Feb 192017
 

Ashes
by Steven Manchester
on Tour February 19 – April 21, 2017

Ashes by Steven Manchester

Book Details
Genre: Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Number of Pages: 260
Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life – and death – has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other’s company. It’s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he’s left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.

At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, Ashes puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal.

MY REVIEW

5+ stars

Let me first state that I am a HUGE fan of Steven Manchester, having read all his books TWELVE MONTHS, GOODNIGHT, BRIAN, THE ROCKIN’ CHAIR, GOOSEBERRY ISLAND, PRESSED PENNIES and THE CHANGING SEASON, and now ASHES. And I only have 1 question, HOW DOES HE DO IT? With each book, he raises his own bar and gives the reader an incredible story!!

ASHES, like the synopsis states, is about 2 brothers who haven’t spoken in 15 years and had a very dysfunctional childhood living with their abusive father, are forced to take a cross country trip. They receive word that their father has passed away but realize he is still in control. They are to drive cross country, to spread his ashes, and then they will find out what is in the letter he left with his attorney.

The journey starts with animosity, sibling rivalry and feelings that were never resolved. As the journey continues, the brothers find themselves, maybe even liking each other. (vague due to not wanting to have a spoiler).

Steve Manchester, an astonishing and brilliant author, creates a story where the reader is swept away. His prolific ability to describe the characters, emotions, and settings, allows the reader to vividly imagine and feel all.
His books transport the reader from wherever they are to becoming part of the story. With ASHES, I felt that I was the invisible back seat passenger on the brothers’ journey.

In this book, there was humor, raw emotions, beautiful settings traveling cross country and a bit of mystery. How did the brothers’ trip end? Who did they meet along the way? What was in that envelope? And what became of their brotherly relationship after all these years estranged?

A poignant, passionate, sentimental read! I could not put this book down!!!! A heart warming, intense, and at times, a humorous story.

He really won Gold with this book! Sure to be another award winning novel. The only negative, now I have to try and wait patiently for his next book.

If you haven’t read a book by Steven Manchester, you are truly missing out on an extraordinary writer. Highly recommend, not only ASHES, but all of his books. I guarantee you will become a fan too.

Read an excerpt:

Tom wheeled his late-model, platinum-colored BMW into Attorney Russell Norman’s freshly paved lot and parked between a brand new Lexus—sporting the license plate JUSTIS4U—and a custom pickup truck. Looks like I’m going after the hillbilly, he thought when he spotted the faded Massachusetts Department of Correction sticker in the rear window. His blood turned cold. “It must be Jason,” he thought aloud. I didn’t think he’d come.

Tom took a few deep breaths, not because he was nervous about his father’s death or talking to any lawyer but because he hadn’t seen his Neanderthal brother—for fifteen years, I think. He paused for a moment to give it more thought. Although their relationship had essentially vaporized in their late teens—the result of a fall out that still haunted his dreams—they’d occasionally wound up in each other’s orbits; weddings, funerals, and the like, enough to remain familiar with each other’s career choices, wives, and children. But even that came to an end fifteen years ago, he confirmed in his aching head before opening the door. While his toothache-induced migraine threatened to blind him, he took one step into the oak-paneled waiting room. His and Jason’s eyes met for the briefest moment. As though they were complete strangers, they both looked away. And here he is, Tom thought, disappointed. This is just great.

Through peripheral vision, Tom noticed that his older brother now wore a scar over his right eye, just above a bushy eyebrow that could have easily belonged to a homeless Scotsman. A jagged ear lobe, a piece clearly torn away, pointed to a crooked nose that sat sideways on his face—all of it rearranged since birth. What a big tub of shit he’s turned into, Tom thought, struggling to ignore his throbbing face and head. He’s as fat as a wood tick now, he thought, grinning, and he looks like he’s ready to pop. Jason looked straight at him, as if reading his mind. Tom immediately looked away, his rapid heartbeat starting to pound in his ears, intensifying his physical pain. Unbelievable, he thought. After all the years and all the distance, his elder brother—by only two years—still scared the hell out of him. He’s just a big asshole, that’s all, he told himself, but he still couldn’t bring himself to rejoin his brother’s penetrating gaze.

The secretary answered her phone before calling out, “Mr. Prendergast . . .”

Both brothers stood.

“Attorney Norman will see you now.”

Tom walked in first, letting the door close behind him—right in Jason’s face.

“Still a weasel,” Jason muttered, loud enough for all to hear.

“What was that?” Tom asked just inside the door.

“Don’t even think about playing with me,” Jason warned as he reopened the door and entered the room, “’cause I have no problem throwing you over my knee and spanking you right in front of this guy.”

I’m fifty years old, for God’s sake, Tom thought, and he thinks he’s going to spank me? I’m surprised the prison even let him out.

The attorney—his hand extended for anyone willing to give it a shake—looked mortified by the childish exchange.

Tom shook the man’s hand before settling into a soft leather wing chair. Jason followed suit.

The room was framed in rich mahogany paneling. The desk could have belonged in the oval office. Beneath a green-glassed banker’s lamp, stacks of file folders took up most of the vast desktop. An American flag stood in one corner, while framed diplomas and certificates, bearing witness to the man’s intelligence and vast education, covered the brown walls.

Attorney Norman wore a pinstriped shirt and pleated, charcoal-colored slacks held up by a pair of black suspenders. He had a bow tie, a receding hairline that begged to be shaved bald, and a pair of eyeglasses that John Lennon would have been proud to call his own. There’s no denying it, Tom thought, trying to ignore his brother’s wheezing beside him, he’s either a lawyer or a banker. He couldn’t be anything else.

While Jason squirmed in his seat, visibly uncomfortable to be sitting in a lawyer’s office, his hands squeezed the arms of the chair. What a chicken shit, Tom thought, trying to make himself feel better. Peering sideways, he noticed that his brother’s knuckles were so swollen with scar tissue they could have belonged to a man who made his living as a bare-knuckle brawler. He’s still an animal too, he decided.

Attorney Norman took a seat, grabbed a manila file from atop the deep stack and cleared his throat. “The reason you’re both here . . .”

“. . . is to make sure the old man’s really dead,” Jason interrupted.

In spite of himself and his harsh feelings for his brother, Tom chuckled—drawing looks from both men.

“The reason we’re all here,” Attorney Norman repeated, “is to read Stuart Prendergast’s last will and testament.” He flipped open the folder.

This ought to be good, Tom thought, while Jason took a deep breath and sighed heavily. Both brothers sat erect in their plush chairs, waiting to hear more.

As if he were Stuart Prendergast sitting there in the flesh, the mouthpiece read, “My final wish is that my two sons, Jason and Thomas, bring my final remains to 1165 Milford Road in Seattle, Washington, where they will spread my ashes.”

“Seattle?” Tom blurted, his wagging tongue catching his tooth, making him wince in pain. Quickly concealing his weakness, he slid to the edge of his seat. “Oh, I don’t think so,” he mumbled, careful not to touch the tooth again.

Jason was shaking his head. “Hell no,” he said.

The attorney read on. “I’ve always been afraid to fly, so I’m asking that I not be transported by airplane but driven by car.”

“No way,” Tom instinctively sputtered.

Jason laughed aloud. “This is just great. The old bastard’s dead and he’s still screwing with us.”

The less-than-amused attorney revealed a sealed envelope and continued on. “As my final gift to my sons . . .”

“Only gift,” Tom muttered, feeling a cauldron of bad feelings bubbling in his gut.

“I’m leaving this sealed envelope for them to share, once and only once they’ve taken me to my final resting place.”

“What the fuck!” Jason blurted.

Every cell in Tom’s overloaded brain flashed red. Don’t do it, he thought. You don’t owe that old man a damned thing. But every cell in his body was flooded with curiosity. He looked at Jason, who was no longer shaking his fat head.

“Maybe the bastard finally hit it big at the dog track?” Jason suggested.

Tom nodded in agreement but secretly wondered, Could it be the deed to the land Pop bragged about owning in Maine? He stared at the envelope. For as long as I can remember, he claimed to own forty-plus acres with a brook running straight through it. He stared harder. Could it be? he wondered, wishing he had X-ray vision. A parcel of land in Maine sure would make a nice retirement . . .

“How ’bout we travel separately and meet in Seattle to spread the ashes?” Jason said, interrupting his thoughts.

“Great idea,” Tom said, hoping against all hope that the idea would fly with their father’s lawyer.

Attorney Norman shook his head. “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but your father specifically requested that you travel together with his remains to Seattle. Any deviation from this can and will prohibit you from attaining the sealed envelope.”

There was a long pause, the room blanketed in a heavy silence. Son of a bitch, Tom thought, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. He turned to Jason, who was already looking at him. “What do you say?” he asked, already cursing his inability to curb his curiosity.

Jason shook his head in disgust. “The last thing I want to do is to go on some stupid road trip with you.”

“Trust me, that’s a mutual feeling,” Tom shot back.

“But I don’t think we have a choice,” Jason added. “Our fucked-up father wants to play one last game with us, so to hell with it—let’s play.”

This is insane, but he’s right, Tom thought. With a single nod, Tom stood. “Okay, let’s have the ashes then,” he told the lawyer.

The attorney shook his head. “I don’t have them. They’re currently at a funeral home in Salem.”

“Salem?” Tom squeaked, unhappy that his tone betrayed his distress.

“That’s right. You have to take custody of your father’s remains from the Buffington Funeral Home in Salem, Massachusetts.”

“You must be shitting me.” Jason said.

The attorney smirked. “I shit you not,” he said, throwing the letter onto his desk.

Salem? Tom repeated in his head. Just when I thought Pop couldn’t be a bigger prick . . . The migraine knocked even harder from the inside of his skull, making him feel nauseous. Amid the pain, his synapses fired wildly, considering all this would mean: I’ll have to take bereavement leave from school and find someone to cover my classes. I should probably double my treatment with Dr. Baxter tomorrow. And what about Caleb and Caroline? he asked himself, quickly deciding, They’ll be fine without me for a few days. Then he pictured his wife’s face. And Carmen, she’ll be fine without me for a lot longer than that. The nausea increased. Screw her.

“Are we done here?” Jason asked, obviously itching to leave.

The lawyer nodded. “I’ll need proof in the form of a video or a series of photos that you’ve deposited your father’s remains where he wished. Once I have that, the letter’s all yours.”

“How wonderful,” Jason said sarcastically. He stood, turned on his heels, and headed for the door.

Tom also got to his feet. He looked at the lawyer and, trying to ignore his physical discomfort, he smiled. “Don’t mind him,” he said, shrugging. “That imbecile is exactly what our father trained him to be.”

Author Bio:

Steven ManchesterSteven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island as well as the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Find Steven on his Website, on Twitter, & on Facebook!

Tour Host Participants:

Don’t miss your chance to learn more about Steven Manchester & his book, Ashes! Visit the tour stops for interviews, guest posts, and lots of reviews!


Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN Ashes!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Steven Manchester and The Story Plant. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) PRINT copy of Ashes by Steven Manchester. The giveaway begins on February 18th and runs through April 23rd, 2017.

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Feb 182017
 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING by Kathryn Croft
Published by Bookouture
Publication Date: Nov. 16, 2016
ISBN-10: 1786810956
ISBN-13: 978-1786810953
Pages: 326
Review: Personal Purchase
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5Synopsis (via GR)

You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.
What do you do?

Tara Logan lives a quiet life with her husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her peace is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour Lee’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them.
And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara stays silent, fearing the truth will rip her family apart.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara soon realises that someone in her life knows what really happened to Lee. She must get to the truth before they do.

Tara made a mistake … but will one night cost her everything?

A gripping, shocking psychological thriller, with a twist that will take you by surprise.

My Thoughts and Opinion:

Just imagine, you wake up in your neighbor’s bed naked,and find your friend’s husband dead and you can’t remember how this came to be. No recollection!

Tara knows she is not capable of murder but it’s not only her as a suspect but so is her troubled 17 year old daughter who had a “crush” on him. Tara needs to clear both her and her daughter but she guiltily wonders if her daughter could be the killer. If that isn’t enough, her co-worker is stalking her and her sister in in an abusive relationship.

A family of many secrets and lies. A white-knuckle read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I thought I had this one figured out but was shocked when all the pieces came together.

Highly recommend! I will be looking for more books by Ms. Croft!

100x30 photo 715a7b0a-fc85-4ee8-a819-679fec1f28ed.jpg

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Feb 172017
 

Stolen

by Carey Baldwin

on Tour February 14 – March 3, 2017

Synopsis:

Stolen by Carey Baldwin

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

MY REVIEW

5 stars

Laura Chaucer, daughter of Senator Whit and Tracy Chaucer, is missing, AGAIN! Thirteen years earlier, at the age of 8, Laura and her Nanny were kidnapped and the Nanny found murdered. Laura, having been treated for mental illness since the first incident, her memory is fuzzy due to the many anti-psychotic meds. And now her friend is found dead. Is she the killer? She doesn’t think so but wants to find the “monster” who she believes is responsible.

A tense, page-turning read with an explosive ending! One I didn’t see coming!

STOLEN will definitely be one of my Top Ten reads of 2017!

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0062495542 (ISBN13: 9780062495549)
Series: Cassidy & Spenser #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Twilight

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains

Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.

If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn’t suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.

Stop running away.

From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death.
Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she’d never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.

Who are you?

The answer she’d been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.

But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.

Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.

Where am I?

A candle nub flickered in the dark; its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must’ve stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.

Who was he?

You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don’t.

“I-I don’t know anything,” she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. “P-please, just let me go.”

The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.

But that would mean dying the same way she’d lived: running from the truth.

It’s not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there’s still time to change your craven ways.

Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.

She was naked.

Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.

It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn’t another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.

If she closed her eyes now, she’d never wake up.

Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He’d left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.

Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.

He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife’s point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover’s kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn’t know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.

A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.

He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.

Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn’t care. It didn’t matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy.
Her death would be a victory.

Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.

She was not a murderer.

Excerpt from Stolen by Carey Baldwin. Copyright © 2017 by Carey Baldwin & WitnessImpulse. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Kudos for Carey Baldwin:

JUDGMENT, the first book in my Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, has been named one of the “BEST BOOKS of 2014” by SUSPENSE MAGAZINE.

Both JUDGMENT & CONFESSION are BOOKSELLERS BEST AWARD Finalists
JUDGMENT is a DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE Finalist and a SILVER FALCHION finalist.

Author Bio:

Carey BaldwinCarey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Q&A with Carey Baldwin

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes to both. STOLEN was inspired by a blend of real life cases. CONFESSION is based in part on my career as a psychologist, and FIRST DO NO EVIL was inspired by my medical patients’ reactions when the cervical cancer vaccine first came out. The key word here is inspiration. None of my books contain real-life events.

Everything is FICTION: A product of my wild imagination.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I can’t say that I’ve ever started with the conclusion. I have started in the middle though! Generally speaking I come up with characters or a “What if?” scenario and go from there.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Yes and no. I think people in my world influence my characters, but I don’t have any who are based on someone I know. As I said earlier, it’s all FICTION.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I don’t have any rituals, but my husband thinks it’s odd when I get up at 3am to write a scene I’ve been dreaming about.

Tell us why we should read this book.
Not everyone should. It can get dark and gritty, so if that bothers you, STOLEN might not be for you. It has lighter, funnier moments and a touch of romance. If you don’t care for that, STOLEN might not be for you. But if you like dark, intense psychological thrillers with twist, turns and a bit of fun—it just might be your cup of tea.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Ack. Too many to name, but Tess Gerritsen, Harlan Coben, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, Wendy Corsi Staub, Stella Cameron, Michael Connelly, Tami Hoag and Gillian Flynn make a nice start to this very incomplete list.

What are you reading now?
I recently finished YOU by Caroline Kepnes. Loved it.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes! I’m working on the next book in the Cassidy & Spenser series. I’m not trying to keep the title secret. I just don’t have one for it yet. My working title, which will definitely change, is Tahiti—because that’s where it takes place. If you’ve been following the series, you know that Spense and Caity have been trying to take a vacation for a long time, but pesky killers keep getting in the way. In this upcoming book, they definitely make it to Tahiti, but what happens once they get there is not the dream vacation they’d been planning. I’m mean like that.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I could go with Liam Hemsworth as Spense, and I think Dakota Johnson would be terrific as Caity. Let’s do it!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Definitely chasing wildflowers. Someone told me I should take that out of my bio because it sounds silly. But I don’t think so—and it’s true. During the wildflower season, I will get in the car or on a plane and then hike all day to get to the most beautiful spots. And I have my family in tow. Not sure what’s silly about enjoying nature with the people you love!

Favorite meal?
Chicken and Dumplings. Yum.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog!
Happy Reading!
Carey

Catch Up With Ms. Baldwin On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Tour Participants:




 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carey Baldwin and William Morrow | WitnessImpulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Stolen by Carey Baldwin. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through March 5th, 2017.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Feb 162017
 

Starting in March, I will be instituting a new feature: Author Of The Month!

It will consist of 5 postings and a giveaway for one author so that you can meet and learn more about that particular author.

We have been extremely busy at Partners In Crime Tours and I wanted to showcase some of these very talented authors.

The postings will be each month on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. Each post will be different.

I hope you check this out and that you enjoy it. Feedback is always welcomed.

Feb 152017
 

Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan Tour Banner

Cardiac

by Jeffrey Monaghan

on Tour February 1-28, 2017

Synopsis:

Cardiac by Jeffrey MonaghanEmbattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm’s breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses on the stage, stunning the conference attendees.

Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.

MY REVIEW

5+ stars

Unbelievable! I am still having heart palpitations!

This book was a spine chilling nonstop action read!

Jack Getty, CEO, is about to make a medical breakthrough announcement. But someone else has a different plan. That somebody causes Jack to have an MI as he is about to walk on stage so that he will need a pacemaker, a new WiFi pacemaker. But he soon finds out that someone has control of his pacemaker and is causing him to suffer cardiac events unless he does what they want.

Murder, kidnapping, and blackmail are just some of the dynamics of this story.

A gripping and riveting read that blew me away. At times I found myself holding my breath!

This is the first book that I have read by this author but am looking forward to more from him.

CARDIAC is in my Top Ten Books of 2016! Highly recommend!

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: May 2016
Number of Pages: 230
ISBN: 1533641463
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Jack dropped his cell phone into his pocket, took a deep breath and focused on the moment at hand. The lights on stage were intense, their heat radiating to the dark spot where he stood just behind a thick, dark curtain off stage. A deep, musty odor floated off. A smell that reminded him of his grandmother’s sewing room. It was comforting during such an anxiety filled moment. He leaned closer, unaware, and took a deep breath. Then the stage exploded with light.

The energy and murmurs of the enormous crowd filled the auditorium. Jack’s heart began to race with a nervous excitement. He had done this a dozen times, but this time he was literally going to change the world, and hopefully save his company at the same time. He closed his eyes and took a deep, slow breath. Deep inhale. Deep exhale. And again. Slow, deep inhale. Slow, deep exhale, pushing the recent phone conversation to the back of his mind. The moisture on his palms felt cool and the tips of his fingers, cold.

He concentrated on the moment as thoughts of his pending presentation repeated in his head. Introduction…industry direction…announce test results of groundbreaking new drug…then Algen’s plans for the future…closing. Introduction…industry direction…announce DD13…Algen’s plans for the future…closing. With this announcement, he was about to push his company to the forefront of the biotech industry, and garner worldwide recognition and influence for himself and Algen.

The waiting was the torturous part. Once he started speaking it always came together. In fact, once he began, he usually slipped his notes into his pocket after the first few minutes. It was a rush having the attention of thousands waiting on every word. In fact, he enjoyed speaking in front of large crowds far more than speaking in small groups. He could avoid questions in a large crowd by simply not asking for them. He could just keep speaking. Small groups were more intimate and Jack was not good at small talk. He did his best to avoid talking to others about his personal life.

The announcer’s voice reverberated through the vast hall, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank you all for attending our 10th Annual ASR International Life Sciences and Biotechnology Conference.” Jack rubbed his palms on his pants, standing just out of reach of the bright lights.

“As many of you know, this is a very exciting time in our industry. A time that has shown extraordinary advancement in our understanding of the fundamental biological mechanisms of human life. A time when major discoveries are coming at an increasingly accelerated rate. And a time that will be looked back on as the dawning of a new age in meeting the needs of patients and doctors across the globe.”

Jack fiddled with the knot in his tie, wiggling it to make sure it was straight. He ran his palms down the front of his suit and tugged at the bottom of his jacket to eliminate imaginary creases. He stood waiting for his cue. As he waited, two sharp buzzes stung his thigh. He fumbled for the phone in his pocket.

“Crap!”

He slid the cool metal phone from his pocket and braced for more bad news. Instead, it was a text from his wife.

‘Are you free? I have more questions about Miller’

‘can’t right now. about to go on stage’

‘OK. Good luck. You’ll do great.’
‘will call you later’

Jack grinned and wished he could talk to his wife now, but there wasn’t time. He allowed himself a moment. A moment to remember how lucky he was. His heart rate slowed and he felt calm. He reread the exchange with Cynthia as he noticed the subtle aroma of the stage curtains again. His eyes closed and he tipped his head back. She had always believed in him. Even when he told her about the times when he drank too much and ended up on the streets. Even when he didn’t believe in himself. She was the talented one, an amazing writer. But it was always she that insisted he was the one who capable of doing big things. Jack was not so sure back then. But here he was, about to do something unimaginable.

A light tap on the shoulder startled Jack. A thin, dark-haired young man stood beside him. A large identification badge hanging around his neck. He looked like a local college kid, called to work at the convention center whenever there was a big conference in town. He wore the basic conference employee uniform. A black t-shirt and khakis. The name tag hanging from his neck read Zachary Dietrich, 10th Annual ASR Conference Employee.

“Don’t forget this, Mr. Getty. You know how to use it, right?” The young man handed Jack a small remote that would allow him to change the slides in his presentation.

“Oh shoot, thank you…” Jack looked at the employee’s name tag, “…Zachary. That would have been a little embarrassing getting stuck on the first slide.”

“I’m sure you would have figured something out, sir.”

“Well, I appreciate the thought, but you can’t always save someone from themselves.”

The young man smiled. “Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. Getty? Would you like some water?”

“I think I’m good for now, thank you.”

“I don’t mean to be pushy, sir, but I highly recommend at least one drink.” Zachary lifted a steel thermos. “It’s warm water with a little lemon. My public speaking professor recommends it. It helps with dry mouth and cuts through any mucus buildup in your throat. It’s awesome.”

“Well, okay, just a quick sip.”

The young stagehand unscrewed the top and handed the thermos to Jack. Jack took it and tipped it to his lips. The young man was right. The warm, slightly sour water provided immediate relief to his parched mouth. Jack took a second drink.

“Thank you, Zachary,” Jack said as he handed the thermos back to the stage hand. “I appreciate your help.”

“No problem, Mr. Getty. Good luck, you’re going to do great,” replied the youthful man, visibly pleased that he was able to help the man of the hour. Jack smiled as he watched the young, go-getter scurry off to attend to other business. He turned his attention back to the stage.

“And we are so thankful to the city of Baltimore for making us feel so welcome.” The speaker clapped in appreciation and the crowd joined him with pleasant applause. Without thinking, Jack applauded as well.

“We have a number of excellent speakers over the next few days. And I will get to those in a few moments. But first, I’d like to introduce one of the top leaders in our industry. He’s a true innovator and respected member of our community. His company, Algen Incorporated, is leading the way in minimizing and reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases. Please help me welcome the CEO of Algen, Mister Jack Getty!” The speaker reached his hand out towards the side of the stage, inviting Jack to come out and join him. Jack put on a smile and headed out into the lights; confident, adrenaline pumping through his veins and heart pounding in his chest. He was about to shock the world.

The crowd stood and cheered. Jack raised his right hand in acknowledgement, “thank you” he mouthed, walking onto the stage. The spotlights caused him to squint as the crowd roared in the darkness just beyond their hot, white brilliance. Jack turned back towards the speaker and continued walking, hand extended for a firm handshake. As he moved across the stage, his vision blurred. He opened his eyes wide and then squeezed them closed for a moment.

“What the…” Jack murmured.

When he opened them the speaker split in two, then four, then dozens of images swirled in front of him. Another step and now his chest began to tighten. Jack moaned, putting both hands on his chest. He blinked again. His vision began to fade and the muscles in his chest squeezed ever tighter. A heaviness pulled him towards the floor. Gasping for air, Jack struggled to keep his balance.

His next step became a lunge and he felt himself falling, unsure of when and what he would hit. A desperate reach for the shape of a podium turned into a vain attempt to catch himself. His left hand grasped for the microphone, snagged it with two fingers, and pulled the entire podium to the floor as he fell. It smashed on the stage, breaking into large pieces. The squeal of feedback ripped through the auditorium speakers. Jack slammed into the floor next to the podium with a heavy thud. His vision focused long enough to catch a glimpse of a woman in the front row, hands over her ears grimacing at the screeching microphone. He heard screams in the distance.

A hushed murmur fell over the crowd. Jack fought to stay conscious; the heaviness in his chest forced the air from his lungs. The lights above flooded into his spinning vision. He lay flat on his back, struggling to fight off the darkness that threatened to consume him.

“Someone call an ambulance!”

The pain in Jack’s chest shot down his left arm. I’m dying!
The silhouette of a person appeared above him and blocked out the light. “Jack, can you hear me? Jack? Shit!” Jack wanted to respond but couldn’t. He was directing every effort to staying conscious.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Jack heard the frantic, trembling voice say. There was a firm tugging around his neck and a second voice broke into the chaos.

“Loosen it as much as you can. And unbutton his shirt. Make sure he can breathe.”

“I’m trying. Shit! Come on, Jack. Keep breathing.” The tugging at his neck became more frenzied. The voices started to fade and Jack could feel himself losing awareness.

“We’re losing him! We’re losing him! Someone please…”

He could hold on no longer. Jack willingly gave in to the darkness that was pulling him away from the voices. His body relaxed and he felt at peace. He saw his oldest son as a toddler, football grasped with both hands and that lopsided smile that warmed his heart. He saw his youngest son putting on his baseball uniform for the first time. And a vision of his wife on their wedding day pulled him deeper into his memories and away from the desperate voices.

All the commotion provided a distraction for a young, red-headed man seated at the end of the aisle. He was thirty rows back near one of the exits.

“Everyone, please remain seated,” came an announcement over the loudspeakers. The man ignored the instructions. He rose from his seat, doing his best not to draw attention. “Mr. Getty is getting the necessary medical assistance and will be okay.” The red-headed man knew this wasn’t true, at least not the part about Jack being okay. He slipped out the side doors and onto the busy streets of downtown Baltimore, anxious to blend in with the pedestrians. As he walked, he turned on his cell phone. He fought against his shaking fingers as he dialed. The phone rang.

“Yes, it’s done…yes I’m sure…I saw him hit the stage…I don’t know…they were tending to him as I left….I said I don’t know…sorry, I’m not going back in there…no way…I don’t care. I did what you asked and now I’m done.”

The man ended the call, slid the phone back into his pocket, and looked around to see if anyone had listened to his conversation, still disturbed by what had taken place. The people on the street had more important concerns than eavesdropping on a conservatively-dressed college type, so he vanished into the afternoon sun.

After a few blocks, a park appeared on the opposite side of the street. The man looked both ways and careened across the street, horns honking at him as he went. His stomach churned with anxiety and he was not completely aware of his surroundings, focused on creating as much distance as possible between him and the conference hall. He needed to find a calm, secluded place to sit and catch his breath; and his sanity.

He entered the park and saw a worn, stone bench under a large elm tree about fifty yards away. He turned to see if anyone had followed him, then made his way to the tree and settled on the hard, cool bench. He took a deep breath. His right leg bounced, quick and uncontrollable.

“Son of a bitch…”

The man ran his hand up his forehead and grasped a handful of hair between his fingers in a tight fist. He breathed again. His leg stopped bouncing and he began to relax. Then, just as he had begun to calm down, his phone buzzed in his pocket.

“Hello…sorry, I didn’t mean to hang up on you…the whole thing freaked me out. I’ve never seen anything like that in person. There’s a big difference between seeing Darth Vader choke out Admiral Motti and seeing a real human being hit the ground like that. I had to get out of there…yes, I know. All I can tell you is that it worked. I’m guessing we’ll be able to find out by the end of the day…Will do.”

The red-headed man dropped his head, slumped his shoulders, and rested his elbows on his knees. A pleasant breeze rustled the leaves in the tree above.

Jeffrey MonaghanAuthor Bio:

Jeffrey Monaghan is a Silicon Valley executive with an unhealthy obsession for technology. He grew up in Southern California and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children. Cardiac is his debut novel.

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