Excerpt, Spotlight

Spotlight featuring Misty Mount’s the Shadow Girl! @MistyAMount

Title: The Shadow Girl

Author: Misty Mount

Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age

Published: December 28, 2017

Page Count: 300 Pages

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

 

…”. a powerful fantasy that combines a coming of age theme with insights into changing family relationships, the impact of past worlds on present lives, and a shy girl’s unexpected changes.” – Midwest Book Review

“The plot is beautifully layered and intermingled with a wonderful element of fantasy while avoiding unnecessary frills and complexities. Well executed narration and pacing foster strong character development while sustaining the promised mystery. The writing is sharp, knowledgeable and sincere. Everything melds together flawlessly, offering a refreshing study of character that carries the story with incredible ease.

The end result is an unexpected and emotional journey into known and unknown that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever felt alone, uncertain or even different. Therein lies the true success of The Shadow Girl. A coming of age tale that explores the ever-changing dynamics of families, relationships and self-growth for anyone who has ever stood in the shadows even for a moment.” – Books, Vertigo, and Tea

 

 

The Shadow Girl Excerpt © Misty Mount 2017

 

The entire family agreed that the meal was delicious, and my mother sat at the other end of the table beaming. I looked from her and around at everyone else and thought, “I did this.” Somehow the astonishment of me having a dinner guest had brought the whole family together at our very best. It was the perfect evening, like one you might see on an episode of the television series that Terra and I had just watched. It was funny how they were those same annoyingly hip shows that I had previously mocked, but was now reluctantly opening to.

Grandmother dropped her fork and it clattered against the tile floor. The metallic clinking was a portentous sound that brought silence to the room. Each person at the table turned in attention to the older woman, but Grandmother’s gaze was leveled with mine alone.

She can see right through me, I thought as I matched her stare. Those dark, sunken eyes of hers seemed more shadowy than ever before, and she was so still I thought she may have been catatonic.

Somebody say something, I begged internally, feeling frozen and mesmerized. Somebody say something.

My grandmother opened her mouth, and I regretted my irrational wishing. “Angelica, you’re back! How did you make it through the shadow?” Her voice sounded odd. It was still raspy with age, but a higher, lighter note resonated through it as though her vocal chords had shed a few years.

My mother stood up and quickly walked around the table behind my grandmother. She placed a hand on her shoulder and said quietly, “Mother, are you feeling well?”

“Well, of course I’m well! Angelica’s back! Isn’t it exciting?” Grandmother lifted her arm and pointed a knobby finger at me. “She’s here with us. Right there.” I stared in dread at her trembling hand and the brittle nail at the end of her targeting index finger.

“Mother’s just a little tired today.” My own mother’s voice was apologetic. “It looks like you’re done eating, so how about you lie down for a bit?”

“No!” Grandmother shouted, slamming her palms against the table and tossing the rest of her silverware to the floor. “Don’t you see? She could disappear again! She’ll go away if we let her! We have to pay attention!”

I couldn’t remember having seen Grandmother so out of control. It was chilling to watch, like another more commanding being was exploding out of her.

“You’re getting yourself worked up over nothing,” my father spoke up. He stood as well, swooping in and removing her plate and glass from before her the way a parent might do to prevent further damage during a toddler’s tantrum.

I didn’t dare turn my head to look at Terra, but I could sense that her form was rigid and alert beside me. I was positive she was regretting her visit and plotting her escape.

“Hold on to her! Hurry before she disappears again. Angelica! Don’t go, Angelica! We miss you so much when you’re away!” Grandmother’s eyes were wide and frenzied, her arms gesturing madly. She tried to stand but there was a tremor that seemed to rock her body from head to foot.

My parents each took an elbow and pivoted her away from the table and toward her bedroom. The old woman fought against them feebly, but her frail arms didn’t do much to alter her course. She kept her bird-like gaze aimed at me for as long as she could until it became too awkward or uncomfortable to extend her neck in my direction.

We could still hear muffled ranting coming from Grandmother’s quarters even after she was out of sight.

“Whoa, that was so weird,” commented Keane in one long exhale.

“I’ve never seen Grandmother act that way before,” Ivy chimed in. She looked frightened and there were tears sparkling at the edges of her eyes.

“I bet we’re all gonna be that loony when we’re old,” Bram said rudely with an exaggerated chuckle.

I heard Terra speak up, “This is the most exciting dinner I think I’ve ever been a part of—no offense.” I turned toward her and noticed she was grinning from ear to ear.

I laughed in a combination of nerves and relief. “Sorry about that.”

“Maybe we should clean up after dinner because Mother will be upset,” Ivy suggested empathetically.

No one objected. We all brushed shoulders in a quiet dance around the kitchen, scraping food into the garbage disposal, rinsing dishes, and putting away the leftovers of what had almost been our perfect dinner.

“I should probably go,” Terra said once the dishwasher was humming and my siblings had scattered.

I felt a stab of worry in my chest. “Please don’t think this will happen every time if you decide to come more often.”

 

Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.

 

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Giveaways, Promo, Teaser Excerpts

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River Lancaster has finally met the man of her dreams. Too bad after six months of romantic bliss, she finds out he’s married. With a broken heart and blind rage, she books herself a ticket to Key West, Florida. Tired of cheaters and liars, she’s set on escaping to forget he ever existed. Who needs a man when there’s an all-you-can-drink margarita bar, anyway? That’s what she tells herself until she bumps into the right guy who can make all those bad memories disappear.

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews, TWRP

#Review of Collateral Risk by Gwenan Haines w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #romantic suspense

Collateral Risk

by Gwenan Haines

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GENRE: Romantic suspense

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BLURB:

After losing her sister to a serial killer years earlier, scientist Mia Lindgren survives by focusing on the most dangerous viruses known to man. She’s become adept at shutting herself off from human contact—until her lab partner drowns under suspicious circumstances.

Forced to accept the assistance of Nick Doyle, an FBI counter-terrorism expert on leave, she soon realizes someone at the Institute for Research of Infectious Diseases is involved in a deadly deception. As she and Nick race to find a killer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his version of Armageddon, they can’t ignore their own chemistry. But can Mia truly put the past to rest?

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Excerpt Two:

Mia finished reading the articles and took a chair opposite him. If it hadn’t been for the fact they were talking about the end of the world, it would have been cozy, sitting there with her. Small problem.

“If he wasn’t dead, I’d say it would be natural for him to have them. Working with this stuff is what we do. If he came across those articles, he’d keep them.” She hesitated, averting her gaze. “I would too.”

“Well, you’re right about one thing, Bride of Frankenstein,” he said. “The man’s dead. And I’m guessing this has something to do with it.”

“So you believe my theory—about him not really drowning.”

“I’m starting to. I called to get the results of the autopsy and hopefully should have them in a day or two if nobody decides to stall.”

“You think they’re going to stall?”

“I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m supposed to be on leave, so it’s possible the powers that be don’t want me getting involved in something I shouldn’t be.”

They got that right. Under the yellow overhead light, Mia’s hair fell down over her shoulders in pale waves. He’d never seen it down. He almost wished he hadn’t.

She gave him a hard look. “Maybe you shouldn’t. I mean, you’re supposed to be getting better, aren’t you? Healing. This can’t be helping.”

“It is helping,” he said quietly. “You’re helping.”

She looked away. For several seconds, she didn’t speak. “I don’t think so,” she said at last. “I’ve never helped anybody. Not even my own mother.”

“Mia—”

“Stop, okay?” She held up a hand. “Just stop.”

“Okay.” He wanted to reach out and take her hand in his. No, he wanted to take her upstairs and show her how much she’d helped him heal, one long kiss at a time. But if he told her that he’d lose her. Whatever had happened to her in the past had scared the hell out of her. If he pushed too hard, he’d lose her.

And he wasn’t going to get involved with her in the first place. Wasn’t that what he kept telling himself?

4 in a row.  That is a record for me.  Plus, this is a new to me author.  And it deals with bioterrorism, something that I know nothing about.  I read the authors notes and definitely have a new found respect for the CDC.  Oh and Ms. Haines, I had heard about that island.  That’s some spooky stuff right there.

If I had one thing to nitpick about the book is I would have liked a bit more of the romance.  I know, I know.  Believe me, I felt the connection between Mia and Nick but I felt like it was more of an HFN.  Both of them had some serious relationship issues to be worked out.  Nick’s dead wife and Mia’s whole family issues but I still would have liked a cleaner ending.  But hey that’s just the romantic in me.

The thriller part of the book is phenomenal.  Yes, phenomenal.  There were times that I had to read some parts twice just so I could get a better sense of everything that was going on.  While the plot is simple in context, Ms. Haines has written it where there are some red herrings that I never saw coming.  You definitely have to pay attention and I love when an author makes me think while I read a suspense/thriller book.  Plus, I learned a lot about bioterrorism.  People, that’s some scary shit.  Sorry for the language but it is.  And the depths that some people will go to to make it happen.

Ms. Haines writing is very fluid and taunt.  She knows how to write a very balanced suspense/thriller.  The book starts off fast and really doesn’t let up.  Okay, there is that one time.  *wink wink*  I also liked how her secondary characters are fleshed out and not just window dressing or plot devices that make no sense.  Mia mom, Angela, is one of those characters that at first glance would be throwaway but she has depth and I especially liked how she and Mia tried to bond in the end.

Do your self a favor and pick this book up.  It’s taunt, thrilling, suspenseful and characters that you truly will care for.  Plus, I have a soft spot for the “wounded” FBI agent.  Oh yes, I didn’t mention that about Nick?  My bad.  He He!!  And if you are worried about Mia being soft?  Don’t be.  She’s tough.  Just scared when it comes to having a real relationship with anyone.  *sigh*

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Gwenan Haines lives in New England with her daughter and a Siberian husky born on Halloween. She’s been hooked on suspense ever since her mom read her an old Nancy Drew mystery when she was five years old. She also loves romance and fantasy. Her paranormal novella, WRAITH, and novel, SHIFT, the first two installments in the SHADOW WORLD series, are under contract with Wild Rose Press’s fantasy line. When she’s not plotting her newest mystery, she teaches community college and writes lots of poetry.

Blog

https://gwenanhaines.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Gwenan-Haines/e/B005WEXWRW/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/gwenan.haines

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Gwenan Haines will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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