Book Blitz & Giveaway: Roman Rescue by Michelle Gilliam

Roman Rescue: Who Will Save The Hero?
Michelle Gilliam
Publication date: May 21st 2016
Genres: Mystery, New Adult, Romance

Maggie has always been a sassy, headstrong Southern girl. But running off to Rome, Italy on summer break from college is the most impulsive thing she’s ever done. Her brother is in trouble, and she’s determined to rescue him- after all, he’s the older, wiser, military officer who has never needed her help before. Paul is in a mess with an Italian ex-girlfriend who has cut ties with him…but is pregnant with his child. Maggie thinks she can fix it.

After all, a break from her life would be nice, too. She just broke up with her long time boyfriend, and her estranged mother keeps hopelessly trying to reconnect with her. Italy sounds like the perfect refuge. Until she meets Paul’s best friend, Marine Sargeant, Luke Seager. He complicates things in every way. He persists to play tour guide and asserts his way into her plans at every chance. Maggie prefers to become a hero on her own, but as she digs into the truth about Paul’s predicament, danger builds around them. While the tension and mystery grows, so do her feelings for Luke- a man with his own shrouded past.

Nothing is as it seems when Maggie gets more than she bargained for with the girlfriend’s mafia ties, Luke’s dangerous connections, and unexpected guests from home. Finding out the truth lands Maggie in more trouble than she can escape. Who will save the hero now?

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EXCERPT:

I strolled further down until I found a pizza place and dove in for a slice of basil, mozzarella, and sausage. I ordered a Coke, but it came at room temperature, so I changed it to water instead. But, pizza and water weren’t the right combinations. Maybe I tasted the tomatoes more, or the sauce’s bright red color made it look too eerie. Again, I blamed it on Fear whispering warnings of stares from unsmiling eyes. Wasn’t Rome the city of romance? Then why did I see figures in the shadows, taxi drivers with guns, and blood in the pizza sauce?

On the way home, I tried to ignore the shadowed alleys and drivers staring me down as they passed by. I double-checked that my debit card hadn’t fallen out of my bra. It was still there, safe from thieves.

The night air, fruity and moist, smelled unlike the air back home. I walked, taking deep breaths with my nose to the sky. Going through the park, a breeze whipped by, causing me to imagine the world before cars, a time when the Roman statues were real. I could see it. I could see me in it, wearing a long tunic. What did Dr. Francisco call it in English class? A stola, yes. I would look good in a stola, gold chains strapped around me. I imagined the horse dung in the streets and stopped romanticizing. I wouldn’t call it pessimism but realism. Life had taught me not to believe in the wonderful, magical, or romantic. Not that I hadn’t tried.

I pulled the key out of my bra and entered the apartment. I glanced around for a television and spotted the floating stairs. At the top of the stairs was Kayla’s and Luke’s bedroom, tidy and simple with a triple-tier shelving of masculine books: Shooter, Abraham Lincoln, and various spy novels. I also found a TV. I smiled and threw myself into a chair after emptying the clothes from it.

That is where Luke found me, asleep in his bedroom chair. His wide shoulders and his body blocked out the light. It alarmed me. Only a dark sketch of him stood there, looking down at me.

“According to this note, you must be Maggie.”

“Please, tell me your name is Luke, so I won’t have to kill you,” I managed to get out while stretching my arms and rubbing my eyes, barely awake—barely thinking—but not afraid.

“Yep, you’re Maggie. I’ve heard of your quipped tongue.”

I sighed. “Great, my reputation has preceded me all the way to Italy. At nineteen, I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”

“Nineteen, just a baby.”

That riled me. When I should have asked to stay on his couch, I couldn’t. I stood. “I’m not a baby.” I squinted at his dark silhouette and tried to look him straight in the eyes. I stood on my tippy-toes, but his eyes were still inches away, taller and higher, out of my reach. “Well, damn, are you six-four, or what?”

“Maybe six-three,” he said with pride.

I composed myself after a thick swallow. “Must be hard to be that tall.”

“Sometimes.” His insecurity showed. His voice wavered or his shoulders dropped; it was so subtle and so quick. I don’t know, I could just tell.

I took the clothes from the bed and put them back on the chair.

“You don’t have to mess with that.”

“I moved them; I’ll return them. What time is it?”

“Twelve-thirty.”

I took a deep breath, walked over to the top of the stairs, and looked back. That’s when I noticed Luke’s face: soft reddish-tan complexion and pool-water blue eyes. I paused, wordless for too long.

 

Author Bio:

Michelle Gilliam, BSN lives in Tennessee with her husband and three sons, two of which are college football players. She was raised by a southern mother and a British father and her accent is quite a mess with California, Florida, and Texas influences. She loves to read, analyze, and create. But all of that comes after a good cup of coffee and a conversation with a close friend or while treating her patients. That and her dreams are the source of her stories. She first began writing poetry and it is apparent when you see the use of descriptive launguage as she paints rooms, international settings, and people.

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4 star review of Alternative Outcome by Peter Rowland

Alternative

Alternative Outcome

Author:  Peter Rowland

Publication Date: March 3, 2016

Genre:  International Mystery & Crime, Thriller

 

Synopsis:

Alternative Outcome – an engrossing mystery drama that also offers a contemporary take on self-publishing.

 

Mike Stanhope, divorced and disillusioned with his job in journalism, hopes to switch his life to a new tack by self-publishing a mystery novel based on a true story. But someone is after him, and the pressure is mounting.

Could his pursuer be the subject of an investigative article Mike once wrote? Could there be a link to Mike’s attempts to track down a girl he knew as a child – the memory of whom he hijacked for his novel? Or might there be some deeper connection to his book?

As Mike struggles to keep his life on an even keel and tries to grasp at the chance of a new relationship, fact and fiction start to intertwine. Be prepared for a succession of surprises and reverses as this lively and fast-moving mystery unfolds – and at the same time enjoy the observant and topical underlying take on the self-publishing revolution.

 

My Review:

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit, this book was a welcome change from my usual read.  It was quite enjoyable.

Rowland gives us a little insight into the self-publishing world.  Mike Stanhope, our hero, is ready to say goodbye to his journalism career and start a career self-publishing his new novel, a mystery based on a former investigative article he once wrote.  The book starts off with a true glimpse at Mike and his friends and cohorts, before taking us along for a mystery ride.

This book has a little something for everyone.  I think you will enjoy it.

Thank you to the author, Peter Rowlands, for this opportunity!

My Rating:  4/5 stars

Review of Inside Out by Jack Kearney

inside out

Inside Out

Author:  Jack Kearney

Publication Date:  July 21, 2015

Genre:  Mystery & Thriller, Suspense

 

Synopsis

As an actor, Danny Belson has played many criminal types, but as the prisoner transport bus pulls out of the LA county jail, the realization of his conviction overwhelms him. The irony is that only six months ago he taught an acting workshop at the same institution he is now going to be incarcerated in. Danny had been chosen to take part in California’s answer to New Jersey’s highly acclaimed “Scared Straight” by actually working with the inmates of the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc. In his short stay, Danny made some interesting friends as well as unforgiving enemies.
Utilizing a groundbreaking format, Follow Danny as he goes from a care free beach volleyball loving, pool shooting, actor, who’s only worry is knowing when his next audition will come, to a convicted murderer. Written using flashbacks, with no chapters, learn what a struggling actor goes through, and how, after his incarceration, Danny’s life is turned INSIDE OUT.

 

My Review

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say, I enjoyed Inside Out.  There is mystery, sex, and danger.  Poor Danny is framed for murder and sent to prison.  Danny is a great character, very well-developed.  The reader gets a real insight into Danny, including his backstory which is told in brief flashbacks intermixed throughout the story.  There is an edge to the book that makes it difficult to put down.

My rating:  4/5 stars!

About the Author

For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. Back in the mid-seventies I attended the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would-be stars who acted in showcase plays, occasionally going on professional auditions, and attending a weekly workshop. I had an opportunity to teach an experimental acting workshop to some inmates at a Federal prison. I met some very fascinating guys, some of whom I got along with and others that–let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside of our room.

After I got back to my regular life, I had a scare that made me think, what would happen if someone were to be part of this program and, by a twist of fate, end up back inside as an inmate? Inside Out is that story.

Waiting for that big break I had many survival jobs typical of the actors of the ’70s and ’80s. But sales seemed to offer the only possible way to make a living and contrary to popular belief, I discovered that a salesperson is made not born. In fact, commissioned sales can be almost as frustrating as breaking into show business. I am currently working out of my home, on commission, for a newsletter publishing company. I have been married twice. My first, which ended in divorce gave me my beautiful daughter Shannon. I lost my second wife of ten years to cancer in 2012. Now 63, I currently reside in Northern California with my Yorkie-Poo Toby.

 

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Curse by Steven James

Curse
Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.

As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.

Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.

This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.

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EXCERPT:

Dr. Waxford wound his way along the road, climbing higher into the Great Smoky Mountains.

He and his team had made great strides in the last couple of years, but the loss of the research facility in northern Wisconsin last December had slowed things down—that is, until they located this old hotel here in this remote part of eastern Tennessee.

Actually, the site was ideal. It was isolated and lay at the end of a one-lane road that had hardly been used in years.

Back in the 1950s when a new highway was built that wrapped around the other side of the mountain, it took the tourists and other businesses with it. The hotel owners went bankrupt and the property went into foreclosure.

Rumored to be haunted, the Estoria Inn had sat empty for decades and was being reclaimed by the forest when Adrian and his team started renovations. Most people, even those in the nearby towns, had forgotten that this place even existed.

And none of them knew what kind of research was happening there now.

Which was probably a good thing.

Fortuitously, the Estoria was also less than an hour drive for the hypnotherapist Adrian sometimes brought up to implant suggestions in the minds of his subjects after they’d been put into a deep trance.

When you pay a hypnotist enough, you can get him to implant any suggestions that you want.

Despair. Depression. Loneliness. They can all be the tools you use in the service of the

greater good.

•••

We’re on our phones searching Internet news sites for recent obituaries when the X-ray results come back.

No broken bones.

The ankle is only sprained. The shoulder will recover. It won’t be ideal for the basketball camp, but at least it’s not my shooting arm.

The doctor gives me a sling to keep the shoulder in place, then explains what I already know: It’s going to be very sore for a while and I’ll run the risk of it coming out of its socket again unless I’m careful. “You’ll need to keep your arm in that sling for the next four to six weeks.”

“Okay. Thanks,” I say, but I know that’s not going to happen.

This camp is a huge deal and missing it isn’t an option. At least a dozen Division I coaches will be there recruiting players and it’s my best chance to get the attention I need for a scholarship offer.

Although I’ve had some interest from a few Big Ten football coaches, honestly, I’d rather play college basket- ball. Way fewer injuries. Less time lifting and more time actually playing. Besides, I don’t really have the size for col- lege football—not to mention my mom worrying about me less, which is a bonus.

While the doctor calls Dad to bring him up to speed and also get permission to give me some pain medication, I touch base with Mom to make sure she knows I’m alright. I decide that it’ll be best to explain about the blur in person, so I don’t bring it up.

Finally, the doctor hands me the meds, along with a prescription.

On their way to see me at the hospital, Kyle had picked up Nicole from her place, so now we swing by to get my car from the road out by the lake where I left it earlier.

Somehow, the logging company has managed to get the logs far enough to one side to allow cars to get past.

Being here brings everything back again and I can’t tell if it’s just my imagination, but my shoulder seems to throb more as I remember what it was like to get hit by that truck.

My attention shifting from one thing to the next. That slipstream again. All those unnoticed slivers of reality curling right past me.

But now, the ones branded with pain are coming to the forefront.

I ride with Nicole, who drives my car so I can rest my shoulder. Kyle follows us back to my house in his vintage Mustang. Even though it’s late, we search online again for a little

while, but we still can’t find anything about kids who’ve recently died—at least not any that match the age of the boy in the road.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s still alive.

He might not have died recently. After all, the girl I saw burn up in my blur back in December had actually died in the 1930s.

As it turned out, I’d learned about her story and seen her picture years ago when I was nine. Then, just before Christmas, my mind threaded some clues together and showed me what it might have looked like when the lantern she was standing next to caught fire to her nightgown and ended up taking her life.

I’d forgotten all about her.

When the memory came back, it brought a flood of other grisly images with it because the day I first saw her photo I’d been present when a killer struck, but I’d blocked it out.

They say trauma can do that, that it can rip the fabric between your conscious and your subconscious mind.

My problem is that the rip keeps getting bigger.

My friends get word from their parents that they need to take off and I tell them goodnight.

“See you tomorrow?” Nicole says. “Yeah.” I give her a quick kiss. “Kiss me and I’ll dislocate your other shoulder,” Kyle tells me. Then he taps a finger thoughtfully against the air. “But at least then you wouldn’t notice the first one so much. So there is that.”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” “Okay, so before I go, I’ve got one for you.” “You’ve got one?” “A riddle: I’m twice as old as I used to be when I was half as young as I am now. How old am I?” For months he’s been trying to trick me with math or logic problems. Doesn’t always work out so well. “That one’s easy. It would be whatever age you are, so you’re the same as me. Seventeen.” “Yes. And I’m seriously glad you’re still seventeen and not dead.” “Yeah.”

“It would have totally ruined my night.” “Mine too.” “Text me.” “I will.”

A little while after they leave, Dad comes home and checks on me.

“I’m good,” I tell him. “Anything serious with that call?” “Call?” “The dispatch code. I heard it at the hospital. Was it a suicide?”

“Scarlett Cordova accidentally overdosed on some over the counter drugs.”

Scarlett is a year behind me at school. “Is she alright?” “She will be. Gave everyone a scare, though.” “How do they know?” He looks at me curiously. “How do they know what?” “You said she accidentally OD’ed. How do they know it was an accident?” “There were three other kids there with her when it happened. It was during some kind of drinking game. Her parents were gone. Good thing she’s alright. Lucky girl.”

“There’s a lot of that going around tonight.” “A lot of what?” “Luck.” “I guess maybe there is.”

After telling me one more time how thankful he is that I’m okay, he heads to his room and I climb into bed, hoping that even with the aching shoulder I’ll be able to get some rest.

Instead, I find myself caught up thinking about who that boy might have been and what the blur might mean.

He’d reached out to me, just like the girls in my earlier blurs had done.

It’d been too late to save them.

Maybe if we were lucky one more time, it wouldn’t be too late to save him.

Author Bio:

Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at www.stevenjames.net.

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