Thursday, April 17, 2014

Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson- A Ripple Effect Romance + a $25 Giveaway

Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past. If only life worked that way. Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs. If only it were that easy.

Woo-hoo!  I’m loving this Ripple Effect series!  I feel like such a lucky girl to be reading and reviewing them.  Righting a Wrong is written by Rachel Anderson and I just LOVE Rachel’s writing so I was especially looking forward to this one.  J

Cambri has returned to the home she once knew to help care for her father as he recovers from a heart attack.  It’s been a long time since she left and coming home brings up all sorts of memories and emotions.  When Cambri runs into her old best friend, Jace, she can’t help but remember how good she felt when she spent time with him.  She’s lived years without him, but has never forgotten how he made her feel.  She has never found anyone to compare to him but she left without looking back and she cut all ties to him in a desperate attempt to follow her dreams and become something outside the little town she grew up in.  Now she wants to apologize and reclaim that friendship (and hopefully something more!) but she just doesn’t know how.

We got to know Jace a bit in the last book.  I’m sure glad he got his own story with a happily ever after too.  You couldn’t help but feel a bit bad for the guy in Silver Linings.  But here, in Righting a Wrong, Jace finally gets a second chance at a love he thought he had lost forever.

I love both Cambri and Jace.  You can feel the camaraderie and friendship they once had rebuild and establish once again.  Thank goodness Cambri had the courage to apologize and accept the blame.  It started the change that led to the reconnection. 

There is also a struggling connection between Cambri and her father.  They express emotion and communicate in very different ways.  It was in the exchanges between Cambri and her father that I really came to love Cambri.  She is trying to help and understand her father but most of the time she just doesn’t.  I love that she won’t be bullied and stands up to her father but does it with love and a desire to take care of him.

I really loved this book.  Hopefully you will too.  This is such a sweet, clean romance series. Such a fun idea.  The next book in the series is going to be a fun one!  I can't wait to get started on it!

Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Updated Ripple Effect
The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Diamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen + $25 Giveaway!

Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

Pre Order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble

“I love Rachelle J. Christensen’s stories and characters, and Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things is another thrilling mystery to add to my collection. Don’t be surprised if you have to stay up all night to finish he book!”
--Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Before I Say Goodbye

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things pulled me right in from the first page and held me captive until the very end. Great characters, a compelling plot, a surprising twist at the end ... Rachelle Christensen knows how to craft a great mystery.
- Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries

A cunningly crafty mystery with just the right mix of romance. Readers won't be able to get enough of Adrielle Pyper, stunning party-planner turned heroine.
--Nichole Giles, author of Descendant

About Rachelle J. Christensen: Rachelle J. Christensen is a stay-at-home mom of four cute kids. She has an amazing husband, three cats, and five chickens. Rachelle was born and raised in the small farming town of Rupert, Idaho which is adjacent to the setting in her latest mystery Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things due out this July. Her new website www.mashedpotatoesandcrafts.compartners with the characters from the novel to bring readers an interactive look into the mystery of crafting and wedding planning.

Rachelle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a music minor. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading.

Rachelle’s first novel, Wrong Number was awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the League of Utah Writers and was also a 2010 Whitney Finalist. She is also the author of Caller ID, a nonfiction book Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter Day Saints, and a novella with a Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman + Enter to Win a Copy of this Book!

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1)
416 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Release Date: April 22nd 2014

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love it because you get a feel for what happened in history but with fictional characters. It’s almost like a history lesson but you don’t realize it.

One thing I can say for sure is that this author, Anne Blankman, has done her homework on Hitler and the rise of his power. I didn’t even have to read the author’s note or list of resources to know that. I really felt throughout the book that I was getting a real view of how Hitler was.

This is a plot driven sort of book. The story starts out a little slowly as the plot is established and we are introduced to the characters but once all that is set and in place, look out! Things really start moving quickly.

Gretchen is a likeable character. She has known much sorrow and anxiety in her short life so far. Her brief encounter with a Jewish boy sets Gretchen off on a quest for information. She soon realizes that everything she has always known is built upon lies. Gretchen is a spunky girl though- smart and determined. She wants the truth no matter how much it hurts.

I really did enjoy this book. As I said before, it is the plot that carries the book. I would have loved to have felt more emotion throughout the book. It has such potential with Hitler to be creepy and chilling and while I understood that he was a crazy man with evil intentions, I didn’t necessarily feel that. The same can be said of Gretchen. She went through so much, I just wanted to feel with her and not just understand with my head from the outside. I would have loved to have had more of the Jewish culture woven in. We know that Daniel is Jewish but we never really get a feel for how that makes him who he is in the book. None of the Jewish customs were brought out. I guess it just left me wishing for that depth and richness that comes from feeling and being more immersed in the culture.

Overall this was a good book. I was driven forward by the plot, wanting to know what happened next. I wanted Gretchen to find the answers and I was most definitely rooting for Gretchen and Daniel. I liked them working together. The ending was so action packed, full of heart pounding danger and struggle. I just couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t read fast enough. The ending is such a cliffhanger, I’m left wanting to know what happens!

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Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

On Tour with The Fortune Cafe by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson and Heather Moore + a $25 Giveaway!

   Fortune Cafe
The Fortune Café
a novel in three parts
MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidently cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

This is the kind of book that just makes me happy.  It's light, romantic reading that can take you away for awhile.  In this book I got a three for one deal.  :)

I liked that the stories sort of had a cross over connection with the Fortune Cafe and we see the characters from the other stories in each one, if only briefly.  Each story had it's own feel because obviously there are different people writing them, but they were still connected.  This book also made me hungry.  All that talk of yummy food and fortune cookies?  Don't read this book while hungry.

Each story involves a fortune cookie with something magically special inside.  Each story has a romance to root for.  Each story delivers a happily ever after that my heart just loves.  I can't wait to read more books along these lines.  Yay for romance!  

Content:  There were a few instances of mild swearing.

Julie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written over a dozen books since then, is a Whitney Award winner, and feels she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating writing, hiking, playing on the beach with her kids, and snuggling with her husband to watch movies. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a sometime blogger who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies and pines after beautiful shoes.
Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore, her latest is Finding Sheba. Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction. She’s the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Other women’s novels include Heart of the Ocean, The Fortune Café, the Aliso Creek Series, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology Series.
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

I've read other books by Lindsey Leavitt and really enjoyed them.  When I saw this book up on NetGalley, I decided to give it a try.  My thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for allowing me to read and review this title for them.

So, first thing that caught me was the cover.  How cute is that cover?!  I love it.  Then, the setting in Las Vegas.  In a wedding chapel.  Yeah, that is a good hook right there.  Oh, the possibilities for some great stories.

Holly is an interesting character.  You have to admire her dedication to the wedding chapel and her Grandfather.  I love that the wedding chapel was a part of her, who she is and what she represents.  Holly has a desperate need to hold on to that part of her, to the memories and the familiarity of it all, especially since her parents recent divorce which has left her reeling a bit.   It's all a big journey for Holly and I like the lessons she learns along the way.

I enjoyed the light romance between Holly and Dax, the beginnings of it and how it came to be.  I didn't enjoy the drunken binges that Dax indulged in or how little it seemed to bother Holly.  There is no glamour in teenage underage drinking.  Several characters in this book drink and I thought it was unnecessary.  There is also references to sexual activity between young teenagers although nothing explicit.  Again, not my favorite.

This was a light, fun read though.  It made me smile quite a few times and I enjoyed the story.  The dialogue and characters felt real and natural.  There were just those few content-ish issues I had with the book.  

Content:  Underaged drinking, sexual references, mild swearing, some crude language.

The Chapel Wars will be released on May 6th, 2014.  You can pre-order at Amazon.

About the Author:
LINDSEY LEAVITT is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable little girls. She is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is also the author of Sean Griswold's Head, Going Vintage, and the Princess for Hire series.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fortune Cookie by Josie Kilpack + $25 Giveaway!

   Fortune Cookie
Sadie Hoffmiller has always liked things to be just so. A place for everything and everything in its place. Order over chaos. And of all things Sadie should be able to control, her own wedding is at the top of the list. With the big day just three weeks away, Sadie is busily adding the final touches to her wedding plans but the arrival of a mysterious letter from San Francisco changes everything. The only person Sadie knows in San Francisco is her older sister, Wendy, whom she hasn’t seen since their mother’s funeral nearly fifteen years ago. Sadie has faced off against murderers and criminals in recent years, yet the possibility of reconnecting with her sister is both overwhelming and frightening. Sadie soon discovers, however, that the letter is just the beginning when Wendy’s world turns out to be a place of unanswered questions, twisted truths, and more than one person with a motive for murder. The more Sadie digs into her sister’s past, the more she places her own future at risk.

This is the first of two books in the next week up for review that have a fortune cookie on the front.  It sort of puts me in the mood to eat Chinese food.  :)

First off, I love the setting of this book in San Francisco.  I love that city.  There is so much diversity and life pulsing all around you.  I love the hills and the houses and the water.  Hanging out along the pier is one of my favorite things to do.  And if you haven't ever caught a baseball game there- you should.  

In this book, Sadie's murder adventure turns more personal as it involves her sister.  Given it's a sister she hasn't seen in a very long time, and a sister that has caused a lot of grief and heartache, but it's still hits close to home.  This brings up old insecurities and memories that Sadie hasn't thought of or dealt with in a long time.  

One of the things I love about this series is that even after so many books, I feel as though I am still discovering layers to Sadie.  I'm getting to know her.  That's quite a feat in a series this big.  Even though I'm always learning more about Sadie, she is still Sadie.  Although over the many books, she has matured and learned things too.  These books are easy to read.  The thought process of the characters just makes sense.  The dialogue is natural and easy.  These are awesome books to curl up with.  They are clean and fun.

As much as I love this series, I am really looking forward to the next book which is also the last, I hear.  I'm hoping that Sadie and Pete finally, finally, get their happily ever after.  Obviously, it can't be that easy, but I'm hoping it will come.  I'm ready for that.

Culinary Mysteries

Author Josi S. Kilpack Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick

One determined girl.
One resourceful boy.
One miracle machine that could destroy everything…

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.  

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same goal, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

When darkness is safer than light…

I do believe this is labeled as a "romantic steampunk".  This is the second book of this flavor that I have read in the last couple months.  I can't help but compare a bit as it's the same genre, but I really shouldn't because the two books were nothing alike.  The feel, the way they were written were completely different.

I will admit that it took me awhile to become invested in this book and it's characters.  The storyline is a good one though.  A magic machine, an evil madman, a girl searching for answers.  Eyelet is the underdog.  You can't help but root for her.  She is smart and curious and she is determined to find the truth.  I liked her no whine attitude.

If you think rooting for one underdog is good, you should try two.  Urlick is an underdog too.  Put Eyelet and Urlick together and you get, well, underdog squared.  ha!  They sort of have an annoying relationship at first that I didn't quite get, but after they started working together, I really enjoyed them both.  That's when the book turned around for me.  Up until then I just wasn't in.

There are all kinds of things against Eyelet and Urlick.  The before mentioned evil bad guy, deadly vapors, zombie like creatures in the woods and a couple other surprises thrown in for good measure.  The flying machine creature is good.  I really like it.

As far as content, there was frequent profanity and swearing.  There is an "almost" sex scene but it is interrupted so it never happens but they both verbally consent to it.  The almost sex scene was so out of place.  The two characters hadn't even shared anything as intimate as a real kiss.  They had a day of adventure but honestly, not much more than that.  The emotional connection was underdeveloped.  I felt there was a bit of a physical attraction but not much more than that.

I would say that overall this was a good concept.  The characters were good but my connection to them didn't run very deep.  The second half was definitely better than the first half.  I could have done without the profanity and swearing.  

Oh, and I love the cover.  So, so pretty!

You can purchase Lumiere at Amazon.

About the author:

I'm Jacqueline Garlick. Author of YA, New Adult, and Women's Fiction. I originally hail from the shores of Bournemouth England. No I don't, I'm just kidding, but my father's parents did! Actually, I hail from another familiar shore though. I grew up on the banks of the Thames River in Chatham, Ontario, not Chatham, England, but trust me it's just as murky. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. (Doesn't everyone?) I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper) and plan cool writing events for cool writers (check out niagarawritersretreatandconference (dot) com.) I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology (doesn't everyone?) and would rather hang out with a dog, than a cat. I prefer creating things to cleaning things, and believe laughter is a one-stop-shop solution to all that ails you. It is also my position that ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky can improve on any bad day. You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (perhaps even a door) and a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you won’t find a hidden passageway but a girl can dream, can’t she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea. I love specialty teas...and collecting special teacups from which to drink them (doesn't everyone?) (See website for collection.) 

In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don't ask), but more recently I've been a graduate of Ellen Hopkin’s Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from Lumière earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.

Because of my edgy, rule-breaking, Tim Burton-esque style of writing (yes I did just start a sentence with 'because''s legal now, get over it) I am often referred to as the Quentin Tarantino of YA among writing friends (in particular my agent.)  

Lumière—A Romantic Steampunk Fantasy—is my debut novel, Book One in my young adult The Illumination Paradox Series. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.