Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of Moonlight City Drive by Brian Paone w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #crimethriller #noir

Moonlight City Drive

by Brian Paone

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GENRE: Crime/Thriller Romantic Paranormal

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BLURB:

11:18 p.m. Subject is checking into the Desert Palms Motel, accompanied by an unknown female.

Snapshot in the parking lot. Man and woman embrace. Betrayal, I see it every day, like my own reflection in the mirror staring back at me. Another case, another bottle of booze, life is no longer a mystery to me …

… Because I’m the private eye, hot on your trail; the top gun for hire. You’ll find me lurking in the shadows, always searching for a clue. I’m the bulletproof detective. I got my eye on you …

What’s a little sin under the covers, what’s a little blood between lovers? What’s a little death to be discovered, cold stiff body under the covers?

I’m digging you a desert grave, underneath the burning sun. You won’t be found by anyone. Vultures circle in the sky, and you, my dear, are the reason why.

… I was always easily influenced.

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Excerpt Two:

Smith spit out another peanut shell onto his Chevy’s floorboard as his gaze stayed trained on the Desert Palms Motel’s front entrance. His fingers instinctively found the opened bag in the complete darkness and pinched another nut. He squeezed his eyes closed to ward off the simmering residual headache from the most recent blackout. The sound of the rain pelting the windshield was soothing.

“Come on. Where are you? You took the last two nights off. I can’t imagine you being on vacation.”

Headlights turning into the parking lot diverted his attention from the motel’s front door. He squinted to decipher the make and model of the vehicle through the downpour. A Bentley. He sighed and returned his focus to the motel as he fingered the brim of his newly purchased replacement fedora and then tossed it next to him in frustration.

Smith removed his revolver from his shoulder holster and checked that all six chambers were loaded for the umpteenth time. He secured the weapon and grabbed the small notebook from underneath his discarded fedora, lying on the passenger seat, where Wynn should be sitting. But she had maintained radio silence throughout the past two days since storming from Hank’s office. He shook his head in disgust for letting Wynn’s drama distract him from the job at hand.

He swiped the Chevy’s dashboard with his palm to clean off the thick layer of dust that had collected from months of neglect. He wiped his hands on his pants, leaving a graying smear across the fabric covering his thighs. He reached into his trench coat’s inner pocket and removed a silver flask. He opened the top and looked at the engraved insignia on the front. His index finger traced the shining eyeball hanging freely in the cut-out middle of a pyramid. Taking a swig from the decorated flask, he grimaced as the brown liquid hit the back of his throat.

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Can I be honest with you?  Really honest?  I’m not sure how to word this review.  As you can tell but the genre listing its a mixture of things.  Plus, its based on an album.  Like if I were to write a novel about Queensryche’s Operation:  Mindcrime.  Or Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  Yep, its that type of book.  Trust me, I’ve never even heard of the album but with Mr. Paone’s prose, I did hear it.  And hear it, I did.  It’s kinda weird, suspenseful, sexy and mind blowing all at the same time.

Mr. Paone has written a book that completely surprised me.  Of course, since I didn’t have a clue going in, I just went along for the ride.  It’s dark, twisted with characters that you despise but can’t help like at the same time.  Again, it’s just weird but a good weird.  Since I read other books besides romance, I read a lot of “different” books but this one is in the top ten of the best books that are not in the true romance category.  I loved how Mr. Paone was able to pull this romance reader into his world and hold me until the very end.  I’m still thinking about this book even though I finished it a while ago.

Again, I’m sure that I’m rambling but I honestly don’t know how to put my feelings on the page about it.  Creepy, weird, different, and completely well written.  Mr. Paone knows how to use his words.  It’s atmospheric, with a paranormal twist that I never saw coming.  Does he finally get the bad guy preying on prostitutes?  You will have to read it to find out.  If you are looking for something different, read this book.  I’m glad that did.  Now I need to figure out how to write that novel featuring Operation:  Mindcrime.  Which I HIGHLY recommend.  Geoff Tate at his best.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Brian has, thus far, published four novels: a memoir about being friends with a drug-addicted rock star, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts; a macabre cerebral-horror novel, Welcome to Parkview; a time-travel romance novel, Yours Truly, 2095, (which was nominated for a Hugo Award, though it did not make the finalists); and a supernatural, crime-noir detective novel, Moonlight City Drive. Along with his four novels, Brian has published three short stories: “Outside of Heaven,” which is featured in the anthology, A Matter of Words; “The Whaler’s Dues,” which is featured in the anthology, A Journey of Words; and “Anesthetize (or A Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys),” which is featured in the anthology, A Haunting of Words. Brian is also a vocalist and has released seven albums with his four bands: Yellow #1, Drop Kick Jesus, The Grave Machine, and Transpose. He is married to a US Naval Officer, and they have four children. Brian is also a police officer and has been working in law enforcement since 2002. He is a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, a New England Patriots fanatic, and his favorite color is burnt orange. For more information on all his books and music, visit www.BrianPaone.com

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Moonlight-City-Drive-Brian-Paone-ebook/dp/B076B7X9RQ

 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moonlight-city-drive-brian-paone/1127206870

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Harlequin Spotlight, Meme, Reviews

#Review of To Catch a Thief (a Fitzgerald House novel) by Nan Dixon w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @nandixonauthor @NanDixonAuthor @HarlequinBooks

To Catch A Thief

by Nan Dixon

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GENRE: Contemporary

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BLURB:

What would you do for your family?

When Carolina Castillo’s once vivacious mother becomes ill, she gives up her singing dreams and comes home to Savannah. She’d do anything for her Mamá, even work at Fitzgerald House for the family she should have been part of. She’d even steal.

Carolina’s decisions make perfect sense until she comes up against the immovable rock that is gorgeous FBI agent Sage Cornell. The honorable cop sees the world in black-and-white. He would never understand the difficult choices she’s had to make, the secrets she’s been forced to keep close. And he could never love a woman like her. Or could he?

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Excerpt Three:

He boosted his butt onto the stool, moaning like he was Gramps after being in the saddle for a day.

Two women worked behind the counter drawing beers. He closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.

“Sage?”

His eyes blinked open. “Carolina?”

The napkin slipped out of her fingers and floated to the floor.

“You got the job.” Did that make him feel better or worse since she hadn’t called?

“First day.” Her deep blue eyes had that stunned look, like a white-tailed deer caught in a four-wheeler’s lights at dusk.

“How’s your mother?” He schooled his voice, hoping she couldn’t catch his disappointment.

Her shoulders moved up and down with her sigh. His eyes dropped to her chest. Even in the modest polo, he didn’t need much imagination to remember how she’d pressed against him as they’d kissed.

So why in blazes hadn’t she called?

“They can’t get her seizures under control.” Her fingers crushed the second napkin she pulled for him. “She’s still in the hospital.”

He caught her hand. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks.” She stared into his eyes.

The noise of the room slipped away. He wanted to make the pain in her deep blue eyes disappear, too.

She shook her head. “Um, what can I get you?”

“What’s on tap?”

“First day.” She winced. “Lots of Southbound.”

“I’ll have their seasonal.” He could have one beer and make it last through dinner.

“I’ll get that.” But she stayed right in front of him.

He smiled. Maybe she hadn’t been blowing him off. Warmth flooded through him.

“Sage?” she asked.

“Yeah?”

“I need my hand back.”

Cripes. He let go and the warmth faded like a leaking balloon. He was an idiot. “Sorry.”

Over her shoulder, she quipped, “I didn’t mind.”

“Like I said, I’m available for dinner or just a shoulder to cry on.” Preferably in bed, but even he wasn’t crass enough to suggest that to her. He wanted to help any way he could. It was the Cornell way.

 

Before you start throwing darts at me because of my ranking of this book, please note that this book has a trigger in it for me.  That’s the ONLY reason why I gave it the ranking I did.  For some people, they will pass over it without a word but for me, I just couldn’t.

I’m writing this review on Mother’s Day and to say that I had major issues with Carolina’s mom would be an understatement.  Look, I get, maybe they why, she had Carolina lie to everyone.  But I didn’t like the way Rosa treated Carolina in the book at all.  I know, she is dying and has seizures/cancer but I just couldn’t get past that she has treated Carolina that way for a while.  At some point, I wished that Carolina had taken up for herself when it came to her mother.  I have a difficult relationship with my own mother and it wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I finally had to realize that I wouldn’t have the type of relationship with her that I had always craved.  She is who she is and I’m me.

What I truly loved about the book is the romance between Sage and Carolina.  It was extremely relatable and at times swoon-worthy.   Carolina took up for herself when it came to that relationship so I knew that she could have done it with her mom.  *sigh*  Plus, Sage needed to be taken down a peg or two with this holier than thou attitude.  Thank goodness for his mom and the revelation that she told him.  Sage is just the type of hero that I like.  Not alpha or beta.  Just an all-around good guy that needed a slap upside his head by a strong woman (his mom) that finally made him realize what he was truly missing out on in life.

The Fitzgerald sisters are all here.  I’ve read all of their stories, too and it was great seeing them play a huge role in this book.  Of course, the reaction from their mother is priceless but understandable.  Too bad that the sisters had to find out the hard way that their daddy had done.  Parents can do stupid things but they are human.  Maybe more human than children would like to see.  This book is truly about family and what consists of being a family.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s all here and Ms. Dixon wrote it perfectly.  Even if I didn’t like Rosa.

And yes, I still recommend it.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Award winning author Nan Dixon spent her formative years as an actress, singer, dancer and competitive golfer. But the need to eat had her studying accounting in college. Unfortunately, being a successful financial executive didn’t feed her passion to perform. When the pharmaceutical company she worked for was purchased, Nan got the chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to pursue a writing career.  She’s a five-time Golden Heart® finalist, lives in the Midwest and is active in her local RWA chapter and on the board of a dance company. She has five children, three sons-in-law, two granddaughters, one grandson and one neurotic cat.

 

www.NanDixon.com

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https://www.pinterest.com/NanDixonauthor/

Buy Links – http://www.nandixon.com/category/books/

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Nan Dixon will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Release Day, Reviews

Happy Book Birthday to Bare: a Hollywood Romance (Exposed #2) by Sarah Robinson w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @booksbysarahrobinson @BooksBy_Sarah @nazareaandrews #contemporaryromance

Today we have the release blitz for Sarah Robinson’s BARE! Check it out and grab your copy today!

Title: BARE: A Hollywood Romance

Author: Sarah Robinson

Series: Exposed, Book 2

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Standalone

About BARE:

 

Following the popular series debut—NUDES was praised as “passionate, emotional and uplifting” by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely—contemporary romance author Sarah Robinson weaves a new standalone story where a second chance at romance is found on a Hollywood film set and secrets always have a way of being…exposed.

 

Reed Scott is the hottest actor in LA…

Being a Hollywood heartthrob has its perks, and I’ve damn sure enjoyed every one of them, both on and off the silver screen. The tabloids loved every second of exploiting my privacy, chronicling my mistakes in ink for the whole world to see. Accepting the lead role in a romantic dance film was guaranteed to make me a box office hit and help me rewrite my image, until the choreographer hired to train me turned out to be the only woman I’d ever loved and lost.

 

As beautiful and enticing as ever, Tegan walks in and reminds me of the worst mistake I’ve ever made. She should hate me, and now she has the power to destroy everything I am.

 

Tegan Reynolds is picking up the pieces…

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…never going to happen. I fell in love with Reed Scott once and it nearly killed me—literally. The last thing I want to do now is teach him how to dance, but I need this job and there’s no way I’m letting him take yet another thing away from me.

 

Reed is in my world now, and this time we’re dancing by my rules.

 

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Ever read a second chance book and think, these two are NOT going to make it?  That thought kept coming back to me throughout Reed and Teagan’s book and I was certain of the outcome until the very last chapter.  I literally blew out the breath that I was holding.  These two knuckleheads.  Yes, knuckleheads.  Look, I get that the past changed them and redefined them as adults but when it came to each other.  UGH!!!!  Teagan was the worst but I COMPLETELY understood where she was coming from.  She was hurt from the past and once these two knuckleheads FINALLY talked about what happened those ten years ago, then the book started to really take off for me.

I know it sounds like I hated the book in the beginning.  Actually, I didn’t.  I loved how Reed was never shy about his feelings for Teagan and how it Teagan was making him sweat it out.  For me, that is what made the book.  Second chances shouldn’t be easy to come by and Ms. Robinson’s makes them both sweat it out.  I also loved the scenes between Tea and her two sisters, Aria (LOVE HER–read NUDES!) and Simmy.  I can’t wait for her book next.  No matter how successful they are, they are sisters and will help each other out no matter what.  Oh, my and the scenes with her parents are hilarious.  Her dad is my dad.  Language and all.  I was dying.  Dying, yall.  You just have to read it to believe it.  There is so much love in the book but with that being said, the conflict is pretty intense at times.  Again, I wasn’t sure of anything until the very end.  Well done, Ms. Robinson.  I don’t like tidy endings.  I want to sweat it out like they have throughout the book.

Overall, this is one of the best books that I have read this year.  I loved Nudes and didn’t think this would top it but it did.  Ms. Robinson continues to amaze me with her writing and her characters.  Bring on Simmy and her story.

 

 

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Am I cursed? Teagan stared at herself in the mirror of her small apartment bathroom. She felt cursed. Reed-Scott-freaking-cursed.

Life certainly hadn’t handed her the easiest go, and now, just when she’d thought things were finally turning around because she’d landed a fantastic job as a film choreographer, fate was still proving it had other plans for her. This job was supposed to be her big break—well, break-ish. Sure, it wasn’t what she’d wanted out of her life, but her dreams were no longer an option.

And this job? Most people would kill for it. So, she was choosing to be grateful.

She had to choose to be grateful a lot, actually. If she didn’t, then life would have gotten the better of her years ago. Teagan glanced down at her legs, tracing a finger across the long scar that stretched from her knee to her hip. She tried to hide it under leggings and skirts, but it wasn’t always possible.

When she’d almost died in a car accident at the age of twenty-one, she’d thought she’d never walk again. Hell, the doctors had told her exactly that. And dancing? That was an impossibility.

The years and years she’d spent training to become a professional dancer had all been wiped away in less time than it took for that car to slam hers into a ditch. Despite the doctor’s predictions that her wheelchair would become a permanent fixture, though, she’d proved them all wrong. She’d spent years learning to walk, and then dance, again. Sure, she’d probably never have the agility to become the famous dancer she’d always dreamed of being, but she could at least teach. And with that, she’d found a way to keep doing what she loved…even if it was not exactly what she loved.

So, she chose to be grateful.

But seeing Reed Scott again? The man who made her believe in everlasting, soul-deep, earth shattering love and then left her standing alone at the altar on their wedding day? The man who had left her just to star in a movie that would make him famous?

She was not grateful for that—or for him—one bit.

Teagan finished putting on the last touches of her makeup then changed into a new pair of leggings and a leotard. Glancing one last time in the mirror, she fluffed out her wavy brown hair nervously. As much as she might hate him, she found herself wanting to look her best for him anyway. Make him eat his heart out. Make him regret ever leaving her like that in the first place.

She swallowed, trying to push away her frustration. That didn’t seem possible right now, though. Sighing, Teagan grabbed her car keys off the small table by her front door and gave one last glance around the small Los Angeles apartment she called home. Benson, her incredibly fat tabby cat, was lounging on the windowsill, lazily yawning and watching her. “Bye, Benson. Be good.”

He didn’t even blink at her. He’d probably still be lying in that exact same spot when she came home later.

Teagan blew him a kiss then headed out, locking her front door carefully behind her. Within a few minutes, she was behind the wheel of her car and heading toward the studio. It was still dark outside, but she didn’t mind one bit. She enjoyed early mornings when the world was quiet and the roads were clearer. Driving was still something that made her a little tense after her car accident, and traffic in Los Angeles was always horrendous. But, at five o’clock in the morning, it was a lot more manageable and didn’t make her feel so…terrified.

Luckily, her commute was short and she arrived on set twenty minutes later. She headed straight to the studio where she’d told Reed to meet her, but he wasn’t there yet, which she’d expected since she was a bit early. Placing her dance bag on the shelf to one side of the studio, she pulled out her heel dancer shoes with a cute buckle T-strap over the top of her foot and put them on. She pulled on a loose fitting, light sweater over her leotard for some coverage, since it reached almost to the bottom of her ass.

Next, she began to shimmy out of her leggings, since she was able to work a lot better in her leotard without restriction to her legs. She got down to her knees before she realized that being bare legged would reveal the scar on her leg. Quickly, she slid them back up her legs.

“Shit.”

Teagan whirled around, looking for the person who’d just broken the silence around her.

Reed Scott. Of course.

“You scared the crap out of me,” she told him, grateful that he hadn’t been able to see her scar from where he was standing for the brief moment her leggings had been down.

“Sorry,” he replied, clearly making an effort to look anywhere but at her. “I didn’t know you’d be…uh, I mean, I wasn’t expecting…”

She rolled her eyes. Actors were so dramatic. “I’m not getting naked, Reed. I was just, uh, putting on my leggings to dance.”

“Sure. Right. Yeah.” He was rambling, clutching the gym bag over his shoulder. “So, time to get started?”

“Yep. Put your stuff on the shelf and we’ll get started,” she instructed, doing her best to ignore the butterflies fluttering in her stomach at the very sight of him. Fuck, he looked even better than he’d looked the last time she’d seen him. Tall, broad shoulders, olive skin under thick black hair with a scruffy beard she remembered was very soft. And those eyes…God, the way those light green eyes pierced through her.

He stood you up at the altar, she reminded herself. For a damn movie.

“Sure.” He headed toward her and placed his bag on the shelf. “What are we practicing today?”

“It’s a pretty short routine today, actually. It shouldn’t take us too long.” Though she doubted he’d be the quickest learner after his warning yesterday. “Ready?”

He turned around to look at her, his eyes trailing down her body in a way that made her heart pound faster and faster. Suddenly his gaze stopped, pausing on her legs.

Her heart pounded, terrified he could see through her thin leggings to the bump of her scar. But he said nothing, and his gaze kept traveling. She was safe.

Honestly, she was a little surprised he didn’t already know about her accident. It hadn’t been a secret. Everyone in her life knew, and she’d certainly expected someone to pass along the message. Or for him to check in, even once.

She’d waited for him in the hospital, expecting him to come. Expecting him to apologize. Expecting him to beg her forgiveness, realize what an idiot he had been and take her back, care for her, return her to health with his love and affection.

That hadn’t really worked out.

Finally, his eyes returned to his face, and his tongue slid across his bottom lip. “You look…damn, Teag. You look amazing.”

“Listen, Reed,” she began, setting her jaw and sticking out her chin. “We work together. That’s it. You don’t get to look at me like that anymore.”

Reed looked startled, taken aback at her abruptness. Then the saddest look she’d ever seen passed over his face. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Let’s get started.” She moved to the center of the studio. “I’ll show you today’s sequence, and then we’ll go through it step by step. Okay?”

He nodded, but said nothing.

Carefully, she posed herself in the center of the room with her toes pointed and her arms around her waist. In one slick move, she sidestepped and kicked one leg out to her left, flipping her hair with the motion. She then tucked her foot, her knee pointed out horizontally from her body and spun in a circle.

On her second spin around, she kicked up high, like an incredibly tall karate kick. When her foot touched back down on the ground, she lunged to the right and threw her arms out, tossing back her head with the motion. She curved her spine outwards, pulling her stomach in as she moved her arms in a circular motion toward herself.

She twirled then, spinning on the tips of her toes while keeping her eyes on one stationary spot so she didn’t get dizzy. After her fourth spin, she shoved her arms down by her sides and lifted her chin. With that, she spun back in the direction she’d just come from and leaped multiple times across the room with her arms out and her fingers pointed.

Finally, she came down on one foot and spun in several circles before coming to a stop in front of Reed. “Annnnnd, that’s it.”

“Shit, that looked complicated as hell,” he admitted. “Though you looked incredible doing it.”

She ignored his compliment. Or, rather, she tried. Admittedly, her heart pounded a little harder. But, that was being ignored for now. “Let’s go over the first step.” She repeated the side steps and kicking her leg to the left. “Just like that. Let’s see what you can do.”

Reed followed in her footsteps, and honestly, it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great either. “Like that?”

“Close,” she admitted. “Let’s go through it again.”

 

 

About the Author:

Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in forensic and clinical psychology. She is newly married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiasts as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

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Visit the author’s website for more information about Sarah and her books: http://booksbysarahrobinson.net/

 

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