Posted in 5 paws, Novella, Review, suspense, Thriller on August 30, 2015

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Fiction / Thriller / Suspense
Date Published: 8/18/2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers


A beautiful young girl was walking down the street―when suddenly

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. Beautiful, intelligent, a nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened. Because girls are disappearing.

A fellow student, Beatrice Oliver, is missing. A homeless woman called Mona-No-Name is missing. Both taken off the street. Both gone without a trace.

Julia is determined to find out the reasons behind their disappearances. And she doesn’t want to be next…


Michael Connelly calls Karin Slaughter “unrivaled among thriller writers.” This gripping, unforgettable short story proves why. And be sure to order Karin’s new novel, Pretty Girls, on sale September 29, 2015.


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This may be considered a prologue to Pretty Girls, but this short story packs a punch. It sets up what I suspect will be the full story in Pretty Girls – what happens to Julia Carroll. I think that this short story gives us an insight into Julia and who she is and what her life is like before she is abducted. Others may have gone missing in her area that aren’t noticed or really looked for, but I have a feeling it will be a different story with Julia.

I will be picking up Pretty Girls soon because I need to know the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say)

I give this 5 paws up


About the Author

karin slaughterKarin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestseller Cop Town. There are more than 35 million copies of her books in print around the world.

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Posted in 4 paws, Adventure, Review, Young Adult on August 29, 2015


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Careful what you wish for…

Sarah Schilling’s twelve year-old brother is wicked smart. But this? Pure genius. Brian snagged an invitation to spend the summer with their favorite aunt and uncle on St. Croix. Uncle Jack tells them, “There will probably be some swimming, some diving. We like to run. There’s a range, so maybe you’ll learn to shoot. Cooking. Your Aunt Helen is a classically trained chef. You knew that, right? There’s the Mallard seaplane, so maybe you’ll learn something about flying. That sort of thing.”

That sort of thing sounds like too much work for Sarah Schilling’s summer on the beach. Until Brian’s scuba regulator mysteriously fails sixty feet underwater. Her training snaps into laser focus. During Brian’s rescue they unearth the 250 year-old secret of Black Bart—the pirate and his ghost. The discovery launches them into a hurricane of peril at the hands of modern-day pirates. The Schilling family will not survive unless Brian and Sarah discover the most powerful weapon that is within themselves.

A Pirate’s Time Served is a YA thriller of a ghost story. It shows how two teens can dig deeper than they thought possible, discovering what it means to lead, to follow, and to never ever give up—especially on family.

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Just when you thought you knew what was going to happen, the book takes an interesting turn!

This YA book is a bit fantasy (since it involves a ghost) and a lot of adventure. Brian and Sarah decide they don’t want to stay in NY over the summer and wrangle and invite to stay with an aunt and uncle on St Croix. However, the summer they were expecting is NOT what they experienced.

While parts of this book are not realistic (IMHO) it was still a fun read and definitely kept you on the edge of your seat. While the book spans about 3 months, the first 2 months only takes up about 25% of the book and the last month is the remainder of the book and where all the action really takes place.

I thought the book a tad too long and maybe some of the book could have been left out, but it was still an enjoyable read. I think tweens (especially boys) would enjoy this book, but girls would enjoy it too since there is Sarah and her typical teenager attitude, at least in the beginning when she first arrives on the island.

We give this book 4 paws up.


About the Author

chrismalburgChris Malburg is a widely published author, with work spread over 11 popular business books–including How to Fire Your Boss (Berkley) and Surviving the Bond Bear Market (Wiley, March 2011).  In his other life, Chris is a CPA/MBA, a former investment banker and now the CEO of Writers Resource Group, Inc., providers of professional financial literary content to corporations (  That’s the professional side of Chris’ career.  The fun side began when UCLA’s Writers’ school taught him to transition from biz-speak to fiction. GOD’S BANKER and the first installment in the Enforcement Division series, DEADLY ACCELERATION, both combine Chris’ natural talent for story telling with his professional command of the high-stakes investment world and what money and power do to some people.

GOD’S BANKER  came to fruition from Chris’ hospital bed while recuperating from an athletic injury.  As a long-time endurance athlete, Chris is no stranger to the surgeon’scalpal.  Over 130,000 words later, GOD’S BANKERwas complete.  “It just poured out me,” says the author.  “I carried my note pad to physical therapy; made plot notes during the hours in the gym doing rehab; even while on my long bicycle rides through the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we live.  Slowly endurance returned and with it, GOD’S BANKER.”

Chris Malburg lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Marilyn.  Their hobby is raising service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  As of this writing, they have raised eight Labrador retrievers and have had three make the cut for placement with their disabled partners.

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Posted in Giveaway, Romantic Suspense, Spotlight on August 28, 2015



Title: Too Hard To Handle
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Romantic Suspense


“The Man” is back

Dan “The Man” Currington is back in fighting form with a mission that takes him four thousand miles south of BKI headquarters, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. He’s hot on the trail of a rogue CIA agent selling classified government secrets to the highest bidder, when Penni DePaul arrives on the scene. Suddenly the stakes are higher, and keeping Penni safe becomes Dan’s number one priority.

And this time she’s ready

A lot has changed since former Secret Service Agent Penni DePaul last saw Dan. Now a civilian, she’s excited about what the future might hold. But before she can grab onto that future with both hands, she has to tie up some loose ends-namely, Dan Currington, the man she just can’t forget. And a secret that’s going to change both their lives-if they can stay alive, that is.


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“Brooklyn,” he whispered into the soft shell of her ear, feeling her shiver delicately against him, smelling the scent of rosewater that clung to her skin and hair. That smell had plagued him since the day they parted, lingering in his dreams at night.

“You remember.” Her voice was husky, hoarse. It went to his head like top-shelf whiskey. Making him dizzy. Making him burn.

“I couldn’t forget.”

That was God’s honest truth. He couldn’t forget her. No matter how hard he’d tried. And now she’d flown to the other half of the world to talk to him. Which had to mean she couldn’t forget him either, right? Did she think maybe there was something for them? Something between them? Something more than lust fueled by the madness and mayhem and adrenaline rush that had been Malaysia?

The idea filled him with dread and longing and hope—and more dread—as a million and one questions raced through his brain. But the one he asked when he pushed back to look into her warm, dark eyes was, “How in God’s name did you find me?”

A delightful flush rode high on her cheeks. He recognized it for exactly what it was. Awareness. Arousal. Whatever had been between them, whatever connection they’d made, was still there. And more than that, it’d grown during their long—too damn long—separation.

The realization had his heart beating so hard he could feel it in the fingertips he pressed against the plaster wall on either side of her head. In his toes encased in hiking boots. And…uh…other places. Yeah, definitely other places. One look at her, one smell of her, and his idiotic libido was throwing a kegger and streaking around like Frank the Tank in Old School.

“Well…I made a trip to Chicago,” she told him, licking her lips. The dart of her pink tongue nearly had him panting. He wanted so badly to kiss her, to suck that sweet tongue into his mouth and drink her in until he was drunk on all things Penelope DePaul. “And rolled up to the gates of Black Knights Inc., I presume?” he asked, brow raised.

She bobbed her chin. Her delightful chin. It needed nibbling on, didn’t it?

“So now the question becomes…just how the hell did you convince my lovely friends and coworkers to send you to me in the middle of a mission?”

She winced, and he barely resisted the urge to kiss the tip of her adorable nose. “I didn’t have to convince anyone of anything. I just asked. Nicely. You’d be amazed what asking nicely will get you.”

“Really?” He conjured up all the things he might ask her to do to him later. Nicely.

About the Author

JulieAnnWalkerJulie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on August 27, 2015

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Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery Book 5)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 18, 2015)


Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!


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Another great installment in this series. I will say that I sort of guessed who the killer was but just because this character was annoying to me. If only the rest of life was like that!

Jill and Greg are all set to head off on an Alaskan cruise when a murder occurs just days before they leave. Of course with this being a small town, Greg has to stay and figure out what happened. Jill takes this week to work on the house she inherited in the first book and of course investigate on her own what happened and who killed Sandra.

As always, the characters are enjoyable and in this one Aunt Jackie is a bit cranky, perhaps feeling her age and questioning things? I love Emma, but then I am a dog lover and enjoy books that include dogs. I do think that Sadie’s love life and what happens at the end leaves it wide open for the next book to explore this situation. Yes I know, vague but have to be to not give away too much!

We give this 4 paws up


About the Author

CahoonUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

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Tour Participants

August 18 – Lisa Ks Book Review – Review, Guest Post
August 19 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
August 20 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
August 21 – Laura’s Interests – Review
August 21 – Book Babble – Review
August 22 – readalot – Review
August 22 – Latte’ Da! – Guest Post
August 23 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
August 24 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post
August 25Melina’s Book Blog – Review
August 25Christa Reads and Writes – Review
August 26Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post
August 27View from the Birdhouse – Interview
August 27StoreyBook Reviews – Review

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Posted in coming of age, Giveaway, Spotlight, women on August 26, 2015

Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age
Date Published: June 21, 2015
When 23-year-old Claire Soublet arrives in New York City to begin her new life, she has no idea that after only four days a situation will arise forcing her to return to New Orleans. Growing up mired in years of hardship and being abandoned by family through death and disinterest, she manages to scratch and claw her way out of that life. And in the process, get a college education. Back in New Orleans and not ready to succumb to her old life, she enlists the help of her high school friend. They devise a plan to, once again, get Claire out of her hometown. With their new-found relationship, they return to New York together.

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Chapter One
The 1878 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans claimed my mother Cecile when she was
only twenty-five leaving behind four children – my older sister Aurelia was nine, I was five, Philomene was three, and my brother Augustin wasn’t yet two – and if the two babies born between Aurelia and I had lived, there would have been six of us left motherless.
Sanité, my father’s mother, took care of us until she died three years later. My grandmother was a very kind and gentle person. She was a Choctaw Indian who never sat in a chair or slept in a bed. She spent most of her time sitting, squatting, or sleeping on the floor. The only time I saw her standing was when she was cooking, cleaning, or leaving the house to go to the market.
Even after the “Tignon Law” was abolished in 1843, Sanité still wore the madras kerchief to cover her head. She taught our mother how to wrap it to cover her hair and told her how the law came about as Aurelia and I watched and listened. The law was passed in 1786, she told us, and it forced free women of color to cover their heads with the same type of kerchiefs the slave women wore. The Governor was determined to tighten control over the non-Whites in the city to please the White women who felt threatened by the beautiful, free women of color who had relationships with White men.
Before the undertaker came to pick up my grandmother’s body, my father removed the tignon; her waist-length, coal black hair came tumbling out. He wept as he tied a shoestring at the top of her long thick plait. He cut it off, touched it to his lips, then wrapped it with the kerchief in a pillowcase and tucked it away in a drawer. “There,” he said as he pulled her now shoulder-length hair from behind her ears and gently combed through it with his fingers, “you will not be buried with your head covered.” My father threw his body across his mother’s and sobbed without shame. Aurelia, Philomene and I fell on top of him and cried just as hard.
I could not fully understand why my father showed how much he cared about his mother in death when he’d never treated her kindly when she was alive; I was left confused. I’d heard him tell her how ashamed he was of her – of her being Choctaw. He hated having inherited her tan skin and shiny black hair. His blue eyes came from his French father, Etienne Menard.
I think only Aurelia was old enough to appreciate that our grandmother was finally free from the hardship and prejudice she’d had to endure. She told me even though my father was crying because his mother was dead, he was also happy she was finally at peace. I, too, came to understand this many years later when I looked back on it.
My grandfather, a hunter and a trapper, spent most of his time in the swamps and the bayous. He often traded with the Indian tribes who lived where he hunted. He found Sanité among the Choctaw and brought her to New Orleans to live with him. She was already twenty-four and none of the men of her tribe wanted her for a wife. She was shunned and considered taboo by the men and the women because she had been born with a dime-size black mole in the center of her forehead. Only the children and the very old treated her with kindness.
New Orleans laws forbade Etienne to legally marry Sanité, but Father Guillard secretly heard their vows in the rectory at St. Louis Cathedral.
Etienne bought a small house in the Tremé section and had two children with Sanité. When Pauline was thirteen and my father Christophe ten, Etienne disappeared. Sanité and her children didn’t know if he’d been killed or if he’d returned to France without telling them. Without a legal marriage, who could Sanité go to for help? For years they waited for him to come home, but they never heard from him again.
Etienne Menard did two decent things before he vanished. He legally left the house to his children and he taught them, as well as Sanité, to sew. He was a tailor in France before coming to America. He taught them how to make a man’s suit from the collar to the hem of the pant legs. And this skill was their saving grace.
Pauline, who was blond and blue-eyed, became a passablanc. She was tall for her age and looked much older than her fifteen years. It took several weeks of walking around uptown in the business section of the city to find a place that was willing to trust her with piecework she could do at home. Stern Brothers, a men’s store on Dryades Street, though reluctant, gave her a few trial pieces. When she returned the half dozen sets of coat sleeves, Mr. Stern was so impressed with the quality of the sewing that he gave her steady work. Pauline brought the pieces home and Sanité and Christophe helped her sew them together. At first they worked on only suit coats, then suit trousers, and eventually they were making whole suits. They survived more than four years on what they made from the piecework and from what Sanité made at the French Market selling the herbs she grew in her garden.

About the Author

Claudette Carrida Jeffrey, a native New Orleanian, is a retired teacher who lives in Northern California. The Color of Life is her second book of four in the Claire Soublet Series. A Brown Paper Bag and A Fine Tooth Comb (2012) begins the coming of age story of Claire Soublet, a young Creole of Color, growing up in 1940s and 50s New Orleans.




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Posted in Giveaway, Spotlight, women on August 25, 2015

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not my suitecase cover


Sterling Towne decided to take a last minute vacation to a sunny paradise to cheer herself up after a divorce. When the airline misplaces her luggage, she thinks it’s just a typical airline snafu until she gets her luggage back only to find out it’s not hers. Rather the suitcase belongs to someone who thought it a good idea to transport a gold Buddha statue via commercial airlines.

Sterling turns the statue into hotel security for safe keeping but then her room is ransacked, and she’s sure there was someone following her in town. Does the owner of the statue think she still has it? But if so, why not just ask? She’s getting nervous, and even her new friend Steve thinks she might be in danger.

Is she? Or is her imagination just working over time?


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About the Author

laina turnerAs a child Laina thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favorite restaurant as a child). As she grew older she realized her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories.

Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. This stemmed from childhood whereas an only child she developed a vivid imagination spending most of her time making things up and thinking the Incredible Hulk lived in her closet.

Proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing to being on the dance team for a semi pro basketball team to being a mom of 2 amazing kids, she tells her family and friends that no one is safe from their escapades slipping in to her books.

Taking the plunge to write books that she actually lets people read in 2010, she has worked her way up to having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, The Art Of Living Fabulously, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.

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Posted in Novella, paranormal, Spotlight on August 25, 2015


Author: Nicole Pouchet
Series Name: Elemental Myths
# in the Series: 3
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Nicole Pouchet
Cover Artist: Ann Alger


D.C. lawyer, Annie Birch, believes her life is one logical assessment after another. That changes, however, on the day she accidentally teleports during a high-profile negotiation. Knowing her new power must be a side effect after miraculously getting healed by the Incan Mother Earth goddess doesn’t help matters. Annie has already seen how emerging powers like hers also come with psycho villains that are bent on destroying her, as well as the corporeal world.

The icing on the cupcake of her ridiculous day is two gorgeous men who show up on her doorstep, both vying for her attention. Now, her choices involve much more than her oft-neglected libido. Annie is tasked to play a role in the Incan prophecy, which she prefers to watch from the sidelines. Will she stick to her safe, legal path? Or will she defy all logic to experience the decidedly more fun adventures being thrust her way?



Rubbing the smooth marble surface, she peered down over President Lincoln’s leg to the ground beneath her. Opening her arms, she decided to fly the twenty feet that separated her from the bottom of the statue. Why not? She might as well enjoy her dream.

“I see you’re awake,” a deep voice rumbled from the stone.

“Abraham?” Her dream was taking a weird turn, and she instantly regretted caressing the statue’s leg. Doing the deed with a giant stone replica of Honest Abe was never on her list of fantasies.

Laughter followed as Stone appeared on the ground beneath her. His eyes crinkled with mirth, brightening every feature of his chiseled face. “No, the monument dedicated to your country’s beloved leader has not come to life.”

“Of course not,” Annie snapped, wishing he hadn’t witnessed her little mix-up. Perhaps she could blame it on having just woken up. “What’re you doing here anyway?”

“I told you I would help you whenever you’re in need. Can you think of a more needy time than this?”

Needy? Yes! This dream was a great time to unleash her hidden Harlequin persona. “How about you showing up in my bedroom next time I’m reaching for my vibrator,” she baited him in her sultriest voice. “That’s a needy moment.”

“Do you mean that?” His amusement vanished, replaced by a lust-filled gaze so intense, she could feel her body responding without her permission.

Maybe she should insist he join her on top of the statue… but even in fantasy, the cold marble was decidedly uncomfortable.

“Yes. I’ll fly down and show you how much I mean it.”

He frowned. “I wasn’t aware you possessed the power of flight.”

“We all do, in our dreams.” Saying that, she launched herself off the statue.

No wind supported her newly weightless body. On the contrary, Annie plummeted as fast as an anvil, despite flapping her arms like a featherless chicken.

“By the goddess,” grunted Stone when he caught her, despite receiving a blow to the head from one of her flailing limbs. “You still think you’re deep in slumber?”

“Aren’t I?” Annie stammered before trying to right herself while in his firm grasp. At last, her feet dangled above the ground and her face was inches from his. “Could there be any other explanation?”

Her breath hitched as she stared into perfection. His blue eyes flashed, and she felt him growing hard against her thighs. His hands squeezed her closer and he held her firmly against his body. She prayed her alarm clock wouldn’t wake her from this perfect fantasy as she leaned in for the kiss.

Stone lowered her onto her bare feet and rested his forehead on hers. “You will learn soon enough. But, for now, I must stop this before we do something you may regret.”

“Oh, come on,” she protested. “I can’t even get laid in my dreams? I’ve got to be responsible now, too?”

“Believe me, Nature’s girl, when we finally come together in unbridled passion, you’ll forget every responsible thought you ever had. You’ll think of nothing else, but my cock fucking you over and over until you’re lost in an alternate reality of carnal pleasure. There will be no room for responsibility, or apprehension, for either of us, only the essences of you, and me.”

About the Author

Nicole Pouchet is a memoirist and a paranormal romance novelist. Books from her Elemental Myths paranormal romance series have enjoyed spots on Amazon’s Bestseller lists. Layla’s Gale, A Paranormal Romance won second prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Still amazed to be an adult, Nicole has managed to center her life around raising her two small sons and being true to her family (including husband and friends). She resides in Leesburg, Virginia where she owns a marketing agency. Happiest near the water, Nicole spends her free hours plotting her next escape, writing, and staring at the ceiling.

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Posted in 2 paws, mystery, Review on August 24, 2015

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When Reese Walker finds what she suspects is a very valuable and career changing artifact, she is beyond elated! She seeks approval to fund further research and find the answers she so desperately seeks regarding her find. However, just as she gets that funding her world gets turned upside down when the artifact is stolen. With very few leads to go on, she embarks on a journey that turns out to be so much more than she bargained for, both professionally and personally.



The author provided a copy to me and I’m not sure if there were any edits that happened after I received this book, so my thoughts are on what I received and possibly not the final version.

I think this story has some good bones but needs to be developed more. It is a shorter story but it seemed to jump around, the thief was obvious to me despite a red herring and the main character, Reese, is scattered and seems to have some deeper issues tied to her family. I would have thought that the tablet being stolen would be a huge focus but not so much.

There were many errors that I noted and as I mentioned above, not sure if they were caught in a final editing.  Things such as the day changing from Saturday to Tuesday in a short period of time, being picked up at a restaurant which she drove to but was able to drive to work the next morning, and a few other errors.

We give this 2 paws – the story has potential but not as written with the version I received.


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Posted in excerpt, Guest Post, mystery, Spotlight on August 23, 2015

lemoncholy life


Annabelle Aster has discovered a curious thing behind her home in San Francisco–a letterbox perched atop a picket fence.  The note inside is blunt—trespass is dealt with at the business end of a shotgun in these parts!—spurring some lively correspondence between the Bay Area orphan and her new neighbor, a feisty widow living in nineteenth-century Kansas.

The source of mischief is an antique door Annie installed at the rear of her house.  The man who made the door—a famed Victorian illusionist—died under mysterious circumstances.

Annie and her new neighbor, with the help of friends and strangers alike, must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and somehow already did.


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Chapter One

Pray for Me, Father

May 16, 1895

San Francisco, California

Mission Dolores Basilica


I’ve not forgotten our quarrel, but I’m asking you to put that aside for the sake of scholarship and the friendship we once shared. You were right, I fear. I meddled in something beyond my understanding.  The time-­travel conduit works—­I’ve shaped it as a door—­but not, I suspect, by science or my own hand. You are the only person who won’t think me paranoid should I put words to my suspicion. Something slumbers within it. Something with designs of its own.

Words have power. You know that better than anyone. And I am beginning to suspect the ones the shaman spoke—­and which I foolishly copied into my journal’s companion piece, my codex—­were an invocation.

Please come soon, I beg you. Or don’t come at all. And if you don’t come, then pray for me, Father. Matters are coming to a head, and my instincts say this will not end well.

David Abbott


Cap’n—­adolescent con artist extraordinaire, picker of any lock, leader of Kansas City’s notorious sandlot gang, and unofficial mayor to all its throwaways—­plucked a wilted lettuce leaf from her hair as she peered through a break in the pile of rubbish where she was hiding.

Fabian didn’t look so good, she thought, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. He was lying in the mud, his legs bent at odd angles, and was staring down the length of his outspread arm, his mouth opening and closing in a creepy imitation of a fish on the chopping block. She couldn’t make out the words, but it was clear Fabian was telling her to flee.

He wasn’t going anywhere. Danyer had made sure of that. Whether it was a first or last name, Cap’n didn’t know. He just went by Danyer. He was Mr. Culler’s hatchet man, and he didn’t fight fair. Danyer wasn’t interested in fair, though; he was interested in results, and Fabian had failed. Cap’n knew it was a bad idea to let failure go unanswered in their line of business, but she never imagined it would come to this. Fabian was a moneymaker for Mr. Culler, after all.

Danyer towered over him, a granite block with meat-­hook arms, his legs straddling Fabian’s belly. As his boots rocked in the muck, Danyer’s duster swept back and forth across Fabian’s chest. His voice reminded Cap’n of a humming turbine—­deep and dangerous—­as he read from the letter they’d filched. “‘Please come soon, I beg you—­’” Danyer crumpled the paper, lobbing it into the air. It bounced off Fabian’s cheek and into the mud. “Where’s the journal?” He squatted, grabbing Fabian’s chin with his sausage fingers before slapping him lightly across the cheek. “Hmm?”

Cap’n said a quick prayer for her friend and started backing up. But it was too late. She stepped on a stick that lifted a crate at the base of the rubbish heap just a fraction of an inch, and she could only grit her teeth as a tin can toppled from its perch, tinkling down the pile of debris while making a sound like a scale played on a badly tuned piano.

She froze as Danyer pivoted to stare at the pile of rubbish. He turned back to Fabian, speaking warily. “And where’s Cap’n?” he asked. “Where’s your pet pickpocket?” She watched him slap Fabian’s cheek one more time, the muscles in her legs tensing as he turned and started to walk toward her hiding place. Five feet out, Danyer lunged, but all he got hold of was the remaining head of lettuce as she bolted from the mound, racing down the alleyway in a flurry of muslin, freckles, and carrot-­colored pigtails.

Three blocks later, she rounded a corner, waiting. When the crack of the gun echoed down the street, she ducked into a drainage pipe to collect herself. A cockroach crawled over her foot, its antennae waving. Fabian admired cockroaches, she remembered. He said they were survivors. Suddenly, a whimper broke from her throat, and she ground the bug into a mosaic of chitinous shards before huddling in on herself, sobbing. And just as suddenly, she sat upright, her mouth set in a grim line while she ran the back of her hand across her nose.

Tears were for kids, and she needed to make a plan. When Fabian turned up dead, and there was no doubt he would, Danyer would want to tie up some loose ends—­namely her. She wasn’t too worried about that. She knew every hidey-­hole in Kansas City, and the gang would watch her back. She regarded what was left of the cockroach, one of its severed legs agitating as though not realizing the body it belonged to was already dead, and nodded to herself. It was time to put the shoe on the other foot, she decided. Something had to be done about Danyer and his boss.

Guest Post


Weaving time travel into a novel is not for the faint of heart, not even for a seasoned author, but what if you are a freshman writer who had only an eye to some characters you’d dreamt up and it just happened—the time travel element, I mean?

That gets tricky really fast. Truth be told, I wrote the whole darn book by the seat of my pants; the first draft, anyway. And it all began with an image in my head—a pair of unlikely pen pals, one an eccentric young lady living in contemporary San Francisco who is obsessed with Victorian clothes, the other a dowdy, old schoolmarm living in a turn-of-the-century Kansas wheat field who possesses an inventory of curse words to make a sailor blush, as well as a take-no-prisoners attitude.

If you can believe it, I’d dreamt them up as I drove home with my tail tucked between my legs after a botched first date. Yup. I owe my book to those humble beginnings.

Though I thought the date was going swimmingly, he thought otherwise, and leaned back in his chair to say, “I think we are destined to be great friends.”



I drove home determined to salvage what I could, and conjured Annie and Elsbeth somewhere on Dolores Street in San Francisco. By the time I’d pulled into my garage, I’d written up a letter (in my head) from Annie to El, one in which she asked for advice regarding her love stuck friend—me.

I didn’t stop there, though, putting it to paper, so to speak, and emailed it off to his work address. While I won’t bore you with the details, the letter was a bit of a hit, having gone “viral” throughout the office where he worked. Many more were written.

But back to time travel.

Lemoncholy was born from those letters, first and foremost, and since I couldn’t shake the original notion of Elsbeth living a hundred years in the past, I was going to have to toy with the concept of time so that these two women could communicate. And what better way than through a letterbox that sits in some common magical ground between their two worlds? Annie, of course, had to be delighted with her pen pal. That was a “given” in my mind. I had bigger plans for Elsbeth, however. I decided she was going to be none to happy with the general state of affairs.

The front end of my manuscript quickly became crowded with their letters—Annie expressing delight, Elsbeth itching to make good use of her shogun—and while I was having a blast, it quickly became apparent that I had little in the way of story.

So I cooked one up.

I asked myself a question. What would happen if Annie found an old article, one in which she learns of a murder that took place a hundred years ago in Kansas City, yet will take place in four days on Elsbeth’s timeline? And what if the person who was murdered is responsible for Annie and El being able to communicate across time?

Voila! I had a story!

You’d think that I would have simply sail along at that point, but things only got messier when I created Annie and El’s supporting cast.

There’s Christian. He’s Annie’s best friend; a sweetheart of a man who is burdened with a secret buried so deep within his subconscious that it leaves him with a stutter.

Then there’s Edmond; a total charmer who lifts Christian’s secret to the surface, all the while burdened with a demon of his own—drug addiction.

And, finally, there’s Cap’n. She’s a twelve-year-old street urchin living in turn-of-the-century Kansas City who survives by dent of her wits, a total smarty-pants.

I’d fallen in love.

With all of them.

So I did something crazy. I wrote a separate story for each of them—for Annie and El, for Cap’n, and for Christian and Edmond—not because I wanted to add dimension to a time travel novel, but because it was becoming more and more obvious to me that these characters had something to say. A theme was rising to the surface. I was going to write a story about the marginalization of misfits, with each of mine in pursuit of a little understanding, a little hope, in an unforgiving world. Whether or not they found what they were seeking is a matter of opinion, but it is clear they did find something greater.

Each other.

So, in the end, The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster is really three stories, each exploring the life of a loner, a person struggling to find his or her place, that also happens to be woven together by a fourth story—a mystery that has time travel at its core.

About the Author

Scott Wilbanks graduated summa cum laude from The University of Oklahoma and went on to garner several national titles in the sport of gymnastics. Scott’s husband, Mike, is a New Zealander by birth, and the two split their time between the two countries while Scott is at work on his next standalone novel.

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Posted in Adventure, e-books, romance, Sale on August 22, 2015

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CINDY M. HOGAN ~ Some secrets are better left dead and buried. Kate Unmasked

ELLE STRAUSS ~ Time traveling is wonky enough… and this time it’s worse than ever. Counter Clockwise

CHRISTINE KERSEY ~ College is murder… Witness

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AMBER ARGYLE ~ A storm is raging and not everyone will survive. Of Ice And Snow

WENDY KNIGHT ~ Her army of lost souls stand between us. The Soul’s Agent

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