J.P. Barnaby on a Conversation with her Character and her new novel Saving Hannah (author guest blog)

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Saving Hannah by J.P. Barnaby

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Release Date:  December 18, 2018
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.P. Barnaby here today on tour for her latest novel, Saving Hannah.  Welcome, J.P.

 

A Chat with Hannah Aberthol

Saving Hannah, while a romantic suspense, is at its core—a love story. It’s a love story between two men and a little girl. Hannah has leukemia and her father, Thomas, will do anything to get her the medical care she needs. Aleks has loved Thomas since college and wants to help them both. Along with the suspenseful elements, there is a lot of love.

I thought it would be fun to sit down with little Hannah and talk about her role in the book, her relationship with her father, and how she feels about the developments in their relationship.

JP: Hi Hannah, thanks for sitting down with me today.

Hannah: Hello. It’s nice to see you again. Daddy said you helped us become a family.

JP: Well, I just wrote it down. That was all your daddy and Aleks.  They’re good guys.

Hannah: Meemaw said Daddy is a good man who did a bad thing. Aleks is a good man too. He helped me with the doctors and medicine and stuff.

JP: How are you feeling, Hannah?

Hannah: Way better. Daddy says I can go to school soon.

JP: That’s great! Are you looking forward to that?

Hannah: Yeah, I just wish my hair were longer. They’re gonna make fun of me.

JP: Tell them you were in a rock band and shaved your head.

Hannah: That’s silly. And a lie. Daddy said we’re only supposed to lie about certain things.

JP: That’s got to be a scary thing.

Hannah: Yeah. I’m scared I’m going to mess up and something bad will happen.

JP: Tell you what, if I don’t write it—it won’t happen. And I won’t write something bad happening to you. Does that make it better?

Hannah: You can do that?

JP: Yep.

Hannah: You’re the bestest ever! I’m gonna go tell Daddy and Aleks. See you later!

Blurb

Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.

 

About author J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby is an award-winning contemporary romance and romantic suspense novelist with over a dozen novels. Her heart and soul, the Survivor Series, has been heralded by USA Today as one of their favorites. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro (Jake) who didnít like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When sheís not working on her latest novel, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix with her husband and Jack Russell Terror, Chase.

Sign up for her newsletter and try a free story: https://bit.ly/2xSB8kE

 

Review: Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Oceans Apart coverTwo years after the events in London, Detective Remy Remington has returned to Phoenix, along with his friend, former cop Miguel “Miggy” Rojas.  Miggy needed to get clean after years undercover saw him hooked on drugs. Remy was needed to support his old friend and did so by leaving the Phoenix PD, and with Miggy as a partner, started their own detective agency.  When  their  biggest client sends them a diamond dealer in need of security for a huge diamond sale, the men quickly agree.  But there are several twists to this delivery starting with the fact that it is to be made on board a gay Caribbean cruise the diamond merchant is sailing on. Remy and Miggy will be going undercover as a couple on a cruise that advertises clothing optional and Miggy is straight, isn’t he?

Lord Jamie Mainwaring and his partner Special Agent Ryan Whiteside are investigating high seas piracy for Interpol. Their case leads them to a gay Caribbean cruise, a ship that just happens to be the same ocean liner where Miggy and Remy are supervising the diamond transfer.  Going undercover as a gay couple isn’t a problem for Jamie and Ryan as they are already romantically involved.  The surprise will be the couple already on board, one half of whom Jamie still  loves deeply even after two years apart.

Four men, two couples, a complicated past history, and soon the lines of investigation and romance are blurring into trouble.  Dangers are everywhere, both emotional and professional.  And someone will pay the ultimate cost before the cruise is over.

Intense, surprising, and over the top fantastic.  Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe Oceans Apart, the second story in the Separate Ways series by Laura Harner.  As mentioned, this story takes place two years after the combined investigation into slavery case in London where Jamie and Remy met.  Both men have picked up their lives.  Remy more so than Jamie who still mourns the loss of Remy and their love for each other.  Laura Harner alternates the point of view as the reader is given glimpses into each man’s  life since London and their journey to a new reality for them both.

It is clear that Remy has moved on more successfully from the events and emotions in London.  Together with a Miggy in recovery, Remy has emerged as a different man than the one we met in London.  Harner has deepened and matured her characterization of Remy in Oceans Apart.  The two years have realistically reformed Remy into a person who has accepted new responsibilities as well as the prospect of family and a new romance.   I loved this new Remy.  His new maturity and openness is not only appealing but allows his character to widen his outlook on life and his future.  Miggy Rojas has figured greatly into that transformation.  What a great new character and what a set of complications he brings to the series.  Miggy lives with Remy, he is his partner in the business they started and together they found one of the young men they rescued in the aftermath of London and adopted him thereby forming a family.  That young man, Toby, also brought another satisfactory element to this story as I had wanted to know what happened to him in London.  This story supplied that answer in a way that made me deeply happy.  Everything about the Phoenix group feels real.  It’s messy, complicated, funny, and down to earth.  I loved all of them.  And so of course, their happiness made me fear for the future.

Less content, feeling dissatisfied in his life in almost every way is Lord Jamie Mainwaring. He has rebounded in his mother’s affections and the regard of London society.  He is in a romantic relationship with his partner Ryan Whiteside and feeling successful at his profession.  And Jamie is deeply unhappy.  Jamie’s character is one that if not given depth and insight would come across as whinny and ungrateful for his position as a wealthy lord with a mother who adores him and a partner in love as well as business.  But Harner’s characterization invites understanding and compassion for Jamie in his current reality.  Jamie is that person who realizes that he let the love of  his life get away without trying to stop him.  His current romance is lacking, at least on his side and his return to his duties to his mother and society are as underwhelming as they were to begin with.  I think readers will relate to Jamie as almost everyone has been at this point in their life where everything is off and the path to change is uncertain.

Harner then takes  all four men and throws them into the deep, professionally, emotionally and of course, romantically.  The reader, of course, knows the men are on the same ship before they do which ramps up our anticipation of that moment of discovery.  And from that instant on, the author’s plot takes off running, leaping, swimming, a constant motion of frenzied action, unexpected developments and heart racing suspense and anxiety for the men we have come to care for.  Harner’s narrative provides both a complicated, ever-twisting plot while making her characters even more realistic, especially given the events that occur on and off the cruise.   The story is fast paced, smooth, and action packed. Towards the end as all the secrets start to come out the story becomes unrelenting in the turmoil it creates.  It’s white knuckled action all the way to the shocking denouement.  What an outstanding ride!

Is this a romance?  Hmmm, sort of.  It is called Separate Ways for a reason.  The romance between Remy and Jamie is going to be a long, drawn out affair, despite the white hot beginning.  They parted for a reason, one that remains valid here in this story.  Jamie’s world is England.  Remy’s is in Phoenix and there is not valid, logical way for them to be together now.  Harner understands the complications of each man’s life as well as their priorities and her series reflects that.  Life has a way of intruding no matter what we may want to happen.  The humor, the sadness, and the unexpected elements that arise to throw these men off course.  I love the authenticity of this series from the heartrending moments to those of quiet joy.

Harner has at least four books planned for this series.  Three are out now with the fourth to be released 2014.  If the first two stories are any indication, its going to be a “wild and bumpy” ride, albeit an outstanding one.  It hasn’t disappointed me so far.  I love all the characters and the twists that keep appearing.  I can’t wait for more.  Follow me to the next one Moving Mountains (Separate Way #3).

If you are new to the series, go back to the beginning Continental Divide and start there, a must to understand these men and the events that occur.  Catch up with us and settle in for an astounding ride, fraught with emotional fissures and hot sexy men.  Consider this one of Scattered Thoughts Best of 2013 series and one I highly recommend.

Books in the Separate Ways series in the order they were written and should be read are:

Continental Divide (Separate Ways #1) written by Laura Harner, Lisa Worrall
Oceans Apart (Separate Ways #2) written by Laura Harner
Moving Mountains (Separate Ways #3) written by Laura Harner
Untitled Fourth Book coming in April 2014

Cover art by Laura Harner.

Buy links:  Amazon, ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 19th 2012 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252298
edition language English

Review: Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky #2) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 5 stars

Something New Under The SunLiam  Lansing is a genetically modified vampire who makes his living as a contract killer but once lived as a favored scion in his wealthy family’s compound in The Sky.  Daniel Harding, heir to  Cybernetix, hated the modifications his father’s corporation built and loved one person, Liam.  Their relationship cost Liam everything as his family disowned him for loving Harding and cast him into The Gutter.  Daniel remained behind working surreptiously to bring his father down, imprisoned in an ivory tower and thinking his former lover was dead.

Former lovers and antagonists, Liam Lansing and Daniel Harding have been reunited and resumed their relationship under the most traumatic events.  Daniel’s father, head of Cybernetix a modification empire, hired Liam to kill his son but had  laid a trap for Liam as well. But the father’s plans backfired when the men united to escape into The Gutter where they schemed to destroy Daniel’s father and his corporation along with him.  But there are more things at stake than Liam is aware of.  Hidden secrets hold the key to the destruction of their plans and the future of their relationship. Can Liam and Daniel put aside the past to maneuver through the obstacles looming before them?  Or will the forces combining against them bring them down once and for all?

Something New Under The Sun picks up right after the events in A Chip In His Shoulder.  I loved reading one book right after the other and felt that it maximized my enjoyment of this intense, suspenseful series. Not necessary but it satisfied my impatience to more forward after the events that occurred in the first book.  Over twice as long, this second book achieves everything L.A. Witt set out to accomplish with her first story.  We are back in The Gutter, that distempered landscape of grimy factories and downtrodden workers, the unholy existing along side the broken. It is a hellish place that L.A. Witt brings to life and where we meet up with Liam and Daniel once more.

In a neat twist, the pov switches from Daniel Harding to Liam Lansing at the beginning of the story and more of Liam’s back history is revealed to the readers. Witt outlines enough of her previous book that any reader fresh to the series is not totally confused by the events of this story.  From the beginning, the author starts to build the suspense and reader anticipation as we watch Liam and David weave together their plans for retribution and the destruction of Cybernetix.  As they cobble together the plans and equipment, more of The Gutter and its inhabitants are revealed.  We traverse the filty, narrow alleys and meet up with Gizmo, a modifications wizard who has been helping Liam, for a price of course, with his own “enhancements”.  Gizmo is quite a wonderful character and I could see him so clearly in my mind, from his dialog to his physical form.  Gizmo made such an impact on me that I hope to see more of him in the coming installments.

And this brings me back to the marvelous characters that L.A. Witt creates for her stories.  Daniel and Liam, larger than life in the first story, have been given additional depth and dimension here in the second.  We learn more about what drove Daniel to take the actions that set in motion Liam’s fall from grace and his own isolation.  And even more of Liam’s past seeps out to tease the reader further about those first years of survival in The Gutter.  I cannot help but think that more will be forthcoming in future stories to flesh this out this part of Liam’s past.  Even though we still have gray areas with respect to their backgrounds, these are beautifully realized people, flawed and determined to regain what was once theirs.  I loved them more as I discovered the basis for the hurt and pain their past has cost them.

The author, after establishing characters that grasp at our hearts and minds, proceeds to set the reader on a thriller of a ride when Daniel and Liam actually set their plans in motion.  Quickly upping the suspense and anxiety we feel for our heros, Witt moves the action along at a fast pace as they set out for The Sky and the Cybernetix building.  Really, the events escalate so rapidly that it is breathtaking.  We barely get through one nasty surprise, then another is quickly upon us. And neither the reader and the two men we have come to care are allowed a moments rest.  This is a A Ticket white knuckle ride and I loved every hair raising minute of it.

The dystopian society L.A.Witt has created for her Falling Sky series is a vividly realized world populated with people I cannot get enough of.  The ending came a little too soon and perhaps too easily for me but I am greedy like that.  I would have wished for a more drawn out resolution to Liam’s family issues.  Perhaps that is coming in the next books in the series and I still want to hear more of Gizmo, he deserves his own story within this remarkable framework.

After finishing this book, I immediately wanted more, a testament to the author’s power to create a world easy to escape into and dwell for a while.  I absolutely recommend Something New Under The Sun.  Buy it and settle down for a wild ride of action, adventure and romance as lovers reunite in the Gutter and aim high for The Sky.

Cover art by LC Chase is lovely with its easy to read titles and dark towers behind the model.  Again I only wished that there had been a way to put some of the physical modifications on the model that are so important to the plot.

Books in the Falling Sky series:

A Chip In His Shoulder (Falling Sky #1)

Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky#2)

Review: A Chip in His Shoulder (Falling Sky #1) by LA Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars

A Chip in his ShoulderWhen assassin Liam Lansing receives the name of his next target, he sees the chance for not only a big monetary pay off but a chance for revenge as well. The name of his next victim is Daniel Harding, heir to the Cybernetix empire and the reason for Liam’s descent into hell and his life as a contract killer.  A formerly wealthy vampire, Liam now lives in The Gutter, the place where all the earth’s industry and refuse (material and human)  is consigned. Liam once lived in The Sky, with the clean air and fantastic skyscraper towers where the wealthy live and play, where Liam’s family still live.  All lost because he took a human lover, Daniel Harding.

Daniel Harding hates his father and Cybernetix, the modification empire his father founded.  The firm exists on the exploitation of it’s workers, the environment, and Daniel hates that the modifications are turning people into more machines than human beings.  Even the vampires has been seduced into the modification frenzy that Cybernetix promises.  But Daniel has been imprisoned by his father in his condo in The Sky and waits his father’s next move in their war between them.

Liam’s hatred for Daniel runs to the father as well.  So taking money from Harding to kill his son seemed like a wonderful idea until he finds out that Harding doubled crossed him and has laid a trap for Liam, with Daniel being the lure.  But when Liam and Daniel comes together again after years apart, will Liam’s hatred hold true or  can he put it aside long enough for them to work together and escape the trap planned for them both.

It is hard for me to believe that A Chip in His Shoulder is a mere 78 pages, as it is such a densely packed vision of a vividly described dystopian world.  Witt really makes both The Gutter and The Sky come to life, especially the torments of life in The Gutter.  I had visions of Victorian England in the worst parts of the city, blackened by coal, air dense with sooty particles.  The Gutter has much the same acrid flavor and the author makes you feel the grimness of life there and the poverty of spirit acutely.  The Gutter is contrasted beautifully by The Sky with its dwellings, sleek structures of steel and glass that shine brightly in air that is being constantly cleaned to the detriment of all who live beneath in The Gutter.

Dropped into this setting are just wonderful characters that will find you craving more of their backhistories.  Liam, the reluctant contract killer, who once was an idealistic young man in love with the wrong person.  Liam was then, like many a fallen hero, thrown out of heaven or in this case The Sky for his impudence and life choices and lands in hell.  During his confrontation with Daniel, we get glimpses of just how far Liam fell but nothing further.  Perhaps that will come in future books.  But it all adds up to a marvelous, multilayered character who captures our empathy and imagination from the start and never lets it go.

Daniel Harding is that recognizable erstwhile well off idealist whose privileged background has given him the reason as well as outlet for his pent-up anger and outrage.  He is perhaps not as immediately emotionally accessible as Liam, but as their confrontation continues, it becomes clear that the author has given just as much thought to Daniel as she has Liam, and that there are hidden depths waiting to surface in him.  Daniel really grew on me in this story and one of it’s major frustrations is that the book stops just when you feel you getting a handle on him as a character.

The plot is tightly woven and intense, the swift-paced action  moving the story forward at a clip.  Really, parts of this story will take your breath away.  Had this been a movie, the popcorn would have been munched at as rapid a pace as the story unfolded.  The au;thor really knows how to build the suspense and keep it balanced right on the edge, before she drops you  over.  L.A. Witt does such a great job that when the end does come, you are not quite prepared to let this couple and their story go.

And that is my major and only quibble with this story – the length.  The author just did not seem to complete the picture she started painting.  The outline and major elements are brilliant, the swatches of paint bold and applied with fervor but just a little more detail was needed to complete this portrait of a couple and world in the first stages of revolution.  I just loved it and am moving on quickly to its sequel,  Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky #2).  Really, what an amazing start to a new series.  A Chip in His Shoulder is another example of why L.A. Witt has become a “must read” for me and many others.  Don’t pass it by.

Cover:  Cover art by L.C. Chase.  I find the cover very dramatic.  I only wish there had been some way to convey some of the modifications on the model that are so central to the characters and the story.