GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ I Smell Sheep: June 2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld) by Gena Showalter + except

The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld) Hardcoverby Gena Showalter
June 26, 2018
480 pages
Publisher: HQN
A searing Lords of the Underworld tale by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter, featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep

He is ice…

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire…

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her…and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.
As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily-ever-after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

Gena Showalter is one of my long-time lovers, I mean bff, wait...I mean fav authors. Or all of the above. She's basically one of the main reasons I LOVE reading PNR. It just comes down to this, she knows how to write a damn good book. Period.

Sexy men, check. Sexy women, check. Hot as hell romance, check-check. Action and epic adventure, check! There's not one part of any aspect of this PNR I would want to change. My only criticism would be, give me more pages! I could read 1000 pages and not even stop for a meal or maybe even to pee. Dirty hair, don't care.

Also, does anyone else remember the name Puck from the MTV Real World tv show? Cause I sure as hell do! Ok, sure it was hard to get over that in the beginning but by the end I didn't care. I love Puck!

I loved this book and there's so much I could say about it but I am not going to. Buy it, read it and love it as much as I did.

These stories breath life into my 8-4 hard working soul. I can't say how much of a wonderful escape they are!
Pain seared Puck, shoving a roar past his lips. A demon had entered his body, and now tore into his organs. It bit and clawed, too, and yet he experienced no outward signs of injury.

Frantic, he dropped his sword to rake his nails over his chest, slicing skin and muscle—to no avail. The creature remained inside him, a dark presence, howling with a toxic mix of hate and pleasure.

The blood in Puck’s veins might as well have been fuel; every cell in his body seemed to catch fire, melting him from the inside out as he...changed? Two rings of fire erupted on the crown of his skull, as if circles had been burned into the bone. He reached up and felt...horns?

Breath wheezed through clenched teeth as he yanked at hanks of brown fur sprouting on his legs. Next, a hard shell grew over his feet—hooves?—as his leather boots ripped apart at the seams.

Changing shapes wasn’t new to him, but this transformation had control of him, not the other way around. He couldn’t stop it.

Jagged black lines appeared on his chest, small rivers of lava burning as they spread. An image formed. A butterfly with wings as sharp as shattered glass. Different colors shimmered in the firelight, one after the other, altering as various emotions flooded him.

Mostly, panic grabbed Puck by the neck and held firm, choking him. Was this a hallucination, caused by smoke?

Or was he becoming a monster for good?

His knees gave out, unable to support his weight. As he lay on the ground, panting, the panic died. His gaze landed on the sword, and the pride he’d experienced only moments before faded before disappearing altogether. The devotion he bore for his realm and people...gone. He felt nothing. The sword was a scrap of finely honed metal, the realm a meaningless lo- cation, its citizens a nonentity.

Puck searched for emotion, any emotion, hidden anywhere. There! Love for Sin, a shining beacon.

He would protect the younger male from this...whatever this was. But, as he attempted to reach for his brother, muscle locked on bone, holding him immobile, and panic returned.


Sin wouldn’t meet his gaze. 
Something’s wrong...

A terrible nothingness began to creep through Puck a second time—this one directed at his brother. Precious Sin. Treasured Sin. Puck’s reason for...everything. But an invisible dagger cut into his heart, affection draining out...draining...

Still he fought. “Love you,” he rasped. Can’t lose Sin. Can’t... But even as he spoke, his heart emptied.

One moment his love blazed, a light inextinguishable by war, persecution or travesty, the next it was nothing but a snuffed-out torch.

Puck blinked up at Sin and felt...nothing. He hadn’t forgotten their past, or the many ways his brother had aided him throughout the centuries, or everything Sin had given up on his behalf, but he cared not at all.

Muscles unlocking from bone at last, he stood. Silent, he backed away from his brother. He would go for a walk, think about what had happened and what he should do next.


He strode out of the tent, never once glancing back.

And don’t miss the previous titles in the Lords of the Underworld Series!

Author pic- Gena Showalter

About the Author: 
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two-time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at

Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST WARRIOR –Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
June 27th
Diane's Book Blog – Excerpt
NallaReads – Review & Excerpt
Milky Way of Books – Excerpt
June 28th
June 29th
The Reading Cafe – Excerpt
Total Book Geek – Excerpt
June 30th
Feel the Book – Excerpt
I Smell Sheep – Excerpt
My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt
July 1st
Booknerd1107 – Excerpt
Kinky Desires – Excerpt
The Book Disciple – Excerpt
July 2nd
Crazii Bitches Book Bloc – Review & Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Excerpt
July 3rd
Moonlight Rendezvous – Excerpt
Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
Words We Love By – Excerpt
Yvonne-99loving-Books – Excerpt
July 4th
Only One More Page – Excerpt
Rainy Thursdays – Excerpt
July 5th
Evermore Books – Excerpt
Reese's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
July 6th
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Ruby's Books – Review & Excerpt
July 7th
BJ's Book Blog – Excerpt
Brittany's Book Blog – Excerpt
Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Friday, June 29, 2018

Selah's Manga Mania: Skip Beat!, Vol. 1 (Skip Beat! Graphic Novel) by Yoshiki Nakamura

by Yoshiki Nakamura
August 27, 2013
184 pages
Genre: Comedy, romance Manga
Publisher: VIZ Media: Shojo Bea
Demographic: Shōjo
Volumes: 42
Kyoko knows she's not plain and uninteresting, no matter what Sho says. With the help of a little makeover, Kyoko's ready to exact her revenge. But first she needs to land an audition, and she sets her sights on the agency where Sho's lead rival works. Her persistence pays off, but her broken heart turns out to be a disadvantage. Kyoko has lost the will to love anybody, let alone fans she's never met. Can the agency see past this problem to Kyoko's true star potential?

Sometimes the right title just finds you and it is everything you ever wanted and needed but never realized. Skip Beat is one of my favorite titles, and it’s a unique blend of story, romance, character growth, and wackiness. There’s equal emotions and comedy here, and it all blends into something really special.
Kyoko Mogami is a sixteen-year-old girl who runs away the dude she’s in love with, Sho, to Tokyo where he tries to make it as a musician. She’s worked for his family for a while and they have a lot of history together. So, when he becomes famous, it becomes a massive betrayal when he dismisses and humiliates her, pretty much leaving her on her own far away from home after she left school and took multiple jobs to support him while he was trying to get started.
Any other title, this would be played as a sad, tragic thing and it would focus on getting them back together and reaching understanding.
In this series, Kyoko’s inner ‘pandora bos’ opens and all her inner rage is unleashed. She determines that the obvious course of action is to take revenge and become more famous than Sho. She walks into a talent agency with no experience to audition, catching the attention of the eccentric president when she claims she doesn’t believe in love. The president is all about love. What follows is a long-running series of events where Kyoko slowly trains and develops as an actress, makes multiple friends and enemies in the industry, and slowly develops feelings for her friend/mentor Ren Tsuruga, though they both fight it and he has secrets of his own.

Part rom-con, part I don’t even know what, what really makes this thing work are the characters. Kyoko starts off so spikey and angry, and slowly develops a sense of self through acting and begins to regain her empathy, it’s really a character arc to behold. She’s also fairly naïve and oblivious, which makes a lot of interactions (especially with Ren) super amazing. Ren also is something of a dark horse, and as more of his past is revealed other than just his acting ability, you really get two fantastic characters learning to deal with their emotions before they hopefully get together.  
There are great side characters along the way, and a lot of this series is just so funny. Not even in an unintended sense – there’s some great, great comedy here. There are a lot of fantastic mini-arcs that are just absorbing and you truly grow to feel for everyone in the cast. The pacing is pretty smooth, and it’s always fun to suddenly revisit certain people from volumes upon volumes ago. I also have no idea how accurate any of the entertainment industry stuff is in Japan, but it feels legit, and Kyoko learning her craft is given a really nice amount of time throughout the whole thing.

I started this one on a lark because of the subject matter, but it’s become one of my very favorite series.

The good: everything I just mentioned.

The bad: For me, nothing. Because it is long-running (we’re up to volume 40), it is a time investment, but one that’s well worth it. A lot of the subplots also take their time, so for some people, some bits may feel a bit draggy if you’re not into the subject matter covered.
The ick: I can’t really think of anything. Anything that might raise eyebrows is usually put there because it might (the Cain Siblings arc comes to mind), but it’s fully addressed and the characters’ feelings often mirror what presumably are the reader’s. There’s nothing over the top graphic or violent, though. 
Rating: 5 superstar sheep.

About the Author:
Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Interview: PNR Author Dianne Duvall + giveaway

Sharon: Do you have a favorite romantic song?
Dianne: I actually have many favorites. I love music and will listen to just about any genre of music from any era. But I tend to gravitate toward oldies when it comes to romantic songs. How High the Moon, sung by Pat Suzuki is one favorite. At Last, sung by Etta James is another. I believe Ami enchanted Marcus by singing the latter in Night Reigns

: What kind of paranormal romance hero curls your toes?
Dianne: Honestly, the kind of paranormal romance hero that curls my toes is the kind you’ll find in my novels: a powerful man who adores a strong woman. An honorable hero who will do anything to protect those he loves. I like intense action scenes in my paranormal romance, so the hero has to be able to kick butt. I enjoy the action scenes all the more when the heroine is right there kicking butt with him. The hero has to be smart and have a great sense of humor. Laughter and teasing have always been a big part of my life, so I enjoy heroes (and heroines) who can joke and tease even when circumstances are looking pretty grim. Heroes who embrace love and affection rather than shying away from it (or even running as fast as they can in the opposite direction) are my favorites, too. ;-)

Sharon: What is your favorite romance troupe to read/watch and is it the same as what you like to write?
Dianne: There are two in particular that I’ve always enjoyed: Friends-to-Lovers and Fish-Out-of-Water stories. That’s why you’ll find both in my books. Romance comes in a lot of packages. But I seem to connect more with couples who simply meet, get to know each other, become friends and fall in love than I do with couples who embark upon a more combative relationship. I like affection and teasing banter, like that which Susan and Stanislav and my other Immortal Guardians couples engage in. I’m also always curious to see how people will react to being taken out of their comfort zone or out of their element, so you’ll find that as well in my books. Susan, for example, is definitely taken out of her element in AWAKEN THE DARKNESS. Her quiet life radically changes overnight when she rescues Stanislav. But I love how she handles it.

Sharon: What is one of the most powerful romances you've read/watched? (book/movie/play)
Dianne: That’s a tough one. There have been so many that moved me, both movies and books. But the first movie that comes to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife. It has the Friends-to-Lovers element that I love so much in romances. It has the Fish-Out-of-Water, too, along with some humor. And there is so much going against Clare and Henry. But their deep, abiding love for each other simply won’t be denied.

Awaken the Darkness (Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall July 10th 2018
Kindle Edition, 414 pages
by Dianne Duvall
Return to the "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardians.

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

Don't miss a heart-pounding moment of Dianne Duvall's "utterly addictive" Immortal Guardians series!

About the Author:
Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice* Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews.

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete-like some of the vampires she creates in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit You can also find Dianne online . . .

(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card

(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card 

(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Pre-Programming Vol 2 of the Circo del Herrero (The Blacksmith’s Circus) by B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler + giveaway

The Pre-Programming Vol 2 of the Circo del Herrero (The Blacksmith’s Circus)
by B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler

October 2018 
Genre: Mythpunk, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: SOBpublishing
Number of pages: 421
Word Count: 143,700
Cover Artist: SOBpublishing
Vulcan’s ancient Automata find their purpose rebooted in the second installment of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO series.

The crippled god of metallurgy, fire, and alchemy has many names and many faces—sometimes Hephaestus, Ptah, or Vulcan. He changes to suit his needs. And just like his names, his creations have gone through countless revisions. This time, he’s finally onto something—his Automata have turned the heads of other gods. They’ve noticed their pre-programmed potential. There’s a reason Vulcan didn’t scrap the Automata—a reason he left them in the care of humans all this time. They were just the beta testers for his most intricate windup toy yet…

Vulcan’s ancient Automata find their purpose rebooted in the second installment of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO/THE BLACKSMITH’S CIRCUS series. Their immortal human Masters will drop like flies—superfluous in the next round as the gods shuffle in a new deck of fateful cards. The Masters can choose how and when, but they will all die to free the Automata of their earthly chains. Odys and his Automaton, Maud, struggle to protect his twin sister from the plotting of his dual-bodied adversaries. But his sister, Odissa, finds herself a willing participant in The Blacksmith’s latest exhibition—could she be the missing cog to the god’s tightly wound machine all along?

In this thrilling sequel to THE AUTOMATION, the Narrator and Editor drag readers deeper into the dark history and even darker future of Automata. When the subterranean god emerges with his postlapsarian blueprint, so will the truth about B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler. Ideal for fans of Scott Hawkin’s The Library at Mount Char, Jo Walton’s The Just City, and all the way to Homer’s The Odyssey, THE PRE-PROGRAMMING is a literary outrage that dares you to keep reading between the lines and the footnotes.

The Automation (Book One in the Circo del Herrero Series) 

“Why did you call me Dorothy?” Odissa seized 
the sides of his face, as if she had Dorian trapped now. 

“Why? Do you not like this yellow brick road I’m escorting you down?” He sunk lower into the tub, angling her grip on him. Her fingers slid a little on his wet skin. His hair touched the water and fanned out like an aura. He wanted to make sure her hands were still playing nicely.

“That’s not a real answer, Dorian.” She leaned into him.

He floated away from her. He spread out his arms along the tub. His grey eyes closed, readying himself. “I suppose you have a right to know. Odys will tell you eventually, I’m sure. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut.”

“About what?”

He rubbed a finger over his pink upper lip at a false itch. “I knew your real parents, Odissa. At least, I think I did. But I won’t tell you more than that.”

“Why not?”

“Not only would your brother hate me for it, but…” He trailed off.

“Since when do you care what my brother wants? I think he’ll be too distracted about the other stuff we’ve done to care if you tell me. And does this mean he knows? Why does he know but I don’t? It isn’t fair.”

“Your brother knows as much as I do. And believe me, that means he’s not sure of anything.”

“Not sure of what, Dorian?”

He merely smiled. “I’m going to make the others adore you, Odissa. Just you wait. I need to warn you that when they start arriving they might be a little suspicious about what we’ve been up to. They might not understand. Don’t worry. I’ll handle it. They’ll love you. They’ll let me save you.”

“Save me?”

“When we find Madus, he’ll be perfect for you. A twin for a twin.”

She had no idea what he was talking about.

“Then Leeland will never get to you. No one will ever take you away from me again.” He was smiling to himself once more, his finger back at that lip.

“Exactly how many times have I been taken away before?”

“Once, in the past. But an Automaton will keep you here with me forever. You understand? Maybe then—once you have an Automaton—you’ll understand what happened to your parents, why I did what I had to. The Automaton will explain everything.”

“What did you do to my parents, Dorian?” Her heart was making the water ripple despite her body remaining still. “I don’t want an Automaton.”

“Your brother wants you to have one too.” To himself, “That’s why he went so willingly to Rosemund.”

Not sure what he meant, “He won’t give me one if I do not want one.”

“None of us were really given a choice, Odissa. You think you will be? And the others will want to make me happy. I will win them over. I will gain their votes. Why wouldn’t you want an Automaton? You either become one of us or we get rid of you eventually. Why not finalize the deal? You have no life to go back to.”

“You’ve made sure of that, haven’t you?”

He licked his lip, wondering why she was so obstinate. Could she not see what he meant? Surely—for she could see everything else.

“Then let me know why you won’t tell me. Why can’t you tell me why I’m Dorothy?”

His jaw clenched. He did not like her persistence. “You would hate me, that’s why.”

“What if I promised I wouldn’t? Why would it change so much between us? Aren’t we destined to be in love with each other?”

“No. I’m destined to be in love with you. The gods promised us nothing about your love.”

“You were angry with me when I didn’t say I was married. Now you’re the one hiding the truth.”

The water rippled as he huffed. “Leeland has leverage—family members, pets, friends. He uses leverage to try and get our Automatons. He had leverage on me, but…I still have an Automaton, Odissa. You understand what I’m saying?”

He heard her try to swallow.

“Do you understand, Odissa?”

About the Authors: Website-FB-Twitter
BLA and GB Gabbler [really just a pen name – singular] are the Editor and Narrator behind the Circo del Herrero series. THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the series, is a mythpunk novel that puts a postmodern spin on how we interpret myth and literature. Gabbler’s work typically explores ways in which robots and religion intersect. You can read more of their work on the Fanzine. Their second volume, THE PRE-PROGRAMMING, is scheduled for release in 2018. You can read the first volume for free.

Tour giveaway 
1 print copy of The Automation US and Canada only 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt Spotlight: Eternity's Awakening (The Vein Chronicles Book 3) by Anne Malcom + giveaway

Anne Malcom is stopping by today for the release of ETERNITY’S AWAKENING, book 3 in The Vein Chronicles! Check it out and grab your copy now!

Eternity's Awakening (The Vein Chronicles Book 3)
by Anne Malcom
June 27, 2018
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Heartbeats had a pesky way of complicating things.
They almost always came with the nasty side effect of humanity and finally... death.
Since Thorne came into my life, I'd been plagued with both.
Heartbeats and humanity.
Both of these things were going to be the death of me.
One way or another.
And the death of everyone I knew and loved, a list growing longer with every beat of my newly repaired—and irritating—heart.
That pesky humanity was almost as toxic as the most debilitating illness on this hunk of rock, killing more humans than any vampire could.
And there I was, attached to a slayer who I couldn't be undead without.
Friends who I was becoming increasingly attached to.
All things—people—he would take away from me. 
Then he'd take me too.
But if it came to that, I'd yank out my beating heart and crush it in my hands before he could touch me.
It was lost anyway. If he won, my eternity would come to an end. As it happened, so would the world.
That only meant I couldn't lose.

“We need to talk about him,” Thorne said, his voice tight.

“Who?” I asked, swiping my face with blush and pretending to be innocent.

It didn’t work well, despite me being an excellent actress. Someone as fucked up as me couldn’t even feign innocence; they could only ruin it.

Plus, I knew who he was talking about. I could sense it in his very words. We hadn’t uttered his name since we left the compound, and the all-night sexathon did not warrant such conversation.

Thorne’s quicksilver gaze bored into my reflection. “Your fucking husband.”

I paused for a sliver of a second before I resumed applying my makeup. “I’d say that our marriage is considered null and void after he faked his own death and then tried to kill us both, don’t you?” It was a considerable effort to keep my voice tight with sarcasm and nothing else, but I did it.

“He was something to you, Isla. You told me as much when you told me the story of his death.” He paused. “He was something to you, and now he wants you back. And he’s made it quite clear that he’s going to kill every single person who gets in his way. I didn’t miss your reaction when Alexus said those words.”

I put the brush down, laying my palms flat on the marble counter, glaring at his reflection. “No, he was something to the human I used to be,” I corrected, my voice rising slightly. “He’s nothing to the vampire I am now. Nothing but another target to take out in the middle of this war.” The lie sounded weak even to my ears.

Thorne stepped forward, face tight and blank, his energy swirling around me. “You may be able to lie to yourself about that, but you can’t lie to me. There’s still something there. He still has something over you,” he rasped, coming to stand behind me but not touching me.

I pretended I didn’t care, that I didn’t crave his touch, that I didn’t need it to chase away the sickness that carried Jonathan’s memories. “He doesn’t. Videos weren’t invented five hundred years ago, so he can’t show everyone how dreadfully dense I was,” I retorted. “Nor can he broadcast my equally dreadful fashion sense, so I’m good.”

Abruptly, Thorne’s fist shattered my reflection. Glass rained down around us, and the fragrance of his blood filled the air, mingling with his hot and wild fury.

“Stop it!” he roared, snatching my shoulders to painfully twist me around.

The pop of my shoulder dislocating echoed through the room.

I gaped at his fury-filled eyes. They were so far gone he hadn’t even noticed injuring me in the midst of it.

“Stop with the jokes, with the sarcasm,” he hissed, voice a blade. “I watched it. I watched you fucking freeze and turn into some kind of robot in the middle of the battle at your parents’ house. Watched you walk toward him. Nothing has control over you. Or I’d thought that until I saw him. He has control over you, Isla.” It was an accusation, but it was something else too, something more than jealousy.

Something like dread. A sickening premonition of the visceral fear he’d feel when we were faced with Jonathan again.

But I wasn’t about to inspect it, because it would mean that I had to recognize whatever feelings had been dredged up from the grave along with Jonathan. “No one has control over me, Thorne,” I lied. “Not even me.” My voice was pure ice. “And especially not you.”

I wrenched myself out of his grip and stormed from the room. He didn’t follow me.

Catch Up On The Series Now! 

About the Author
Website-FB -Instagram
Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon. Raised in small town New Zealand, Anne had a truly special childhood, growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. She has backpacked across Europe, ridden camels in the Sahara, eaten her way through Italy, and had all sorts of crazy adventures. For now, she's back at home in New Zealand and quite happy. But who knows when the travel bug will bite her again.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Book Review: The Darkest Time of the Night By Jeremy Finley + excerpt

The Darkest Time of the Night
By Jeremy Finley
June 26, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ASIN: B077XLLL6N ISBN: 978-1250147301

Investigative journalist for WSMV-TV in Nashville, Jeremy Finley's debut thriller explores what happens to people’s lives when our world intersects with the unexplainable.

"The lights took him."

When the seven-year-old grandson of U.S. Senator vanishes in the woods behind his home, the only witness is his older brother who whispers, “The lights took him,” and then never speaks again.

As the FBI and National Guard launch a massive search, the boys' grandmother Lynn Roseworth fears only she knows the truth. But coming forward would ruin her family and her husband’s political career.

In the late 1960s, before she became the quiet wife of a politician, Lynn was a secretary in the astronomy department at the University of Illinois. It was there where she began taking mysterious messages for one of the professors; messages from people desperate to find their missing loved ones who vanished into beams of light.

Determined to find her beloved grandson and expose the truth, she must return to the work she once abandoned to unravel the existence of a place long forgotten by the world. It is there, buried deep beneath the bitter snow and the absent memories of its inhabitants, where her grandson may finally be found.

But there are forces that wish to silence her. And Lynn will find how far they will go to stop her, and how the truth about her own forgotten childhood could reveal the greatest mystery of all time.

The Darkest Time of Night is a fast-paced debut full of suspense and government cover-ups, perfect for thriller and supernatural fans alike.

Take a dash of Thelma and Louise, add a big helping of The X-Files, throw in a pinch of Close Encounters gone Fried Green Tomatoes and soap opera drama, and you have a recipe for science fiction horror, UFO abduction, Men in Black, and government conspiracies Southern style. Though in a couple of spots I wanted to knock some sense in the main character (told in first person), Lynn Roseworth, the wife of a senator, Tom. She more than made up for it by being determined to find her five-year-old grandson, William, who has disappeared, apparently taken. But he was taken by a child molester or ordinary kidnapper? His older brother, Brain had 
said, “by the lights,” just before he quit talking or even responding. Lynn, aided by her best friend since second grade, Roxy, head to a university her husband went to school at and she worked in the astronomy department at to contact the one man who might be able to help. It becomes evident the kidnappers may not be human and Lynn’s past has a connection to alien abductions and that this is more than a scary sci-fi story. 

I’m hoping there will be a sequel.
 The aliens and the abductions they are doing left some unanswered questions as to why. 

I give The Darkest Time of the Night 5 UFO abducted sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

Even before I learned about the boldness of blue, the vanity of purple, and the purity of white, the bell taught me the meaning of red. You go any farther than that bell, Lynn Marie Stanson, Daddy had said, pointing to the Faraday original shining like an apple at the pitch of the greenhouse roof, and you’re as good as dead.

He’d made the threat on a Sunday. I remember this because I was wearing half-size-too-small saddle oxfords, shined to the best of Daddy’s ability, which hurt my toes. I’d meant to take them off as soon as we got home, but Mrs. Ross, who watched me sometimes after Mass while he worked, had insisted that I immediately help her with the double wedding ring quilt for Ruth Mosely’s daughter. After a few agonizing moments of trying to thread a single needle, I mentioned that Daddy would be drowning in sweat if he were in the greenhouse. Mrs. Ross raised one eyebrow and said she’d put the lemonade in the icebox.

Ice clinked in the glass as I ran across the lawn and threw open the door. Momentarily overwhelmed in the heat generated by the glass panels, I took a sip of the drink, knowing Daddy wouldn’t mind. I assumed he would be inside, puffing on his pipe, as he had walked in the direction of the greenhouse when we got home, quickening his step when he looked at his watch. Instead, I smelled only fertilizer, with no trace of tobacco. I was tracing my name in the soil spilled from a repotted spider fern when I heard his voice.

Hoping the mower was acting up again and he would soon mutter one of the words that made me giggle and Mrs. Ross frown, I crept out the back door, glaring at its weary, squeaking hinges.

I expected to see him alone among the burr oaks, perhaps having moved the Atco mower into the shade. Instead, he stood with his hands on his hips, one eye narrowed, encircled by three men holding lanterns.

I froze in place and then inched back inside, careful to leave enough of a crack in the door to peer through. One of the men, wearing a wool suit too hot for a Tennessee summer, made a sweeping gesture of an arch. My father frowned, scrunched his forehead, and pointed to the skies. The man in the wool suit nodded once.

“We brought these to show you,” the man said, holding up the lantern. “You’ll see. We really need you to show us where it is. You agreed.”

“I know I did,” Daddy muttered.

I had been out of school for a month, so I’d had plenty of time to get to know all of Daddy’s customers, and he always let me hand out cigars to his friends at Tuesday night’s poker games. I knew with certainty the three men in the woods were strangers.

Don’t do it Daddy, I wanted to whisper in his ear.

He made a beckoning motion to the men, and I felt the sting of hypocrisy. After all, he was the one who filled my head with terrors: wild animals, thorns, sinkholes, bear traps, snakes, and monsters.

Monsters? I’d asked.

Especially monsters, he nodded. Lynn, we never, ever go in the woods.

Not even you?

Not even me, peanut.

I almost called out for him, but something about the way he walked with the men caused me to hesitate. Daddy was never in a hurry, his hands usually deep in his pockets, his boots lifting and falling in a routine rhythm. He now seemed to scurry along with the three men, deep into the foliage, all carrying lanterns despite the midafternoon sunlight.

When he had almost disappeared into the green, I threw open the door and followed. Mrs. Ross would have her head thrown back and would be deep into a snore by now anyway.

The rule about the woods was for both of us, Daddy.

Last fall, I brought home a balloon from the Davidson County fair, and the string had slipped from my grasp despite my taffy-coated fingers. I watched it float into the woods and become ensnared in a low-hanging cluster of branches. I could see the bobbing of the purple balloon not far from where I’d stood. I’d called for Daddy to fetch it for me. It couldn’t have been more than a yard away. He’d just shook his head and took me by the hand into the house.

I told myself I’d watch him and the men from a distance, enough to know that he was all right. If something happened, I’d go for help. Pretending to be some sort of lookout helped temper the gnawing feeling in my stomach.

After a ten-minute walk, they stopped in a small clearing. Daddy looked around and motioned to the man in the suit. He pointed to a corner of the grove, and the man hurried over and nodded in grim acknowledgment.

I hid behind the trunk of a maple tree that had squeezed itself into life among the oaks. Squinting, I could not only see what the man was looking at on the ground, but could read what was written upon it. My narrowed eyes widened.

On a count of three, the men lifted the glass canisters above their heads. The two wearing glasses clearly struggled, their doughy triceps trembling in short-sleeved shirts. The man in the suit held his own, as did Daddy. All began to walk, holding the lanterns, peering into the glass intently.

Inside, black spots began to sputter upwards, just as a batch of twigs beneath my uncomfortable shoes betrayed me.

At the sound of the snapping wood and the sight of my blue pleated skirt peeking out from behind the tree, the lantern fell from Daddy’s hand, shattering to the forest floor.

I gasped, covering my mouth in a futile attempt to hide myself. I watched as small beetles began to crawl on the large pieces of broken glass now scattered between the men. Ladybugs drunkenly flew in unexpected escape, unsure of what to do with their newfound freedom.

I braced myself, as all children do when their parents’ eyes simultaneously become too white and too pinched. Daddy reached me in seconds, his hands gripping my arms with unfamiliar fierceness. “What are you doing?”

He scooped me up and carried me back through the trees. Although my vision bobbed as Daddy’s shoulder threatened to crash against my chin, I still saw the men gaping, straining their necks to watch as I was hustled away. Only when the man in the suit kneeled on the ground where Daddy had pointed did the other two tear their gaze from me. The last thing I saw was the man in the suit looking at the forest floor, covering his mouth in shock.

When we were once again on the lawn and free of the trees, Daddy set me down so abruptly I almost bit my tongue. I wanted to run away, frightened by this stranger suddenly embodied by my father.

He slapped me across the face. The same man who, as a single father, learned to paint my toenails, gave funny names to my earlobes, carried a curl of my hair in his wallet, and fluffed my pillow at night. I broke into tears, and I saw his hand tremble, threatening to strike again. Instead, his fingers curved, with only his index finger remaining, pointing up towards the greenhouse roof where, last summer, he had installed the bell that had once hung in the fire hall on Holly Street.

“Never, ever, ever again, do you step foot an inch beyond that bell. You go any further than that bell, Lynn Marie Stanson, and you’re as good as dead.”

“But you—”

“It doesn’t matter what I do! You are never to enter those woods again!”

Tears pooled in my eyes. He leaned in closer, taking my chin roughly between his thumb and fingers. “Don’t you know—you go in those woods again and you won’t come back. Do you understand me? Do you?”

I nodded repeatedly in his grip, and he hissed at me to get inside the house. I ran and didn’t look back.

Even now, decades later, if I stray too close to the woods, I seek out the bell. Even after Daddy died, and Tom and I added three thousand square feet to his house, painted it white and added a wraparound porch where I’d rocked each of my three daughters to sleep. Even after the girls grew up and started their own lives, and the glass from the greenhouse came down, the sign changing from “Bud’s Greenhouse” to “The Rose Peddler,” the bell remained. The contractor we hired to turn the greenhouse into a gardening shop had practically insisted it be removed. He declared the concept Daddy had implemented, of wiring the store phone to the bell so it would ring if a customer needed him while he was tending to his vegetable garden, was unnecessarily outdated. He suggested I have my business calls forwarded to my cell phone if someone was trying to reach me while I was watering the coneflowers and peonies that grew where Daddy’s green beans and tomatoes once flourished. I had given my husband a look. “The bell stays,” Tom had said to the contractor, with a wink. “My wife hates change.”

The two had exchanged knowing glances. I let them believe it.

It is not by chance that boxwoods stand as sentinels around the house, that roses and lilies fight for dominance in my formal garden, that hostas rest under four different willow trees, and that the front of the Peddler is flooded with coneflowers and daisies, yet I plant nothing remotely close to the tree line. The blot of red beneath the black shingles, on the verge of the trees, still holds sway.

I am a mother and grandmother, with my seventies on the near horizon. I should have let go of those fears long ago. But in all my life, I never entered the woods again. I may have been jarred that day Daddy hauled me out of the trees, but I know what that man in the wool suit had examined, then lifted from the ground of the clearing. I should have asked—and almost did, several times—but I never could find the courage to ask my father why the gravestone of a child was so deep into the woods.
Copyright © 2018 by Jeremy Finley, Inc

About the Author:
Jeremy Finley's investigative reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims, and the discovery of missing girls. The winner of more than sixteen Emmys and Edward R. Murrow awards, he is also the recipient of a national Headliner award, and is a two-time winner of the IRE award, recognizing the best in investigative journalism. In 2016, he was named the journalist of the year by the Tennessee Associated Press. He is the chief investigative reporter at the NBC affiliate in Nashville, TN, where he lives with his wife and daughters.

THE DARKEST TIME OF NIGHT is his first novel.