Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Reviews

#Review of Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @carriejohowe

Island Life Sentence

by Carrie Jo Howe

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GENRE: Adult Fiction, Humorous, Romantic comedy

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BLURB:

Peg Savage has contractually agreed to move to Key West, Florida. The smudged signatures on the damp cocktail napkin are irrefutable proof.

“An adventure…” her husband Clark says.

Peg can’t swim; she’s afraid of bridges (there are 42 of them); and she doesn’t want to leave her friends. However, after a bottle of Cabernet, a move from Chicago to the southernmost city in the United States seems like the best decision ever.

But now Clark has taken a long term job in Cuba and she’s on her own.

Neither her dog Nipper, nor the ghosts in the attic, offer up any good advice. But how hard can it be living in paradise?

Peg dives into island life but the more effort she makes, the wider her wake of catastrophes. She is tortured by a paddle board, a giant poisonous toad, the local Conservation group, and the patron saint of hurricanes. Not to mention the persistent sweat rash under her left breast.

A tropical depression descends on the island – one that can’t be cured with medication. Peg must gather her strength if she has any hope of surviving the storm.


Welcome Carrie Jo Howe! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.  Hi and thank you for hosting me! I’m a Chicago transplant to Key West, Florida. The island is the southernmost part of the United States and closer to Havana than a Target store.  My husband took a job transfer five years ago. I thought it was going to be fairly temporary, yet we’re still in Paradise. We have three grown boys and a 13 year old Vizsla. The dog is the boss of us all.

Is Island Life Sentence a single title, or part of a series? The book, is the first part of a trilogy. I’m working on the second book now.  

What were your inspirations for the story? Well, Peg is a fictional Mid-western woman who moves from Chicago to Key West. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Peg’s (mis)adventures are based on true stories. Yes, my dog was nearly poisoned by a deadly Bufo Toad. Yes, my house is haunted by haints (Key West ghosts). Yes, I survived a category five Hurricane named Irma.  

Please share your setting for Island Life Sentence.  Key West is a lush tropical island at the bottom of the chain of the Florida Keys.  It is aptly named “the end of the road” for its location and for the fact that it attracts some lively characters.  There’s some funky evolution going on down here–Darwinism at its finest.

When did the writing bug first bite? I think of myself as more of a storyteller.  I like to write about funny or strange events. For example, my first book, Motherhood is Not for Babies, tells about my shock at the effort it takes to raise a family.  I was surprised at how uncooperative they all were. It is therapy to write about it–makes it seem less overwhelming.

Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
The Florida writer, Carl Hiaasen  is an an ex-journalist who writes about Florida and all of its anomalies. Before I moved to Florida, I thought he exaggerated his humorous tales…I’ve since learned that, in reality, he’s quite factual.  My favorites of his books are Tourist Season and  Razor Girl.  

I’m a fan-girl of Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. These two friends are strong and funny. In my dream world, I’m sitting at a table with them in a restaurant and not getting arrested for stalking.

 

Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?  I love my teachers at the Pilates Studio of Key West. They know their stuff and make the classes demanding but entertaining.  That’s saying a lot since the exercise program uses torture terms like, “reformer”, “straps” and “chair”. I also volunteer as a mentor for a high school student for the program Take Stock in Children.  TSIC provides college tuition for low-income, academically minded students. I’m proud to be part of such a well run and necessary organization.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?  Hmmm, let’s see…since it’s Key West, that’s tough to narrow down. Would you mind if I shared a photo of Happy Hour last Friday?  Words can’t do this justice.

Is it okay to say that while I read this book I almost peed my pants?  There are parts of this book that had me laughing out loud and often.  Other parts, I wanted to shake Peg and tell her to put on her big girl panties and suck it up.  Yes, at times, Peg came across as the Too Stupid to Live heroine but once she finally figured out stuff, her brilliance shined.

The situations that she finds herself in are at times funny and then, farfetched but they are meant to be.  She is a true “fish out of water” when it comes to living in Key West.  I’ve never been but I have been to Chicago many times, so her life back in Chicago resounded with me.  I couldn’t imagine moving from Chicago to Key West but it would be an adventure for sure.  I did like the fact that the author had the same experiences that Peg did, Clark not withstanding.

Her husband is a douche.  I could use a stronger word but I’ll keep it PG at best.  The ending of the book is definitely poetic justice but I really did want to know what Peg was going to do now.  I understand the sequel is being written and I can’t wait to read more about Peg and her dog, Nipper.

Randolph, Trudy, Bernie, Nipper, the ghosts and even the setting are perfect secondary characters.  Ms. Howe has written a great chick lit book with heart, humor, a bit of ridiculous but overall a great read.

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Excerpt Two:

“Sunshine state… my soggy ass.”

It was dark. The power and the air conditioning had gone out hours ago. Peg hugged her dog under the makeshift bed-tent, clutching him to her sweaty pajama’d breasts.

An engraved locket pinned to Nipper’s blue life vest dangled under his pirate dog collar. Hurricane rain pummeled the bedroom window – the violent wind shook the glass panes. Peg wondered about the moaning sound until she realized it was coming from her own throat.

She shrieked at the sudden crash on the metal roof. Several days of binge drinking without proper oral hygiene, or any hygiene for that matter, produced noxious vapors in the tent. Nipper’s nostrils flared as he took in the odors and licked her fluorescent orange, cheesy, tear-stained fingers.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her latest novel, Island Life Sentence, is a fictional account of an American Midwestern woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received a rave review (thanks Mom), and works wonderfully as a form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobsters get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on the sequels to Island Life Sentence.

 

Website: www.carriejohowe.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carriejohowe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carriejohowe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carriejohoweauthor

Blog: https://carriejohowe.blogspot.com/

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Island-Life-Sentence-Carrie-Howe/dp/1911586521

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Carrie Jo Howe will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Spotlight

Excerpt from Longevity: The Wardens of Time by Caleb Smith w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @calebsmith #fantasy #ya

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Caleb Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Noah Thomas is a scrawny seventh grader who is bullied to the brink in his new town. Friendless, except for sassy tomboy Wendy Sherman, who seems to lend him the confidence he needs to stand up to his oppressors. Upon stumbling into a bookshop one afternoon while on the run from some teenaged tyrants, Noah is hurled into an unexplainable adventure. Noah learns that the bookshop does, in fact, lead to the Akashic Records – a place that holds all spirit lives recorded in tablets of light. With this new found knowledge, Noah begins to grow in wisdom and confidence to face his fears. His biggest challenge comes in the form of five demonic spirits that he accidentally lets loose from a lost tablet. Will Noah succeed with the help of his guardian angel cat he calls Keeper, or will all Hell’s henchman prevail?

“A spiritual thriller that skillfully celebrates determination and self-discipline – Kirkus Reviews “

Read an Excerpt:

Elijah was busy containing the damned and all the energies he could catch, holding them tightly until their essence spontaneously combusted into cosmic dust as the window shattered. The night wind howled angrily. With the wave of his hand, Elijah repaired the window to its normal state, and Enoch found the metal sleeve to lock this lost Akashic tablet, sliding both book and key into his deep pocket. Elijah then moved to Noah’s aid, ignoring the result of the mayhem that had occurred in this room. He cradled Noah’s head and lifted his torso. Noah awakened to the sight of the two pillars of heaven towering over him and shining light into his peepers. He was not as shocked as he should have been. He quickly remembered what he had done, and then Elijah set him on his feet to stand. He wished he was more surprised to see them, but he knew full well the reason for their visit.

About the Author:

Caleb Smith an author from Bangor Maine, holds a passion for nature, spiritual study, family, poetry, art, strength training and golf. Honesty, simplicity and a hard work ethic are the best things that shape his day.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/calebsmithauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/calebsmith
Publisher: http://www.blackrosewriting.com
Book Video: https://youtu.be/FmlGJqQ-t4Y
Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/284681-longevity-the-wardens-of-time

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Longevity-Wardens-Time-Caleb-Smith/dp/1684331382
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/longevity-caleb-smith/1129584642
http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/longevity

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Excerpt, Giveaways, New Release, Reviews

#Review of House of Ashes (A Haunted Bluffs Mystery) by Loretta Marion w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #mystery #suspense

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Loretta Marion will be awarding a $50 mazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

Read an Excerpt:

Present day ~ Whale Rock, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod

September ~ three days since the disappearance

Back at home, I took a good look at my beloved Battersea Bluffs, with its towering widow’s walk, double chimneys, and impressive wrap-around porch. It had become part of Whale Rock’s lore that the majestic Victorian sitting high above the cliffs on the craggy northern end of town was possessed by the spirits of my great- grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, its original owners. The legend evolved from a rumor initiated by my father when he was trying to take back his rightful home. It had been a successful strategy, but he could never have guessed how prophetic his fable would become—or maybe he’d already sensed the mysterious aspects of the old house. To be fair, Papa and I had never discussed the lurking scents and sounds presented by the spirits sharing our home.

I unlatched the gate, to a warm greeting of soft whimpers and an exuberant tail.

“You’re missing them too, aren’t ya, buddy?” I reached down to stroke the German shepherd’s glossy black fur, those usually erect ears momentarily relaxed. I widened the gate.

I followed the dog to the ledge of Percy’s Bluffs, so named after my great-grandfather’s dramatic leap from the cliffs overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I stared down to where the waves were crashing against the rocks below. Through the years, this spot had become my refuge, where I’d come to contemplate decisions or brood over troubles. Exhausted and numb, I sank to the ground and idly fingered an abandoned champagne cork, probably left here the night Vince and Ashley moved in with me. We’d brought a bottle down to the cliffs to toast our new alliance and the home they were going to help me save. I closed my eyes to bring to memory the feel of the fizzy liquid against my tongue, the first I’d tasted in years. There’d not been much to celebrate in recent times. But that night, a sense of hope had returned to me.

So I went completely off the rails and read a mystery book.  Without all the romantic elements that I normally love in a story.  Shocked?  I was at first but once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Yes, could.not.put.it.down.  Normally, I’ll put a mystery down, try to figure it out and then prove myself right.  Not this time.  Ms. Marion wrote a mystery that I just couldn’t figure out at all.  The ending was NOT what I expected and this is why I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’ve never read Ms. Marion before but I will definitely get The Fool’s Truth, her debut, to read.  Plus, I’m hoping that Ms. Marion comes back to the cape for more mysteries.  I will admit that I live in Texas and have never been the Cape but I did have a great aunt and uncle that did.  I really felt like I was there and it is stunning.  Spooky even at night.  The world that she built is fantastic even to this Texan.  I love old houses so I could totally see myself visiting.  I really enjoyed how the house and the setting, itself played into the story.

Cassandra was a mystery to me at times.  Smart, then dumb.  Sure of herself and then needing Brooks.  Now, I really liked him but at times, he really needed to shake her.  Throw in Zoe, Cassie’s sister that to me was a PIA, the disappearance of Vince and Ashley’s and she had her hands full.  Cassie stuck to her beliefs and I really liked that about her.  The mystery is just awesome.  I can’t go into because, well, spoilers.  Again, I never figured it out and was blown away by it.

Do yourself a favor and if you are looking for a great mystery with ghosts, a haunted house, with a gothic feeling to it, this book is for you.  I highly recommend it.

About the Author:

A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion’s affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, was a twisty mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador”.

Website: https://www.LorettaMarion.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorettaMarionAuthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/House-Ashes-Haunted-Bluffs-Mystery/dp/1683318439
Barnes&Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/house-of-ashes-loretta-marion/1128856330?ean=9781683318439#/
Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/House-Ashes/Loretta-Marion/9781683318439
Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781683318439

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