Twist of Faith Ellen J. Green from Thomas & Mercer  // Amazon When family secrets are unearthed, a woman�s past can become a dangerous p...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green + Giveaway (US only)

Twist of Faith
Ellen J. Green
from Thomas & Mercer // Amazon

When family secrets are unearthed, a woman�s past can become a dangerous place to hide...

After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.

Ava is certain that it�s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she�d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church�and rescued�or so she�d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother�s lies. It begins with the house itself�once the scene of a brutal double murder.

When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what�s been buried in Ava�s nightmares isn�t just a crime. It�s a holy conspiracy.


A voice startled me. �Can I help you?�

A woman stood at the bottom of the steps, her swaddled gray hair peeking out above a scarf, her hands stuffed deep in her coat pockets.

�Oh. I was looking for the owner, but it doesn�t look like anyone is home. Do you live here, in this neighborhood?� I walked down the stone steps to meet her.

�I do, yes. And if you�re going to wait for the owners, you better bring provisions. No one�s living there now.� Her thin lips moved upward to a hesitant smile. �What did you need?�

�Has it been empty long?�

�Six months with no tenants. I live next to the eyesore, so I know. Oughta just knock it down, I say. Why? Are you interested in renting it?�

�No. I was doing research...�

�What? Is it the anniversary already?� She pulled her scarf down a bit and cocked her head to the side. �That can�t be for another couple of months yet.�

�Anniversary?�

�The murders. Isn�t that what you�re researching?�

�No, I��

�House is owned by a development company now.� She shrugged. �I thought they�d tear it down, but they�ve been holding on to it. Five years I�ve been dealing with this.�

I�d been backing up little by little as she spoke, unaware that the sidewalk dipped behind me. I lost my balance and the Polaroid slipped from my fingers. I leaned down and grabbed it, but not before she got a glimpse.

�Is that the house?� She took the black-and-white image from me and studied it.

I thought about Claire, the woman who�d adopted me, who�d raised me for twenty-two years. She�d always claimed to have no information about how I�d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church. Barely six weeks old, she said. Though I�d begged for more details, clues, information, she�d insisted there weren�t any.

I suspected this wasn�t the truth, because I had memories�unformed fragments punctuated by vivid recollections that didn�t jibe with her version. It was the ongoing mystery of my life. A project never finished. I�d stumbled and fallen through my teenage years and young adulthood trying to sort it all out. Who had abandoned me, why, and when? When asking questions didn�t help, I resorted to anger, manipulation, and, lately, alcohol to try and forget. Digging through a crawl space after her death, I�d stumbled upon the photograph tucked away with other mementos from my childhood: school pictures, report cards, my high-school diploma, a yellow baby blanket. The photograph had been inside a blank white envelope, sealed shut.

Since the day I�d disturbed that seal and seen the image, I�d felt a growing sense of urgency�unfinished business, a chapter not complete. In the two weeks and three days since�while signing papers, helping Anais arrange for Claire�s body to be flown to France, comforting Aunt Marie�I�d returned to the photograph daily: What had it meant to Claire and why had she kept it? The little lies and secrets she�d clung to during life were about to be wrested from her now that she was dead.

I stared into the woman�s watery gray eyes. �Who was killed?� I asked.

She took so long to answer I wasn�t sure she�d heard me. �Husband and wife. Both of them in there.�

�Did you know them well?� Strands of hair came loose from my ponytail and I tucked them behind my ear. I was listening to her words, but my eyes wandered to the street behind her, waiting for something, though I wasn�t sure what.

�Well enough to say good morning, or take in their mail when they were away, I guess. Let me see that picture again?� She held out her hand.

I gave it to her just as a car slowed near where we stood. An older man leaned out the window. �Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to Flourtown?� He was talking to her, but his eyes were glued to mine. I held his gaze while she pointed him in the right direction, then I watched him pull away.

She turned back from the car, shaking her head. �Now what were you saying?� She held the picture out, studying the words�almost entirely faded�that were printed after the date.

�This date is the same as the date of the murders.� Her finger ran along the back of the picture, and then she turned it over. �And it looks like it was taken from the lower part of the stone steps, about there.� She pointed a few feet away. �Crappy Polaroid shot, but it�s definitely that damned house.�

When she shoved it into my hand, it was clear she was afraid.

�What? What�s wrong?�

�The door was left open. After they were murdered. The door was left open, that�s how they found the bodies.� She pointed. The front door of the house in the photograph was opened so wide a hint of the darkened foyer inside was visible. �Was that taken after those people were killed?�

Before I could answer, she demanded, �Is this some sort of prank? Because it isn�t funny. It was horrible. They were beaten with a hammer. The mailman found them the next day . . . The man was lying on the floor in the living room. Where did you get that picture?�

�Like I said, doing research. Tell me about them, please, and what happened after they were killed.�

I thought she was going to walk away from me, because her expression turned rancid, but she didn�t. �The family name was Owens. Middle-aged man and woman. Destiny and Loyal Owens. He was a big guy. Might have caught a prowler in the house when they came home��

�So they think it was robbery?�

She shrugged. �I didn�t hear if anything was taken. People around here were scared, though, I can tell you that. To kill people like that. Police never found out who did it.�

I glanced up at the house; I�d been here long enough. The eyes of the man in the dark car were dancing behind my eyelids, distracting me.

�All this is giving me the creeps. I should probably go now.� I turned away and then back to her. �Thanks.�

She gave a slight nod. �If you want the place, I�m sure you could get it for a song.�

I smiled. �Sorry, I don�t sing.�

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away
one print copy of Twist of Faith�yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What has been the biggest "plot twist" of your life so far?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Ellen and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Life is full of surprises. I never thought I'd end up in Sacramento, but my job brought me here and I'm enjoying it thoroughly!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Lake Union Publishing!
Giveaway ends February 14th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

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All We Knew Jamie Beck from Montlake Romance //  Amazon For Hunter and Sara, getting married was easy. It�s staying together that�s the true...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: All We Knew by Jamie Beck + Giveaway (US only)

All We Knew
Jamie Beck
from Montlake Romance // Amazon

For Hunter and Sara, getting married was easy. It�s staying together that�s the true test of love...

Hunter Cabot deeply loves two things: the international tea company he�s helped his father build, and his wife, Sara. From the moment he first saw her wide smile on their college campus years ago, Hunter fell hard. Yet now, with other family members pushing to sell the thriving business and Sara grieving their failure to start a family, he�s suddenly facing the crushing loss of both.

The relentless ambition that Sara once admired in Hunter is now driving them apart. Each missed doctor�s appointment, neglected dinner date, and family squabble accentuates their differing priorities. Still, Sara struggles to create the home life they�d envisioned, until unsettling developments�both personal and professional�push them to the breaking point.

When love is put to the ultimate test, can Hunter and Sara stop fighting each other long enough to fight for their marriage?


As they pulled into the garage, Sara asked, �Does Bethany have a personal life?�

Hunter killed the engine, shrugging. �No idea.�

After they exited the car, Sara walked into the house as if attempting to cross glass in her bare feet. She wouldn�t risk moving too quickly, tripping, or doing anything else that might �jar� her uterus. �How can you have worked with her for five years and have no idea about her personal life?�

Hunter hung the keys on the key rack in the mudroom, brows drawn. �Why would I? We�re not friends. She works for me. We talk about work.�

Sara patted his cheek, secretly relieved by his obliviousness to Bethany, who was, in fact, quite an attractive, if slightly older, woman. �Oh, honey, you really have a one-track mind.�

In this one instance, it was a good thing for their marriage.

�It gets the job done.� They started toward the stairs together until he playfully scooped her into his arms and carried her up to their room. �I have a surprise for you.�

�Oh?�

He gently settled her on the bed and quickly fluffed a bunch of pillows for her behind her back and under her legs. He then went to his nightstand and withdrew a jewelry box.

He sat beside her and handed her the gift. �I had this made because, no matter what happens, you�ll always be my everything.�

Heart melt. These sentimental moments, however fleeting, kept her fighting for their marriage instead of giving up.

�I didn�t get you anything.� She grimaced, turning the box over in her hands, feeling comparatively thoughtless for a change.

�Why would you? I didn�t suffer everything you did to get to this point. My body is needle and bruise-free.�

Really, though, she suspected he was most concerned with the wounds to her heart. Her eyes got misty while she opened the package to find a silver heart-shaped pendant necklace engraved with the date March 3rd, 2004. It took her a second to register the date�the day they first met. Over the lump in her throat, she said, �It�s beautiful.� She leaned up to kiss him. �People would be shocked to know about your sentimental streak.�

An uncharacteristically shy grin surfaced. �Turn it over.�

She flipped it over in her palm to find latitude and longitude coordinates: 45.423965� N, 122.680543� W. �What are these?�

�Home.� He kissed her.

�Really? Our exact coordinates?� Her eyes widened.

�So you�ll never lose your way back to me.�

She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his face a few times. �Sometimes you take my breath away.�

Giveaway!

Books � la Mode is giving away two print copies of All We Knew�that's two winners total! Yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is the most difficult thing about your marriage or relationship? If you are not committed, what is the most difficult thing about maintaining friendships?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Jamie and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at SparkPoint Studio!
Giveaway ends February 13th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

Say You'll Remember Me Katie McGarry from Harlequin TEEN //  Harlequin "Doesn�t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Say You�ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Say You'll Remember Me
Katie McGarry
from Harlequin TEEN // Harlequin

"Doesn�t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It�s over."

When Drix was convicted of a crime�one he didn�t commit�he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor�s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor�s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn�t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle�s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix�s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can�t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves�Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence�and each other to finally get what they deserve.


Sharp pain in the chest. Of all the ways I saw this moment playing out, those weren�t the words I imagined. It�s not an apology for leaving me behind. It�s not an admittance of guilt. It�s a promise.

In my final therapy session in the woods, sitting next to a bonfire I created, my therapist asked what would help me transition back into the real world. I told him I needed the truth. He told me there�s no such thing, but he did tell me that forgiveness was real.

Forgiveness. In my mind, forgiveness and the truth go hand in hand.

�Why did you leave me behind that night?� I ask because I�ve waited a year for that answer, and I can�t wait anymore. Not if Dominic and I are going to be friends again. �We had a pact�never leave one of us behind, and you left. Why?�

�I thought you went home.�

�I didn�t, and you need to admit you didn�t try to find me. Something big had to have happened for you to have ditched me. What was it?� Or did he really think I was gone from the store and saw that as his opportunity to rob it?

�Dominic!� Kellen calls, and she�s juggling several drinks. �I need help.�

Yes, his sister needs help, but I need help, too. I look straight into his eyes, and there�s no way he doesn�t see the plea in them to talk to me, but he doesn�t talk. Instead, Dominic pats my back and heads to help his sister.

That night, Dominic had walked me to the convenience store, and dared me to shoplift, but then disappeared, and I passed out behind the store. I was too drunk and too high to know my own name, and he left. Disappearing, leaving anyone he loved behind, wasn�t his style, but he was desperate for money. Did his desperation cloud his judgment when it came to me and our friendship?

And that night, Holiday was closer to the crime scene than I had known. Both of them had something to gain, both of them felt as if they had nothing to lose, and both of them had motive.

But it�s hard to imagine Holiday holding a gun. Dominic, on the other hand, he was capable of aiming a gun, and at the time, he was crazy enough to pull the trigger.

Good thing that bullet missed the store clerk or I would have been charged with more than robbery with a weapon and attempted assault. Manslaughter would have messed up my day�for twenty years.

Do I know for sure Dominic did it? No. There�s a chance my sister let her ramped-up emotions control the decisions for her that night and that she talked Dominic into it. But eighty percent of me believes it was him alone�my best friend�and I don�t know how to live with that yet.

Ratting him out to the police was never an option, because no matter what, I love him. Dominic can�t handle tight spaces, and I could. Dominic wouldn�t have survived. I did. I roll my shoulders, but the tightness in my neck doesn�t go away. How can I forgive someone who won�t admit guilt? How can I forgive when I don�t know who to forgive?

Axle joins me. �We found a table over by the merry-go-round.�

Soon I have to announce to the world I�m a criminal, even though I�m not. Sealed records and the truth won�t mean anything once I open my mouth in front of reporters. Guess the therapist was right on the truth. It doesn�t exist.

�I need a few minutes to myself.� Food doesn�t sound appealing anymore.

�I�ve got your dress clothes in the car. Meet there in a half hour?�

�Yeah.�

Axle returns to our family, and I walk forward, in the same direction as the blonde. Her path has to be better than mine.
Follow the tour to continue reading here!

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Best Friends Forever Margot Hunt from MIRA //  Harlequin How well do you really know your best friend? Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a ...

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt + Giveaway (US only)

Best Friends Forever
Margot Hunt
from MIRA // Harlequin

How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they�re very different women�the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite�they�re each other�s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat�s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice�s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar�the masterful manipulator behind it all.


At the end of the service, the pallbearers lifted the coffin off the fabric-draped dais and carried it out of the church on their shoulders. The family stood and, led by Kat and Amanda, followed the coffin down the aisle. Her arm linked through her daughter�s, Kat looked wan, her normal vivacity drained away. She was wearing a tailored white pantsuit over a black silk blouse that I hadn�t seen before. I wondered if she�d bought it for the occasion. As Kat approached the pew where Todd and I were sitting, I tried to catch her eye. But she either didn�t see me or didn�t want to acknowledge that she had. Kat�s mother and father, Eleanor and Thomas Wyeth, followed their daughter and granddaughter. Thomas was somber but pleasant, shaking hands with people as he passed. Eleanor looked austere, and other than the occasional gracious nod for a favored few, she kept her chin high and her eyes fixed straight ahead.

�What�s next?� Todd murmured. �Is there a reception after?�

�I don�t know. They didn�t make an announcement. Maybe it�s by invitation only.� I nodded toward the line forming to exit the church. �It looks like they�re having a receiving line. I�ll ask Kat.�

My pulse quickened at the thought that I�d finally get a chance to talk to Kat, if only for a moment. It was obviously not the time or place for an in-depth conversation, but at least I�d be able to get some sort of read on what was happening.

�Mrs. Campbell, how nice to see you again.�

I turned and saw John Donnelly standing there. He looked especially dapper in a dark gray suit and pale yellow tie. He held out his hand and I shook it. �Mr. Donnelly, this is my husband, Todd,� I said. Then, turning to Todd, I explained, �Mr. Donnelly is the attorney who helped me out the other day.� I hadn�t told Todd that the attorney had offered me what was, for all intents and purposes, a bribe if I agreed not to further cooperate with the police investigation. Todd was already worried about the entire situation. I didn�t want to add to his anxiety.

�It�s nice to meet you,� Donnelly said cheerfully, shaking hands with Todd. �I thought the service was very well done. For a funeral, that is. Despite my line of work, I�m not a big fan.�

�I don�t know that anyone is,� I remarked.

�You never met my aunt Tilly,� Donnelly said, sticking his hands in his pockets. �She was a true aficionado. Never missed a funeral in the neighborhood if she could help it. She loved nothing more than coming back and telling anyone who would listen that the priest was a windbag or that the widow had chintzed out on the coffin.�

�She sounds like a pistol,� Todd said.

�Yes, well, you didn�t have to spend Thanksgiving with her,� Donnelly quipped.

Todd and I laughed politely, and Todd said, �It was nice to meet you.�

But before we could turn and join the receiving line, the attorney stopped us. �Why don�t you leave this way?�

�Excuse me?� I asked.

Donnelly gestured toward a side door at the back of the church, which had an exit sign hanging over it. �This way out is faster. You�ll skip right by the crowd.�

I glanced at Todd. He looked confused.

�Thank you, but we�d like to give our condolences to Kat and her family,� I said, not sure why I had to explain this.

�Let me put it this way�the family would prefer it if you left through the side door.� Donnelly shrugged and spread out his hands. �Don�t make me be the bad guy here.�

�Bad guy? What�s he talking about?� Todd asked me. Without taking my eyes off the lawyer, I replied, �I believe what Mr. Donnelly is saying is that Kat, or more likely her father, doesn�t want us to go through the receiving line.�

�Why?� Todd asked.

�Care to answer that, Mr. Donnelly?�

�I don�t want to make a scene,� the lawyer said. �Neither do we,� Todd retorted.

About the Author


Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels.

Her work has been praised by Publisher�s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews.

Best Friends Forever is her first psychological thriller.



Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away
a print copy of Best Friends Forever�yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
How well do you know your best friend?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Margot and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I don't necessarily have one single long-term best friend, but rather a handful of best friends from different situations: hometown best friends, some high school best friends (each from different groups), a college best friend, a concerts/parties best friend, a family friend BFF, etc. I know each of them to varying degrees, some better than others.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin!
Giveaway ends February 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

I'd like to welcome Rebecca Drake to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of  Just Between Us  from St. Martin's Press ...

Interview with Rebecca Drake, Author of Just Between Us + Giveaway (US/Can)

I'd like to welcome Rebecca Drake to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Just Between Us from St. Martin's Press, a MacMillan imprint!

Welcome to Books � la Mode, Rebecca! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don't Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story "Loaded," which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. Just Between Us is her latest novel.

A former journalist and native New Yorker, Rebecca currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.


It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves last month:

Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They�re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather�s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she�s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it�s not Heather who�s dead. In a moment they�ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they�ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person�s mind, or in their marriage.

As a huge fan of first lines, I�d love to hear the first line of Just Between Us. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?

I love first lines, too! Here�s the opening line of Just Between Us:
Funerals for murder victims are distinguished from other services by the curiosity seekers.
I�ve always been intrigued by the fact that as a society we�re drawn to immerse ourselves in public tragedies. People seem to feel a need to find a connection, however tenuous, with crimes or other calamitous events, and I�ve always found that somewhat macabre and fascinating.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

My road to publication was long and varied, but I think that�s true for lots of writers. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a novelist, but it took me many years to realize that dream. I started writing fiction seriously when my children were small and I had a couple of manuscripts in the drawer before having the good fortune to meet and be mentored by author Nancy Martin. She critiqued my then latest effort�it was a hard critique, but very valuable. It took me six months to rewrite that novel and I got my first agent after that.

Of course, like most writers, I had dreams of instant success, but that novel didn�t sell and it wasn�t until three proposals later that I landed a contract with an editor who liked my writing. I published three novels, and then I had a slow period, where I was living between the United States and Qatar, in the Persian Gulf, and there were numerous health crises with family members and friends. I kept writing, albeit more slowly, and ultimately I finished another book and found a new agent, who sold it to St. Martin�s Press. That book was Only Ever You, a standalone psychological thriller that came out in 2016. Just Between Us is my latest psychological thriller.

I�ve learned that it�s important to be persistent, to be brave, to advocate for yourself, and to learn as much as you can about the business, while staying focused on craft. Ultimately, the only thing writers can control is their craft.


Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

Yes and no. Writers pull from their lives all the time, but usually not the way that non-writers imagine. When I was writing my very first crime novel (which ended up in a drawer), I based a character on a really mean boss I�d had, killing him off in different ways through multiple revisions until I finally realized that I kept rewriting the scene because it was cathartic, not because it was important for the novel.

Since then, I�ve never based a character on a specific person. However, I�m often inspired by my real life and will incorporate the personality traits of people I know, or their ways of acting or speaking, in my work. For instance, Just Between Us explores friendship and loyalty, and I drew on my own friendships, particularly the way my female friends talk with and about each other, when creating the characters and their bond with one another.


Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Just Between Us stand out from the rest?

I don�t like to toot my own horn, but since you�re asking me to, I�ll repeat what early readers and reviewers have said, which is that Just Between Us is a fast-paced story with lots of plot twists and great characters that asks some really compelling questions: How far would you go to help a friend? And, how much can we ever know about another person�s marriage?

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Rebecca's best personal and professional advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Just Between Us, so you don't want to miss that either!

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

I wish I�d known at the outset something that took me years to learn�when agents and editors say that they want something �fresh� or �new,� what they really mean is familiar with a twist. In order to get published, writers need to be clear about where there novel would be shelved in a bookstore (e.g. mystery, romance, sci-fi) and they need to have an idea that reminds the agents and editors of other successful books in that genre/category, while having something new or different to say.

Interesting! That really is an insider perspective that I never would have figured out myself. Now give us your best personal advice�something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

Take the risk and pursue the dreams you want to, but do so in a smart way. So if your dream is to write novels, don�t up and quit your day job, but do go for it and write that book you have in you.

Where can you be found on the web?


It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Rebecca! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Just Between Us�woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Rebecca's question in the comments below:
What book have you loved so much that you�ve read it multiple times?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Rebecca and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

While I do love a lot of books intensely, it takes a lot of patience for me to revisit anything more than once. I think first reads will always be a different experience, which may hinder your capacity to enjoy multiple readings. That said, I have read The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye several times each. Rather predictable answers, but both books are classics for a reason!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends January 30th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide�there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

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Dangerous Crossing Rachel Rhys Atria Books // Simon & Schuster Servants and socialites sip cocktails side by side on their way to new l...

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys Giveaway (US/Can)

Dangerous Crossing
Rachel Rhys
Atria Books // Simon & Schuster

Servants and socialites sip cocktails side by side on their way to new lives in this �thrilling, seductive, and utterly absorbing� (Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author) historical suspense novel in the tradition of Agatha Christie�s Death on the Nile and Ken Follett�s Night Over Water.

The ship has been like a world within itself, a vast floating city outside of normal rules. But the longer the journey continues, the more confined it is starting to feel, deck upon deck, passenger upon passenger, all of them churning around each other without anywhere to go...

1939: Europe is on the brink of war when young Lily Shepherd boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. She is ready to start anew, leaving behind the shadows in her past. The passage proves magical, complete with live music, cocktails, and fancy dress balls. With stops at exotic locations along the way�Naples, Cairo, Ceylon�the voyage shows Lily places she�d only ever dreamed of and enables her to make friends with those above her social station, people who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man she couldn�t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.

But Lily soon realizes that she�s not the only one hiding secrets. Her newfound friends�the toxic wealthy couple Eliza and Max; Cambridge graduate Edward; Jewish refugee Maria; fascist George�are also running away from their pasts. As the glamour of the voyage fades, the stage is set for something sinister to occur. By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and Lily�s life will be changed irrevocably.

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of Dangerous Crossing�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is the most dangerous thing you've done?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Rachel and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I have almost drowned before, but that was unintentionally dangerous. By choice, probably things like staying out too late or riding in cars in the dark, especially when under the influence. To clarify, I have never driven under the influence and do NOT condone drinking and driving, but against my better judgment, have been in a vehicle with non-sober drivers before. It's very dangerous to not be able to trust your own mind, and one second is all it takes for something disastrous to happen.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Atria Books!
Giveaway ends January 27th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only�sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Chalk Man C.J. Tudor from Crown Publishing ( Penguin Random House ) A riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut...

Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Peeks at The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor + Giveaway (US only)

The Chalk Man
C.J. Tudor
from Crown Publishing (Penguin Random House)

A riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut that weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry, and will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he�s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank... until one of them turns up dead.

That�s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

Behind-the-Scenes Looks at The Chalk Man

  1. The book was inspired by a box of chalk a friend bought for my daughter�s second birthday. We spent the afternoon drawing stick figures on the driveway. Later that night I opened the door to be confronted by these weird chalk drawings everywhere. In the darkness, they suddenly looked incredibly sinister!
  2. It was originally called The Chalk Men. The day before submission my agent said: �You know, I really think it should just be The Chalk Man.� A one word change that made such a difference.
  3. Like a lot of books, it went through several drafts. A secondary character was cut and in the very first draft, the killer�s identity was different�but I�m not saying who it was!
  4. The narrator is called Eddie Adams and his nickname is Eddie Munster. I actually lifted the name from a character in another unfinished novel. I liked it so much I wanted to use it again. I might go back to that novel at some point�but now, I�ll have to come up with a different name!
  5. I�m a big Stephen King fan and there are a couple of references to King novels in The Chalk Man. Mr Halloran is obviously a reference to The Shining and there�s a scene at a funeral which contains a nod to Pet Semetary.
  6. Ed�s ghostly visitor was inspired by An American Werewolf in London. When I was about 13 I used to go around to my friend Kirsty�s house to watch videos. We didn�t have a video recorder at home and her parents were pretty �relaxed� about what we watched! The recurring and gory ghost of David�s friend in that film always stuck with me.
  7. Although the chapters in The Chalk Man alternate between 1986 and 2016, I wrote all the 1986 parts first. That helped when it came to writing the children as adults because I already knew what had formed them. I never considered writing the book in two parts. I always felt that the reader should follow both stories at once, without knowing the outcome of either until the end!
  8. The town of Anderbury is based upon the small Wiltshire town of Salisbury where I was born. It has a cathedral, a fast-flowing river, and several parks. Sadly, it no longer has a Woolies on the high street. That�s now a New Look!
  9. I was working as a dog-walker when I wrote The Chalk Man, chasing wet dogs through muddy fields for hours a day, in between looking after my little girl. Time was limited and I had to fit the writing in whenever I could. In hindsight, it was good grounding. I don�t need to go away to a log cabin with scented candles and whale music to write. I can do it pretty much anywhere. I�ll be deep into a creepy scene in a book and still able to hold a conversation with my little girl about Peppa Pig!
  10. An 80s setting, a small town with dark secrets, and a gang of pre-teens on bikes. Yep, it�s easy to see why The Chalk Man has been compared to Stranger Things. But the book was actually written over the summer of 2015, a full year before Stranger Things hit the TV screens. Spooky!

About the Author


C.J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn�t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

The Chalk Man is her first novel.



Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Chalk Man�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your favorite art-related craft or hobby?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. C.J. and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I love watercolor painting and crocheting! 

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Crown Publishing!
Giveaway ends January 25th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios:

The Lost Season of Love and Snow Jennifer Laam from St. Martin's Griffin ( MacMillan ) The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin�s b...

Top 10 Real-Life Inspirations for The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam + Giveaway (US/Canada)

The Lost Season of Love and Snow
Jennifer Laam
from St. Martin's Griffin (MacMillan)

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin�s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the beguiling age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. At her first public ball during the Christmas of 1828, she attracts the romantic attention of Russia�s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander�s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya is swept up in a courtship and then a marriage full of passion but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads Alexander to defend his honor as well as Natalya�s in a duel, he tragically succumbs to his injuries. Natalya finds herself reviled for her perceived role in his death. In her striking new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Jennifer Laam helps bring Natalya�s side of the story to life with vivid imagination�the compelling tale of her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court and that of her greatest love.

Real-Life Inspirations for The Lost Season of Love and Snow


  1. Alexander Pushkin once described Natalya as his �Madonna with a squint.� When I read this, I immediately assumed she was near-sighted. I have terrible eyesight and can all too easily imagine the horrors of a world where glasses on women were unacceptable.
  2. Alexander describes his time writing as �stupid fits.� This is also from the historical record. While I can�t claim his genius, I can relate to this attitude toward writing... especially during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
  3. Natalya liked to create costumes for balls held at the imperial Russian court. I love dressing up every year for Comic-Con. Apparently, Natalya and I both crave attention.
  4. On the other hand, we both like to balance evenings out with nights at home. In the first chapter, Natalya looks wistfully at her notebook before she goes to the dance master�s ball. Similarly, evenings of writing, reading, and cat cuddling keep me sane.
  5. Natalya mentions that her first daughter can�t wait to be born so she can get out in the world as quickly as possible. That is essentially how my mom has described my birth.
  6. This one is unfortunate, but Natalya lives in a world where women are valued based on their attractiveness to men. Sadly, I don�t think the world has changed much in this respect. Writing this book forced me take a hard look at the assumption that women need to appeal to men in order to find happiness.
  7. Natalya is fascinated with Catherine the Great, just like me. I still see Catherine as a major inspiration for women, not just for her political savvy but her unconventional personal life.
  8. Alexander Pushkin wrote Mozart and Salieri, the basis for the play and the film Amadeus, one of my favorites. Needless to say, Alexander references the story and Mozart several times in my book.
  9. At one point, Natalya throws a copy of Pushkin�s Evgeny Onegin against a wall because she is desperate to know what happens next. This sums up how I felt after every episode of Game of Thrones.
  10. At some point, I read that Alexander Pushkin loved cats. By the time I had completed this novel, I realized that cats had worked their way into the book. Natalya�s mother�s cat bears a striking resemblance to mine.

Giveaway!


Books � la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Lost Season of Love and Snow�yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Jennifer's question in the comments below:
In The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Natalya creates several fabulous costumes including a recreation of a Minoan priestess from ancient Crete. What�s your all-time favorite costume? This can be something you�ve worn or an outfit from a book, movie, or TV show.
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Jennifer and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I have always been satisfied with my Halloween costumes! Some of my favorites have been: diner waitress, French maid, geisha, and porcelain doll. As a very young child, I recall having people oohing and aahing over my Baby Bop, Sleeping Beauty, and hanbok costumes!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher�a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends January 21st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ?
Good luck!

0 coment�rios: