Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Tour and Excerpt

Novel Reaction is excited to showcase Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray and provide an excerpt for our readers.

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017

Synopsis:

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Book Details:

Genre: Amish Fiction
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 272
ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 2

Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.

He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.

Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.

When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.

He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.

He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.

The new girl. Hannah Hilty.

Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.

He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.

Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.

He left her alone after that.

Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.

So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.

And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.

Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.

Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.

Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”

But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.

He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”

She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”

“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves.
By his reckoning, anyway.

She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.

Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”

Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”

Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.

Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”

“Nee.”

He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.

“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”

Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”

“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”

“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.”
Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.

“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”

Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”

“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”

“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.

And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”

“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.

“Spot, come here, boy.”

With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.

Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.

She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.

“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”

“He’s friendly.”

“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.

“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”

“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”

“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”

She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”

“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh?”

“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”

“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”

He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”

Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.

“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”

“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.

“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”

To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious. That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ ”

“ ‘The Recluse’?”

“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.

She did not.

Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.

When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”

“Well, you certainly did.”

“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”

“I better go.”

Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.“Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”

“Danke, nee.”

Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”

She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.

That bothered him.

“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”

She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”

When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”

“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.

Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.

Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.

He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.

***

Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

Shelley Shepard Gray

 

Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

 

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On:
Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

The Blind by Shelley Coriell Blog Tour and Excerpt

The-Blind-Release-Week-BlitzNovel Reaction is excited to show you a sneak peak of Shelley Coriell’s The Blind. I am currently enjoying this intriguing read and am loving having the main character be a bomb expert. Below you will find an excerpt to give you a taste of this new release.

Coriell_The Blind_MMTHE BLIND by Shelley Coriell (July 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Apostles #3)

As part of the FBI’s elite Apostles team, bomb and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez knows playing it safe is not an option. Especially when tracking a serial killer like the Angel Bomber. He calls himself an artist—using women as his canvas and state-of-the-art explosives as his brush. His art lives and breathes . . . and with the flick of a switch . . . dies.

As the clock ticks down to his next strike, Evie faces an altogether different challenge: billionaire philanthropist and art expert Jack Elliott, who’s made it clear he doesn’t care for Evie’s wild-card tactics.

Jack never imagined the instant heat for the Apostles’ defiant weapons expert would explode his cool and cautious world—and make him long to protect this woman. But as Evie and Jack get closer to the killer’s endgame, they will learn that safety and control are all illusions. For their quarry has set his sight on Evie for his final masterpiece…

The Apostles Reading Order

The Broken

The Buried

The Blind

_________________________________

At the door to the roof stairs, Jack dug into his pants pocket and frowned. He patted his suit coat and shirt pockets.

The frown reached his eyes.

“What is it?” Evie asked.

“I left my key card in my other suit coat.”

“No worries.” She dug into her bag and pulled out her key card. “I got us covered.”

He waved it off. “Visitor badges don’t allow roof access.”

She swiped anyway. The dot remained red.

Jack dug out his phone and jabbed at the face. He barked an order, then disconnected the call with another jab. “Security will have a man here in ten minutes.” He jabbed at the phone again. “Let me call my maintenance team and see if they can get here quicker.” His face now sported a full-fledged scowl.

“It’s not that big a deal, and there are worse places to be stranded.” Evie wandered back toward the garden. Back home in Albuquerque, she had a potted cactus garden one of her nephews had made her for her last birthday, the perfect type of garden for her as it could stand the heat, was small, and didn’t need much tending.

“As you keep reminding me, a clock is ticking.” More than a hint of irritation edged his words.

She laughed and sat on a bench near the copper-sheeted fountain. “This isn’t about a clock, Jack. It’s about you making a mistake.”

As expected, he strode to her side. “Excuse me.”

She propped her boots on the rock surrounding the koi pond. “You’re the type of guy who doesn’t make mistakes, and it ticks you off that you left your key card in your other coat.”

He watched the fish slide in and out of light dappling the waters before shaking his head and sitting next to her. “I take it you know this because you’re not the type of gal who makes mistakes.”

A laugh ripped from her chest. “Hardly.”

“There’s no room for error in the bomb business,” he argued.

“True. I don’t cross wires while at work, but I’m no stranger to messes.”

This time he laughed as he reached out and plucked a leaf from her hair. “So you get a little ruffled.” He held up the leaf.

She plucked it from his fingers. “Oh, no. I make full-on mistakes.”

“Like?”

“I think we’ll need more than ten minutes.”

“Like?” He kept that intense gaze on her, a man who commands attention and answers. But she didn’t have anything to hide.

She cupped her hands behind her head. Where to start? “Like having an egg hunt with my nephews last Easter in my mom and dad’s house and not being able to track down all the eggs. For three months the house stank until my mom unearthed the last of the rotten eggs, which six-year-old Tommy had hidden in a vent in the laundry room.”

“I call that unbridled enthusiasm.”

“And there was the time just last month when my teammate Finn Brannigan asserted his motorcycle was faster than my truck. Of course I had to prove him wrong, and I did until a cop pulled me over just as I got the speedometer past one hundred. Definitely a mistake, and for the record, we both got speeding tickets.”

“And that’s team bonding.”

She could see why Jack Elliott was so successful in business. He could put a twist on anything he wished. She unlaced her hands and let them fall in her lap. Did he even remember kissing her fingers? Did he sense the jolt his lips had sent through her entire body? “And then there’s last night.”

A vertical line striped the center of his forehead. “What mistake did you make last night?”

She grabbed his hand and twined her fingers with his. Last night he’d been vulnerable when he admitted his hope, his bone-deep desire, that his sister was still alive. Looking at him over their clasped hands, she said point-blank, “I should have kissed you back.”

Jack’s eyes sparked, and she knew he remembered the touch of his lips to her fingers. His shoulders, so wide they blocked the rising sun behind him, bounced in a soft laugh.

“You’re fearless.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No, not at all. I like strong, courageous, independent women.”

“Is that the type you take to your bed?”

“I . . .” He tilted his head, not a single wave of hair falling out of place. “Yes, it is.”

“That’s good to know.” Because knowns were always so much easier to work with. She was about to open her mouth, when the roof access door opened, a harried security guard rushing at them and apologizing for not getting there sooner.

For a solid five seconds, Jack stared at their clasped hands before turning to the guard. “No worries,” Jack said as he pulled her to her feet and walked her toward the stairs, their fingers still intertwined.

Celebrating 85 Years of Nancy Drew

I don’t remember the first time I read The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the Nancy Drew series, but I do remember devouring the series the way I now devour Godiva Chocolates (can’t get enough and approach cautiously unless you want to be injured for interrupting me). For the first time in my life the main character who went out and solved the problem was a female. Don’t get me wrong, prior to the Nancy Drew series I had read most of the Boxcar Children series but Jessie follows her brother’s lead in that series whereas Nancy leads the way. It allowed me to see that girls should be asking “why” and “what if”, questioning the world around them and paying attention to what is going on. I still have my original copy (which was my mother’s first),  a dogeared well used hardbound edition. I read some Hardy Boys novels but I didn’t devour the series like I did the Nancy Drew series. Although I will admit I really wanted Frank of the Hardy Boys and Nancy to get together (I always felt like Ned was a little wishy-washy for Nancy) and when I was in middle school I LOVED the Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys Super Mysteries.

This week marks the 85th anniversary of the publication of The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. There is a wonderfully written essay by Theodore Jefferson about “The Girl Who Started it All” found here and a nice tribute on The Mighty Girls Facebook page here. I love to see the books I enjoyed in my younger years still being enjoyed today! I also love it when publishers embrace newer (ebooks are not really new anymore but some older published books haven’t been updating older print books into new formats) formats and you can get The Secret of the Old Clock in hardcover, mass paperback, ebook, audible CD and audible download.  In addition to the original novels, Nancy Drew has also been the star of a film (2007 starring Emma Roberts) and an entire series of mystery video games (Jillian, a reviewer here at Novel Reaction, is addicted to them and I think has almost all, if not all of them).

When my younger sister Jordanne and I found the newer artwork at a book story I was seriously tempted to get a new copy just because I love the 1930s outfit they put Nancy in. After writing this, I may just have to dig out my copy of The Secret of the Old Clock and reread it for old time’s sake this week. Did you read the Nancy Drew mysteries? Any other books you grew up reading that made a huge impact on your life?

Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin #Review

As you can imagine from the title, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin is a retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre only with paranormal creatures added. Is this humorous retelling Jane is the daughter of vampire slayers being raised (after her parents are killed by vampires) by her vampire aunt and three vampire children. I have to admit the scene where her cousin John attacks her takes on a whole new level of scary when you add in the fact he could easily drain her blood.

I enjoyed that Erwin kept the original story line for the most part, light gothic elements and truly a story about Jane coming of age and staying true to who she was. The one place, interestingly enough, where I felt like Erwin deviated from the original story was how there was some discussion about souls or minds being linked across distance in the original Jane Eyre. For example there were the twins who were part of the house party at Mr. Rochester’s that the doctor was there asking them questions, truly believing that souls could communicate across distance. So this one paranormal element that was in the original story, was left out in the new paranormal version of the story. I just that it was amusing that this was where Erwin deviated from the original, other than the one moment that Rochester calls out for Jane but it felt slightly out of nowhere especially considering all the other paranormal elements.

If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I think you will be entertained by Jane Slayre. I giggled through quite a bit of it (I mean really, zombies with bits falling of them while they are performing their tasks as servants) and appreciated the additions of the truly gothic elements. If you are expecting a more serious retelling of Jane Eyre you are better off just rereading the original but if you are interested in an entertaining couple of hours then Jane Slayre is a fabulous choice.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

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Title: Jane Slayre

Author: Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

Format: Paperback,  eBook

Page Nos.: 402

AISN: B003E7WJJQ

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: April 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica