All the Love You Write by D.G. Driver #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #RBRT

A story about young love, first love, true love, timeless love, and the power of love letters.

Mark and Bethany are two mismatched high school seniors in a new relationship.

It’s doomed to fail.

Mark has adored Bethany since middle school, and she’s finally giving him a chance. Only, he’s clumsy at romance and knows he’ll lose her because of it. Bethany thinks Mark is sweet. Only, she’s afraid to commit her whole heart to him because he’s going into the army and she’s headed off to college.

Fifty years earlier, a boy and a girl from the same high school shared an amazing but tragic love story. They have now returned as ghosts and are interfering in Mark and Bethany’s relationship.

Who are they? Why do they care what happens to Mark and Bethany?

I’ve read nearly every book D.G. Driver has written, and they’ve never disappointed me.  All the Love You Write is no different.

When I learned this story was the continuation of the author’s 2015 novella, Passing Notes, I couldn’t wait to read it.  As with the novella, this is a sweet, heartwarming tale, and I challenge anyone to read it and not have their heartstrings tugged.  The author does an excellent job at portraying the awkwardness of first relationships, especially in the case of Mark.  As the mother of sons, I saw several parallels and chuckled many times over his actions.

One of the characters frustrated me for a good portion of the book.  I wanted to tell this person they were doing it all wrong, but one of the ghosts took care of that for me.  I’m a fan of anything supernatural, so that aspect and the connection to Mark were some of my favorite things about the story.

The fact that Bethany excels academically and is on a college track, while Mark has struggled in school and chooses to serve his country in the army is a source of conflict between the couple.  It’s also an apt depiction of how college isn’t the path for everyone, while pointing out the many educational and career advancement opportunities within the military.

It’s clear the author did her research into the time period of the Vietnam War – not only historic events that took place, but also how relationships and opportunities for women were vastly different from today.

If you’re a fan of love stories – or even better, supernatural love stories, All the Love You Write is an inspiring tale with some some heartfelt messages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1) by Meg Kassel #bookreview #YA #paranormal #TuesdayBookBlog

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

I bought this book several months ago during a Bookbub special.  The cover is stunning, and the original paranormal premise grabbed me.

It was refreshing to read a paranormal novel that didn’t involve the usual werewolves or vampires (although I’ve read vampires are making a comeback, and I can’t wait).  The Harbingers, who signal death is coming and feed off the energy, and Bee Keepers, who house poisonous bees that cause mental instability, are morbid and add a nice degree of creepiness to the story.  The Harbingers turning into black birds are just icing on the cake.

The brief description on the Bookbub email didn’t imply this novel was so heavy on romance, so I was a bit disappointed, but that’s my fault for not checking the expanded description on Amazon before buying it.  The relationship between Reece and Angie falls into standard paranormal trope – sweet, but insta-love and pretty predictable.

I thought the relationship between Angie and her father was done exceptionally well.  She’d been raised by a drug addicted mother who was estranged from Angie’s father, and he’d been searching for Angie for years, only reuniting with her upon the death of her mother.

Although more romance than I usually prefer, this was an intriguing read that held my interest, and one I’d recommend to fans of paranormal romance.

Pride and Fall (Cathedral Lake #3) by Staci Troilo #bookreview #suspense #romance

Fear unchecked cripples. Fear conquered liberates. 

Faith Keller has suffered much in her life–the murder of her sister, the near-destruction and almost-ruin of her family, a traumatic abduction. It’s no wonder she battles the effects of PTSD on a daily basis. The last thing she needs is to be the subject of an intense police investigation for the very crime her father was blamed for years before. Yet, despite her family’s staunchest efforts, she finds herself on the hot seat with a tenacious officer–but one whose attention she actually relishes.

Carter Emerson takes his job seriously. It’s the only tribute he can make to honor his fallen brother, and he’s determined to do the title “police officer” justice. When he sets his sights on Faith Keller, he’s torn. His mentor tells him he’s got it all wrong, but the evidence doesn’t lie. The worst part? He doesn’t want her to be guilty. He just wants her.

A story of healing and personal growth, Pride and Fall ends the Keller Family trilogy with action, deception, and a revelation readers won’t see coming.

This is the third book in the Cathedral Lake series, but it could also be considered a standalone.  Although reading the first two may be helpful, enough backstory is provided in Pride and Fall so that it’s not confusing.

After reading the first two books over the past year or so, it felt like catching up  with old friends again when I picked up this novel.  I’d missed these characters, and was anxious to see where life had taken them.  But we didn’t get to catch up for long, because the action and suspense begin almost immediately.  The other books have focused primarily on other family members, but this story is very much Faith’s.  She’s struggling with PTSD, along with trying to establish her veterinary practice and independence, while also dealing with family relationships fraught with tension.

Faith’s relationship with Carter is also tension-filled, and they have to maneuver around several obstacles before hitting smooth waters.  Carter is a new character to the series, and I enjoyed seeing his sometimes harsh, professional outer layers peel away to reveal a likable, gooey center.  As much as I enjoyed Carter and Faith’s relationship, as an animal lover, I thought the ‘relationship’ between Max and Ruby (their canine companions) was adorable and charming.

It was nice to see these characters find their happily ever after (hopefully) and finish their story.  If you’re a fan of family drama and suspense with a dose of romance, you can’t go wrong with this series.

#BadMoonRising – Love Set in Stone by Staci Troilo #paranormal #romance

Welcome to the first day of Bad Moon Rising!  I’m a big fan of ghosties, ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night, so this time of year, I’m in my happy place.  This is the fourth year I’ve hosted horror, thriller, and paranormal authors for Bad Moon, and it’s a wonderful way to discover new authors and learn more about them.  Sharing is appreciated!

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, our first author will be a familiar face.  Staci is one of the busiest writers I know, and recently completed her paranormal romance Medici Protectorate series.  Welcome, Staci Troilo!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I’m probably a combination of the skeptic (because mass hysteria can make people believe all sorts of crazy things and I don’t go with the flow in those situations), the smart one (because I wouldn’t run UP the stairs, go off on my own, or open any doors that simply do not need opening), and the final person (because they usually get it at the end or the opening of the sequel, and I’m just not lucky enough to get through it all unscathed).

If you were paid to spend the night in a haunted house, would you do it?

I guess it depends on the amount of money. I don’t believe in ghosts (or at least, ghosts that harm people), but if the place is long-abandoned, it’s probably infested with all kinds of insects and rodents, and that would be more disturbing to me than any spirit that may or may not be there.

In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

A car. I can get away faster than they could chase me, and if I’m confronted with a group of them, I can just mow them all down with a push of the pedal.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Making time to do everything I want to, particularly when I have tight deadlines and a high workload. I don’t get writers block, and any snags I hit I can usually fix quickly with some research or outline revision. For me, time is definitely the biggest factor.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

I hate to say something is a must-have for all writers because everyone has a different process. But must-haves (or really-nice-to-haves) for me are a notebook to brainstorm and outline, Scrivener or StoryShop to actually write, and Word to edit. I can muddle through with less, but those three are my standards, and I’m most productive when I use all three.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got a few projects going right now. I’m in the middle of book 4 (Stalked) of the Nightforce Security series. It’s a spinoff of the Medici Protectorate series (without the paranormal element) and follows a bunch of former Navy SEALS who now work for a security firm. The books are in the romance/thriller genre and are written under the pen name Keira Beck. I’m also writing a psychological suspense series and a dark paranormal suspense under the pen name Delilah Cross. And I’m still outlining my next project written as “me” (so suffice it to say I’m pretty busy).

A cold stone heart breaks more easily than it beats. Than it loves.

Damien was a loyal warrior, killed in battle in 1203. Because of his true heart, he was given the option to pass on to his eternal reward or exist in another state of being as a protector… until he could resume living the life he’d been cheated of. A soldier by nature, he chose the latter. And he waited centuries—as a gargoyle—growing increasingly bitter about his choice.

Then he sees her.

Rina is a hard worker and loyal friend. But she has the worst luck. One night, after saving her best friend from a violent assault, she finds herself at the attacker’s mercy. Then, out of nowhere, a savior comes and rescues her.

With only an angel to guide him, Damien must make the right choices to win Rina’s heart… or be forever damned as a grotesque mockery of the guardian he once was.

Universal Purchase Link

Bio and Links:

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

 

Tortured Soul by Staci Troilo #guestpost #newrelease #romance #paranormal

Today I’m excited to welcome Staci Troilo with her new release, Tortured Soul, the final book of her Medici Protectorate series.  I haven’t gotten to this series yet (I’m currently reading the last book in her Cathedral Lake series), but the excerpts I’ve seen this week are making me anxious to get started!

Hi, Teri. Thanks for inviting me here today to discuss Tortured Soul, the fourth and final book in the Medici Protectorate series.

With the Halloween season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to discuss all things supernatural. This series is best classified as a steamy romantic thriller with paranormal elements.

The guys have magic powers. It’s not the most important part of the novel, but it is crucial. And how did these powers come about?

Alchemy.

Alchemy always interested me because it’s part fiction and part fact (which is kind of how I write). It was actually a precursor to modern chemistry, but the practitioners were less concerned with converting moles to grams and more interested in converting lead to gold. The transmutation of metals was of paramount importance to alchemists, as was the pursuit of immortality. Some say there was something that could do both—the illusive philosopher’s stone. (Bet that sounds familiar to many of you.)

In my series, alchemical rituals were performed by Michelangelo, who both mastered metal transmutation and conquered death. He used his alchemical abilities (including vast knowledge of the properties of stone and the mystical properties of colors) in addition to his sculptural talents to create a collection of marble daggers. Wielders of these weapons were imbued with great powers that corresponded to the color of the stone.

 

This series took a great amount of research to lend an air of authenticity to the stones and colors and rituals. Not that I minded; it was fun.

Gianni wields the red dagger. His powers are summed up by the words passion, blood, vengeance.

Vinnie wields the white dagger. His powers are summed up by the words purity, clarity, beginnings.

Nico wields the green dagger. His powers are summed up by the words life, balance, transformation.

Coz wields the black dagger. His powers are summed up by the words resilience, protection, potential.

Then there was the dagger wielded by the leader of the group. It was a gold dagger. Michelangelo was the only one who ever knew the three governing words associated with it.

After all, words have power. And he wasn’t about to give anyone an edge over him (he was the first leader of the group).

I really enjoyed the research into stones, colors, elements, and powers. I hope that comes through in the work.

Can you imagine having in your possession something that could extend your life, provide you with unlimited riches, and summon and control the elements themselves? I don’t know many people who could be trusted with such power.

Thank God such a thing is fiction.

Or is it?

Blurb:

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link

Author Bio and Links:

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Author Page | BookBub Author Page | Goodreads Author Page | Twitter | Other Social Media Links

 

The Contract: between heaven and earth by John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano #bookreview #thriller #suspense

The earth is under the threat of a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits of the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped. 

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

I especially enjoyed the blending of genres in this book – suspense, political intrigue, and romance (but not overdone).  This novel reminded me a bit of the little known movie from years ago, Made in Heaven, when two romantically involved people are sent to Earth from heaven and have a certain amount of time to find each other after being ‘reborn’.  It was nerve-wracking watching how their paths came so close to crossing, until they finally did.  Admittedly, their circumstances were much better than the characters in this book, and their assignment wasn’t nearly as important.

Both Brad and Sarah have endured hardships in their lives, and made it through to the other side because of their strength and determination, qualities they certainly need to survive the threats they’re facing.  They’re instantly likable and well-developed characters.  This action-packed story moves along at a brisk pace, and the trustworthiness of certain characters comes into question, leading to some surprising twists along the way.

If you’re a fan of thrillers and suspense intertwined with a bit of romance, I highly recommend this novel.

I received an ARC of this book from the authors.

The Contract: between heaven and earth by John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano #newrelease #thriller #suspense

I’ve got a treat for you today – John Howell and Gwen Plano are here with their new release!  The Contract offers an intriguing blend of genres – a suspenseful thriller, as well as a spiritual sort of love story.  Read the excerpt below, then head on over to Amazon!

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, Teri, for inviting us to join you today. We are so grateful to be featured on your beautiful blog to share with your readers a bit about our new book. Your YA novels are super reads. All the best to you.

The Contract

Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

Trailer

Here is an excerpt.

Brad and Sarah left the complex and strolled back to their residence. Brad leaned close to Sarah and whispered, “Why do I get the feeling we’re being watched?”

“I’ve had that feeling since we arrived on base. I just assumed it came down to everyone here knowing you.”

“Naw. This feels different. I had this same instinct back in Afghanistan—nothing you can put your finger on but just a knowing feeling.”

“What should we do?”

“Keep our eyes open.”

“I would love to have a pair in the back of my head.”

Sarah’s comment broke the tension, and they both laughed.

Brad said, “We just have to keep aware of who’s around us.”

“Why?”

“I need to tell you some things about this whole situation. It will make you nervous, though. Let’s take a moment and sit here.” Brad pointed at a lone bench that stood beside the pedestrian path.

Bewildered, Sarah sat and looked at Brad, “So something is going on that you haven’t shared with me? I’ve had that strange feeling you described, only it has to do with you and me.”

Authors Bio.

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.

Gwen’s books.

Available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wdXsrn