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Monday, July 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Ashes Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

Welcome to my stop on the Ashes Ashes Blog Tour. Don't miss my review, the excerpt, and the tour giveaway below.

Tour Schedule

ashes ashes Title: Ashes Ashes

Author: Julie Coulter Bellon

Publisher: Independently Published

Published: May 2013

ISBN: 1484886402

FTC FYI: I received an eCopy via the blog tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Book Description:

Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.

Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?  

Review:

Last fall I had the opportunity to be a part of a blog tour for a book called All Fall Down. This was the first book I'd read by Julie Coulter Bellon, and it was refreshing to find a good romantic suspense novel that was clean! When I heard that Bellon had another book coming out, I was eager to read it.

Ashes Ashes is an exciting story with a few surprising twists and turns. The main characters have some quirks, but it may be those quirks that enhance their likability. Not being able to read Sophia right off kept me intrigued. Colby's job as a sniper is an occupation I can't begin to imagine having, especially due to the emotional toll it would take on a person. The way Bellon described his reaction to his job was somewhat eye opening. He really seemed like a great guy (who wouldn't love a guy who cleans and bakes to help deal with his stress?).

A few instances felt a little rushed for the level of trust/interest given, but it wasn't out of place with the pace of the story. This is a clean and entertaining story with a good romance.

Ashes Ashes is book two of Bellon's Hostage Negotiation Team series, but I think it stands on its own very well. The main characters in book one are supporting characters in book two, so a reader isn't lost by not having read the first book in the series (although it is a very good story, so read it if you can). 

About the Author:

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of seven international suspense novels: Through Love's Trials, On the Edge, Time Will Tell, All's Fair, Dangerous Connections, Ribbon of Darkness and All Fall Down. She loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas. She also has one non-fiction title: Be Prepared: A Parent's Guide to the Duty to God and Eagle Scout Awards---What You Should Know and is part of two compilations, How Will Christmas Find Us and Life Lessons From Mothers of Faith. She is the mother of eight children and when she's not busy being a mom or a writer, you will find her browsing through bookstores to add to her book collection, at the library borrowing books, or reading the treasures she's found.


Excerpt:

It was gut-check time.
Detective Colby Black looked down the scope of his rifle, a bead of sweat running down his back. It felt like they’d been there all day, but the afternoon sun still beating down on him high overhead told him it’d only been an hour or so.
“Black, can you see the suspect?” Captain Reed’s voice came over his earpiece.
“Affirmative.”  Colby had hardly been able to take his eyes off the stringy-haired
guy with the gun who was pacing behind his hostage, shouting at her and anyone else within hearing distance. The shrill ringing of the phone on the wall behind them punctuated whatever the man was yelling at her.  “He’s still pretty agitated.  You think he’s going to answer that phone anytime soon?”
A shot cracked the air and the ringing abruptly stopped as a bullet ripped into the phone.  “I guess that answers that question,” Colby muttered to himself.
“Stand by for orders.”  The captain sounded calm, but Colby knew him well enough to hear the thread of frustration.  If they couldn’t make contact, the entry team would be sent in, and it was game over for any type of negotiation. 
Colby flexed his wrist before hunkering down once again.  From the little they knew about this guy, he’d already killed two store clerks today and shot an officer in the thigh during the getaway attempt.  When he barricaded himself in the house with his wife and two kids, the Hostage Negotiation Team was called and Colby headed out.  In the hour they’d been there, the guy had shot out two windows and screamed obscenities at the cops outside as he fired his gun randomly.  Colby always hoped the situation stayed controlled and they could get everyone out safely, but his instinct was telling him this one could get out of control fast with how erratic this guy was acting. 
Colby adjusted his earpiece a bit, but didn’t miss a syllable of Claire Michaels checking in with the team.  She was the main negotiator and was good at her job, but she was always a little anxious until they established contact with the hostage-taker.  Once that line was set, she calmed right down.  Colby clenched his teeth together, hoping she could figure out a way to make contact so the patrolman using the bullhorn could stop.  The man’s grating voice was getting on his nerves. 
Colby was grateful for a straight line of vision into the kitchen where the subject had holed up and he looked into the scope again just in time to see the man grab his wife by the hair and haul her against him, still screaming in her ear.  He waved his .40 caliber handgun in front of her before pointing it right at her temple.  “Sir, he’s got the gun to his wife’s head,” he reported. 
He kept a close watch, waiting for orders, but sucked in a breath when he saw a child around four years old enter the room where the hostage-taker stood with his wife.  “Sir, we have two hostages confirmed.  Woman and child.  No sign of the reported second child.” 
“Colby, the entry team’s about ready.  They’ve got a flash-bang coming through the back as a diversion.”
Colby heard Captain Reed’s words, but knew it was the wrong move to make.  “A flash-bang, sir? When there are hostages?”
“We need to get this guy’s attention, fast, so we can move in as safely as possible and that’s the only choice we’ve got right now.”
Colby shook his head.  This guy was on the edge and if they entered now, it would end badly. Colby could feel it.  He squinted to see if he could get any better view, anything that would force the entry team to wait and give them a little longer to try to get him to negotiate.  “Come on,” he said to himself.  Nothing.  “Sir, does Claire
His sentence was cut off at the sound of gunfire and the scream that followed it. 

Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/24/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway