BOOK BLITZ | First Full Moon – Michelle Alstead

First Full Moon
by Michelle Alstead
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

More secrets. More lies. I’m going to die.
She wanted a car for her sixteenth birthday, not magical powers… Candy McGregor is a teenager living in Sequim Falls, a small East Coast town, where the McGregors own just about everything. While her grandmother grooms her to run the family business—a pharmaceutical empire—Candy dreams of a life where she’s known as more than just a last name. When the monthly family dinner turns into a horror show, Candy discovers the McGregors aren’t so much blessed as they are cursed. At midnight on her sixteenth birthday, Candy inherits both the ability to do magic and the destiny to become a wolf on the next full moon. There is hope of a life that doesn’t require being chained up once a month. If Candy can undo the original spell that created the curse, she can rid the world of werewolves and remain a witch. But there’s one really big problem. Not everyone hates being a wolf. With the next full moon looming, Candy must take on forces that will do anything to stop her. Will she break the curse or surrender to life as a monster?

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Michelle Alstead is a single, divorced mom of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who tries to promote autism awareness and advocate for gender equality while raising Sheldon Cooper and searching for some semblance of a love life.

Michelle’s novels are frequently available for free on Amazon Kindle. Sign up for her email list to receive notifications. http://michellealstead.com/sign-up-for-our-email-list/

All of Michelle’s adult novels take place in the same universe. Characters cross over between novels, which makes for a more interesting world.

One Last Try will be released Feb. 2018.

The Full Moon Series (four young adult supernatural stories) will be published in time for Halloween 2018.

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BOOK BLITZ | Between Two Wolves – Catherine Vale

Title: Between Two Wolves
Author: Catherine Vale
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Having your throat cut has a way of changing a girl…so does being bitten by one of your two lovers.

Luscious and curvy, that’s what they called me, as they shared me. Jericho behind me, his viking-huge hands on my hips, and Colt in front of me, his muscular thighs parted, generously saluting, taking what was his, with fingers weaved through my fiery red hair…. So my ex-fiancé had cheated. Who cares?

Well, I’d cared. For months. His betrayal had eaten me alive, filling me with resentment fueled rage. I’d stopped seeing beyond the past, at the cost of the present, and the future. My world had crashed down around me, and I couldn’t breathe.

Black Wolf Mountain was my answer. So, I went, leaving everyone I knew and loved behind as I searched for myself in the wilderness. Instead, death found me lying in a bed soaked with my own blood.

But death is no match for a wolf…not my wolves.

But what about me?

Is there more to me than death can take?

Is there enough of me for two to love?

Note To Readers: This is a stand-alone novel, a complete story, and free of cliffhangers.

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NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Vale writes urban fantasy stories of magic and mayhem and paranormal romance.

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BOOK BLITZ | The Extraction List Series – Renee N. Meland

Hi everyone!

Today I’m highlighting The Extraction List Series! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Title: The Extraction List Series
Author: Renee N. Meland
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

In development for film by 5×5 Media!

An unforgettable, fast-paced science fiction adventure where a mother and daughter must rely on a gifted killer for survival…

In an America where parenting is regulated by the federal government, fifteen-year-old Riley Crane assumed she would never be taken from her home, and with good reason: her mother Claire had designed the criteria that parents must live by in order to keep their children.

But a simple knock at the door one evening proves her wrong.

Now on the run, Riley and Claire must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer who is as handsome as he is dangerous, to get them out of America alive. But when they discover what’s really happening beneath the government’s surface, they realize that escaping the country is only part of their problem. Together, they figure out that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation.

If you’re a fan of Unwind by Neal Shusterman, you will enjoy Renee N. Meland’s page-turning tale of survival in a world where obeying the law is no longer an option.

Goodreads

Blurb:

The suspenseful science fiction adventure continues as we now follow Cain Foley back to the beginning, where the extraction list started…

Fifteen-year-old Cain Foley just faced a fatal choice…

Fight back against his abusive father, or die on the basement floor.

He chose life.

Now a fugitive in an America that is stricken with poverty and violence, he finds himself being hunted by a police officer with his own special brand of torture. Before he can save even a handful of the children who have been swept up in the gang life, he must first cover up not one, but two murders. His father’s and one committed by a teenage madam who is either the love of his life or his final undoing.

As he feels himself being pushed closer and closer to the edge, Cain realizes surviving his father was just the beginning.

If you’re a fan of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, you will enjoy Renee N. Meland’s violent tale of what happens when an abused teenager in a broken world is pushed to change everything.

Goodreads

Blurb:

Riley thought she could live a normal life after The Extraction List, but now in this third book in the fast-paced sci-fi adventure series, she must reconnect with Burning Doors’ hero, Cain, to save the people they love most from certain destruction.

Four years after escaping America, Riley Crane discovers the compound she calls home is facing a looming danger, and she’s in desperate need of a solution. The last person she expects to have the answer is the guy who has been the one piece missing from her life—Cain Foley.

With a broken heart and a switchblade knife, Riley follows Cain to Italy in order to rescue a missing child. If they find him, the child’s parents will give them enough cash to move everyone they love to a safe location where they can build a new life for the second time. But with their goal almost in sight, they discover their mission wasn’t what they thought, and much more than they expected hangs in the balance.

The question they must ask has no simple answer.

They want to save the people they love…

But are they willing to sell their souls to do it?

Goodreads

If you’re a fan of the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman, you will enjoy Renee N. Meland’s fast-paced third installment of The Extraction List Series, where cruelty knows no bounds and characters are forced to test their humanity to save the ones they love…

The Extraction List | Burning Doors | Leave Me Lost

Author Bio:

Renee N. Meland is an avid writer and reader of speculative fiction. She and her husband reside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. When she is not writing or being a devoted doggy-mom, she is gardening or learning a new recipe.

She is currently working on the rest of the books in The Extraction List Series. Other upcoming projects involve reincarnation, and a house filled with people who all have something to hide.

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BOOK BLITZ | 120 Days… – M. Stratton

Hi everyone!

Check out all the details below on 120 Days…


Title: 120 Days…
Author: M. Stratton
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Blurb:

There is more to cancer than death.

120 days… The average number of days someone stays at Last Resort.

17 weeks… Surrounded by love, laughter and support.

4 months… More time than they had before they walked through the door.

Real estate developer Ethan McGregor’s life was changed forever when his younger brother told him he was dying of cancer. Ethan was ready to do whatever it took to save Evan, but Evan had other plans.

Say goodbye…

Samantha Truman runs the privately-funded Last Resort. Watching her parent’s drive and determination to live longer than the doctors gave them was the inspiration for the resort. It is her heart and soul–she lives to make sure that each day is precious, and one more sunrise or sunset can make all the difference the guests at Last Resort need.

After finding his brother’s journal, and discovering more about Last Resort, Ethan is determined to find out if this place is one of those “too good to be true” places that turn out to be a scam. But he was not ready for Samantha Truman, he was not ready for everything to change, for his point of view in life to be so incredibly altered, for the world to turn its axis. There are, after all, some things Ethan can’t control, who to fall in love with is one of them.

How much can change in 120 days?

Goodreads

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Author Bio:

M. Stratton is an International Amazon bestselling author in the romantic suspense and mystery suspense categories for her Storm Series and Bender. She lives with her husband and son in Arizona, which is a big difference from where she grew up north of Chicago, Illinois. As an only child she learned to tell herself stories to make the long winters go by quicker while dreaming of summer vacations. Now as an adult she still makes up stories to pass the time, but now she writes them down to share with other people.

Stratton is a self-proclaimed dork who loves to make people laugh. Her inner rock star is always on stage performing to a sold out crowd, but she quiet and shy on the outside. She spends her days plotting new ways to surprise her readers.

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AUDIO BLITZ | The Stone Series- Dakota Willink

Hi everyone!

I have an audio blitz today, and there’s a giveaway!


Title: The Stone Series
Author: Dakota Willink
Genre: Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that – at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way that he looked at her, and the dark promises in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all that it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore possibilities that she could never before have imagined…

Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn…

However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets in their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina’s hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results.

Goodreads

Blurb:

The story of Krystina and Alexander continues in Stepping Stone, book two of The Stone Series.

Krystina Cole is flawed and damaged from a traumatic experience. A relationship with Alexander Stone will never work. She knows that her capacity for love is limited, and that only she alone can repair the pieces of her shattered heart. But Alexander is everywhere she turns. In her mind. In her heart. And in her soul. She cannot deny him. He is her addiction and she is unable to stay away.

Alexander Stone has accepted the inevitable. If he wants to hold on to Krystina, he must bare all and release the secrets in his past. There were risks, but she is worth it. No woman has ever affected him the way that she did. She is the sunshine in his darkness. The lightning to his thunder. She is his angel.

Bound by their passion to be together, Alexander and Krystina fight to let go of their pasts. Together, they embark on journey of self-exploration, relying on trust to be their ultimate bond. Falling completely into one another, there finally seems to be a beacon of hope for their future. But as they test their boundaries of desire, fate takes an unexpected turn, threatening their only chance at survival…

Goodreads

Blurb:

Two declarations of love. And a past that won’t set them free.

Alexander had rules. Krystina broke them. Together, they learned the hard way that life was too short to play the game. Choosing to not leave their relationship to Fate, they fell completely and irrevocably into one another. As two shattered souls, wrapped in each other’s arms, it was as if the world and all its troubles did not exist.

However, committing to love each other was only the beginning. Caught up in their blazing desire, they unexpectedly find themselves facing the shadows of the past once again. Just when Krystina thought she knew the man she committed to, more questions arise, causing her to wonder if Alexander is who he says he is. It should have been one of the happiest times in their lives, but the darkness still loomed, threatening everything they fought so hard to overcome.

Now Krystina is faced with a terrible decision: go against Alexander in order to save him or sit idly by and watch as his world shatters around him. For her greatest battle was the very thing their relationship was founded upon. Trust.

The heart-wrenching and seductive story of Alexander and Krystina concludes with Set In Stone, the powerfully moving finale to The Stone Series.

Goodreads

Buy Links:

Heart of Stone | Stepping Stone | Set in Stone

Audio Links:

Heart of Stone | Stepping Stone | Set in Stone

Teaser Trailer


Author Bio:

Dakota Willink is an Amazon International Bestselling Author. She loves writing about damaged heroes who fall in love with sassy and independent females. Her books are character driven, emotional, and sexy, yet written with a flare that keeps them real. With three published titles and a magazine publication under her belt, Dakota’s imagination is constantly spinning new ideas. Her current work in progress is The Dahlia Project, a series of standalone books that will embrace diverse characters and current day world issues.

Dakota’s love affair with reading and writing began when she was in the sixth grade. Competitive by nature, she was determined to win a reading contest and blitzed through every Sweet Valley High book she could get her hands on. As a result, she discovered her love for words. Since then, she dreamed of one day writing her own book, but put her aspirations on hold to focus on family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.

In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy teenagers and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. By 2014, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full-time.

Dakota often says she survived her first publishing with coffee and wine. She’s an unabashed Star Wars fanatic and still dreams of one day getting her letter from Hogwarts. She enjoys spending time with her super-supportive husband and two witty teenagers, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family

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BOOK BLITZ | The Dog Walker’s Diary – Kathryn Donahue

Hi everyone!

I have a book blitz to share with you!


Title: The Dog Walker’s Diary
Author: Kathryn Donahue
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Madeline Berger
Editor: Kelsy Thompson
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Daniel Ashe has reason to believe he is incapable of falling in love. He certainly has no romantic interest in Annie, the odd Irish woman he hired to walk his dogs – but every night he comes home to find she has left him a new and fantastical story about their secret lives. His dachshund is a buccaneer on the high seas, his retriever recounts a past life as a circus lion, and Daniel is cast time and again as a romantic hero.

As her stories become the highlight of his day, Daniel realizes that Annie is embedding hints about her own astonishing past, and he has to ask himself if he’s truly incapable of falling in love after all.

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

Excerpt:

10/29/15

Dog Diary

Thursday, 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie,

Your stories are back in here, but during their short hiatus to my office I showed them to my boss. After reading them, Peter took off his glasses and said, “So you’re telling me that this woman leaves you a new fairy tale every night?”

“Yes. Every night.”

“Then you know what she is, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“This Irish woman. Do you know what she is?”

I shook my head. “What are you talking about? What is she?”

“Wake up, Daniel. That dog walker of yours is a Scheherazade.”

Annie, you didn’t respond to my invitation, and in looking back I can see how easily it could be misconstrued. If I were a woman, alone and in a different country, I might not agree to meet a semi-stranger for coffee either, even if I had been entertaining him for days with fantastical stories.

So please, allow me to make myself less of a stranger.

I am known by a small but select group of females as a heartless jerk incapable of falling in love. Each in turn soon gave up on me, more with a sad shake of the head than with dishes flying. It has happened so often that I have to concede the ladies are right. Apparently I have skipped or tripped over some developmental step that makes me incapable of true intimacy. I’ve made my peace with that, and recently have been lucky enough to meet Victoria, a lady who seems to suffer the same affliction. (Does that make us soul mates or soul-less mates?)


Author Bio:

Kathryn Donahue is a freelance writer and former tongue-in-cheek advice columnist for The Deepwell Press. Her humor essays have been published in First Sunday, and she won the Spotlight Award for her one-act play The Sty. Her debut novel, The Dog Walker’s Diary, is a Forward finalist for Indie Book of the Year. It earned a coveted star review from Publishers Weekly, ( “… a diverting delight from beginning to end,”) and a four star rating from RT Book Reviews, (“… one of the most remarkably unique contemporary romances this year.”) Ms. Donahue is completing a new novel, and working on a screenplay.

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PROMO BLITZ | Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer – Lily Mae Walters

Hi everyone!

I’m really excited to bring you all the info you need to know about Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.

Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.

Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.

The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen. Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.

Purchase Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer

Author Bio:

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

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🌟🌟Giveaway🌟🌟

1st PrizeSigned copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer (UK Only)
2nd PrizeE-copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer (International)

*Terms and Conditions –You are only eligible to win the signed copy if you are in the UK. Worldwide entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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BOOK BLITZ | The Invisible Case – Isabella Muir

Hi everyone!

I had the opportunity to read and review this fantastic book, so check that out, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.


A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare.

It’s Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?
As Luigi’s story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.

Purchase The Invisible Case

Amazon US | Amazon UK


Review:

I think my favorite part about this book is how character driven it is. We are given pieces of each main players life, and it seems to all come together in the end. This always makes for a great book. Characters that feel like real people, make the events of the novel seem real too.

Isabella Muir’s writing is beautiful. Not only does she have the ability to bring her characters to life through dialogue, the mystery in this novel is very well done. It’s subtle, and not in your face…it’s more about how the past is not always what you think, and sometimes people aren’t always who they say they are.

This was a quick read, and a page turner. I was invested all the way through, and I was very satisfied with the conclusion. I love that Janie, our main character and wannabe detective gets her inspiration from Agatha Christie…I thought that was a neat touch. I’d love to read more from the Janie Juke series.

Wrap-Up:

The Invisible Case has intriguing characters, a well thought out mystery case, and a unique setting. I highly recommend picking this one up.

Rating:

4/5☆


Author Bio:

Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries – all set in Sussex.

The Tapestry Bag‘ is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now – ‘The Invisible Case‘ – the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon.

The ‘Janie Juke mysteries’ are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Isabella has also published ‘Ivory Vellum‘ – a collection of short stories.

She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

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Win a signed copy of The Invisible Case

(Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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BOOK BIRTHDAY BLITZ | Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab – Columbkill Noonan

Hi everyone!

I had the opportunity to read this fun book. Check out my review and all the details you need.


Barnabas Tew, a detective in Victorian London, is having a hard time making a name for himself, probably because most of his clients end up dead before he can solve their cases. His luck is about to change, though, for better or worse: Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, notices him and calls him to the Egyptian underworld. A terrible kidnapping has occurred; one that promises to put an end to the status quo and could perhaps even put an end to the entire world. It is up to Barnabas (along with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) to discover the culprit and set things to right. Can he turn his luck around and solve the most important case of his life?

☆☆ Purchase Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab ☆☆


Review:

This story is funny, unique and quirky. A blend of Victorian dectective work with all things Egyptian Gods, I loved this book so much. I really enjoyed the depictions of various gods and goddesses, and thought it was a fun mix of information to throw in – although, it was a bit overwhelming for someone who isn’t super knowledgeable about them.

Barnabas Tew is one of the most refreshing characters I have read to date. I love his quirkiness, and found myself laughing a lot in this novel. I love how he has big aspirations, and wishes to become a famous detective like his idol Sherlock Holmes – and it’s hilarious as he tries to succeed in this notion. I also really enjoyed Barnabas’ loyal assistant, Wilfred, who is super clever.

Columbkill Noonan manages to weave a fascinating story with quirky characters that left me just so happy to have read this one. The dialogue flows naturally, and these characters are just so well developed – which if you’ve read my reviews, you know is important to me. I could visualize Barnabas and Wilfred bantering back and forth so well.

Wrap-Up:

Overall, Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab, was a funny and entertaining read with lots of Victorian London, Egyptian gods and goddesses, fantasy and silliness! I highly recommend checking this one out if you’re a fan of humorous mysteries and fantastic characters.

Rating:

4/5☆


Author Bio:

Columbkill Noonan lives in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where she teaches yoga and Anatomy and Physiology. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her first novel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” by Crooked Cat Books, was released in 2017, and her latest work, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is set to be released in September 2018.

In her spare time, Columbkill enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, aerial yoga, and riding her rescue horse, Mittens. To learn more about Columbkill please feel free to visit her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


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BOOK BLITZ – Provocation – Jo Michaels

Hi everyone!

Today, I get to share all the details on Provocation by Jo Michaels. Check it out!


Title: Provocation
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Blurb:

Tobias Butler has been sitting on death row since being sentenced for a gruesome murder in 2007. Bored out of his mind, he decided to apply to the online pen pal program in 2012. It’s a pleasant distraction—nothing more, nothing less—for three years, until he’s contacted by a beautiful, smart young lawyer named Jess. She’s convinced he’s innocent and wants to see him freed. As they organize their attack on the judicial system, he wonders how she plans to get his conviction overturned—because he’s guilty, and he knows it. Jess is desperate to release him—and he’s desperate to feel his hands squeeze the life out of her once she does.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes


Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Victoria

Splinters of wood on the corner of the table curl up and away. They seem to be trying to escape the acrid stench of whiskey as much as Victoria is. Her father’s face is inches from her own, forcing the putrid smell through the air as he screams.

She winces as dirty fingernails bite into the soft flesh of her upper arm, and she grinds her teeth against the pain as it mingles with the ever-present terror. It’s better this way. Her mother might be saved from enduring another round of Daddy’s wrath…

***

“And then he was hitting me again.”

Victoria came back to the present, returning her attention to the patient on the couch. “How long has this been going on, Shelley?”

“He doesn’t do it all the time, you know?”

“How long?” Pressing the young woman might not have been the best idea, but duration was something that needed adding to the notes.

Nibbling on an already ragged thumbnail, Shelley answered, “Since our wedding day.” She whirled around. “But he doesn’t mean to! James is a good guy; he just has these moments.”

Little tears appeared on the yellow legal pad as Victoria wrote.

~~~

Patient has nubs for fingernails—shows distress. Likely cause is horrific encounters with abusive husband. Bruises on forearms outline as fingers. Prescribing anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. See entry in med script log book 4581.034—S. Whitaker.

~~~

“And he always apologizes afterward, right? Maybe cries?” It was obvious where the discussion was going, and she wanted nothing more than to rip James Whitaker’s face off. Instead, she pressed her lips together in a tight smile.

Shelley was nodding, her eyes brightening like an excited child’s. “He’s so loving. He really doesn’t mean to do it. I make him so angry when I screw things up.”

Rather than squash the newfound lightness, Doctor Ward gave a tight smile, walked to her desk, and picked up a prescription pad.

~~~

Effexor XR – 500mg 1x per day

~~~

“I’d like for you to take these.” Ripping off the first piece of paper and handing it over, she wrote on the second.

~~~

Xanax – 2mg 2x per day

~~~

She scribbled her signature on the bottom, and that one was given over as well.

Shelley squinted at the squares of paper. “Do you really think I need these, Doc?”

“I’m not sure, but I’d like you to try them. They may help take the edge off.” Or at least help you get through the next couple of weeks. Still smiling, Victoria pulled her chair across the room and turned it so she could see the woman. “Tell me about your wedding night.”

Shelley’s eyes widened. “I… I uh…”

“It’s okay. No one will ever know what we talk about in here. You’re safe with me.” Bastard already has her terrified to tell anyone what really happens. Victoria felt her face get warm as anger vibrated up her spine, but she kept her features soft.

After a deep breath in and out, Shelley closed her eyes and spoke quietly. “We’d gotten a hotel room in a swanky place, and he’d bought tickets to a show. Since we were early, we decided to go to the hotel bar for a glass of champagne—you know, to celebrate—before we went to get something to eat.”

She chuffed, and a small smile appeared on her face. “It was truly lovely. At dinner later, we had a bottle of wine. I’m not a big drinker, so by the end of the meal, I was feeling pretty good.” Her face turned bright red, and she twisted her fingers until they turned white. “We got our seats, and that’s when my stomach decided it wasn’t happy with all the alcohol I’d put into it. I knew I needed a bathroom—and fast.”

Tears suddenly poured down her face. “I got up, but I was too late. There was barely enough time for me to make it to the stairwell outside the main hall. It was all over me, my dress, and my shoes.

“I didn’t know where I was, so I wandered until I found a restroom. After I cleaned myself off, I found my way outside and went back in through the main entrance.” Snot ran out of her nose, and she sniffed. “S… sorry. I…”

Doctor Ward handed over a wad of tissues. “It’s okay. Take your time.”

Several nose blows later, Shelley nodded. Her voice had gotten much louder. “I knew I smelled awful. I mean, who wouldn’t? But I made my way back to my seat anyway.” Fingers that had been clutched together flexed open and closed, vibrating.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded but was breathing heavily. “It’s just hard to think about, you know?”

“I do. Take your time.” Malice brewed, bubbled, and burned inside the doctor; she had an idea of where the story was going. If James had been in the room, Victoria was certain she would’ve killed him on the spot.


Author Bio:

Jo Michaels is…

Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.

I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.

I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.

One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.

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