Thursday, February 27, 2020

Trouble is What I Do

Alright y'all, so this ARC was sent to me by Mulholland Books, and it was definitely not what I was expecting. Yes it is already out on the shelves, but that doesn't change the fact that I have an ARC. This cover is simple, but it has so much in it once you read the story. Walter Mosley had me pulled in almost instantly with this detective novel set in modern day time. The characters and story line reminded me of something you would see in a thriller movie, but it is definitely something original. So, let's just dive in!

Leonid McGill owns and is the lead investigator at his agency. His only employees are currently his son Twill and their receptionist/secretary Mardi. Leonid is working on case notes when Mardi tells him that he has two men wanting to see him. After looking at them through the security monitor, Leonid tells her to send them back. The two men make their way back to Leonid's office and he can see that one of them is much younger, but both are dressed in their best traveling clothes. The younger one says his name is Lamont Richards, and the older gentleman is Philip "Catfish" Worry. Lamont is Catfish's great-great-great-grandson. Both men were sent to see Leonid at the suggestion from Pinky Eckles, the mother of Ernie Eckles.

Ernie Eckles is known as the Mississippi Assassin, and he can be hired for a fee of $7748. Ernie never misses his target, and uses his signature three bullets. Leonid came across one of Ernie's targets eleven years ago. A lady named Bea called him to cash in the favor he owed when her son Phil's lover begged for a man named Patrice Salvador be spared. Phil was a solider for a drug lord named Underman who wanted Patrice dead for supposedly stealing a bunch of weed from one of the deliveries. Bea retained Leonid to go to Coney Island and save him from Ernie's bullets. Leonid arrived in Coney Island before Ernie, and introduced himself to Patrice. He explained to Patrice and his two body guards that he was there to protect him from the hit that Underman ordered. After listening to the whole thing, Patrice agrees to go with him.

Leonid comes up with a plan to switch hotel rooms with Patrice and wait for Ernie. Patrice was supposed to make sure that someone knew that he was staying in one room so that Ernie would go to it. However, Leonid would be waiting for Ernie instead. When Ernie does show up, Leonid manages to knock him out and handcuff him to a chair chained to the room's radiator. When Ernie comes to after an hour, Leonid called Patrice to come join them in the room. Leonid then tells Ernie that the real theif was Underman's number two man Rexford Brothers who bragged to Phil about the theft. Leonid tells him that Patrice needs to be spared before knocking him out again with an alcohol soaked cloth. Leonid drives Patrice back to his mom's house in Queens, and tells him that he will reach out to the bodyguards about making him disappear for a while. Leonid also calls Bea and tells her that he is safe, but Phil needs to extend his honeymoon for a few weeks. Four days later, Leonid reads an article in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that Rexford Brothers was found dead in his mother's house. Brothers was shot three times. Three weeks later Ernie was waiting in Leonid's office, which was in a different building that had multiple locks on the door. Ernie tells him that Underman no longer wants Patrice's head while he shares some of his family's buorbon with Leonid.

Back in the present, Leonid is still trying to figure out the connection between Pinky and Ernie to Catfish and Lamont. Catfish opens up the briefcase that Lamont was carrying, and shows Leonid the mason jar that contains Ernie's family bourbon and envelope inside. Catfish says that he promised to deliver the letter to a lady's granddaughter when it was time. The granddaughter is Justine Penelope Sternman, the daughter of Charles Augustus Sternman. Charles is the owner of a private bank that holds assets greater than most large banks in America. Charles has also been an advisor to three Presidents as well as given honorary citizenship in South Africa. Justine is next in line to become leader of a private club called the Sisterhood of the Mayflower thanks to her ancestress Georgina Soule. Justine is also engaged to Andrew Printer who is supposed to take over the bank for Charles when it is time.

Catfish wants to hire Leonid to deliver the letter for him. Leonid asks to read it, and Catfish reluctantly agrees but says that him and Lamont will step out into the main area. Mardi follows them out in case they need something and to take a break. Leonid opens the mason jar and one sniff confirms that it is Ernie's bourbon. He also realizes that this must be the debt that he owes Ernie. He reads the letter six times and tries to process that it says Catfish is Charles's father. Catfish apparently got with a woman named Lucinda Pitts-Sternman who died in a car crash in 1969 on Long Island. When Leonid comes out of the office, Twill and Lamont are at Twill's desk talking while Catfish is having coffee with Mardi at the front of the office space.

Mardi makes Leonid a cup of coffee before leaving the two men alone. Leonid asks him about the summer Catfish met Lucinda. Catfish says that it was in 1949 and he was her guitar teacher. He ended up sleeping with her, and took a beating from her father when they got caught together. Lucinda was pregnant at the time, so she locked them in her room, nursed him back to health, and then they both fled to her aunt's house in London. Catfish couldn't stay with her though because he was married and expecting a baby with her. Lucinda decided to raise Charles alone and sent him back to the States. Leonid asks him why he still wants to deliver the letter after all these years, and he simply replies that he promised that he would. Catfish then tells Leonid about how he tried to tell Charles who he was, but it resulted in a death threat instead. Leonid agrees to deliver the letter for him. He also tells Twill to take Lamont and Catfish to get set up at Gordo's. Catfish says they need to go get their stuff from the hotel. Leonid says that Twill will go along and Mardi volunteers to go.

A little over an hour later, Leonid walks into Sticks and Stones Security Services to visit his friends Foxy Donk and Wolfman. Leonid follows Wolfman into his office and asks who was working the Sternman wedding. Wolfman says that someone else got the job, but did request one of his workers. Leonid asks if he could step in instead with the promise that the worker could keep the paycheck, but doesn't say why. Wolfman says that he will talk to the worker as Leonid starts to walk out the door. Back on the streets, Leonid checks his phone and sees four text messages. Three from Mardi and one from Twill. All saying that Catfish had been shot, but Twill's says that he fired back at the shooter and got the license plate. 

Leonid meets them at Rainer's Clinic. The clinic came into existence when Leonid helped save Lana Rainer's medical career. Lana was addicted to heroin and one of the other doctors at the hospital found out and wanted to call the cops. Leonid was able to go to Lana's boss and work out a way for Lana to leave without involving the cops or the press. Then Leonid was able to introduce her to some investors that recognized the potential and talent in her. Now she takes care of Leonid and his people, which includes Catfish who took a bullet to the shoulder. Lana tells Leonid that he is stable and lucky. He didn't loose a lot of blood and was not in shock. Leonid arranges for Catfish to leave soon before Lana walks him to the waiting room everyone else was in. Leonid walks in and sees that his friend and ex-assassin Hush has joined them. Hush agrees to take Lamont and Catfish somewhere safe until Leonid can straighten everything out.

The group leaves the building through a secret passage that takes them to a parking lot where Hush has one of his service limos waiting for him, Lamont, and Catfish. Twill, Leonid, and Mardi take a subway back to the office. When they get settled back in, Leonid talks to Twill about him carrying a gun. Twill says he only carries when he feels it necessary, so Leonid says he just wants to know before hand from now on. A short time later, Mardi call Leonid on Twill's intercom to let him know that Captain Kittridge wanted to see him. Leonid heads back to his office and waits. Kittridge asks why he sent Officer Broadman a picture of a license plate and what he wants with Sal Peretti. Leonid tells him nothing, that he doesn't know Sal, and that he sent that to Broadman's personal cellphone. Kittridge then tries to ask about the shooting outside the Holton Hotel in Harlem, which is where Catfish was shot. Again, Leonid says nothing, so Kittridge leaves after making it clear that he still sees Leonid as a criminal.
Once he is sure that Kittridge is out the front door and not coming back, Leonid tells Twill that they have some surveillance to do on Peretti.

Leonid dresses up as a homeless person and sets himself up outside a bodega that Peretti is known to be at with a camera hidden in the wire trash can facing the door. The camera is streaming to Twill who is parked at a cab that he is telling people has been rented out as a limo for a foreigner two blocks away. Leonid has been making himself blend in by helping people and asking for change. He is helping an elderly lady carry her wheeled shopping cart down the bodega stairs when two cops come up behind him. They try to tell him that he needs to move along when Leonid spots a man in a sling walking up to Peretti. Leonid has to take out a gooj, get out of jail free card, when he realizes that they are young cops who probably don't know him when they threaten to take him in the alley and beat him. One of them calls it in to make sure that it really did come from Art Garrity, one of the highest ranking cops in the NYPD.

Art Garrity's son Nicholas was kidnapped a few months ago by an anarchist group called People's Revolutionary Orgy (PRO). Art hired Leonid to get Nicholas back. Leonid went to the best radical detective, Archibald Lawless, who told hi to go see a man named Billy Wrongman at Penn Station. Billy gave Leonid the name of PRO's leader, Mozelle Tot. Mozelle had a serious opium addiction, which helped Leonid track her to the warehouse where Nicholas was being held. Art told Kittridge to stop tracking Leonid's moves and leave him alone. Art gave Leonid the gooj which will get him out of anything short of a political assassination.

With the cop off the phone, Leonid is pulled back to the present. While shaking with rage, the cop gives him the gooj back and asks if there is anything they can do. Leonid notices that Peretti and the man in the sling are watching them closely. Leonid tells them to cuff him, drive him six blocks, and let him out. They do as he asks, but they're clearly not happy about the situation at all. Leonid meets back up with Twill and tells him what happened. They both sit in the cab and watch the trash camera until it is close to four p.m. when they see Peretti leave. Peretti gets into a car from Starzine Motorcoach. Leonid has no choice but to leave the trash camera and prays that no one goes digging for recyclables as they drive across the Manhatten Bridge.

Halfway across the bridge, Twill is able to hack into the Peretti's car's GPS so they can track him. They follow him through all five boroughs as Peretti goes into clubs, drug dens, and restaurants. He finally stops and goes into an alley with a young Asian woman with blue hair. When they see her lead Peretti through a door, Twill and Leonid hid themselves near the door and wait for him to come out. When Peretti comes out of the door, Leonid sucker punches him while Twill secure the door with the blue haired woman on the inside still. They cuff, gag, and put him the cab's trunk before Leonid drives them to a building in Manhatten. Peretti comes to after he had been chained to a bronze chair in a subbasement that only Leonid has access to.

Leonid had already sent Twill to get the trash camera and head home to tell his mom and grandpa that Leonid would be working all night. Leonid spent 40 years of his life thinking that his dad had died while fighting the worldwide revolution in Chile. However, he showed up in New York and moved in with Leonid and his family. Peretti pulls him back to the here and now by screaming "Are you crazy?". Leonid asks who the man in the sling, but just gets an empty threat about Peretti's boss. Leonid says out loud that his boss will wonder where the money is, and then after a couple months Peretti won't be on anyone's mind. Peretti finally says that the man's name is Bernard Shefly and that he came to him for help finding an old African American man. Peretti admits that he found Catfish by using a cop to look through hotel registrations, but that he didn't know Shefly was going to shoot him. Leonid leaves him in the room after he says that Shefly can be found every afternoon at Mama So's.

Leonid walks into Gordo's eight floor gym at five a.m. and starts his workout. Last year Gordo had a virulent strain of cancer, and Leonid took him home not sure if he was going to live or die. When Gordo survived, he dedicated a room a few floors up to Leonid so that he can rest when he was at the gym. An easy task since Gordo owns the whole building. When Gordo sees Leonid struggling with his workout, he tells him to go up to his room and rest. Leonid wakes up at noon not feeling fully refreshed, but better than he was. At 1:30 p.m., Leonid walks into Mama So's need to know basis restaurant. He is greeted by Harry Wong, who is part host and security, and is basically warned that he has no reason to be there. Leonid explains that he is there to see Shefly who is dining at a table they can both see. Harry goes over and chats with Shefly before telling Leonid that he can join him at the table. Leonid says that he is protecting Catfish and asks Shefly about who hired him to go after Catfish, and Shefly says that it was Hilton Zeal. Shefly doesn't reveal anything else useful so Leonid leaves Mama So's.

Inside Hush's four bedroom apartment above Pruitt's Drugs and Sundries in Nyack, Leonid catches up Catfish, Lamont, and Hush about what he has found out. The four of them sit around Hush's dining room table. Hush explains to Catfish and Lamont that Hilton Zeal is the most dangerous criminal on the East Coast that is usually hired by rich people to take care of things. Which means that Charles probably hired him after Catfish tried to talk to him. Hush advises that they go back to Mississippi while they can, but Catfish refuses. Leonid tells him that he has a plan to get the letter to Justine, and catches them all up on it. Then Leonid heads back to Manhatten by bus.

Will Leonid be able to give the letter to Justine and take the heat off Catfish? Will he have to resort to some of his old criminal ways to get things done? How many more dangerous criminals will he have to talk to in order to keep everyone safe?

Like I said, this was not what I was expecting when I read the blurb! Walter Mosley definitely has a way with words that pull you and keep you hooked! I will admit that the ending was a little disappointing for me personally, but it was still a good one. I have to say thank you to Mulholland Books for sending it to me! If you have to find out what happens next for Leonid and the gang, head over to my page:

Monday, February 24, 2020

Author Interview with Mark Edwards

Alright y'all, I met Mark Edwards on bookstagram when he reached out to me to review his poetic novel Love & Trust. He was also one of the first few Indie authors that I got to know and review for. I am super thankful for him reaching out when my account was just starting out, because not only did I love his book enough to finish it in one sitting but it showed me another side of the book world. So, I am sure you can image how happy I was when he agreed to be my second author interview on here. So, let's dive in and see he responses shall we?

Q: What is your name and where do you live?
A: First, let me say thank you for allowing me to be part of this special blog session featuring the many authors you have come across, I am truly honored. My name is Mark A. Edwards, and I am from New York, the borough of Queens.

Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company?
A: I am an Indie Author. Although I haven't work with a publishing company, I felt being an Indie Author afforded me more control on what I wrote.

Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: My first three books were poetry only, based off of love and romance. My goal was to bring sensuality of love back into the relationship of whoever read my books, but I have since learn to combine my poetry with fictional story lines. Hence my last two books were titled Love & Trust- A Poetic Novel and the sequel book Loves Retribution- A Poetic Novel. So though I considered my genre as Fiction, I like to call it Poetic Fiction.

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: Although as a child I had a love for reading, it wasn't something I thought of actually doing. It wasn't until approximately 6 to 7 years ago I actually decided to write a book, and even then I didn't consider myself a writer. It was something I did only because of people around me at my job kept telling me I should write a book, because they enjoyed reading the poems I had written. Before I knew it, I had over 50 poems stored in my phone without realizing it.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A: Yes I do. As much as I am enjoying this stage of my life, I know that as a self publishing author the income generated is not enough to pay the bills that life throws upon you nor the health and medical bills needed to tend to your own. I currently work for the city of New York as an Environmental Inspector.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: I have self published five books, 3 poetry and 2 poetic novels.

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: Being as I just published my fifth book in January of this year, my intention was to take a break from writing to give my mind time to relax, but I was contacted within the same month by a young lady who wanted to write her first book. After reading several of my books, and taking a liking to my style of writing, she asked me if I would mind co-writing her soon-to-be released book called Cheated Out of Love by Lisa Rene.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: I don't think that I can say that I had a specific scene or portion of my Poetic Novels that was hard to write, but what I can say is that main concern was to write in a manner that kept the reader filled with suspense, drama, love, and romance. While at the same time writing so the reader was one with my personal thoughts and felt that they were part of each scene that I wrote.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: As I previously mentioned, my intention was to take a break, but the way the mind works, when an idea pops into your head you have to begin jotting down the thoughts while they are still fresh. With that being said, I am currently working on another book besides the co-writing venture I am currently part of.

Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: I guess I can say my last two books is my series, I'm not sure if I will add a third addition to this, or just begin anew.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: Naturally, my poetry books ( You, Me, and the Paper, Morning Coffee, and Afternoon Devotion- Two Hearts One Soul) were written to stand on its own. My poetic novels were written to have connections from one to the next.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: The next book to be released is the one that I am co-writing, Cheated Out of Love, and the release date hasn't been locked in yet, but we are hoping to have it ready around April or May 2020.

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: This book took approximately three months. It was somewhat quick, because it was based off of the main authors life even though this is written as a fiction.

Q: What did you do when your main characters (writer's block) to you during the process?
A: That's a good question, because unlike when I write my poetry, I wasn't prepared for the writer's block scenario when I wrote my poetic novels. When the characters stopped talking to me, I just closed the book and returned several days later once a fresh idea came to mind. I never wanted to feel as if I was forcing a story line. I always believed  that the more comfortable I was in telling a story, the more realistic it would be for the reader to be one with my thoughts.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I don't have a specific routine, but I am pretty good at blocking out all outside noise when I write, even if it's music or a TV playing in the background.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: I varied from sprints to long sittings, it all depends on my state of mind and what I am doing at the time... i.e. work or just home relaxing.

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: During the writing process I am neither, but once the book is completed, I honestly can say that I am mentally drained.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: My poetic novels were a brainstorm idea, I wanted to give the readers something different from my previous books of only poetry skits. I decided to tell a story combined with poetry and a fictional novel.

Q: Is there another author you look up to strive to be as successful as?
A: I truly have the upmost respect for all authors, whether they have been writing for years and have many books under the belt, or someone who just completed their first book.

Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: When I was younger, I can say I was an avid reader, but as I got older, my reading slowed down. I guess between working, everyday life concerns, and writing my own books, I do not have the time to read like I used to.

Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: When it comes to poetry, I honestly do not like to read other people's works, because I felt that if I read other people's poetry it may affect my way of writings. When I comes to fictional novels, I do not have a problem reading other people's works it's enjoyable feeling to get wrapped up in another person's world.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: Though I have read books written by authors such as John Grishman, James Weldon Johnson to Stephen King, the books that stands out most to me are books written by Donald Goines. It could be because I grew up in low income neighborhoods, and the street life is mainly what surrounded me. It was easy for me to understand reality behind his story lines.

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: I wouldn't say that I have laughed or cried, but there were times I would chuckle or get the feeling of overwhelming sadness depending on what I was reading at the time.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: I am on Facebook and Instagram.

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A; I do, it helps me stay relevant between what I write and what my followers desire to read. I am constantly taking pictures with them when possible, or asking them if they enjoyed the book. I also ask if they wouldn't mind posting a photo of themselves and the book. It also helps with future sales, as you know self promoting is a major factor as an Indie Author.

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: The support has been tremendous, from friends offering to assist in the proofreading of many of my books to general offers of wanting to help in any way possible.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: The best money I spent as a writer would have been on my book cover. I believe we shouldn't slack on presentation. It is what the reader first sees when choosing to read our books.

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: My family has been truly supportive of all my books, from my immediate family to my distant family. I believe I am the first author in the family, so the support has been phenomenal.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don't know that you would like them to know?
A: I would love for them to know that I am truly humbled and appreciative man. I truly love to help others get started in the business of writing. I am always available whether through my email (which is listed in all my books) or through the social site messaging services if they ever need information on how to get started or someone to just help guide them along the way.

Alright, so there you have it! This is inside the mind of the man who wrote Love & Trust: A Poetic Novel (review also on here). Mark Edwards is a kind and talented poet who is an Indie Author when he is not running around New York. I have to say thank you again to him for agreeing to be part of the first few author interviews. If you want to get to know him a little better, be sure to check out his social media using the links below.



His Books:

Monday, February 17, 2020

Author Interview with Katie J. Douglas

Alright so you may have seen this beautiful lady on the back cover of her two novels Forever Today and  Snowfall. She is an author who was kind enough to agree to answers some questions that I have. She has not only written two books, but she is also part of the amazing community known as Bookstagram. I have gotten to know her over the past year, and now I wanted to dive in big time into her wonderful brain.

Q: Name and where you live?
A: Katie J. Douglas, and Tuscon, AZ (cool fact: I lived in a town just a short drive away during most of my childhood)

Q: Indie Author or Publishing Company?
A: Indie Author

Q: What is the genre that you write?
A: My genre is debatable, but most would say somewhere between women's fiction and romance.

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: I love to read and writing was always a hobby of mine. Although I kept that quiet for many years. It has always been my dream to publish a book.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A:Yes! I am a high school ESL teacher, and I also teach writing at the local community college.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: Two so far with the third in the works right now!

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: Just one. That's all I can handle!

Q: What was the hardest scene to write so far?
A: The most difficult thing I've ever had to write about is the war in Iraq. I researched this a lot before writing, but it was so intimidating since I wanted to get it right.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: I probably have five that I started and stopped before finally finishing my first book.

Q:Do you have a series developing?
A: Yes! I'm on the third and final book now.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: My books are not standalones technically, but I do think they are each their own  story.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: I wish I knew! Probably summer or fall of 2020.

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: My first two took under six months, but the last one is taking me a lot longer. I've  been writing it for a year.

Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer's block) to you during  the process?
A: I try not to force it, so I don't write when I feel like that. I take a break and just think about them instead. They always start talking again.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I meditate before I write which is really great for my focus. I also have to have a candle lit and something to drink.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: Both! I have three kids so I do what I can when I can. (I am pretty sure all the  mamas reading this completely understand! I know I do!)

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: Both! Hahaha! It depends what I'm writing. Most of the time I'm energized and so so content.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: I wish I knew. My crazy mind?!?! Those stories are always influenced by part of the writer's life but not always in a direct way, at least not for me. The spiritual parts of my writing stem from my love of meditation and all things magical.

Q: Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: Diana Gabeldon and Nancy Turner are two of my favorites, and both AZ authors as well.

Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: Big Time!

Q: Are you a beta or ARC reader for anyone else?
A: I do this for anyone who asks! I've done it for Waverly Alexander and Melanie  Smith recently. I love these two amazing Indies! (I completely understand for Waverly! I love her too! I am ashamed to admit that I do not know Melanie's work.)

Q: Do you like to read the same genre you write?
A: Yes, but I read most anything. I love nonfiction as well, especially memoirs.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: These is my Words by Nancy Turner is my favorite book ever.

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: OHHH yeah. If I laugh AND cry- that's my sign of a great book.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Twitter is too much for me. (I know  the feeling when it comes to Twitter.)

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A: Yes! I love it!

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or  just been there for support?
A: So, so many. Melanie Smith, Waverly Alexander, Brooke Ellis, T. Steele, Savannah  Layne, BJ Kurtz, and many more. The Indie community is incredible.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: I think my professional pics for the cover and the cover design were well spent. I   get a lot of compliments about the covers. (I love the covers myself!)

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: They are amazing and so supportive.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don't know that you would like them  to know?
A: Just that I appreciate everyone who reads my books and I love getting messages  from people who finish them!

Well, there you have it people! This Indie author willing told all, and I am super grateful for it. Katie is definitely a one of a kind person and writer. I have both her books currently staring at me on my shelves, but I will be getting to them very soon! I have loved getting to know her on Instagram, and cannot wait to read her books myself. I am going to link her social media below, because she wants to hear from you as well! Yes, she really does respond as fast as she can. Go check out this hard working lady who is a mom, teacher, and Indie author! I am even going to include links to her books so you can go support her!





Friday, February 14, 2020

Photos of You

Alright y'all, so this heart tugging beauty was sent to me by Forever Publishing and the Hachette Book Group. This is a cancer story that just puts you through an emotional roller coaster. Tammy Robinson is an amazing writer, and has admitted that she cried while writing this book. I will admit that I went from tears in my eyes to full blown ugly crying during some parts, and there were moments where I laughed or smiled. Tammy has this set in New Zealand, but you honestly can't tell except for a few key words that are definitely used across the pond. Once I read the ending, I had that moment of wondering what I do in this situation. I am super grateful this isn't my reality, but Tammy Robinson does amazing with her story telling skills to remind us that anything can happen. Let's dive in before I start crying again shall we?

Ava Green is sitting in her oncologist on her 28th birthday for what she thought would be a standard recession check up. She had already battled and beat cancer before at such a young age. However, her doctor says the three words she always dreads "I'm so sorry". Ava only catches a few more words as everything becomes muffled for her. "Secondary, bone, incurable" are the only words that filter through. Her cancer is back and this time there is no hope or cure. Ava leaves the hospital and sits on a bench in the hospital garden, and starts to cry over the fact that she will never get married or have kids. She bends over to hide her face when an elderly hospital patient asks her to scoot over. When the woman sits down, she asks Ava if she just received bad news for a family member, and Ava can only shake her head. The woman asks if it was for herself, and Ava just nods. The woman lights a cigarette while Ava tries to pull herself together. She asks Ava if it's cancer, and then tells Ava about her own cancer story in a few sentences when Ava nods. Ava finally sits up and looks at the woman. The woman finishes her cigarette that she admits she is addicted to despite having cancer herself, and then gets up to go back inside. She tells Ava if there is something she wants to do, she needs to do it before it is too late. Ava decides that the one thing she wants to do more than anything is get married.

Ava arrives at her childhood home to her "surprise" birthday party that her parents are throwing her. She decides not to tell anyone that she won't see her 29th birthday thanks to the cancer returning. Her best friends Kate and Amanda are also there, and think back on a night where the three of them got super drunk. Kate, a General Physician at a local community clinic, and Amanda, a touring rock star, have been there for Ava through a lot. They were even there when Ava battled cancer the first time. Ava has no idea how to tell them or her parents that it's back and terminal. Ava does her best to hide her confusing emotions about the news and just enjoy the party. Her mom makes a speech about how proud she is of Ava and her dad presents her with a travel backpack she had been saving up for. Inside the backpack is also an open return date ticket to Rio, and Ava has to excuse herself from the main room to hide the tears threatening to spill down her face.

Once inside the safety of her childhood bedroom, Ava lets the tears flow for a few minutes. Ava pulls herself together, and is about to walk out the door when she catches her old dream board. It is covered in wedding magazine photos that she has cut out as she planned her dream wedding for as long as she can remember. Her mom opens the door, and tells her to come back out with her guests. Ava follows her back out into the main room. Amanda asks her in a quiet voice if she is okay, and Ava whispers a no before announcing to the whole room that she is getting married. The room goes quiet just before her parents work on sending guests out politely. Once it is just Ava, her parents, Amanda, and Kate, Ava quickly tells them about the cancer news. While the five of them drink some whiskey, Ava tells them everything the doctor said earlier. Her mom decides that they will go back to the doctor tomorrow and get him to repeat everything again. Ava can only nod while Amanda and Kate cry silently. Her dad looks pale yellow while he asks if Ava should be drinking, but she assures him that it can't hurt anymore than anything else right now.

The next day, Ava and her mom are back in the oncologist office listen to the doctor explain everything again about the cancer returning and there being no cure. He says that Ava has somewhere between 12 and 18 months to live when her mom pushes for a timeline. Ava decides that she doesn't want to do any treatment since it will just take away moments she no longer has. Her mom tries to protest until Ava explains that she doesn't want to be weakened to the point she can't live her life. Her mom and doctor accept this despite both of them wanting to have a treatment course.

Ava spends three days straight in her flat wallowing in the same outfit before her mom makes her take a shower and get dressed to leave. They go back to the oncologist office and comes up with a treatment plan of oral chemo that won't require surgery or weaken her to the point she can't get out of bed. Her mom also tries to convince Ava to move back home, but she decides to move in with Kate at her home on the beach. Av makes sure that Kate knows that it is not going to be easy or a house party before moving her stuff into the house.

Fall turns into Winter as the oral chemo does what the box promises to do and drains her completely some days. Ava winds up in the hospital twice due to dehydration and a blood transfusion when a blood test shows a low blood cell count. Ava puts the wedding idea on hold as she focuses on just making it to Christmas time. Spring comes, and the latest scan reveals that her cancer has spread despite the treatment, so Ava decides enough is enough. She refuses to do any more treatments and goes out the hospital door for the last time. She is determined to ever reenter willingly.

Amanda comes for a visit in between tours and stays with Kate and Ava. The night before they all got drunk enough that Ava brought up the wedding idea again. She tried to explain it to her mom until she brings up that there is no groom. However, when she explains it to Kate and Amanda the following morning, they understand that she wants to have the wedding as a goodbye instead of a funeral. Kate and Amanda understand and jump on the idea immediately since it is clear that it will make Ava happy. Once they finally convince her mom, the three of them go over to Ava's parents' house to start planning. Kate has already decided to be in charge of the budget and has made folders to divide up the tasks necessary. As she looks at the folders, Ava realizes that there is a lot involved in planning her farewell to the world.

The following morning Ava is woken up by Amanda who shows her a Facebook page that Amanda created. Ava tries to say that they can't take charity from all these people who have commented offers of money and services for the wedding. Amanda wears her down into accepting wedding goods and services when she makes Ava look at a few of the comments. Ava doesn't want to take any money.

Ava is standing on the back porch watching the sun rise after another night of almost no sleep. Ava is trying to mentally prepare herself for the magazine interview she has just a few hours that her mom, Kate and Amanda talked her into. Kate and Amanda join her just after the sun comes up, and remind her that the article will raise awareness about cancer as well as talk about her. Ava takes a shower and then lets the stylists, Kelly and Sophie, work their magic. Once they are done and show her how beautiful she looks, Ava has to step outside for air. She ends up walking down to the water where she hikes up the dress Sophie puts her in, and walks on the edge of the water lapping the beach. She hears a clicking noise, and sees a man standing on the dune she just walked down taking pictures of her. He tells her that his name is James and he is the magazine photographer for the day. Once Ava gets a better look at him, and finds that he is handsome.

Ava flirts with James a little bit before they both hear the journalist, Nadia, calling for her. Nadia was interviewing Kate, Amanda, and her mom while Ava stepped out. James walks back with Ava and even stops when she has to stop to catch her breath. Even though he is unsure of what to say to her, he waits with her. Ava tells him that she understand why he feels that way because she has come across it a lot with her own family and friends. They continue back to the house with James walking behind her to make sure that she doesn't stumble and fall.

It's been two weeks since the magazine article, and Ava has gone viral on the internet. Which means that there are even more comments on the Facebook page. Her mom, Kate and Amanda tried to talk Ava into doing more interviews leading up to the big day, but it just makes Ava say to cancel the whole thing. Ava decides to end the conversation by saying she needs to take a nap. They leave her be, and she wakes up hours later realizing she slept the whole afternoon. She gets up and goes out on the back porch to see every single person that she has considered family. Her mom tells her that they decided to do this as a way to cheer her up slightly. While they are all sitting around, Ava's dad convinces her to do the additional interviews with Nadia as a way to show people she's living her last days the way that she wants to. He even convinces her to write the advice columns that the magazine editor requested.

Ava struggles to write her first advice column. She even calls her mom who tells her to write about what she wished she knew before being diagnosed the first time. So, Ava writes about how each person needs to be their own advocate when it comes to their health. She says that doctors are humans as well, but no one knows someone's body better than the person seeking medical help. Ava makes it clear that seeking more than one opinion is never a bad thing no matter how upset the doctor gets. Your health and your body should always be your first priority.

Kate and Ava's mom are taking Ava to check out a place called Marmalade Farms that reached out as a possible wedding venue. They are joined by Nadia, Sophie, Kelly, and James who pull up in separate cars. The whole group is greeted by one of the owners named Ruby who shows them where Ava can get changed for the photo shoot. She tells them about the barn that is used for weddings. Once Ava is all made up and dressed in a wedding gown, her and James go to the meadow by the beginning of the driveway. Ruby shows everyone else around the property while telling the story of how the farm got started. James drives Ava up to the spot before they walk a short distance to the place he saw earlier.

During the short walk, Ava and James ask each other a few questions. Hers consist of has he been in love and when did he realize he wanted to be a photographer. His are simply why she is having the wedding and why involve the magazine. They both answer each other honestly, and this makes Ava like him even more. While listening to his instructions about posing, Ava has to remind herself that he is just being professional. When they reach the last few pictures, James has her lay in a spot filled with flowers where she can hear the river flowing below them. Once he finally gets what he considers the perfect shoot as the sun is setting, Ava has him turn his back to her so that she can take off the dress to go swimming without his eyes on her.

Once James realizes that she has climbed down to the water, he stands there looking at her swimming. He has a quick debate about getting in before he has her turn around to give him the same amount of privacy. Once James is in the water with her, they both swim a little ways down the river and watch the sun set some more. Before it gets completely dark, James convinces her that they needed to head back before her mom sends out a search party for them. Back on the shore, James carries Ava back up the hill to their clothes when he realizes that she is physically exhausted. A few days later James emails Ava a few "sneak peek" photos of her in the wedding dress. Once she looks at how beautiful she is in them, she forwards the email to her friends and family. She sits there happy as she thinks about these photos will be around forever.

The next article and photo shoot for Nadia is at Lake Tarawera which means that they have to stay in a hotel overnight. At first it is just Ava, Sophie, Kelly, and Nadia there, but James shows up with the news that he is the photographer again. Nadia seems surprised to see him, but is professional enough to just accept it. They all meet for drinks on the lawn at six o'clock before dinner. Sophie and Kelly are very clearly taking advantage of the business expense account when Ava makes it downstairs. Nadia is busying talking to a gray haired man when Ava walks over to where James is standing. Ava finds him standing at the edge of the lawn where he can see the water below.

They all sit down for a tiny portioned, twelve course meal with Jame sitting next to Ava. They have a few laughs together and talk enough to make her daydream about James. However she is pulled back into the reality that she has loss potential for anything when the waitress openly flirts with James. Realizing that she is living in a daydream, Ava decides to get up from the table talking about going up to her room early. James tries to offer to walk with her, but she walks away before he can get out of his seat. In the lobby, Ava decides to head back out on the lawn instead of going up the stairs to her room. It is pretty much dark out there, so she doesn't see the lawn chess set that she trips on. She messes with it for a bit before she gets bored. She spots four full cushioned lawn lounges near the edge of the light, and decides to lay down on one. She ends up falling asleep while looking at the stars.

She is only asleep for what feels like five minutes when she is woken up by a flashlight in her eyes. It is James who has apparently been looking for her. He admits that he got worried about her enough to have a worker open her hotel room door. When he saw she wasn't there, he started looking around outside for her. She tells him that she is fine and to turn off the flashlight. He does and lays down on the lawn lounge next to her. They are looking at the stars when she points out a group of stars they both recognize. This is when he tells her the story about drunkenly going to get the stars tattooed but it ended up getting changed to Homer Simpson once he was in the tattoo chair.

A few weeks have passed as well as a few more venues being checked out for three more articles. Ava has finally picked a Summer date for her wedding. However she does break the news to Nadia that it will be held on the beach at Kate's house. Nadia tries to say that there won't be enough room for everyone. Ava also breaks the news that the only ones invited are her friends, family, and the team Nadia needs to write the article. This is not a public affair. Later that night Ava is laying on the porch swing that Kate bought her as a late birthday present when she gets a text from James. He is asking her to join him for dinner the following night. Ava says yes.

James takes Ava to the fish and chips takeaway place that is part of the surf club off the beach. They share food while getting to know each other a little better. After eating James admits that he is afraid to hurt Ava if they decide to pursue something together. She calms him down even though she knows that any relationship between the two of them will hurt him more. Her back starts to hurt as the sun starts setting, so they walk back to his car. Before they make it to the car, James asks her to join him for an overnight trip that weekend. She says yes even though she's a little disappointed at his statement that he will book two rooms since he is a gentleman.

Ava is packing her bag for her trip with James while Amanda and Kate talk to her. Kate is telling her not to go because they will both just get hurt as it gets closer to her death. Amanda tells her to go for it because it is obviously what Ava wants. Ava acknowledges both of them, but makes it clear that James makes her feel something she hasn't felt for a very long time. In the end Kate and Amanda agree to let Ava do things her way just as James knocks on the front door. James asks her one more time if she wants to go, and she says yes.

After more than an hour of driving, James pulls up in a place where a helicopter is waiting for them. Ava waits for him to confirm all the details in the office while she debates if she really wants to go with him for the weekend. When he comes out, he gives her one more time to chicken out but she doesn't. They take off and fly for about 25 minutes to a hidden treehouse resort. Ava takes in the beautiful place while they are shown around by a woman named Mary. James admits that he has been here before for a magazine story. Mary shows them to her room first which has Ava speechless. James shows her the deck bathtub, which she starts to fill up immediately, before everyone leaves the room. As he leaves, James tells her that he will see her for dinner at six p.m. Before he can close the door, Ava asks him why they are there. He simply replies that everything will be revealed soon.

James knocks on Ava's door at exactly six and they head down to the restaurant. Ava thinks it is more of a dining hall, but doesn't say so outloud. They start out sitting on opposite sides of a long table, but James quickly moves his chair closer to her. They are waiting for their first course when Ava tries to offer to pay for the trip, but James tells her no, because he wanted to do this for her. Ava has to step out on the deck for a moment because of the blush she has forming on her face. James follows her a moment later and tells her about how his mom died from cancer when he was twelve. James is about to kiss Ava when the waiter interrupts them with the announcement that food is ready.

What is the surprise that James has in store for Ava? Will something further develop between them? Will she really have a wedding party as her goodbye to the world? Will she live long enough for it to happen?

Alright y'all, I am sure I could say a little more, but what fun would that be? Now like I said in the beginning, this book will have you on an emotional roller coaster. Tammy Robinson knows how to pull at your heart strings as well as hook you in immediately! You will laugh, tear up, smile, and ugly cry by the time you get to the ending. The ending is perfect, because of the way the story goes. I have to say thank you to Forever Pub for sending it to me, because I absolutely loved it. If you want to add this beauty to your personal library, head over to my page:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Subject A36 (R&R Book Tours Spotlight)

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Welcome to the blog tour for Teri Polen's upcoming release, Subject A36, the first book in a brand new series called The Colony! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a signed or digital copy of the book!
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Subject A36 (The Colony #1) Expected Publication Date: February 13th, 2020 Genre: YA Dystopian/ Sci-Fi Publisher: Black Rose Writing If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it? Residents of the Colony would. And do. Only the Insurgents can stop them. Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies. He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to. Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war. Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him. Add to Goodreads
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“Asher!” Mom gripped the porch railing and called for me. Her voice cracked and was laced with tears. Dad vaulted over the porch railing, landed solidly on the grass, and frantically scanned our expansive yard. My stomach clenched. Something was very wrong. “Over here!” Dad’s gaze locked on mine. “Code Exodus! Now, Asher. Run!” Was this another drill? We’d practiced twice a week, the times always unexpected, without fail for as long as I could remember. Drills were a regular part of our life, like eating, sleeping, and homework. Protocol was pounded into our brains. There could be no hesitation. But this felt different. Dad’s expression was tight and urgent. Tears streamed down Mom’s face, and I knew. This was no drill. It was real this time. We’d been found. Code Tribe—we leave together. Code Exodus—we leave without our parents. Code Exodus rules. Grab the backpack. Leave immediately. Don’t stop for anything or anyone. Run to the Wallaces. When my sisters could no longer keep up, hide them and keep running
Pre-Order Here! About the Author author photo Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at
Giveaway: You can either win a signed copy of the book (US only) or a digital copy (International)! Click the link below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway Blog Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Six-Week Solution (R&R Book Tours Spotlight)

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I'm thrilled to share a brand new historical fiction called, The Six-Week Solution by Paula Darnell. I have an excerpt for you to read and a giveaway to enter below! The Six-Week Solution_bc1b.jpgThe Six-Week Solution Publication Date: January 1st, 2020 Genre: Historical Fiction Never guessing that their very lives might be in danger, well-to-do women come from all over the country to stay at guest ranches around Reno to establish the six weeks’ residency required for a quickie Nevada divorce in 1955. When a Circle E Ranch guest dies after her Cadillac plunges off Mount Rose Highway, a mountain road between Lake Tahoe and Reno, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron is assigned to investigate the accident. His inquiries lead him to question everyone at the Circle E, where he meets Mary, an attractive prospective divorcĂ©e from New York, who soon has an accident of her own. In the meantime, Ben’s case takes a turn as twisty as the Mount Rose Highway, and when Mary suffers a second accident, he quickly figures that someone is out to get her. Unless Ben can discover who’s targeting the out-of-towners, some of them won’t live long enough to have their day in court.

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Mary and Shirley, each carrying a couple of large shopping bags, emerged from Gray Reid. Mary hadn’t intended to spend so much on her new swimwear, but Shirley’s infectious enthusiasm had rubbed off on her, and she’d purchased two swimsuits, a flowery cover-up, a wide-brimmed sun hat, a couple of beach towels, a bathing cap, and a large straw beach bag. She rationalized that she’d need some way to keep busy for her six weeks in Nevada, and since the Circle E had a nice pool and Shirley had offered to teach her how to swim, it made sense to buy swimwear. “All you need now is some suntan lotion,” Shirley said. “We’ll stop at a drug store on our way back to the ranch and pick some up. Right now, I’m starting to feel hungry. Why don’t we stop for lunch at one of the casino restaurants? By the time we get back to the Circle E, lunchtime will be over. It’s usually just soup and sandwiches set out as a buffet at noon anyway. At the ranch, the big meal of the day is always dinner.” “Casinos have restaurants, too? I thought they were only for gambling.” “Most of them are hotels as well as casinos, and usually they have at least a couple of restaurants. They have big-name entertainment, too. Frank Sinatra played the Sky Room at the Mapes a couple of months ago, and Tony Bennett sang there just last month. Of course, it’s not New York or L.A., but, for a town this size, it’s something.” “I didn’t realize that. Every time I’ve heard about Reno, it’s always been in connection with a divorce, and now here I am to get one myself. I can’t quite believe it.” Shirley and Mary lingered over a long lunch in the bustling coffee shop at the Riverside. Walking through the casino had been like a trip through a foreign land for Mary as she gazed in amazement at the crowd of gamblers playing table games and slot machines. The gambling didn’t stop in the casino, either. It spilled into the coffee shop, too, where patrons could play keno while they were enjoying their meals. Short, stubby pencils and packs of keno forms were on every table in the coffee shop, and keno runners in black and white garb came by the tables periodically to collect the keno forms that customers were going to play or to return them after the numbers had been verified. Shirley, who had played the game before, explained to Mary how it worked. It was as simple as choosing numbers on the form that resembled a bingo card, then hoping that the numbers the house drew matched. Winnings could range from a dollar to several thousand dollars, depending on how many numbers were played and how many numbers matched those that the house drew. In every casino game, losers outnumbered winners, but gamblers’ optimism that they’d beat the house kept the Nevada gaming business healthy. Shirley lost several dollars before giving up, but Mary won enough to pay for their lunch and leave their waitress a generous tip. Gathering up their shopping bags, they left, satisfied with Mary’s small winnings. As Mary and Shirley emerged from the Riverside, they were surrounded immediately by a large crowd of tourists who had evidently just arrived by bus. They sidled their way through the crush—they were leaving while the tourists were clamoring to enter the casino. Finally, the tourists all passed, and the two women paused to recover from the jostling for a moment. The onslaught wasn’t over yet, though, as another tourist bus pulled up to the curb, and its passengers began streaming from the bus. Hoping to cross the street to get away from the throng, Shirley and Mary hurried to the corner where they had to wait for the red light to change. Mary turned to look for Shirley, but she didn’t see her new friend. Somehow, they’d become separated when the big group of tourists mingled with the locals outside the casino. The temperature had risen considerably since Mary and Shirley had left the Circle E in the morning, and Mary thought it must be well above ninety degrees by now. She squirmed in her beige raw silk suit, which was stylish, but too heavy to wear in hot weather. The shopping bags felt like lead weights, and her girdle felt constricting, as beads of sweat popped out on Mary’s forehead. People kept bumping into her, and she began to feel as though the whole world were closing in on her. Assuming that Shirley would catch up to her on the other side of the street, Mary inched her way forward until she stood right on the edge of the curb, and there was nobody between her and the street. Fighting lightheadedness, she took a deep breath. The red light seemed to stay on forever. If only she could reach the other side of the street, if only she could escape from the crowd, if only she could get out of the hot sun. The seconds ticked away, seeming like an eternity to Mary. Suddenly, she felt a blow on her back, and she pitched forward, into the busy intersection. She heard screams, maybe from herself, maybe from Shirley or other people on the crowded sidewalk as a taxi screeched to a halt just inches from her. People rushed to help. The cab driver leaped from his taxi and picked up the scattered contents of Mary’s shopping bags while Shirley and a couple of cowboys held onto Mary as she struggled to stand. Throbbing scrapes covered her knees and forearms, and she had a large bump on her forehead. Her silk stockings were in shreds. “Lady, you’re lucky you weren’t killed,” the cabbie said. “I sure burned rubber trying to avoid hitting you.” Looking as though she might pass out at any moment, Mary moaned and swayed. “Can she sit down in the cab?” Shirley asked. “She’s about ready to faint.” “Oh, sure. Sorry, lady.” The cabbie flung open the taxi’s back door, and the cowboys guided Mary onto the seat. “Lie down, Mary,” Shirley said.“You’ll feel better.” Shirley turned to thank the two ranch hands who had helped, but they’d already disappeared into the crowd. “Where you wanna go, lady? It’s on the house,” the cabbie said. “Maybe we should take her to the hospital,” he said to Shirley. “I’ll be OK,” Mary said. “I felt like I was going to pass out for a few minutes back there, but I’m starting to feel better.” “Are you sure you don’t want to see a doctor, Mary? You have quite a bump on your head.” “No, let’s go back to the Circle E. I don’t want to be a bother.” “All right.” Shirley gave the cab driver directions to her car. When they arrived, she offered to pay him, but he refused to take any money, repeating that the ride was “on the house.” Shirley’s car felt stuffy, but at least it had been parked in the shade. Shirley and Mary rolled down the windows and enjoyed the rush of air, even though it was hot, as Shirley drove back to the Circle E. She whizzed past a drug store without slowing down before she remembered that she’d intended to stop so that Mary could buy some suntan lotion. “Oh, shoot. I meant to stop at the drug store. I guess we’ll have to come back tomorrow. You’ll need to get those scrapes cleaned up as soon as we get back, anyway. I bet they really hurt, don’t they?” “Oh, boy, do they! It reminds me of when I was a kid and fell off a curb while I was roller skating. I was really banged up then, too.” “I’m sorry our shopping trip came to such a bad end, Mary. We were having fun until you fell and nearly got run over by that taxi.” “Shopping was fun, but I didn’t fall. I was pushed.”
Now Available! Amazon B & N About the Author PaulaDarnelAuthorPhoto An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications. She is the author of Death by Association and Death by Design, both in her cozy series, the DIY Diva Mysteries. Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.

Paula Darnell | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

The author is giving away 3 print copies of The Six-Week Solution (US) and 3 digital copies (International). Click the link below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour Schedule

February 10th

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review)

Rambling Mads (Review)

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

February 11th

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight)

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

February 12th

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight)

Cup of Toast (Review)

I’m All About Books (Spotlight)

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight)

February 13th

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

The Faerie Review (Spotlight)

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight)

February 14th

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Blog Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Friday, February 7, 2020

Buried In My Past (R&R Book Tours Review)

All right y'all so this is a super late post, but this spooky beauty came into my possession thanks to another book tour ran by Reads and Reels. Eva Mackenzie was kind enough to send me a physical copy along with some bookish goodies to go with the book. I was supposed to have this done on Thursday, but thanks to the flu and some nasty weather I am a day late. This book took me a little longer to read since I was not feeling good, however once I was fully in and able to focus it just went by really fast. This book was not what I was expecting, and I'm actually super glad that it wasn't. This book is what you would probably call a thriller that also has a story line that ties multiple point of views. I am going to be leaving a couple of them out simply to refrain from giving too much away, but it is a fluid switch between each point of view. So let's get started!

Jamie Kendal is that a therapy session with Dr. Ken trying to piece together flashes of memory she's been having lately. She has been seeing Dr Ken for 5 months but so far she hasn't uncovered much of what happened 18 years ago. Jamie just recently broke up with her boyfriend Alex when she first started seeing Dr Ken, but now Alex is always calling and dropping by unannounced. Jamie just wants to focus on trying to piece together what happened when her brother Trevor disappeared while they were away at summer camp. Once the session is over, Jamie goes back to her office where she is partner of a private polygraph examiner company.

Jamie walks in her office to find another round of Alex's unwanted flowers that she immediately sets by the trash can. She sits down and gets settled to start watching her recorded polygraph session with Roger Morgan, who is being accused of sexually abusing his daughter, when there is a knock at her door. Her boss Butch, who has been like a father figure for her, comes into her office saying that him and the other partner Edward think she needs to take a vacation. She tells him that she will think about it, but he hits her with the statement that her career depends on it. When Butch leaves Jamie gets a call from Arlington PD detective Tia Smith who needs help narrowing down suspects for a serial roofie and rape case she has at least 10 reported victims for. Jaime takes down the details of the case and tells Tia she'll look through anyone that she thinks may be a good candidate.

Jamie is finally making her way back to her condo and is thinking about how Butch told her her career depends on her taking a vacation. When she finally opens her door, she finds that all her lights are on and is greeted with the aroma of food cooking. She finds Alex in her kitchen and tells him to leave. He tries to say that he's seeing a therapist to help him deal with his disease, but she just doesn't hear any of it. When she makes it clear that she's not going to listen to him, he slaps her on the cheek. Before it can get any more violent, Jamie's elderly neighbor Stella knocks on the door to check on her. Alex leaves just then almost knocking over both women in the doorway. Jamie walks Stella back to her condo before going back into her own.

Lillian Kendal is halfway through a bottle of wine staring in her backyard for the umpth time thinking about her children Jamie and Trevor. She's crying when she hears a crash come from the basement. Lillian opens the basement door with the hopes that Trevor finally has come home when she is pushed from behind down the stairs.

After kicking Alex out, Jamie dives into some vodka while thinking about what Dr. Ken said about her mind blocking out that summer. When Jaime and Trevor were teenagers, they were at Kring Camp, Trevor and his best friend Sheldon disappeared one night. Everyone thought that Drew or one of the other camp counselors had something to do with it but no one has been arrested. The police gave up looking in the woods surrounding the camp for both the boys after months have went by with no evidence or lead.

Drew arrives at the Kendal house in response to Lillian's 11-year-old neighbors phone call. Drew gets the quick rundown of what Kyle saw before walking him back next door. Drew goes back to the Kendal house and does a sweep of the whole house to make sure no one else is there. He sees that Lillian kept Trevor's room as a shrine and thinks about that summer. Then he realize that he has to call Jamie and gets a small feeling of excitement at the possibility of seeing her again.

Meanwhile next door, Kyle goes back into his room and locks his bedroom door while he waits for his dad to come home. Kyle's mom took off a couple years ago, so when Lillian hired him to do some chores around the house she kind of became that figure for him. His dad could possibly be gone till late or all night. Kyle thinks about finding Lillian and questions if he actually heard her say a name when he walked down the stairs and if that is why he is locking his door.

Jamie wakes with the start from a dream with her mom and a shadow Trevor at 1:00 a.m. . Jamie gets into a shower to try shake off what's left of the alcohol, and is about to go to bed shortly after when her phone rings. She looks at it and sees as an unknown number but decides to answer it anyway. It's Drew calling to tell her about Lillian's accident and that she needs to come home. The next thing Jamie knows she has packed her bags and is waiting for Stella to come pick up her cat so she can leave at 5:00 a.m.

She reaches Cedar Lake hospital in under 3 hours. On the way there, she called ahead and found out her mom was on the third floor still in surgery. When she makes it up to the third floor nurses station, Jaime sees Nina, one of her childhood best friends, sitting there. Nina goes and tries to find out more info on Lillian, but comes back with no answers. Jamie asked her where the vending machine area is so she can get some coffee and try to wake up. Just before walking into the area, Jamie hears Drew telling someone on the phone that Lillian was drunk when she fell. Jamie comes around the corner saying her mom doesn't drink before listening to him apologize. She grabs her coffee and heads back to the nurses station while Drew follows closely behind her. Jamie has another flash of pain and a memory right before the surgeon comes out. He tells Jamie that he had to stop some brain bleeding. He also tells Jaime that Lillian was placed into a medically induced coma until some swelling subsides. The doctor then takes her to see Lillian in her room.

Later Jamie pulls into her mom's driveway as the sun is setting. She's about to go into the house when she noticed the door is ajar. Before she can think more or go inside, a voice in the driveway gets her attention. It's her other childhood best friend Yvette who apparently still lives at home across the street with her parents. Yvette has to head to work but she tells Jamie she'll come by again so they can catch up. Jamie finally goes inside where she finds Kyle in the kitchen on the hunt for the promised cookies he was looking for when he found Lillian. After he finds the cookies, Jaime asks him a few questions to find out what Kyle knows about Lillian's accident. Then Jamie walks him to the door and tells him goodbye after fixing the thermostat.

Later, Jamie is still thinking about how she saw Drew at the diner breaking up with his current girlfriend. Jamie went to the diner to try to get some food in her but seeing Drew there kind of spoiled her appetite. When Jamie looks at the clock it's midnight but she's not even ready for bed despite her wine buzz she has going on. Jamie steps outside and has a flash that can't be her memory, because she doesn't recognize the voices she hears. It is interrupted when she gets a phone call from her ex-best friend Emily who slept with Alex asking that Jamie to make time for her in Cedar Lake. Jamie goes back inside, locks the door, and goes into what used to be her dad's office. On the desk she finds her mom's living will along with a red folder with Trevor's name on the tab. She opens a folder and sees all the articles about Trevor and Sheldon's appearance. She also finds a handwritten letter addressed to her from Lillian saying Jamie was with Trevor that night.

Jamie wakes up sometime later in the office with the sun shining in the windows. She had a dream / memory of the night she sprained her ankle at Kring Camp, and it doesn't help her as far as figuring out what happened to Trevor. She goes into the kitchen where Kyle is sitting at the table reading a book. Kyle asks if she can take him to go see Lillian, and she says that they need to go ask his parents first. Jamie follows Kyle to his house next door and realizes that Steve, Nina's camp crush, is Kyle's dad. Steve says Kyle can go and invites Jamie over for dinner later. On the way to the hospital, Kyle asked Jamie about her job and she answers him honestly. Jamie also comes through realization that Kyle may be closer to Lillian then she is.

Drew is called to the murder scene of Emily Parker at the Willow inn. It is clear there was a struggle and when he sees her driver's license says she's from Arlington Virginia, he wonders if she is connected to Jamie. Drew watches over the other officers as they process the scene and wait for the M.E. to come pick up the body. Drew also looks at the room, and realizes that there are signs of a struggle which means that Emily was not there alone. Another officer says that he will see about getting security camera footage while Drew and the others finish processing.

Kyle and Jamie are sitting next to Lillian's bed waiting for her to wake up. Kyle tells Jamie that he is sure Lillian wouldn't blame her for what happened. Jamie gets up and says she needs to go to the bathroom to try to hide the tears from Kyle. While she is out, Nina comes in and takes Lillian's vitals while checking on Kyle. Jamie comes back into the room and it is a little awkward between her and Nina as well as Nina and Kyle. A short time later, Jamie is pulled into another memory that places her in the dark woods with a boy yelling at her to run and hide. Once back in the present, Jamie tells Kyle it's time to go while she thinks about how she needs to leave town. Jamie drives Kyle home before going into the house and packing all her stuff. Jamie decides that staying there is doing nothing but causing her pain. On the way out of town, she passes by the Willow Inn and sees all the police cars. Then she is pulled back to the same memory she had before in the hospital. She is jerked back into the present by the jerky feeling of her car crashing. She passes out from the pain is pulled back to Kring Camp to the day she spent the afternoon feeling uneasy in a paddle boat with Steve before flirting with Drew again despite knowing about Yvette's crush on him.

Drew goes to visit his dad, who used to be a cop as well, to try to get more information about the missing file on Trevor and Sheldon. However he doesn't get anywhere with his dad, because his dad is set on just letting the case go. Drew gets frustrated and leaves while thinking about how his mom used to be the buffer between the two of them before she died from cancer. While getting into his car, Drew gets a call to respond to Jamie's accident because she is refusing treatment.

Jamie is sitting on the side of the road fighting the paramedics when Drew walks up trying to calm her down. She tries to fight him too, but ends up passing out. Jamie wakes up sometime later in the hospital with Drew sitting close by her bed. Nina stops by before her shift to see how she is doing, but it is pretty clear to Drew that there is something awkward going on between the two women. The doctor comes in and looks over Jamie before discharging her with instructions to be careful, because she has a concussion. Drew takes Jamie to the impound lot to get her bags out of the wrecked car before taking her back to Lillian's house. On the way to Lillian's house, Drew asks Jamie about Emily before telling her about what he found at Willow Inn. Jamie quickly realizes this is going to be a short interrogation, and answers everything honestly. She is thinking about her answer to a question when her phone buzzes with the fifth phone call from Alex. Jamie feels a few tears fall while Drew sits quietly trying to be somewhat supportive. They pull into the driveway, and Jamie gets out of the car as fast as she can. Drew carries her bags in for her, tells her to not leave town, and then leaves.

An hour goes by and Jamie is still mad at Drew's passive aggressive interrogation. Jamie goes into Lillian's room and snoops around until she finds a box with Trevor's favorite shirt and a letter from LabCorp under her bed. Jamie reads a letter and sees that it's the results of DNA testing saying that both Trevor's and Jamie's blood is found on the shirt. Jamie wonders what it means and wishes she could have some kind of memory come back that could also give her an hour by for that night.

Drew checks in at the station to get an update on the processing of the Willow Inn crime scene before heading home. He tries to recall everything he can about that summer, specifically the night of in the morning after Trevor and Sheldon disappeared. He doesn't get very far though since his dad didn't tell him much during the actual investigation. While having a beer trying to think about anything but Jaime, Drew gets a call from the town prosecutor Ian Nelson asking about Emily. When Drew hangs up a few minutes later, the conversation makes him wonder what is going on since there wasn't an official case to investigate Emily's death.

Jamie is drinking her fourth beer in the hammock behind her house when Kyle comes up, and ask her to join him and Nina for dinner. Jamie asked Kyle about Nina, and he basically tells her that Nina has been like a babysitter for him here lately. Jamie agrees to come have dinner mainly, because she wants to ask Nina about that summer at Kring Camp. Jamie does ask her a couple questions, but doesn't get any answers. Jamie stays an hour before going back to Lillian's house. She ends up taking a short nap on the couch when she tries to work on some case files. The noise in the basement wakes her up just 30 minutes later. Jamie goes down into the basement to see if there's anything there and finds a cot tucked away into the corner near the root cellar. She starts to wonder who has been down there and for how long when a yell brings her back upstairs.

Jamie is going out her front door just in time to see Drew and another officer running towards the woods in the direction that the neighbor across the street Barb is pointing in. Jamie joins Barb across the street and asks her what's going on. Barb tells her that she saw someone in the bushes watching Jamie. Barb also tells Jamie that Lillian stop sitting on the porch about a week ago, and is about to say something else when Drew and the other officer come back. Both men are filthy and slightly scraped but empty-handed. Drew tells the officer that he wants to patrol to come through a couple times during the night despite Jamie's small protest. Before going back inside, Barb tells Jamie to come by to see her tomorrow so they can finish the conversation. Drew walks Jamie back across the street into Lillian's and does a sweep of the house to make sure no one else is there. While he is walking through the house, he presses Jamie for any reason that anyone could be watching her in the bushes. Jamie decides to tell Drew about the LabCorp letter and about the noise she heard in the basement just moments before. Jamie takes him downstairs and shows him the cot that she found before she came outside.

Drew looks over at the letter when they go back upstairs and offers to take her to talk to his dad. Jamie thinks yes after he tells her that his dad was the lead investigator in charge of trying to find Trevor and Sheldon. Drew finishes checking the rest of the house before leaving Jamie wishing that he would stay longer.  The next morning while standing in the backyard, Jaime sees the pile of rocks that Barb said she saw the man crouching behind. Jaime goes over to it and doesn't see anything out of the ordinary except four Three Musketeers wrappers. She decides to come back later and gather them up for Drew. Then she decides to go for a walk into town following the same path her and Trevor took as kids. While on her walk, she goes into Grimmly's store to refill her travel coffee mug and bumps into a man sweeping the floors that creeps her out. After refilling her coffee and is heading to the front counter when she runs into Steve who is looking a little sinister. Before it can get creepier, Drew comes to Jaime's rescue by saying she can't join Steve for dinner tonight because Jaime is going to be with Drew. Drew walks Jaime outside where they see Kyle looking for Steve. Kyle asks if she's coming to dinner, and she tells him no.

Drew drives Jaime back to the house while asking if she met with Emily the night she died. Jaime was happy about dinner with Drew later until he brought up Willow Inn. Now she is trying to figure out what happened and how everything that seemed so important a few months ago meant nothing. When they pull in front of Lillian's, Jaime tells Drew about how Emily was her best friend since college until she found Emily in bed with Alex just six months ago. She also explains that she hasn't spoken to Emily in months until she called Jaime the other day. Jaime then tells him about how Alex has been intruding on her life including being in her house the night Drew called about Lillian's accident. When Drew asks where Alex is now, Jaime says she doesn't know despite his ten phone calls a day. After confirming a time for dinner, Jaime walks inside with the feeling that someone is watching her.

Later that evening, Drew is sitting down having the dinner that Jaime made while they both enjoy a beer. He brings up the fact that he can take her to talk to his dad about Trevor's disappearance and she says yes. Then he asks her how long she is staying in town, and is a little sad when she says at least until Lillian is better. He asks why she hasn't visited, and she admits that she just wanted to leave the town and the memories behind when she headed to college. Jaime then tells him about how she only remembers bits and pieces that come to her in a total takeover dream. When she realizes that it is raining, Jaime runs out to get the candy wrappers she found earlier and comes back in showing him. Drew looks at her with her soaked blouse and decides to kiss her. Jaime lets him until she forces herself to pull away from him. She tries to get him to talk about the wrappers seriously, but it leads to Drew saying that he could stay at her house until the man was caught. This somehow leads to him kissing her again with desire that leads to them laying on the kitchen floor. However Jaime gets pulled back into the woods 18 years ago where she hears Trevor telling her to run while she lays in the mud. Jaime tries to run away but falls back to the ground as she feels blood running over her body. Jamie comes back into the present where Drew is trying to calmly coax her back before pulling her into a hug while she processes what she just remembered...

Will Jaime ever fully remember what happened the night Trevor and Sheldon disappeared? Will Drew find Emily's killer, Lillian's attacker, and finally close Trevor's case? Will Jaime ever figure out who was watching her and who is living in the basement before it's too late?

I absolutely loved this book! It was spooky, terrifying, and had you hoping for something positive to happen! I will admit that there was a few moments I was creeped out because of how well Eva Mackenzie wrote the story, but I just couldn't put it down! This book will have you trying to figure out what happened 18 years ago as well as what is going on in the present time. I have to give a huge thank you to Reads and Reels Book Tours for including me and being so understanding when I was sick. If you haven't added this Indie Pub to your TBR pile yet, what are you waiting for? Head over and get links to buy the book for yourself on my page:

Author Interview with J Lynn Hicks

Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did...