Release Week Blitz: Three & Out by Laura Chapman (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

New from Laura Chapman, the third installment of her fantasy football romantic comedy Queen of the League series . . .



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After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?


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Read an Excerpt from Three & Out

Brook waits for J.J. to take his turn drafting before turning his eyes back to me. He taps his chin three times but says nothing. His blue eyes pierce mine.

I cave in ten seconds flat.

“Okay, J.J. is right. I’m drafting a team of dicks. I’m sure this seems juvenile. Or crazy. It’s probably both, but I’m doing it this way. For fun.”

I gulp and finally raise my gaze to his. Sheesh. Our future kids are in for some serious trouble. If I ever suspect them of lying or sneaking around, I’ll just have Brook stare them straight.

“Why dicks?” J.J. asks.

“Between the names and personality types, I figured the NFL would have more than enough to give my team a full roster.”

“Not all football players are dicks.” J.J.’s tone takes on a sharp edge.

“I agree. Just the ones I’m drafting.”

Brook’s eyes crease around the edges, and his shoulders shake. My stomach instantly settles. Good. I’m glad he found his sense of humor.

“Whatever.” J.J. sighs. “I’m not going to stop you. It’s in my best interest for you to draft a crappy team. But as league commissioner, I needed to make sure you were cleared of any wrongdoing. For all I know, you’re helping your husband secure a playoff spot.”

“I assure you, my intentions are entirely pure.”

For some reason, this sets Brook off, and I disconnect the call before J.J. can take offense to Brook’s laughter.

“I’ve got to hand it to you, babe,” he says, once he finally regains some control. “When you decide to throw the game in the pre-season, you don’t mess around.”

My jaw drops, but I pause to draft my next player—Arney Walker, a known jerk who is constantly in trouble for attitude problems—before addressing his comment.

“Why would you think I’m throwing the game?”

He gives me his “let’s be serious” look, before pointing out the lack of consistency with most of the players I’ve already drafted. I again tap my fingers on the desk impatiently while he rattles off every reason my team won’t succeed until I’ve had enough.

“I have complete faith in my team. In fact, I’m guessing my pack of boners will outperform your so-called talent.”

“Want to place a side bet?”

“What are the terms?” I have to know what’s at stake because I don’t actually think my team will come close to beating his. This is probably the finest roster I’ve seen him draft, and he’s right about my team. They suck.

“That’s up for negotiation.”

Brook rips a Post-it off of a pad and hands it to me along with a pen. He grabs a second one and scribbles on it, motioning for me to do the same. I write “get a dog” above “wins head-to-head.” We fold our pieces of paper. I hand mine over and reach for Brook’s, but he pulls it out of reach.

“Do you actually want to know what’s at stake or just discuss the terms?”

Pursing my lips, I consider the possibilities. Knowing Brook, he probably wrote something like “try my world-famous steak,” which he still hasn’t convinced me to do in the two years we’ve known each other. He respects my pescetarianism, but he still talks about the steak ad nauseam. Plus, I’d rather he not see my terms. He’s told me we can’t get a dog. Several times. He claims our apartment is too small and that our cat, Blitz, would probably traumatize any poor pup.

With steaks and dogs on the line, maybe it’s better if we don’t know what’s at risk until the last possible moment.

“Let’s go for the surprise. You hold on to your terms, I’ll hold on to mine, and we’ll reveal the prize later.”

He nods and tucks his piece of paper into his wallet. “Want to go for most wins or something else?”

“How about whoever wins when we play against each other in week six?”

“I like it. So we have a wager?”

I thrust my hand across the desk. “We have a deal.”

To his credit, Brook doesn’t gloat over his inevitable victory. He doesn’t even smirk. Instead, we shake hands and withdraw into our respective rosters as our league goes round after round in the draft.

*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. EBooks First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***


In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

First & Goal


Going for Two
About the Author : Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type.  Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and on her website at
Happy 2

Book Blast: See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)


See You Soon Broadway

See You Soon Broadway
written by Melissa Baldwin
published by 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Maris Forrester has a wonderful life with an amazing boyfriend and a fulfilling job. She’s happy and content . . . or so she thinks. Maris has always had huge dreams of being on Broadway. Ever since her very first performance as a child, she has envisioned herself on the stage under the shining lights. Now she has to decide whether she should to give up her wonderful life to chase those dreams.

When her parents announce they are moving, she comes across a long-lost family treasure. She doesn’t realize that this treasure may hold the key to her future and to all her dreams coming true.

And if that wasn’t sign enough, a mysterious stranger throws another wrench in the mix at a dazzling rooftop party benefiting the Arts. These could be signs of things to come.

But will she remain content in her perfect world, or will she step into the unknown world she has always dreamed of?efcexcerpt
“What are you guys up to?” I ask. My mom and Cassie are busily looking through some boxes.

“Hi, hon. Dad was cleaning out the garage and found these boxes,” Mom replies. She continues to empty some junk from a box onto the table.

“Mom and Dad are finally cleaning out their stuff. I told them that they need to feng shui,” Cassie says softly.

Cassie just opened her own yoga studio; she’s probably the most calm and mentally sound person I have ever met in my life. I have thought about talking to her about the possibility of me moving to New York, but I’m a little nervous about what she’s going to say.

“Maris, do you remember this? We used to play restaurant with this old menu.” Cassie holds up a menu that we stole from IHOP in the 80s. We used to play restaurant in Mom’s Tupperware closet for hours.

“I can’t believe we still have that thing,” I exclaim. Although, I’m not surprised since Mom and Dad never throw anything away.

“I’m keeping this for my kids,” Cassie adds. Ugh, typical Cassie—she may be calm and patient but she will always be the bossy older sister. She thinks she knows everything just because she’s a whopping three years older than me.

“Um, why do you get to keep it and you don’t even have kids yet?” I demand. She doesn’t say anything; no doubt she is chanting some kind of yoga stuff in her mind to ease the tension that’s building.

“You’re right,” she replies calmly. “We should share this once we both have kids, of course.”

I guess I can’t really argue with her considering she’s definitely closer to having kids than I am.

I start looking through a box that’s on the floor. It looks like a bunch of old stuff that belonged to my grandmother. Grandma passed away two years ago and my parents got the remainder of her things. I sort through the box of romance novels, crossword puzzles, and National Geographics from thirty years ago. As I’m sorting through the stuff, I find a red leather-bound notebook at the bottom of the box. My curiosity is building as I run my fingers over the gorgeous worn leather. I open it to the first page and immediately recognize my grandmother’s handwriting.

The first page is dated March 10, 1948 . . .

I also look forward to any other books that Melissa has to offer. This is my second one by her and I have liked them both a lot.


This is a very entertaining book about pursuing your dreams. I really enjoyed reading the book and am actually looking forward to a possible sequel.


I enjoyed reading See You Soon Broadway. In fact, I finished it in two days; I could hardly put it down.


This is the first book that I have read by this author, but it will not be the last.


If you enjoy reading sweet romance, then definitely pick this up!


MelissaAuthor Melissa BaldwinAbout the author:Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published two more novels, Wedding Haters and See You Soon Broadway.

Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Find Ms. Baldwin here: Website * Facebook * Twitter


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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/20/16 — Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



Blog Tour: Death in A Major by Sarah Fox (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

Death in A MajorDeath in A Major
written by Sarah Fox
published by Witness Impulse, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (print), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: The new season for the Point Grey Philharmonic starts off on a sour note when one of the symphony’s wealthy benefactors drops dead in the second Music Lover’s Mystery from author Sarah Fox.

When Archibald Major, local big wig and nasty tyrant, drops dead at a post-concert reception, violinist Midori Bishop soon suspects foul play. Although Midori has no intention of getting involved in another murder investigation, that all changes when Jordan – her violin student and the victim’s grandson – seeks her help convincing the police that the real killer is his uncle, a low-level criminal.

As Midori digs into the victim’s life, she discovers that he was a man who created discord at every turn, even within his own family, and there is no shortage of potential suspects. When someone close to Midori unexpectedly confesses to the crime, Midori must race to discover the identity of the true killer before an innocent person goes to jail for a crime they didn’t commit… and before Midori herself becomes a victim in the killer’s deadly encore.


“I’m going to speak to Ernest. He looks lonely.”

I escaped from the questions I knew Mikayla wanted to ask and approached Ernest, a short and rotund French horn player in his late fifties. His normally pale face was flushed and he stood by himself at the edge of the room, one hand fiddling with the lapel of his tuxedo jacket as he stared through his thick glasses at the crowd of mingling people.

“Hi, Ernest.”

He started when I addressed him.

“Oh. Hello, Midori.” He cleared his throat and continued to tug at his lapel. “The concert went well, don’t you think?”


His gaze drifted back to the crowd in the middle of the room. I followed his line of sight. Mrs. Duffy—Mr. Major’s daughter and the mother of one of my violin students—was helping her father into a wheelchair. He sat down heavily and Mrs. Duffy hooked his cane over one of the handles.

A middle-aged woman with glasses and dull, frizzy brown hair hovered behind the wheelchair and patted Major on the shoulder once he was seated. The elderly man must have grown tired of standing, but I doubted that he’d ever grow tired of creeping out women less than half his age.

I returned my attention to Ernest. His eyes were still fixed on Mr. Major and his expression had transformed in the past few seconds from bland to darkly angry.

The drastic, unexpected change startled and puzzled me. “Do you know Mr. Major?”

“What?” Ernest swiveled his head toward me, his thick glasses drawing my attention to his gray eyes and their staccato blinking. “No. I’ve never met the man.”

“Oh.” How odd. Why would he have such an intense dislike for a man he’d never met? Unless I was mistaken about whom he’d been focused on.

Ernest pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and patted his perspiring forehead. “Excuse me.”

He made a direct line to the nearest waitress and snagged a flute of champagne off her tray. My eyebrows shot up as he gulped down the entire contents in no more than a second. He abandoned the empty glass on a nearby table and moved through the crowd, patting his damp forehead again.


Or was it? I’d never seen Ernest act like that before, but then again, I barely knew him and had never spent time with him outside of the orchestra. For all I knew he was odd on a regular basis.

Shrugging off Ernest’s behavior, I decided to join some of my fellow second violinists who had gathered near one of the grand arched windows, the view nothing but darkness at this time of night. I threaded my way through the clusters of people, making sure to stay behind Mr. Major so he wouldn’t see me and have a chance to run his sleazy eyes over me again.

As I passed within a few feet of his wheelchair, Mrs. Duffy spread a small blanket over his knees.

“Are you warm enough, Dad?”

Major swatted her hand away. “Stop fussing. I don’t need your incompetent brand of help.”

My eyes widened at the rancor in his voice. So did Mrs. Duffy’s. She choked back a sob and turned away from her father, quickly squeezing her way through the crowd.

I glared at the back of Major’s head. What a mean old bastard.

He continued to grumble under his breath. The frizzy-haired woman patted his shoulder again and spoke to him in quiet, soothing tones.

I set my empty champagne glass down on a nearby table and searched the room for Mrs. Duffy. I spotted her just as she slipped out through a door at the far end of the room. Abandoning my plan to join my fellow violinists, I worked my way through the crowded room until I reached the far door. I pushed it open and slipped out into a corridor lined with the same red carpeting as the reception room.

There was no one in sight. I knew there was an exit around the corner, so it was possible that Mrs. Duffy had stepped outside to collect herself. I wasn’t sure if I should continue to look for her to make sure she was okay. Maybe she’d prefer to be left alone. After all, I didn’t know her particularly well. I’d taught her son, Jordan, violin for seven years, but had never talked to her for more than a few minutes at a time, and the topics of our conversations had always stayed confined to her son’s progress or lesson schedules. Certainly we’d never discussed anything personal or established any sort of friendship.

I turned back to the door, intending to return to the reception room.

“What are you doing here?” a female voice asked.

I spun around, thinking the question had been aimed at me, but I was still alone.

“I need some cash,” a man said.

“And you think I have extra lying around?” I recognized the female voice as belonging to Mrs. Duffy. “You know I’m having my own financial troubles since I left Gregory.”

I paused with my hand on the doorknob. I knew this was a conversation that wasn’t meant for my ears, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to go back into the reception room. I’d always been too curious for my own good.

Two quiet steps took me farther along the corridor, closer to the branch that led to the exit.

“Of course I know,” the male voice said. “I need you to get some money off Dad for me.”

“Kevin, you know I can’t do that. If I even mention your name these days he goes through the roof.”

The man let out a string of colorful swearwords, most of them unsavory descriptors aimed at Mr. Major Senior. “Can’t you pretend it’s for you? I’m desperate here, sis.”

“I can’t.” Mrs. Duffy sounded close to tears. “He’s not much happier with me than he is with you lately. He thinks I’m a failure since my marriage fell apart.”

“Has he been bullying you again?”

Mrs. Duffy sniffled.

I jumped as a loud bang reverberated along the corridor.

“Kevin! Be careful!” Mrs. Duffy admonished in a hushed voice. “You almost put a hole in the wall.”

“That damn bastard,” Kevin spat. “Always trying to make everyone else miserable.”

A door opened nearby and a draft of chilly air wafted along the corridor toward me.

“Where are you going?” Mrs. Duffy asked, her voice tight with worry.

“I’ve had enough of the old miser,” Kevin said. “And I’m going to make sure we never have to deal with him ever again.”

A door slammed shut, the noise jolting me into motion. Not wanting Mrs. Duffy to know I’d overheard the conversation, I slipped back into the reception room and pulled the door closed behind me.


Sarah FoxAbout the author: Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.


Find Ms. Fox here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads



“Readers are kept in suspense as each spinetingling event moves them towards an unforgettable ending. Sarah Fox delivers murder mystery with believable characters and earns a thumbs up.”  — Authors on the Air Global Radio Network on DEAD RINGER

“While Midori may be clueless in love, she is good at asking questions. It is easy to understand how difficult it is for her to leave the investigating to the police, particularly once she has begun. Her actions are believable, if at times rash. Dead Ringer is an entertaining cozy with just the right amount of suspense. It is a great choice for reading on a lazy summer afternoon.”  — Mutt Cafe on DEAD RINGER

“Readers are in for a treat with Sarah Fox’s new cozy…out of love, Midori sticks her nose in every place she can, which makes her a perfect heroine for lovers of mysteries. Readers will be pleased with the sheer entertainment of Fox’s plot.”  — Suspense Magazine on DEAD RINGER

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Blog Tour: Calm Like Home by Kaisa Clark (spotlight, excerpt)

Calm Like Home - Kaisa ClarkCalm Like Home
written by Kaisa Clark
published by Kaisa Clark, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Alexa Clausen has never fallen. She’s never soared. She’s lived her entire life floating midway between passion and despondency, never experiencing those extremes. But all it takes is one evening with Adam Westbrook to draw her out of her shell, to leave her feeling bold for the first time ever. He is fiery and magnetic. He is gravitational, that inescapable pull no one can avoid. After a few chance encounters, Alexa accepts that she can’t stay away, can’t deny the electricity she feels every time he comes around.

But as the intensity between them deepens, she also can’t avoid the subtle hints that Adam is hiding something. His wide smile and radiant eyes obscure some burning secret, some detail of his past that resurfaces to steal his joy. The farther Alexa falls, the more she realizes just how little she really knows about Adam and how far he is willing to go to cover up the truth.
Calm Like Home is a story about love and longing, growth and stagnation, discovering one’s counterpart but losing oneself, and ultimately finding that one person truly has the power to change everything.


You can read an excerpt here.





Blog Tour: Robin’s Reward by June McCrary Jacobs (spotlight, excerpt)

Robin's Reward (Bonita Creek Trilogy, #1)

Robin’s Reward
written by June McCrary Jacobs
published by June McCrary Jacobs, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?


At the front gate, Jeff froze. He’d offended her. His body felt as if he’d just finished running five miles at a training pace, as it had been since he’d first happened upon the woman. His heart thundered in his ears when he’d first seen her, his vision honed in on a lovely brunette. She was hard at work in her garden on such an oppressive afternoon. He’d never seen anyone so focused on one task. She appeared to be in a frenzy, trying to free the roots of a bush from the sun-dried, hardened soil.

He had to admit, she looked as if she were accustomed to hard work. Strong, fit arms and legs peeked out from her short-sleeved blouse and khaki shorts. She sported a wide-brimmed hat and appeared unafraid of hard work if the sweaty sheen covering her neck and face were any kind of evidence. Smudges of dirt adorned her elbows, knees, and—he couldn’t help but notice—shapely calves.

He’d been walking through the streets surrounding his rental home. Historical architecture was one of his hobbies, and he was checking out the architectural styles located on the streets in this older section of Bonita Creek, California. He’d already identified Craftsman, Victorian, Italianate, Tudor, cottage, ranch, and bungalow style homes. His mind, locked on his thoughts, was jarred when he heard a frustrated voice asking why she was trying to renovate her garden on this hot afternoon. The voice held such conviction he stopped to see if the speaker was seeking his personal opinion. When he realized the sun-kissed gardener was alone in the garden, he became enthralled by her movements and the timbre of her voice.

Unsure of how long he’d been staring, Jeff was jerked out of his trance when the woman turned around and challenged him to come into the garden to help her dig up the bush. Embarrassed he’d been caught staring, his natural reaction was to laugh. Now the woman rushed away from him toward the door of the cottage dominating the center of the property.

This scenario was not unfolding as he wanted. He blamed his complete lack of understanding of women and their mysterious ways for this latest gaffe. Now you’ve done it. You are clueless, Clarke. He needed to come up with something witty and wise to redeem himself. Otherwise, he’d lose a chance to meet this fascinating gardener who had his curiosity.


junemccraryjacobs_author1[1]About the author: Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom. Robin’s Reward is her first full-length novel and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the Bonita Creek Trilogy.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

Find Ms. Jacobs here: web, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads



Blog Tour: Treasured Secrets by Kendall Talbot (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

The Demons Deadline

Treasured SecretsTreasured Secrets
written by Kendall Talbot
published by Escape Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series introducing sassy sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.

Some secrets should remain hidden forever…

The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead her was back into the arms of Archer, the man who broke her heart. When neither can solve the puzzle without the  other, they set off on a new adventure. They’re forced to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them as their search for the golden riches weaves from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands.

Archer desperately wants to salvage his shattered relationship with Rosalina but fighting for her love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. Ruthless competition is hot on their heels and will do anything to get his hands on the treasure. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if some secrets were never meant to be revealed.


Rosalina dusted her flour-caked hands onto her apron and then turned to check on the Murazzano cheese rolls already baking in the oven. The scents of aromatic spices, melting cheese and fresh-baked pastry wafted from the open door. She lifted the tray from the oven and placed it onto the cork placemat.

‘Smells magnifica.’ Alessandro ran his tongue over his lips and she had this sudden desire to kiss him. The urge came from nowhere. Maybe she’d had too much wine. Maybe she was falling for him, despite all her determination not to. Maybe, just maybe, she was finally over Archer.

She smiled as Alessandro practically drooled over her cooking. He’d always been a dependable part of her life, and that was something she needed right now. And he was the perfect willing guinea pig for her culinary experiments. He reached for a still steaming pastry and she snapped his hand away. ‘Wait,’ she said. ‘You want the whole experience don’t you?’

His eyes lit up. ‘Sì, mio dolce.’

Rosalina liked the way he called her ‘my sweet’, especially given her love of cooking all things sugary. He was patient with her and seemed to understand her need to take everything slow.

Rosalina sliced the now cooled poached pear and placed a sliver upon the savoury cheese pastry. ‘Open up.’

Alessandro obliged and she popped the nibble into his mouth. His eyes did that heavenly eye roll before he closed them and savoured the treat. A low moan of approval teased from his throat and she knew she had him. He was a delight to watch.

First he would taste the sweetness of the pear, delicately poached with cinnamon and Chinese five spice. Next would come the multifaceted Murazzano cheese, smooth and rich in flavour. Finally, the buttery pastry would round it off. She liked to think of it as a smorgasbord in a bite.

After he swallowed, he sighed his approval.

‘Now, keep your eyes closed.’

He simply nodded as a smile of pure bliss curled at his lips.

‘This second sample is the same cheese pastry, but this one I’ve topped with a touch of my homemade fig jam and a sprinkling of crispy prosciutto.’

A fresh moan tumbled from his lips and he hadn’t even tasted it yet. His eyelids fluttered as she placed the second sample into his mouth.

‘Take your time. I need to know which one is better.’

His eyes opened but it was as if he’d slipped into another world. He began to shake his head slowly.

‘You don’t like that one.’

He shook his head faster as he continued to chew. ‘You can’t make me choose one.’

Rosalina put her hands on her hips. ‘Come on, Alessandro, you know the game.’

‘But I can’t decide. They’re both delizioso.’ He kissed the tips of his fingers.

‘This is serious.’ She giggled. ‘There can only be one clear winner. So which is it, pear or prosciutto?’

‘Rosa, you torture me.’

She giggled. ‘I tantalise you.’

He flashed a devious smile and fluttered his long lashes. ‘Yes you do, il mio dolce.’


Kendall Talbot About the author: Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and a hopeless romantic. She has travelled extensively, some 36 countries, and counting and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream…white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her long running love affair with her very own hero.

Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown boys and her little dog, Josie McLuvin.

Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has received a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive Romantic Book of the Year.

Find Ms. Talbot here: webFacebook, Twitter, GoodreadsGoogle+

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Spotlight: The Cave by Michela Montgomery (excerpt, giveaway)

The Cave The Cave (The Wind Cave book 1)
written by Michela Montgomery
published by Post Hill Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Most students wouldn’t want to spend part of their summer break in a claustrophobic cave deep below the earth’s surface, but for six Stanford students spelunking in one of the longest and deepest caves in North America, may just save their lives. Michela Montgomery’s first book in a trilogy, The Cave (Post Hill Press, April 2015) takes readers on an exhilarating ride of adventure and suspense.

Kate Moore, orphaned at sixteen, has experienced her fair share of loss and loneliness. She left her small town, and the sad memories, behind for bigger and better things when she got early acceptance into Stanford. Now armed with her best friend Ano and her mentor (and crush) Percy, she feels a million miles away from the life she left behind. When summer break comes Kate plans a four-day excursion into The Wind Cave so Percy can do research for his senior thesis.

When the climbers are deep within the cave, a nuclear war rains down outside and the climbers become trapped. The geography of the cave starts to shift and the only way out is to navigate the dark tunnels of the cave to survive. When their leader is injured and things start to get bleak, each member of the group reveals the real reason why they made their descent into the Cave. What started out as a four-day excursion turns into a life-and-death battle for survival.

With the popularity of apocalyptic fiction like Emily St. john Mandel’s Station Eleven, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea and Lauren van den Berg’s Find Me, The Cave is a gripping and heart-pounding thrill ride of novel.


A sharp black point on the sheer face of the cavern pierced my shoulder. I felt the first drop of dark blood squeeze out and drip down my arm. I bit my lip against the pain and concentrated on clinging to the handholds above my head. After another half hour, my arms became numb from the strain and cold. I began to tremble.

I swallowed hard, trying to force my voice into something strong enough for someone to hear. Anyone. I tipped my face upward, the weight of my wet pack pulling me back toward the blackness. My heart skipped several beats. I adjusted my fingers on the handholds and gripped as tightly as I could.

“Ano! Percy! Anyone!”

Mist turned to droplets of water. I wiped my hand across my forehead and succeeded only in covering my hand with more blood from the cut on my head. I could smell the blood trickling down the sides of my face. Heavy droplets dripped down my legs, soaking my calves and shoes, resting on slick moss that covered the foot-wide ledge. I looked around, suffocated by opaque blackness. Reality sank in, and I allowed fear to take over. I pressed my cheek to the rough cavern wall, tears squeezing from between my eyelids. I leaned against the cold face of the cavern. Carefully, I slipped one hand from the handhold above me.

Cradling my numb arm against my body, I shook my hand to allow blood to flow back through it. I dropped it to my side, hoping that gravity would work to pull the blood back through my hand and fingers. Pain seared through my fingers when I tried to make a fist.

My other arm throbbed, heavy from the burden of clinging to the ledge. I leaned in closer to the rough face of the wall. Resignation filled me. My left arm had given out. Releasing my grip from above, my arm slid down the wall to rest against my hip. Without my hands to anchor me, my feet slid closer to the edge. Shooting pain from my shoulder to my wrist forced the first sob from my chest.

“Ano!” I screamed, even though my head was no longer tipped up, and the only sound that returned was the echo of my own desperation. “Help me,” I whispered, “please don’t let me die this way.”


Michela MontgomeryAbout the author: Michela Montgomery graduated with her B.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. She lives in Northern California with her two children, a feisty Yorkie and a teacup Chihuahua named Killer. The Cave is her first novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Find Ms. Montgomery here: web, Twitter, Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Chronicles of Chateau Moines by Evelyne Holingue (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

Chronicles From Chateau Moines banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Chronicles from Chateau Moines by Evelyne Holingue. This is a middle grade historical fiction. The tour runs March 2-13 with reviews, interviews, guest posts, and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.


Chronicles From Chateau MoinesChronicles of Chateau Moines
written by Evelyne Holingue
published by Burel Press

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: September 1970: Scott’s mother has recently died and his father gets the crazy idea to move his family from California to Normandy. Now Scott has to learn to live without his mom while adjusting to France. In his seventh grade class there is only Ibrahim who comes from another country. Scott doesn’t even want to play his guitar anymore. Why does his father think that life will be better so far from home?

Scott has no idea that his arrival is also a challenge to Sylvie. While her best friend is excited to have an American boy at school, Sylvie cannot say one word to Scott. She can’t even write good songs in her notebook anymore. Why is life so different since Scott moved to Château Moines?

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War protest era and told from the perspectives of twelve-year old Scott and Sylvie, this is a story about loss and friendship, music and peace, and also about secrets.

Although this is a work of fiction, the cultural, social, and historical background of the early 1970s in France and the United States inspired the writing. At the end of the book the reader will find a list of the songs, the names of singers, and bands mentioned through the novel as well as some elements about fashion, immigration in France, the Vietnam War, and other cultural, social, and historical facts relevant to the period of time.


He (Scott) smells of his usual mix of patchouli and shampoo, a smell that I’ve come to recognize without even thinking. He’s quiet, but it’s perfect with me. We just sit next to each other, watching our entire class dance. Someone has cranked the volume up. The disco balls flash, and since everyone is costumed, it’s hard to know who is who. Scott’s funny guesses make me laugh.

“Is that Brigitte dancing?” He points at a couple.

The girl wears a feather boa and high heels. “Definitely Brigitte,” I say. “But the boy? No clue. You know what? It’s cool that everyone came.”

“Everyone didn’t come.” Scott’s voice doesn’t hide his disappointment.

“I think we are all here,” I say, straining my eyes. “Wait, where is Ibrahim?”

“Told you.”

“Maybe he wasn’t allowed.” I catch Scott’s glare. “You know, being from another country. I mean religion and everything.”

“Has nothing to do with him being Muslim.” Scott taps his foot to the beat of the music.

“Right now, he’s playing soccer.”

“He only plays at school.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“Look, there is one soccer field in town, and the Arabs don’t use it.”

“That figures,” Scott says.

“They kept fighting.” I realize how stupid and unfair the idea is, since nobody knows who started the fight. In the end the Arabs gave up the field. “So, where is he playing?”

“You don’t want to know.” He stands up and offers me his hand. “You dance?”

I’ve never danced with a boy in my entire life. In a flash, my heart morphs into a bird trapped inside a cage. Panicked, the bird flutters his wings to escape. Scott and I stand at least thirty centimeters away from each other.

“Can someone put on “Bridge Over Trouble Water,” please?” he calls.

As soon as the guitars, harmonicas, and voices of Simon and Garfunkel fill the basement, he wraps his arms around my waist, and I bring mine to his neck, as if I knew what to do. I watch my step so I won’t crush his sandaled feet. We aren’t really dancing, so it’s easy. I’m starting to get the hang of it when Brigitte waves her arms up in the air like an octopus.

“My parents! My parents are home!” She switches the disco balls off.

Scott is the fastest to reach for the record player. But he’s still holding onto my waist, and I trip on the long hem of my dress. He catches me just before I fall flat on the ground and drags me to my feet. When I’m up, our faces are so close to each other that I can almost taste the gum he has been chewing.

“It was my first slow dance with a girl,” he says, his breath sweet and light in my ear. At the same second, someone turns the lights on.


Evelyne Holingue Author PhotoAbout the author: I was born and raised in Normandy, France, where I spent most of my childhood reading. My first published piece of writing was a poem about a man spending Christmas behind bars. I was eleven years old and wasn’t paid for my work, but I was hooked. I studied French Literature at the Université de Caen and at the Sorbonne in Paris and worked in a publishing house before moving to California, following my husband. It was a challenging time in my life as I was leaving my own career, my family, my friends and my beloved Paris behind.  But how could I say no to the dreams of the man I love? Readers enjoy escaping the familiar for the unknown. Being a foreigner is discovering the unknown day after day, not only for the time of a book. However, since most things in life come with a silver lining, I credit this move for giving me the opportunity to write. Through my words, I share my affection for my native and adoptive countries that I love equally.

Find Ms. Holingue here: web, Goodreads

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Spotlight: The Girl from the North by Cat Bruno (excerpt, giveaway)

The Girl from the NorthThe Girl from the North (Pathway of the Chosen #1)
written by Cat Bruno
published by Fourth Street

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

You can read my 4-star review here

About the book – from Goodreads: When a dark stranger, beautiful and haunting, approaches the flame-haired girl on a solitary stretch of beach, she senses that her life at the Healer’s Academy is about to change. As his hands reach for her forehead, gliding across it with intimacy and purpose, suddenly, she remembers who he is, and who he has been. Yet, still, Bronwen wonders why she was chosen, and fears what the mysterious man’s presence in her life will mean. Before he turns to leave, she asks why he has come and why it has been her he sought.

His reply silences her.

“Rexaria,” he whispers, low and gruff, yet louder than the tumbling sea and the screaming gulls flying overhead.

Somehow, Bronwen understands.


In the first book in the Pathway of the Chosen series, we meet Bronwen, a healer-in-training, who arrived at the Academy as a child with no memory of who she was or where she had come from. Soon, we learn that there is much that she keeps hidden. Her fire-streaked hair marks her as a Northerner, far from her homeland, yet she recalls nothing of her time there.
Until she is visited by Conri, the High Lord of the Wolf Tribe. It is he who lets her remember.

But what will those memories bring? Follow Bronwen as she explores what it means to be god-touched.


Please enjoy this excerpt from book 2, Daughter of the Wolf.

“If I leave, your father will not live,” she called to him, letting her eyes fall upon his. Let him know my words for truth.

“If you stay, I fear that I will be unable to keep you safe. If any find out about the babe, you would become little more than food for the vultures.”

“You make little sense, Crispin. I am a healer! Few would even think to threaten one such as me.”

“Aye, you’re a healer. A beautiful, quick-witted one. But, you are a fool nonetheless. You trust too soon. And ones whom you should not. Have you thought that I might be lying to you, Caryss? That I didn’t see the boy because he did not want me to? That he does not want me to see him because he knows that if I do, he will soon be dead?”

When he stepped closer to her, she pressed her back into the window, all color fading from her face.

“You would not kill your own son,” she gasped.

Again his hands were on her, pinning her to the window. Behind her eyes, the room began to darken, tinged in red.

“Over ten moon years ago, I chose the throne over him. If I must do so again, I will.”

Shaking her head, Caryss gazed at him. She did not believe his words, yet questioned why he had spoken so.

“You sent for a healer,” she mumbled, trying to make sense of what no longer did.

“If my father dies now, I will have a fight ahead that I am not yet prepared for. Nearly all is a game in the King’s City. All! And all you have brought is a fallen mage, a woman who knows not how to fight, and two guards who were bought with coin not even your own. You have lost before the game has even begun, girl.”

“You know nothing of me, prince,” she hissed, anger burning hot as the babe stirred.

The prince was so near to her that she could feel his life pulse as it thumped against his tunic, his chest against her own. She could have pushed him from her, Caryss knew, feeling the strength of the babe growing, yet she did not.

“Tell me of the babe’s father, Caryss,” he whispered, the words suddenly soft and sweet against her ear.

Caryss paused, then turned her face until his lips were near her own. With a half-smile across her face, she told him, “I will tell you nothing more.”

Her words were so close as to be a kiss, yet neither moved.

Finally, the prince pulled his head back, slightly, and asked, “Who is he, Caryss? If the babe is god-touched, she will have both friend and foe. I might be able to help.”

Feeling as if her legs were near to collapsing beneath her, Caryss struggled to stand. The prince’s words, his last ones, only added to her unease.

I will not tell him of Conri, she vowed.

“How do I know which you are?” she breathed.

Laughing now, the prince’s eyes were light and glimmering, as if nothing had changed. “You are learning, girl,” he told her, stepping back.

“How fares my cousin?” he added, from across the room.

Hesitatingly, Caryss replied, “He is the same as when you last asked, I would guess.”

As if she had said too much, Crispin clapped his hands together, the sound clanging around the room until Caryss thought that Aldric and Sharron would wake.

No knock came.

With a suddenly throbbing life pulse, Caryss asked him, “What have you done to the ward?”

His smile bright, his teeth straight and white, Crispin teased, “The student continues to learn.”

“What have you done to the ward?” she screamed, now knowing that none could hear.

“It has been strengthened. You need not worry.”

“What is it that you want from me, prince?” she asked, her voice low, as if her screams had left her throat raw.

“Is the babe Willem’s?”

When she did not answer, he said, “Why would he send you here alone, like a bone to the dogs?”

Again, Caryss did not answer.

“Did he truly think you would be safe here? That his child would be safe? He has been exiled for over ten moon years, but Delwin hates him still, and would see him dead. I had thought him to know better. He has been gone too long, it seems, and has forgotten the ways of Rexterra.”

“You speak of him as if he did not sacrifice his own life for yours!” she scolded.

“Is that how he tells it?”

“You are here, and he is not. That is story enough.”

The prince’s laugh was harsh when it next came. “How well you play your role as healer. Tell me who you really are, Caryss,” he said to her, roughly.

Cat BrunoAbout the author: The Girl from the North is Cat Bruno’s first full-length venture into fantasy writing, although she has been an avid and loyal reader of sci-fi/fantasy books for many years, especially traditional epic fantasy. For years, she waited (raising kids, living life) to have enough time to give voice to the characters she long dreamed of creating. Her focus has always been on imagining strong, if imperfect, female characters and bringing diversity to the fantasy genre. The Pathway of the Chosen as a series will most likely be a long one, just as long as the journeys of many of its characters.

Find Ms. Bruno here: Goodreads, Twitter, web, Facebook



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Blog Tour: The Sparks by Kyle Prue (spotlight, interview, excerpt, giveaway)

The SparksThe Sparks (Feud #1)
written by Kyle Prue
published by Barringer Publishing

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. Centuries of fighting, however, have turned the families against each other. A powerful emperor now rules and each family has suffered heavy casualties in the feud.

Sixteen-year-old, Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin in order to impress his overly critical father. Despite a failed mission, Neil learns that a new sinister threat has awakened. This mysterious new power will shatter the established order and threaten not only the very lives of these powerful families, but also the once great city of Altryon.

Everything can change with a single “Spark”…


Slide the knife between the third and fourth rib.

Neil’s father’s words rang in his ears as he pulled his dark, ornate hood over his head and raised his cloth mask to cover his mouth and nose. He knew all Taurlum had several weak spots on their bodies, but only one was vulnerable enough to cause an instant kill. All he needed to do was thrust his knife directly between the ribs (the third and fourth ribs, he reminded himself) and straight through the heart. Neil’s father had taught him this trick on his tenth birthday. It had been one of the more pleasant ones.

He spent a moment adjusting his mask, making sure his face would remain concealed. Not that it really mattered; during the middle of the day, the mask would do little to camouflage him. Any Taurlum would spot a Vapros like him from a mile away. The disguise had been given to him mostly for the sake of preserving his identity. Nobody needed to know which Vapros boy had made the kill.

Neil ran his finger over the hilt of the knife. His father had presented it to him upon completion of his assassin’s training. Engraved in the handle was the Vapros family crest. The background of the crest was purple and black, with a raven embedded in the center. The Raven was the family nickname, as the black-haired, green-eyed descendants seemed to favor their swift, calculating animal mascot. The raven was known as the bringer of death: an appropriate symbol for the trained assassin. The family motto was inscribed along the bottom: Victory Lies Within the Ashes. Neil loved his knife; it made him feel like a real assassin.

Neil craved the assassin’s glory but knew in his gut that he desperately needed another assassin to assist in this mission. Two stealthy ravens against a Taurlum bull was still a risk, but they would have the element of surprise on their side. Alone it was a certain death mission, but his father’s orders were clear. Neil was desperately alone.

Making it into the giant Taurlum mansion had been easy. Navigating its giant corridors would be harder. Neil glanced carefully around the marble corner. A single guard stood watch. The man wore simple plated armor with red and gold war paint but had removed his helmet to reveal his entire head. Not aTaurlum, Neil thought. The guard lacked the golden blonde hair shared by every direct descendant of the Taurlum line; therefore, this man was not worth his time or effort. Neil squinted in concentration, and then threw all his energy into dematerializing. He reformed a split second later on the other side of the corridor. The guard continued watching the hallway and never noticed Neil materialize just behind him. As silently as he could, the Vapros boy made his way down the hallway toward the communal baths where his target would be waiting.


Here are a few questions from the Q&A from PR by the Book.


Where did you get the idea for the Feud series? This is a coming of age story for young adults and I am a teen in that demographic. Everyone struggles to find their path in life and my characters are all struggling with not wanting to let people down and to find their way; forgiveness and hope is a part of that journey as well. One night, at the age of 15, I had terrible insomnia and I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the different personalities of my siblings and myself and how we will all follow different paths. That gave me the idea to create three different families loosely based around our differing personalities. I decided it would be fun to take these families and place them in a fantasy world where the obstacles we all face could be magnified to a whole new level. I wrote out the plot for the three books that night.

What drew you to write YA Fantasy? I wanted to write for me. Recently, I’ve hit an “in-between” zone where it’s harder for me to find books I want to read. I wanted to write something that I would want to read and that would appeal to other kids my age. I wanted to appeal to boys who have lost interest in reading and I also created strong female characters that girls will love.

When did you first start writing? Like a lot of kids, I was bullied in middle school. I doubt you will ever find a kid that says, “I rocked 7th grade! That was the best time in my life.” I was short and fat and had a bowl haircut with braces. This was not a great time in my life. But I discovered I could come home and pick up a pen and create a whole fantasy world that I could control, when the rest of my life felt out of control. I learned that I loved to create characters because their potential is limitless.

I was lucky because I learned to use writing as an escape at an early age. I was in a multi-age program from 1st-3rd grade where I had the same teacher for three years. She had an experimental writing program where she gave us an hour a day to write in our journals. She told us to just write freely and not worry about punctuation or grammar, just let the creativity flow. So by the end of that program, I had a stack of notebooks filled with an adventure series. I also did a series called Three Rings that I wrote from the age of 12 to 14 when middle school was really rough. It was a 200-page manuscript. It wasn’t good, but it was good practice.

What are your other interests besides writing? I love stand up comedy because like writing, it requires an ability to look at the world in a unique way and find the humor in that. I’m a varsity swimmer for my school. I’m involved with mock trial, I’m in a number of plays every year, I started an improv club at my school and I’m really involved with our film club—we spend our weekends writing scripts and filming. We are currently working on a web series called “Amockalypse” that I’m really excited about. I pretty much gave up on sleeping after middle school.

Were you a big reader as a kid? In 5th grade, I started at a new elementary school when I moved to Naples. They had a reading contest for whoever read the most books. I ended up reading like 200 books, which was a bit of overkill as the next highest kid read about 75 books, but apparently I’m more competitive than I realized. I just really wanted to beat this girl in my class who told me she was a better reader.

Were you drawn to a certain genre as a kid? When I was younger, I really disliked reading. My mom would read me the books that my brother liked and I just never got into them. One day she was at the bookstore picking out books for us, and she mentioned to the owner that I didn’t seem interested in reading and he asked her about my personality and interests. He recommended that she try some fantasy books for me. She brought home a few of those books and from then on, all I did was read and write. I love young adult fantasy.

Were there certain authors that you really liked? I’ve always loved Rick Riordan, and every kid in my generation loves JK Rowling. My mom started guarding the Harry Potter books and reading them aloud to us, because otherwise I would read one whole book in a night and then tell my siblings what happened. We would barely leave the house until we had finished each book. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series has been phenomenal.

How have those writers influenced your writing? I think Rick Riordan introduces and writes characters very well, which is something I kept in mind, because I have a group dynamic with my book. But I really like the way JK Rowling set up the overall plot and carried it through, intertwining a lot of different elements. She knew how to set up a big, epic adventure and finished it beautifully. That is what I hope to do with this trilogy.

Do you have a favorite character in The SparksIt alternates a lot. In general, I’ve always been a fan of characters that are only around for one book and that are very big and eccentric. I really like Michael Taurlum because he’s kind of the epitome of what’s wrong with the Taurlum family and he’s just such a child. So it was really interesting to write about him and make him such an aggressive, haughty character.

Can you tell us a bit about the second book, The FlamesOne of the big themes of the second book is that no one should get to a point in their life when they should experience a complete absence of hope. Things will always get better. My best friend from childhood committed suicide this year and I really want other teens to understand that whatever seems so overwhelming in your life today, won’t be what’s important to you down the road. When my characters experience this loss of hope, that is when they gain their advanced powers. Something good can come out of something that in the moment seems so terrible.

The second book in the series focuses on the remaining family members (spoiler alert!) and their friends, as they begin to kindle the revolution. It’s a lot about personal growth for the characters, like Neil and Darius. Even Robert Tanner, who is a minor character in the first book, comes back and has a very big story arc. It is the book where we start to reach that giant conflict that the characters have been stepping toward in the storyline.


Kyle Prue

Find Mr. Prue here: web, Twitter, Goodreads

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