Spotlight & Excerpt: Rattlesnake Road + Giveaway

Rattle snake Road

Rattlesnake Road
by Amanda McKinney
(A Small Town Mystery Romance)
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance, Suspense

★ From bestselling and award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery Romance… ★

Everyone hits rock bottom, only the brave escape.

Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road.

A quaint two-bedroom log cabin nestled deep in the woods of the small, southern town of Berry Springs—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

Tucked inside thick, mahogany walls lay mysterious letters, forgotten and untouched for decades. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame breathtaking views of jagged cliffs, deep valleys, and endless lies. Mature oak trees, tall enough to touch the clouds, carry the whispers of the haunted, of stories untold.

Inside sits Grey Dalton, emotionally battered and bruised, her only wish to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But outside, await two men, one a tattooed cowboy, the other a dashing businessman.

One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.

Rattlesnake Road is a standalone mystery romance about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Your escape awaits…

(Due to serious subject matter and mature content, please be aware that this book might be an emotional trigger for some readers.)

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Excerpt:

Eight hours, and the nightmare would be over. This completely unexpected, slap-you-in-the-face nightmare.
I often look back on that day, thinking that if things hadn’t happened the way they did, how different my life would have been.
It wouldn’t have been a lie when I promised “for better or for worse.” It wouldn’t have been a lie when I told myself I had everything under control.
I might have become a PTA mom, the mother of two strapping young boys, whose greatest worry in life was snagging her eight-karat diamond ring on her cashmere sweater. A trophy wife, a gracious hostess, a homemaker in our many homes across the world.
My life would be easy. Secure. Simple.
Until it wasn’t.
Before the day that changed all that, I foolishly considered my life to be stable and controlled. My life. But the assumption that my life was my own was the biggest misconception of all.
The reality is that our lives are not our own. Instead, a culmination of events, most of which are out of our control, governed by the ripple effect of our reactions to those events. We fight that knowledge, deny it, numb it with drugs and alcohol, but at the end of the day, we’re all merely the point of a pendulum slowly being pulled back, waiting until the day we’re released to our fate.
This was my day.
The day the universe let go. The beginning of a journey that took me to the deepest depths of hell.
I remember the hyper-awareness of that morning. The way the single bead of sweat trickled down my back as I paced back and forth. My heart, a pounding staccato, in sync with that stupid instrumental jazz music my husband demanded play through the speakers of our Upper East Side penthouse suite. Every day—every single day—starting at six a.m. The kitchen stank like old, burned coffee from the pot I’d started an hour earlier but had yet to drink.
My palms were cold and clammy as I wrung my hands, staring at the city beyond the window. Little did I know how different the view from my windows would soon be.
“You took them?”
Startled at the deep voice behind me, I turned.
William stepped into the kitchen, tucking his navy dress shirt into his Tom Ford slacks, his dark hair wet from a shower and combed flawlessly to the side, as usual.
Disdain brewed in my churning stomach as I took in the perfection of my husband. While William had been enjoying a shower, I’d been fighting off a panic attack, clutching a prescription bottle in my hand.
Words weren’t able to penetrate the haze of my emotions, so I simply nodded in response—the last fake response in a house built on lies.
“Okay.” William returned my nod while he adjusted his shirt to his liking. “It will all be over soon.”
Blinking, I stilled.
It will all be over soon.


 

Author Bio:

Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than fifteen small-town romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY in 2017, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series, BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES, and many more to come.

Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy romance. She lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.

Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 for the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies!

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Half-Orphan’s Handbook + Giveaway

TheHalf Orphan Handbook Tour

The Half-Orphan’s Handbook
by Joan F. Smith
Published by: Imprint/Macmillan
Publication date: April 6th 2021
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Young Adult

For fans of John Green and Emily X.R. Pan, The Half-Orphan’s Handbook by Joan F. Smith is a coming-of-age story and an empathetic, authentic exploration of grief with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart.

It’s been three months since Lila lost her father to suicide. Since then, she’s learned to protect herself from pain by following two unbreakable rules:

1. The only people who can truly hurt you are the ones you love. Therefore, love no one.

2. Stay away from liars. Liars are the worst.

But when Lila’s mother sends her to a summer-long grief camp, it’s suddenly harder for Lila to follow these rules. Potential new friends and an unexpected crush threaten to drag her back into life for the first time since her dad’s death.

On top of everything, there’s more about what happened that Lila doesn’t know, and facing the truth about her family will be the hardest part of learning how a broken heart can love again.

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Excerpt:

I opened the door. “Hi?”
“Hi,” the woman said. “I’m Mari. Lead counselor.” She had a medium-brown complexion and pale green eyes. I’d never seen legs so long in my life. They stuck out of a pair of cutoff jean shorts. Her smile revealed a row of crooked bottom teeth.
I forced a smile back. “I’m just dropping off my brother.” “Really?” Mari hugged a clipboard to her chest and adjusted a beaded bracelet on her wrist. I started to pull the door closed but stopped when she spoke. “That’s not what Sammy says.”
Traitor. I narrowed my eyes at Sammy, who beamed. I swallowed. “Uh. Right. I—”
Mari gestured toward the clipboard she held. “I can give you a sec.”
I glanced at Mom, and her expression was so goddamn hopeful that I almost relented. She unbuckled her seat belt and used her knee to nudge open her door. “You can heal here, Lila.”
The tips of my ears burned. Heal? Like how counseling healed Dad?
“Honey . . . your dad would want this.”
Would he, now? Oh, well, in that case. I couldn’t stand any part of this. I couldn’t fathom the ride home with her, or entering our ridiculous house without our ridiculous father. I glanced out the window, where Sammy waited, and finished pulling the door closed with a sharp click. I didn’t want him to hear some bogus explanation about what our father would want. I steeled myself. “Jesus Christ, Mom. I’m not some knee scrape you can put Neosporin on—”
“Honey—”
“I don’t need to be healed.” “We all do, sweetie. We do—” “Stop it. Please. Just stop.” “You don’t need to be scared.”
“God, Mom, do you ever stop? No wonder he left us.” The second the words left my mouth, I couldn’t believe I’d said them. I wanted to snatch them from the air between us. “Mom. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
Her mouth rolled into itself, and she gripped the steering wheel so hard her arms shook. I watched her knuckles drain of color. “I know you didn’t mean that. But that . . . you . . . Not cool, Lila. Not cool.”
“I don’t even know why I said it. I’m sorry.” Guilt rained over me, soaking my hair and settling into my toes.
“I forgive you,” she said, her tone making it very clear that she more than likely did not. At least not yet.

 

Author Bio:

Joan F. Smith lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she works as an associate dean, a creative writing professor, and a dance instructor. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has written articles for The Washington Post and Thought Catalog on destigmatizing discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is her debut novel.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Unwritten + Giveaway

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Unwritten
by Alicia J. Novo
Publication date: May 8th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.

When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s possession.

Now he’s hunting her down.

Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.

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Excerpt:

The Test of Character

“Not Truth. Not Control,” the disembodied voice from earlier said, returning Beatrix to the hallway. The window had darkened, and she felt the trace of water on her skin. She dried her face with the back of her hand. So that’s how it worked. No, control wasn’t her motivation; that much was certain. Truth? She wished for it. But she had too many secrets for truth to be her guiding force.
The next story was tougher. When the sultry beauty smiled at the detective, Beatrix struggled not to warn him about her future betrayal. She was all glamour and jeweled charm; he, all shadows and jaded humor. His office stank of alcohol and stale cigarette smoke. One hung from his lips, his sardonic smile a poor cover to hide all the hurt inside him. But he needed this.
“Not Cunning. Not Sacrifice,” said the voice, and it startled Beatrix back to the test and the windows.
Other choices were easier. The young magician tempted by the secrets of darkness and the spells that rose the dead. His hunger made the Furie thrum but frightened her at the same time. She didn’t struggle as much allowing him his mistakes, and when the door faded, she felt no regret.
“Not Power. Not Ambition.”
There was a story she would have loved to share in. Not to change, but to snatch the handsome protagonist for herself. What would that mean to the heroine, though? And would the guy be faithless enough to transfer his affections? Beatrix doubted she’d want someone who would.
Some were heartbreaking, and she set one foot past the threshold before stopping herself, undecided. Especially when a single hit from her Furie would have decimated a killer that had gone on a rampage. Or a well-placed insult would have brought down a bully after a kid twice his size.
“Not Self-interest. Not Strength.”
“Not Independence.”
“Not Justice.”
At some point, it all began to blur—the decisions, overwhelming.
“Not Passion. Not Adventure,” the voice droned.
“What? Wait, that one moved too fast.” But Beatrix already faced the next window.
“Not Beauty. Not Perfection.”
“Not Recognition.”
“Not Status.”
By now, her mind floated and her body swirled with emotions, with shared experience and too much adrenaline. How could she choose one story when they all meant so much? She no longer knew what was right. What felt real. What belonged to her and what she could live with. What you take, you keep.
The next book she couldn’t identify, and she stepped forward, eager for a closer look. The glass was smeared and dirty, so Beatrix wiped it with her cuff. It remained stubbornly opaque, and even with her eyes pressed to it, she distinguished but a blurred silhouette. Then from the other side, a hand matched hers against the glass. “Help me.”

 

Author Bio:

Alicia has a weak spot for happy endings and transformative journeys. She spent her teenage years
in Argentina and Europe, speaks several languages and loves to travel.

An eclectic reader, she grew up on a diet ranging from Lucy M. Montgomery and Jane Austen to Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Raymond Chandler, Hermann Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, and many classics. She’s never been cured of reading a bit of everything and is as likely to geek out about Mr. Darcy as Dr. Who.

She is a history and astronomy aficionado, who walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, completed her Masters in the Netherlands and worked for Google in Ireland. She decided to become a writer at six but took a full, winding road here. Along the way, she learned if there’s one thing that cuts across cultures, one unifying thread that pulls everyone together, it’s a good story.

A big-city girl, she now lives in the Midwest, where she occasionally picks apples and pretends witches exist.

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