the Vietnam war. It is so much more than a typical crime story. Hmong shamans, a former soldier with unbelievable abilities, and a mystical “dragon” are interwoven with flashbacks to the Vietnam war, as well as the fight against the drug lords in Asia and the U.S. This book is about battling back against the powerful, who use whoever and take whatever they want. Underneath it all, the devastation that the Vietnam War wrought upon so many people is made evident. As T.W. Dittmer puts it so matter-of-factly in this novel, “No matter which side wins a war, the soldiers and their families always lose.”
I enjoyed the “story within a story” of Bao and her rescue, which shows Hmong mythology and tradition, as well as the fight against evil.
The Valley Walker is filled with powerful mysticism, intrigue, love, pain, and loss. It is a lesson in Hmong folkore and legends. It is an absolute adventure ride that slips between reality and myth, normal and paranormal. But most of all, it is a fight of good against evil, and a story of those willing to sacrifice and fight for others. Throughout this novel, a mantra is often repeated, once which I think the author, a Vietnam Vet, knows well…”Two salt tablets, a canteen of water, and push on.”
Read this book. It’s so good on so many levels.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T. W. Dittmer’s full name is Timothy Watson Dittmer.
He was raised in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steelworker who turned to preaching the Gospel. After high school, he joined the Army, volunteered for service in Vietnam, then reenlisted for service in Vietnam. When his time with the Army was over, he studied music, digital electronics, and information technology.
He started writing music and poetry in high school, and has carried the love of those arts through his life.
Her Country Gentleman is the first book in the Timeless Georgian Collection, a new anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from bestselling historical romance authors whose stories reveal that not all love is found in London.
“Spring at Tribbley Hall,” by Sian Ann Bessey
When Charlotte’s grandmother invites her to accompany her to Norfolk, Charlotte jumps at the chance to visit the sea and escape the fuss surrounding her sister’s wedding preparations in London. Lord William Cheston, on the other hand, is most unhappy when his mother informs him that her old friend and a granddaughter are coming to stay. Not only is it lambing season, but he’s also dealing with the mysterious loss of several sheep. The last thing he needs is a child underfoot. When Charlotte and William first meet, he does not realize that the lovely young lady is the granddaughter in question, and she assumes that the man dressed in work clothes in the barn is a servant. Soon afterward, however, Charlotte stumbles upon a clue to William’s sheep’s disappearance, and when her life is placed in jeopardy, William is forced to choose between saving his unwanted houseguest and catching the thief.
“Love of My Heart,” by Sarah M. Eden
Cordelia Wakefield has never lived anywhere but London and is not overly happy when her family is forced to retrench to a small estate near Teviotbrae, Scotland. An ill-fated game of battledore and shuttlecock brings her face-to-racquet with Sebastian, who runs the home farm at nearby Teviot Castle. What begins as a clash of personalities, expectations, and preferences, soon leads to a friendship neither had expected. As the magic of Teviotbrae weaves its spell, the possibility of something more than friendship begins to blossom. But what future is there for a lowly farmer and a London lady?
“Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire,” by Rebecca Connolly
Martha Smith wants to marry for love and will not be persuaded otherwise. She is highly sought after in Society for her beauty and status but refuses to consider any suitor whose only claim is that his prospects meet with her mother’s approval. Her widowed mother has had enough of Martha’s romantic sensibilities and is sending her to stay with unfortunate cousins in Wiltshire to show her that marrying for love is a risk that is too great. Benjamin Steele, Lord Hillier, is working on his new and dilapidated estate when he first catches sight of the striking Martha Smith. Becoming Lord Hillier has only brought him a house that needs significant repairs, tenant farms that had been abandoned, and only the money he’d already possessed. He wants meaning in his life, and he’s more than willing to work for it. Though worlds apart in all else, on this point they can agree: a life of meaning would change everything.
ABOUT THE SERIES
The Timeless Georgian Collection is a new series featuring novellas set in England during the Georgian era (1714 – 1830). It is part of A Timeless Romance Anthology series published by Mirror Press — a curated collection of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.
Born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, Sian left her homeland to attend university in the U.S. and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then, she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children’s books. She is a USA Today bestselling author, a Foreward Reviews Book of the Year finalist, and a Whitney Award finalist.
She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she’s home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML’s “2013 Novel of the Year” and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award’s “2014 Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs.
Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.
Rebecca Connolly is the author of more than two dozen novels. She calls herself a Midwest girl, having lived in Ohio and Indiana. She’s always been a bookworm, and her grandma would send her books almost every month so she would never run out. Book Fairs were her carnival, and libraries are her happy place.
She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She received a master’s degree from West Virginia University, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.
I really enjoyed this trio of novellas set in the Georgian era. I appreciated that this anthology is full of historical details of a period with which I am not as familiar. The romances are clean, realistic, and engaging. Each novella has a strong cast of characters, and there are three charming plots provided from different, well-known authors. There is a theme throughout each novella of ladies who travel from the city to find unexpected romance in the country. There are delightful touches of humor, and because this is set in the country, there are lots of sheep! This anthology is full of delightful “city to country” stories and has inspired me to learn more about the Georgian era.
I received a free copy of this book from Mirror Press via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.