Making Waves at Penvennan Cove by Linn B. Halton

Making Waves at Penvennan Cove by Linn B. Halton

Publication date: 14th October 2021

About the Book:

For once, things are going well for thirty-year-old Kerra Shaw. She has a fulfilling job helping small businesses in the local community, she is within a few minutes’ walk of all the people she loves best, and most importantly, she has finally got together with her childhood sweetheart, Ross.
It’s not all plain sailing, though, because they have to keep their relationship a secret. The feud between their families still rages on, and Kerra doesn’t want to pour fuel on its flame and risk losing everything.
But Kerra should know better than anyone that secrets don’t stay hidden for long in a community like Penvennan Cove…

An uplifting and feel-good romance novel for fans of Lucy Coleman, Jessica Redland and Lisa Hobman.

About the Author:

From interior designer to author, when Linn B. Halton’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. Linn writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Follow Linn:

Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: @LinnBHaltonAuthor
Instagram: @linnbhalton

Follow Head of Zeus:

Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Instagram: @headofzeus
Facebook: @headofzeus
Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Pre-order Here:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3yhGP8T

Excerpt:

  1. Wishful Thinking
    In hindsight, coming home to Penvennan Cove was the easy part. It’s the entanglement with the past that is making my life increasingly difficult with each passing day. While Dad is my number-one supporter, in an ironic twist of fate he is fast becoming my number-one problem.
    ‘That’s a big frown you’re wearing today, Kerra.’ The voice of my neighbour, Drew Matthews, seems to come out of nowhere as I step out onto the pavement outside of Pascoe’s Café and Bakery.
    Clutching a waxed paper bag in my hand, I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly. ‘It’s one of those days, I’m afraid. And when I’m in need of comfort food, this is where I come for the best hevva cake.’
    ‘I’m sorry to hear it, but thanks for the heads-up as it’s something I haven’t tried yet. If you can hang on while I pick up a pasty for lunch, I’ll walk back with you.’
    ‘Okay. Don’t rush. It’s bracing out, but I could do with a little fresh air to clear my head.’
    As Drew makes his way inside Pascoe’s, I cross the road towards the low, stone wall on the far side of the council cark park. Gazing out over the beach, I see that it’s a cold, murky, inhospitable morning and even the seagulls have been driven inland. The sea, too, is a dirty shade of grey, and on the horizon it’s hard to tell where the water ends and the sky begins. It looks as grim as my mood. I scuff the pavement with the toe of my shoe. A fine layer of gritty sand is swirled around by the wind every time it gusts, creating curious, snake-like trails.
    Stooping down, I perch on the uneven surface of the stone wall to look back at the picturesque cluster of buildings that is the heart of Penvennan Cove. The café and bakery has the prime position, situated on the large corner plot at the bottom of the long hill that leads up to the village. Out of sight, just beyond the bend, is what must qualify as one of the tiniest newsagent’s shops in Cornwall. But it’s been here for as long as I can remember, and Gryff still sells loose sweets. The old-fashioned screw-lid jars line the wall behind the counter and there’s something for everyone.
    I watch as Drew strides towards me, stuffing a bag into the pocket of his coat before buttoning it up to the top. This wind seems to get into every little nook and cranny, and it feels more like winter, than autumn.
    ‘Do you fancy a walk along the beach before we make our way back? I think we’ve seen the worst of storm Alexa now, thank goodness.’ Drew grins at me. ‘The choice is yours.’
    ‘Why not? I’ve been working online since five this morning and, like Alexa, I’m running out of steam.’
    Jumping up I fall in alongside Drew. Tall, with dark brown curly hair, he’s one of those people you can count on in an emergency, or a listening ear if you’re in need of one. We hit it off from day one when I returned home in April and took up residence in Pedrevan Cottage, which is attached to Drew’s beautifully named Tigry Cottage.
    ‘Why the long face? I thought you and Ross were getting on well.’
    The wind catches my hair and I use my free hand to scoop it away from my eyes. ‘We are, in a low-key, inconspicuous manner,’ I reply, labouring the word.

Harlequin Fall 2021 Blog Tour: Mystery and Thriller- The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski @TaraLWrites @HTP_Books @Bookclubbish 

The Mother Next Door : A Novel of Suspense
Tara Laskowski
On Sale Date: October 12, 2021
9781525804700

Trade Paperback
Graydon House
$16.99 USD
352 pages

About the Book:


For fans of Lisa Jewell, Aimee Molloy, and Joshilyn Jackson, an upmarket suspense novel from a multi-award-winning author about a tightknit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them…

The annual block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul de sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plan the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five have been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

About the Author:


TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.


Contact Tara:


Author website: https://taralaskowski.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.laskowski.9
Twitter: @TaraLWrites
Instagram: @taralwrites
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56555529-the-mother-next-door

Where to Buy:


Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-mother-next-door-a-novel-of-suspense/9781525804700
Politics & Prose: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781525804700
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mother-next-door-tara-laskowski/1138551311?ean=9781488078125&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7651142_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Next-Door-Novel-Suspense/dp/1525804707/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-mother-next-door-by-tara-laskowski-paperback/-/A-82219724
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-mother-next-door/id1547075567?id=1547075567&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
One More Page: https://www.onemorepagebooks.com/book/9781525804700
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-mother-next-door
Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525804700?aff=PublishersWeekly
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Mother_Next_Door_A_Novel_of_Suspense?id=baYREAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US

HALLOWEEN

Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead.
And I don’t mean dead as in dull, or dead as in zombified. I mean dead as in gone. Dead as in expired. Killed.
Murdered.
You may be feeling distressed about this, knowing what you know about Ivy Woods—the great neighborhood it is, the sweet, loving families that live there. How could such a tragedy happen in such a wonderful place? You may have traveled here yourself, as a child or as a parent, lured in by the local fame of the street and its ghoulish decorations each year. The lights, the smoke, the gravestones, and the moaning. The witches, cackling and handing out candy. The swarms of little Frankensteins and cowboys and robots and ballet dancers lugging their pillowcases and plastic pumpkin buckets filled with sugar and junk.
But Ivy Woods isn’t perfect.
Far from it.
Look closer. Look under the makeup and the masks, look into the windows of the perfect houses. Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms. I’ve looked—believe me, I’ve looked. There’s something about this street. There are secrets. I know from watching through the windows, from hearing the hushed conversations, from lingering on their faces when they think everyone else has looked away.
Oh they think they are perfect. They pat themselves on the back for throwing such good parties, for raising such fine children, for living in such big houses.
But they are pretending.
They don masks on this one single night to dress up as someone or something else, but in reality they live their lives this way.
We all do.
We hate ourselves. We are too fat, or too thin. We should work hard, be smarter. We are lonely and depressed. We are worried about money. We are ashamed of the way that our friends and family treat us. But we lie about it all. We hide behind a protective façade, fragile glass figurines inside elaborate dollhouses designed to look like perfect, safe, happy places.
Tonight it will all shatter.
Watch closely and you’ll begin to see what I see. There’s trouble in the air, a cold wind blowing in from far away, and it’s settled on Ivy Woods Drive. The secrets and the lies we tell ourselves and others will emerge tonight like spirits of the dead. Lines will be drawn. Sides will be taken. Someone won’t make it out alive.
I can’t save that person, but I’ll tell the story. Turn over the rocks, expose the worms. Pull back the masks.
Because I know their secrets, secrets that will destroy them all.
If they don’t destroy themselves first.

Excerpted from The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski, Copyright © 2021 by Tara Laskowski. Published by Graydon House Books.

Harlequin Dreamer Series Fall Blog Tour: The Father of her Sons by Christine Rimmer

About the Book:


She thought she knew everything she needed to know about him in New York Times bestselling author Christine Rimmer’s first book in the brand-new Wild Rose Sisters series!How do you make up for four years of lost time?No last names. No promises to meet again. No way for Payton Dahl to find the man who’s the father of her twin boys. Until fate reunites them four years later. Easton Wright now wants to be part of his sons’ lives—with the woman he fell hard for during those seven days and nights of bliss. Payton doesn’t want her sons to grow up fatherless like she did, but can she risk trusting Easton when she’s been burned in the past?

Add The Father of Her Sons to your Goodreads!

(Release Date: October 26)

Buy Here:


Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408150_the-father-of-her-sons.html

About the Author:


​A New York Times bestselling author, Christine Rimmer has written over ninety contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. Christine has won the Romantic Times BOOKreviews Reviewers Choice Award and has been nominated six times for the RITA Award. She lives in Oregon with her family. Visit Christine at http://www.christinerimmer.com.

Contact Christine:


Website: https://www.christinerimmer.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinerimmerauthor?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RimmerChristine
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinerimmerauthor/

Excerpt:


Add The Father of Her Sons to your Goodreads!

It all started with a little innocent flirting.
And okay, yes. Payton Dahl had given up flirting. Flirting too easily led to fooling around. Fooling around often became romance and right now in her life, she had no time at all for romantic entanglements—not even brief ones, which were pretty much the only kind she’d ever known. She spent her nights tending bar and her days either helping at the family farm or huddled over her laptop.
For more than nine months, from January well into October, Payton had stuck with her plan to avoid men altogether. Yes, she’d been tempted more than once by a sexy smile or a smoldering pair of bedroom eyes. She’d kept her eyes on the prize, though. She’d said no to temptation. Payton had stories inside her head. She intended to get them written down. That required discipline and for months, she’d exercised strict self-control.
But then, on a Wednesday night in mid-October, a whole new level of temptation came calling, one that had irresistible written all over him.
That particular Wednesday night, the Larch Tree Lounge at the Heartwood Inn was deader than a frozen doorknob. In one of the booths, a very tired looking middle-aged couple argued in whispers without much enthusiasm. Cletus Carnigan, a nightly fixture in the lounge, sat slumped at one end of the bar gazing mournfully into his Logsdon Lager.
As usual, it promised to be a very long night—until a tall, broad-shouldered stranger with tousled dark blond hair and cheekbones sharp as knives in his stunning, angular face took the stool at the opposite end of the bar from Cletus.
No flirting, Payton sternly reminded herself. Pasting on her most professional smile, she marched down the bar to greet the smoking-hot newcomer. “Welcome to the Larch Tree Lounge. What can I get you?”
He ordered Redbreast Irish Whiskey, an admirable choice—both good quality and excellent value for the money. “And something to eat,” he added. “What’s good?”
“Right off the bat with the loaded question,” she muttered under her breath.
He narrowed his gorgeous blue eyes at her. “Is there a problem?”
“Sort of.” Unfortunately, not much was good at the Larch Tree Lounge. And while Payton despised lying to her customers, telling a guest that the food sucked wouldn’t do, either. She settled for evasion. “What are you in the mood for?”
He studied her face at length. She stared right back at him for way too long while hummingbirds flitted around in her belly and an electric current went snapping and popping beneath the surface of her skin. Finally, he folded his lean hands on the bar, canted toward her and spoke confidentially. “It’s all bad. Is that what you’re telling me?”
So much for evasion. What now? She didn’t want to lie about the food, but she didn’t want to get fired, either. Her best option at this point? Maybe a recommendation. The burgers were passable. “How about a burger?”
He was hiding a grin. She could see it kind of pulling at one corner of that fine mouth of his. “An honest woman.”

Harlequin Dreamer Series Fall Blog Tour: Twelve Dates of Christmas by Laurel Greer

About the Book:


Can two rivals create mistletoe magic?When a local wilderness lodge almost cancels its Twelve Days of Christmas festival, Emma Halloran leaps at the chance to convince the owners of her vision for the business. But Luke Emerson has his own plans—to keep the lodge in the family and protect his grandfather’s legacy. As they work together, Luke and Emma are increasingly drawn to each other. Can these utter opposites unite over their shared passion this Christmas?

Add Twelve Dates of Christmas to your Goodreads!

(Release Date: October 26)

Where to Buy:


Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408174_twelve-dates-of-christmas.html

About the Author:


Born and raised in a small Vancouver Island town, Laurel picked up her pen to write Julie Garwood fan-fiction during junior high English class. She hasn’t put it down since. Ever committed to the proper placement of the Canadian “eh,” she loves to write books with snapping sexual tension and second chances. She lives outside Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two daughters. At least half her diet is made up of tea. Find her at http://www.laurelgreer.com.

Contact Laurel:


Website: https://laurelgreer.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/laurelgreerauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_LaurelGreer
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurelgreerauthor/

Excerpt:


Add Twelve Dates of Christmas to your Goodreads!

And while he didn’t get why the Brownie leader was intent on making the tree into a rainbow bird, he wanted to do right by the kids. The small troop had asked him to help—a request that had earned a storm cloud of a frown from “Ms. Emma”—because he was the tallest person present who wasn’t already working on a tree. The girls also seemed to think being the local game warden gave him some sort of magical knowledge about bird-themed crafts. If feather number one hadn’t proved them wrong, feather two sure had.
No matter. He couldn’t disappoint the girls, even though he had electrical cords to run, spotlights to position and a staff to organize. And at the top of his to-do list: keep his grandfather from leaving his house to survey the action.
Luke gritted his teeth at the possibility of Hank Emerson trying to hook up the power connections for the trees while hacking up phlegm from his pneumonia-ridden lungs. No. Hank was going to keep his stubborn ass fixed to his well-worn couch for the next twelve days, and Luke would do everything else that needed doing.
He got into a rhythm, fully covering the high-up branches the little girls couldn’t reach with their shorter arms and rubber cement.
“Now the sparkles.” A Brownie peered at him hopefully as she held out a can of spray paint. No, spray glitter.
“Your troop leader didn’t mention sparkles,” he said.
The girl pressed the can into his hand. “We want it on the edges.”
“You got it.” He was asking for a dressing-down from Emma for following the girls’ instructions instead of hers, but she was nowhere to be seen and time was running out. With a careful hand, he sprayed the tips of as many feathers as he could. The Brownies oohed and aahed.
Choking on the fumes, he stepped back, forcing a straight face as he took in the eyesore. It was a good thing every charity or youth group who entered the twelve-day contest received at least a portion of the total funds raised. If the money was solely awarded to the first-place team, the Brownies wouldn’t have a chance at the new canoes they hoped to afford.
The Brownies were clearly of a different mind. They gazed at their creation, faces shining as bright as the pink-and-blue lights Emma had wound through the branches at exact one-inch intervals. Feathers filled in the rest of the spaces. An extra-large papier-mâché pear, wrapped in green, raindrop-size LED bulbs, topped the kaleidoscope monstrosity.
A pear in a partridge tree.
Only Emma…
“Looking great, girls,” he lied.
“That’s a big frown, Warden Emerson.”
The mild comment came from beside him.
He spun, facing Emma Halloran and her glossy red smirk. It didn’t matter the occasion—Emma was always done up like she was anticipating an Instagram photoshoot.
And no matter how many times she shot his flannel shirts and muddy work boots a disdainful look, he still struggled to keep his eyes off her. Her wool coat hid the curves of her tall figure, but he’d been able to conjure a mental image of her sexy shape since she sat behind him in twelfth grade English class. He’d turned around so often, trying to bring a blush to her pale cheeks, he’d had to go to the chiropractor for a kink in his neck.
Not much had changed in sixteen years. Not her sleek brown hair begging to be mussed, nor her legs, longer than the Gallatin River.
Nor her love of getting under his skin.

Harlequin Dreamer Series Fall Blog Tour: The Lights on Knockbrige Lane by Roan Parish

About the Book:


Can one man’s crowded, messy life fill another man’s empty heart?Raising a family was always Adam Mills’ dream, although solo parenting and moving back to tiny Garnet Run certainly were not. After a messy breakup, Adam is doing his best to give his young daughter the life she deserves—including accepting help from their new, reclusive neighbor to fulfill her Christmas wish.Though the little house may not have “the most lights ever,” the Mills home begins to brighten as handsome Wes Mobray spends more time there and slowly sheds his protective layers. But when the eye-catching house ends up in the news, Wes has to make a choice: hide from the darkness of his unusual past or embrace the light of a future—and a family—with Adam.

Add The Lights on Knockbridge Lane to your Goodreads!

(Release Date September 28)

Where to Buy:


Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408129_the-lights-on-knockbridge-lane.html

About the Author:


​ Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she’s gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre. When not writing, she can be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through the city while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

Contact Roan:


Website: https://www.roanparrish.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/roanparrish/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoanParrish
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roanparrish/

Excerpt :


Add The Lights on Knockbridge Lane to your Goodreads!

Everyone on Knockbridge Lane had a different theory about Westley Mobray. It was the first thing Adam Mills heard about as he introduced himself around last week, when he and August moved in.
The eight-year-old McKinnon twins next door said he was a vampire. Their parents, Darren and Rose McKinnon, scoffed at that, but said he could be a witch. Marisol Gutierrez three doors down insisted she’d seen him skulking around the neighborhood at night, hunting for animals to sacrifice to the devil. A teenager at the end of the street reported that anyone who looked him in the eyes would be hypnotized, and anyone who touched him would turn to stone. Mr. Montgomery on the corner just said freak.
Westley Mobray was never seen before sunset, though mysterious packages arrived on his doorstep often. He never spoke to anyone and never waved hello. And late at night, the windows of his run-down house glowed an eerie green.
At least, that’s what they told Adam.
So when he saw the man in question through the twilit haze of his own front window—with his daughter in tow—he was understandably startled. Especially since he’d thought she was playing quietly in her room.
He’d slammed two coffees to prevent it, but he’d been asleep. The kind of light, unsatisfying sleep he often fell into when he had a moment of quiet. Which was something that didn’t happen that often as the newly single parent of an eight-year-old.
His insomnia had been pretty bad since the divorce, and worse since they moved back to Garnet Run, where he was the only one responsible for Gus.
The knock at the door jerked him out of that strange sleep, and he scrambled for the door, stubbing his toe in the process, so that when he yanked it open he was biting back the kind of words that he tried with varying degrees of success not to say in front of Gus.
He focused on Gus first. She was all in one piece and was even smiling. It was her I did something bad and delightful smile, but a smile was good—at least when on a child who seemed to have been forcibly dragged home by an irate stranger.
“Where is your coat?” is what came out of Adam’s mouth.
Sometimes he tried to remember what it was like when he talked about things like the composition of his next shot, which restaurant’s tiramisu he preferred, or the latest cozy mystery he was reading.
Now he said things like “Where is your coat” and “Don’t take that apart” and “If you don’t stop making that sound I might have to throttle you.” Okay, he didn’t say the last one so much as think it. Often.
“It’s not that cold,” his wonderful, brilliant daughter said, her lips only vaguely blue.
Adam counseled himself to breathe.
Once he’d determined that Gus was all in one piece and frostbite wasn’t imminent, he turned his attention to the man who’d brought her home.
“Um,” he said intelligently.
Westley Mobray was tall and severe, with shaved dark hair and strong dark eyebrows over piercing blue eyes. Those eyes were narrowed slightly, either in anger or—if the neighborhood rumors were to be believed—because he never went outside when there was the slightest bit of light still in the sky, as it would, of course, burn him to ash.
“She broke into my house,” he said. His voice was low and rough with disuse.
“She’s eight.”

Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger #2) by Amy Timberlake @amys_writer_photos @jonklassen @algonquinyr #EggMarkstheSpot #SkunkAndBadger

Praise for Skunk and Badger:


A People Best Book for Kids of 2020
A Booklist Editor’s Choice Book of 2020
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2020 An Evanston Public Library Great Kids Book of 2020


“A splendid entry in the odd-couple genre. Exceptionally sweet.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review


“It’s a treasure of a book that promises future misadventures from your new favorite odd
couple.” — Booklist, starred review


“Art by Caldecott Medalist Klassen offers Wind in the Willows wistfulness. Gleeful, onomatopoeic prose by
Newbery Honoree Timberlake, meanwhile, keeps readers engaged through laugh-out-loud repetition.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


“Amy Timberlake writes with whimsical humor reminiscent of A.A. Milne, Arnold Lobel and Kenneth Grahame, which is reinforced by Jon Klassen’s splendid illustrations. [A] charming, funny and touching trilogy opener.” — Shelf Awareness


“Skunk and Badger is everything I want in an early reader book: madcap silliness, fun science facts about geology and chickens, and a heartfelt lesson about the mistakes Badger makes on a bumpy road to friendship with Skunk and lead him to reckoning atonement. ”


—The San Diego Union Tribune
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake
with pictures by Jon Klassen


Hardcover ISBN: 9781643750057, $18.95 Ship Date 8/26, Pub Date 9/15
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
Also available as an e-book & audiobook


A Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of 2020

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2020
A Shelf Awareness for Readers Best Book of 2020 A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2020 An Indigo Best Book of the Year 2020


“Curmudgeonly Badger is not amused when Skunk moves in. Endearing comedy ensues.” —People
“Gloriously complemented by Jon Klassen’s

meticulous illustrations, Skunk and Badger has the feel of a bygone era while telling a completely modern (and delightful) story of how hard change can be, and how worth it change is.” —NPR


“Clear themes of tolerance, friendship, and understanding drive the story in a way that children will respond to… A sweet unlikely friendship story.” —School Library Journal


“Reminiscent of Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories… Readers graduating from Lobel’s work but still looking for a good animal buddy story will find it with Skunk and Badger.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“Kids will love the humor in this book, as the two of them learn to become friends. Hint: you’ll love it, too.” —Philadelphia Tribune


“Wordy fun, with laugh-out-loud dialogue… Scratchy yet sophisticated ink drawings by Jon Klassen add warmth to the already cozy text…they give this handsomely designed book the look and feel of a classic.” —The New York Times Book Review
★ ★

“Both an entertaining solo read for emerging readers and a lively read-aloud for younger kids. Klassen’s occasional illustrations add yet more pizazz to a story rich with
humor and heart.”
—Washington Parent


“Underneath the cosy atmosphere of Timberlake and Klassen’s creation is a deep, thought-provoking children’s book that doesn’t talk down to younger readers.” —Bookstr


“The characters are so lovingly drawn, and the world they inhabit so vivid. Skunk and Badger feel like literary friends with many pages of stories to tell.”
—New York Journal of Books


“Amy Timberlake has written a laugh-out-loud funny book for younger middle graders that puts a fresh spin on the old trope of learning the importance of friendship. Kids will love this one, as will anyone who gets hold of it.” —Manhattan Book Review


“If this pandemic has taught us lessons, one is that children are capable of dealing with a lot, and living in close quarters takes negotiation, which Amy Timberlake so lovingly shows with Skunk and Badger.”


—Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore
“This is a special book about many important things: compromise, forgiveness, family, and science. It is also my new favorite family read-aloud of the year.” —Summer Laurie, Books Inc.


“Everything I want in an early reader book; madcap silliness, fun science facts about geology and chickens, and a heartfelt lesson about the mistakes Badger makes on a bumpy road to friendship with Skunk. Loved it!”


—Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books
“A perfect family read-aloud in the style of classics Frog and Toad and The Bat Poet, Skunk and Badger have ‘very important’ lessons to teach.”


—Cheryl McKeon, Market Block Books
“Skunk and Badger is such a clever, fun story sure to be enjoyed as a read aloud and early chapter book. And what is not to love about the CHICKENS!”
—Christine Patrick, Winchester Book Gallery


“Amy Timberlake has created a masterpiece! These two characters truly come alive!” —Chelsea Elward, Booked LLC


Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake
with pictures by Jon Klassen
Hardcover ISBN: 9781643750057, $18.95 On Sale Now
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
Also available as an e-book & audiobook


“’We love Skunk and Badger. We don’t just like it. We love it.’ – Nico, age 3.5” —Community Bookstore


“These two unlikely roommates struggle to get along, but it is easy for readers to fall in love with them both.” —Meghan Hayden, River Bend Bookshop


“A charming story of friendship, perfect to read aloud to all ages. I haven’t been this charmed by a book in a long time.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop


“It’s the perfect book for curling up around. Like Frog & Toad or Wallace & Gromit, Skunk & Badger are certain to be beloved.”


—Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books
“This is a perfect family read-aloud. More, please!”


—Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music


“ Loved every little bit of this story, and I knew what voice I would use for a read-aloud for both characters within just a few well-crafted sentences. Great fun!”


—David Wolff, Content Book Store
“What a wonderful, heartwarming story. Destined to become a classic, Skunk and Badger is exactly the kind of spring book kids need right now!” —Anderson McKean, Page & Palette


“Amy Timberlake’s first book in the Skunk and Badger series is a fun take on the odd-couple friendship.”


—Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop


“This is a lovely, quirky story excellent for read-togethers or bedtime storytime. Frog & Toad. George & Martha, and many other odd-couple pairings in kid lit can welcome Skunk & Badger to the party.” —Ellen Greene, Bookpeople

About the Book:


Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger 2)
HARDBACK EBOOK
By Amy Timberlake
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Buried in the heart of every animal is a secret treasure. Badger’s is the Spider Eye Agate, stolen years ago by his crafty and treasure-trade-dealing cousin, Fisher. Skunk’s is Sundays with the New Yak Times Book Review.

When Mr. G. Hedgehog threatens to take the Book Review as soon as it thumps on the doorstep, Skunk decides an adventure (“X Marks the Spot!”) will solve both their problems. Badger agrees, and together they set off for his favorite campsite on Endless Lake. But all is not as it seems at Campsite #5. Harrumphs in the night. Unexpected friends.

Then Fisher appears, and Badger knows something is up.

Something involving secrets, betrayals, and lies.

And a luminous, late-Jurassic prize.

In a volume that includes full-color plates and additional black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott medalist Jon Klassen, Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake takes readers on a second adventure in the new series reviewers have called an instant classic, with comparisons to Frog and Toad, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Wind in the Willows.

About the Author:

Amy Timberlake’s novels for young readers have received a Newbery Honor, an Edgar Award, a Golden Kite Award, and the China Times Best Book Award. She grew up in Hudson, Wisconsin, but now calls Chicago home. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. You can find her walking on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail on cool, crisp fall days.

About the Illustrator:

Jon Klassen is a Canadian-born author-illustrator. His books include I Want My Hat Back; This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal; and We Found A Hat. He is a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to children’s literature. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

My Review:

As a child I enjoyed The Wind in the Willows. Skunk and Badger book 1 was good and I was waiting for book 2.

When I got a review invitation email from Algonquin, I accepted it because I wanted to be part of the next installment of Skunk and Badger’s adventures.

Badger wants to collect more rocks and Skunk just wants a quiet Sunday. Let the adventures begin! As with book 1, I was looking forward to the antics and twists and turns of the book. The pacing is good.

The illustrations are beautiful.

Thanks to Amy Timberlake, John Klassen and Algonquin Young Readers for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars.


$18.95 (US)
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Pre-Order here:

https://www.workman.com/products/egg-marks-the-spot-skunk-and-badger-2


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REVIEW QUOTES


“Leaning heavily on its delightfully whimsical qualities, Book 2 of Timberlake and Klassen’s endearing series also boasts a whole lot of heart, perhaps even more so than its predecessor. Even as its often fantastical premise careens over the edge (and thrillingly so), the series’ titular duo keep it grounded thanks to Timberlake’s clear admiration for these characters and their quirks. Klassen’s artwork, meanwhile, continues to awe with its wistfulness. As wonderful as Important Rock Work.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review.


HTP Books – Fall 2021 Blog Tours: Women’s Fiction- The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross

THE INHERITANCE
Author: JoAnn Ross
ISBN: 9781335418562
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books

About the Book:

When conflict photographer Jackson Swann dies,he leaves behind a conflict of his own making when his three daughters, each born from a different mother and unknown to each other, discover that they’re now part owners of Maison de Madelaine, the family’s Oregon vineyard—a once famous business struggling to recover from a worldwide economic collapse.

After a successful career as a child TV star, a disastrous time as a teen pop star, and now a successful author, Tess is, for the first time in her life, suffering from a serious case of writer’s block and identity crisis.

Charlotte, brought up to be a proper Southern wife, has given up her own career goals to support her husband while having spent the past year struggling to conceive a child to create a more perfect marriage. On the worst day of her life, she discovers her beloved father has died, she has two sisters she’d never been told about, and her husband has fallen in love with another woman.

Natalie, daughter of Jack’s long-time mistress, has always known about both half-sisters. Still mourning the loss of her mother, the death of her father a year later is a devestating blow. And she can’t help feeling that both her sisters may resent her for being the daughter their father decided to keep.

As the sisters reluctantly gather at the family vineyard, they’re enchanted by the legacy they’ve inherited, and by their grandmother’s rich stories of life in WWII France and the love she found with a wounded American soldier who brought her to Oregon where they started Maison de Madelaine

Where to Buy:


BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Contact JoAnn:


Author Website
Facebook: @JoAnnRossbooks
Instagram: @JoAnnRossBooks
Goodreads

About the Author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author JoAnn Ross has been published in twenty-seven countries. The author of over 100 novels, JoAnn lives with her husband and many rescue pets — who pretty much rule the house — in the Pacific Northwest.

Excerpt:

Prologue

Aberdeen, Oregon

Conflict photographer Jackson Swann had traveled to dark and deadly places in the world most people would never see. Nor want to. Along with dodging bullets and mortars, he’d survived a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, gotten shot mere inches from his heart in Niger and been stung by a death-stalker scorpion while embedded with the French Foreign Legion in Mali.
Some of those who’d worked with him over the decades had called him reckless. Rash. Dangerous. Over late-night beers or whatever else passed as liquor in whatever country they’d all swarmed to, other photographers and foreign journalists would argue about whether that bastard Jackson Swann had a death wish or merely considered himself invincible.
He did, after all, rush into high-octane situations no sane person would ever consider, and even when the shit hit the fan, somehow, he’d come out alive and be on the move again. Chasing the next war or crisis like a drug addict chased a high. The truth was that Jack had never believed himself to be im-mortal. Still, as he looked out over the peaceful view of rolling hills, the cherry trees wearing their spring profusion of pink blossoms, and acres of vineyards, he found it ironic that after having evaded the Grim Reaper so many times over so many decades, it was an aggressive and rapidly spreading lung cancer that was going to kill him.
Which was why he was here, sitting on the terraced patio of Chateau de Madeleine, the towering gray stone house that his father, Robert Swann, had built for his beloved war bride, Madeleine, to ease her homesickness. Oregon’s Willamette Valley was a beautiful place. But it was not Madeleine’s child-hood home in France’s Burgundy region where much of her family still lived.
Family. Jack understood that to many, the American dream featured a cookie-cutter suburban house, a green lawn you had to mow every weekend, a white picket fence, happy, well-fed kids and a mutt who’d greet him with unrestrained canine glee whenever he returned home from work. It wasn’t a bad dream. But it wasn’t, and never would be, his dream.
How could it be with the survivor’s guilt that shadowed him like a tribe of moaning ghosts? Although he’d never been all that introspective, Jack realized that the moral dilemma he’d experienced every time he’d had to force himself to re-main emotionally removed from the bloody scenes of chaos and death he was viewing through the lens of his camera had left him too broken to feel, or even behave like a normal human being.
Ten years ago, after his strong, robust father died of a sudden heart attack while fly-fishing, Jack had inherited the winery with his mother, who’d professed no interest in the day-to-day running of the family business. After signing over control of the winery to him, and declaring the rambling house too large for one woman, Madeleine Swann had moved into the guesthouse next to the garden she’d begun her first year in Oregon. A garden that supplied the vegetables and herbs she used for cooking many of the French meals she’d grown up with.
His father’s death had left Jack in charge of two hundred and sixty acres of vineyards and twenty acres of orchards. Not wanting, nor able, to give up his wanderlust ways to settle down and become a farmer of grapes and cherries, Jack had hired Gideon Byrne, a recent widower with a five-year-old daughter, away from a Napa winery to serve as both manager and vintner.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call them?” Gideon, walking toward him, carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses, asked not for the first time over the past weeks.
“The only reason that Tess would want to see me would be to wave me off to hell.” In the same way he’d never softened the impact of his photos, Jack never minced words nor romanticized his life. There would be no dramatic scenes with his three daughters—all now grown women with lives of their own—hovering over his deathbed.
“Have you considered that she might want to have an opportunity to talk with you? If for no other reason to ask—”
“Why I deserted her before her second birthday and never looked back? I’m sure her mother’s told her own version of the story, and the truth is that the answers are too damn complicated and the time too long past for that discussion.” It was also too late for redemption.
Jack doubted his eldest daughter would give a damn even if he could’ve tried to explain. She’d have no way of knowing that he’d kept track of her all these years, blaming himself when she’d spiraled out of control so publicly during her late teens and early twenties. Perhaps, if she’d had a father who came home every night for dinner, she would have had a more normal, stable life than the Hollywood hurricane her mother had thrown her into before her third birthday.
Bygones, he reminded himself. Anything he might say to his firstborn would be too little, too late. Tess had no reason to travel to Oregon for his sake, but hopefully, once he was gone, curiosity would get the better of her. His girls should know each other. It was long past time.
“Charlotte, then,” Gideon pressed. “You and Blanche are still technically married.”
“Technically being the operative word.” The decades-long separation from his Southern socialite wife had always suited them both just fine. According to their prenuptial agreement, Blanche would continue to live her privileged life in Charleston, without being saddled with a full-time live-in husband, who’d seldom be around at any rate. Divorce, she’d informed him, was not an option. And if she had discreet affairs from time to time, who would blame her? Certainly not him.
“That’s no reason not to give Charlotte an opportunity to say goodbye. How many times have you seen her since she went to college? Maybe twice a year?”
“You’re pushing again,” Jack shot back. Hell, you’d think a guy would be allowed to die in peace without Jiminy Cricket sitting on his shoulder. “Though of the three of them, Char-lotte will probably be the most hurt,” he allowed.
His middle daughter had always been a sweet girl, running into his arms, hair flying behind her like a bright gold flag to give her daddy some “sugar”—big wet kisses on those rare occasions he’d wind his way back to Charleston. Or drop by Savannah to take her out to dinner while she’d been attending The Savannah School of Art and Design.
“The girl doesn’t possess Blanche’s steel magnolia strength.”
Having grown up with a mother who could find fault in the smallest of things, Charlotte was a people pleaser, and that part of her personality would kick into high gear whenever he rolled into the city. “And, call me a coward, but I’d just as soon not be around when her pretty, delusional world comes crashing down around her.” He suspected there were those in his daughter’s rarified social circle who knew the secret that the Charleston PI he’d kept on retainer hadn’t had any trouble uncovering.
“How about Natalie?” Gideon continued to press. “She doesn’t have any reason to be pissed at you. But I’ll bet she will be if you die without a word of warning. Especially after losing her mother last year.”
“Which is exactly why I don’t want to put her through this.”
He’d met Josette Seurat, the ebony-haired, dark-eyed French Jamaican mother of his youngest daughter, when she’d been singing in a club in the spirited Oberkampf district of Paris’s eleventh arrondissement. He’d fallen instantly, and by the next morning Jack knew that not only was the woman he’d spent the night having hot sex with his first true love, she was also the only woman he’d ever love. Although they’d never married, they’d become a couple, while still allowing space for each other to maintain their own individual lives, for twenty-six years. And for all those years, despite temptation from beautiful women all over the globe, Jack had remained faithful. He’d never had a single doubt that Josette had, as well.
With Josette having been so full of life, her sudden death from a brain embolism had hit hard. Although Jack had im-mediately flown to Paris from Syria to attend the funeral at a church built during the reign of Napoleon III, he’d been too deep in his own grief, and suffering fatigue—which, rather than jet lag, as he’d assumed, had turned out to be cancer—to provide the emotional support and comfort his third daughter had deserved.
“Josette’s death is the main reason I’m not going to drag Natalie here to watch me die. And you might as well quit playing all the guilt cards because I’m as sure of my decision as I was yesterday. And the day before that. And every other time over the past weeks you’ve brought it up. Bad enough you coerced me into making those damn videos. Like I’m some documentary maker.”
To Jack’s mind, documentary filmmakers were storytellers who hadn’t bothered to learn to edit. How hard was it to spend anywhere from two to ten hours telling a story he could capture in one single, perfectly timed photograph?
“The total length of all three of them is only twenty minutes,” Gideon said equably.
There were times when Jack considered that the man had the patience of a saint. Which was probably necessary when you’d chosen to spend your life watching grapes grow, then waiting years before the wine you’d made from those grapes was ready to drink. Without Gideon Byrne to run this place, Jack probably would have sold it off to one of the neighboring vineyards years ago, with the caveat that his mother would be free to keep the guesthouse, along with the larger, showier one that carried her name. Had he done that he would have ended up regretting not having a thriving legacy to pass on to his daughters.
“The total time works out to less than ten minutes a daughter. Which doesn’t exactly come close to a Ken Burns series,” Gideon pointed out.
“I liked Burns’s baseball one,” Jack admitted reluctantly. “And the one on country music. But hell, it should’ve been good, given that he took eight years to make it.”
Jack’s first Pulitzer had admittedly been a stroke of luck, being in the right place at the right time. More care had gone into achieving the perfect photos for other awards, but while he admired Burns’s work, he’d never have the patience to spend that much time on a project. His French mother had claimed he’d been born a pierre roulante—rolling stone—al-ways needing to be on the move. Which wasn’t conducive to family life, which is why both his first and second marriages had failed. Because he could never be the husband either of his very different wives had expected.
“Do you believe in life after death?” he asked.
Gideon took his time to answer, looking out over the vine-yards. “I like to think so. Having lost Becky too soon, it’d be nice to believe we’ll connect again, somewhere, somehow.” He shrugged. “On the other hand, there are days that I think this might be our only shot.”
“Josette came again last night.”
“You must have enjoyed that.”
“I always do.”

Excerpted from The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross, Copyright © 2021 by JoAnn Ross. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford @verdandiweaves @zooloo2008

About the Book:

Sharra’s world is a terrifying place.
Violent seismic ‘Shifts’ and outbreaks of an all-consuming black fire radically alter landscapes on an increasingly frequent basis. Only the Map Makers can predict where the Shift will fall, and Sharra, daughter to one of the most famous Map Makers, yearns to join their ranks and break a cultural taboo that forbids female cartographers.
Sharra’s father, Lord Milton, is one of the few to challenge the current order, but his shadowy past limits his political reach and his second wife, Lady Ivory, is determined to manipulate him to ensure a privileged future for herself and her daughter, Jayne. 
The main obstacle standing in Ivory’s way is Sharra.

About the Author:

Caroline lives for stories. Reading them. Telling them, Watching them. She can’t get enough of them. She can hypnotise people and she sings well in the shower. She enjoys cooking, but hates housework, and has managed to convince everyone who knows her that she doesn’t understand washing up. So much so that when friends visit some of them do it for her. Fortunately she also has a dishwasher. She always feels she didn’t make enough of her teenage years, and hopes that at least the teenagers in her books do!

Contact Caroline:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineDunfordInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecarolinedunford/Twitter: https://twitter.com/verdandiweaves
Website : https://caroline-dunford.squarespace.com/

Amazon US:

https://www.amazon.com/Map-Makers-Daughter-captivating-fantasy-ebook/dp/B09DBL72VT/

Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Map-Makers-Daughter-captivating-fantasy-ebook/dp/B09DBL72VT

Extract:

Footsteps. The next morning Sharra wakes early to the sounds of activity throughout the Hold. Already piled along one side of her dormitory is an explosion of valises and cases, trunks and satchels. The luggage of the children from the other holds who will soon be sharing her room has arrived before them. Sharra sighs heavily. Unless each of these children has an enormous wardrobe, then her dormitory is going to be inundated. She will be expected to be friendly. Sharra sighs again. She gets up, washes and dresses and only then peeps out into the corridor. Two maids rush past her their arms filled with linen.
Jayne joins her at the door. She says ‘We should see if we can help.’
Sharra eyes her askance but Jayne is already planning
‘I’ll round up the rest of the little ones and take them down to the kitchen. See if you can catch one of the maids and ask what we can do up here.’
‘Are you sure that you’re asking the right person,’ Sharra says to the door closing behind her sister.
A moment later she hears Ivory’s voice. Sharra couldn’t quite make out the words, but she recognises the tone; Ivory isn’t in a good mood.
It was a long shot, but . . . Sharra scrambles into the mess of luggage, pulling valises and bags over her.
The dormitory door opens. ‘Sharra! Are you in here?’
Sharra holds her breath.
‘Sharra, if you make me look for you. `You’ll regret it!’
Sharra is reaching up to push a large green valise away from her head, when a plaintive little voice answered Ivory. ‘Where did everyone go, Dame Mother? Have I slept through breakfast? I don’t understand.’
‘Oh, Clem,’ Ivory’s voice softens slightly. ‘You’re so small in that big bed, Jayne must have missed you. Get dressed quickly and I’ll take you down to the kitchen to join the others.’
‘Thank you, Dame Mother.’
Sharra had a sudden image of Clem opening his blue eyes very wide in his most appealing manner. The two of them leave and Sharra has the dormitory to herself.
She opens the heavy doors to the balcony and creeps forward to peer over to the edge, down between the stone balustrades. It is a perfect vantage spot, high enough to see, but somewhere she is unlikely to be spotted. An icy breeze nips at her ankles. Still, no housework and a chance to see the arrivals is worth a little discomfort.
Below a yardman scampers across the courtyard to sweep the cobbles below. Although it’s still early there is already mud and dirt trodden all over the courtyard. The yardman is halfway through clearing a steaming pile of horse-dung when a rattling noise heralds another arrival. The man dodges quickly out of the way as three large carriages lumber into the courtyard.
Sharra recognises the Camden legend emblazoned on the carriage doors, an apprentice hurries forward and, instead of her father, Gareth appears from beneath the portico to greet the guests.
The horses stamp the cold and the servants shout to one another as they start to unload the luggage from the coach. She can’t hear what Gareth is saying, but he’s doing a lot of bowing in front of a young man.
The carriage disgorges several other men; old and young and all in the splendid travelling robes of Map Makers, scarlet and outlined with as much gold edging as they could afford, which for the most senior Map Maker is enough to make them dazzle in the morning sun. Sharra leans over the balcony searching for Lord Camden, but he isn’t there.
When all the men are inside, the carriage moves away and the second takes its place at the stone porch. Dame Ivory comes out to greet the Camden women. They spill out into the courtyard mingling and chattering. Dame Ivory is everywhere, catching falling shawls, placing kisses on cheeks and embracing the older women.
No one comes out to greet the occupants of the third carriage. The door is opened from the inside and out come young men just beginning their cartography career; clerks, apprentices and those doomed to eternal administration.

Harlequin Mystery/ Thriller Blog Tour: Where I Left Her by Amber Garza @ambermg1 @HarlequinBooks @Harlequin #mystery #thriller #blogtour

WHERE I LEFT HER
Author: Amber Garza
ISBN: 9780778332060
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: MIRA Books

Where to Buy:


BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Contact Amber:


Author Website
Twitter: @ambermg1
Instagram: @AmberGarzaAuthor
Facebook: @AmberGarzaAuthor
Goodreads

About the Author:

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about her characters like they’re real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom, California.

About the Book:

From the author of WHEN I WAS YOU comes a spine-tingling new thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare come true, when she goes to pick up her daughter from a sleepover, and she’s nowhere to be found.

Whitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter off for a sleepover last night. She’s never met the friend’s parents, and usually she’d go in, but Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead she waved to her daughter before pulling away from the cute little house with the rosebushes in front.

But when she goes back to get her, an elderly couple answers the door–Amelia and her friend are nowhere to be found, and this couple swears she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of secrets and lies her daughter has told her–from Finsta accounts to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s raised, and can she find her before it’s too late?

Excerpt:

1
FRIDAY, 5:00 P.M.
DROP-OFF

WHITNEY WANTED TO get rid of her daughter.
How awful is that?
Not forever, of course, but for the night. She was weary of the sixteen-year-old attitude. The rolling of eyes, stomping of feet, the judging glances and biting remarks.
That’s why she wasn’t paying as much attention as she should’ve been when dropping Amelia off at Lauren’s. Her mind was back in their apartment, her butt planted on the couch, bare feet propped on the table, a pint of ice cream in her lap.
“The destination is on your right.” She turned the steering wheel, following the instructions given by the disembodied voice of the GPS in her daughter’s phone. Amelia held it up, giving the illusion that her palm was talking. The house in front of them was nondescript. A tract home, painted tan with beige trim, a cream door, two large windows overlooking the narrow front walkway. The only thing that set it apart from the others was the row of rosebushes lining the left perimeter of the yard, scarlet red petals and thorny, jagged stems.

Whitney pulled her car over, tires hugging the curb.
Amelia hopped out the minute her mother’s foot pressed down on the brakes, as if she was desperate to be free of her.
“You sure this is her house?” Whitney asked.
Amelia shrugged, glancing down at her phone and then back up. “This is the address she gave me.” Her tone was impatient, irritated. That’s how she’d been lately. Distant and moody. Everything her mom said and did annoyed her.
Originally, she’d planned to walk Amelia up to the front door and meet Lauren’s mom. But on the way over here, Amelia had begged her not to do that, pointing out that she was no longer a little girl.
As much as Whitney hated to admit it, she could see her point. Amelia was sixteen. As soon as she finished her driver’s training and passed her test, she’d be driving on her own and then Whitney wouldn’t even have the option of dropping her off at her friend’s. It was time she learned to let go, loosen the death grip a little.
Instead of following her daughter, Whitney stayed inside the car, watching through the smudged glass of the passenger-side window. Amelia’s dark hair swished down her spine as she sped to the front door. When she reached it, she readjusted the blue overnight bag that was secured on her shoulder while lifting her other hand to knock.
Lauren appeared in the doorway, flashing a smile at Amelia. She wore a pink headband that made her look much younger than seventeen. Amelia peered over her shoulder before stepping forward, her lips curling at the corners as she threw her mom another wave. It was the largest grin Whitney had gotten in days, and she welcomed it, grabbed hold of it and then gave it back.
After watching them both disappear inside, Whitney pulled away from the curb. Without even looking in the rearview mirror, she sped toward her night of freedom, dreaming of a couch to herself and a movie Amelia couldn’t make fun of.

SATURDAY, 10:00 A.M.
SEVENTEEN HOURS AFTER DROP-OFF

Whitney had been up for hours, and still hadn’t heard from Amelia. Last night was restful. Quiet. Peaceful. All the things Whitney had wanted it to be. Much needed. But this morning she was suffering from a serious case of mom guilt. She missed her daughter. Was anxious for her to come home, attitude and all. Unlocking her phone, she shot her a quick text: Ready for me to pick you up?
Even after several minutes, no response came. Not that she was shocked. When Amelia had friends over, they stayed up all night giggling and talking. No matter how many times Whitney would remind them to keep it down, within minutes their muffled voices would return, drifting through the adjoining bedroom wall. Most likely, she’d done the same at Lauren’s and they were both still asleep.
The house smelled like Saturday morning—coffee, creamer, maple syrup.
French toast had been a weekend tradition for years. When Amelia was little, she’d wake up early and bound into her mom’s bedroom, eager for breakfast. But lately it seemed Whitney ate alone more often than not. Even when Amelia was home, there was no guarantee she’d join her. Amelia lived in her room, earbuds perpetually plugged in her ears, as if she’d grown another extremity. Still, Whitney couldn’t bring herself to stop the tradition altogether. The French toast would get eaten, even if it took a couple of days. Whitney didn’t mind leftovers, anyway. Not that she had many this morning. She’d gone for an extra-long jog and had been ravenous.
After cleaning up the kitchen, Whitney went back into her phone and clicked on the Snapchat app. Amelia may have been quiet around the house lately, but she had no problem sharing her life with the rest of the world. Whitney expected to be greeted by smiling selfies of her and Lauren, maybe some photos of the food they were eating, proof to all the other teenagers on social media that they were having a blast on their Friday night together. But nothing had been posted on her story in the last twenty-four hours.
With slick fingertips, Whitney closed out of Snapchat and checked Instagram. Nothing there either. A chill brushed over her neck, causing the hairs to stand on end. She shook the feeling away with an abrupt jerk of her head. Whitney had always been like this. Anxious. A worrier, especially when it came to Amelia. Perpetually thinking the worst. Amelia hated it. So had her ex-husband. It was one of the many things they fought about. And it was probably one of many reasons why Dan had ended up marrying that sunny, smiling, high-pitched preschool teacher. If Whitney had to take a guess, she’d say there were no skeletons in Miss Karen’s closet. No past indiscretions she was afraid of coming to light. No monsters from her past lurking around the corner.
No secret buried inside, so deep the roots had become invisible.
When Dan married Karen, Whitney remembered thinking how he had succeeded in finding someone completely opposite from her, just like he said he would. It didn’t take him long either. He’d met Karen less than a year after they’d split up. He and Karen were friends for a while, and then dated for several years before marrying.
That was how he always defended it.
We were friends first.
We took it slow.
But that was never the point. He should have made Amelia his priority. Whitney hadn’t dated at all while Amelia was growing up—she’d only started within the last couple of years. Once Amelia hit high school and started having a life of her own, Whitney figured it was time she did too.
Leaning against the counter, she stared out the kitchen window. There wasn’t a view. The window overlooked the apartment across the way. A man stood in his kitchen, his back to Whitney as he drank coffee. His build vaguely reminded Whitney of Jay, and it made her smile.
Going into her last text thread with him, she typed, I miss you.
Then she bit her lip. Too forward? Too soon?
They’d been dating for a couple of months, and he’d only been on an overnight business trip. He was returning later today. She didn’t want to come on too strong.
Backspace. Delete. She tried again: Hope your trip was good.
Too formal?
Whitney paused, thinking.
Why am I making this so hard?
She really liked Jay. That was the problem. He was the first guy in a long time she felt hopeful about. Usually by month two of dating someone, the red flags popped up and her interest waned. That hadn’t happened yet with Jay.
Turns out, she didn’t need to stress over what to text. Jay beat her to it.
Boarding the plane now. Will call you when I’m back, he texted.
Sounds good, she responded.
It was 10:30. There were a million things on the agenda today and waiting around for Amelia wasn’t one of them.
After hitting the grocery store and Target, Whitney swung by Lauren’s, using the memory of how they’d gotten there yesterday as her guide. It was a little tricky, since she hadn’t paid enough attention to Amelia’s directions yesterday, but after a few minutes of circling the neighborhood, she came upon a familiar street and turned on it. A couple of houses in, she recognized the rosebushes.
It had been well over an hour since she’d sent the last text to Amelia. Although there hadn’t been any response yet, Whitney was sure she was up by now. Probably hoping to buy more time with her friend.
Whitney had gotten Amelia a bag of gummy worms. She pulled it out of one of the grocery bags. It crinkled as she set it on the passenger seat. Amelia probably wouldn’t even eat them. Certainly, they didn’t fit within the parameters of her latest diet, but, still, Whitney couldn’t resist. Whitney’s habit of picking up treats at the store had started back when Amelia was a toddler, when she’d surprised her with a bag of cookies one afternoon when picking her up from preschool. Whitney would never forget how wide Amelia’s eyes got, how broad her smile became as she clutched the little bag. A lot of things may have changed between them over the past few years, but Whitney didn’t want that to be one of them.
After getting out of the car, she slipped the key ring around her finger and walked up the front walkway, flip-flops slapping on the pavement. It was a warm, spring day. Kids played outside a few houses down. A lawnmower kicked on. A couple rode their bikes past, bright neon helmets bouncing up and down like beach balls bobbing in the waves. Amelia used to love to ride bikes. For a while, it had been a weekend tradition. Whitney couldn’t remember the last time they’d hit the trails together, but she made a note to ask her about it. Most likely her answer would be a big resounding no, coupled with the same cringey, horrified look she had whenever Whitney suggested they hang out. Still, it was worth a shot. Sometimes Amelia surprised her with a yes, reminding Whitney of the girl she used to be before the teenage monster took over.
When Whitney reached the door, she lifted her hand to knock the same way she’d watched Amelia do the day before. A minute passed and no one answered. That funny feeling returned, but she shoved it down, feeling silly.
She knocked again, this time so hard it stung her knuckles. The girls were probably listening to music or something. Or maybe they were in the backyard. It was a nice day. Ears perked, she listened for the sound of her daughter’s voice or of music playing inside. Hearing neither of those, she frowned.
Finally, Whitney caught the hint of footsteps inside.
The door creaked open, an older woman peering out, eyebrows raised. She looked to be in her late sixties, maybe early seventies.
Whitney was taken aback. She’d never met Lauren’s mom, but there was no way this was her. Maybe Lauren’s grandparents lived with them. Recently, Whitney had watched a news report about how the cost of living had gone up, causing multigenerational homes to become a growing trend. And Lauren had mentioned that her parents were divorced. Whitney knew firsthand how financially taxing it was to raise a child alone.
“Hi, I’m Whitney. Amelia’s mom.” Smiling, Whitney jutted out her hand.
But the elderly woman just stared at it, not saying a word. She glanced over her shoulder where a man around her same age stood. He furrowed his brows and stepped forward. Whitney’s body tensed.
Maybe she’s got dementia or Alzheimer’s or something. Whitney caught the old man’s eyes. “Hi, I’m Amelia’s mom. She spent the night here.”
“Nope. Not here.” Shaking his head, he came closer. “You must have the wrong house. They all kinda look the same in this neighborhood.”
Whitney glanced around. Hadn’t she thought the same thing yesterday? She must’ve turned down the wrong street or something.
Face warming, she backed away from the door. “I’m so sorry to have bothered you.”
“No bother at all,” the man said, and the woman offered a kind smile.
Whitney turned on her heels and made her way back to the car. She turned on the ignition and pulled away from the curb. The couple had already disappeared inside. Whitney drove to the main street and turned right. When she came up on another street, she turned onto it. The man was right. There were lots of houses that looked like theirs. She pulled up in front of one, scanning the yard.
Nope. No roses.
That’s what had set the other house apart. The one she dropped Amelia off at.
She moved farther down the street, carefully looking to the right and to the left, searching for a one-story house, roses lining the perimeter. Coming up empty, she swung the car around. Maybe her mistake had been turning right at the main street.
Backtracking, this time Whitney turned left.
This street was almost identical to the other two she’d just been down. Same tract homes. Manicured lawns. Shuttered windows. A sea of tan paint and beige trim. The odd red door or colorful lawn art. But, again, no roses. At least, not in the correct spot.
Turning onto another street, she finally found it. The simple house. The roses lining the side.
After parking in front, she leaped out and hurried to the front door. It was answered after only a couple of knocks.
She gasped, taking in the elderly man standing in the doorway. The same one she’d just spoken to a few moments ago.
Oh, my God.
She’d ended up right back where she’d started. As she backed away from the door, apologizing profusely, she took in the shuttered windows, the manicured lawn, the roses lining the perimeter of the yard. Peering back at her car, she envisioned Amelia in the front seat holding her phone, the voice of the GPS speaking in her palm.
There was almost no doubt in Whitney’s mind—this was where she’d left her.

Excerpted from Where I Left Her by Amber Garza, Copyright © 2021 by Amber Garza. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Camp Death by Jim Ody QMP Horror Blog Tour (QMP Book #1) @Jim_Ody_Author @QuestionPress @zooloo2008 Hashtags #CampDeath #QMPHorror #QuestionMarkPress #ZooloosBookTours

About the Book:


The place had a gruesome past that nobody wanted to talk about…Camp Deathe is now a great place to spend the summer. Ritchie soon finds a group of outsiders like himself. Teenagers who ignore the organised activities, and bunk off in the old abandoned cabins deep in the woods. The cabins that have a history.The campfire monster stories were meant to just scare them. Nobody expected them to come true. Then one of the teenagers disappears in the middle of the night.Something is watching them. It hides in the woods and hunts at night.Ritchie will have to uncover the secrets of the camp and understand his own problems in order to survive.

Camp Death is Book 1 in a new series brought to you by Question Mark Horror. For fans of Point Horror, Christopher Pike & Nicholas Pine.Check out Book 2 – Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell

Both books are available in paperback now!

About the Author:

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

Extract:

Then Sophie came down wearing an outfit of a small blue vest and shorts.
“Twerp!” she said ruffling his hair because she knew he hated it. 
“Hey!”
“Chill out, little bro!”
“Why are you wearing toddler’s clothes?” He grinned. He had a mouthful of scrambled egg that almost fell out behind the remark.
“Why are you such a loser?” He stopped smiling. She found it easy to be horrible to him. He didn’t have a comeback and that annoyed him all the more.
His parents ignored them. They were used to this normal interaction of siblings, and saying anything made little or no difference anyway. They may as well speak to them in Korean for all the good it would do.
“What do you want, Sophe?” Their Mum asked, ignoring them like a true professional.
His sister looked over at the food and unconsciously touched her stomach with her right-hand. “I’m not that hungry,” she said, and Ritchie knew she was lying.
His dad glanced at his mum, and she sighed before answering, “Come on, love. We talked about this, didn’t we? You need your energy.” She was already handing over a plateful of food to her.
Sophie huffed, and grabbed the plate. “Fine. It’s not fair!”
“Life gets worse!” his dad said, but Sophie had already retreated from the kitchen and was disappearing back up to her room.
“We’re leaving in an hour!” his mum called up the stairs just before they heard her bedroom door slam.
His dad rolled his eyes.
“It’s going to be a big few days…” she said but quickly looked away.
Ritchie was still thinking about what his dad had said. If his mum had said last night that life was worse at his sister’s age, and now his dad was saying when you’re older it’s even worse, then what the hell was there to look forward to? he wondered.
As if reading his mind, his mum sat down and said, “You’ll have fun this week, Ritchie. Give you a fresh new outlook on life.”
“This week?” he said. “I thought it was only a few days?”
“Five days is a few days,” His dad added, still scrolling through the news on his tablet, and slurping coffee.
“Not really,” Ritchie replied, his voice raised to a whine, but he knew his argument was futile.
“Are you okay about… Kelly?” His mum asked carefully. Then she looked over at his dad. “I know how inseparable you two are!” His dad nodded in agreement. It seemed like news travelled fast.
Suddenly the food became harder to swallow. “Sure,” was all he could manage. His head was down and he was chasing a couple of baked beans around his plate. He wished he was small enough to hide behind them.
“Oh,” his mum said, detecting the change in atmosphere. This was what he hated


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