Author Archives: Carrie

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

The Widow’s Watcher

by Eliza Maxwell

Contemporary Fiction

Book Description

From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…

Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.

Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness.

But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?

3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Not much exciting happens in the tiny frozen town of Raven, Minnesota.  So when old man Lars Jorgensen spots a woman trying to sink herself into an icy lake, he saves her against her wishes.  Seeing a woman in distress rips him back to his own sad past.

Jenna Shaw has a death wish.  She cannot find the will to continue living after she loses her husband and three children.  Her imagination is all she has left, and her van which takes her from Houston to Minnesota where she forcefully comes together with Lars.  Jenna and Lars must face the circumstances and eventually get to know each other and just what they have that they’re hiding from.

The wintry feel of Minnesota itself seems to be a character in this novel.  You can feel the wind, ice, and snow, and the desolate nature of the place.

Are the characters kind of stereotypical? Yes.  Everyone knows the trope of the grumpy old man with loss in his past.  As the novel goes on you can predict where the relationship between Jenna and Lars will grow, through a shared sense of grief and both sharing certain characteristics such as stubbornness.  Learning exactly why each character is so sad is an emotional journey.

In my opinion the book is a little Hallmark movie-ish, but it deals with grief in a very interesting way, and shows that connections between people are not something you can substitute for.

 

About the Author

Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee.

Connect with Eliza
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

One commenter will win a copy of the book! (US/CAN) Tell me if you’ve ever been to Minnesota.

 

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Top Benefits of Having an Electric Fireplace in Your Home

The warmth of the fireplace not only looks enchanting but gives the heart a warm and comfortable feeling.

Traditionally, people used to use real wood for a fireplace. This process involves money, work and may prove to be dangerous if not done properly. You can buy an electric fireplace instead. It provides a beautiful visual of an actual fireplace. It will give your home a very rich, unique and classy look, and will also provide the desired coziness during winter months. The flames of the electric fireplace look as realistic as a real fireplace without the harmful fumes of a real fire. Here are the top benefits of having an electric fireplace at your home.

Hassle-free installation
If you have a real fireplace then it will require you to collect wood and then burn it. This is not possible if you are living in a rented home. Moreover, an electric fireplace will not require you to damage your home by breaking a wall. These fireplaces come with a stand that can be placed anywhere. This also ensures portability which means you can place it in any room in your house. Some fireplaces can be hung up against a wall.

Provides warmth without danger
Electric fireplaces do not give out smoke and they do not have any gas burning, hence they are absolutely safe. Moreover, they provide more warmth, and unlike actual wood fireplaces, they do not give out smoke from the chimney. All the warmth is preserved in the room and so it heats up the room fast and gives a feeling of coziness.

A great decoration piece
You can impress your friends with your electric fireplace. It is a great decoration piece for your home. It comes in a variety of designs. You can check out some of the stylish designs from Hvacify.Com and give your house a makeover at affordable prices.

Zero or less maintenance
If you are using a real fireplace then you have to clean up the chimney, the ash, and soot. Electric fireplaces are plug and go devices so you do not need to take extensive care. You can use it when you want and just get servicing done once a year to maintain it.

Energy efficient
Electric fireplaces do not consume a lot of electricity since they heat only a particular room at a time and not the entire home. This will help in managing your electric bills and will not burn a hole in your pocket, unlike your electric heaters.

Natural look and feel and longevity
Electric fireplaces are less prone to erosion and rust. They last longer than electric heaters. It will bring a part of nature inside your home and make your home feel warm and cozy.

Are you willing to enjoy the warmth and coziness of a real fireplace without facing any safety hazards or the difficulty of maintenance? Then get your electric fireplace today! It is more efficient, cost-effective and easier to maintain and will give your home a grand look.

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: A Sin Such as This by Ellen Hopkins

A Sin Such as This

by Ellen Hopkins

Love Lies Beneath Series, Book Two

Book Description

In this gripping follow-up to Love Lies Beneath, #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s “fabulous, sex-filled masterpiece of mystery and romance” (Library Journal, starred review), beautiful, wealthy Tara Lattimore’s story continues when her sinful past threatens to derail her current marriage—and her sanity.

Tara thought she was finally settling down when she married the handsome Dr. Cavin Lattimore. Just as she was willing to overlook his gambling habits, she discovers his secret meetings with Sophia, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend and his son Eli’s occasional girlfriend. Life gets even more complicated when Tara’s niece, Kayla, starts hooking up with Eli. In a matter of weeks, Tara has reluctantly gone from rich, single San Francisco professional to Lake Tahoe housewife managing her niece’s whiplash moods, while resisting her stepson’s tantalizing sexual advances.

Adding to the family drama is her younger sister, Melody, who’s having a serious marital breakdown, which means she might know something about her husband Graham and Tara’s brief dalliance years ago. As Tara’s fragile trust in her family teeters, timed with the arrival of certain people from her past, she also can’t shake the feeling that someone’s watching her. Baiting her.

Tara has always considered herself a tough, self-made woman after surviving a childhood defined by poverty, abuse, and neglect. For years, she suffered from the sins of others. She committed a few of her own. Now she wonders if the misdeeds of her past are about to catch up with her—and if she can ever outrun them.

 

About the Author

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirteen young adult novels, as well as the adult novels Triangles, Collateral, and Love Lies Beneath. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative.

Connect with Ellen
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

One commenter will win a copy of the book! Tell me if you have read the first book in the series.  US/CAN only.

 

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Surface Tension by Mike Mullin

Surface Tension

by Mike Mullin

YA Contemporary

Book Description

After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.

A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash.

Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall series, delivers a gripping story with memorable characters and all-too-real scenarios.

About the Au

Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. His debut novel, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association. He is represented by Kate Testerman of kt literary.

WEBSITE: http://mikemullinauthor.com/
TWITTER: @Mike_Mullin
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4445700.Mike_Mullin
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mike.mullin.author/
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/mikemullinauthor/

 

PURCHASE THE BOOK

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

 

–Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 3 Winners will receive a Copy of SURFACE TENSION by Mike Mullin.

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

COMING SOON TO THEATERS: Smallfoot

An adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “SMALLFOOT” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.

 

“Smallfoot” stars Channing Tatum (“The LEGO® Batman Movie,” the “Jump Street” films) as the Yeti, Migo, and James Corden (“Trolls,” “The Emoji Movie”) as the Smallfoot, Percy. Also starring are Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Common (“Selma”), LeBron James (upcoming “Space Jam 2”), Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), Danny DeVito (“The Lorax”), Yara Shahidi (TV’s “Black-ish”), Ely Henry (TV’s “Justice League Action”), and Jimmy Tatro (“22 Jump Street”).

“Smallfoot” is directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Annie Award-winning director of “Over the Hedge.” The film is produced by Bonne Radford (“Curious George”), Glenn Ficarra (“Storks,” “The is Us,”) and John Requa (“Storks,” “This is Us”). Serving as executive producers are Nicholas Stoller, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Jared Stern, Sergio Pablos, and Kirkpatrick. The creative team includes editor Peter Ettinger, and composer Heitor Pereira.

The film is set to debut in theaters September 28, 2018.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, “Smallfoot” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa

The Garden of Blue Roses

by Michael Barsa

Mystery/Horror

Book Description

A car lies at the bottom of an icy ravine. Slumped over the steering wheel, dead, is the most critically acclaimed horror writer of his time. Was it an accident? His son Milo doesn’t care. For the first time in his life, he’s free. No more nightmarish readings, spooky animal rites, or moonlit visions of his father in the woods with a notebook and vampire make-up.

Or so he thinks.

Milo settles into a quiet routine—constructing model Greek warships and at last building a relationship with his sister Klara, who’s home after a failed marriage and brief career as an English teacher. Then Klara hires a gardener to breathe new life into their overgrown estate. There’s something odd about him—something eerily reminiscent of their father’s most violent villain. Or is Milo imagining things? He’s not sure. That all changes the day the gardener discovers something startling in the woods. Suddenly Milo is fighting for his life, forced to confront the power of fictional identity as he uncovers the shocking truth about his own dysfunctional family—and the supposed accident that claimed his parents’ lives.

MY THOUGHTS:

3.5 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa

It’s been a long time since I read any gothic novels (high school probably), but I can see why The Garden of Blue Roses has been compared to some. A highly questionable narrator, a family full of secrets, a large house with lush grounds as the setting–it’s got all that. But this novel shines in its’ characterization, and yes Milo Crane is not someone I will forget soon.

Milo is the son and second child of world famous horror writer John Crane. Milo is an introvert to say the least, and he’s forced to live alone with his older sister Klara in their childhood home after the death of their parents in a winter car accident.

It’s not long before Klara takes the opportunity to make changes to the estate, starting with constructing an elaborate garden, and she receives the help of an enigmatic Frenchman named Henri Blanc. Milo has an immediate distrust in him that becomes an obsession when he discovers there are more than a few parallels between Henri and the main character/serial killer in one of his father’s books.

What conspires between these three characters is a dark, twisty psychological roller coaster ride that leads to the discovery of so many hidden truths and most definitely cannot end happily.

From the beginning of the book, when Milo describes his past encounters with people outside his own family, I knew there had to be something off about him…but is he autistic? Anti-social? A psychopath? You never truly learn and you also never truly believe anything Milo says or thinks. Not knowing whether he’s really hearing and seeing the things he reports is one of the most unnerving things about this book.

I might have thought I knew where this book was going, but I have to say that the ending was well paced and left me pleasantly surprised. Although Milo is definitely nothing close to endearing, he does draw you in, and you’re not necessarily rooting for him, but you do want him to have some sense of simple contentment in his life.

The horrors described in this book, in my opinion, are mostly the ones uncovered by learning about the family’s disturbing past as the end of the novel approaches. You can see how Klara and Milo ended up in the current life positions they are in, and you can understand some of their motivations.

If you want a slow burn novel with plenty of suspense and one that will leave you guessing until the end, give this one a try.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Michael Barsa grew up in a German-speaking household in New Jersey and spoke no English until he went to school. So began an epic struggle to master the American “R” and a lifelong fascination with language. He’s lived on three continents and spent many summers in southern Germany and southern Vermont.

He’s worked as an award-winning grant writer, an English teacher, and an environmental lawyer. He now teaches environmental and natural resources law. His scholarly articles have appeared in several major law reviews, and his writing on environmental policy has appeared in The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times. His short fiction has appeared in Sequoia.

The Garden of Blue Roses is his first novel.

Connect with Michael
Website | Facebook

Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

One commenter will win a copy of the book! Ends 6/15.  Tell me what your favorite ROSE is 🙂

 

What is Mental Health Counseling?

You may have noticed that this blog has been writing a number of posts about mental health lately.  I truly believe that there has never been a more important time for people to be getting help if they need it.  The number of professionals choosing to work in the mental health field is growing, which is necessary because the number of patients seeking help is growing too.

If you think you’re in need of someone to talk to, it may be time to seek mental health counseling.  The word “counseling” is really just a broad term for the giving and receiving of advice or guidance.  Most importantly, a counselor gives you someone to confide in when it comes to your mental health.

A counselor can be someone from any of several different professions–social worker, therapist, even psychologists are considered counselors.  Depending on your location, you may only have one or several options on finding a counselor that’s right for you.

Mental health counseling can take many forms.  For nearly every problem a patient may have, there is usually a therapist who specializes in it.  Some examples of specialized counseling may include marriage counseling, family counseling, or drug addiction counseling.  There are also those who have certain skills in dealing with children or patients who have been through certain traumas, such as PTSD.

With so many options when it comes to finding mental health counseling, you may be wondering where to start.  Not long ago I wrote an article about how you can begin your journey and find the right kind of therapist for you. Another good way to learn about counseling options is simply through word of mouth.  Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family if they know anyone who they can recommend to help with mental health issues.  These days, the stigma on finding and getting help for yourself is pretty much gone, and most people are eager to share their recommendations on counselors they love.  It will also help to know you are not alone in your quest for mental wellbeing.

 

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Mayfly by Jeff Sweat

Mayfly

by Jeff Sweat

YA Dystopian

Book Description

Jemma has spent her life scavenging tools and supplies for her tribe in the their small enclave outside what used to be a big city. Now she’s a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive—in Jemma’s world, life ends at age seventeen.

Survival has eclipsed love ever since the Parents died of a mysterious plague. But Jemma’s connection to a boy named Apple is stronger than her duty as a Mama. Forced to leave, Jemma and Apple are joined in exile by a mysterious boy who claims to know what is causing them to die. The world is crumbling around them, and their time is running out. Is this truly the End?

 

About the Author

Jeff Sweat has made a living from words his entire career, starting out as an award-winning tech journalist for InformationWeek magazine and moving into marketing.

He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.

He grew up in Idaho as the middle of eight children—seven boys and one girl—and attended Columbia University in New York. Jeff lives in a big blue house in Los Angeles with his wife Sunny and their three kids, two cats, and a racing greyhound.

He loves to travel and writes everywhere he goes, even when there’s not a desk. He likes karaoke, motorcycles and carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterInstagramAmazon Author Page

The People of Ell Aye

Mayfly is set in the land of Ell Aye, a once-mighty city now in ruins. The old divisions of the past are gone, and in their place new peoples have emerged, each with their own origins and unique cultures.

The Angelenos
The dominant people of Ell Aye, they are a largely peaceful female-led society who live primarily in the hills. They are made of four interrelated peoples:

The Holy Wood
The oldest Angeleno settlement, on the shores of the Lake of the Holy Wood and the old Holy Wood sign.

The Malibu
The farthest west of the Angelenos, who live in the mountains next to the ocean of Malibu.

The Downtown
The Downtown guard the former towers of Ell Aye as sacred ground and live in a giant stadium in a ravine.

The San Fernandos
The San Fernandos live in the great valley north of the Holy Wood and frequently compete with the Holy Wood for scarce resources.

The Last Lifers
A feral band of Children who’ve gone mad in anticipation of their early deaths; they live throughout Ell Aye in violence and chaos because they fear no consequences.

The Palos (The Biters)
A cannibal society from the smoking Palos Verdes peninsula, they are Ell Aye’s most feared enemy. They are intelligent, vicious, and well armed.

The Ice Cream Men
A wandering tribe of traders who travel on three-wheeled ice cream carts, the Ice Cream Men know all the peoples in Ell Aye.

The Kingdom
A mighty civilization built by former gang members, the Kingdom occupies a huge castle fortress in Orange County, the OC.

 

1 winner will receive MAYFLY prize pack which includes buttons, custom art and maps, and a t-shirt, US Only.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

 

BOOK SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

As You Wish

by Chelsea Sedoti

YA Contemporary

 

Book Description

What if you could ask for anything- and get it?

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.

You can purchase As You Wish at the following Retailers:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

 

About the Author

Chelsea Sedoti fell in love with writing at a young age after discovering that making up stories was more fun than doing her school work (her teachers didn’t always appreciate this.) In an effort to avoid getting a “real” job, Chelsea explored careers as a balloon twister, filmmaker, and paranormal investigator. Eventually she realized that her true passion is writing about flawed teenagers who are also afraid of growing up. When she’s not at the computer, Chelsea spends her time exploring abandoned buildings, eating junk food at roadside diners, and trying to befriend every animal in the world. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she avoids casinos, but loves roaming the Mojave Desert.

WEBSITE
TWITTER
GOODREADS
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM

 

–Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 3 Winners will receive a Copy of AS YOU WISH by Chelsea Sedoti.

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

REVIEW: The Wife by Alafair Burke

The Wife

by Alafair Burke

Mystery/Suspense

Book Description

His scandal. Her secret.

When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

MY THOUGHTS:

3.5 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Wife by Alafair Burke

I know everyone is raving about the ending of this book, and yes, it did reveal some big juicy secrets. But the problem is, it took so long to get there. Only the first half of the book held my singular interest, but then it waned as the plot started to slow.

The main character of this novel is Angela Powell, mother of one and wife to Jason Powell, a media darling and university professor. When a student, and then another woman, come forward to press sexual harassment charges on Jason, Angela’s life is rocked. She begins to wonder if her husband is the person she and everyone else who knows him believes he is.

I have read plenty of thrillers/marriage issues type books (you know the kind), so I know that the fact of the matter is, every person in the story is always hiding something. This book flips back and forth between Angela’s point of view and what the investigation into Jason is uncovering, so we get to learn details often before Angela does, and as such can see the lies begin to unravel.

It’s not that did not like Angela Powell…but she was just OK. Even when she described her tragic backstory, she did it with a kind of (understandable, I suppose) disassociation that makes it hard for the reader to feel much for her. She also seems to take a long time to make decisions, and can be annoyingly hardheaded when it comes to seeing the truth about her husband’s misdeeds. I never felt too sorry for her and by the end I didn’t truly care about what happened to her.

I wish the book had laid out its twists more evenly throughout then just piling them all on in the last couple of chapters. I had a feeling something interesting was coming at the end, and really that’s the only thing that kept me reading. I forced myself to finish this book and I’m glad I did, but in my opinion all the hype is a little overwrought.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Alafair Burke is the New York Times bestselling author of “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair’s novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America’s police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alafair “is a terrific web spinner” who “knows when and how to drop clues to keep readers at her mercy.”

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. Her books have been translated into 12 languages.

Alafair’s work has been praised by some of the world’s most respected crime writers, including Gillian Flynn, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, Lisa Unger, and Nelson DeMille.

Learn more about Alafair at www.alafairburke.com