24 September 2022

Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning by @vickiannbush Book Tour and Giveaway! #AlexMcKennaandDeathIsNotTheBeginning #vickiannbush #XpressoTours @XpressoTours

Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning
Vicki-Ann Bush


(Alex McKenna, #4)
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult

In the fourth and final installment for the series, Alex faces his most difficult case yet—the school bully.

For two years Kyle tried to make Alex’s life even more complicated than it already is. Choosing to single him out for his psychic abilities and other life events, the angry teen took every chance he could to challenge Alex’s well-being.

Despite the constant insults, when the bully is murdered and comes to him for help, Alex sets aside the past to help a soul in need. Searching for the killer, Alex uncovers a truth that answers the question why he was the victim of Kyle negative attention, and the answers that will set them both free.

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EXCERPT:

Alex glanced up to the hovering apparition and raised his chin slightly left toward the door. He hoped the spirit would follow, but instead, it quickly vanished, so he took the cue and let it go. Clasping Margaret’s hand, he ushered them from the store.

Outside, the fragrance of freshly cut grass and blossoming tulips tickled his nostrils. A perfect Spring day. The young couple had strolled the fifteen-minute walk into the small village at the center of Floral Park, taking advantage of the warmer climate.

“It’s super nice out.” Alex smiled.

“It is. I love Spring. Hey, what happened in there?” Margaret asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I thought you spotted something.”

“I did. But they didn’t want my help.”

“Huh. Did you get a good look at what it was?”

“I didn’t know them, but it was definitely an older man. I’d say somewhere around my gram’s age.” Alex glanced over his shoulder back at the store.

“That’s sad.”

“How come?” Alex raised a brow.

“He’s in a drug store for eternity? Why? What keeps him there? Why doesn’t he cross over?”

“You sound like me.” Alex chuckled.

“Well, it was bound to rub off some time.” She lay her head on his shoulder.

“I’m just glad that’s over with.”

“I know.” Margaret gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

Rounding the corner at the end of the block stood a structure Alex struggled with for most of his seventeen years. Coming from a lineage of witches whose roots were planted in Italy, the paradoxical blend of spells and Catholicism baffled him. He chose to believe in spirituality, embracing his ancestors and calling on them in times of need.

Alex let Margaret’s hand slip through his fingers. Across the street, directly in front of the church, was a small park with a handful of benches. His gaze focused on the ornate stained glass adorning the round window above the sturdy oak doors. What the hell? Without care, he stepped into the road and in front of an oncoming car. Luckily, Margaret’s scream freed him from his trance in time for him to jump out of the way. A loud screech from the tires of the irate driver didn’t completely mask the language he yelled from the window.

Margaret rushed to his side and pulled Alex to a bench facing the building that had captivated his attention a few moments ago.

“What the hell?” Margaret slapped his arm.

“Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Alex glared at the church. “That’s not true.”

“Okay, spill.” Margaret scooted back and crossed her legs.

“Wait, where’s my bag?” Alex nervously looked around.

“Crap. It’s over there.” Margaret pointed to the asphalt.

“I’ll get it.” Alex motioned to stand.

“Oh, no you don’t. One near-death today is enough. I’ll get it. Stay here.”

Normally he’d argue the issue, but he didn’t trust himself either. The range of emotions creeping along his veins and occupying dread in his gut burned a volcano of doubt in his psyche.

Margaret halted at the sidewalk’s edge and turned her head from side to side before venturing into the middle of the road. She snatched up the bag and scurried back to the bench.

She stretched out her arm to hand the bag to Alex, “Thanks.”

“I’m just that kind of girlfriend. Risking life and limb for the guy I love.”

Alex rolled his eyes.

“Now, where were we? Oh, I remember, you were gonna tell me why you froze in the middle of the goddamn street.” Margaret knitted her brows.

“Once again—sorry. When I saw the church, I had a vision. The building was destroyed like a bomb or something had incinerated it. The darkness crept along the walls. It was like…a living thing.” Alex shuddered.

“Yup, just another day in the world of you.”

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann Bush currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting her sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram






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Deadly Traditions: A Cozy Mystery Christmas Anthology by Justine Maxwell, Gayle Leeson, Estelle Richards, Erin Scoggins, Sage So, Dianne Ascroft, Ellie Ballard, Melicity Pope, Mollie Cox Bryan, and Sam Cheever Book Tour and Giveaway!

About Deadly Traditions

Deadly Traditions: A Cozy Mystery Christmas Anthology
Cozy Mysteries
Grace Abraham Publishing (September 27, 2022)
Number of Pages TBA
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B2LHQ2G9

Have yourself a DEADLY little Christmas. 

Celebrate the holidays with mistletoe, mayhem, and murder. Join your favorite authors as they cozy up by the fire with twelve festive short mysteries that feature treasured holiday traditions. Serve up a slice of fatal fruitcake and deck the halls with danger, because the holiday season has never been so much fun. 

This original collection is available for a limited time only, so grab your copy today.

Includes:
A Pickle in a Pear Tree by Erin Scoggins
Mistletoe and Murder by Dianne Ascroft
O Deadly Night by Estelle Richards
Larceny and Gingerbread Lattes by Justine Maxwell
Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas by Gayle Leeson

About Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.

About Mollie Cox Bryan

Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge. She’s the author of several bestselling mystery series, also writing under the pen name Maggie Blackburn. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman’s World. She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She’s also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG. She’s the mother of two nearly perfect daughters, each pursuing careers in music.

About Erin Scoggins

USA Today Bestselling Author Erin Scoggins is a long-time Southerner with a fondness for offbeat humor and fresh fried chicken. After fifteen years in marketing with a Fortune 500 company, she traded her MBA for fictional crime scenes and feisty small-town families. She writes fun, flirty mysteries that are celebrations of food, family, and the killer South.

Visit her at www.erinscoggins.com for book news and shenanigans.

About Estelle Richards


23 September 2022

The Surgeon's Daughter by Audrey Blake Review! @AudreyBlakeBooks, @Bookmarked, and #TheSurgeonsDaughter.

 

New from the USA Today bestselling author of The Girl in His Shadow!

Women's work is a matter of life and death.

Nora Beady, the only female student at a prestigious medical school in Bologna, is a rarity. In the 19th century women are expected to remain at home and raise children, so her unconventional, indelicate ambitions to become a licensed surgeon offend the men around her. Under constant scrutiny, Nora's successes are taken for granted; her mistakes used as proof that women aren't suited to the field.

Everything changes when she allies herself with Magdalena Morenco, the sole female doctor on-staff. Together the two women develop new techniques to improve a groundbreaking surgery: the Cesarean section. It's a highly dangerous procedure and the research is grueling, but even worse is the vitriolic response from men. Most don't trust the findings of women, and many can choose to deny their wives medical care.

Already facing resistance on all sides, Nora is shaken when she meets a patient who will die without the surgery. If the procedure is successful, her work could change the world. But a failure could cost everything: precious lives, Nora's career, and the role women will be allowed to play in medicine.
 


Audrey Blake has a split personality--because she is the creative alter ego of the writing duo Jaima Fixsen and Regina Sirois, two authors who met as finalists of a writing contest and have been writing together happily ever since. They share a love of history, nature, literature, and stories of redoubtable women. Both are prairie girls: Jaima hails from Alberta, Canada, and Regina calls the wheatfields of Kansas home.

My Thoughts

The Surgeon's Daughter is the historical fiction tale of Nora Beady who is the only female student at a medical school in Bologna, Italy. This is the 19th century and women were supposed to stay at home in the kitchen and have babies.

Because of these stuffy ideas by men, Nora has a difficult time, not learning to be a doctor but overcoming the male attitude. She is ridiculed wherever she goes in school. She wants to become a licensed physician so she can practice with her boyfriend in England. She was not allowed to attend medical school there.

She wants to graduate sooner than planned and is told that she needs to study under Magdalena Morenco the only female doctor on staff. With Magdalena's help, she learns about performing the c-section on women who are having a hard time delivering the normal way.  Nora is also an expert on the use of ether. 

This book focuses on the lengths that Nora will go to to be acknowledged as the fine doctor that she aspires to be. 

We also learn of Nora's boyfriend, Daniel who is also a doctor and is having difficulties with the head of the hospital on how to treat diphtheria children. This story explores the times with the pressures on women to do what is expected of them. 

I love a good story about strong women and this one is definitely that. How a young woman rises to the top of her class of skeptical men.  I really enjoyed it.

I give it 4 stars.

I received a copy of the book for review purposes only.


The Blame Game by Sandie Jones Review!

 


She knows she’s telling the truth. But the evidence says she’s lying.


As a psychologist specializing in domestic abuse, Naomi has found it hard to not become overly invested in her clients’ lives. But after helping the middle-aged Jacob make the decision to leave his wife, Naomi has begun to worry that she’s gone too far this time. On the morning of Jacob’s first session after his escape, doors that Naomi is sure she’d locked have been mysteriously left open, and Jacob’s client file is missing.

Then, another client approaches Naomi for assistance in leaving behind her abusive husband, and Naomi is once again unable to turn aside someone in need. But are the missing papers and unlocked doors symptoms of Naomi’s own dark past raising its ugly head, or something more? And is it possible that her clients aren’t the only ones in danger, but Naomi herself?


Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly, and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel.


My Thoughts

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is the tale of Naomi, a psychologist who just wants to help people. Her husband Leon thinks that she sometimes crosses the professional line in her quest to help people.
She specializes in domestic violence as she had been a victim of domestic violence when she was a child. Her father killed her mother and he is just released from prison. Her sister Jennifer wants to have a relationship with Naomi but she is reluctant.

This brings us to one of Naomi's clients, Jacob. Jacob is being abused physically and emotionally by his wife, strange hey? it is usually the other way around. Jacob is in fear for his life and thinks that his wife will kill him. Naomi does all she can for him including allowing him to move into a house that she and her husband own. Leon is not a happy camper when he finds that she allowed this. 

Jacob goes missing and it seems that someone is setting Naomi up and the police are skeptical of her answers. Naomi has another client that is in fear of her husband. How do these two cases relate? Can she find out who is doing this to her so she can protect her clients and get her husband to believe that she has not been having an affair with Jacob?

I enjoyed this story, I actually read it in one sitting. I give it 4 stars!

I received a copy of the book for review purposes only.







Witness to Slaughter by KA Lugo Review!


Jack has coped through previous holidays, but this one feels different. It's been four years since he lost his family, and clues to finding those responsible have dried up. Hopelessness has him so tightly wound that he's often driven out of his claustrophobic apartment before the ever-present black dog of depression drags him to a place where there's no coming back from.


Jack wants to be left alone with his sorrow, but when he's offered double his fee by the wife of one of the city's most elite families, how can he refuse? She wants him to follow her husband, Franklin, as she suspects he's cheating and needs photos to get around the strict prenup. Franklin leads Jack across the city to The Majestic Lounge, the Castro District's most popular gay nightclub. By the time he finds Franklin, Jack is forced to break up a heated argument between him and club owner, Chad Lucas.

Lucas approaches Jack the following day, wanting to hire him for added security during the club's popular annual Drag Queen Extravaganza. The event's usual excitement is marred by the deaths of several of Lucas' friends that authorities are calling suicides. Lucas convinces Jack something more nefarious is going on and agrees to the job.

Does the city have another serial killer on its hands, one who's targeting the LGBTQ community? Can Jack find a witness? Surely in the crowded nightclub, someone must have seen something.


K.A. Lugo is a native Northern Californian who grew up on the Monterey Peninsula, just two hours south of San Francisco. She spent much of her time along the streets of the city and always makes a point to spend a couple days there when she's home.

Living in Ireland since 1997, most of her books have been Irish set romances, but now K.A.'s dedicating her time to San Francisco set thrillers through the eyes of Jack Slaughter.

K.A. loves hearing from readers and promises to reply to each message. Please visit her socials to stay up-to-date.

My Thoughts

Witness to Slaughter by KA Lugo is the second book in the Jack Slaughter series, featuring Jack Slaughter.

Jack's daughter and dog were murdered and his wife disappeared 3 years ago and Jack still has not come to terms with it. He is determined to find out who did it, why, and where is his wife? He is an ex-cop and now is a private investigator.

Holidays are especially hard on Jack, no matter where he goes he sees reminders of his family, from Christmas shopping to decorated trees all bring back his heartache. In his wanderings, he stumbles over the dead body of a woman. Cops arrive and take him in for questioning. He is able to explain himself and is not arrested, but the woman haunts him.

He is approached by a woman in his office/apartment which is located above a Chinese restaurant. Her name is Ginnie and she is the wife of Franklin Whitney- Cumming. Both are very affluent socialites. She wants Jack to take pictures of her husband to see where he goes at night and if he is cheating on her. She claims it has to do with the pre-nup that they have.

Jack's investigation leads him to The Majestic Lounge, a gay nightclub that is having a Drag Queen Extravaganza. Lo and behold, Ginnie's husband Franklin, known as Carol at the club goes there every night. Jack is hired by Chad Lucas, the owner of the club, also known as Marilyn, for extra security which gives Jack the opportunity to see what actually goes on in the club.

That is not all he finds, he finds that there are other cross-dressers that have all committed suicide, or did they? It looks like they did or was each scene staged? Jack and his former partner Ray Navarro team up to investigate. What does Franklin have to do with the deaths? At this point in the story, it takes off, and the reader finds out who and what and the why of the story, it certainly surprised me! Can't tell you, that would be cheating. 

You have to get the books yourself, Witness to Slaughter can be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend getting the first book, Slaughtered. It gives you the backstory and some insight as to why Jack is the way he is. I enjoyed the story and look forward to the next, the way the book ended, I think that there will be book #3. 

The author does a fantastic job with the writing and research, you can tell she knows her way around Monterey and San Francisco. I love a good murder mystery and this one is right up there! 

I give it 5 stars of course!
I received a copy of the book for review purposes only.




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Dreadful Beauty by L.M.Rapp Blog Tour! @Bookgal @therealbookg LMRappAuthor @l.m.rapp

 

(from Goodreads):

A girl undergoing a terrifying transformation goes on an epic quest to find a refuge from her ruthless father.

Nymphosis, a disease that turns Humans into Chimeras, is ravaging the land of Gashom. The More-Than-Pure, determined to protect themselves, have seized power and enacted segregationist laws. 

The daughter of a high dignitary, young Neria learns she is afflicted by the very disease her father is determined to eradicate. Forced to surrender her privileges, she must flee her home in the capital and traverse the strange wilds to seek refuge with her fellow kind. 

Will she have the courage to fight oppression to emancipate the Chimeras from the yoke of the More-Than-Pure?

L.M. Rapp has lived in different countries and practiced several professions: dentist, web developer, artist, aikido teacher, farmer. Eager to learn and discover, she uses her experiences to enrich her stories. She has also written a thriller, Of Flesh and Tears.

Website: https://www.lmrap.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/L.M.Rapp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/l.m.rapp/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LMRappAuthor



Amazon: https://amzn.to/3JrBPFS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60560084-dreadful-beauty



A Dreadful Beauty

Excerpt

One moment, she had been enjoying the security and comfort of her family home. The next, she was left helpless in a deserted square. An oil lamp rested in Neria's hand. A clay container, filled with a greenish-yellow liquid. A wick, coiled within its heart, snaked up to the groove that guided it into the open air. A flame danced on its tip, a paltry defense against the darkness of that night, one of those gentle nights that often follow the heat of the day. The moon watched her with a wry smile.

Neria suddenly felt she was going to collapse, crumpling like a sheet that had fallen to the ground. Without the warmth of the hand curled inside hers, she would have indeed done so. She remembered the last time she had seen Arhel's hand, crimson and reaching out of the covers. Who knew what the disease would do to her? But before she succumbed to it, she would save Anaëlle.

She breathed in, then out, and took a step forward. Her aching limbs strained at first, but after a few minutes, she was walking briskly, her head bowed like a servant, the child in tow. First, she had to find the secret passage her mother had told her about and cross the wall of the High District without going through the ever-guarded gates.

She came to a dead-end and saw the dried-up well and a withered pistachio tree lined with shrubs of rosemary leaning against the perimeter wall. It concealed a narrow, low opening. She went in first, crawled into a tunnel bereft of cobwebs and emerged behind an olive tree, also surrounded by shrubbery. Crouching down, she peeked between the branches. No one was there. She called to Anaëlle in a hushed voice, the child joining her. They emerged from their cover and arrived on the street. Before long, they had made their way to an impoverished part of town they had never been to before. The hovels were huddled together, separated here and there by narrow, randomly arranged passageways. The first on the left... The second on the right...

“Hey there, little lady! Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

Three guards had concealed themselves in a nook to drink to their hearts’ content.

“Lady Yarine’s sent me on an urgent errand.”

She hoped they would be too drunk to do anything and turned away. She tried to maintain her composure, a technique that had worked for her that morning. Yet heavy footsteps came ever closer behind her before her arm was seized by a coarse grip.

“You’ve got more than enough time to come give us a little cuddle.”

One of the guards looked at her, a yellow smile spread across his brown beard. He reeked of alcohol and nauseating filth. She tried to pull away from him, but his grip tightened.

“Stay still or we'll give you a good hiding. It’ll go better for you if you don’t put up a fight, believe me. Leave the kid here and come on.”

The two others approached.

The lamp fell and shattered. Neria took out her knife and stuck it in the arm restraining her. The guard howled in pain and let go of her.

“You’re going to regret that you whore.”

The guards now surrounded her. She threatened them with her bloodied weapon. She couldn’t believe she’d been so stupid not to have stabbed him in the stomach. Her assailant barely seemed bothered. She spun around, Anaëlle clinging to her clothes. The girl was sobbing.

One of the men drew his sword, “Drop the knife or I kill the kid.”

Neria’s hand trembled. The knife fell on the dusty ground with a dull thud.

“Run, Anaëlle, get out of here!” 

The wounded guard threw himself on her, seized her elbow, slipped behind her, and choked her with his good arm.

The child, small and spirited, ran away. Just as Neria thought she was going to make it, the man with the sword grabbed her mid-flight.

Neria struggled, hitting the arm that choked her. His hold tightened. Her mouth gasped but the air would not come, and her movements weakened. Suddenly, the guard holding her let out a yowl of pain and released her. She collapsed, heavily panting gulps of air on all fours. Her assailant lay there with his throat slit. The coarse, black-nailed hand that moments before had clamped down on her arm now clawed at the earth. The corpse's glassy eyes stared up into the starry sky. His red tongue in his gaping mouth, his fleshy lips, his fat cheeks swallowed by his beard... like a giant sea urchin washed up from the sea, his insides hanging open. A shrill cry rang out and she covered her ears.

A monster, half-man, half-beast, had ripped open another guard and had now set its sights on the third. The remaining guard was still holding Anaëlle hostage and keeping the beast at bay with his sword.

While the tiger and guard danced their macabre dance, Neria, still on all fours, fumbled for her knife. She grasped its hilt, ran towards the soldier, raising her weapon, a wild howling in her throat. The monster took advantage of the diversion to pounce on its adversary. Neria sheathed her knife, picked up the child who had fallen to the ground, and fled, pursued by screams of agony.










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