Review: Whole Again

Synopsis:

John Lawrence loved Vicki Masterson his entire life. They grew up together. But it wasn’t meant to be.

After John is disabled in Iraq, that couldn’t be more obvious. He struggles to start a new career while dealing with a prosthetic leg. Vicki recovers from divorce along with her own paralyzing self-doubt.

Enter “Growing Strong” Vicki’s grandmothers landscaping business and a new start for both of them. Can they can get over themselves and their own insecurities to build a life together? 

Rating: 4-stars 

Review

Whole Again by Colleen S. Myers is an entertaining contemporary romance. Two old friends have had the biggest crush on each other. Now, one is recently divorced and the other has just returned from war with a prosthetic leg. Each character has struggles to overcome before they can move forward. Insecurities, drama, and danger. Life is complex. Inside Whole Again, there’s a brewing romance, risks, fears, and life threatening situations. Colleen S. Myers has created an exciting read from the first page. Never a dull moment. Intriguing, realistic, and heartfelt. Overall, I recommend this novella to all. 

Review: A Life Before






Synopsis:

Picture yourself as Mike Strange, a lawyer in 1989 who agrees to represent residents of a large condominium complex, twelve of whom have lost a spouse to lung cancer in the past five years. Surprisingly, all twelve were non-smokers, nor were exposed to second-hand smoke. But all were exposed for years to radon gas emanating from the basements of their condo units. 
As this young lawyer starts ruffling too many feathers to bring those responsible to justice, his wife Susan is brutally murdered by an unknown assailant, clearly as a warning to Mike to back off. For twenty years, her murder has eluded a suspect by the police. 

Only one person seems to have a clue after all this time, a young college student, Samantha Collins, who has recurring dreams of the murder of a young housewife by a tattooed man with a scar on his chin. She has had this dream since she was thirteen, but now in 2011, the dreams are more frequent and include more and more information that place Samantha Collins as the reincarnated Susan Strange from years ago. 

Share the excitement as this one cold case is brought back to life through the vision of Samantha, as the perfect crime may not have been so perfect after all. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Life Before by Julien Ayotte is an exciting thriller. Right away, I was swept into the book. The characters were believable and the scenes fly by fast. I was completely lost within the pages. There are several cases inside that keep readers like myself guessing. Intriguing, stunning, and well-told. Julien Ayotte is a new writer to watch out for…his words come to life. Danger, excitement, and emotional. Crime happens everywhere. These crimes were entertaining to follow. Overall, I recommend A Life Before to readers everywhere. 

Review: The Transmigrant 






Synopsis:

The year is AD 8. In the backwaters of Galilee, the twelve-year-old carpenter Yeshua nourishes an impossible dream—to become a rabbi.

When a Buddhist pilgrim tells him about a country called Sindh, where anyone can be a monk, Yeshua’s hope rekindles. He joins a camel caravan and sets off on a thousand mile journey across the Silk Road into the unknown. Guided by the words of the Buddha and Krishna, but crippled by a stubborn reluctance to obey rules, Yeshua stumbles from temple to temple in search for a place where he may finally teach.

THE TRANSMIGRANT is a remarkable tale of self-discovery that explores the lost years of Jesus. It is a reflection on the lengths a man will go to be admired, accepted and, ultimately, loved. 

THE TRANSMIGRANT is an alternative take on the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Inspired both by ancient scriptures and relatively new findings, such as Russian traveler Nicolas Notovitch’s 1894 book “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ”, THE TRANSMIGRANT explores Jesus’ life during the years not mentioned in the Bible.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Transmigrant by Kristi Saare Duarte is a unique historical tale. It takes readers back in time. A lot of research has gone into making this one of the best reads yet. I haven’t read anything quite this good. The Transmigrant is a journey of man. Searching constantly for what he needs. Easy to follow, relate to, and understand. The pages are full of deep meaning. Engaging, well-developed, and stunning. Kristi Saare Duarte showed me the depths of what humans are and will go to….it was amazing. Physically and emotionally. I highly recommend readers to open this book and explore the most famous of all men, Jesus. His life unravels here. 

Review: The Night Trilogy





Synopsis:

Night is one of the masterpieces of Holocaust literature. First published in 1958, it is the autobiographical account of an adolescent boy and his father in Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel writes of their battle for survival and of his battle with God for a way to understand the wanton cruelty he witnesses each day. In the short novel Dawn (1960), a young man who has survived World War II and settled in Palestine joins a Jewish underground movement and is commanded to execute a British officer who has been taken hostage. In Day (previously titled The Accident, 1961), Wiesel questions the limits of conscience: Can Holocaust survivors forge a new life despite their memories? Wiesel’s trilogy offers insights on mankind’s attraction to violence and on the temptation of self-destruction.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Night Trilogy by Elle Wiesel is a gruesome account of the suffering he and his family faced during World War II. A time of Death, loss, and torment. This was one of history’s nightmarish memories that will never be forgotten. The Nazis were cruel dictators killing innocent human beings without a hesitation. The page in this book showed it all. 
Young Elle Wiesel experienced what no other teenage boy should have faced. He and his family were just one of countless numbers herded onto cattle cars. Usuhered to their death. The showers of death, the endless starvation, beatings, and cruelty killed so many humans. Humans who didn’t know what lied ahead. 
As I read this book, it brought me back to something I wish I never knew about. Something that should never have happened. But it did. A memory that no being can wash away. The smoke from the screaming dying corpses in the “shower rooms” and the endless fears were terrorfying to revisit. It survivors like the writer who show the world what happened and may happen again. 
The Night Trilogy is memoir that will always be remembered. Survival, loss, death, and much more. Terrible days that never end. Even with so much time having passed. It is a gripping and well-written book. I recommend this Holocaust story to readers worldwide. 

Review: The Summer House  

Synopsis:

When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer.
Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.
No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. 
Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon is a superb summer read. A story about a family dealing with a lot of issues. The mother forces her kids back to the summer house. There she hopes to help them deal with their issues and maybe, find some peace. A worried mother over grown children. The mother herself has something to share with her children. She plans to sell their summer house. A place full of childhood memories for the children who are now, grown adults. The journey is rocky at first but smooths over as the pages are turned. Emotional, stunning, and heartfelt. 

Hannah McKinnon writes well. Her characters are believable. Each one adds to the plot. A different issue like the lost of a husband. Readers will easily relate to the them. I was able to understand and love the characters. The mother was the centerfold of this family. Strong, dependent, and clever. She loves her family. Caring, loving, and sweet. I couldn’t put this book down…The Summer House lured me from my seat and deep onto its pages. A deep entertaining read. One that pulled at my heart strings all the way. Overall, I recommend this novel to readers worldwide. Loss, love, and healing. 

Review: Any Dream Will Do

Synopsis:

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.
Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is as close to a realistic story as possible. Everything felt real. It was like reading a person’s journey from the rough life to a good one. A young woman has had trust issues due to the men in her life. With no One But a brother as family and as a friend, Shay had to learn a lot of lessons. Including, not trusting her baby brother. He relied on her and she made a bad choice because she thought it was a life or death situation. Her brother used her. Broke his promise and left Shay to deal with the consequences. Shay went to prison, lost her bank job, and is dealing with a lot of emotions. Anger, fear, and survival mode. After being released she finds no where to go. Stepping into a church, Shay’s life turns around….she meets Paster Drew. 

Pastor Drew is another interesting character. He and his very young kids lost a loved one. A wife and mother. Drew was hopeless and lost until he meets Shay. He sees hope for her. Even though she can’t. She has a tough attitude but inside she’s good. Drew calls a friend and help Shay into a program for women like her. Because he helped her, Shay forms an attachment of trust, liking, and hope towards him. Drew can’t help but feel good knowing he helped her. Something about Shay also gives him hope for the future. Then there’s his kids. Both meet Shay. Shay loves them as much as they love her. 

Debbie Macomber has written an inspiring tale here. I couldn’t stop reading it. The whole story made me cry, smile, and fall in love. Lost souls finding their ways after a tragedy. A little faith, hope, and love go a long way in this novel. Those who have been through a tough time can easily relate to both Shay and Drew’s issues. Struggles can make or break us at times. But it’s about continuing even when we have nothing else to lose. Overall, I recommend this contemporary to all. Any Dream Will Do is a must read. 

Review: Maybe I Do








Synopsis

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He is married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together—and give true love a shot in Nicole McLaughlin’s Maybe I Do?

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work—even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal—beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance. . .particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliché or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Maybe I Do by Nicole McLaughlin is a sexy sweet contemporary read. I was addicted from the first page. Here, the writer has brought together two kind people. Each one has their own fears that they struggle with, as well as their attraction to each other. Dean is forty-one- years-old. He feels old. Yet he stays fit. Packing a six pack and not a single grey hair, he’s every woman’s fantasy. Including, Charlotte’s. Dean was married once, and it didn’t work. Plus, he’s hiding a secret. Then, there’s Charlotte who was almost married. Her fiancée didn’t meet her at the aisle. Now, she works as a photographer photographing weddings mostly. Charlotte also holds a secret of her own. 

Maybe I Do fits in perfectly. Each protagonist finally figures out that maybe they do want a happily forever…but will their fears stop them? Nicole McLaughlin created a beautiful yet emotional journey. I cried, laughed, and fell in love. Two older people falling deeper for one another. Their lust, attraction, and fears have a long way to go. It was easy to relate to the characters. Hopeful, funny, and well-developed. This book felt so real. Truly, a heartfelt romance. Overall, I recommend this to readers everywhere.

Review: Need You Now 





Synopsis:

Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it’s never the wrong time to find a love that’s oh-so-right. . .

Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Need You Now by Emma Douglas is a hot summer read. The instant chemistry between characters lured me further into the book. The daughter of a musician is needing a new fling. She soon spots a sexy man with the bluest eyes. Attraction hard and fast. Later on, Faith finds out who he is. The famous Caleb White, star tennis player, who has recently retired. Both start out wanting a good distraction. A no strong relationship. But the more they’re together the harder that becomes for them both. Sparks fly everywhere. Hot, sexy, and fun. Emma Douglas has created an exciting contemporary novel. I was entertained. In the beginning the pages dragged a bit in speed, but soon took off fast. Need You Now suits this book well. Both Faith and Caleb need each other in their lives. But the question lingers if they will figure it out…overall, this was an engaging story. 

Q&A with Author Laura Trentham









Q&A with Laura Trentham





1. What inspired the novel plot?

Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.
2. What’s your favorite scene? Why?

I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.
3. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.
4. Any other books in the pipeline?

Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brother Jackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.
5. What led you to write in this genre over others?

Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.
6. Do you have a favorite book and author?

I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.
7. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.
8. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.
9. What’s your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)

10. Sounds like Sutton’s fiancé’s a cheating…um…cheats. Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?

Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.

11. Tell us something about Wyatt that we don’t learn from the book.

 He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

12. This book is set in Mississippi. Does this location contribute to the story in some way?

 It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

Summary:

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .
Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Author Bio:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Social Links:

Twitter- @LauraTrentham

Excerpt: Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham 



Chapter Two

Sutton stared at the lace concoction. From La Perla’s fall collection. Fine Italian lace. Ridiculously expensive for something so small. A special order with the addition of a small embroidered heart to sit at the owner’s hipbone. Oh yes, she was acquainted with the underwear but not intimately acquainted. She’d ordered them through Abigail’s Boutique, but not for herself. She was too practical.

Wyatt Abbott shook them even closer to her face, obviously expecting her to take them. The thought of touching the lace made her shrink against the driver’s door, and she fumbled for the handle, finally finding it and yanking. The door opened and her momentum sent her to the shop floor on her butt.

Her skirt bunched around her thighs, probably high enough for Wyatt Abbott to see her simple cotton pink panties from Victoria’s Secret. The fact they weren’t white was the wildest she got. She’d even waited for them to go on sale. With a bruised ego and bottom, she scrambled up.

Wyatt hadn’t moved. His mouth was parted, still in a slight smile, the panties dangling from his fingers. Instead of the roil of emotions gaining steam inside of her, she concentrated on his hands. They were rough-looking and callused. The nails were short but lined with grease. And they were big. They built things. Fixed things. Put things back together.

A darkness came over his face, clouding his earlier good-humor and giving him an edge of danger she hadn’t sensed through his teasing. Instead of getting out of the car from the door, he stood up on the passenger seat, stepped to the driver’s seat, and hopped next to her, the black lace of her betrayal dangling in his hand.

“What’s the problem?” he asked.

A jackhammering noise from the other bay filled the space so she didn’t have to. The crazy thing was that she had sensed something wrong. Something had been wrong pretty much since she and Andrew had gotten engaged.

She’d tried to put it down to nerves or how busy they both were with work. But the truth was she’d been dragging her feet with the wedding preparations. Between the two of them pulling away, the distance had grown until only an echo of what had drawn them together remained.

The hum of a motor and the flash of sunlight on metal drew her attention to the open bay door. Her best friend, Bree Randall, stepped out of her BMW coupe dressed in heels, grey slacks, and a sleeveless silk shell, the pink contrasting beautifully with her dark brown hair and ivory complexion. She was a lawyer for Cottonbloom, Mississippi’s city government and had been Sutton’s best friend since first grade.

No way could Sutton smile and pretend everything was fine. She grabbed the front of Wyatt’s coveralls and looked up at him. The boy she remembered had been too cool and a borderline jerk, teasing her incessantly, almost to the point of tears. The man was still too cool, yet something new lurked behind his ease. She hoped it was akin to kindness.

Bree drew closer. Stuck between a devil she knew and one she didn’t, Sutton took a chance. Her voice was hoarse and begging and she didn’t care. “Get me out of here. Please.”

Without taking his eyes off her, he called out, “Yo, Jackson. Could you put the lady from the Beemer in the waiting room? Tell her Miss Mize isn’t feeling well and stepped out back for some fresh air.”

If his brother answered, she didn’t hear him. Wyatt put a strong, stabilizing arm around her shoulders and guided her around various pieces of equipment and mechanical parts to a door tucked away at the back of the shop floor. She stepped outside, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. The freshness of the air counteracted the bile rising in her throat.

Her knees wobbled as the stark reality of the situation and the fallout took shape in her mind. She glanced at the man by her side. What was Wyatt Abbott thinking right now? Probably that she was borderline psychotic.

A huge red barn sat behind the shop, and they passed from sun back into shadows. A body-sized punching bag twirled from a high beam as they passed by. That explained why the arm at her back was so solid. Her heels tapped on the wide-planked floor. The smell of weathered wood was overlaid by something sweeter. Honeysuckle, maybe.

No hay was stored in the Abbott’s barn. Two tarp-covered cars, the bottom curves of their tires the only part visible, formed a path to the back where a scratched up leather couch and mini-fridge sat.

“Sorry it’s so dusty in here. We like to keep the doors open if the weather’s nice because of the views and cross breeze.” He took a blue towel from his back pocket and wiped off a section of the couch, leaving yellow streaks of pollen. Getting a little dirty was way down on her list of worries and she plopped down, wrapping her arms around her stomach and leaning over so her forehead nearly touched her knees.

“You want a Coke or tea or something?”

She raised her head enough to see his big hand holding out a bottle. He shifted back and forth in his black work boots, the hem of his coveralls ombrèd black to grey with grease.

“It’s a little early for whiskey, but I’ve got that too if you’d rather.” He sounded so worried and unsure, she straightened, took the Coke and pressed the cool plastic against her cheeks and neck.

“You must think I’ve gone batty.” She rarely drank alcohol and never whiskey, but for a moment she considered it as a viable option, even though it was still technically breakfast. It was five o’clock somewhere, right?

“I think something really bad happened,” he said. “I’m not sure what, but I suspect it has something to do with the restaurant receipts and the underwear.”

“Oh God. The receipts.” Her mind hadn’t even circled back around to those, but everything notched into place like a puzzle whose missing piece turned up stuck on the bottom of a shoe covered with chewed up old gum and bug guts.

His late nights working. Breaking dates at the last minute. His distraction. How long had it been since they’d shared the same bed? Two months? Three? She’d put it down to the natural progression of a committed relationship and the busyness of their lives, assuming things would be better once they were living under the same roof.

“I’m a moron.” Tears crawled up her throat and choked off her feeble attempt of a laugh.

She closed her eyes wishing she could teleport herself back under the covers. The cushion sagged next to her, and she tipped towards him, her shoulder bumping his biceps. A moment passed before his arm came around her shoulders, and they sank back into the couch together.

She turned her face into the space between his neck and shoulder and took a deep breath, desperately trying to get a handle on her out-of-control emotions. Pain was to be expected, but the flashes of fierce fury took her by surprise.

Easygoing and nice and cheerful were bandied about when people passed compliments her way. At least, she’d always taken them as compliments. Now she wasn’t so sure. Maybe all those things were code words for weak and gullible.

Another breath. She concentrated on Wyatt’s warmth and scent. So different from the expensive cologne Andrew wore. Wyatt smelled like pine trees and the garage. His dark, almost black hair, tickled her nose. A tear slipped out and she wiped it away with the heel of her hand.

“You want me to go get your friend?” His chest vibrated against her, deep and rich.

Friend? She didn’t want to examine the other half of the betrayal. Worse than Andrew cheating on her was who he’d been getting down and dirty with. Her best friend. No. A friend wouldn’t sleep with her fiancé behind her back while helping her plan the wedding with an enthusiasm that oftentimes exceed her own.

Sutton ransacked her brain for moments she could point to and say Aha! but none came to mind. Bree had been supportive and helpful over the last few months. Lies. How many lies had Sutton accepted as gospel truth? A few more tears escaped along with a ragged breath.

Wyatt made a humming sound that was distinctly uncomfortable, and he pulled away. “Let me—”

She grabbed his coveralls. “No. Don’t you get it? That was her thong.”

He shifted to face her. “Is identifying underwear in a single glance your superpower?”

Despite her life crashing down, a shard of humor sliced through the shock, and her lips twitched. “Expensive underwear. The heart on the panties matches her tattoo. A special order.”

“You fiancé and your best friend?”

Put like that, she felt even dumber. “My life has turned into a cliché.”

“It’s a cliché because of how often it happens. Nothing for you to be ashamed of. It’s them that should feel like chickenshit.”

“You don’t understand how people like to talk.”

“I understand, alright. I just don’t care what people say.” The defiant edge in his voice spoke of his own pain and sorrows, but right now she only had room for her own. He was quiet for a moment. “You want me to get rid of her?”

Sutton sank back and took a swig of Coke, the burn bringing a different, more welcome, sort of tear to her eyes. “I need to talk to her. Confront her.”

“Yeah, but not hurt and crying. You need to prepare. Get mad then get even.”

His advice made her sit up straighter. She’d been raised to smooth feathers, not ruffle them. Her mother had taught her how a smile and pleasant word could diffuse most situations. The lessons had contributed to her business success but hadn’t done her personal life any favors. Another whip of red-hot fury flayed her heart.

“She’s my ride back over the river.” Her voice sounded even and strong, her anger a mast to cling to amid the wreckage.

“I can be your ride.”

“But you have work to do.”

The look he cast her was full of disbelief. “You’re not going through with the restoration, are you?”

The Camaro, the red harbinger of her ruin, had already slipped her mind. She didn’t even like the stupid car. Her daddy and Tarwater senior had hatched this surprise over a round of golf with Ford Abbott after she’d confessed she couldn’t think of anything to give Andrew as an engagement present. Only when her daddy had anted up half the money had she agreed. Their “go big or go home” mentality had seemed a ridiculous waste to her.

Dear Lord, her family. What would her daddy say? As a long-standing judge, he was sort of a colleague of Andrew’s. She closed her eyes and rocked forward and back on the edge of the couch.

“What if I’m overreacting?” If only this was a bad dream. Yet, did she really want that? An undercurrent that felt vaguely like relief trickled through the anger and humiliation and doubts.

“About which part, your fiancé cheating or who he was cheating with?” Wyatt stuck a hand into his pocket, came out with the thong and tossed it on her lap.

She leapt up and brushed it off as if she were Miss Muffet and it was a venomous, hairy, black spider. She kicked at it with the toe of her shoe. The red heart mocked her from the black lace. Yet the little girl who’d shared her pimento cheese sandwich with Bree every day during kindergarten wanted to be wrong.

She sank back down to the edge of the couch, feeling like she was shoring up the situation with Scotch tape. “There could be a reasonable explanation. Like she and Andrew went to lunch and for some reason she had them in her purse and they fell out. Maybe I’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion.”

“Maybe.” He shrugged. She appreciated the fact he wasn’t calling her on her BS excuses even though his face was the definition of skeptical.

“You sure you don’t mind giving me a ride?” she asked.

“I’ll get rid of your friend and take you home. That should buy you some time to figure things out. Confront her on your terms.”

Her initial impressions of Wyatt Abbott were from the viewpoint of a preteen girl. Back then, she’d been self-conscious of her skinny arms and legs and flyaway hair, and whenever she’d come to the garage with her daddy, Wyatt had made it his mission to tease her mercilessly.

What was he now? On the surface, she’d label him a good old boy. Fun, flirty, simple. Except, his gray eyes were anything but. Not flat like shale, but ready to spark a fire like a flint. Raw emotions provided a sharp awareness. Her memories of him urged her to be cautious with her trust, yet his jaw was set and his shoulders were rolled forward as if ready and willing to go into battle.

“Why?” she finally whispered.

“Why what?”

“Why are you being so nice to me? You hated me as a kid.”

“Hated you?” He stuffed his hands into his pockets and tipped his head enough to shutter his intensity of his eyes. “I never hated you, in fact . . .” He shook his head.

“In fact what?”

“Not important. Simply put, unlike your fiancé and your friend, I’m not an asshole. If you don’t need me—”

“No, I do need you.” She stood but misjudged how close he was. They weren’t touching, but she could feel his heat and appreciate his strength. “I just . . .”

Wyatt Abbott was handsome, but even more potent than his looks was an intangible confidence and ease with himself. The man probably talked a different woman out of her panties every weekend. Would he cash in on her humiliation for a good story to tell brothers and drinking buddies? Did it even matter? Whether it was him or someone else, rumors would rush through the town like their river after a storm

Insecurities pinged between her head and heart, the message clear. Protect yourself. But surely, she could at least trust him to get her home. “I would really appreciate a lift home.”

He chaffed her arms like a coach might comfort a little kid after a loss. “It’ll be okay. You wait here while I handle your friend, okay?”

She nodded, and he strode back toward the garage. Highlighted in a shaft of sunlight, he hesitated at the metal door they’d ducked through and glanced behind him. A zing of warning—or premonition?—skittered down her spine.

Her life had been spun into chaos, yet in that moment, she felt connected to Wyatt in a way that terrified her. Then he disappeared, and she waited to discover out if her trust had once again been misplaced.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Laura Trentham and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

 

Review: Leave the Night On






Synopsis:

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham is full of excitement. From betrayal by a best friend and from a fiancée, a false relationship, and a path to new love…I was hooked. The main character, Sutton is a strong woman. She’s more than just daddy’s little rich girl and more than a beauty. Wyatt is now, a mechanic. The best around his side of town. He can’t deny his attraction to Stutton. Something about her always had his interest. Stutton’s life was going well, until she and Wyatt find her ex cheating on her. From there, revenge, sweet lies, and a whole lot of action happen. I was intrigued with every page. I couldn’t stop reading it. Leave the Night On fits this story well. The plot was fast-paced. Entertaining, engaging, and hilariously sweet. I loved it. Laura Trentham has done it again. Creating another magical world where I got lost within the pages. Overall, I recommend this contemporary romance to all. 

Review: A Wedding Tail 





Synopsis:

’TIL DEATH DO US BARK…

Wedding planner Zoe Plum has brides from all walks of life vying for her services. The only problem is: happily-single Zoe doesn’t actually enjoy weddings—but that might change when she meets the singer of a local band playing at one of her weddings. His name is Levi Dolson and he’s too gorgeous for his own good. And now he’s gone ahead and charmed her new dachshund. . .

It’s no secret that Zoe doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to make sweet music with Levi. While she’s convinced she doesn’t need a man, when someone starts setting one trap after the next to make sure she never plans a wedding ever again, she might need Levi in more ways than she could have imagined. But just how far is Zoe’s hidden enemy willing to go? The only thing Levi knows for sure is that he will do everything in his power to protect the woman who brings music to his soul. Maybe that will prove to Zoe, once and for all, that he is a man worthy of her heart. . .

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Wedding Tail by Casey Griffin is spectacular. It combines murder, mystery, and romance into one amazing read. This is also a great book for animal lovers. Especially, those that love dogs. An adopted wiener ends up rescuing his adoptive mother from a murderer. She ends up saving the man who has become so much more to her than just hot kisses. Her heart is totally in love with him. Now, it’s up for her to call the shots. The murderer was a character that I didn’t expect to be the killer. Surprises are everywhere in this book. Humor, intrigue, heat, and an unforgettable emotional journey. Casey Griffin has once again, hooked me. Her books are worth reading. I was so happy that her latest novel, A Wedding Tail, turned out perfect. Crazy brides, a weddding gone wrong, a flirtatious man, someone sabotaging Zoe’s business and much more…this, was one adventure I’ll never forget. Hilarious, sweet, and engaging. Overall, I highly recommended this title to all. 

Review: The Kentucky Cure

Synopsis:

Elise Newton is your classic non-committer. Although this time…this guy, Darren Masterson is giving her a run on her oath to staying single forever. After all, that’s how her mother raised her–never let your guard down and get sucked into forever. Before she has to decide what to do, she gets called home to take care of her mom, fresh out of foot surgery. While in Kentucky, she runs into Ben, her first love–the one who almost lassoed her with a ring and an ‘I do’ twelve years ago. 
Follow Elise’s journey to understanding why she can’t commit, and you’ll discover the one she can’t live without.
*title was previously released as A Reason to Stay*
Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Kentucky Cure by Julieanne Dove is a great journey. A young woman who has commitment issues may find her cure after all. The main character, Elise, was believable. I felt like she kept running away from life over and over again. It was hard to feel what she was really feeling. I couldn’t really get a good grasp on it in the beginning. Then, towards the middle I discovered why she has the issue. But again, I couldn’t really connect with her. Instead, I felt more connection to the guys who loved her. Heartbreaking, heartfelt, and emotional. The whole story felt sad. Until the ending…it was great. It was worth reading the ending. The title fits the plot well. Overall, Kentucky Cure is a contemporary romance novel that is entertaining. 

For Poets and Short Story Writers!

For Poets and Short Story Authors ONLY: Friday, July 28, 2017 DEADLINE
There is no fee to enter our 8th Annual Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award Contest.
This year we will offer two awards: One for poetry and another for short stories. Click the link above if you are interested. Writers with financial or other need are especially encouraged to apply! 
Each winner will receive over $1,800 worth of Writer’s Relief submission services free of charge. Deadline to enter: Friday, July 28, 2017.
(NOTE: This is NOT a money prize. Winners will receive $1800 in services (3 full cycles/6 months of submitting your work to the best markets and learning about the submission process.)
Our expert submission strategists will target the reputable literary journals best suited for your creative writing and help you get acceptances. Enter here
We look forward to receiving your submission,
Ronnie L. Smith, President

Writer’s Relief, Inc.

(866) 405-3003
P.S. This award is for writers who may not be widely published but who demonstrate exceptional technique, voice, and perspective. Please note that this is NOT a cash award. It is an award for $1,800 in services.
P.P.S. There is no fee to submit to this award. If you have already entered for this year’s award, please do NOT resubmit.

Review: Unraveling 






Synopsis:

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about–like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something–or someone–is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections–and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Unraveling by Sara Ella is an unforgettable fantasy. The second book in the trilogy set. I was hooked. A magical place full of action, suspense, and intrigue. It was an epic emotional journey. One that swept me off my seat and pulled me directly into its world. The main character El is quite interesting. Determined, brave, and hopeful. Her connection to Ky, a ghost is lost in a way. But still lingers. Only if El can remember…him. The story was heartfelt, engaging, and romantic. Fast-paced. The danger, mystery, and characters have pulled me in closer to the world. I can’t wait to read the next book. Sara Ella writes well. I got lost within her pages. Felt the rush of excitement, fear, and loss. This is one book that I recommend not only to teens, but also to adults. It was addictive. Superb. Unraveling is a masterpiece readers must read. 

Review: When Lightening Strikes






Synopsis:

Simon O’Neal’s causing trouble again. And it’s up to Gail DeMarco to stop him.

Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all—sexy and unpredictable Simon O’Neal. But Simon, who’s just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won’t listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list—and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that’s going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who’ll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek….

Gail’s the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife—reluctantly. But she isn’t reluctant because he’s too hard to like. It’s because he’s too hard not to love!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

When Lightening Strikes by Brenda Novak is another brilliant contemporary tale. I was excited to see what Brenda Novak has written. After reading it, I was in love. The characters were realistic. Even when a PR marketing lady with a famous movie star is stuck together, I was intrigued. Both when about their actions the way real people would have done. That surprised me. Usually, characters do some realistic things and some Dream worthy things. Being around a sexy male actor would be any woman’s dream. Everyone’s except for Gail. She wants nothing to do with the stubborn no good actor, Simon. Sure he has money and looks. But his attitude is sour. Plus, his actions make his life spin further out of control. He drinks, he tried breaking into his ex wife’s house to see his son…and all he gets is trouble. The media love that. His wife wants his money and uses their kid as a leverage. Simon can’t win custody due to his bad boy image. So, that’s where Gail comes in…she’s the best at PR. He wants her to help him. However, she can’t stand the man and declines. Gail doesn’t want to work with someone who won’t listen to her. So, she says some awful things to him and cuts him loose. Then, he gets back at her. That’s where all hell breaks loose. Soon, they find themselves crawling back to each other for help. Gail needs him to undo the damage done to her business, and she will help him win his kid back. Sounds easy….add in a fake marriage of two years and a force of no drinking, no sex, and no bad stuff. Simon can only handle so much. But he does what Gail says…

Falling in love is what neither one wanted nor expected. The more time they’re together the harder it is to resist…

Overall, When Lightening Strikes is a charming heartfelt story. I loved it. So many emotions and an epic journey ahead. Brenda Novak has done it again in creating the best romance. I was hooked. Engaging, sweet, and funny. This is a book I recommend to all. 

Review: Virgin River

Synopsis:

“Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.” 

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.
But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and a former marine cements them into place.
Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for escape, but instead she finds her home.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Virgin River by Robyn Carr is an exciting adventure. One that took me to a small-town, Virgin River. There isn’t a school, no Starbucks, and her promised quarters is falling apart. Not like what the woman said on the phone to get Melinda to come to Virgin River. Apparently, nothing was what it seemed. First, Melinda gets stuck in mud with her fancy BMW. Her living quarters is dirty and falling apart. And the doctor doesn’t want her there to help him. 

But then things changed. A baby is found outside her place. Someone abandoned it. Then, Melinda decided to stay for a little bit. Using that little bit of time, a former marine works his butt off to make her own place new and clean. Plus, he’s attracted to her. Doing his damn best to keep apretty young medical woman in town proved to be a challenge. One worth doing. 

Melinda wanted out of L.A. Danger was everywhere. She couldn’t handle the pressure of fear that amounted with the amount of criminals everywhere. Then, she finds out about Virign River. A small-town looking for someone like her. A safe and quiet place to move. Melinda found a lot of surprises in Virgin River. Tested her will power and determination. 

Virgin River is a novel about community, small-towns, and new beginnings. I loved it. Robyn Carr swept me from my chair into her sweet, charming, and romantic tale. This book was engaging from start to end. Overall, I recommend it to all. 

Review: Woman Enters Left 





Synopsis:

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.
In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole is an interesting adventure. A young woman suddenly learns that she inherits quite a lot from a woman she barely knows. This only intrigues her curiosity. As the plot unfolds, she finds more clues. Turning to her father she learns about her past. Then, there’s the situation with her husband. Not exactly on best terms, but then she learns things about her husband. Understanding sets in and maybe forgiveness too. It was a heartfelt story that holds a lot of details in the beginning…making the plot feel a bit like it’s dragging but then, it picks up speed. I enjoyed following the main protagonist, Louise. Her marriage and history is fascinating to follow. Overall, I recommend this tale to readers everywhere. 

Review: Planez

Synopsis:

Essence Brown is a beautiful fashion magazine editor-in-chief living in New York City. When she meets Malcolm Hill, a handsome real estate agent from Chicago on a business trip, things began to heat up. They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but what happens when you do? 
Planez will take you on a ride of your life, full of sex, thrill and betrayal. This isn’t your ordinary flight…fasten your seat belt and prepare for take off. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Planez by Mariah James is an alluring read. Hot, spicy, and full of action. The heat spread like a wild fire. Consuming the reader whole. The plot was interesting. Mariah James created an adult fictional piece that had me riding a rollercoaster. The emotions were everywhere. Intense and exciting. New. Both Essence and Malcom kept me guessing. The pages were entertaining to keep on following the pair. Mariah James also included each protagonist’s viewpoint. I think that made this book a good read. Overall, it was enjoyable to watch as the characters struggled and fell in love. 

Review: Between Lost and Found





Synopsis:

Janelle Marshall’s life is finally going according to plan. Her perfect, upscale career–and her perfect, successful boyfriend–will make her future as secure and predictable as her childhood never was. And with luck, Little Bill, the grandfather who raised her will someday understand why she’d rather play it safe than be impulsive. But just when she should be happiest, she gets a distressing call: Little Bill has gone missing. Now Janelle must go to the one place she’s long avoided–the tiny mountain town of Mammoth Falls, South Dakota.

Tracking down her eccentric grandfather is easier said than done, and Janelle has no choice but to stay as long as it takes. Yet little by little, she’s drawn in by the unique town, the helpful locals, and their distinctly straightforward ways. Before long, she realizes that those who also care about Little Bill are struggling with their own vulnerabilities–and secrets as deep as the mistakes they try to set right. As Janelle learns to draw on their support and hard-won experience, she’ll challenge her past, comes to terms with her present–and chart her own surprising course forward.

Vibrant, heartfelt, and uplifting, Between Lost and Found is about gaining the courage to take chances, learning to let go, and rediscovering the family–and the self–you thought you knew… 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Between Lost and Found by Shelly Stratton is a great read for women everywhere. It’s about family, life, and taking chances. I enjoyed following the characters as they went about their lives. Choices were made and some consequences happened. It was an enjoyable journey. This was my first book that I’ve read by Shelly Stratton. In the beginning it dragged some but then sped up a little. A woman’s grandfather goes missing…so, she leaves behind her perfect life to head back home to him. There she finds some peace. Facing her fears, Janelle learns a lot. But it takes her grandfather to help her a bit. The title fits in perfectly with the protagonist. Overall, it was a great read. 

Review: Look At You Now






Synopsis:

CHICAGO TRIBUNE BESTSELLER – For readers of Orange Is the New Black and The Glass Castle, a riveting memoir about a lifelong secret and a girl finding strength in the most unlikely place.

In 1979, Liz Pryor is a seventeen-year-old girl from a good family in the wealthy Chicago suburbs. Halfway through her senior year of high school, she discovers that she is pregnant–a fact her parents are determined to keep a secret from her friends, siblings, and community forever. One snowy January day, after driving across three states, her mother drops her off at what Liz thinks is a Catholic home for unwed mothers–but which is, in truth, a locked government-run facility for delinquent and impoverished pregnant teenage girls.

In the cement-block residence, Liz is alone and terrified, a fish out of water–a girl from a privileged, sheltered background living amid tough, street-savvy girls who come from the foster care system or juvenile detention. But over the next six months, isolated and in involuntary hiding from everyone she knows, Liz develops a surprising bond with the other girls and begins to question everything she once held true. Told with tenderness, humor, and an open heart, Look at You Now is a deeply moving story about the most vulnerable moments in our lives–and how a willingness to trust ourselves can permanently change who we are and how we see the world.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Look at You Now by Liz Pryor is well-written. A memoir that is sad. Secretive, heartbreaking, and coming of age. I am happy that the parents nor the writer opted for an abortion. That made my heart happy. My heart still poured out to the baby she left behind…why, do pregnant girls get rid of their children? Why? I still can’t understand it. Then, the same girl goes on to have more kids later in life. Why not go back for the child she gave up? I felt frustrated, angry, and emotional. So many questions on what life did her abandoned child live…did it go to a good home, was the child safe? Then, I wondered did the woman even care? She didn’t even want to look at the child. I felt so disconnected from this woman. Her story tore at my heart. I have been in foster homes. Most kids don’t go to good homes. Look at You Now was devasting to read. I didn’t enjoy the journey. However, my feelings should not affect on whether this book was worthy of reading. It was well-told. The writer’s voice was done well. The writing was visual. Engaging. 

Review: Stargazey Point






Synopsis:

Shelley Noble’s Stargazey Point is a beautiful story of love, heartbreak, friendship, and new beginnings.

Devastated by tragedy during her last project, documentarian Abbie Sinclair seeks refuge with three octogenarian siblings, who live in a looming plantation house at the edge of the world.

South Carolina’s Stargazey Point used to be a popular family beach resort, but the beaches have eroded, most of the businesses have closed, and the crowds have gone. It’s the perfect place to hide from the rest of world.

But hiding is harder than she thought it would be. There’s a wise Gullah woman who seems to see into Abbie’s soul, and an intriguing man on a quest to bring Stargazey Point back to life.

Stargazey Point by Shelley Nobel is the perfect beach read any time of year.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Stargazey Point by Shelley Noble is a fascinating tale. Full of action, intrigue, and heartfelt moments. It instantly grabbed my heart from the beginning. I laughed, cried, and fell in love. The characters were amazing. Felt so real. It was almost like magic. The plot itself was interesting. Believable. Like stepping into a Hallmark movie. Shelley Noble’s words created a deeper meaning. Family, community, and new beginnings. Every page made me feel as if I were really there with the characters. 

Stargazey Point is a small southern spot that readers will love. History, culture, and the people who live there come to life on every page. Until now, I haven’t read any other books by Shelley Noble. I’m very happy to have read this one. A woman who feels depressed from her past is soon sent by a friend to Stargazey Point. There, she stays with her friend’s family. Two older women and an older man. Southern charm is turned up full notch here. Big southern plantation that somehow survived a storm that ruined the once thriving town. Money is almost out for one family. The brother has a kept secret that may come to save them and their home. Abbie comes looking for peace and ends up bringing life into the town and the people she met. It was hard not to like Abbie. She struggled with her own demons. Yet she gave everything she had to help others. Then, there’s Cab. He at first mistrusts her…but after knowing her a bit she soon engages his full attention. Sparks fly. But first fears have to be solved if they they even stand a chance at happiness. Themes like friendship and love are strong. Shelley Noble has done a superb job in creating this masterpiece. Entertaining, emotional, and charming. Overall, I recommend it to others. 

Review: Take Me Home for Christmas 






Synopsis:

Christmas is a time for remembering….
Too bad all memories aren’t pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned. 
But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated…. 
Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time. 
Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak was another brilliant read. I don’t know how she does it. Every book is good. Engaging, whole hearted, and stunning. This latest novel, was centered on family. There were other themes like dealing with bullying, harassment, alcoholism and other stuff. Plus, old flames rekindling. 

First, I was introduced to a young woman. One that was super gorgeous and still is. She used her popularity around Whiskey Creek to her advantage. However, that left her with enemies, a broken heart, and no friends. Sophia left a good guy for one that turned out to be way worse than she ever feared. Her one night with a rich guy ended up with her being pregnant. So, her only option was to marry him. Leaving behind the one guy who truly cared about her as she did for him. 

Now, after having lost her husband on the day of her anniversary, Sophia returns back home. Whiskey Creek is her home. But then, she finds her husband stole money from all the people. Their home, cars, furniture, and jewels were taken. The people in town hate her. All but for one man. The one she left behind…Ted Dixon. 

Ted Dixon doesn’t want to be around Sophia. He wants to be over her. But he’s not. He’s hurt but seeing her current situation, he hires her to be his housekeeper. From there, he finds out what has happened to her before her marriage and afterwards. Ted can’t stop himself from saving Sophie and her little girl. But things are getting more complicated…

Take Me Home for Christmas left me feeling sad, angry, and happy. The emotional journey was epic. Brenda Novak has once again, swept me off my feet. Her book was intriguing. I was hooked from the beginning. Life is messy. The characters were three dimensional. Believable and realistic. I can see Sophie and Ted’s situations happening worldwide to real people. Hurt, betrayal,  hope, and love. So many emotions. I loved it. I wasn’t sure how the book would end. Overall, I recommend this contemporar romance to all. 

Review: Even When It Hurts (Seventy Times Seven)

Synopsis:

Maxine Hunter and Reverend Claude Jacobs have been engaged for a year and unable to decide on a final wedding date. The delay for their marital bliss comes in the form of Claude’s longtime friend, Geneva Shade. Geneva is in love with Claude and has decided she’s going to do whatever it takes to be with him, even if it means damaging his life. Claude is unaware of Geneva’s mental illness, which makes him oblivious to her sinister tricks to break up him and Maxine. Maxine’s eyes are wide open to Geneva’s games, but after one incident too many, Maxine is finally pushed to her breaking point. Claude finally sees Geneva for who she really is, but it’s seemingly too late. Will Claude and Maxine be able to forgive Geneva and each other, Even When It Hurts

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Even When It Hurts: Seventy Times Seven by D.A. Kelley is an African American novel that shows how hard life can be. The characters struggle just like the rest of us. Choices are made. Sometimes more often than not, they make the wrong decisions. This, then leads them to instant regret. A torn relationship and insecurities. Taking the steps to accept, forgive, and move on will be hard. If they can forgive where will that leave them? Anger, lust, and evil planning are just a few things keeping the characters apart. But what God pushed together, might be fixed…or not. D.A. Kelley wrote a book that all women can relate to…even most men. We all have had something similar happen in our lives. I enjoyed how she combined real life and issues like mental illness into an entertaining read. Overall, I recommend to to readers everywhere.

Review: Forbidden Beginnings 

Synopsis:

A senseless assault. An agonizing, life-threatening decision. In the moment of truth, with countless lives at stake, how can justice hope to prevail? 
New York City trauma surgeon, Dr. Christopher Ravello, has it all. A breathtaking, vivacious wife. Lovely children. Life-saving work, and a beautiful home in one of the City’s most coveted neighborhoods. 
But in an instant, Chris’ world is shattered. 
The brutal and senseless assault of his mother, Jacqueline, leaves her barely alive. Consumed with anguish and fear, battling time and circumstances, Chris’ search for a life-saving treatment leads to an agonizing decision and takes him down a path of no return. 
In the wake of his mother’s assault, Chris and life-long friend, Detective Kevin Kennedy, risk their lives and livelihoods tracking down Jacqueline’s attacker. 
When Ravello, driven by an all-consuming rage, at last comes face-to-face with his mother’s assailant, every fiber of his being calls out for vengeance. In the moment of truth, with so much at stake for he and his family, what will Chris choose? 
Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Forbidden Beginnings: Jacqueline’s Tragedy by William Rubin is a thrilling start for this medial thriller series. Powerfully written. I was intrigued. The main character was easy to relate to and understand. Loss of his mother and pressure everywhere. As a doctor, Christopher Ravello, makes a big decision. To help find the man who killed his mother. This new path leads him on a dangerous journey. One that could end deadly…

The medical background was believable. Since, the writer is a practicing physician. Ifound that this story was based off some true life events in a way. Both the main character and writer share the same occupations and loss of a mother. I was immediately drawn into the dark web that William Rubin created. A life changing situation that pulled me in….nailing my attention to every word. Forbidden Beginnings was addictive to read. I highly recommend this to readers who love murder and crime fiction. Plus, characters with a medical background. 

Review: Dead Silence

Synopsis:

There’s a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse
Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.
Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.
Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He’s running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yetshe’s an enigma he can’t resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened and that could ruin them both.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Brenda Novak is the best writer! Her novels range from suspense to romance. She even writes historical novels. I am awed by Brenda’s talent. She never disappoints me. Her writing is always phenomenal. Exciting, intriguing, and epic. Dead Silence is the first book in this series. A mystery that has gone under radar long enough is now, popping back to surface. For Grace it was a nightmare that she couldn’t forget. Her mother, step-sister, and brother all knew what had happened. They kept it between themselves. Grace comes back home, and something about her being back stirs up trouble. Unwanted trouble. Her other half-sister is wanting to know what happened to her father. And the son, wants to find Gracie and her family guilty for his father’s death. But vegance only goes so far…

Dead Silence is intense. It occurs in a small-town intent on hating one family. Grace’s family. Her mother married a preacher because she had nothing for her kids and didn’t want to lose them. Then, the respected and ever loved preacher turns out to be anything than what he seemed…dark, haunting, and engaging. Brenda Novak has brought her characters to life. The words create visual images that make it feel like I was experiencing the whole thing first hand. Believable and realistic. Themes of loss, family, secrets, and love are found inside this stung tale. I couldn’t put it down once, I started. Overall, Brenda has hooked me again. I highly recommend it to all. 

Author Interview: Jean Sorrell


Interview Questions for “Shadow of Death”



What was it like studying English Literature?

Studying English Literature was like opening a gift box, a view of a world unknown to me before. The Brontes, Mary Shelley, Daphne du Mauier, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and so many other wonderful English women authors inspired me to want to be an author.

 

Should fiction authors consider getting a degree in Creative Writing like you did?

Everyone approaches the craft of writing in their own unique way. I should think writing comes more from “the doing” not just through academics. I’m glad I have my Ph.D. in Creative Writing, but I’ve learned so much more since then! I think it’s the process that’s most important.

 

You mentioned being a teacher and an art gallery owner. How have these career paths shaped your writing?

I love teaching. If I’ve imparted ideas that have encouraged others to write or just read great literature then I’ve been a successful teacher. I love Art. Maybe I should say I’m “in love” with Art, with every style from Classical to Post “Post” Modern, and every technique that artists have created.

 

How has living in Louisiana inspired your mysteries?

I search out and read mystery novels set in the British Isles, Ireland and other places in the world. Most of them offer atmosphere and images along with a plot that really appeals to me. When I decided to write mystery novels I wanted to create good stories, but also portray some of that wonderful eerie landscape I’ve enjoyed reading. Louisiana is that place and its sense of place and history inspires my stories.

 

Why is mystery your favorite genre?

Perhaps it’s because I like the puzzle of a whodunit. I also like entering a new place, seeing it for the first time, rooting for my protagonist to win the game, and ultimately her own personal stuggle.

 

When did you first begin to write?

I wrote my first story at the age of eight and I hope to still be writing at eighty-eight!

 

What advice would you give to writers struggling to find inspiration?

I tell my students all writing is personal. Search for inspiration everywhere but most often what you write about has a connection to your subjective self. Meditation helps.

 

I noticed your novel, Shadow of Death, is set during 1940 and in Louisiana. Why choose that particular time period?

I’ve been fascinated for years with the leper colony near Carville, Louisiana; the only hospital of its kind in America. In 1940 they were getting close to finding a cure for such a dreaded disease. That time frame, I decided, was important and would add texture to my story.

 

How would you describe your protagonist, Catherine Lyle?

She has just turned thirty and is a troubled woman. Her life has been filled with death and sorrow. She’s become a recluse in New Orleans, living in her own shadow world, buried beneath guilt and loneliness.

 

How many books have you written besides Shadow of Death?

One. “The Returning”
Will there be more mystery novels to come?

Yes. Catherine Lyle’s story isn’t finished.

 

How would you describe your writing using only three words?

Setting, Character, Plot.

 

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book outlets.

 

 
 

 

Review: Inside






Synopsis:

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil they’ll go after his sister and her kids.
The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister’s protection.
Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Brenda Novak is the master of suspense! Her latest novel, Inside, is thrilling. Dark, dangerous, and sexy. The journey inside is epic. A man who framed by his mother and her boyfriend for murder. He was sentenced to prison. Then, a gang inside that prison had him as one of their own. Only when Virgil gets out, they want him dead. Somehow, they find out he’s flipped sides with the police. Being on probation, Virgil is used by authorities to go under and filtrate another deadly gang. One just as bad the previous one that he left. From there he meets the Chief Deputy Warren, Peyton. Peyton is beyond gorgeous. Her life was hard but she enjoys her job. Dangerous, definitely. 

Peyton is soon in charge of an investigation that could turn deadly. And it’s taking place right inside of her prison. The man that is chosen to filtrate a serious yet deadly gang is Virgil. Some thing about him, has Peyton curious. So, curious that she breaks into his motel room to find more info. What she finds only makes her more determined to save this man. 

Both Peyton and Virgil find themselves falling for each other. However, one gang is after Virgil. They can’t find him, so they go after his sister and her kids. One member of that gang ends up making a big decision that sons leads him on another path. Virgil is worried about his sister and the kids. Being inside another gang, feeling attracted to Peyton, and worrying about his sister is leaves him in knots. I was both intrigued and hooked. Inside by Brenda Novak is exciting, fast-paced, and hot. I felt the chemistry, the fear, and the risks as if I were experiencing them instead of the characters. Believable and stunning. Well-told. I highly recommend this novel to all. 

Review: The Cottontail 

Synopsis:

Victorio is one of few children blessed to live in the palace under the rule of the King and Queen of the small but prosperous Kingdom of Lucca. The palace is a prison in the young boy’s eyes, as he desires to see the world and be of greater service. What Victorio doesn’t realize is he’s become the interest of the mysterious Feletti, who’s looking to expand his collection of dolls. The clock is ticking, and Victorio must escape the clutches of the mysterious doll maker as his influence spreads and another unforeseen danger approaches.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Cottontail by Jennifer Renson is a another exciting tale. I was enchanted with her novel. The characters have a way of dragging readers deeper into the story. The plot was fascinating. Held a sense of mystery, intrigue, and a bit of darkness. Danger, risks, adventure are found on every page. The Cottontail is a paranormal book, that readers will never forget. I can’t stop thinking of the world that Jennifer Reson has so beautifully created for my entertainment. Overall, I recommend this to readers worldwide. 

Review: Bold Love (A Letter To My Young Sisters)

Synopsis:

Bold Love: A Letter to My Young Sisters is a love letter full of personal experiences, science and deliberate encouragement to help one move through the challenges related to self-esteem, absent relationships and racial challenges. This body of work is written through the eyes of the writer as if she were her younger self. Bold Love speaks to young ladies and women that may not understand the pathology of their behaviors. Bold Love uses poetry and anonymous testimony to normalize any reader that may feel like their problem is one that only they have faced. Bold Love creates a platform to encourage self-reflection and makes a plea for one to accept their reality and not live in fantasy by holding on to what one believes should have been. The love letter is to encourage a young generation to learn who they are and where they come from and to not allow unfavorable circumstances stunt the promise that was put on their lives.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Bold Love: A Letter To My Young Sisters by Terri M. Bolds (MS, LPC) is a book of empowerment and self-esteem for young African American women everywhere. The writer gives readers a personal ride through the book. In this journey, challenges are presented. From relationships to racial conflicts, Terri M. Bolds gives a deeper meaning to these group that she targets in her pages. Exploring the behaviors of young women and opening their eyes. Moving forward is the main theme of this encouraging book. Reflections, deep thoughts, and questions to help these young African American women claim their future. I found it awe-inspiring. Overall, this was a great book to explore. 

Review: Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer





Synopsis:

What if you found something so dazzlingly brilliant that you had to keep it a secret – even from your own family? A secret so amazing it could change the world forever? Something that dark forces would do anything to possess …?
Danny Chaucer’s lonely. He loves to gaze up at the sumptuous night sky, wishing he was up there … 

Nat Ford is the new girl in class and spends half her time running from the school bullies. Nothing interesting ever happens in their dead-end town.

Until one night when something extraordinary lands in the trees behind Danny’s house. Something unbelievable, revolutionary, wonderful!

Then the sinister Captain Frost appears, and the chase is on. There might be only one way to escape – into space …

A thrilling and funny adventure story for kids – and educational too as you’ll learn cool stuff about space! Finalist in the 2015 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards (9–12 year olds category) – an award where books are rated by the kids themselves. Check out the reviews to find out what people are saying about it.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer by Christopher Peter is an engaging middle school novella. The book intrigued me immediately. Two kids get together after being bullied. Together, they find a flying saucer. From there I was hooked into the adventure, sights, and BOB. Christopher Peter combines themes of friendship and bullying into an entertaining tale. The words flowed easily. It flew by fast for me. The characters taught lessons along the way, I dug further into the plot. Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer is one sci-fi action read that I highly recommend to kids and teens alike. Great story, believable characters, and well-developed scenes. 

Review: The Evolving Peacemaker





Synopsis:

What does our future hold? Is it possible for humanity to exist indefinitely in a world overrun with wars, intolerance, and terrorism? Will our civilization that is steeped in centuries of violence eventually learn how to interact with one another in respectful and compassionate ways? 

The Evolving Peacemaker: A Commitment to Nonviolence seeks to address these issues by taking a compelling look at the timeless teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most respected and influential figures of the twentieth century. 

Beginning with a foreword by Arun Gandhi, celebrated peace activist and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, The Evolving Peacemaker takes the reader on a compelling journey of self-discovery. 

This volume weaves Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence with author Leona Evans’s personal journey toward inner peace. 

Evans states: “We are frightened for the future and helpless because we don’t know how to make a difference in the world. It is time now to see that our only alternative lies in making a difference within ourselves.” 

The Evolving Peacemaker is a thought-provoking and inspiring guide to becoming the change we wish to see in the world. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Evolving Peacemaker by Leona Evans is a spiritual guide and journey to peace. Inside, I followed the writer’s own journey. I found this book to be inspiring. It encourages me to become better more accepting of others. Deep, thought provoking, and entertaining to read. The Evolving Peacemaker is an easy read. Comfortable to follow along. What I loved most about this nonfiction book, was Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. The writer is correct when saying we are afraid of an unknown outcome when we’re not sure how to take steps to make the world better. After reading this, I can easily see this being the most popular book. Self-discovery, peace, and transformation. Overall, this was a stunning piece. 

Review: Excel Formulas that Automate Task You No Longer have Time For

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A Survival Guide To Getting The Most Work Done You Can In The Least Amount of Time

 

Do you find yourself with more time-consuming work to do in less time than ever?

 

Are you constantly under time pressure to get “urgent” things out? And then answer a bunch of endless what-if questions that require you to refigure everything out over and over again “urgently”?

 

Wouldn’t it be good if you had “more resources” to help you out with these endless tedious tasks?

 

This is definitely possible using automated tools you already have. And this is not complicated.

 

The fact is, common software you already have provides a great tool to turbo-boost your productivity. MS Excel is the perfect tool for managing and analyzing large amounts of information instantly and accurately. Most people use Excel for simple spreadsheets, tables and charts. Some use it for financial data. But it can do so much more to help you out in your daily grind.

 

This book will provide you with step-by-step guidance on:

 

• How to instantly create a spreadsheet which lists files in any drive or folder.
• How to compare lists and look up information in seconds and with no mistakes.
• How to use forms to create thousands of documents with just one click.
• How to convert a simple list into a workable spreadsheet.
• How to find and present information as soon as someone asks for it.

 

The additional resources you need to get your work done are right at your finger tips.

 

You can do this too – even if you’ve never done it before.

 

Give it a try – You will see your productivity, your value, and your stress-level improve!

 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Excel Formulas that Automate Tasks You No Longer have Time For by Erik Kopp is a great book. Both educational and a time saver. In my profession, I deal with a lot of data and Excel is one of the best ways to deal with them. However, my knowledge of using it was limited. But after reading this easy to understand guide book, I was learning fast. A time and money saver. Erik Kopp definitely knows his way around Excel. For those in businesses, college, or just starting out as entrepreneurs, this is a must read for you. I enjoyed following along. The pages are concise, detailed, and engaging. I highly recommend it to all.

Review: The Covens of Elmeeria 





Synopsis:

Princess Nia and her people have always publicly hated all witches. Witches are evil. Witches are cruel. But in one night, Nia must convince a deadly coven of sorceresses to help her defeat an army, or her family will be executed. Nia has always been adored by the masses. She is beyond reproach. Her one secret is that she was born a witch.

The Covens of Elmeeria centers on Crown Princess Nia and the beautiful garden kingdom of Elmeeria. Nia and her parents, King Roo and Queen Bloom, are loved and celebrated by their people, but are also guarding a grave secret. Both Queen Bloom and Princess Nia are witches, and are terrified that the people of their kingdom will find out about them. What makes matters worse is that outside the great wall that surrounds Elmeeria is a banished coven of sorceresses, despised and ridiculed by the populace for their strange, dark powers. The popular royals want no association with the isolated enchantresses, but after their realm is invaded, Nia must travel through forbidden and treacherous lands to find the coven’s lair and beg them for their help.

Nia desperately wants to prove that she can be a strong, capable leader, but what she doesn’t realize is that all power comes with sacrifice, and that to save the lives of her family she might have to lose the love of her people.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Coven of Elmeeria by Miguel Lopez de Leon is an exciting adventure. A book made perfectly for young adults. Magic, evil forces, and kingdoms are found on the pages. Choices will soon have to be made. A royal family is in danger. Their daughter, the crown princess, will do everything she can to get help. Help that comes in the form of a coven of witches. Ones that were chased out by the kingdom. The crown princess, Nia, is related to the witches. Both her and her mom are witches. I found this twist interesting. It showers readers with the themes of family, good versus evil, and sacrifices. Love for her parents causes Nia to reach out for help. A brave young woman fighting for what she loves. Inspiring, entertaining, and full of paranormal elements. Overall, I recommend The Coven of Elmeeria to readers everywhere.

Review: When Summer Comes

Synopsis:

Welcome to Whiskey Creek— Heart of the Gold Country!
One day, Callie Vanetta receives devastating news…

She needs a liver transplant. But her doctors warn that, in her case, the chances of finding a compatible donor aren’t good.
Determined to spend whatever time she has left on her own terms, she keeps the diagnosis to herself and moves out to her late grandparents’ farm. She’s always wanted to live there. But the farm hasn’t been worked in years and she begins to fear she can’t manage it, that she’ll have to return to town.

One night, a stranger comes knocking at her door…

He’s an attractive and mysterious drifter by the name of Levi McCloud, and he offers to trade work for a few nights’ shelter. Callie figures she doesn’t have anything to lose. He needs a place to stay until he can fix his motorcycle; she needs an extra pair of hands. The arrangement seems ideal until what was supposed to be temporary starts to look more and more permanent. Then she realizes she does have something to lose—her heart. And, although he doesn’t yet know it, Levi stands to lose even more. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

When Summer Comes by Brenda Novak is a charming tale. I recommend this book to be added to readers’ to be read pile. Brenda Novak has never once let me down with her books. Not once.  This story, has elements that wind their way around my heart and soul. Choices, second chances, and new beginnings. Life is scary. Here, in Brenda’s latest book, I got a taste of it. Callie is a woman going through a rough patch. Her liver is failing her. She hides her pain from almost everyone. Especially, the new stranger who found his way into her heart. Callie felt the instant attraction to Levi. Hit her like a ton of bricks. His broad shoulders and height make him impossible to forget. He’s also got a heart made of gold. 

Levi has had a bad life. His parents’ marriage failed. His mom ran away with his sister. Leaving him behind with the abusive control freak of a dad. Actually, he father was never a parent. Levi left for the army as soon as he could. Escaping from his father. But then, he has also experienced loss too. His lost a child and his woman. Levi still blames himself for her death. Now, on the run from hitting a copy who hit him first, Levi needs a place to hide. But it only leads him to bleeding on Callie’s porch. From there the two bond. Even Callie’s dog likes Levi.  Untrouble never goes away…a past and present danger seem to tangle into the characters lives. Maybe there is hope after all…

Brenda Novak has stunned me with this book. I couldn’t stop reading it. Love, risks, and life threatening situations make this an exciting read. I was hooked. Intrigued. When Summer Comes is sweet, spicy, and everything in between. Falling in love with the story just happened…overall, this is a must read for all. 

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Review: Take Me, Cowboy




Synopsis:

This sexy rancher is her best friend…but can he be more? Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates! 
She’s just one of the boys, but with a new business in Copper Ridge, Anna Brown needs to change that. Her brothers bet she can’t land a date for a fancy charity event. So Anna turns to her best friend—the hottest bachelor in town—for advice.  
Rancher Chase McCormack wants in on that gala. If Anna takes him, he promises to turn her into a lady. But the makeover reveals what he’s long suspected—Anna’s irresistible! Is his best friend prepared to be taken—heart, body and soul—by her very own cowboy?
Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Maisey Yates has done it again. Creating another sexy read. One that entices, engages, and leaves me falling in love. Chemistry plus, friendship is an interesting combination. A heady combination when it comes to mechanic woman who can turn on Chase faster than all the women he’s had sex with…Chase doesn’t allow himself to let him think of Anna as a sexy woman. He tries hard to put a stop to those thoughts. One his younger brother and Anna’s brother will kill him, if he hurts her. Can friends with Benefits come out unscratched? Interesting, exciting, and hot. The pages flew by fast. The action was intense. The emotions felt real. Take Me, Cowboy was stunning. The characters were believable and the scenes made feel like a spectator…instead of a reader. Overall, I recommend this Cowboy romance to all. 

Review: One Good Cowboy

Synopsis:

The most honorable cowboy in Wrangler’s Creek is about to get an offer he can’t refuse…
Carson Rowley expects Granger Ranch office manager Evie Martin to do any number of things when he breaks the news that her “on again, off again” boyfriend has eloped with a stripper. Cry, maybe. Curse, probably. Kiss him senseless? Nope…didn’t predict that. Now that Evie’s offering what he secretly craves, there’s only one question: Just how bad should a good cowboy be?
Evie’s nowhere near as heartbroken over her unreliable ex as everyone in Wrangler’s Creek expects. Especially once it’s clear that her long-simmering crush on Carson is mutual. Carson’s not the casual type, and inviting him into her bed means inviting him into her heart. But once he’s there, she may never want him to leave… 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

One Good Cowboy by Delores Fossen is another hot read. This writer has a way of heating up the pages. Sexy cowboys with stubborn women and two match making moms. Things get wild and crazy. Hearts are on the line. Evie was engaged to Carson’s brother who left to marry a stranger. Carson is left dealing with their mom and trying to help out Evie. Evie has always liked Carson a lot. But with their moms meddling and pressure, it’s hard to get anyway. Now, after all hell has broken loose, Evie admits her attraction to Carson. Actually, she did a lot more than tell…Carson is the good cowboy. One kiss and Evie’s words have him tighter than he’d like. He’s attracted oh, right. But their situations are complicated. Can love enter the equation? One Good Cowboy is a short but well-developed tale. A hot chase with an emotional journey attached. I was intrigued. Exciting, fast-paced, and engaging. Overall, I recommend this book as a must have on readers’ to do lists. 

Review: No Getting Over a Cowboy




Synopsis:

The golden cowboy of Wrangler’s Creek returns home to Texas to discover some old flames never fizzle…

There are plenty of things Garrett Granger hadn’t counted on losing—his child to miscarriage, his wife to another man and the family business thanks to a crooked CFO. He also hadn’t counted on moving back to the family ranch, where he’s met by another surprise—former flame Nicky Marlow, who is renting his grandmother’s old house.

Nicky’s been rebuilding her shattered life since her husband’s death two years ago. But Garrett’s timely arrival in Wrangler’s Creek doesn’t automatically make him the missing piece of the puzzle. Even if he does seem to adore her two-year-old daughter… Even if seeing him again stirs up old feelings Nicky would gladly keep buried, forcing her to wonder if moving forward has to mean leaving everything behind… 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

No Getting Over a Cowboy by Delores Fossen is a hot read. I definitely recommend this book to be added to readers summer list. They’re sexy cowboys, determined women, matchmaking moms, and danger. I was hooked. Intrigued. Old lovers meet again under different circumstances. Women leased an old house on the Wrangler Creek Ranch to use for widows. Garrett Wrangler hasn’t been the same since he lost his daughter as a stillborn and the fact that his wife ran away. She cheated on him with a ranch hand. Then, there was her act blown up as a scandal everywhere. Business trouble for the Wrangler family. If that isn’t enough then, there’s the dead body found in the old house on the ranch. Plus, Garrett’s old love interest is being targeted for money…

Lust, love, death, and risks are on every page. No Getting Over a Cowboy is correct. Nicky Marlow can’t get over Garrett. In fact, he’s still attracted to her as well. Excitement, adventure, and heat. I loved it. The Wrangler family members were funny. They brought humor to the story. Sweet, sexy, and well-done. This tale was a page turner. Delores Fossen surely know how to keep a reader addicted to her books. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.

Never Trust A Pirate By Valerie Bowman

CHAPTER ONE

 

London Harbor, July 1817

Only three steps. Only three steps separated him from the map. It was there, laying on the rickety wooden table in the captain’s stateroom aboard a ship aptly named Le Secret Francais. The only sound in the cramped space was his own breathing. Sweat beaded on his brow. He’d come this far. Braved the murky, cold water, swam out to the ship moored at the London docks. Climbed aboard silent as a wraith, dressed all in black. Wrung out his clothing to keep it from dripping so there wouldn’t be a trail. Managed to steal into the captain’s quarters as the man slept, and now, now only three steps remained between him and the priceless map.

One water droplet fell to the wooden plank floor like a hammer against steel. The sound of his breath echoed to a crescendo. The blood pounding in his head became a distracting whirring noise.

One step forward. The ball of his foot ground onto the plank. Stealth and silence. Always. The calling cards of the best thief in London.

The captain stirred slightly in his bunk and began to snore.

He froze. One leather-clad foot arrested on the wooden plank. A pistol rested on two nails directly above the captain’s bunk. If the man awoke, he might shoot first at any noise. The captain well knew the value of the treasure he carried.

He counted to ten. Once. Twice. He had long since mastered the art of keeping footing on a ship. He waited until his heartbeats became steady again before taking the next step. A slight creak in the wood floor. A hint of movement from the captain. Another endless wait. Impatience was a roiling knot inside his belly.

Out of the shadows now, he stood only one step away from the table bolted to the floor. The moon shone through the window above the captain’s bed, shedding light on the man’s balding head. The map lay spread out, anchored by pins in the four corners. He would have to remove those pins. Ripping the paper would be too noisy.

Another interminable wait as the captain turned away from him in his sleep. His snores subsided.

He glanced over at the bunk. The pistol shone in the moonlight. One hard swallow. He never carried a pistol. Too loud. Pistols brought the crew, the wharf police, and anyone else interested in such activity. The only weapon he carried was a knife, tucked in the back of his breeches. A weapon of stealth.

Another count to ten before taking the final step. There was no time for an in-depth study of the map now, but a quick glance revealed the destination. The island of St. Helena, off the western coast of Africa, circled in bold scrawl. The map of the route planned for Bonaparte’s next escape. That bastard in the bed had been planning it.

All ten fingers itched to snatch the paper and run, but he forced himself to take a deep, silent breath. Carefully, he dislodged the first pin at the top right corner. It popped out easily. The top of the map rolled toward the center, making a slight flapping sound. Breath held, he glanced toward the captain again. No movement.

He stuck the pin back into the table to keep it from rolling, then his hand darted to the next pin at the bottom right corner. It also popped out easily. He quickly stuck it back into the wood. With two sides free, he carefully rolled the map toward the center. Reaching up to the top, he grasped the third pin. No movement. It was lodged deeply into the wood. Must pull harder. With one black-gloved hand, he clasped the pin between a thumb and two fingers, pulling upward with as much strength as he dared. His own breath in his ear was the only sound … that and the water lapping at the sides of the ship.

The pin finally gave way. He pressed a hand to the top of the map, to keep the freed top left corner from curling and making a noise. His chest and torso flattened against the map and the table, he pressed the third pin back into the wood.

Click. An unmistakable sound. One he had heard too often before. Another hard swallow. Damn it. He’d been so preoccupied with keeping quiet, he hadn’t realized the captain’s snores had subsided.

Half-splayed across the table, he contemplated his options. The door was ten paces to the left, the open window five paces to the right. Would he fit through the window? It’d be a hell of a time to learn the answer was no.

“Step away from zee map, if you don’t want a bullet through your back.” The captain’s voice was harsh and angry.

He slowly rose from his position hunched over the map, arms braced upright at right angles near his head to show the captain he had no weapon. “Ye wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, now would ye, Cap’n?”

“I’d shoot a thief without thinking twice,” the captain replied with a sneer, nearly spitting the word thief.

He glanced down at the map. Studying it in case he was forced to leave without it. He had been in worse situations, more times than he could count. He considered the knife in the back of his breeches hidden beneath his shirt. It would be simple, easy and quick to snake it out and whip it into the bastard’s throat. But a voice in his head reminded him … justice must be served in proper course.

“Turn around,” the captain ordered. “Slowly.”

“Why?” he asked, trying to garner some precious time.

“Because I want to see zee face of zee man who would steal my secrets.”

He began his turn. Slowly. So slowly and so quietly that he could have sworn he heard a drop of sweat from his forehead hit the wooden plank of the floor. He finally stood facing the older man.

“Êtes-vous le Renard Noir?” the captain asked.

“Pourquoi veux tu savoir?”

Visible in the light of the moon, the captain narrowed his eyes. “Ah, perfect French? Why do I find zat difficult to believe from an obvious Englishman?”

“Obvious?”

“Who else would want zis map?”

His fingers ached to choke the bastard. He might not be able to kill him, but he could wound the scoundrel. Nothing wrong with a wound. He whipped his hand behind his back, grabbed the knife, and hurled it at the captain. It hit the arm that held the pistol. The captain howled. The pistol fired. Smoke filled the cabin with its acrid stench. He ripped the map and fourth pin from the table and ran to the door.

Steps sounded on the planks above the captain’s cabin. In the pitch black belowdecks, he forced himself to wait in the shadows under the stairs until the first group of rescuers filed down the steps into the captain’s cabin. He flattened the map’s scroll and folded it into a six-inch square.

“He’s escaped, you idiots! Find him before he jumps from the ship!” the captain yelled in French.

The group dutifully filed back up to spread across the decks. The captain came running out, clutching his injured arm, blood seeping between his fingers, crimson dripping down his nightshirt. He made his way up the stairs and ran off across the deck.

Springing from the shadows, he raced back into the empty cabin. He flew over to the window, said a brief prayer to fit through the tight space, hoisted up to the ledge, and pushed his upper body through. He ripped off his black tricorn, stuck the folded map to his head, and pulled down the hat as firmly as possible.

A rope swung outside the captain’s window two feet to the right. Thank God for small favors. He lunged at it and grabbed it. Noiselessly, he lowered himself down the rope, bracing both feet against the hull to rappel toward the water. Lowering quietly, he winked back at the figurehead of a saucy French woman carved beneath the captain’s cabin. As soon as he made it into the water, he let go of the rope and swam like a mackerel fleeing a shark toward the shore, careful to keep his head out of the foul-smelling drink. He counted on the black of night and the murky Thames to hide him from the searchers on the ship.

As he covered the distance between the French ship and the shore, he could hear the Frenchmen yelling and running about. He dared a glance back. Every lantern on the ship appeared to have been lit and the crew was scurrying about like a bevy of ants on an infiltrated hill.

He swam to the darkest spot on the far end of the docks, around the bend from sight of the French ship, and pulled himself ashore beneath a creaky dock using only his forearms. Exhausted, he rolled onto his back and lay breathing heavily in the pitch-black night. One hand went up to clap the top of his tricorn and a wide smile spread across his face.

He’d done it. He’d escaped from a French ship with the map detailing the planned route to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena. Of course he had. He was the Black Fox.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted with the permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Q&A with Valerie Bowman

1. What is your favorite scene in Never Trust a Pirate? I truly do love the whole book but I think everything that happens after they get on the ship is especially fun. The book is sort of pre-ship and post-ship.

2. What’s your favorite underappreciated romance novel? One of my favorite romances ever is Dark Future by KC Klein. It’s a futuristic scifi romance, which is not normally something I gravitate toward (I like to read historical romance!) but I picked up KC’s book and couldn’t put it down. It’s fantastic. She also has me reading contemporary cowboy stories.

 

3. Are you methodical in your writing, certain hours of the day, certain rituals you may perform before you sit down? Or are you one of those writers who binge write when the mood is upon you? I’m a binge writer, but it’s not about the mood striking so much as it’s about having more time to write on the weekend because I’m not at my day job.

 

4. Are there particular tropes you are fond of using? My favorite trope is probably reunited lovers or old friends who fall in love. I love the brother’s best friend trope, too. I’ve used all of those and am currently writing a story where a married couple (who haven’t seen each other in ten years) are forced to work together again. Of course hijinx (and romance) will ensue!

 

5. What lead you to writing historical romances? My love of reading them. I read them a lot as a teenager. They made me so happy.

 

6. How would you describe Never Trust a Pirate using only three words? Racy Regency Romp. That’s how I describe all of my books, actually.

 

7. What is your advice for other writers? Write! It’s simple. I see a lot of would-be writers taking classes and reading books about writing but the best thing to do is just write, write, write. Worry about the mechanics later. You do need to study craft and learn the business but you’ve got nothing to improve if you’re not actually writing.

 

8. Do you, or your publisher decide on your beautiful covers? If your publisher, do you have any input? My publisher makes the covers for the books and I love them. They send them to me for input but it’s usually quite minimal. They are gorgeous! I’m very lucky.

 

9. Why this setting and why pirates? Inquiring minds want to you, or me anyway. I unabashedly love pirates! I love to read stories about them and when I was a kid I wanted to be one. Of course I get horribly seasick and am about the least adventurous person you’d ever meet. Swashbuckling would stress me out. I guess that’s why I have to write about it instead.

 

10. What do you do to relax, after a day of writing? And how, do you set your writing day in order to achieve your goal of a certain number of pages? My favorite way to relax is to take a nap. I should have been born in a country that embraces the concept of siesta. That’s where I belong. Ha! I don’t count pages so much as I count words. So if I have to get twenty thousand words (about ¼ of a novel) written in a weekend, I would need to write about 6,600 Friday night, 13,000 on Saturday, and 6,600 on Sunday. I have a day job so weekends are very important to me as far as hitting my word count goals.

 

11. Another inquiring minds want to you, approximately, how long does it take you to write a full length novel? How many books can you write in a year? It takes me about two months to actually write the novel (working mostly nights and weekends around my full-time job) but it takes months to plot and think about the novel which is why I only write two novels per year.

 

12. Which Hollywood stars would you like to see as the main characters in NEVER TRUST A PIRATE? I actually have a Pinterest board set up with my idea of who all the main characters in the Playful Brides series look like. For Cade Cavendish and Danielle LaCrosse it’s Chris Pine and Zooey Deschanel. You can find the board at: https://www.pinterest.com/valeriegbowman/playfulbrides/.

13. Do you write fulltime? No and I actually have a theory that if I did write full-time I would get much less writing done. I think having to be so disciplined about my writing time forces me to focus. At least that’s what I tell myself.

14. Twitter or Facebook? Both!

 

15. Favorite TV show? Of all time? Gilmore Girls. As for what’s on today, I love Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda. I’m a sucker for true crime.

 

16. Who is your favorite book boyfriend? My book boyfriend is Jason Fielding from Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. Talk about the perfect tortured hero!

17. What are you reading right now or what’s on your TBR? I’m currently reading Kerrigan Byrne’s, The Duke, and I can’t wait to dive into Anna Bennett’s, I Dared the Duke!

18. 2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to? I just saw a trailer for Dunkirk and I got goosebumps! I can’t wait. I love WWII-era history almost as much as the Regency.

19. Give us the “elevator pitch” for your new book. I call Never Trust a Pirate: The Scarlet Pimpernel meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Regency England.

20. Series or stand alone? If series do you already have a set number of books that you plan to write? Series. When I began to write the Playful Brides series, I planned three books. I’m happy to say it’s going to be eleven altogether, plus a novella. Plans change!

21. If you could change anything in your past, what would it be and why? And how do you think it has affected your writing. – From Judy at Long and Short Reviews, she says hi! Was in a writing group in FL that you spoke at! I would love to go back to my twenty-two year old self and tell her to start writing romance novels right away. Alas, I have no time machine. Frankly, I don’t think my twenty-two year old self had the confidence or the patience to do it. I think life unfolds the way it’s meant to in due time. (Hi Judy!)

22. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? I’ve been to Bath and seen the Jane Austen museum there. Does that count?

23. What are your future project(s)? Right now, I’m editing book 8 in the Playful Brides series. It’s called The Right Kind of Rogue and comes out on Halloween. I’m also writing book 9 of the Playful Brides series. And I’m always plotting future books in my head. In this case I’ve already got a lot of ideas for how I’m going to end the series with book #11 (Delilah and Thomas’s book) in Spring 2019.

24. For novices who haven’t read a novel of yours what is it that they will find unique in your work? I hope they will find a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is filled with humor and heart. Above all, I just want my stories to entertain. I’m not here to give anyone a history lesson. I just want readers to smile and sigh.

25. Do you find that you base any of your characters on people in your life? Have you gotten any inspiration for scenes in your novel from things that have happened to you in real life? The entire Playful Brides series was conceived based on my friend’s terrible boyfriend. She wouldn’t break up with him and I kept telling her to let me call him and break up with him for her (I was kidding, sorta). On a drive home from dinner with her one night, after she’d filled my ear yet again with a bunch of stories of the awful things he’d done (forgot her birthday, asked her to pay his cell phone bill), I started thinking how funny it would be if there was a service that you could call to break-up with your boyfriend for you. The opposite of Cyrano de Bergerac. I decided that would be great story and immediately began to think about how I could set it in the Regency. That was the idea for The Unexpected Duchess, the first story in the series.

26. Are there any books or authors that have really influenced you and made you want to write? What about those authors inspired or influenced you? Lisa Kleypas was a huge influence on me. I was snowed in at an airport in 2007 and picked up Scandal in Spring. Many hours later (I couldn’t put the book down) I considered giving romance writing a try. She is a brilliant writer and a lovely person both inside and out.

27. Have you read anything lately that you loved? Julie Anne Long’s The Legend of Lyon Redmond was sheer perfection if you ask me.

28. Do you usually work off of an outline while writing or do you tend to just start writing and see where the story takes you? I don’t have an outline per se, but I sketch out a few sentences for each chapter in my Word .doc so I know where the story is going. I’ve been working lately on making my stories more character driven so I may change this up a bit.
29. What other books or movies or music influenced this novel? As with all of the stories in my Playful Brides series, Never Trust a Pirate was inspired by a play. In this case it’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. I loved the concept of a character with dual identities.

 

 

30. What advice do you have for pair wanting to get into the writing field? If you want to write romance, join Romance Writers of America (RWA.org). Hands down it was the best thing I did to learn how to write a romance novel. Leslie Wainger’s book, Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies, is also fantastic.

Review: Slow Burn Cowboy





Synopsis:

In Copper Ridge, Oregon, a cowboy’s best friend might turn out to be the woman of his dreams… 

If Finn Donnelly makes a plan, he sticks to it. After his brothers left Copper Ridge, Finn stayed behind, determined to keep their ranch going by himself. And when he realized his feelings for Lane Jensen were more than platonic, he shoved that inconvenient desire away. It was easy…until it wasn’t. Suddenly his brothers are coming home to claim their share of the property. And Lane is no longer just in his fantasies. She’s in his arms, and their friendship is on the line… 

He’s been her buddy, her handyman, her rock. But until that one breathtaking kiss, Lane somehow overlooked the most important thing about Finn Donnelly—he’s all man. They’re right together, no matter how much his volatile past has bruised him. Finn wants to hold Lane’s body, but he doesn’t want to hold her heart. But Lane is falling fast and now she’s got a plan of her own…to show Finn there’s nothing hotter than friendship turned to slow-burning love. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Maisey Yates latest novel, Slow Burn Cowboy, is a sexy addictive read. Talk about a hot summer novel. Wow. Pent up frustration between two best friends. Each one of them carries a past full of secrets. 

Finn pushes everyone in his life away for a reason. So that he doesn’t get hurt again like he was…

Lane feels guilty about something that haunts her present. She’s also afraid of losing her best friend…

Two peas in a pod. One is a fabulous cook and the other is the grouch. 

Family soon sweeps into the ranch room. Causing for one brother to being even more grouchy, if possible. Each of his three adult brothers are dealing with life issues. One is no longer in the military, another is dealing with a teenage daughter, and the other wants to be a part of his legacy again. 

Maisey Yates brings family, love, and new beginnings to life. Inside Slow Burn Cowboy, I got to follow a variety of characters as they struggled with their own issues. Accepting their pasts and moving forward is difficult for them all. I enjoyed the themes explored on every page. Fun, believable, and entertaining. Overall, I recommend this Cowboy contemporary novel to readers everywhere. 

Review: Maybe This Summer





Synopsis:

Always a wingman . . .

Owen McConnell is used to being ignored. After all, it’s only when he appears as the Colorado Avalanche’s team mascot that he gets all the attention. When the costume is off, women tend to gravitate toward his famous hockey player friends. But after he meets lovely, damaged Paige Adams, he knows he can be the star player for her. She’s raising funds for the hospital burn unit, and Owen’s determined to help her out—and sweep her off her feet.

The burn unit has been near and dear to Paige’s heart ever since the doctors helped her after a vicious attack. Yet the scars—both emotional and physical—haven’t faded as much as she’d hoped. She’s closed herself off from relationships, and the thought of opening up is terrifying. But Owen’s sexy charm might be just the push Paige needs to start loving again.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Maybe This Summer by Jennifer Snow is a heartfelt novel. This was the perfect summer read. I instantly connected with the main characters. Their stories were they’re own secrets. Both felt some shame from what they do and what they are. Scars both physical and emotional have them wound up tight. The first time, Owen laid eyes on Paige, he knew she was it. She was the woman for him. Owen has had women pass him up for his hockey buddies. It was hard to imagine that since, Paige described him as hot and sexy. He too has physical scars like her. Yet all she saw was a sexy as sin man standing before her. Owen doesn’t see Paige as a women with scary scars. Instead he sees a beautiful, caring, smart woman. Paige works hard to help the burn center that helped her. Owen struggles with his own demons just like Paige. In a way, they both help each other move forward. Helping each other feel more confident in their skin. I loved that part of the story. Jennifer Snow took a realistic opportunity and brought it to life in an entertaining way. A way that opens up readers’ hearts. Understanding what it was like for both Paige and Owen holing onto and letting go of their insecurities was an eye opener. Overall, I highly recommend Maybe This Summer to readers worldwide. 

Books I’ve Read

I’ve been reading a lot of Harlequin books this summer. Ranging from Brenda Novak to Maisey Yates. I love them all. 

The Whiskey Creek Series by Brenda Novak 

The Silver Springs Series by Brenda Novak

Slow Burn Cowboy + Take Me Cowboy by Maisey Yates

A Barking Detective Mystery Series by Waverly Curtis

Wrangler’s Creek Series by Delores Fossen

Double S Ranch Series by Ruth Logan Herne

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

I recommend this novels to all. These are exciting, full of action, and are charming. 

Reading Goals

I have spent the past three years reviewing every single book in my hands. I wanted to contribute to helping writers succeed. Every review matters…I kept telling myself that. To the point, I became obsessed with reading. I can’t deny reviewing a book. The books both digital and print stack up everywhere in my small room. 

It has gotten to the point my grandpa sighed, shaking his head at me. “What are you going to do with all of these books?” 

With that I replied, “they’re my entertainment.” 

He left feeling frustrated that I was wasting my time away. But I’m isolated anyway. What does it matter? I don’t have any physical friends in town to hang out with…I don’t own a car. Besides, I can’t afford to buy one. I’m stuck. Reading books has led me to places I’ve never been. I got to meet a variety of characters. Okay, so they’re fiction…but still. I felt as though I lived a little through them. 

When a book is good enough for me to get lost within it pages, it’s worthy of praise. 

I started out as a blogger. Because it would help me contribute as a Reviewer. I loved reading. Always had my face glued to a book. 

I can’t afford to buy every book that has been released. That’s a perk of being a Reviewer. Being able to read books that have been or about to be released. I love receiving new books to read. I ended up saying, yes, everytime. My load is now, overstocked. I had helpers but none of them are as dedicated as I am to reviewing. They have full-time jobs, a family, and writing of their own to do. So, now, it’s just me. The load feels heavy. The pressure has built up around me. I’ve tried asking for help from avid readers. But to no avail. I’m doing it alone. 

I read every book that comes to me. I have set aside a goal. Every year, despite how busy my elderly grandparents and colleges courses keep me busy, I have managed to pass my reading goal. This year, my reading goal is set to 700 books. I’m up to 400. Next month, I start new college classes. A full class schedule. No extra help on reviewing. Just me. My friends call themselves readers. But none have read more than 30 books a year. 

I recently was called out by a former friend. She said, I didn’t have a husband, a job, nor a home to take care of…she said that to me after I asked her if she knew a bestselling author. I told her she needed to read more. But I bet you she knows popular actors…she claims to want to be a Reviewer like me. But she’s not dedicated to it. Herheart isn’t in it. So, when I said, you need to read more, she got ticked. She shut herself down as a friend. Blocked me from messaging in fact. Whenever she wanted to know something about books, I answered her questions. When I asked her what she was reading or what books she got, she said, it’s late I’ve got to work. She never said what book. I felt like I was constantly interrogating her. 

I have stopped talking to her about books. It’s not worth it. She wants answers from me, but I can’t ask a simple book question, “what are you reading?”

I’ve had others say, I’ll help you review. I sent books out…haven’t gotten reviews back in yet. 

Despite all my failures as a writer, editor, and reader, I still continue. I’m tired of hearing, “you’ll never make it.” Or “you’re too stupid.”

I may be poor, but I am not a quitter. I will continue to work hard, if not harder. Proving that I can succeed. Reading is all I have in this world. If I fail that, or let it go, I’ve got nothing. 

Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue






Synopsis:

It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York! 

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner. 

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan hold so many meanings. Deep, raw, and emotional. The journey for each character was sad, funny, sexy, and heartfelt. Delicious meals, hot sex, and  frustrated individuals during Christmas makes for a great read. Both lost someone special to them. Lucas lost his wife the night she told him she didn’t love him anymore. Eva lost her grandmother and Lucas’s grandmother is her friend. Almost like a second grandmother to her. Mistzy hires Eva to bring Christmas to her grandson, aka Lucas’s apartment. To Eva, he was supposedly in Vermont. However, both she and Lucas get the surprise of a lifetime. Between being strangled, calling 911, and being sexually attracted to one another, their time is interesting. I couldn’t help to laugh, cry, and love them. Lucas’s grandmother was also another character I admired and loved. She added humor, wit, and understanding to the tale. Christmas is approaching…Eva is a romantic and Lucas has a writer’s deadline. Can they both get what they wanted plus, more? Miracle on 5th Avenue is exactly that. Miracles do happen. Sarah Morgan’s writing was beautifully done. I highly recommend it to all. 
P.s. This should be a Hallmark movie. 

Review: City Affairs

Synopsis:

“THIS BOOK REIGNITED MY LOVE FOR A GOOD ROMANCE”
An epic tale of heartbreak, despair, hope and second chances, inspired by a real life story. Felicité has a reasonably successful career, working in London’s Canary Wharf financial district; and is a faithful, doting wife. Her husband is an author and serial cheater. After catching him cheating for the umpteenth time, she sets him an ultimatum. Meanwhile, a dreamy mega-rich hedge fund manager has been showering her with attention. A chance encounter one lunchtime will have profound ramifications beyond her wildest imagination.
As she struggles to make sense of everything, she is forced to confront her inner demons and grapple with the difference between fate and destiny. A strange confluence of circumstances conspires to present her with her greatest dilemma yet. 
The book is set in London, with scenes in France and New York. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review

City Affairs by Seb King is an exciting yet realistic romance. Readers like myself will get to travel to some of the best cities while exploring the brewing romance between characters. It was easy to read and relate to the situations that popped up…Seb King made his characters real. His words entertaining. New beginnings, choices, and the chaos of life are explored on every page. City Affairs one emotional journey that I recommend to women everywhere. 

Review: The Midnight Queen





Synopsis:

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

 

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

 

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

 

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost… 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter is a charming mystical read. This historical fiction brings magic, adventure, and danger to every page. I was intrigued. Fascinated. The writer, Sylvia IzzoHunter brought her characters to life. Their delimmas peaked my curiosity as I dug further into the plot. Magic, secrets, and something evil lurks within this book. The college students work together to figure it out…once, I started reading along, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know what to expect from one page to another. Suspenseful, engaging, and fun. The Midnight Queen is definitely one paranormal fantasy that I recommend to all.