Showing posts with label historical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical. Show all posts

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Forever Yours Clean Romance Event featuring Jess Heileman


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Abigail
by Jess Heileman

Abigail by Jess Heileman

During January and February, we have been featuring 12 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature our final author, Jess Heileman with Abigail, ON SALE for $0.99.
This book blast and giveaway is hosted by Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Since the death of her mother, Abigail Blakeslee has lost all desire to become a debutante and enter Society. But now, foregoing her first Season has brought an unwanted invitation to join her aunt and cousins for a summer at Timpton House, the large estate of the Stanton family.
Reluctantly accepting, Abigail is thrust into the vexing world of social propriety and matchmaking she had hoped to avoid. More vexing still is her cousin’s suitor, the young Timpton heir - Edwin Stanton. Moody and distant at times, remarkably endearing at others, Edwin seems a puzzle she can never solve, but can never quite put away. Bet then, Abigail has her own secret to hide - her own mystery to conceal. Perhaps such puzzles are better left unsolved, or perhaps love can find a solution.

Excerpt
It was several minutes into the first course that Uncle Stanton leaned toward me. “By whom do I have the privilege of sitting this evening?”
“Miss Blakeslee, sir.” I offered, perplexed how he had forgotten our introduction already. “We met just now in the drawing room.”
“Of course. Miss Blakeslee. Such a pretty sounding girl. And I have heard you are quite exquisite though I wish I could see you for myself.”
It was only then I noticed the cloudiness of his eyes. “Forgive me, sir. I did not realize you—” the words to finish seemed too harsh to speak.
“That I am blind?” He chuckled. “I’m flattered you took so long to realize. Was it my handsome face that made you overlook the defect or the confident way I hold myself?”
I was convinced it was the darkness of the drawing room, but I had no intention of saying so. “I believe it was both, sir.”
He chuckled again and reached a hand toward me. Placing my hand atop his, I gave it a gentle squeeze which he affectionately returned.
After some general small talk around the table, a few failed attempts to entreat Miss Hawkins into conversation, and seeing the focused regard Sir Wycliffe paid to Hannah, I gladly directed my attention to Uncle Stanton. There was something about his openness that endeared him to me immediately.
“And, if you don’t mind me asking, Mr. Stanton—”
“My friends and relations call me Uncle, and, if you find no offense in being placed amongst that group, I must insist you do also.”
“I would be honored, Uncle.”
“And I’m guessing by how you began to phrase your question, you were curious how I lost my eyesight?”
Now that he said it aloud it sounded alarmingly impolite, and I felt relieved he couldn’t witness the color that filled my cheeks. I still needed to learn to not let my curiosity take precedence to propriety. “I—well, I—” I stumbled over my words, endeavoring to think of another question to propose.
“Truly, I don’t mind,” he said, sensing my hesitation. “But I fear there is little to tell. A few years ago, I began having problems with my vision. Things grew dark at the edges and gradually expanded toward the center until all I now have is a general sense of light and dark. I sought the best physician in London, who assured me there was nothing to be done. So, I have resigned myself to enjoying the world through my other senses.”
I smiled. “That is a commendable outlook on such a hardship.”
“As I see it, I only had two choices—to be bitter or to not. I simply chose the more enjoyable of the two. Though I will admit, I often wish I could create a more romantic story surrounding it all. You see, I have a very dull imagination—” he hesitated, “not that I care to mislead anyone, but the truth is hardly worthy of attention.”
“I don’t credit myself with much creativity, but perhaps both our minds together might come to a tale worth sharing—or, in the least, to entertain ourselves?”
“Miss Blakeslee, that is a capital idea!”
“Well then, let us think. The grandest stories are always believable,” I paused, trying to determine an appropriate setting. “You were just telling me of your time in the British Fleet.” He nodded. “It would be fitting, and perfectly romantic, if your tale occurred at sea. Perhaps a heroic rescue?”
One side of his mouth lifted. “I daresay I prefer to play the hero.”
“And nothing is as heroic as rescuing a damsel in distress, do you not agree?”
“I most certainly do.”
I couldn’t resist grinning as a story surfaced in my mind. “I believe it must occur at night, for the mystery of things is always greater at night. You are walking the deck as Captains do, on watch for pirates or smugglers, when you hear the cry of a woman. You follow the sound to the starboard side of the ship and search the water, wondering who could be in such a state of anguish. The water is dark, with only an occasional reflection of light from the moon dancing off the waves. It would be impossible for someone to be out there, but then—” I nearly giggled at the intensity of Uncle Stanton’s concentration.
“Well, what was it I saw?” he asked eagerly.
“A woman, of course.”
“In the sea?”
“In the sea! And the most beautiful woman you have ever laid eyes on. But what was most peculiar was how her cry transformed to a song—an entrancing melody that wrapped around you, pulling you toward her.”
“But she is in the water? How is she rescued?”
“You are a hero, Uncle. You must jump in to save her!” He lifted his eyebrows in surprise, and I covered my mouth stifling a laugh. “Don’t look so startled at the notion, I daresay if it were a real occurrence you wouldn’t hesitate a moment. And our story must be accurate—that is why I came to this conclusion.”
His face beamed with pride. “I’ve always had a propensity for acting brashly around beautiful women.”
“And so, this is no different. And after you jump into the freezing water, as extremes make the account more exciting, you swim to where you expect her to be but find nothing. You search frantically, diving under the water and yelling for her—for now that you have seen her you will save her or die in the attempt. But you grow tired and, just as your strength is exhausted and you begin to sink, you are pulled from the sea.”
“And how should I be saved?”
“A shipmate would be a reasonable rescuer. Possibly a fellow watchman or someone who heard your distress as you searched?” I received a reassuring nod. “When they got you on deck, although you had taken in much water, your only concern was for the woman. ‘Woman?’ they’d say, ‘There was no woman in the water.’ Had they not heard the cry or the mesmerizing song? Were they not lucky enough to behold the enchanting face? They’d surely blame it on your longing imagination—though we know how dull it is—or likely a bad meal. And I fear she would forever be a mystery to you, plaguing your very existence— the image of this siren etched in your mind and her song on your heart. And your eyes would ultimately grow dim because nothing in this world could compare with the splendor you once beheld.”
A satisfied smile lit his face and my own expression soon mirrored his.
“You have given me quite a story, Miss Blakeslee; yet I am certain I shall never tell it as well. I’d ask you to transcribe it, so I might memorize it,” he chuckled, “but that would do little good as I’m no longer able to read.”
His laugh was contagious, and I easily joined him. Glancing around to make sure no one had observed my casual behavior, my eyes locked with Mr. Edwin Stanton. His stern look took the smile from my lips and drove my gaze to my plate.
“What is it, Miss Blakeslee?” Uncle Stanton asked gently.
I marveled at his discernment, most people with perfect eyesight would fail to perceive what he did. “I believe I have offended your great nephew with my behavior.”
“And how did you come to that conclusion?”
“The intensity of his stare—as though he is condemning me from across the table.”
“Many emotions can cause intensity, Miss Blakeslee. But, if he is displeased, let me ease your mind—you can hardly be the cause. These last few years he has had no difficulty finding things to aggravate him. Perhaps it is his way of being hospitable—ensuring he treats us all equally.”
“Perhaps,” I said, taking comfort in the idea his ill temper hadn’t began with my arrival. Looking back toward the other side of the table our eyes met again, but this time he redirected his attention to the smiling face of Helena.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Ooh, I really enjoyed this story! It definitely had a Pride and Prejudice sort of feel for me with the brooding hero, the passionate and intelligent heroine and plenty of misunderstand and judgments on both sides. Abigail is so easy to love. Honestly, she is kind, compassionate and freely herself even when it goes against what is ‘proper’. She is a defender of people and exceptionally loyal. See? What’s not to love?” ~ Aimee brown
“I bought this book last night and then ended up staying up way too late to finish it! But I was enjoying it so much I couldn’t put it down! It reminded me of Edenbrooke in style and that I loved the heroine, Abigail, and her desire to stand up for good causes despite society pressures - she had so much goodness! I loved her story and how it all connected.” ~ Crystal
“This is Jess Heileman’s first novel, and I am excited for her to write more! Edwin and Abigail were easy to love and cheer for, and there was a host of secondary characters who were also fun to get to know!” ~ Alisa
Abigail sucked me in from the first page and I had a hard time putting it down. A sweet Regency romance with all the back and forth love vs duty inherent in this type of book - which helps make them one of my favorite! The characters are well developed and believable.” ~ Cheryl-Lynn

About the Author
Jess Heileman
In kindergarten, Jess won a first prize ribbon for her original creation “Pigs in Wigs”. It was a solid storyline: there was this pig that wore a wig - and it rhymed. Not impressed? Neither were her children when shown the very masterpiece that influenced her to become an author. “You won a ribbon for that?” Yes. Yes, she did.
Thankfully, life has since exposed her to a thorough education with its share of awards and accolades - and, more importantly, to the trials and human experiences that form the heart of a storyteller and the substance of great stories.
Besides her love of writing, Jess is an avid reader, shameless people observer, international café loiterer, and partially retired photographer. She loves being a mother to five amazing humans and a wife to the greatest man she knows.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links
Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

Books featured in this post:



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"Abigail" by Jess Heileman


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Abigail
by Jess Heileman

Abigail by Jess Heileman

Abigail by Jess Heileman has just been released and is FREE today only (22 January).


This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader.


Description
For Abigail Blakeslee, becoming a debutante and entering Society is happening far too quickly. But now, foregoing her first Season has brought an unwanted invitation to join her aunt and cousins for a summer at Timpton House, the large estate of the Stanton family.
Reluctantly accepting, Abigail is thrust into the vexing world of social propriety and match making. More vexing still is her cousin’s suitor, the young Timpton heir - Edwin Stanton. Moody and distant at times, remarkably endearing at others, Edwin seems a puzzle she can never solve, but can never quite put away. But then, Abigail has her own secret to hide - her own mystery to conceal. Perhaps such puzzles are better left unsolved, or perhaps love can find a solution.

Excerpt
The library was filled with books, and it reminded me of the one at Easton Manor with overstuffed shelves, large windows, and numerous seats for reading. I grabbed a thin book off a nearby shelf and held it in my hand. I traced my finger over the title, The Tempest. It had been sometime since I’d picked up a book. Mother taught me to read and had given me the joy of new worlds and unforgettable stories. I’d spent countless afternoons tucked in a chair in our library, unable to stop reading; but when Mother died, I found little delight in anything, including the things she’d taught me to love.
“Have you read it?” Edwin asked peering over my shoulder.
“Of course!” I answered placing it back on the shelf.
“And I presume you enjoyed it?”
“Very much. I admit I am easily satisfied by a happy ending.” I kept my eyes searching the books, having little desire to receive the look of censure awaiting me. “The Shakespeare writings I enjoy most are those that end well—Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew—the ones where love is victorious.”
“A common ideal among ladies, I believe, and the reason his comedies are so popular.”
I turned towards him, “Life has enough of tragedy and grief, is there something wrong with finding satisfaction in love and happy endings?”
“There is,” he said. “The harm is believing in something that isn’t real, Miss Blakeslee.” He stepped closer, and my feet faltered. “Love only brings misery. To think otherwise is foolish. You just declared life is full of tragedy—”
“And that is why love is needed!”
“And that is what love causes!”
Neither of us moved and I could feel his warm breath on me. It was only then I realized how close we stood, my neck craning to look up at him, but I had no desire to move away.
“You do not understand love then,” I whispered.
The resentment in his gaze caught me by surprise. “And you do?”
“Yes! Love has saved me.” His eyes searched mine, “The love I know has the power to lift and to heal, to see past weakness and turn it to strength.”
“Love is fickle and will fail you.”
“Never.” I said shaking my head as tears stung my vision. “I do not know what counterfeit you describe but the love I have found is faithful and unconditional.”
He said nothing and after a moment his eyes drifted from mine in contemplation. After taking a deep breath he looked down at me again. He wore the stern expression I knew so well and took a step backward. “I hope you are correct in your judgment,” he said with a brisk nod. “Thank you for telling me.”
As he turned from me I wanted to call out to him, but I was too confused to contrive a response. I followed him to the study in a daze. Edwin positioned himself near the desk with his eyes cast to the floor as Diana glanced between us bewildered.
“How is it you’ve found something to quarrel about already? You were in there less than five minutes! Perhaps I should take on the role of mediator instead of chaperon for the two of you.”
Neither Edwin nor I smiled.
“This will not do! What was the disagreement this time?”
“There was not a disagreement,” Edwin said. “Well, at least that is not what caused the discontent.”
Curious what the cause had been I glanced in his direction, anxious for him to finish. A knock interrupted his revelation.
Diana shot to her feet and reached out her arm towards me, “We will go out the library.”
Edwin blocked our retreat, “You are fine to leave out the study door.” He shifted his gaze at the repeated knock, “Come in!”
The butler opened the door, his eyes gliding over Diana and me, “The Slytons are here to see you, Mr. Stanton.”
“Show them in.”
The Slytons? I was familiar with the name, but surely they were not the same as I had known. My heart picked up pace regardless of what I told myself. The door opened again and a tall, wiry lady and a shorter, burly man stepped through the door. They were older and somehow uglier, but it was them. My knees nearly gave out, and I tightened my hold on Diana’s arm for support.
“Mr. and Mrs. Slyton, I am pleased you finally agreed to make the trip to Timpton. This is my sister, Mrs. Ellis, and our friend, Miss Abigail Blakeslee.”
Mrs. Slyton nodded in our direction but abruptly turned her attention back to Edwin. “With such a gracious offer, how could we resist?” Her scratchy voice brought a slew of memories that made my body tremble.
I cautiously turned to find Mr. Slyton inspecting me through squinted eyes. Did he recognize me? I hadn’t seen him since I was a little girl, and I hoped the years had done their job adequately enough to disguise me. I lifted my chin, attempting to appear unaffected by his presence and was relieved when Mr. Slyton turned towards Diana, appraising her with the same disgusting grimace he’d given me. I looked to Edwin and found him returning my gaze, a peculiar expression on his features.
Edwin moved to my side and placed a firm hand around my waist, guiding me to the door. My ears were ringing, and I was confident he said something to me, but I couldn’t be sure. As we walked from the study, his touch retracted, and Diana took his place directing me back down the corridor.
I was uncertain where I was being led and soon found myself seated in a distantly familiar room. “Bring refreshment at once!” Diana’s voice echoed through my mind. My head was spinning, and I rested it against the chair as my vision faded into blackness.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I cannot even express exactly how much I loved this book!! I have no doubts recommending it to everyone who loves great writing combined with a gripping story line. The author's writing is beautiful and she's an excellent storyteller! It was so well done and I loved every minute of it! It truly is an incredible book. Her characters are so complex that it was easy to care for them (honestly, even within the first couple of pages I was already hooked). Jess Heileman wove a great story that had layers to it that any regency reader would love. I'm so, so excited to have this on my bookshelves!” ~ Loretta Porter
“Coming from a person who is not much of a reader, this book took me by surprise. It hooked me at the prologue. Abigail had me laughing out loud, tearing up and blushing. It was my show that I couldn't wait to get back to. It was a clever, easy read that had me guessing, what could possibly happen next? A perfect escape! Time for a squeal! Loved it!” ~ David Brundage
“This is one of the best books I've read in a long time! I'm thoroughly impressed with her ability to completely captivate me with her amazing storytelling. I've never heard of this author before, but I'm going to read everything of hers I can find! Well done! Once I started, I couldn't put it down!” ~ HeavenlyMarie
“Jess Heileman has a wonderful way with words that caught me up in Abigail’s world from the first page. […] I couldn’t help but love this absorbing historical novel, with its engaging characters and mysterious plot twist!” ~ Emily Farlow
“I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the relationships they build through out the book. It was full of surprises that will make you laugh and cry all at once. I never saw the end coming. It's clean and uplifting. It is a book I would be comfortable letting my teenage girls read it. It is a book that I will read over and over again.” ~ Wallaceandgrommit

About the Author
Jess Heileman
In kindergarten, Jess won a first prize ribbon for her original creation “Pigs in Wigs”. It was a solid storyline: there was this pig that wore a wig - and it rhymed. Not impressed? Neither were her children when shown the very masterpiece that influenced her to become an author. “You won a ribbon for that?” Yes. Yes, she did.
Thankfully, life has since exposed her to a thorough education with its share of awards and accolades - and, more importantly, to the trials and human experiences that form the heart of a storyteller and the substance of great stories.
Besides her love of writing, Jess is an avid reader, shameless people observer, international café loiterer, and partially retired photographer. She loves being a mother to five amazing humans and a wife to the greatest man she knows.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links



Friday, January 18, 2019

"Melding Spirits" by Michael E. Burge


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Melding Spirits
by Michael E. Burge


Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Bryant’s Gap.

Description
Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.
Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.
Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.
It seems the perfect summer is underway - but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.
There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley - It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.


Excerpt
1
Summer1958
Evan Mason sat in the back seat as Gladys Hatfield dropped the Ford Crestline into first gear, revved the engine, and lurched along the circular drive that serviced the all-in-one train depot and bus station in Chicago Pointe.
Today was Saturday, and Evan would soon be on a southbound bus headed for Laurenville, Illinois to stay with his grandmother for the summer. The thirty-three-year-old woman riding shotgun was Lila Mason, Evan’s mother. On Monday, she would be on a plane headed to Manhattan for a week of training. She had worked as a clerk in the Chicago Pointe office for two years and now had a shot at becoming an agent for one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.
“Okay, Lila,” Gladys said, as she double-parked near the main entrance to the station. “I’m going to drop you right here. I’ll park somewhere around the corner and wait for you. I think that’s his bus.” Gladys jumped from the car, opened the trunk, and with little effort hoisted the overstuffed suitcase and plopped it onto the ground.
Gladys was a large, sturdy woman. She wasn’t what one might call homely, but she had a crooked smile and her features were plain and asymmetrical. Her lips and fingernails were painted a ruby red and her dark auburn hair was piled up on her head in a massive layer of sweeping curls. A stiff northerly breeze was blowing, but her hair remained steadfast as she went about her business.
Not long ago, Gladys had discovered the magic of those aerosol cans that had made their way from the battlefields of WW II, where they were used to dispense insecticides, to the dressing tables of women around the world.
Only instead of DDT, they now were filled with a flowery smelling lacquer, a few layers of which could transform the flattest of hairdos into a high rise bouffant of staggering proportions. Gladys Hatfield had certainly done her part to keep the hairspray companies in business.
“You got a big kiss for your Aunt Gladys, Evan?” She beckoned him around to the rear of the car. He knew what was coming and tried to brace himself for the trauma that would ensue. She pulled him to her bosom, enveloping him in a fog of lavender perfume and talcum powder.
He was light-headed from lack of oxygen and the sheer devastation of the moment, and when he saw the two huge, over-puckered lips coming in for a landing, he was certain things were going to end badly. Fortunately, the sharp, instinctive reflexes of youth took over. He gave a quick twist of his neck and the two ruby red marauders landed three inches off target, splashing down high on his cheek, just below his right eye.
Gladys stepped back to arm’s length. “You have a good time down south, and don’t you worry about your mother. I’ll be watching over her. She’s going to do just fine in that new job. I just know it.” She reached into her purse, pulled out several folded bills, and tucked them into his shirt pocket. “Take Grandma Bea out for a soda. Go see a movie. Buy something for yourself, whatever tickles your fancy. It’s our little secret.”
“Thank you, Aunt Gladys. I—”
“Hold still, honey.” She yanked a flowered hanky from her pocket, wrapped it around her index finger, wet it with her tongue, and executed the dreaded lipstick erasure. Later in his life, Evan would have Freudian nightmares related to that moment.
Incidentally, Gladys wasn’t really Evan’s aunt. He called her that because Lila had always considered her one of the family. It made his mother happy.
Gladys lit a cigarette and slid behind the wheel. “See you in a bit, dearie,” she said to Lila, the cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth as she spoke.
“Shouldn’t be long, Gladys,” Lila said, looking at her watch. “If the bus leaves on time, it’ll be pulling out in the next fifteen minutes.”
“Don’t rush. If I’m not in the car, I’ll be across the street at the drugstore. Alvin is there today.” She gave a little wink as she popped the clutch and humped her way down the street and around the corner. Gladys wasn’t the best of drivers.
“I hope you remembered everything, Evan. Did you pack your books and the card for Grandma Bea?” Lila said.
“Yes, Mother.”
She reached for the suitcase, but Evan rushed over and picked it up.
“I can carry it,” he said. “Do you want to hurt your back again, right before your trip?”
“Well, if you’re sure you can manage it,” she said. “I don’t want you to rupture something.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Please, I’m not going to get a rupture!”
They walked toward the waiting bus, Lila checking the list she had taken from her purse.
“Okay, do you have your good jacket, your extra belt, and—”
“Yes, Mother.”
“Your new sneakers?”
He looked down at his brand-new Keds. “I’m wearing them,” he said, shaking his head in mild disgust. “We went through that list an hour ago. It might be a little late now, don’t you think?”
“Now, don’t be a smart aleck, dear. I could certainly mail those things to you, now, couldn’t I?” She snapped the clasp on the large purse she was carrying and pulled out two comic books. She handed them to Evan, then snatched a brand new brown leather wallet from the side pouch. “Your money is behind the little window compartment. Now, make sure you tuck this deep into your pocket so it doesn’t fall out,” she said as she demonstrated the prescribed tucking technique. Evan took it and jammed it into the hip pocket of his jeans. “And I hope you brought your harmonica. The people on the bus might enjoy hearing you play. Music helps pass the time on a long trip, you know.”
At Lila’s suggestion, Gladys had given Evan a top of the line harmonica for his last birthday. Evan had plenty of musical talent. His father had begun teaching him to play the piano when he was just four years old. Evan’s cognitive skills and tonal awareness had been uncanny, especially for a child his age. After his father’s death, Evan’s interest in music had waned. Lila hoped the harmonica might rekindle it.
Got it right here, Mother.” He pulled the instrument from his pocket and waved it to allay any doubt.
They sat on a bench in front of the station and watched as the driver tossed the bags into the cavern under the bus.
Lila lit a cigarette and took a couple of puffs. “Evan, you know, I don’t like the idea of leaving you with Grandma Bea all summer, but I hope you understand, it’s important for both of us that I get this job and get off to a good start. It can mean everything to our future. Aunt Gladys offered to help out, but you wouldn’t have been happy staying with her, would you?” She took another puff on her cigarette.
Evan looked at her and gave another roll of the eyes.
“I didn’t think so. You’ll have a good time at Grandma’s. She loves you a lot. She’ll be grateful for the company,” Lila said.
“Mother, it’s okay. You know I have a lot of friends in Laurenville, probably more than I have here. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Everyone headed south may begin boarding. Please be sure you have your ticket and all your belongings. Once we leave the barn, we don’t look back!” the driver said as he began to assist people onto the bus.
“Now remember what I said. You give that driver a good up and down inspection as you board, and when you get off at those rest stops, you make sure you keep him in sight all the time you’re there. When he gets up, you follow him. The bus can’t leave without him,” Lila said.
“What about when he goes to the restroom?” Evan said.
“Very funny,” she said and mashed the half-smoked, lipstick-smeared cigarette into the ashtray beside her. Lila didn’t have a robust sense of humor. “Now, get over here and give me a big hug.”
“I’m going to miss you, Mom.” He patted her on the back as they embraced.
“And I’ll miss you,” she said. “You’re the best son a mother could ask for.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“With Melding Spirits, Michael Burge crafts a poignant coming-of-age story laced with suspense and grit. Crossing genres, this story is sure to appeal to a wide audience. […] Burge keeps the reader guessing and achieves an exhilarating climax toward the end of the novel. Aside from some profanity, this is a relatively clean read, with no graphic details or bedroom scenes, and I recommend it as a fantastic summer read.” ~ Litterarum Studiosus
“I enjoyed reading the story. There were many fun and interesting side stories to the plot. The tension of the story grows as you continue to read. It was fun to see all the pieces fit together to the somewhat surprise ending. There were also some great side characters to the story that added to the overall story.” ~ Dale Hansen
“I just loved this book very well written about growing up in the late 50's, your first love, standing up for a friend. Buy this book read it you won't be disappointed!” ~ Christina
“The suspense made me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. It is definitely not a book that I could predict. I had it read in one day. It is that good. I am giving Melding Spirits a well deserved five plus stars. I would give one hundred stars if I could. I highly recommend it for other readers to add to their must read lists. I look forward to reading more by Michael E Burge and see where else he takes a reader to next. He has extraordinary talent. Melding Spirits is most definitely a must read!” ~ Amy C
“What a delightful book. Michael E. Burge has a way of getting into his characters hearts. I love meeting Evan, Katie, Riley, and Grandma Bea. Mr. O'Malley reminded me of my Papa. This story takes you back to a simpler time of 1958, where neighbors helped each other and looked after one another. I really enjoyed the build-up of this story and loved the ending. Truly a melding of spirits. I highly recommend this book.” ~ Amazon Customer


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
It’s 1959 and twelve-year-old Evan is sent to spend the summer with his Grandma Bea. There, he runs into some old friends and makes some new ones. He spends time searching for Indian relics, eating ice cream at Dairy Queen, discussing movies and music, going fishing, and experiencing first love. Meanwhile, teenage girls are disappearing, and a murderer is on the loose …
Initially, this book appears to be a quiet look at the idyllic goings-on in the summer of a twelve-year-old boy. We are introduced to the characters and given an insight into their background, whether they are main characters or not. A lot of this is unnecessary but adds to the quiet charm of the book. Then the book takes a turn, and it feels like we have been thrust into an episode of Criminal Minds. This book doesn’t know what it wants to be. It reads like a middle grade action/adventure/romance but the language and violence place it firmly in the adult demographic. The chapters switch between the points-of-view of children and adults but, towards the end, we are head-hopping from paragraph to paragraph. Editing errors include overuse of exclamation marks and unnecessary italicizing of words and phrases. In addition, the title and cover image don’t accurately reflect the story. There is one reference to the melding of spirits in the book (see below), but it has no bearing on the plot, while the bridge on the cover only makes a minor appearance towards the end of the book.
Not what I expected.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, violence.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“They believed that every living creature has an energy, a spirit, that after death becomes even stronger because it melds with every other being that came before.”
“Sometimes, a person’s dreams have to be altered a bit.”
“He said most people just stumble along waiting for something good to happen, then before they know it, they’re out of time, kind of like a balloon that shoots around the room in every direction until it runs out of air, then it just lays there.”
“It must be hard having all that ability and knowing that you’ll never be able to use it. What a waste. Like being a bird in a cage.”
“You get used to it. I guess, after a while, change starts seeming normal.”
“I think that being happy has a lot to do with being able to control the thoughts that come into your mind.”
“Everyone has a story, son. Sadly, for most people, their story is never told.”

About the Author
Michael E. Burge
Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.
In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.
He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.
Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of seven copies of Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge. Two winners will also win a $20 Amazon gift card (open to USA/Canada only).

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