Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Virtual Book Tour with Giveaway ~ Through the Fire (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit) by Katie Ruggle

Through the Fire
Rocky Mountain K9 Unit
by Katie Ruggle

He’s tall.
He’s dark.
He’s brutally handsome…
And he may be her only hope.

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it's personal.

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Wes couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t uncommon for him to have insomnia, but it usually happened when he was working on a project or was trying to sort out an especially tricky problem. This time, it felt different. Excitement was running through him, making him feel like he’d downed a half-dozen espressos in the fifteen minutes before he’d gone to bed.
He couldn’t blame caffeine for his sleepless state, though. No, it was all the fault of a beautiful woman who’d almost gotten shot by Rufus. The memory made him frown, hating the idea that she’d been in danger. After seven years working in his tower and living year-round in the small, adjacent cabin, Wes had earned the wary respect of his neighbors. He wouldn’t call them friends, but he’d be able to knock on their doors without getting his head shot off.
Giving up on attempting sleep, Wes climbed out of bed and tossed his winter coat over his drawstring pants and T-shirt. Stuffing his feet into his boots, he clumped outside. He glanced at his watch. It was close to four, but the world was as dark as if it were the middle of the night. The stars were bright, though, giving the snow an eerie, blue-white glow. One of his favorite things about his home was how quiet it was, especially at night in the winter. In the small city where he’d grown up, there’d always been noise, sounds overlapping other sounds until it was impossible for him to concentrate on anything. Here, it was just the slight thud and brush of his boots connecting with the snowy ground, then the quiet beep and click of the tower door unlocking and opening.
Once upstairs, there were more distractions—the crackling of the fire in the woodstove and the whir and beep of various electronics he’d hooked to the motion sensor—but everything was familiar and expected. Usually, the sameness of his tower was comforting, but tonight he was restless. He’d gotten a taste of the heady excitement he’d felt in Kit’s company, and he wanted more. For the first time, the tower felt empty.
“Radio on,” he commanded, needing to hear human voices other than his own. After he heard the beep indicating that the digital radio had powered up, there was still silence, and he almost laughed. Why had he thought anyone would be communicating at this hour? It was tiny Monroe after all. “Radio scan.” Although he still didn’t have high hopes of hearing any communications, even with all the channels open, that at least increased the odds. Walking over to the bank of windows, Wes peered into the darkness, not seeing anything except his reflection.
“Dispatch, Unit 2242. I’m about to make a traffic stop on the 200 block of Main Street. Plates when you’re ready.”
The voice belonged to one of Wes’s more sane neighbors, Otto Gunnersen. The cop and his new wife, Sarah, lived a few miles away.
2242, go ahead.” The dispatcher sounded sleepy. As Otto rattled off the license plate number, Wes wondered if Otto’s transmission had woken her up.
It wasn’t long before the dispatcher spoke again, sounding wide awake this time. “That plate comes back to a blue Honda Accord, registered to a William Kyle Yarden. He has a warrant.”
Copy.” Otto didn’t sound fazed by the information, which wasn’t surprising. Although Wes didn’t know Otto well, he got the impression that it took a lot to rattle the big cop.
2268.” Wes’s stomach jumped with excitement when he recognized Kit’s voice. “Need some help, Otto?
I’ve got this, thanks,” Otto answered. “Bill never gives us any trouble.”
Copy. Let me know if you can use a hand. I’m just around the corner, so I could be there in five minutes.” Kit sounded a little disappointed, and Wes wondered if she was having just as much trouble sleeping as he was. He liked that idea. It made the early-morning hours seem less lonely when he knew that she was awake as well.
On impulse, he switched the radio to a seldom-used channel and picked up the wireless mic. “3537 to 2268 on eighteen.”
There was a pause long enough to make Wes wonder if she was scanning channel eighteen or if his attempt to reach out had been lost to empty air. “2268 to 3537. Wes, is that you?
He smiled. “Yes, it’s me.”
What are you doing up so late?” she asked. Her voice was warm, and it made his blood feel carbonated again, all those fizzy bubbles swirling through him. He couldn’t stay still, so he paced over to the windows, peering through the glass even though he knew he couldn’t see her house without the binoculars.
“I couldn’t sleep. How about you? Are you working nights now?” He hoped not. There would be fewer chances to see her if their sleep schedules were reversed.
Nope to both. Can’t sleep, but I’m not on nights. Too bad. At least then I’d be paid for staying up.
He moved from Window 1 to Window 12 and then back again, needing to move so his brain didn’t freeze with the pressure of talking to Kit. “Why can’t you sleep?”
Although he’d only met her a few times, the sound she made was already familiar, and he could picture her doing a half shrug as she made it. “I’m not sure. New place or too much excitement yesterday or something. Who knows. My brain does what it does, giving no explanations.
“Yes.” Her words resonated inside him. “Mine, too. Our brains match in that way.”
Please.” Amusement filled her voice, and it made his throat tighten with anxiety at the thought of her laughing at him. “As if my brain could even hope to match yours. I’ve seen your tower. You’re a stinking genius.”
The words ran through his mind a few times before he was reassured that she was complimenting him, and he ducked his chin, his face heating from pleasure and relief. As he lifted his head, his reflection in the window caught his attention, and he was glad Kit couldn’t see his flushed cheeks. Realizing that his pause had probably stretched too long, he scrambled to come up with an answer. “You’re just as smart. I think your brain could hold its own.”
Now I’m picturing our brains battling it out.” Her words were filled with laughter, and he was pleased that he was actually managing to banter with her.
At least, he was pretty sure that they were bantering. He made a mental note to call his sister, Leila, later and ask.
“Are they using swords or light sabers?”
Neither. They’re bouncing off each other like lumpy, armless sumo wrestlers.”
His own laughter took him by surprise, and he felt a rush of affection for Kit. It had been a long time since he’d been able to talk to anyone so easily. “Of course. That’s the only battle that makes sense.”

A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, trains her three dogs, cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

You can connect with Katie at, or Twitter

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Review ~ Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth
by Zoje Stage
Expected publication: July 17th 2018 by St Martin's Press

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

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Hannah is an adorable looking seven year old who worships her father….she is definitely a daddy’s girl through and through.  However, this sweet looking child has a devious mind and her goal is to get rid of her mother, no matter the cost so that she can have her father all to herself.

This story is told in alternating POV’s between Suzette, the mother, and Hannah, the seven-year old girl.  Hannah chooses not to speak, but her ‘voice’ is loud when it comes to the hatred she has toward her mom.  As a mom myself, I really felt sorry for Suzette. She wanted to love Hannah so much, but it is hard to love evil…..and trust me, Hannah is pure evil.  It was hard for me to connect with Hannah’s character because she seemed older than her young seven years.  It was difficult for me to comprehend that a young child would even contemplate such adult behavior.

While this psychological thriller started out strong, I felt it fizzled out in the middle and the flame totally died out at the end.  I wanted to know more, but the story just ended without any real conclusion and left this reader feeling unsatisfied.

The audio version of this book is narrated by Gabra Zackman and while her voice of Suzette was great, I had a really hard time with her portrayal of Hannah.  I felt as though Hannah was a seventy-year woman instead of a young girl.  Perhaps that is why I could not connect with Hannah, other than the fact that she was a psychopath.  The production quality was great and the narrator spoke clearly and concisely. 

Story - 2 stars
Performance – 3 stars
Overall – 2.5 stars

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Spotlight Tour and Giveaway ~ Copycat by Hannah Jayne

by Hannah Jayne
ISBN: 9781492647393
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

From the author of The EscapeTwisted, and Truly, Madly, Deadly comes a chilling new thriller that asks: what happens if your real life became stranger and deadlier than fiction?

Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, she’s thrilled when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, giving her inside information others would kill for.

Addison’s always dreamed of what it would be like if the books were real…. But then she finds the most popular girl in school dead. Murdered. And realizes that life imitating fiction is more dangerous that she could have imagined. As other terrifying events from the books start happening around her, Addison has to figure out how to write her own ending—and survive the story.

Praise for Copycat:
“A twisty rollercoaster ride that mixes fiction with reality and truth with misconceptions...lovers of mysteries will certainly enjoy this fast-paced page turner.” —Library Media Connection

“Addie and Maya feel authentic; their charming interpersonal dynamic and the escalating pace of the plot result in a quick read.” —Kirkus

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There was something inordinately creepy about being at school after dark. The place was deserted—­the benches and picnic tables in the quad looked ominous and foreboding under the flickering yellow lights. Crystal Lanier shivered and pulled her jacket tighter against an imaginary chill. The weather was mild at Gap Lake in September; the days still sunbaked, the nights, like this one, a gentle mix of fading summer and impending fall. But the bare bones of the deserted campus had put a chill in the air, and shot a blast of cold right through Crystal.
“I’m creeping myself out,” she muttered shifting her books from one arm to the other.
A wisp of wind cut through the quad. Crystal was almost sure she heard someone laughing—­a weak, choked giggle, like someone was trying to swallow it down.
She spun, her long black hair fanning over her shoulders. “Is someone there?” She knew she sounded like every horror movie victim ever, and her heart hammered in her throat as her skin prickled with beads of sweat.
This was Gap Lake, she reminded herself. It was a tiny town where everyone knew everyone else, and nothing bad ever happened. She was thinking that when the shadow approached. When he reached out for her long black hair. She was thinking what a nice, safe place Gap Lake was when he clamped a hand over her mouth. When he strangled her scream and drove the needle straight into her throat.
Addison glanced up and blinked, feeling redness stain her cheeks and ears. She closed the book slowly, looking around at the two dozen sets of eyes staring back at her.
“I’m sorry.”
Mrs. Lea took two steps forward and held out her hand. Addison cleared her throat and shifted in her seat.
“The book, Addison.”
Reluctantly, Addison handed over the dog-­eared book.
“Can I get it back after class, please?” she asked, her voice meek.
Maya Garcia hiked her backpack over her shoulders and stepped into the junior hallway. “Okay, how many times has Mrs. Lea taken that thing from you?”
Addison shrugged, falling into step with her best friend. “Let’s see, I’ve read it about fifty-­seven times so…fifty-­six?”
“You are the biggest, nerdiest R. J. Rosen fan ever.”
“Hey, I’m president of his fan club. It’s mainly research.”
Maya shook her head sadly. “It’s borderline obsessive.”
“Who you calling borderline?” Addison flashed a wide grin. “It’s not entirely my fault. Rosen needs to write faster. If he could keep up with the public’s rabid love for the Gap Lake mysteries, I wouldn’t need to constantly reread—­”
“And reread and reread. And write massive amounts of fan fiction.”
Addison rolled her eyes.
“Don’t get me wrong, Adds. I love the books too, but you’re a teenager. You need a more destructive hobby to fit in.”
Addison nodded sagely. “I see where you’re coming from. What do you suggest?”
“Drinking, drugs, reckless driving.”
“First of all, to drive recklessly, I’d have to drive, which I will not. And as for the other stuff, what am I? A stereotype?”
Maya narrowed her eyes, crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I feel like you’re not taking me seriously.”
Addison stopped at locker 221 and spun the lock, pulling open the metal door. “I like to read. So what?”
Maya yanked a handful of books out of Addison’s locker before dumping them back in again. “So, you should shelve a few hundred of these books and live in the here and now with the rest of us who have boyfriends who don’t live only on paper.”
“Number one, have you read the first Gap Lake book? Not only is Crystal’s boyfriend, Declan Levy, not a one-­dimensional paper product, he may or may not be responsible for her murder—­I vote not. But if that doesn’t make a rounded character, I don’t know what does.”
“Character,” Maya enunciated. “That’s the magic word. A character is not a real person.”
“And speaking of not real people, who’s this boyfriend of yours you seem to be referring to?”
A fierce blush crept across Maya’s olive cheeks. “I didn’t say that I had a boyfriend. But there are possibilities. Men in the wings. Plans afoot and so forth and…stuff.”
“‘Plans afoot’? ‘So forth and stuff’? Who are you?”
Maya put her hands on her hips. “I’m your best friend, Addie. Remember me? I’m not a mystery novel, but I’m pretty damn fantastic if I say so myself.”
Addie pulled the book back. She gave it a quick kiss, before stashing the book in her backpack.
Maya gaped. “Did you just kiss a book? Seriously?”
“It’s my lifeblood.”
Maya cocked an eyebrow and Addie shrugged.
“Okay, so it’s research.”
“Tell me you still want to be a writer and haven’t decided on serial killing as a career goal.”
“According to my father, the latter pays better.”
“How is the wolf of Wall Street?”
Addie blew out a sigh. “Buying low, selling high, still wishing his disappointing daughter had a penis or a power tie.”
“Well, I know what to get you for Christmas.” Maya stopped dead in her tracks. “Don’t look, but you’re being ogled. Possibly even being fantasized about in weird and uber-­sexual ways.”
Addie immediately crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Now I feel skeevy.”
“I’d pay a thousand bucks if Spencer Cohen was staring at me that way.”
Addie shrugged, trying to play it off like she didn’t care. “You need a life.”
Maya groaned and shook Addie’s arm. “And you need two feet in reality or you’re going to prom with a cardboard cutout.”
“If it’s a cardboard cutout of Declan Levy, sign me up.”
“So you are into serial killers.”
“Declan didn’t do it!”
Maya rolled her eyes. “Declan totally did it. He killed Crystal, then did Andy and Rhodes. It’s textbook. I know because I am the daughter of cops, times two.” She held up two fingers a half inch from Addie’s nose. “He had motive, opportunity—­all those other CSIwords.”
“That’s what the author wants you to think. And you totally fell for it! You are so R. J. Rosen’s target audience!”
“And you’re his secret side chick.”
Addie snorted. “I prefer biggest fan.”
“Well, it seems like Spencer Cohen is your biggest fan, and he’s coming over here.”
“Hey, Addie.” Spencer grinned, one of those three-­point grins that hit his dark-brown eyes, chin dimple, and Crest-­white smile.
I’m not in love with Spencer, she told herself. Infatuation. Puppy love, maybe. He’s just so cute…
“Hey, Spencer.”
Maya stepped forward. “Addie was just telling me how much she loves water polo. And dancing.”
Addie blinked. “I was?”
“I play water polo.” Spencer brightened and Addie gritted her teeth. She had been to nearly every one of his matches. True, she was usually up on the last bleacher with her nose in a book, but she watched whenever Spencer was in the pool. He never even noticed her.
“Yeah,” she said with a slow nod. “I’ve seen. I mean I know. I know because I’ve seen you. Not in a weird way, like in a fan way. Not, like, a weird mega fan or anything but, like, a Hornets fan. You know.” Addie fisted her hand and punched at the air. “Go team!”
Maya threaded her arm though Addie’s and gave it a yank. “We have to go.”
“Why did you do that?” Addie hissed once they were out of earshot. “Spencer and I were having a conversation.”
“Have you ever heard the term dead in the water? Because that’s what you were. ‘Go team’?” She shook her head sadly.
“Did I sound that bad?”
“Yes, yes you did.”
Addie sighed. “See? That’s why I should stick to guys on paper.”
“Oh honey,” Maya slid an arm over Addie’s shoulders. “At this point I don’t even think your book boyfriend would talk to you.”

Hannah Jayne decided to be an author in the second grade. She couldn’t spell and had terrible ideas, but she kept at it. Many (many) years—and nearly twenty books—later, she gets to live her dream and mainly does it in her pajamas. She lives with her rock-star husband, baby daughter, and their three overweight cats in the San Francisco Bay area. She is always on the lookout for a juicy mystery, an exciting story, or a great adventure.

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Runs July 3rd - 31st  (US & Canada only)
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