Friday, July 29, 2022

We Will Rise by Tim Waggoner

Happy Friday! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Tim Waggoner's latest, We Will Rise

Something is happening in the town of Echo Springs. The dead are coming back...

Randy Herrera was the first. Eddie has mourned the loss of his little brother for decades after he drowned in a terrible accident. And it's taken that long for Eddie to get over his fear of water. None of that matters when Randy comes back, though. Because he's taking Eddie with him this time!

All over town, people are faced with dead friends and relatives. No one knows why they're back but it's clear they're determined to increase their ranks, taking as many of Echo Springs' living as they can!

Tim Waggoner is something of a legend in the horror world. With umpteen short stories under his belt and almost as many books, he is definitely someone every horror fan should be reading! (Plus, he's a pretty nice dude!)

We Will Rise is a fun and creepy ghost story. Definitely different from anything else I've read in quite a while. 

A town plagued by its dead—and they're not zombies! That alone makes this a stand out :)

If you're looking for a great chiller to read this summer, you should absolutely add We Will Rise to your TBR pile!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Last Time We Met by Emily Houghton

Happy Friday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Emily Houghton's latest, Last Time We Met!

Eleanor and Fin were once the best of friends. In fact, they were so close that when they were thirteen they made a pact to marry each other if they were both single at thirty-five. 

But that was then. Now, they're virtual strangers. 

Fin, who's been living and working in the States, has been gone for years and Eleanor, who was in a committed relationship since she was a freshman in college, is newly single and trying to move on. The two collide, literally, at a mutual friend's wedding, forcing them back into one another's lives. But can their friendship recover from the hurt and betrayal that tore them apart in the first place?

Last Time We Met is a mostly easy breezy and sweet romantic read, perfect for summer! 

Poor Eleanor. Her life has truly been shaken up by her recent break up. What's more, everyone around her is pushing her to move on when she isn't quite sure that she's ready. 

Fin is also at his wits end. After leaving everything and everyone behind, he's forced to come home after learning that his mother's health is rapidly declining. But there's a reason he left and there's a reason he hasn't spoken to anyone for so long. 

The story flashes back between then and now, illustrating for the reader just how integral Fin and Eleanor were in each other's lives before revealing what happened to separate them in the first place (also why Fin left and hasn't spoken to his mother). And while there are some truly heart wrenching moments, Last Time We Met is ultimately a feel good (and I'll stress again, light) read. 

Last Time We Met is officially out in the UK on August 4!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Eclipse the Moon by Jessie Mihalik

Happy Book Birthday to Jessie Mihalik whose latest, Eclipse the Moon, is out now!

This second in the Starlight's Shadow series (following last year's Hunt the Stars) finds Kee Ildez working alongside her crush, Varro Runkow, to stop an intergalactic war!

Here's a bit more about the book from Goodreads:

Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty hunter. She never expected to be a hero, but when a shadowy group of traitors starts trying to goad the galaxy’s two superpowers into instigating an interstellar war, Kee throws herself into the search to find out who is responsible—and stop them.

Digging up hidden information is her job, so hunting traitors should be a piece of cake, but the primary suspect spent years in the military, and someone powerful is still covering his tracks. Disrupting their plans will require the help of her entire team, including Varro Runkow, a Valovian weapons expert who makes her pulse race.

Quiet, grumpy, and incredibly handsome, Varro watches her with hot eyes but ignores all of her flirting, so Kee silently vows to keep her feelings strictly platonic. But that vow will be put to the test when she and Varro are forced to leave the safety of their ship and venture into enemy territory alone.

Cut off from the rest of their team, they must figure out how to work together—and fast—because a single misstep will cost thousands of lives.

Note this is the second in the series and there are pretty big spoilers regarding the first one if you dive straight in here. Also, there's a third planned in the series, Capture the Sun, featuring two other characters due out next year!

If you like your science fiction packed chock full with action and a little romance, this series is definitely one you should have on your radar!

Order a copy from your favorite indie via Bookshop!

Monday, July 11, 2022

The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

Happy Monday! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for the latest installment in Mark Stay's fabulous Witches of Woodville series, The Ghost of Ivy Barn

It's August of 1940 and recent incidents have left England's witches in a bit of an upheaval. The High Witch, Vera Fivetrees, is under investigation after recent incidents in Woodville. Thankfully Faye, Miss Charlotte, and Miss Teach are so far in the clear as far as blame. But Otto Kopp is still on the loose and still wreaking havoc. And as the war continues to rage on, plans are being made for the witches to get involved. Plans Kopp is intent on ruining. 

Oh, how I adore this series! Mark Stay's Woodville is a charming little place where some really weird things have happened. In no small party thanks to the three witches who call it home. And of course the series begins with one of said witches only just learning witches exist at all, much less that she herself is one. 

Faye continues to learn to use her powers, with grumpy Mrs. Teach and Miss Charlotte teaching her. And they continue to skirt the lines of what's acceptable within the witch community. 

But since the stories take place during WWII there are actually bigger problems to worry about!

Faye and the others aside, Woodville and the people who live there are so completely charming and quirky that you can't help but fall in love! With hand bell ringers bouting against local Morris Men and even a little romance in the air, it's easy to forget the dangers of the outside world. 

At least until those dangers come knocking. 

And it's not just German bombers Woodville, and even the UK, are up against!

The Witches of Woodville series is such a breath of fresh air! It's fun and unique—an absolute perfect blend of supernatural, historical, and, as I mentioned, absolute charm!

Fair warning, this is the third book in the series and I do recommend reading them in order: The Crow Folk, Babes in the Woods, and then The Ghost of Ivy Barn. And if you read them and love them as much as I do, you can check out the official Witches of Woodville website for some super fun extras!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Night Shadows by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Eva Björg Ægisdóttir's third Forbidden Iceland title, Night Shadows

Everyone knows everyone in Akranes, which is why, when a fire breaks out in a family home killing a young man, everyone is devastated. And when the police immediately find proof that the fire was the result of arson, there are soon more questions than answers. 

Elma is one of the detectives on the case. One of whom begins to realize that it could be tied to that of a missing au pair. But as the investigation becomes more drawn out, it becomes clear that there is a tangle of secrets at the center of this perplexing case. 

I love this Icelandic suspense series so much! If you've not read them, you are truly in for a treat! And you can easily start with Night Shadows if you like! (If you're a completionist, like me, the series in order is: The Creak on the Stairs, Girls Who Lie, Night Shadows.)

One of my favorite things, plots and human characters aside, is the strong sense of place conveyed in the series. I've never been to Iceland, much less, Akranes, but the author draws such a vivid picture of the town and what life is like there that it truly makes reading the series a rich experience!

Night Shadows is out in e format later this month. The paperback will release in the States in November. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

The White Hare by Jane Johnson

Happy Monday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the Random Things tour for Jane Johnson's The White Hare

Mila, her mother Magda, and her daughter have come to White Valley to turn a rundown country home into a guest house. But from the start things go awry. 

The locals are superstitious and surly. The location is remote. And two women on their own aren't necessarily going to be treated with much respect. But that's not all. Things have gone missing, workers have gotten injured, and everyone hints of strange and possibly dark happenings at the house. 

Mila is hesitant to believe local lore, but even she has to admit there's something strange about the house and the area. But is it a ghost. Or is it something older, something wilder, something that traces back to the earliest Cornish people?

The White Hare is brimming with brilliant characters and excellent atmosphere. And I absolutely love it!

Set after WWII, the book finds Mila, a newly single mom in a quite awkward position, her mother, Magda, a formidable Polish woman not to be trifled with, stuck together in this new venture. Mila wants what's best for her daughter Janey. Magda wants...what Magda wants. And Mila already feels trapped just a few days into their arrival at the new home. 

Before long, they meet a stranger, Jack, who is a help. But not all of the locals are as welcoming. And the already remote setting plus the local sentiment has Mila feeling even worse than before, longing for her lost home in London. 

Janey on the other hand seems to find things to like in the new place. And her imaginary friend, Rabbit, is almost always by her side. But she's begun to say strangely prescient things and her drawings have become odd as well. And Mila isn't sure what to do. 

Mila and her struggle to provide the best for her daughter are at the heart of the story. As is the mystery of the valley and the house itself, which is hinted at throughout. 

This is a book to be savored. A book that will transport you to the Cornish countryside no matter where you happen to be while reading. A book that's perfect for anyone who enjoys a little bit of mystery and a little bit of magic in their reading!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Scandal in Brooklyn by Lauren Wilkinson - Excerpt and Giveaway

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm super excited to be able to share an excerpt from Lauren Wilkinson's new story "A Scandal in Brooklyn." And if you read through to the end, there's a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Before we dive in, here's a bit about the story:

A top-secret experiment at a restricted virtual-reality compound pulls attorney Tommy Diaz back into the orbit of Irene Adler, an old friend with an eidetic memory, a love of true-crime podcasts, and a knack for solving the unsolvable. But this? At a remote warehouse, a VR trial goes awry when a willing test subject, alone in the observation room, drops dead of anaphylaxis—from the sting of a virtual bee. Though the tech titan behind the research believes in the power of the outrageous, Irene relies on clues, hard facts, and a level head. However, in a case this peculiar, how elementary can it be?

"A Scandal in Brooklyn" is fun and fast—a perfect one sitting read that will surely send you looking for Wilkinson's other work!

A Scandal in Brooklyn Excerpt

We went inside, and into what looked like a clearing in the woods. It took me a moment to realize that the floor, walls and ceiling were all covered in LED panels that were projecting a three-dimensional image. Victor lay in a patch of grass in one corner of the room beside a tree whose branches stretched outward into the simulated sky. A cloud of bees was buzzing around the hive dangling from one of the branches.

“I . . . can’t breathe. Help me,” Victor said without turning to face us. His voice was ragged.

“Where did those bees come from?” The kid with the buzz cut sounded confused. He had a Russian accent, and couldn’t have been more than twenty-five.

“There are more over there,” Tyler said and pointed to the LED panels on the opposite wall.

“Victor must’ve been stung. But how—”

“He’s allergic to bees,” Priya shouted. “He’ll die!”

“He’s going into anaphylaxis,” Tyler said. “There’s epinephrine in the first aid kit.” He ran out into the hall to retrieve it, and when he returned, he shouted, “Someone call 911!”

I tried to but the call was rerouted. As an automated voice thanked me for contacting Avisa’s private emergency number, I watched Tyler poke a needle into a vial of epinephrine and draw the clear liquid up into it. He plunged the needle into Victor’s thigh.

A woman with a soothing voice came on the line, and after I explained what was going on, she told me she’d send emergency personnel to Avisa House. The alarm stopped suddenly, and I hung up and glanced over at Irene. She was observing everything, doing her best to commit the moment to memory.

I’d assumed that the shot would’ve immediately revived Victor, like in the movies. Instead, his eyes rolled up into his head and his body went limp.

“He passed out,” Priya said. “Do something, please!”

Tyler started CPR. A blonde woman with a magazine tucked underneath her arm came through the open door. My best guess was that this was the chef, Carol. “What the hell is going on? What was that alarm?”

Victor was still unconscious. He must’ve had a serious allergic reaction—his cheeks had ballooned to grotesque proportions, his eyes were swollen shut, and a bright-red rash had broken out on his neck and chin. Tyler stopped pumping his heart and put two fingers to Victor’s wrist to check his pulse. After a moment, he said, “He’s dead. I’m so sorry.”

Priya dropped to her knees beside him. She started to sob. I was too stunned to say anything. We all were. The room was so quiet that I could hear the distant sound of rain drumming on the roof. A couple of EMTs showed up a few minutes later—looking back, I wonder if they really were EMTs. They had both the air of authority and the equipment of medical professionals, but I can’t say for certain.

“I don’t understand this.” Priya had gotten up and was standing with Irene, Shinwell, and me. Her eyes darted back and forth between Irene’s face and Victor’s body as it was loaded onto a gurney. “He was fine just a few minutes ago.”

“Was he stung by digital bees?” I asked in a low voice.

“I think someone wanted it to look that way,” Irene said. “But I don’t buy it.”

Author Biography: Lauren Wilkinson’s debut novel, American Spy, was a Washington Post bestseller; was nominated for the NAACP Image Award, Anthony Award, and Edgar Award; and was included on Barack Obama’s 2019 Recommended Reading List. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine and the New York Times, among other publications.

For more on Lauren and her work you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Instagram.

Huge thanks to the tour organizers for letting me share the excerpt today! To enter the giveaway be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter here

"A Scandal in Brooklyn" is out now for your reading pleasure!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Blackout by Erin Flanagan

Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Erin Flanagan's latest, Blackout

Maris is no stranger to blackouts. But she's been sober for seven months when the latest one happens. 

At first, she thinks it's just a fluke. 

Then it happens again. And finally causes what could have been a tragic accident! 

And Maris hasn't been drinking. What's more, it seems other women have been experiencing the same thing. As Maris tries to figure out what's going on, her fear and paranoia have hit their limit waiting for the next blackout and its repercussions. What or who is causing the blackouts? And why?

This is an interesting premise. And because of Maris's background as a heavy drinker, she understandably doesn't want to raise any flags when the first couple of blackouts happen. In fact, she tries as hard as she can to figure out a logical explanation—stress, lack of sleep, migraines...

That's until she crashes her car in the midst of one of them. Now she can't ignore them. 

And if she'd returned to drinking, that would make more sense. Except that she hasn't. 

Meanwhile, life isn't exactly stressless. She's up for tenure and, after a string of articles focusing on a local college man who served a paltry sentence for sexual assault, she's now in the midst of continued coverage on the aftermath. Which means she's in the public eye. 

And since she's been sober for just seven months, those around her aren't sure what to think either. Her daughter is becoming distant. Her husband ordered a tox report after the accident, just in case. 

Maris is a time bomb waiting to explode with all the stress! And reading it makes for a tense experience, to say the least!

Blackout is a timely and intriguing read. 

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

For more on Erin and her work you can visit her website here

Blackout is officially out today. Be sure to order a copy from your favorite indie via Bookshop!