Tag Archives: Secrets

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell


THE GRAVE TENDER
by
By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?
The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.
“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine
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4a231-excerpt

Most people, if asked, would tell you that Cooper Abbott had surely had some sort of accident.  Maybe he’d been bitten by a snake, or fallen into the river and hit his head on a rock.  There were as many rumors as people to spread them, and a thousand possibilities to choose from.

The one thing they all agreed on was that tropical storm Jolene had been a true misfortune, carrying off any clue to finding the boy.  Probably carrying off the boy himself, down the river toward the Gulf of Mexico.

No one suspected anything more sinister.

Not at first.

By Thursday night the skies had cleared.  On Friday, the clean-up began.

The Dixon’s power was still out, as it was in many places across town, but Hadley didn’t care.  She was happy to be outside, helping to haul downed branches into a pile and picking up dropped nails while Walker took the boards off the shutters.  Light slowly came back into the dim house.

It was just after lunch when the Sheriff’s car pulled slowly up the drive, gravel crunching under the tires all the way.

Ben Hammon was an old friend of Walker’s.  They’d gone to school together way back when, and still met up for poker night every other Friday.  But it wasn’t a social call that brought Sheriff Hammon out to the Dixon house that day.

The Sheriff wasn’t alone.  One of his deputies got out of the passenger side of the car.  The deputy looked forbidding in his brown uniform and hat, his eyes scanning the trees behind their home.  But he smiled and gave Hadley a wink when he caught her watching him.

“Hey, Ben.  Any news on the Abbott boy?” Walker asked.

The Sheriff shook his head.  “Nothing yet.  We’ve picked up the search again, but frankly Walker, I don’t expect to hear anything until we get a call from somewhere downriver.”

Walker cleared his throat and motioned in her direction.

“Hadley, you remember Sheriff Hammon, don’t you?”

She knew good and well the reminder was for the Sheriff, so he wouldn’t say anything else that meant something.  Cooper is my friend, Hadley thought, tired of being treated like a baby.

“Actually, Walker, we’d like to speak with Hadley, if you don’t mind.”

Walker’s eyebrows shot up.

“What’s this about, Ben?”

“Dan Abbott was in to see us soon as the weather let up,” the Sheriff said.  “He says the kids had a run in with your brother last weekend.”

The camp out.  An image of Eli looming over them in the doorway of the tent filled Hadley’s mind.

“Eli?” Walker asked, glancing down at Hadley, clearly confused.  She’d never told him what had happened last week, and so much had happened since.

“What’s Eli got to do with anything?”

The Sheriff tipped his hat back and scratched his head, not looking entirely comfortable in his own skin.

“Probably nothing, to tell you the truth.  But a boy is missing, Walker, and we have to do our jobs.”

All three men turned to Hadley then.  Her eyes went wide.

Walker squatted down next to her.

“Hadley, honey, you don’t have to be scared.  You’re not in any trouble.  Just tell the men here what happened.  Nobody can be hurt by telling the truth.”

Hadley knew that wasn’t true.  If it were, her father wouldn’t look so worried.  But she couldn’t see another option, so she did as he asked.  She told the truth.

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.
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Author Interview
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Review: The Memory of Us by Camille DiMaio

THE MEMORY OF US
by 
Camille DiMaio

Genre: Historical Romantic Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Number of Pages: 400
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Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.
While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.
But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?

ADVANCED REVIEWER PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Powerful, emotional, and amazing read.”
“A smashing debut!”
“Brilliantly told and executed.”

“Will make you cry in the best way possible.”
“This is a beautiful story of redemption, love, and honor.”
“I fell in love with the characters.”
“I’m not sure if I have ever had such a range of emotions with a book.”

“This is one of the best books that I have read!”
“Touching and funny and tragic and beautiful.”
“Packs a powerful, emotional punch.”

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Review
With a title like “The Memory of Us,” you brace yourself for the most tragic love story ever. The bleak opening which features a scarred woman attempting suicide by pills lets you know that your hunch is probably right. But before she gives too much away, DiMaio cuts to the past where we meet the woman, still vibrant and young, with her whole life in front of her.
Julianne is the beautiful daughter of rich socialites. And before you get a chance to assume she’s a snob and start to hate her, you realize that she is working toward making her own way in the world. Instead of accepting the reins to the family’s lucrative business, she is set to attend nursing school in London. And with a world on the verge of war, nursing is not a romantic or pretty business to get into.
Just when you think you can’t like Julianne even more, you find out that she steals away to visit the twin brother she shouldn’t even know exists. It is there at the lush institution that Charles is hidden, that she encounters the love of her life. As if his Irish and lowly upbringing weren’t an obstacle enough, Kyle is a seminary student on his way to becoming a priest.
Trying their best to just be friends, Julianne and Kyle experience a whirlwind romance befitting a Nicholas Sparks novel. But DiMaio’s romance is not cheap and certainly not as predictable as Sparks. I went to bed around 4:30 a.m. one night because I could not put this book down. I planned to read until I found a good place to stop, but DiMaio kept urging me forward with chapters ending on the cusp of a new secret or development. I laid in bed for a long time trying to get the wonderful story out of my head so that I could sleep.
I think I should end my review here lest I should spoil anything. Be prepared for your heart to break. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! And comment below once you’ve read it. I would love to talk about this one!
Camille is an award-winning real estate agent in San Antonio who, along with her husband of 18 years, home schools their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes, and forever stays up late reading “just one more chapter”. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” will be released in the spring of 2017.
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6/21 Missus Gonzo  — Review
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6/23 The Page Unbound  – Author Interview #1
6/24 Texas Book Lover  – Guest Post
6/25 The Librarian Talks – Review
6/26 Country Girl Bookaholic  – Excerpt
6/27 It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #2
6/28 Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  — Review
6/29 Forgotten Winds – Book Trailer
6/30 Margie’s Must Reads – Review
7/1   Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
7/2  The Crazy Booksellers – Author Interview #3
7/3   My Book Fix Blog — Review
7/4   StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #4
7/5   Hall Ways Blog – Review

 

 
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Deceived: Soul Keeper Series by L. A. Starkey

 

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE Blog Tours
presents
 
L.A. Starkey’s 
SOUL KEEPER SERIES
 
 
They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.
But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?
The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.
But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?
What if your choices had eternal ramification?
Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.
 
Praise for DECEIVED
“This book! Oh my word. To sum it up in one word: amazing! L.A. Starkey absolutely slayed me with Deceived.” – Kristen, Pretty Little Pages Blog
 
“I love how the Greek myths are woven into this story with detail yet its still a modern high school romance. Sam is just an ordinary girl, mostly. The writing is tight and I got lost in the characters.” – Loren Weaver, Author of The Victoria Novak: Paranormal Division Series
 
“I read this book in one day because it kept me so engaged with the story that I didn’t want to put it down. There’s lots going on in the story, but it all flows really well and I like books with the ancient Gods and mythology of any nation.” – Rosie, Roses are Amber
 
“Just found LA Starkey and I am so excited I did! I love her writing style and the Soul Keeper series! I purchased book one and then went straight into book 2!” – W.J. May, Author of the The Chronicles of Kerrigan & The Senseless Series
 
“All I can say is WOW I was not expecting this at all. Deceived, (Soul Keeper Series 1) is a wonderful book and will keep your interest until the very end and leave you wanting more.” – JC Brennan, Author of The Fine Line, The Beginning
 
“The first thing that wow’ed me was the beautiful storytelling by Starkey. Just beautiful. This book had me guessing from the get-go – a sure sign that I’m hooked.” – KK Allen, Author of The Summer Solstice
 
BUY LINKS
 
DECEIVED is FREE for download everywhere
 
BOX SET of entire SOUL KEEPER SERIES
 
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Sam smiled. “I should get going, it’s gonna get dark soon and my car is still in the shop. Bikeville, population one, here I come.”

Julie got up from the bed and moved closer. “Alright, but don’t forget I can’t talk tomorrow night. Brent and I are leaving right after school to go visit his aunt in Massachusetts.”

“Yeah, I remembered. That seriously blows about having to spend the whole evening with Brent.” Sam couldn’t help but laugh at Julie’s plight. “Sneak a call to me tomorrow night when everyone goes to sleep and fill me in on Brent’s latest skank conquest abroad.”

Julie smiled and gave her a quick hug. Sam returned the sign of affection and hurried downstairs, jogging out the front door and almost making it to her bike when someone cleared their throat. She turned around to see none other than the player himself.

“Yes?” Sam asked, trying not to smile at him and failing miserably.

“Leaving so soon?” Brent asked with a little boy pout on his face. “We were just about to order pizza. We don’t have dessert, but maybe you’d be willing to volunteer?”

“Volunteer to get dessert, huh? Never heard of the guest having to provide for the hosts, but coming from you, this isn’t a surprise.” Sam smirked at him as she jumped on her bike.

“Not get dessert, Samantha, be dessert.” Brent smiled devilishly, teasing her like he always did.

“And then you woke up.” Sam laughed and started to pedal away.

“You’re not even going to blow me a kiss? Shame, Sam, shame.”

Sam resisted flipping him the bird over her shoulder as she rode away.

The very thought of the challenging fifteen mile bike ride that lay ahead of her caused her adrenaline to surge. Laughter spilled from her lips as she stood, pumping her legs hard and fast before sitting down into a steady rhythm that offered her peace.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and even though the breeze had picked up, embracing Sam like a good friend, the warmth of the sun was putting up a mighty fight. Being someone who thrived outdoors, she loved that New Hampshire had four seasons and took profound joy in having the ability to experience all the weather gods could throw her way. After the first few warm up miles, Sam stood back up on her peddles and pumped out the next few miles with a good bit of effort.

Man, it feels good to get my blood pumping.

Sam looked to her left as a quick movement of yellow jotted between the trees.

“No!” A loud masculine voice rang out.

She jerked forward in time to swerve, barely missing the yellow lump lying in the road and instead hitting the curb. She plummeted off the bike, flying through the air and landing in a crouch. Her chest heaved in effort to gain much needed oxygen as all of the blood in her body rushed to its aid.

Her eyes quickly surveyed her surroundings as she cautiously rose. No one was close enough to create the loud protest that was still reverbing in her head. Trying to regain her composure, she worked to make sense of what had happened. I could’ve sworn there was something yellow in the trees. And then it was in the road, right?

 

She searched the ground finding nothing to support her internal claim.

Review

A young adult novel that involves Greek mythology = the perfect recipe for a good read in my opinion. There’s nothing quite like the irrational rage of the gods and teenage angst. Although I’ve read many children’s and YA books that incorporate Greek mythology, I have never come across a retelling or reinterpretation of Zeus vs Prometheus (with 3 pregnant Fates on the side). I actually don’t remember the original tale, so I guess I should refer to the ol’ Edith Hamilton when I have some free time.
Interesting plot aside, I must say that Starkey is a great poet. It can be difficult to emulate the style of a prophecy without sounding completely ridiculous while maintaining a decent rhyme. What she could work on though is her teenage voice and interests. “As if?” These kids are not of the 90’s era. I guarantee you will not hear girls saying this. There was some other phrase that made my ear bleed but I can’t remember it at the moment. And as great as Linkin Park is, I doubt kids nowadays have “In the End” on their playlist. A bit dated. Even a Lady Gaga reference is a bit dated because she doesn’t release music that often. Go with Taylor Swift. That girl releases multiple albums every year.
Nitpicks aside, I am curious to see which brother will win this battle. To be honest, I don’t care for either of them, nor for the gods they proxy for. But I wouldn’t mind reading the next two books to see if any of the fellas have redeeming qualities that make Sam’s choice easier for her.
 
L.A. Starkey is the author of the Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series.
 
She is a fulltime writer, and loves spending time with her family and reading a good book. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.
 
She also writes under the following pen name: Kate Thomas – NA/Adult Paranormal (http://amzn.to/1SKV9ey)
 
 
 

Never miss a new release! Join LA Starkey’s readers group and grab your free copy of The Beginning: The Prophecy for the Soul Keeper Series! http://eepurl.com/9Nrc1


 
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Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice.
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.
 

 
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Praise for Ransom Canyon
 
Ransom Canyon is a tale of redemption and hope filled with authentic dialogue and characters engaging enough to chat with over a cup of coffee.” – Fort Worth Star Telegram


“Western romance legend Thomas opens her latest series in a small Texas town…. Ransom Canyon will warm readers with its huge heart and gentle souls. For all romance collections.” – Library Journal


Once again a delightful entry into a new series by a favorite of mine. Jodi Thomas has the ability to reel me in every time with her enterprising, intelligent and caring cast of characters and RANSOM CANYON has some of the best yet. ” – Fresh Fiction

Review
This book had some interesting love stories in it. If I hadn’t recently read another novel where a man left his wife to his best friend in the event of his death, I don’t know if I would have believed the idea of a man having an affair (much less falling in love) with his deceased wife’s best friend.
While I found Staten and Quinn’s relationship a bit shaky, I thought their characters were interesting. Their interactions had real weight and I was excited to see what they did next. Thomas fleshed those two characters, and those of the senior citizens in town, in a believable manner. But Yancy the ex-con and the teenager characters were a bit wooden in my ears. I think Thomas probably doesn’t interact with many ruffians or youngsters very often, and that’s why I don’t find those characters very believable. However, I thought the plot was interesting and definitely not overdone. I can honestly say that as I was reading, I never once thought, “Haven’t I read this before?” or “This reminds me of…”
In the end, I was glad that Thomas tied the three storylines together well, while setting up the series nicely. I had started out caring the least about Yancy, but ended up not minding the idea of reading another book about what happens to him next. I liked the Lucas character from the beginning but didn’t really care about where he was headed. I thought Lauren was annoying, so I guess I would be curious to see if their relationship implodes in the books that followed.
 

 
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Fate’s Betrayal by Beth Ann Stifflemire with Diana Schalk

Desire and despise. Two insanely contradicting emotions that the dark haired, well-built, irrefutably handsome musician Riley evokes in simple but attractive, fashion savvy, Austinite Brooke. Initially unequivocally turned-off by the brash but striking Riley she develops a fascination for his seductive charms as Riley reels Brooke into a world of ravenous love she never knew existed. What they create together is oh-so-much more than beautiful music. It’s a roller coaster ride of awe-inspiring and heartbreaking emotion, passion, hidden secrets and an ending that will leave you utterly breathless. The way they become eternally bound sets the heart afire when fate unleashes the ultimate betrayal.







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Beth Ann is a wife, mother, blogger and book lover from Texas. Her passion is writing stories that draw a reader into a world where they can become the characters and experience a gamut of emotions. When she’s not writing, she love’s to be home with my family and two yellow labs. In addition she’s a sucker for super sappy romance movies, loves trying out Texas wines, is an avid hot tea drinker and enjoys checking items off of her ever-growing bucket list.












 
 
 
 
 
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