#BookFest, #Endgame, and Derby

This was one busy weekend – but busy in a good way.  Books!  Authors!  Avengers: Endgame!  Doesn’t get much better than that.

The book festival was, as always, spectacular.  On Friday, I attended writing classes involving topics on how to use time in novels, social media strategies, and YA fiction.  Saturday was spent at a worldbuilding panel, and listening to Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, discuss the events that led her to write it.  What an incredible speaker she was – relaxed, charismatic, inspirational, motivational.  And a great sense of humor!  The room was packed with people of all ages, races, and cultures, and her signing line afterwards stretched down the hallway and around the building.  It was such a pleasure to meet her.  If she’s ever in your neck of the woods, don’t miss the opportunity to see her.

As I said last Monday, I planned to use restraint, and refrain from buying every book I saw.  With only three, I’d say that showed incredible restraint.  Of course, Bond had jump into the picture.  I probably would have bought more, but I was meeting the youngest son for lunch before we saw Avengers: Endgame.

No spoilers!  Endgame was epic, incredible, and more than I’d imagined.  It absolutely deserved to break all those box office records.  At the end, everyone in our theater was clapping – how often does that happen?  Before the movie, I noticed a young boy around three-years-old sitting with his father behind us.  I was nervous, because what child that young is going to sit quietly through a three hour movie?  Evidently, he was just as enthralled as we were, because I never heard a peep.

This week will also be a busy one.  Maybe you don’t realize it, but in Kentucky, just about everyone knows Derby is this weekend.  We’ll be at some friends’ (who are more like family) party spending time with other friends (also more like family), and the best part is that all of our kids, who are now scattered in VA, OH, and TX, will be there!  On Sunday, I’m following my oldest son back to his new apartment in OH and spending a few days to help him unpack and get settled.  The Friday after that, I’ll be moving my youngest son out of his dorm back home for two weeks, then getting him ready to travel to Austria for four weeks, followed by moving him into his new apartment.

Tired yet?  Have a great week!

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon #bookreview #supernatural #mystery

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Timesbestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it’s too late . . . 

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

I’m really behind on my Jennifer McMahon books.  The last one I read was The Winter People, which was an easy five stars for me.  When I saw The Invited on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it.

This author is certainly talented at creating a chilling, atmospheric setting.  Forty-four acres of rural land, very few neighbors, and creepy bog?  Oh, and someone died by hanging at the bog?  Perfect.  Throw in a main character who uses building materials from allegedly haunted locations?  Disturbing.  The author also weaves in some spine-tingling visuals – nothing that kept me up at night, but I’m a horror fan, so that’s a difficult task to accomplish.

The characters are likable in the beginning, but once the supernatural events begin, they’re at each other’s throats.  While both Nate and Helen develop individual obsessions, the reader feels the same frustrations with them as the characters do with each other.  Honestly, if I was Nate, I probably would have tossed Helen out on her keester.  They’re also pretty slow to realize things aren’t quite right in their neck of the woods.

Maybe it was because I read an ARC, but several things are mentioned in the book that didn’t happen – events, something a character said, etc.  Like maybe the author meant to go back and add things during revisions, but forgot?

The Invited is a slow burn, supernatural tale that starts off a bit sluggish, but picks up around the 45% mark.  Enough hints are dropped that readers will probably figure out the twists before the ending, but it was an enjoyable read for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.



#CoverReveal: Sketch by @Didi_Oviatt #TuesdayBookBlog @RRBookTours1 #CreativiaPub

Sketch cover

Wow! Talk about cover love! I am so happy to reveal this unique cover of upcoming book by Didi Oviatt, Called Sketch. Today, I also have a sneak peek for you, so be sure to read on!


Expected Publication Date: June 2019

Genre: YA Thriller/ Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Creativia

When the body of the local girl, Misty Crawl, is found dismembered in an underground bunker, the town is thrown into a whirlwind of panic and speculation. Times aren’t exactly smooth sailing with a depression in full swing. The spaced out community of farmers pull together as one, trying to uncover the guilty party.

Thrown smack in the middle of such chaos, is a group of teens. They’re known troublemakers, but have good hearts. Although they’re innocent, the local law enforcers believe otherwise, and the true killer is lurking far too close for comfort. Will the four be able to uncover the truth before one of them pays the price for Misty’s death? Or will the brutal killer strike again, attacking the heart of the four?

*Sketch is a young adult psychological thriller. It’s a quick easy read, appropriate and gripping for mid-teens and up, with no sexual content and some bloody gore. Parents be advised.


As soon as Steven’s dad, Robert Smith, pulls down the road, they look mischievously at one another and then take off in a sprint down the steps into his basement. Steven’s always wanted to know what’s locked away down here. His father told him years ago that it was just a room full of old newspapers. But, Steven’s always known there has to be more to this dingy looking door all locked away. It doesn’t take Chloe long to pick the lock. She’s getting better and faster at it with every lock she opens. The door creaks as it swings open, and there it is.

“Holy shit,” gasps John.

“This is the best day of my life,” says Michael.

“Look at the dust on all this stuff. I’ll bet this door hasn’t been open in years! No one will even notice if we take it!” adds Chloe.

Steven whispers in fear, “I don’t know guys, my dad will kill me if he finds out.”

“No he won’t, Red, I can take him,” jokes Michael.

Staring back at them from the wall to wall metal storage shelves are two small crossbows and an open chest of arrows. Along with old war paint, hatchets, a couple machetes, rope, and one box of newspapers setting on the floor.

“What the hell was my dad doing with this stuff?” Steven asks, more to himself than the others.

Steven’s dad isn’t an adventuress man, and aside from the yearly deer and occasional bear he shoots, he doesn’t even like to get out and do much.

“The bears are getting out of control around here,” and, “we gotta’ have meat to survive,” is his logic for hunting.

He doesn’t enjoy hunting as a sport like the majority of other men and even women in town. It’s more of a chore for him. Which is only one step away from insanity, in Steven’s point of view. Hunting is Steven’s favorite thing to do with his dad, aside from throwing a football.

“Who cares why he has this stuff!?” John says, always the planner of the group. “Let’s just take it now and hurry, in case he forgot something and has to come back home. We don’t want to get caught carrying it all out of your house.”

They grab as much as they can lift and head straight for the woods. Distracted by all the cool things, they don’t even bother to glance at the newspapers in the box on the floor.

Pre-Order your Copy Today!

About the Author

Didi's Pic

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Sketch, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, Justice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.

Didi can be found on her Website/Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly AMAZON!

Cover Reveal Organized By:


R&R Book Tours

Moving, #AmWriting, #BookFest, #EndGame

A lot is happening at the Polen household over the next few months.  It started this past weekend with moving my older son to a different state.  He’s accepted another job within his company that required him to move a couple of hours away from where he currently resides, so guess how I spent my Easter weekend?  But this is an excellent opportunity for him, and he found a fantastic apartment.

The youngest son is finishing up this college semester in a few weeks, but will then be spending four weeks studying in Austria.  A week after he returns, we’ll be moving him into a new apartment for the fall semester.  Hubby just hopes the apartment will be on the ground floor (still popping Tylenol from this weekend)!

I signed a contact for my WIP (yes, it’s still titled Book 3, in case you were wondering).  My deadline is August 1st – and I’m remaining calm.  I’ll get this done.

You guys – this coming weekend.  I’m like, stupid excited.  Not only is it the local book festival, where I’ll meet author Angie Thomas and many of my favorites, it’s two days of writing classes, panels, and books, books, books!  I’ll try to restrain myself, but be prepared for a picture of my book haul next Monday.

And then Saturday at 3pm?  Do I really need to tell you where I’ll be?  Avengers:  Endgame!!!!

New Pen Name and New Cover

My friend, Staci Troilo, has a new pen name and new genre. Look at this stunning cover! I’ve preordered my copy, and I can’t wait.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Life’s been busy, and it just got CRAZY. My publisher moved the release date of my new book from October to May 7. May 7! That’s less than a month away! I’ve got so much pre-release work to do. Starting with a cover release. So… ta-da!

It’s it stunning? I’m so excited about it.

Let me back up a step. First, you’ll notice it does NOT say “Staci Troilo” on the cover. We’ve talked about this before, here and there or in passing. I’m writing under a pen name (D. L. Cross) for this series. We can talk more about that later, though.

Second, you’ll note an alien ship on the cover. Aliens, as in sci-fi. It’s not a genre people associate with the name Staci Troilo, which is one of the reasons I’m writing under a pen name. If you’re interested in science fiction and aliens, this…

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WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading an ARC of Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan.  Add this one to your TBR, guys.  A serial killer, layers of secrets in a small beach town – I read over half of it in one sitting.  So far, I suspect everyone.

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace.

Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth. 

I just finished King of Fools (Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody.  The first book in this series was among my best reads last year, so I waited a long while to find out the fates of these characters – and it was well worth the wait.  King of Fools definitely doesn’t suffer from middle book syndrome.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Next, I’ll read Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.  I’ve read a couple of Jay Kristoff’s books, but Amie Kaufman is new to me.  Look at this stunning cover!  And that last line, ‘They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.’, clinched the deal.  I knew I had to read this book.  It made me think of Guardians of the Galaxy.

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

An Interview and #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Tony Eames hosted me for an interview at NFReads.com yesterday – you can read the interview here.  Find out how I deal with negative feedback, and my creativity tricks (spoiler ahead – not that many), among other things.

Then jump over to Michele and Nina’s blog, 2Quirky, to read Nina’s reviews of both Sarah and The Gemini Connection.  Nina’s not really a sci-fi or horror reader, but I was thrilled she took a chance on my books and enjoyed them!