Thursday, March 29, 2018

Promo Blitz: King Daniel by Susan Wolf Johnson

Historical Fiction
Date Published: July 2016
Publisher: BalboaPress

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On a summer's evening in 1972, while the band plays amid the sizzling heat at the Tampa Yacht Club,Gasparilla pirates and their ladies eagerly await the arrival of their newly crowned king, Daniel Westcott. But to their dismay, Daniel never shows up.

By the wee hours of the next morning, the townspeople are scratching their heads as members of the Westcott family deliberate whether or not to call the police. As the story unfolds, King Daniel has disappeared without a trace.

Praise for King Daniel:

"Nautical twists abound as King Daniel excites with its page-turning thrills and familial revelations...." - Foreword Reviews, 5 Stars

"The disappearance of a Tampa Bay blue blood rattles the skeletons in his family's closet....A gripping tale of a missing patriarch in 1970's Florida; an auspicious debut." - Kirkus Reviews

"In this thriller, Susan Wolf Johnson delivers an ambitious, sprawling melodrama about the bitter end of a Southern patriarch and the damage a family can inflict on itself for generations." - BlueInk Review

"This intriguing novel centers on the disappearance of Daniel,the newly anointed ceremonial king of Gasparilla, a series of pirate-themed festivities similar to Mardi Gras but held in Tampa. The author does a great job with character development for Daniel's family: his distraught and distracted wife, Natalie; his mentally-challenged daughter, Julia; and his pregnant, unwed granddaughter, Becca. The story unfolds slowly, with a huge array of characters and a narrator who speaks directly to the reader rather than fading into the background. The mystery surrounding what happened to Daniel takes a back seat to the internal strife each of the characters battles." - Booklife

About the Author

Susan Wolf Johnson earned her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She has taught creative writing and composition at the University of South Florida for fifteen years.  Her short stories and book reviews have appeared in the Mississippi Review, the Dallas Review, the Florida Review, The Sun, New Letters, and the Charlotte Poetry Review.  She lives in Tampa, Florida with her family.  King Daniel is her first novel.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Book Review: Becker Circle by Addison Brae

Becker Circle by Addison Brae

Publisher & Release: Tirgearr Publishing, March 14, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, Dallas

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult/Romantic Suspense

Book Length: 281 pages

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

New starts mean new rules. Can she triumph through the challenges?

My boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub, smack in the middle of drama central, where almost every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me.

A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and we intend to prove it. Digging deeper, we’re drawn closer to each other. Then we make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer.

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Vikki’s Musings

I received an offer from the author to read and review her debut novel, Becker Circle. The book description sounded interesting, so I eagerly accepted her kind invitation. New adult is not one of my favorite genres, but Becker Circle is a fine example and follows what I expect when reading that genre.

The plot is excellent. I enjoyed the characters as well. One thing I noticed, the story could have used smoother transitions from one character/scene to another. At times, it was a bit abrupt, which had me searching to catch up, so the pacing goes from slow to fast quite often.

At times, I really liked Gillian, but some of her ill-advised decisions had me shaking my head. I would have liked to get into her feeling and motivations on a deeper level. Normally, when a book is in first person POV, that comes through. Unfortunately for me, that did not happen. I kept reminding myself that this novel was New adult, so when the romantic relationship took way too long to develop, I tried to be patient.

I did like Jon quite a lot. He certainly has patience with Gillian when she takes off in a dangerous direction. Again, I wish I could have gotten a better sense of his goals, motivation and conflict, but since the author never gives his POV, it was difficult to truly fall in love with him.

The romance in Becker Circle is slim to none. It’s well into the last 25% of the book before I could even figure out who the hero was. This book isn’t truly a romance, even for New Adult. It’s more women’s fiction with a small romantic element. True lovers of romance may grow impatient waiting for something to happen.

Nonetheless, the story is enjoyable, and I’m sure other readers will enjoy Becker Circle. The secondary characters are interesting and added greatly to my overall enjoyment. I congratulate Ms. Brae on her debut novel and wish her well. Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review: Deadly Secret by Tara Thomas

Deadly Secret by Tara Thomas

Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s, March 27, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, Charleston

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Thriller

Book Length: 304 pages

Heat Level: 1.5 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

As a lawyer and aspiring Congresswoman, Bea likes to keep things professional. But she’s hired to investigate past dark secrets embedded in the Benedict business empire—and as secret wife to Knox Benedict, the job is about to become even more personal…
Knox is the moral backbone of the Benedict family, but even a modern-day saint can have a mysterious side. He’s out to win back his estranged secret wife—but getting close to her again could destroy them both…
As Bea and Knox dig up the truth, Bea falls deeper and deeper into danger. Someone close by is watching her—and waiting to kill. Can Knox save the woman he loves from the enemy out to destroy them? And can their marriage survive the deadliest secret of all?

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the third book I have read by Tara Thomas, and I enjoyed Deadly Secret a great deal. I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Net Galley with the promise to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by that fact.

 Deadly Secret is a fast-paced, exciting read. While it doesn’t meet the traditional criteria for a romance, it definitely does as a thriller. I totally enjoyed the plot and the building of tension. The story pulled me in from the start.

Bea’s character is a bit hard to like all the time. She vacillates a lot when it comes to Knox and what she thinks would be best for him. I did feel her fear and anxiety throughout the book, though. She does tend to leap before she looks!

Knox is known as the saintly brother, and he is a good guy. I liked his character a great deal. He handles Bea’s mercurial personality very well. Many man would probably want to wring her neck at times.

Since Bea and Knox are already married, although they did it in secret, I didn’t get to see them fall in love, but the chemistry is strong, and there is so much going on, I really didn’t miss it.

My biggest issue is Ms. Thomas’s constant head-hopping. I found it VERY annoying, and it happens from one paragraph to the next. She needs to do a better job on transitioning from one character/scene to the next.

The focus of this book is plot-driven, and it’s done very well. Ms. Thomas is clearly a master at suspense, and it comes through loud and clear in Deadly Secret. I’m glad I decided to read this book, and I can’t wait to read more in the next installment. I do want to mention this is a cliff hanger, so make sure you are prepared to be left intensely curious as to who the Gentleman actually is. Happy reading!