Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Shadow: Blue-Link #1 ~ Audio Book Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Narrator: Brandy Skelly

Length: 7 hours 37 minutes
Publisher: Maureen A. Miller
Released: Feb. 4, 2019
Sub-Genres: Romance, Suspense

From USA Today best-selling author Maureen A. Miller comes this romantic thriller that spans the Atlantic.

Sophie Diem's boss has skipped town, abandoning their counseling firm and taking her investment money with him. As she seeks to rebuild her professional career, she is distressed by the appearance of a stranger. The man keeps to the shadows, but he is definitely stalking her.

In an attempt to flee him, she accepts a job offer...in London. Surely, crossing the Atlantic would be enough to deter her shadow.

Glenn Barber is a desperate man. He sorely wants answers. The man who can supply them has gone missing, though. Now, all Glenn can do is go after the next best thing: the man's former employee, Sophie Diem.

Sophie is shocked to spot her shadow in London. What she learns is that Glenn, the shadow, is not a stalker but rather her only protection.

As her attraction to Glenn grows, together, they conspire to locate her former boss and stop him before he can harm others.

Review 2
HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio book review. In Shadow, by Maureen A. Miller, wonderful layers of mystery stack up as the reader dives deeper into the story. As one mystery unfolds, another comes to light; questions get answered, but new ones arise to keep reader curiosity fully piqued.

But it’s not just the mystery element that will keep readers reading (or reading with their ears, like me). Miller has all the right pieces for an engaging story: suspense, danger, romance, and even international travel. But for me, it is the characters that make the story work.

“Her age was just an exclamation point on a wasted decade.”

It is a nice change of pace that the protagonist, Sophie, is in her early thirties. Like many women in that age range, she is grappling with the decisions she’s made, where she is now, and what she’s done with her life. She knows it’s time for a change, and the presence of a stalker is the final straw for her to get out of Dodge.  Sophie is complex, and readers may be quick to judge her actions regarding the stalker unless they put credence in the power of women’s intuition and instinct. (I do.)

By providing dual points-of-view, Miller gives readers the other side of the story – Glenn is not a stalker, he’s a desperate and broken man searching for answers. Hearing Glenn’s thoughts and feelings completely switched how I felt about him, and his motives became understandable.  Glenn’s is an equally complex character, and his struggle to find himself worthy of love or happiness is palpable.

What’s going on with Sophie and Glenn gets heavy, as is the building sexual tension between them, so the scenes including the characters of Amanda and Sam are excellent distractions. Amanda is the elegant and enigmatic boss of Blue-Link, Sophie’s London-based employer. I feel like there’s something more to her than we’re allowed to see in Shadow, and honestly, this piece is a major driver for my wanting to read the next book in the series.  On the opposite side of the spectrum is the character of Sam, who provides what Sophie -- and readers -- need: a lovable, quirky, comical, steadfast friend and protector. He’s really Sophie’s hero, too. 

Odd as it may seem, bad guy Nathan really isn’t much of a thing. He is a presence because he’s wrecked so many lives, but there isn’t much build-up and it’s a bit anti-climactic when he makes his inevitable appearance. Sam is the scene-stealer there, but I fear he won’t be a recurring character based on the ending of the story.

The ending does bring about a satisfying resolution, but I am not sure about the direction of the series and whether the same characters will continue to be featured. I can’t see how Sophie’s and Glenn’s stories would have anything left beyond romance and the challenges of a new relationship, but there’s something about the Blue-Link company…   

There are some minor plot holes, a few places that behaviors/reactions didn’t seem reasonable, and some bits of peculiar dialogue (including some F-bombs that seemed unnecessary and incongruous with the character). But overall, I recommend the audio book of Shadow as an entertaining escape into an intriguing story line. Listening to it was time well spent.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: This is the second book I’ve heard narrated by Brandy Skelly, and I am happy that her delivery was much more consistent and cleaner than last time. I listened to the book at regular speed, which is a rarity, but Skelly’s pacing was just right. Her voicing of characters, male and female, was good and she made it easy to distinguish them. And while Sam’s British accent worked, Amanda’s was less authentic. Even so, by book’s end, I had adapted and accepted it as her voice.  Technically speaking, this was a much better recording than the last of Miller’s books I listened to; however, there was a sizable glitch about an hour in that had a long stutter and then several seconds of silence.

Thank you to the author and Audiobookworm Promotions for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Maureen A. Miller. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it.
USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen's first novel, WIDOW'S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense...just on another planet!
Narrator Bio

About Brandy Skelly: I studied theatre in college and even participated in storytelling festivals when I was growing up. I'm a practicing attorney and love to participate in ACX projects to keep my creative side happy and fulfilled. I can perform fiction and non-fiction, in neutral-American or Southern-American accents.

I live in North Carolina with my husband, toddler, and pound puppy. I have a soft spot for romance, and I love a good laugh!

Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card / Ends March 1, 2019

Feb. 21st:
Turning Another Page

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Feb. 22nd:
The Bookworm Lodge

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Feb. 23rd:
Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb. 24th:
T's Stuff

Feb. 25th:
Lilly's Book World

Feb. 26th:
Hall Ways Blog

Feb. 27th:
Notes from 'Round the Bend
The Book Addict's Reviews

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bridge to Burn ~ Audio Book Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Detective Kay Hunter, Book 7
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Released: February 8, 2019
Duration: 6 hours, 39 minutes

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies, and organized crime within the tight-knit community - and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.
 But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shock wave through her personal life and make her question everything she values. Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?
The Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series by USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett: pause-resisting British police procedurals for listeners who love Peter James, Ann Cleeves, and Peter Robinson!
Buy Links

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com


HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio book review.  Bridge to Burn is the seventh book in the Detective Kay Hunter series, and I honestly don’t think I will ever get tired of reading these books with my ears.

Only because I’ve read the six previous books, I began to feel dread about 6 minutes in to listening. I wasn’t about to be lulled-in to thinking all was well in this innocuous scene – just a man doing his job – and narrator Alison Campbell is smooth as silk in describing it. Nothing to see here, folks, until… WHAM! In Bridge to Burn, there are indeed the expected twists and turns readers have come to enjoy in the series, but there is a subtle difference that made the big reveal (and the other big reveal…and the other one) more surprising. It’s a real change of pace that Kay isn’t ever in any physical danger. No one is trying to hurt her – except the shadows of traumatic memories of those who have in the past. And as Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Kay’s team of detectives are all back together and more cohesive than ever. And, there’s a new addition, Amanda, a young and whip-smart finance expert, who totally appeals to the numbers nerd in me. The camaraderie and supportive culture within this group gives warmth to what could easily be a cold environment.  Kay’s leadership has the team working as a well-oiled machine, but it’s also clear that Kay misses the relationships before she was promoted.

“Give her a hardened criminal any day -- anyone other than the woman who sat in a hospital corridor over a hundred miles away who hated every ounce of Kay’s chosen career.”

Readers will be pleased that in Bridge to Burn, they get to get personal with Kay again, as Kay’s extended family comes back into the picture with all the related tension and drama built by some of the prior books. Amphlett continues to reveal only small doses of Kay’s complicated family, but they are high-interest and add a layer of realism to the story that allows readers to be able to better relate to Kay. Happily, Kay’s faithful husband Adam (along with the latest pet he’s brought home from the clinic) is a steady presence in the story. I just want to hug him for all the things he does right in their marriage.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: No surprise here. Alison Campbell NAILS the British-ness of it all, whether voicing male or female, young or old. Somehow, even the most macabre of details are palatable when delivered by Alison Campbell’s delightful accents. I will admit that I *gasp* listened to this one at regular speed and drank in every syllable. With the audio coming in at just over six and a half hours, it is a luxury that readers can afford. (This series hits my audio book length sweet spot.) In addition to the British, Campbell provides yet another delightful accent and attitude in voicing the new character, Amanda. (I don’t know my accents well-enough to be sure, but I think that might be an Irish lilt? It’s lovely.) Side note: this book was provided through the Authors Direct platform. Pro: it allows listeners to control the speed in 15 second increments versus Audible’s 30; Con: laptop listening isn’t an option – it works only on the app installed to a phone or tablet.

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions and the author for providing me a digital download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. As always, I anxiously await the next book in the series, and seriously, I can envision author Rachel Amphlett continuing to write them right through Kay being a middle-aged woman, at the top of the career ladder. Now wouldn’t that be a twist?  

I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rachel Amphlett. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it.

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.




Bridge to Burn Audio Book

from Authors Direct

Runs Feb. 19th-25th⎮Open to US, Canada, & Australia

Bridge To Burn Giveaway: Three Winners!

Feb. 19th:
AudioSpy (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)
Booktalk with Eileen (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)
The Book Junkie Reads . . . (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 20th:
T's Stuff (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 21st:
What Emma Read Next (Review, Spotlight)
The Bookworm Lodge (Spotlight)
Hall Ways Blog (Review, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 22nd:
Bound 4 Escape (Review)
Nerdy Dirty and Flirty (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 23rd:
Next Book Review (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)
The Book Addict's Reviews (Review, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 24th:
Jazzy Book Reviews (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)
Buried Under Books (Review, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 25th:
Lomeraniel (Review)
Turning Another Page (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Vortex ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Promo, Notable Quotable, & Giveaway!

Genre: Women's Fiction / Psychological
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: January 31, 2019
Number of Pages: 308 pages


Constant spinning, round and round and round, temperatures rise and fall from stifling heat to chilling cold, emotions run high in anticipation of what will happen next… there’s a fine line between surviving a tornado and falling in love.

A close encounter with a tornado, during the final months of her doctoral studies, jogs a lost memory to the surface. Desperate to relive the vision and find answers, storm chaser Elaina Adams continually puts her safety at risk by placing herself in the path of dangerous storms.

When betrayal strikes, Elaina is forced to pair up with Robert Tucker. “Tuck” owns a storm chasing tour group and only cares about two things: chasing tornadoes and making his next buck.

Seth Maddux was climbing his way to the top as the star meteorologist for the Forecast channel, but an embarrassing outburst on camera sent his career on a downward spiral. Hoping to reignite his career with a promising field assignment, he meets Elaina and a different kind of flame sparks.

Family secrets surface and passions explode in this twister of a tale.

Vortex is a story of family, love, identity and determination set against the thrilling backdrop of Tornado Alley. 

"Set in the heart of America’s Tornado Alley, Kimberly Packard’s latest psychological fiction swirls with discovery and betrayal. VORTEX may make you question who among those closest to you are really your friends." -- Addison Brae, author of Becker Circle
"Vortex is a fast-paced story with a strong woman at its center. Readers will be in for a wild ride full of secrets, the labyrinth of memory, and the spark of romance. Definitely one to add to your reading list." -- Christine Brodersen, author of Lip Gloss, Shame and Murdered Tomatoes

"Kimberly Packard is an accomplished author who writes strong women characters. She blew me away with her Phoenix series (three books you don’t want to miss) and now in Vortex, we meet Elaina Adams, who, like all of us, struggles with her past, her career, and her family secrets. Action, and emotion-packed, this page-turner is a different kind of love story." -- 
Vanessa Foster, author of More than Everything 

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie.

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass

FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy  +  $5 Amazon gift card + Bookmark
SECOND PRIZE: Signed Copy + Bookmark
TWO WINNERS: eBook copies
FEBRUARY 19-28, 2019

Notable Quotable
Notable Quotable
BONUS post
Author Interview
Top Ten List
Deleted Scene & BONUS Review
BONUS post
Scrapbook Page

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