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Book Excerpt BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART by Amanda Hocking

BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART by Amanda Hocking / Young Adult Fantasy / Released Jan 2, 2018 by St. Martin’s PressCover Between the Blade and the Heart



The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

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New Release: SECRETS OF CAVENDON by Barbara Taylor Bradford

51CZNHxZwHLSECRETS OF CAVENDON by Barbara Taylor Bradford / Romance / St. Martin’s Press / Release Date:  Nov 21, 2017

From beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford comes a stunning, epic novel featuring the characters of the beloved Cavendon series.

For years things have run smoothly at Cavendon Hall, with very few quarrels, dramas, or upsets among the Inghams and the Swanns.  But since the end of World War II, things have changed.

The Secrets of Cavendon picks up in the summer of 1949, with the new generation of the estate at the forefront of the scandal and intrigue.  With romance, betrayal, heartbreak, and possible murder threatening too tear them apart, the Inghams and Swanns will have to find a way to come together and protect each other in the face of threats they never could have predicted.

BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD was born and brought up in England and started her writing career as a journalist.  She has written thirty international bestsellers.  Secrets of Cavendon is her thirty-second novel.  In 2007, Queen Elizabeth awarded her the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her literary achievements.  She lives in New York with her husband, TV and film producer Robert Bradford.

Historical Mystery: THE THIRD NERO by Lindsey Davis

51pdPyVvwoL._SY346_ THE THIRD NERO by Lindsay Davis • Historical Mystery • Minotaur Books • Released July 11, 2017

In 90 A.D., following the Saturninus revolt in Germany, the Emperor Domitian has become more paranoid about traitors and dissenters around him.  This leads to several senators and even provincial governors facing charges and being executed for supposed crimes of conspiracy and insulting the emperor.  Wanting to root out all the supports of Saturninus from the Senate, one of Domitian’s men offers to hire Flavia Alba to do some intelligence work.

Flavia Alba, daughter and chip off the old block of Marcus Didius Falcon, would rather avoid any and all court intrigue, thank you very much.  But she’s in a bit of a bind.  Her wedding is fast approaching, her fiancé is still recovering – slowly – from being hit by a lightning bolt, and she’s the sole support of their household.  So with more than a few reservations, she agrees to “investigate.”

Adding to the confusion is yet another Nero pretender has shown up in Parthia and is trying to rally support for his claim for the throne.  With intrigue upon intrigue swirling around the capital city, it’s up to Alba to uncover what is – and isn’t – the real threat.

LINDSEY DAVIS is the author of the New York Times bestselling series of historical mysteries featuring Marcus Didius Falco, which started with The Silver Pigs, and the mysteries featuring Falco’s daughter, Flavis Alba, which started with The Ides of April.  She has also authored a few acclaimed historical novels, including The Course of Honour.  She lives in Birmington, UK.

Review: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel

51unp28xXlLTHE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel • Romance • St. Martin’s Press • Released Aug 22, 2017

Book Review by Colleen L Donnelly 


“The One That Got Away” has the air of the Bridget Jones Diary series – a young woman amidst the complications of family and peers, telling and recounting the story of that one love – Ethan – who was there, and then not, but might be again.

Ruby is a quick-witted and slightly sour heroine, a modern girl fully up to date on who and what’s in, and doing her best to operate both as she navigates her sister’s wedding where the ex love of her life appears also. Because of Ruby’s speed in a generation that insists on it, I was a bit slow catching up with Pimentel’s dive into the story – the jargon, the current trends, and Ruby’s compulsion to stay on top, causing me to flounder before I attached to Ruby and cheered her on. But I did. And it was worth it – for anyone else not of that generation or speed.

I applaud Pimentel. She tells a story of Then and Now without chapters, switching back and forth from third person in the Then, to first person in the Now, sandwiching Ruby’s and Ethan’s happily ever after…or not between past and present events. There was never a lull in the story, the writing keeping pace with the setting, leaving me intrigued and wondering how, why, and if Ruby and Ethan would ever make it.

The characters are real and humorous, Ruby’s biting inner thoughts toward family, friends, and coworkers who deserve those judgments, entertaining. This is a light and fun read with situations and people we can relate to, and a smattering of profanity that like Bridget Jones, suited the characters and their lives.

If you are looking for a humorous romance that includes some of the downsides of love and life and still makes you smile, “The One That Got Away” is right for you.

Colleen L Donnelly

New Release: DEATH, TAXES, AND A SHOT GUN WEDDING by Diane Kelly

51+F8lZjEWLDEATH, TAXES, AND A SHOT GUN WEDDING by Diane Kelly / Mystery / St. Martin’s Press / Released Oct 31, 2017

As Tara Holloway and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day, along with the RSVPs and well-wishes, Tara has been receiving death threats from an unknown source.  The culprit has to be someone from an earlier investigation, but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow it down.  While she dodges attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself working a rent scam where a crook is ripping people off for thousands of dollars.  Will she be able track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece?  Or will “till death do us part” come sooner than Tara thought?

Diane Kelly has once again written a hilarious, witty adventure that ties up the series in true Tara Holloway style.

DIANE KELLY is a former state assistant attorney general and tax advisor who spent much of her career fighting, or inadvertently working for, white-collar criminals.  She is also a proud graduate of the Mansfield, Texas Citizens Policy Academy.  the first book in Diane’s IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway series, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, received a Romance Writers of American Golden Heart Award.  Book #2, Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte, won a Reviewers Choice award. Diane has combined her fascination with law enforcement and her love of animals in her K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series.

New Release: RING IN THE YEAR WITH MURDER by Auralee Wallace

51yWt6ZG68L._SY346_RING IN THE YEAR WITH MURDER by Auralee Wallace / St. Martin’s Press / Cozy Mystery / Released October 31, 2017

Erica Bloom’s New Year’s Resolutions:  drink champagne, get a midnight kiss … solve a murder?  Everyone’s favorite Otter Lake residents are back in the next cozy mystery this time, Erica Bloom and her friends race to solve a murder before the clock strikes midnight.

When Erica was invited to a Gatsby-themed New Year’s party, she expected to spend her night drinking champagne and avoiding her ex and his new squeeze.  But between a slimy PR agent, a seance, and a spilled drink containing antifreeze, Erica and her friends at Otter Lake Security are going to be ringing in the New Year knocking heads instead of clinking glasses.

Fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Kelly will love this hilarious murder mystery featuring a female sleuth and the wacky residents of her small town.

AURALEE WALLACE is the author of The Otter Lake Mystery series which includes Skinny Dipping with Murder and Pumpkin Picking with Murder.  She has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent.  When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, che can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.

New Release: FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh

9780399171635FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh / YA / Released May 2017 by Penguin Random House

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.