Touch of Red by Laura Griffin #XOXPERTS

Overview

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

Review

Sean is a detective, a HOT detective. Brooke is a forensic scientist, a cute, nerdy scientist. Brooke and Sean are investigating a brutal murder. This leads the two through a series of twists and turns to a surprise suspect. Along the way…their attraction grows and just keeps growing until….well, you get the picture.

I adore Brooke. Her intelligence and her caring for other people is so endearing. You really root for her to succeed. Then, there is Sean. He oozes sexuality. His is truly SEX ON A STICK. I love a good male lead. Especially one who is strong, smart and can save the day with a snap of his fingers. When Brooke and a young witness, Cameron, are kidnapped. It takes all Sean’s willpower not to completely lose it.

I love the attraction between Sean and Brooke. They are so great together. Each have wonderful qualities with some stubborn streaks.

There is a storyline which never finishes. It’s with Brooke’s ex. I so wanted Sean to beat the crap out of him. But, the ex just sort of fades away and you never know….see these two need a sequel.

As most of you know, romantic suspense is one of my guilty pleasures. And Laura Griffin is one my favorite authors in this genre. Her characters are so relatable and her stories are strong and consistent. This book is one of her bests.

I received this novel from Simon and Schuster as an #XOXPERT.

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Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Overview

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass’ two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Review

I will be honest. I almost bailed on this read. It started super slow and mundane. It began with all the rituals of the family. Basically nothing special. However, the beginning actually turned out to be a good set up for this story.

Cass is a single mother of two when she meets Ryan. Of course, they fall in love, get married, have a child. Then, her paranoia, his anger..sends this story OFF THE RAILS!

Cass is not someone I related to very well. She is too trusting and naive. Yet, she is extremely paranoid. Then, Cass really does something so stupid. She enters a cat and mouse game with Ryan. I had to read faster to get her out of her stupidity. I mean…take into consideration your kids’ safety. This was one of my big annoyances. Cass does not remove her kids from this volatile situation. She keeps putting them back in danger time and time again.

Ryan is one crazy dude. He has many triggers and he is a good actor. The author did a great job keeping the reader guessing. Is Cass really overly paranoid and crazy. Is she accusing Ryan when he did nothing wrong. Or is Ryan really trying to kill her. This is a book you need to read to find out.

Very creepy and almost too realistic.

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Last Class Citizen by Lex Ramsay – Book Spotlight plus GIVEAWAY

Last Class Citizen

By Lex Ramsay

Genre: Alternative history

They’ve gained their freedom from the South. But what if their new freedom is all a lie?

Patrick Edgerton, leader of the Railway Association, has succeeded in the monumental task of freeing slaves from the once mighty Southern Republic. Following the fall of the South, the UN has decreed that the South must pay for the care of any former slaves. With hope finally on the horizon, Patrick and those he helped free begin what will be a long journey towards equality and rehabilitation.

But the wheels of power are turning in the US capitol. With the UN’s proclamation against the South, the President of the US sees a way to bleed the South economically dry: by keeping the former slaves under a new, more subtle form of oppression, it will force the South to continue to pay for them until they have nothing left. This conspiracy sets off a deceitful chain reaction to construct a system of ghettos that keeps former slaves in a cycle of destitution and despair, ultimately creating second class citizens.

With everything they’d worked so hard to achieve on the line, Patrick and a handful of others set out to ensure that the former slaves don’t become entrapped in this new kind of slavery; a slavery as bad as what they’d left behind.

Full of powerful themes still prevalent in society today, Lex Ramsay weaves an eerily realistic story of race manipulation and marginalization, and those brave and willing enough to continue the fight.

About the Author

Lex Ramsay is the author of Serial Misogyny, a gripping literary suspense, and the alternative history Southern Republic. She is a recovering lawyer, an avid but not terribly talented pianist, a student of Portuguese, and escapee from Corporate America where she cleaned up after other peoples’ messes and generally sold her soul. Now, she’s buying it back, one word at a time, while making plans to move to Brazil with her 1 husband, 2 dogs, 2 horses and 2 cats (last count), once the Portuguese lessons kick in. To learn more about Lex and her books, visit https://www.lexramsayauthor.com/.

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The author is giving away an ebook copy of Last Class Citizen!

Giveaway

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The Spectrum of Fantasy guest post by Ariel B. Grant plus Giveaway

Fantasy and world-building can come in many different shapes and forms. One of the great things about writing fantasy is its utter infinity of possibilities. A fantasy author is free in ways no other genre writer is, because he is not restricted by any rules in the world for his/her creation. He can literally be and do whatever he wants. However, in time an accepted fantasy spectrum has been set in place, not so much to restrict as it is to organize fantasy stories and make it easier for readers to identify them.

At one corner of the spectrum we have Noblebright Fantasy, the typical heroic fantasy in which the world is wondrous and beautiful and the heroes actively seek to protect it or defeat the villains that threaten it. On the other corner we have Grimdark Fantasy, stories that basically depict ravaged, unsafe worlds in which hopelessness is common, and the heroes don’t care to change it or improve it, or their efforts to do so are never good enough. However, the in-between is several shades of gray (bad pun, couldn’t resist!) and it allows for the richness and complexity of the fantasy genre as we know it. Let’s explore a bit more, shall we?

Noble vs Grim:

The Noble to Grim part of it refers to the actions of the characters (heroes) and how they influence their worlds. What is their motivation? Are they strong and willing to risk themselves for others? Are their actions able to change the fate of society and the world they live in?

  

In a Noble story: The characters are strong, capable, and their actions can alter the fate of the world. Usually a single villain threatens the world, and a hero or a group of heroes appear to save it, at great peril for themselves. The heroes are successful in their quests and ultimately defeat the evil and change the world for the better, and the villains are either destroyed or redeemed within the context of the world.

In a Grim story: The characters are restricted and hopeless, they refuse to take action and whatever initiative they display never amounts to much in the big scheme of things. They cannot change the world they live in, and whatever victories they achieve are ephemeral and often temporary.  Their negative qualities are relished and their positive trait are ridiculed or mocked. Heroes are defined by their survival capabilities and not by altruistic deeds or motives, and villains are replaced with new villains in a never-ending cycle.

Bright vs Dark:

The Bright to Dark spectrum refers to the world in particular and the conditions it has regardless of the characters actions. How is the world as a place people live in? How is it perceived by the characters (and audience)?

Bright World: is beautiful and hopeful. It may contain villains and flaws, but the world as a whole is a place that inspires wonder and desire to explore it. In a Bright world, happiness or the possibility of it, is widely accepted and shared, and characters expect and experience good things from the environment around them.  Despite not being perfect, a bright world is a place you want to visit, and a place in which characters are not afraid to venture and get lost in.

Dark World: has danger and hopelessness as its primary traits. It’s an inhospitable environment in which people’s lives is hard and death is frequent and real. A dark world does not spur characters into action, because the world itself is the enemy, where every action is dangerous and can have lethal consequences.

Fantasy Complexity

In between these corner points is the Neutral, which, whether referring to character or world, describes a story that hangs in the balance between the two qualities. While each fantasy story is as unique as a single snowflake, that complexity and diversity is what makes the genre popular and beloved by its fans, and discussions about Noblebright, Grimdark, Nobledark, Grimbright and the many other spots in between are what makes the Fantasy literature world a diverse, rich universe you should definitely consider visiting

Heroes and Swords: A Noblebright Fantasy Collection.

In the spirit of the classic fantasy of Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Brandon Sanderson, authors of Noblebright Fantasy all around the world have come together in this E-book giveaway. With stories that are uplifting and full of hope, and heroes who strive for goodness and fight to save their worlds, Heroes and Swords will transport readers back to the glory of heroic fantasies, fabulous quests and characters full of charisma and courage.

BROWSE THE BOOKS NOW!

Giveaway ——

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Downsized with Extreme Prejudice by David G. Hanrahan

Downsized With Extreme Prejudice

By David Hanrahan

Genre: Adult Crime/ Suspense

Bradford Baxton III, is the CEO of Amalgamated Worldwide Enterprises. His ruthless acquisition policies earned him the title, “King of Downsizing.”

His corrupt corporate empire begins to crumble when his Chief Financial Officer is brutally murdered. What follows is a deadly downsizing campaign at Amalgamated Worldwide Enterprises, leaving its top officers wondering who is next on the killer’s list.

Bill Coine, a retired Massachusetts State Police Detective Lieutenant, is lured out of retirement to investigate and soon solves the case. Or does he? What follows is an exciting and suspenseful story with clever twists and turns, and a surprise ending.

Review

This story moves like lightening. Wow! A unique financial tale which does not stop. When Bradford’s chief financial officer is murdered it sets off a series of unfortunate events.

I just adored Bill Coine. He is the perfect investigator. He is rock solid and with all the twists and turns…he has to be at his best.

This tale leads you on a merry chase till the very end.

About the Author

David G. Hanrahan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1936. His Irish work ethic began early. When he was fourteen, Hanrahan started his first business venture selling freshly baked soft pretzels in front of the Graham Avenue and Grand Street movie theaters. By the time he finished college, he had wrapped shirts in a laundry, sold a new German beer entry into the New York market, was a mailman for the Christmas rush in the old Brooklyn Postal Zone 11 and did a stint as an elevator operator in the United States Steel Building on Wall Street. Hanrahan is a graduate of the prestigious Brooklyn Technical High school. During his high school years, Hanrahan was managing editor of his high school newspaper, a soloist with the glee club, and sang in the tenor section of the New York All-City Chorus with four performances in Carnegie Hall.

He graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design in 1958. He received the Organization of the Army medal and was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate. While in the Army, Hanrahan graduated from the Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia and the Jungle Warfare School in Fort Sherman, Panama Canal Zone. In 1962, while stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, he was honored by the people of a small Panamanian town for helping them achieve their dream of a new school. The inauguration of the “Lieutenant David G. Hanrahan School.- Amistad -Panama -Estados Unidos” was attended by the President of Panama, the American Ambassador to Panama and the senior army staff.  After 5 years in the United States Army, attaining the rank of Captain, he attended Boston University Law School where he received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1966. He served on the Boston University Law Review where he was elected to the position of Note Editor.

Married with two young children while attending law school full time,  Hanrahan worked as a reporter for the Quincy Patriot Ledger. He spent one year as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. before returning to Boston to begin his career as a Boston trial lawyer. Hanrahan, a distinguished trial attorney, is a member of the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations and is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Music has always been an important part of Hanrahan’s life. He is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and for the last 15 years has sung lead in a barbershop quartet “Spindrift.” Now, writing suspenseful and riveting court room novels occupies an important part of his life.

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/DHanrahanAuthor

www.davidhanrahan.com

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xKwwz9

On B&N: http://bit.ly/2yEqYmx

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House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

Overview

London, 1662:

There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.

‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed –

He replied instantly. ‘It will’.

Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day: Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.

Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben.

For fans of Barbara Erskine and Kate Morton comes an unforgettable novel about three women and the power one lie can have over history!

Review

Ben is wanting to know all about his family. He begins to research his past and his family history when he disappears. His sister is determined to find out what happened to him. In the process, she discovers more than she bargained for.

This book is rich in history. I love a book which has me researching. I had to look up the Winter Queen. She is not someone which I was very familiar. This novel follows her pearl and her mirror throughout the years. These items were thought lost to history until Holly discovers the mirror. There is magic attached to these items. You need to read the novel to find out what all this magic entails. The recovery of these artifacts keep you guessing till the end.

This story rotates between time periods. The Winter Queen, 19th century courtesan are just a few of the historical figures recreated in this tale. However, I did feel there were several plot problems. One is very noticeable. When Ben disappears you very seldom hear anything else about it. A word or two dropped several chapters apart. It is like an unimportant factor. But, he is the reason his sister is researching. It just sort of falls to the wayside. The story more or less follows Holly and her discoveries. This is minor in the grand scheme of this novel and does not take away from the story. And the story is riveting and creative.

I have a huge amount of cover love! This cover is super. Makes you just want to dive in and get started!

I received this novel from Harper Collins for a honest review.

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