Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter is a sweet tale full of sacrifices and hope. Two friends are battling for things they want in life. However, when the push comes to shove they put aside their dreams for a better future than they hoped for…

Brady is a decent man and going to be a wonderful father. His trouble broke my heart. I felt sympathy for him right away. It was easy to connect with Brady due to his circumstances. Losing a loved one and then finding out that your newborn isn’t yours to begin with…is a whole new level of difficulty that no one wants to have. Yet Brady is dealing with them all. Then, the pressure from his wife’s family is giving him even more trouble. But hope and promises lie with his friend, Hope.

Hope is a determined woman willing to get what she wants. Yet something keeps pulling her towards Brady and his newborn that she cannot deny. A new future with new possibilities is hard to let go of when the hear is being torn.

Honeysuckle Dreams is exactly as it sounds. Hope and dreams colliding causing for an adventure of a lifetime. Overall, I was entertained from beginning to end. I would recommend it to readers everywhere.

Advertisements

Review: Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden is an awe inspiring tale of the bond between two sisters. Being an older sister, I can relate to these sisters. My baby sister has moved away to pursue her dreams, and I felt like we drifted apart. But we still love each other and are there when we need each other. The same can be shown in this book with the Talbot sisters. Their aunt passes away and that starts their reunion in becoming closer. From there their journeys become messy, complicated, and scary. But they now, have each other in their lives again and from there they learn and help each other. I loved the protrayal of the sister bonding moments, the emotional rollercoaster each one took, and the sacrifices they made. It was a steady piece of fiction. The plot was heartfelt and realistic. Overall, I recommend it to readers.

Review: The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION

Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper?

Early in August 1937, a news flash came: a sea monster had been spotted lurking off the shore of Nantucket Island. Historically, the Massachusetts island had served as port for whaling ships. Eyewitnesses swore this wasn’t a whale, but some new, fearsome creature. As eyewitness account piled up, newspaper stories of the sea monster spread quickly. Across the nation, people shivered in fear.

Then, footprints were found on a Nantucket beach. Photographs were sent to prominent biologists for their opinion. Discussion swirled about raising a hunting party.

On August 18, news spread across the island: the sea monster had been captured. Islanders ran to the beach and couldn’t believe their eyes.

This nonfiction picture book is a perfect tool to discuss non-political fake news stories.

Back matter discusses the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Quotes from Thomas Jefferson make it clear that fake news has always been one of the costs of a free press. A Timeline lists actual events in the order they occurred. A vocabulary list defines relevant words.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison is a great story for children. It teaches them to not believe everything the read. Just because the newspaper prints a story does not mean it’s true. Newspapers can decide which stories they want to print for their audiences and which ones they do not want to print. Things such as hoaxes, free press, and publicity stunts can be seen and used for a great story. No real Sea monster existed yet it gained so much attention. This same thing can be applied to books, social media, and websites. Not everything published is accurate nor true. Be careful what you read. This book teaches children about fake news. How it happens, how it is used, and that things like a newspaper have that right. I thought it was entertaining, colorful, and informative.

Review: Jesus the Bridegroom by Brant Pitre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In Jesus the Bridegroom, Brant Pitre once again taps into the wells of Jewish Scripture and tradition, and unlocks the secrets of what is arguably the most well-known symbol of the Christian faith: the cross of Christ. In this thrilling exploration, Pitre shows how the suffering and death of Jesus was far more than a tragic Roman execution. Instead, the Passion of Christ was the fulfillment of ancient Jewish prophecies of a wedding, when the God of the universe would wed himself to humankind in an everlasting nuptial covenant.

To be sure, most Christians are familiar with the apostle Paul’s teaching that Christ is the ‘Bridegroom’ and the Church is the ‘Bride’. But what does this really mean? And what would ever possess Paul to compare the death of Christ to the love of a husband for his wife? If you would have been at the Crucifixion, with Jesus hanging there dying, is that how you would have described it? How could a first-century Jew like Paul, who knew how brutal Roman crucifixions were, have ever compared the execution of Jesus to a wedding? And why does he refer to this as the “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32)?

As Pitre shows, the key to unlocking this mystery can be found by going back to Jewish Scripture and tradition and seeing the entire history of salvation, from Mount Sinai to Mount Calvary, as a divine love story between Creator and creature, between God and Israel, between Christ and his bride—a story that comes to its climax on the wood of a Roman cross.

In the pages of Jesus the Bridegroom, dozens of familiar passages in the Bible—the Exodus, the Song of Songs, the Wedding at Cana, the Woman at the Well, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and even the Second Coming at the End of Time—are suddenly transformed before our eyes. Indeed, when seen in the light of Jewish Scripture and tradition, the life of Christ is nothing less than the greatest love story ever told.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Jesus the Bridegroom by Brant Pitre is a must read for all Christian readers, especially those who are Catholic. It explains and takes readers, like myself, on a journey to following the relationship between Jesus and the church. I was impressed with the research that went into making this book. There were plenty of quoted material that went with the pages as they continued the discussion. I loved how Brant Pitre showed us, readers, the way of Jesus and the way of the Jews. History, faith, and Christian doctrine are implemented throughout this book. I enjoyed diving deeper into my faith with Brant Pitre as my guide. His words were easy to follow and made understanding the content of that historical moment in a way that was epic. I would recommend this to readers worldwide. If you’re Catholic definitely read this, if you’re another Christian faith, read it to familiarize yourself with relationship of Jesus Christ. Overall, it was educational, informative, and well-done.

Review: A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Mercy McClain joined the school board to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child. When the worst offender from her school days applies for a teaching position, she is dead set against it. Yet Aaron Firebrook claims to be a changed man. Can he earn Mercy’s trust–and her support for the challenges to come?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Chance at Forver by Melissa Jagears is a sweet, heartfelt, and engaging tale. I was instantly taken in with the main protagonists. Their journeys were both internal and external. A you woman was tormented every day by a peer of hers. Now, years later, the meet again. This time, he has changed his name and appearance. But something about him is different.

Mercy has a difference that is visible to everyone’s eyes. Her stump of a hand puts her on edge. She feels handicapped by it. When she was a girl, a boy made fun of her daily for her stump…yet she still survived. Now grown, Mercy is still struggling with her physical appearance. It went from a physical to an emotional handicap.

Aaron was a young boy who tormented others to make himself feel better. He knew what he was doing was wrong yet he still did it. His family life was awful and he thought others should not be happy if he wasn’t. Now as a grown man, Aaron wants to apologize to all his peers and hope to make a difference in his students’ lives. But Mercy might prevent that…and his past has a way of hindering him from his future happiness.

Together Mercy and Aaron have a long way to go. Both need to learn what is stopping them from being happy. Forgiveness is not just one sided. Each protagonist has suffered pain, loss, and trauma. But with some faith, friends, and new beginnings they might just find the peace they’re looking for…

A Chance at Forver deals with bullying, handicaps, faith, and hope. Second chances are given and found here. I felt sorry for both characters and the other side characters that they influence throughout their journey. Melissa Jagears has captivated me with her novel. I could not stop reading this heart tugging story. It was powerful, educational, and inspiring. Overall, I would highly recommend this historical novel to all readers.

 

Review: Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home–and she’s determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Pelican Point by Irene Hannon is a nice clean read. It is a story of one grandson who loss his grandfather and inherits a lighthouse that nobody wants, ncluding him. Then, there is the cat he tried to save only to get scratched up, the police called on him, and a determined female reporter wanting a story from him. Ben Garrison is an easy character to like and connect with…his emotional journey sucked me into the story. Sad, entertaining, and hopeful, this novel was good. I felt everything Ben did.  It was like I was there personally watching it all unfold. Overall, I recommend this sweet heartfelt tale to all readers.

Review: No Cure for the Dead by Christine Trent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When a young nurse dies on her watch, Florence Nightingale must uncover the deep-hidden secrets someone will kill to keep buried.

It is 1853. Lady of the Lamp Florence Nightingale has just accepted the position of Superintendent of the Establishment for Gentlewomen During Temporary Illness in London. She has hardly had time to learn the names of the nurses in her charge when she suddenly finds one of them hanging in the Establishment’s library. Her name was Nurse Bellamy.

Florence’s mettle is tested by the dual goals of preserving what little reputation her hospital has and bringing Nurse Bellamy’s killer to justice. Her efforts are met with upturned noses and wayward glances except for her close friend and advocate inside the House of Commons, Sidney Herbert. As Florence digs deeper, however, her attention turns to one of the hospital investors and suddenly, Sidney becomes reluctant to help.

With no one but herself to count on, Florence must now puzzle out what the death of an unknown, nondescript young nurse has to do with conspiracies lurking about at the highest levels of government before she’s silenced too.

For fans of Anne Perry and Laurie R. King comes No Cure for the Dead, the rich and enthralling series debut from Christine Trent.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

No Cure for the Dead by Christine Tent is an interesting yet deadly read. A young nurse is recruited as head of a hospital. What she finds once there, is more than any nurse should ever see. A suicide that bears the marks of a murder, nurses who are cruel and scheming, and several affairs going on in a secret room. One murder may turn t multiple murders. But head nurse, Florence, makes sure no one else dies under her care. Danger, risks, and trouble are brewing on these pages. Florence is a smart and well-educated no nonsense kind of woman. She takes full responsibility and does not turn away from hardships. I liked her a lot. It was easy to fall into the novel’s plot. It was thick with mystery, mayhem, and death. I enjoyed following nurse Florence as she went about fixing the sad state of the hospital and finding the real murder before it got way worse. Some of the characters are left with scars but will survive. Overall, I highly recommend this murder medical mystery to all.

Review: X-Ops Exposed by Paige Tyler

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

HE LEFT TO KEEP HER SAFE
Believing he’s too dangerous to be among people, feline hybrid Tanner Howland retreats deep into the forests of Washington State—with no choice but to leave behind the woman who’s captured his heart. What he doesn’t know is that she followed him…

SHE WOULDN’T STAY BEHIND
Heartbroken and determined, Dr. Zarina Sokolov tracks Tanner into the wild. Her presence unleashes Tanner’s protective instinct—big time. Locals have been disappearing and he is desperate for Zarina to leave. As the kidnappings escalate, Tanner must embrace the dangerous instincts he fears so much. But with Zarina at his side, he’ll have to learn to control his animal impulses, or lose himself—and the woman he loves—to the beast within.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

X-Ops Exposed by Paige Tyler is an exciting paranormal romantic suspense read. I was thoroughly engaged, hooked, and in love with this book. It was full of danger, excitement, risks, and hot steamy scenes too.

I couldn’t get enough of Tanner Howland. He is the kind of man every woman wants in her life and every man wants as his best friend and backup. Tanner is a tough soldier who went through a lifetime of hellish situations. But somehow he’s managed to keep living and moving forward. Sure, he still struggles with real-life issues that all men could relate to him, but he is still the perfect hero. Tough yet kind as hell, Tanner is irresistible.

Dr. Zarina Sokolvo is Russian. I can see and hear her speak as the plot ran by me. I was fascinated with this scientist. She was kidnapped to work on a biological scheme for evil men. They took men off the streets to inject them with hybrid syrum to transform them from humans to animals. Many died from this experiment. Dr. Zarina wanted no part but teed like hell to stop them. She risked her life to save Tanner. Tanner has never forgotten her help nor who that bright woman was…

Life is messy. Complications arise as Dr. Zarina and Tanner are brought together again. Trouble comes  crashing down around them sending them apart once more. But Dr. Zarina does not give up that easily nor does Tanner. Overall, X-Ops Exposed by Paige Tyler was sexy as hell and full of action. I could not stop reading this novel. I would highly recommend it to all readers.

Review: An Amish Heirloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston

Local volunteer fire fighter Leon King agrees to repair his ex-girlfriend Susie Bontrager’s grandparents’ antique rocking chairs for her future home with her fiance and is forced to acknowledge that his feelings for her have not quite gone away. As Susie spends time with Leon, she begins to recognize she is marrying the wrong man for all the wrong reasons.

 

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman

Decades after inheriting her great grandmother’s cedar chest, Emma Fisher decides to pry it open only to discover a beautiful love story in the form of letters between her great grandparents. But as Emma immerses herself in their story, family secrets are revealed, and she must decide whether to share them to preserve family history or honor her great grandparents’ decision to leave them hidden.

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller

For the past two years, Shane Broyles has felt God leading him to join the Amish. He’s staying with his friends Noah and Ivy Schlabach in Birch Creek, OH, where he is reunited with Lucy Fisher, an old friend of Noah’s family. Shane and Lucy have never revealed their feelings for each other, but when they stumble upon an antique Bible at a flea market, they feel drawn to each other and to the mystery of the contents found within.

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin

Iris Beachy serves as a midwife in her district where she longs for a family of her own. When her friend’s brother Mahon Kurtz seeks her help in delivering the baby of two young teenagers who have sought refuge in their town, they begin to see each other in a different light. Unprepared for parenthood, the young couple leave their baby girl behind in an antique crib quilt resembling the one destined for Iris when she becomes a mother. Mahon and Iris come together to take care of the baby as they try to find her parents, and they begin to see new possibilities for their future.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

An Amish Heirloom is a wonderful collection of Christian stories. Each story is written by a different author. I enjoyed reading these tales. Every one of them had a different vibe and emotional as well as spiritual lesson attached. New beginnings, love, hope, and faith are tested here. The characters were easy to connect with and had me liking them more as their story unfolded. These were clean, good plots,  that made me heart melt with love. I  would recommend this collection to readers worldwide.

Review: The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future.

In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions?

Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder—including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.

Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.

Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. Born on opposite sides of the conflict, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls—even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd is a heartfelt journey full of surprises. I was entertained from the beginning. The main characters have a heavy weight on their shoulders. Both of  their families and the town are hanging by a thread. A wrong decision could make everything much worse. Two families are fighting among each other. The past held bad memories. Kate is bound to her father but things have changed. She will have to make choice between her father and the man that holds her heart. Henry is also bound by duty. He and Kate kept meeting and fate has taken over their lives. Good things are on the horizon but loss and grief may still exist. Some things may never change…

Sarah E. Ladd has written a fun historical fiction piece. I was charmed and lured by both Kate and Henry. The younger generation trying to to hold together what their families have created is a daunting task. I felt as though I had slipped back in time. Loyalty, hope, and love are some of the major themes explored here. It was well-written. Overall, I recommend this novel to all.

 

 

Review: Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A grieving daughter and abuse survivor must summon the courage to run a feminist conference, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and escape a catfishing stalker to find her power.
Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother’s death, and her dark past, by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she’ll coordinate an annual conference to raise awareness of violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he’s a womanizer.

Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about identity, shame, and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It’s a book about Ahana’s unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to determine whom to place her trust in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.

Louisiana Catch is a triumph. In Ahana, Sweta Vikram has created an unforgettable character, strong, wise, and deeply human, who’ll inspire a new generation struggling to come to terms with their identity in a world of blurring identities.” –KARAN BAJAJ, New York Times bestselling author, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent

“In Louisiana Catch, Sweta Vikram brings life to the complex human rights issue of violence against women. Through one woman’s journey to make sense of her past and ultimately heal, Vikram shows us that yoga can reconnect us to ourselves, and that by empowering others, we transform our own lives.” –ZOE LEPAGE, Founder, Exhale to Inhale

Louisiana Catch perfectly captures what it means to be human in a digital world, where support groups meet online, love interests flirt on Twitter, and people get confused with personas. Equal parts tender and playful, moving and hopeful, Vikram’s prose connects us with timeless truths about grief and redemption in a satisfyingly modern way.” –STEPHANIE PATERIK, Managing Editor, Adweek

Learn more at http://www.SwetaVikram.com
From Modern History Press, http://www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram is like a drug. It pulls you into its depth and hooks you inside of its journey. This was one epic path that the writer lead me on…I was intrigued. A woman, Ahana, finds herself in one of the most complicated and dangerous situations a woman should never be found in, yet Ahana does. She lost her mother and she soon becomes a victim to her husband’s brutal sexual torment.

Rape is ongoing issue women worldwide still face. This issue should be solved yet so many fall victim. Some never survive that form of destruction, both physically and emotionally. I found myself crying for Ahana. Her losses are so great and many. People she should be able to trust turn out to be the worst. I felt the fear, the risks, and the danger as the plot carries me from beginning to end. Ahana is a strong female protagonist. She may loose her way occasionally but eventually finds it. No one is perfect. Life is messy.

Sweta Vikram captures my attention with the devasting events and the suspense of what will come from it. I felt sympathy and a connection instantly to Ahana. I really liked her. Her colleague, Rohan, is another great character. He was there helping her. Or trying to help her when she was in a bad situation. From the beginning to end of her journey, Rohan supports Ahana. Ahana at times made me want to shake her, for her carelessness but she has grown into a wonderful woman at the end of her journey. This is one unforgettable character that will forever live in the minds of readers like me and countless others. There are so many things that drag readers into Ayana’s sad yet powerful story. Overall, I would recommend this novel to all women including those who have been abused. It shows that even though the world is a dark place, there too, is a light that will eventually shine bright.

Review: First Comes Love by Heather Heyford

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In Heather Heyford’s newest book, a single mom and attorney with deep roots in the rolling hills of Oregon’s Ribbon Ridge wine country thinks her family is perfect as is—until she crosses paths again with a gruff police officer who has two boys of his own . . .

There is nothing sweeter than the family you pick yourself . . .

After detective Alex Walker’s last case in Portland is skewered by a tough-as-nails attorney, he decides to finish out his career on a quiet note in the Willamette Valley. Dedicated to his job and committed to his family, he’s fine letting his brusque exterior keep even the thought of a relationship at bay—especially once he realizes his new hometown is the old hometown of the attorney who ruined his last case . . .

Single mom and attorney Kerry O’Hearn is just as wary as Alex is, thanks to her disastrous first marriage. But she isn’t fooled by Alex’s tough-guy image. When he asks for her assistance in gaining custody of two little boys from an abusive foster home, she sees what he desperately tries to hide: a giant-sized heart. Between them they have five kids and a whole barrel of bad experience. And yet, Kerry can’t shake the feeling that she and the crusty cop were meant to be . . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

This contemporary romance novel by Heather Heyford is sweet, engaging, and heartfelt. There is a huge theme on family. Patience, love, and friendship are among the smaller themes featured in this book. I was hooked. I connected quickly to both the single mom and the police officer. Both have enormous hearts of gold and an unavoidable attraction to each other. First Comes Love, was fun to follow. Kerry O’Hearn is a single mother who feels something for the former police officer she knew from her past. Brought together again after so much time, both end up getting what the desired and what they never thought they could have. The children made for some laugh out loud moments. I truly enjoyed reading this romantic tale. Overall, Irecommend it to readers everywhere.

Author Interview: Sweta Vikram

Author Interview with Sweta Vikram

 

 

 

 

 

 

ULM: What inspired you to write Louisiana Catch?

It wasn’t one thing that inspired me to write Louisiana Catch. Between the time spent on social media, the increase in reportage of cases of rape and sexual assault on women, colleagues and friends talking about their bad online experiences, the shame I sensed in so many of these conversations, it all came together over 5-6 years. There were ideas. Those ideas developed into short stories or chunks of work. And, over the years, it all came together and turned into Louisiana Catch.

ULM: What was the emotional journey Like in creating this debut novel?

The thought of writing 70,000 plus words and creating these characters out of your imagination, was both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, I didn’t want force myself to finish a book in X no. of days—have a day job as the owner of a wellness company, NimmiLife, and a nurturing but demanding personal life; on the other hand, being a part-time writer made the process seem more daunting and endless in the beginning. So, I set I realistic expectations. I believe in trusting my instincts and the organic development of the story. And I know that I am a disciplined writer. My strategy was to have a vague outline and meaty chunks of micro stories ready within a certain time. Let them stew as I worked on other creative projects. Slowly, the book evolved and a lot of those stories made it to Louisiana Catch while others got the boot.

Another thing: Because my writing focuses on women, wellness, identity, and multiculturalism, I knew at least one women’s issue would be in the book. Sensitively approaching topics like marital rape or cyber stalking and cyber bullying were high on my agenda. I tell you, writing about the darkness in the world can take a toll on your own emotional health. That’s why I make it a point to meditate, practice yoga, and surround myself with nurturing people. You can’t help others from an empty place.

ULM: How much different was it writing fiction than your usual poetry?

Poetry—to me, anyway—is simple. A theme haunts me; I start work on it. The first draft, almost always, is completed within a month. Poetry is so much more about the emotion and language. Fiction is more nuanced in terms of the process and time commitment. The several drafts of writing and editing can change the way your final book “looks” from when you initially started to write it. Also, the scales are so different. Poetry heals and has a niche audience. Fiction can reach in spaces you never thought your work could. I have noticed that fiction can be more easily personalized so evokes a stronger reaction.

ULM: Which characters did you enjoy creating the most within Louisiana Catch?

I enjoyed creating each and every character, honestly. Some more than the other—like Ahana—because she is the underdog. You get mad at her for her vulnerabilities but you also root for her as she unravels the mystery of the two men and finds her own power. Creating and sharing her story was very empowering. Rohan and Naina have this element of southern charm in them, which I loved writing about. But I have to say, writing Jay’s character was most emotionally and psychologically demanding. He is such a complex character and we don’t see his truth for a very long time. I interviewed psychotherapists to ensure I was doing justice by Jay Dubois.

ULM: Using three words only, how would you describe main protagonist?

Ahana is flawed, strong, and beautiful.

ULM: What themes can readers find in your book?

Louisiana Catch touches upon themes of marital rape, which is both sexual assault as well as domestic violence. It also brings to light the power of social media in bringing social change and the dark side of the Internet: cyberstalking and cyber bullying. There is multicultural romance as well as grief and healing. You can expect to read about human relationships and friendships that make you believe in yourself and the human spirit.

ULM: Tell us, a little bit more about the grieving daughter.

Ahana loses her mother—her strength and core of the support system—very suddenly. Her mother is the one who helps Ahana walk out of a dangerous, personal situation. With her gone, Ahana thinks she is powerless and all alone. But as Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” After her mother’s death and over a period of time, Ahana develops a realistic perspective about her own strengths and the shortcomings in the relationship she shared with her mother. For an adult to not have healthy separation from their parent or for the parents to be over-involved in their adult child’s life, can lead to an unhealthy emotional dependence, which can prove to be crippling.

ULM: What was it like writing about an abuse survivor?

I have written books of poetry about female survivors of violence (for which I interviewed survivors or their families), and I also teach yoga to female survivors of trauma and sexual assault. Trust me, even after all these years, writing about one human being hurting another, isn’t easy. Just when you think you have seen it all and heard the worst, you are unpleasantly surprised. I personally know women who are sexual abuse survivors. In Louisiana Catch, Ahana, the female protagonist is a survivor of marital rape. Being violated by the person who vowed to love and protect you in sickness and in health, can take a toll on an indescribable level. I had to address Ahana’s PTSD, triggers, courage, and flaws. She grows as a person, and we want to root for her and see her come out victorious at the other end. But writing about these elements means you are thinking in stages: five steps forward and then the one trigger … and five steps backwards.

ULM: What other projects do you plan to create next, if any?

I have spent six years bringing Louisiana Catch into the world. I want to enjoy this moment and share the book as well as its journey with my readers. Once the book tour is completed by May end, I am going to take some time and focus on my family, friends, and my wellness company, NimmiLife where I have launched a wellness stories section where real women share their inspiration for wellness. Ideas for a new novel are planted, but I don’t want to jump into it right away. But then who knows with a writer what happens when creativity strikes.

ULM: Where can readers find you and your work online?

Thank you for this lovely, interview. I enjoyed it. My website, www.swetavikram.com, has a list of all of my works, events, and latest news.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Writing Characters that are Unfamiliar by Sweta Vikram

Writing Characters That are Unfamiliar

by Author Sweta Vikram

 

When I started to write Louisiana Catch, I was sure of one thing: I wanted to challenge myself and create main characters that were out of my comfort zone. Different from anything or anyone I had ever known. Be it Ahana’s wealth or Rohan’s biracial background or Jay’s underestimated and over-calculated astuteness. I like the richness that multiculturalism adds to our lives. In my humble opinion, reading diverse books about different ethnic and racial backgrounds can broaden people’s horizon and help fight bigotry. I didn’t know exactly what the characters would like or what they would do (emotionally and professionally) but I knew that I wanted New Orleans, New York, and New Delhi in the book.

Aside from being a writer, I am also a yoga teacher, Ayurveda health counselor, and entrepreneur. This means I have to work with people whose ideologies I might not always agree with or be familiar with. Sometimes, I have to help these people heal. To grow as a professional, I wanted to grow as a person. I also wanted to write at least one character who was the kind of person I couldn’t imagine befriending or even sharing a cup of chai with. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task and that’s why I took my time—six years—to write, edit, develop, and share a character-driven book with the world.

The most challenging part for me as a writer was not allowing my personal beliefs to influence the female protagonist, Ahana, in Louisiana Catch. Early reviewers of the novel have been curious if Ahana, the female protagonist, is anything like me. Well, she is a social issues advocate. I write about women, identity, and multiculturalism. One could say that there is a bit of the socialpreneur aspect in common between the author and the female protagonist. But Ahana is a survivor of marital rape, single child, and grows up in an over-protected environment at home. I grew up across three continents and made my first, solo international trip to Africa when I was in high school. And my husband is my biggest supporter. You get my point, right? Her foray into organizing the largest feminist conference is part of Ahana’s journey to healing and as a result, finding her true identity and power. And I write about women’s rights and social issues to give a voice to those who feel they don’t have the power. We both have Indian roots and that’s the most common thing between the two of us. I have to confess: At times, the way Ahana handles her privileged personal and professional life, I found myself saying, “Girl, you’ve got to stop.” But the beauty of allowing a book to develop over the years is that the characters develop their own voice. You don’t need to force reactions or dialogues. Ahana isn’t me, so her actions won’t be similar to mine.

Rohan Brady was fun and a small bit annoying to write. His playboy persona was rather aggravating for the humanist in me. Some of his jokes and dialogues made me cringe, but I had to get past my discomfort and accept: he is a fictional character. If you delve into Rohan’s psychology—which I do to a certain extent in Louisiana Catch—his complicated childhood and multi-cultural background reveal the nuances of his layered personality.

And to write Jay Dubois—without revealing too much—I interviewed a few psychotherapists because his character is complex in a whole different way. He is extremely bright and understands human emotions. People like him roam amongst us and might be part of our lives and we don’t always realize.

With all three—Ahana, Rohan, and Jay—they don’t fit a stereotype of who they are in the book. Rohan, some parts of his personality, has the slick demeanor that’s expected of people who work in public relations. But Ahana and Jay can’t be profiled against any expected markers. And I wanted that—to allow the readers to engage and understand that sexual abuse, online predators, grieving hearts don’t “look” a certain way and don’t just impact certain kinds of people.

So, why did I want to create such complex, flawed, but strong characters that you end up either hating or rooting for—you’ve got to read the book to figure out who falls in which bucket? To quote Jim Butcher, “The human mind is not a terribly logical or consistent place.”

 

Review: Goodnight Irene by James Scott Byrnside

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A brilliant detective…A baffling murder…An isolated manor…A list of less than perfect suspects with perfect alibis…No way out…It’s going to be a long and gruesome night.

Hired to stop a murder at a birthday party of invited suspects at a Mississippi Manor cut off from the world by The Great Flood of 1927, Detective Rowan Manory needs to solve a 20-year-old case to save his client from unwrapping a deadly and perhaps deserved gift of revenge.

Can Manory figure out the identity of the murderer before the bodies start dropping?

‘Goodnight Irene’ is a locked-room murder mystery that will have you guessing until the final reveal.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The prologue of this book, made me curious. Death, murder, and mystery are found on these pages. The plot was very interesting. It was mostly steady. The dialogue between characters kept me reading. Like the characters, I too, am a Cub fan. Or was in the past…but now, I do not follow any sports teams. Sometimes, it felt like there wepas more telling than showing what was happening. This caused for a feeling of slowness in spots throughout the book. It seems that clues were left and the detectives find a string of murders that might help them solve a current case. The police have no where to go with the investigation. All suspects have a clear alibi. Goodnight Irene by James Scott Byrnside is similar to the style of Mary Higgins Clark and Michael Connelly. The night a mother checks in her daughter everything changes. The daughter’s life is never the same. Irene’s past comes tumbling to the present, and there’s nowhere to hide…overall, I enjoyed the intrigue and suspense of what happened all those years ago and how they related to the present time. I would recommend this fiction title to readers everywhere.

Review: The Fed-up Cow by Peta Lemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hilda is FED-UP with being a cow. Spending all day doing not much but moo. There has to be something more she can do.

So she decides to be a sheep…
… then a pig
… and even a chicken.

Is the grass any greener on the other side?

Join Hilda, the fed-up cow, on her voyage of self-discovery in this daft but timeless story, written in rhyme.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Fed-up Cow by Peta Lemon is an engaging story. A children’s book hat is entertaining as well as educational.Here, I got to meet Hilda, a cow tired of being just a cow. She thought it was better to be others things than to be herself. The overall lesson, showed children that being who you were meant to be is the best person to be after all. Hilda tried to be a sheep, a pig, and even a chicken before realizing that being a brown spotted cow was just the thing to be. Overall, the story rhymed, and I liked the beautiful illustrations that went with this book.

Review: In the Eye of the Storm/Catering to the CEO by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dealing with your boss is never easy…falling in love with him is even harder.

In the Eye of the Storm
Holly Abrams can’t believe her demanding…and unbelievably sexy…boss, Stephen Ballinger, called her to pick him up at 2 A.M. in the middle of a tropical storm. To make matters worse, the storm is too dangerous for her to make the trek home. Forced to stay at his place to wait it out, their relationship quickly turns passionate…but will it last past the thunder and lightning?

Catering to the CEO
Millionaire CEO Adam Lawrence knows how to get what he wants–in business and in the bedroom. So when caterer Cassie Jacobs dares to best him on a deal, Adam vows revenge. But when they get life-changing news that could bind them together for years to come, Adam may have no choice but to change his ways…and open his heart.

What People Are Saying About Samantha Chase:

“A sweet romance: classic, thoughtful, and as lyrical as the stars.” –Kirkus for A Sky Full of Stars
“So much more than just a romance.” –Night Owl Reviews for Always My Girl
“A classic love story…a delight for readers.” –RT Book Reviews for This Is Our Song

 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

This duo book, was fantastic! Samantha Chase incorporated her magic touch once more in both In the Eye of the Storm & Catering to the CEO. These novellas were engaging from the first page and onward. I couldn’t stop reading them. The characters made me believe that love is still in existence. Sometimes, it comes in a surprise or takes a long waiting period, but it’s so worth the wait. These two stories were worth waiting for…the characters are easy to connect with and easy to love. Both the males and females made me laugh hard. Their struggles were real. Stubborn yet determined these duo set of characters were perfect. I loved how Mother Nature had a slight role in bringing together one couple in – In the Eye of the Storm. The male character was so obtuse at times, I wanted to smack him and say, open your eyes and your eyes! Overall, there was action, romance, and life issues to follow in these books. Samantha Chase you are a genius in the contemporary romance fiction…I loved these! I highly recommend them to readers everywhere.

Review: The Don’t Laugh Challenge Joke Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! BEST SELLER FOR KIDS JOKE BOOKS!

Why shouldn’t you download the iceberg app? It’ll sync your phone!

Laughter is medicine to the soul – which is exactly what your kids will be doing with our Don’t Laugh Challenge – 2nd Edition! The challenge is for the players to sit facing each other at eye level and take turns reading jokes to each other. Each laugh = 1 point! First person to 3 points is crowned the Don’t Laugh MASTER!

This book is filled with hours of fun with friends or family and perfect for ages 7 and up! Give it as a gift or get your own and let the laughter begin! Game on!

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Don’t Laugh Challenge Joke Book contains some funny jokes as well as Q&A’s. Riddles are also found in this book. I found it interesting, fun, and challenging. Especially, when I got to the 50 tongue twisters. Try saying those and say them fast! I recommend this to parents and teachers for children to read and use when in the car on a long ride. Children will have fun with these as I sure did. Overall, an entertaining book for children everywhere.

Review: Color Me Murder by Krista Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment–a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition–she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery–there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Color Me Murder by Krista Davis is exactly that! It’s the first book in a new series. This cozy mystery was fun. If the cover didn’t lure me in already, the plot definitely did. The cover is in a format where readers, like myself, can have fun coloring it. I really liked that and hope to see something like that continued with this series.

This novel introduced me to Florrie Fox. She is the main protagonist and the woman sleuth who solved the murder investigation. She owns a coloring bookstore. I found that neat. It tied in with the title, Color Me Murder. Florrie is a woman that I could easily relate to and love. Her sparkling personality made it fun to follow her. The way she stumbled onto some of the clues was interesting. Like falling and then finding a secret trap door…only to find a dead body. It was both exciting and chilling. From there Florrie goes about coloring, doodling clues, and possible answers. That was something I never knew a sleuth to do.

Krista Davis brought danger, friendship, and mystery to this start of a new series. Also, I found a tiny bit of romance bubbling up too. The plot was engaging. It kept at a steady pace. I was able to finish reading this book in one sitting. Once I dug into the book, I couldn’t put it down. Color Me Murder is a must read cozy mystery with an excellent cast of characters that are likable and believable too. Overall, I highly recommend it to all readers.

Review: The Sweet Spot by Heather Heyford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Ribbon Ridge, Oregon, a small town steeped in history and graced with verdant valleys. In the first book of Heather Heyford’s newest series, a family-run vineyard is the perfect place to find yourself . . . and lose your heart.

A summer friendship ripens into something more . . .

The Vineyards at Ribbon Ridge is about as far away from the big city as Philadelphia music teacher Jamie Martel can get, and it’s the perfect place for her to forget her troubles for a while. But can a dream vacation turn into her real life? When she is offered a summer job at the lush Oregon vineyard, she decides it is time to find out.

Hank Friestatt took over The Vineyards when his parents passed. Committed to keeping their legacy alive, he has poured his heart and soul into the family business. With things back on track, he’s torn between tradition and a tempting opportunity to cut and run. Yet something about down-to-earth Jamie is making him question his plans. As the grapes are harvested and the leaves start to turn, Hank vows to keep the promises he made. Saying goodbye to Jamie, however, may be a lot harder than he thought . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Sweet Spot by Heather Heyford is the first contemporary romance novel to a new series, A Willamente Valley. Inside, I was quickly introduced to a small-town setting with a big family theme. I loved how Hank took his family obligations seriously and how easy going he was. He worked hard on his family vine yard, and it may just be worth enough it going. Hank’s decision on quitting is natural. Sometimes doing things for so long, the drive to keep going gets lost. It was lost until a wonderful woman like Janie showed up to help. With her around, Hank has a lot to think about…especially where his future may lie with Janie. Janie is just as likable as Hank. She took on a summer job that holds a promising future ahead…only time could tell. She met Hank and things quickly changed for her as it did for him. Their personalities made it easy to connect with them both. The plot felt character driven with some action. It was heartfelt and engaging. Overall, I highly recommend this sweet romance to all readers.

Review: Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn is an exciting romantic suspense novel. I was very pleased with this story. It offered suspense, mystery, and some romance. As the plot raced on, I found myself curious about who was behind the murders and what would happen next. The leading female protagonist has a slight idea but could not see the whole picture. I appreciated this, because it kept me in the dark as to who was behind it all. The building romance between the leading protagonists was fun to follow. Both had a crush on each other but did not realize it until an investigation dangers them both. Ryan is best of buds with the brother of the woman he loves. Kirk is the big protective brother of Leigh. Leigh always held a secret crush on Ryan. This complicates things further and made the connection to the characters easier. I loved them all. Kirk, Ryan, Gabe, and Leigh were my favorite group of characters. They’re the good guys. Beneath the Surface offers a lot of intrigue. The characterization and action propelled me through the pages quickly. It was hard to put this book down…overall, I highly recommend to all readers.

Review: The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lady Shona, the newly crowned queen of the realm, is a leader without a throne. Pursued relentlessly by a dark force, her small contingent of loyal followers must make a difficult choice–flee or fight. Determined to save her land from nefarious threats, Lady Shona decides that she must seek out the enemy and attack them head on–a strategy that leads back to the region of the Three Valleys where Hyam was born.

Alas, Hyam has been struck by a mysterious illness that is silently sweeping through the realm. Known as the wasting disease, the sickness has no cure. But there is one shred of hope for Lady Shona and the realm–and it comes in the most unlikely of forms. A young orphan, untested and untrained, could well mean the difference between victory and total defeat.

Thomas Locke concludes his epic trilogy with a gripping tale of courage that will inspire readers to persevere even when all seems lost.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke is a strange yet intriguing fantasy. I was lured deep into a young woman’s journey. Dally, an orphan has been adopted in a way and soon to play a bigger role for many. Her power remains hidden until things start to happen. A woman, who is a queen, comes to her in dreams. Offering to help the valley residents that Dally knows. From there, it was like following the Lord of Rings and The Hobbit. Adventure, action, and danger all caging in around the characters. Power and enemies lie so close. I enjoyed reading this story. There was mystery, suspense, and a tiny bit of romance, too. Overall, I would recommend this book to readers everywhere.

 

 

Review: Mind Me, Milady by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Jane Larson is an attorney on the Upper East Side of New York City, and the Gentleman Rapist has chosen her to receive his calls announcing each conquest. He also reminds her in chilling terms that he will one day twist his wire around her throat and bend her to his will.

Jane has professional and personal problems of her own, but she is forced to try to catch this monster when he stalks her newest client. Susan is a sweet young woman who cannot remember large time periods of her past and who has dreams about a prior life in which she was raped. Soon, the Gentleman escalates to murder, and Jane wonders if he was involved in Susan’s forgotten past, or if Susan is simply a means to get to Jane. Either way, Jane is caught in the deadly game of stopping the Gentleman before another woman feels the wire at her throat and hears his sinister whisper to Mind Me, Milady.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Mind Me, Milady written by both Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks is the most intriguing women’s sleuth story ever. I was immediately swept into the plot as an evil man was strangling a woman. I love how the writers chose to use action to speed readers through the tale. It was not boring. I kept wondering what would happen next and who would fall victim.

This murder mystery, was suspenseful. It caught my interest right away. A man known as the Gentleman went around raping women. But something changed and he resorted to both rape and murder. The reason why became clear when I got further into the story. Women were being targeted by this crazy killer and it was up to one woman to stop him forever.

Mind Me, Milady carries many themes. These range on rape, survival, psychological fears, and the legal system. I was impressed with Jane. She is the main protagonist and the one who may stop a killer and save other women. Her personality was easy to connect with and overall, I really liked her. Jack is another character that I liked. Jane likes him, too. Madame Rosa is a strange lady. This novel was great! I, recommend it to all.

Review Policy Updates

 

 

Review Policy Updates

Please, read.

 

We do review just about every genre except for the following: urban fiction, street fiction, erotica, and anything with a lot of violence, drugs, and abuse.

Other than those, we accept every other book.

Review copies must be provided in exachange for an honest review.

Yes, we do offer paid services, the money from this pushes us to review the books faster. Otherwise, there will most likely be a long waiting period.

Reviews are posted on here, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.

Reviews can be quoted by authors and be used by the authors for any place they want to use them for…we have had several authors use them for their covers and early release reviews.

If a request is made for a guest post/interview and a book review, then those reviews will not be posted until the interviews/guest posts are turned in to us. We post those on the same day.

We do not give out 5-star review just because someone paid for a service from us. If you ask us to do this, we will refuse to write you a review and the cash is non refundable.

 

Thank you!

Review: The Diplomat’s Daughter by Karin Tanabe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

During the turbulent months following the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, twenty-one-year-old Emi Kato, the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, is locked behind barbed wire in a Texas internment camp. She feels hopeless until she meets handsome young Christian Lange, whose German-born parents were wrongfully arrested for un-American activities. Together, they live as prisoners with thousands of other German and Japanese families, but discover that love can bloom in even the bleakest circumstances.

When Emi and her mother are abruptly sent back to Japan, Christian enlists in the US Army, with his sights set on the Pacific front—and, he hopes, a reunion with Emi—unaware that her first love, Leo Hartmann, the son of wealthy of Austrian parents and now a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, may still have her heart.

Fearful of bombings in Tokyo, Emi’s parents send her to a remote resort town in the mountains, where many in the foreign community have fled. Cut off from her family, struggling with growing depression and hunger, Emi repeatedly risks her life to help keep her community safe—all while wondering if the two men she loves are still alive.

As Christian Lange struggles to adapt to life as a soldier, his unit pushes its way from the South Pacific to Okinawa, where one of the bloodiest battles of World War II awaits them. Meanwhile, in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, as Leo fights to survive the squalor of the Jewish ghetto, a surprise confrontation with a Nazi officer threatens his life. For each man, Emi Kato is never far from their minds.

Flung together by war, passion, and extraordinary acts of selflessness, the paths of these three remarkable young people will collide as the fighting on the Pacific front crescendos. With her “elegant and extremely gratifying” (USA Today) storytelling, Karin Tanabe paints a stunning portrait of a turning point in history.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Diplomat’s Daughter by Karin Tanabe is a historical novel that just never hit it off with me. I felt more distaste for the characters than I have for any other book’s characters. They sunk my interest. The Japanese woman, Emi, was completely unlikable. I couldn’t connect with her on any level. She believes she is far greater than anyone else. She fell in love with two men. When one of them found happiness with another woman more mature than Emi, Emi tore the letter bearing the news. Anger, hatred, and sadness crept into her nature. Yet, there was still Christian remaining in the equation. Hope seeped into her being…and when she found him, she thought he was still the most handsome man he was when she first met him. Thoughts of what if she found him missing an eye or other body part…or what if he became ugly due to war injuries, would she have still accepted him or simply reject him? I could not like her at all. Even at the end, I still did not find anything about her to like.

Karin Tanabe wrote about the war time periods with great detail. I enjoyed that part of this book. The plot was slow and unbearable due to the characterization. The Diplomat’s Daughter was a crazy love triangle that quickly dissolved. Only at the very ending, did one man still hang on for the young Japanese woman. I could not fanthom why he liked her. I could not stand her personality. Looking for romance, do not read this book. If you want a picture of what world wars were like, then read this book. Overall, I would not recommend this to readers.

Review: How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of How Not to Fall comes an electrifying, powerful new story about love, trust, and emotional surrender.

Once upon a time, med student Annie Coffey set out to have a purely physical fling with Charles Douglas, a gorgeous British doctor in her lab. It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, secrets—and desires—were bared, hearts were broken, and Annie knew she had to leave this complicated, compelling man who remains convinced he can never give her what she needs.

Walking away is one thing. Staying away is another. Annie and Charles reunite at a London conference, rekindling a friendship they struggle to protect from their intense physical connection. Little by little, Annie gets a glimpse into Charles’s dark past and his wealthy, dysfunctional family. Soon, she’s discovering what it means to have someone claim her, body and soul. And she’s learning that once in a lifetime you find a love that can make you do anything…except let go.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster is by far not the best novel I have read. It has the strong emotional attachment. Yay! But the characters…what in the world s going on? They find they are attracted as hel, to each other but one of them cannot accept the fact that love is indeed a thing. This male character believes he will lose the best thing that has happened to him and that being is the main character, Annie. Annie and Charles mostly have this weird as hell sex relationship. It feels like a tug and pull situation. Okay, have sex but afterwards go away from me kind of feeling. This situation keeps happening repeatedly throughout the book. I was confused as I haven’t read the first novel in this series. However, based on what I have read, I am happy I did not read the first novel. While I would love to give this book 4-stars for the sad yet intense emotional ride, I just can’t. The story was more a bad sex scene where the man manipulated his female girlfriend in both physical and emotional ways. For those reasons, I cannot connect to either character or feel for them. The entire time, I keep asking why is she interested in him, move forward, lady! The characters felt like two losers who were stuck on some form of attachment to each other and ended up bearing all abuse and emotions that they caused each other. It was just insane. A mad house, actually. I believe the author could have written a better book. It could have been epic. Yet, it was just intense, insane, and fluff. Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone.

 

Review: The Crooked Staircase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead.”

Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom–and free will–of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane’s enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane’s ruthless pursuers can’t stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz is by far the darkest thriller I’ve read in awhile. That’s a good thing…however, there was not a ray of sunshine in this book. I felt like any hope for the main protagonist and her son were none to slim. There should have been a feeling of a fifty-fifty chance that Hope was possible for them. The bad guys were looming over them like giants. It felt as though they had already lost way before I got too deep into the plot.

The protagonist, Jane, has potential as being well-liked. I liked her personality and determination to win even if there was not any chance of coming out alive. She made me want to believe that there was a rainbow at the end…yet, I got more danger than I bargained for instead. Dark, intense, and deadly…just one wrong move and it felt that the whole book could have ended a lot sooner than it did.

The suspense was great. Dean Koontz definitely knew how to wield power of intrigue and fear into his readers. I was frightened enough that I wouldn’t want to read this novel twice. But it was good. Those who are always searching for that darker, more powerful thriller…this is it!

Review: In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

`It is better to be feared than loved’ – Niccolo Machiavelli

In the bear pit of renaissance politics, a young Florentine diplomat finds himself first hand observer on the history’s most notorious family – the Borgias.

In the Name of the Family – as Blood and Beauty did before – holds up a mirror to a turbulent moment of history, sweeping aside the myths to bring alive the real Borgia family; complicated, brutal, passionate and glorious. Here is a thrilling exploration of the House of Borgia’s doomed years, in the company of a young diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli.

It is 1502 and Rodrigo Borgia, a self-confessed womaniser and master of political corruption is now on the Papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter Lucrezia, aged twenty-two, already thrice married and a pawn in her father’s plans, is discovering her own power. And then there is Cesare Borgia: brilliant, ruthless and increasingly unstable; it is his relationship with the diplomat Machiavelli which offers a master class on the dark arts of power and politics. What Machiavelli learns will go on to inform his great work of modern politics, The Prince.

But while the pope rails against old age and his son’s increasing maverick behavior, it is Lucrezia who will become the Borgia survivor: taking on her enemies and creating her own place in history.

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunate is deep political read. A family swamped with political tension, betrayal, and revenge. A daughter who helps her father as much as her brother tries to destroy their father.  So many themes are found inside this book…it was an adventure of a lifetime. The historical novel captured the time period and politics down perfectly. It felt as though I traveled back in time. There was plenty of action to keep me attention. Murder, corruption, and power were the central themes featured on every page. The children of the Pope felt more like pawns than anything else. The daughter was a pawn for the Pope’s own gain. The son became a hungry Mongolia for more power and influence. The level that each of these three main characters stooped to was engaging as it was sad. Too many viewpoints were told in this book. I would have enjoyed it more if there just two different viewpoints at most telling their side of the story. The historical time period was what made this an entertaining tale. I couldn’t connect with the main characters, which was really disappointing. Overall, good but could have been better.

Review: The Clarity by Keith Thomas

The Clarity

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Matilda Deacon is a psychologist researching how memories are made and stored when she meets a strange eleven-year-old girl named Ashanique. Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I and Matilda is at first very interested but skeptical. However, when Ashanique starts talking about being chased by the Night Doctors—a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead—Matilda can’t deny that the girl might be telling the truth.

Matilda learns that Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives from a monstrous assassin named Rade. Rade is after a secret contained solely in memories and has left a bloody trail throughout the world in search of it. Matilda soon realizes Ashanique is in unimaginable danger and that her unique ability comes with a deadly price.

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

The Clarity by Keith Thomas is an interesting read combining fictional elements and nonfictional information together. The frightening parts about experimental portions were based on some real experiences that did really happen to people. The characters were okay. But no emotional attachment that made me want to really connect with them. I thought they were fine but but not were Inwould be talking bout how great they were. The plot was gruesome, dark, and intense as was expected with some of the things mentioned. There was a lot of action in this novel. I would have been happier if there was more to the characters. There needed to be more on the interaction and backstory between/of the characters. It just felt felt flat to me.

The novel did hold a promising tale…Dr. Matilda is by far the worst character. She is a doctor interested in the whole journey of memory and past lives. Yet she wasn’t what I expected and didn’t meet the expectations for her role in this story. There were other characters that I did really like and thought that Keith Thomas did a fine job in creating. Characters like Kojo and Brandon were believable and enjoyable to follow.

The Clarity was fast-paced, action packed, and full of government misuse. Like the medical experiments that still bring a chill down my back. A lot of conspiracy themes are found inside the book. Overall, it was good and suspenseful.

 

Author Interview: Meet Nick Haskins Author of Betrayed

Betrayed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ULM: What other books have you written beside Betrayed?

Apart from Betrayed, I have written three other books: On the Edge of Heat (African-American/Urban Fiction – 2011). Jamal (African-American/Erotica – 2012). My Husband’s Wife (African-American/Urban Fiction – 2013).

ULM: When did you first start to write as an author? Why?

I started writing as an author in 2008. I worked at a call center where, at the time, calls were very, very slow. In-between calls I started reading Soulmates Dissipate by Mary B. Morrison. Halfway through, I got a major dose of inspiration and started writing again after stopping for close to ten years.

ULM: What themes can readers find in your novel, Betrayed?

Unconditional family devotion. Love. Lies. Deceit, and of course, betrayal.

ULM: What was it like creating a love triangle between a father and son?

In some of the more dramatic parts, it was tough crating such a taboo love triangle involving father and son. One of the more difficult chapters to write—and still tough to read—is when Billy and William are in the garage together at the end.

ULM: How would you describe your female character, Jennifer Payne?

When Jennifer came to me before I started writing Betrayed, I continually envisioned Jennifer Williams from Basketball Wives. Jennifer Payne is beautiful, sophisticated, strong, and loyal to the man she married until she starts to take notice in his twenty-one-year-old son. She loves William, and their life together, but she can’t resist temptation.

ULM: What boundaries are pushed and tested inside of Betrayed?

Love, family, and loyalty are the top three boundaries that are pushed to the limit in Betrayed.

ULM: What was it like emotionally to create the story you did in Betrayed?

It was always very creatively dark for me working on Betrayed. I didn’t feel depressed or negative; I felt more like I had a sad, cold—but entertaining—story that would hopefully make some of my readers cry from emotion or at least want to. I can remember visualizing the all black cover to put emphasis on how dark I wanted the book to be.

ULM: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up! If writing is your true passion, stick with it even through all the low points you’re going to experience as a writer. If you give up, no one will ever hear what you have to say. Trust and follow your creativity—let it lead; you follow and write, write, write as much as you can.

ULM: Where can readers find you and your work online?

Readers can visit my website: http://www.nickhaskinsbooks.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nick-Haskins/e/B00683ZF2Q

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nickhaskins

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – @iamnickhaskins

Review: Betrayed by Nick Haskins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sixteen years ago, William Majors Sr. made his young son, Billy, a promise that he would always take care of him after his mother died. He vowed to raise his son into a man he would someday be proud of. William also vowed not to take another wife until Billy was all grown up, so he opted to live as a single man. That all changed the day Jennifer Payne walked into his life. Her seductive body and stunning beauty instantaneously captures William . . . and Billy. When Billy secretly deceives William – seemingly overnight – Jennifer finds herself trapped in a dangerous love trio with both Father and son. When she chooses one over the other, a deadly line of betrayal will be crossed that will shake The Majors’ forever . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Betrayed by Nick Haskins is an interesting drama. One small family lost their loved one.  Now many years later, a father is ready to love again. Yet this new character may just rip them apart. The plot was intense, dark, and sad. I felt sympathy for the father and son. Some things are easy to steer away from while other temptations are not. Jennifer Payne was exactly that. She ended up destroying what mattered most.  Watching the destruction of a father and son relationship was hard. It was an huge emotional  mess.

Nick Haskins is a creative writer. His novel was entertaining and deeply engaging. Themes of love, lies, and betrayal are found here. Family, loss, and grief are the other remaining themes readers will find. The father was my favorite character. He had the best intentions and was trying to do well by his son. For that reason, it was easy to connect with William. Overall, the plot was promising but a bit slow due to the telling instead of showing. I recommend this drama action filled story to all readers.

Review: The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton is an informative nonfiction read. It is a memoir of one man’s experience and suffering of the injustice of our justice system. Political issues and racial issues were used to put innocent black men into jail. Some never got out of there. Very few ever regained their life back from the mistakes of the justice system. The messages in this book were strong and the author’s viewpoint can easily persuade others why. Having suffered under this injustice himself, he is speaking out about it. So much time was stolen from innocent men, like Anthony Ray Hinton. Overall, this memoir was powerful and should be read by all readers regardless of racial background.

Review: Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have decided to put life’s disappointments behind them. At least in theory. Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, while Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget the longing for motherhood set deep in her heart. But when Betsy’s free-spirited younger sister Jenna drops her young daughters off at the farm to attend a two-week art retreat in Florida, Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As those two weeks stretch much farther into the hot Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world and revel in a home that’s suddenly filled with the sound of laughter and life. Meanwhile, record heat promises to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She’d once been free to travel and pursue a career in photography, but all that changed with the appearance of two pink lines on a plastic stick and a boyfriend who hit the road. At Halcyon art retreat, she finally has the time and energy to focus on her photography. As the summer continues, she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home with her two children.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims her steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that could affect both her and her children’s futures, and Betsy and Ty find themselves protecting their beloved farm as well as their own hearts.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton is a fascinating women’s fiction piece. Here, are two sisters with different lives. One wants children the other feels pulled down by her children. As one sister and her husband deal with two girls in their home, a season of storms brews ahead. This season of storms is both a physical and emotional journey. Both sister are experiencing storms in their personal lives as well as the physical ones threatening their lives. I found interesting. The story was realistic and heartfelt. I felt sorry for the sister and her husband who were trying to have children. The characters and their struggles tugged at my heartstrings. Overall, I recommend this beautiful engaging tale to all readers.

Review: If I Live by Terri Blackstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

If I Live by Terri Blackstock is suspenseful. The danger and intrigue build up with every page. I was hooked. This novel, had all the right elements to keep my interest. I have not read the previous books before this one and was able to follow along just fine. The characters felt real. Their situation went from super bad to worse in seconds. What had been a hopeful turn, turned out to backfire on them. Casey and Dylan are easy to like and relate to…their troubles and decisions made them believable. I felt sorry for them both. Overall, this novel was packed full of action, risks, and hope. I would recommend it to readers worldwide.

Review: Sharks (A 400 Million Year Journey) by Ted Rechlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sharks have been cruising our planet’s waters for millions of years. They were here long before us. They were here long before the dinosaurs. Sharks are a window into the distant past and into deep time. See how the most legendary ocean dwellers got their start, and how they became the sharks we know today.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Sharks: A 400 Million Year Journey by Ted Rechlin is another great educational read for children everywhere. Sharks are world known and an interesting topic. Here, I got to follow the history of sharks and learn about the different species as well. The pages were bright, colorful, and engaging. The book reads like a comic book but the illustrations are amazing. Overall, I recommend this stunning book to parents, guardians, and teachers everywhere.

Review: The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenders comes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best: a story shrouded in mystery, Spanish moss, verandah cocktails, 1940s dinner dances, love lost, and possibly…love found.

Praise for The Weekenders:

“This book has all the makings of a beach read…The perfect blend of drama, humor, intrigue, and just a touch of murder.” —Bustle

“Andrews has this ‘perfect beach read’ label down pat—and then some. The Weekenders is not just good, it is beyond good… Summer doesn’t truly begin without a Mary Kay Andrews book in your beach bag, so here is another winner and Top Pick just for you.” —RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

“Andrews’ novels…are the epitome of relaxing yet involving summer reads, and her latest is no exception.” —Booklist

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

The High Tide Club by MaryKay Andrews is a good read. It goes back and forth a lot between the last and present moments. This switching sort of lost me on what was happening. I felt bad for the characters. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Usually, I love the characters that I meet. Here, I felt sorry for them but didn’t really care that much. The thing she that happened in the past shouldn’t happen to any young girls. But it did. The story was sad, intense, and heartbreaking. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and consequences are found inside this book. A group of girls keep a secret and it costs them in the process. Now, years later, most of them are dead but their children live on…it’s up to the last remaining friend to set things right. Secrets come out and so do the tears.

Cover Release: The Maybrook Trilogy by Nicole Strycharz

 

 

 

 

 

 

~*~The Maybrook Trilogy ~*~
by Nicole Strycharz, Author of The Divorce

Come to a place where love grows the apples. 🍎 🍎 🍎

From the gilded late-Victorian Age to the sweeping elegance of the Edwardian era, Maybrook is a town hidden away in Pennsylvania where each book brings you new mysteries and nostalgic romances.

~A Lieutenant, in pursuit of a predator who’s next victim might be the woman he loves.

~A young woman torn from her first sweetheart and made to be an open-minded suffragette, returns.

~An attorney works to free an innocent while harboring dark family secrets.

~A young show girl crosses the Atlantic on the ill-fated Titanic but from the wreckage finds a place to call home.

** Each book is better read in sequence but the prequel can be enjoyed in any order.**

Join the party in the link below to stay up to date with the re-release of The Maybrook Trilogy, April 10th!!!!

There will be an enormous box set giveaway of paperbacks and a takeover party full of bestselling authors giving away prizes!

https://www.facebook.com/events/598243780524677/?ti=icl

You can also follow Nicole, here:
https://www.facebook.com/nicolestrycharz/

Review: Until There Was Us by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

He’ll have to play his cards just right for her to take a chance on him…

Megan Montgomery has always been careful…except that one time she threw caution to the wind and hooked up with a sexy groomsman at her cousin’s wedding. But that was two years ago—so why can’t she stop thinking about Alex Rebat?

Alex has been living the good life. He loves his job, has a great circle of friends, and doesn’t answer to anyone. The problem? There’s only one woman he wants and she ran out on him after one amazing weekend. But now that Megan’s coming back to town, Alex hopes he can convince her to take another chance on him…and on a future that can only be built together.

Montgomery Brothers Series:

Wait for Me (Book 1)
Trust in Me (Book 2)
Stay with Me (Book 3)
Return to You (Book 4)
Meant for You (Book 5)
I’ll Be There (Book 6)
Until There Was Us (Book 7)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Until There Was Us by Samantha Chase is the most emotionally charged book I’ve read so far. A young woman has had to work so hard to prove to her father that she is just as good as her brothers. Yet he has never once taken notice until she proved him she was just that good. However, she finds out that having her dad’s approval could mean an unwanted life with him constantly telling her how to run her life. Her brother Christian had always been their father’s favorite. But after what their dad did to him, he’s turned into ‘the stone man’. That visit with her brother helped them both. She got to see her brother and understand what would happen if she let her dad give her a job. Then, there the issue of her working too much. She is trying to fix that but it’s harder than saying she can. But there’s a special man who can help make her feel happy again. If only she lets him into her life and heart. Megan was burned once and her self-esteem isn’t as great as it should be. Megan is a determined, bright, and good person. I really liked her. I felt like her and I could be best friends for life. Plus, she has a secret…

Alex is a therapist. He’s so caring it’s hard not to like the man. Also, he’s just as sexy as he is sweet. Alex loves the outdoors and is best of friends with Megan’s cousin. Alex met Megan at a family wedding and they hit it off from there. But since then, Megan blew him off and has hidden from Alex. Life gets in the way, and Alex finds he’s still in love with her. Maybe, her coming back in his life is a positive sign. But knowing Megan, the road to convincing her to give them a chance will be tough.

Samantha Chase has created another amazing feel good title. It’s sexy, hot, and engaging as hell. I loved it! I could not stop reading it. I was held in suspense as to what would occur between Alex and Megan. They seemed perfect for each other yet…it was a constant tug of war. Samantha has placed a little bit of her awesome pug into this story! Maylene, is the beautiful yet sassy pug inside this heartfelt tale. I thought it was pretty cool to meet her as well. Overall, I highly recommend this contemporary novel to all readers.

 

Review: A Duke Like No Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.

Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:

“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today

“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews

“Smoldering.” —Booklist

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowmanis another enchanting romance. A historical that pushes boundaries and sinks its teeth into my heart. The plot was fast-paced, engaging, and emotional. Two protagonists both with a desire to work in a dangerous field and do what is right. Despite their Desiree and attraction, both hide things from each other. This causes a rift to form and both fall apart. A marriage based on love but broken by secrets. Neither one was able to let his or her pride down to set things right between them. Ten years later, life has a way of bringing them back together. One wants to become a mother and the other the Secretary of State.

However, to become Secretary of State he needs his wife back in England to assume the position of a family man. General Mark Grimadali is more of a family man than most presume and more than he, himself thinks he is. It was funny watching his troubles, fears, and heart explode among the pages. His wife Nicole is jus s strong of character as her husband. Stubborn to a fault…she can’t hide her feelings any longer. Afraid of a broken heart again, she is prepared to leave her husband she loves one more…but could he really not love her? Both are grave, smart, and charming. I fell hard and fast for these characters. Their personalities and struggles were exciting to follow. Overall, I highly recommend this historical regency novel.

Author Interview: Kevin Cady (The Warren Files Series)

Author Interview with Kevin Cady

ULM: What lead you to writing the Warren File series?

I loved movies when I was younger, the addition of books after college, but it was after I moved to Colorado that I thought about creating my own stories. Two ideas I wanted to explore struck me back in 2011, and I came up with the trilogy to communicate those ideas. I wanted to show how even the most twisted individual can be understood, and I wanted to show how a backroom decision can have very real, personal consequences, far separate from the decision’s incipience.

ULM: Were you always interested in being a writer?

In school, it was the thing in which I was most amenable, though I wasn’t always interested in being a writer. I squeaked by on an assignment one time with a five-page journal entry of, “I don’t know what to write…I don’t know what to write…” with the promise of “I won’t do it again.”

So it wasn’t exactly what you’d call an interest.

ULM: I noticed there will be a third novel. When will that be released?

I can’t wait to share the conclusion! The third novel, Truth’s Illusion, will be available this summer from Lulu Publishing.

ULM: What future books are you planning to write, if any?

A couple years ago, I decided I needed to be a novelist, and I needed to make a mental shift and commit myself to it more fully, as I felt—with the right circumstances, enough hard work, and I’m sure lots of luck—I could make it work. So in between writing The Warren Files books, I started some different projects I’m excited to pick back up!

These new stories are a bit different, but if you like my style of writing, you’ll really like these other books as well. And timeframe wise, they won’t be far behind!

ULM: How would you describe Crooked Principles (book 2) using only three words?

Chilling. Claustrophobic. Crooked.

ULM: What was it like creating the plot for Crooked Principles?

I was excited to get into a story much smaller in scope—compared to book one, and what I knew book three was going to be—so it was interesting thinking about how to make the story’s secrets unravel without the luxury of different locations. In A Solitary Awakening, the Poetic Murderer was all over the map with his brand of sick novelty, but this new killer is in a remote Alaskan town of less than a hundred people, and the whole town is snowed in for the winter. So I had to approach it completely differently. I really love the result!

ULM: What started you to write within this genre?

I’ve always loved mysteries because of how they can deceive. A great mystery writer is a magician. The secrets are unseen until the end, but, once revealed, can seem even obvious in reflection. I love the, “It was right in front of my eyes!” moment!

Murder/mystery was natural for The Warren Files, and I’ll certainly return to the exact genre (as I have all the characters’ histories I can write about!), but I have some other projects that, I think, completely fit into my writing universe; they’re just different. Two novels are a bit more in the horror genre. One is my ode to haunted house novels—and it’s likely next for completion, though, with the other being a twist on the western, no promises. I’m excited about both!

I’m really just excited to continue writing quality material, consistently, and hopefully in my own unique style for my growing readership.

ULM: How would you describe your main characters in Crooked Principles?

If you read A Solitary Awakening, you know Elijah and Aurelia are precocious and complicated, yet simple. You know they’re damaged and motivated, yet compassionate. But Crooked Principles finds them in an awkward, stagnant place, stranded in the mountains of Alaska.

Riff is back for some laughs and head-shakes.

The new killer is sick, and the residents of Grizzly are strangely removed, geographically and socially.

ULM: Do you read a lot of mysteries?

I read an odd assortment of books, generally found on obscure lists in the depths of Reddit or Goodreads, but I like things that have an edge. Peter Straub’s novels always have interesting mysteries driving the narrative forward, but they’re dark, edgy, non-traditional mysteries, I’d say, and I love that!

What I really seek out are books which push the envelope of what a mystery can be, like House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski, or The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall. Books that make you think differently, or sometimes even do things differently. That is so cool!

ULM: Where can readers find you and your books online?

My novels and I are online at http://www.lulu.com , http://www.amazon.com (though Amazon takes almost 80% from authors!), and http://www.kevincadyauthor.com, as well as local bookstores along the Front Range of Colorado.

Review: Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

This imaginative picture book aims to take children beyond the first ten cardinal numbers, and introduces them to the patterns of counting in a fun and accessible way. With rooms to explore and unique objects to count, children will enjoy lingering on each page as they make their way closer to the forbidden door.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 by B.C.R. Fegan is another brilliant children’s book. This one is beautifully illustrated. Captivating to look thorough and easy to follow along. The words are just engaging. The words rhyme together and bring a variety of characters to children everywhere. Overall, this entertaining journey was educational, funny, and full of mystery. I highly recommend Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 to all parents, guardians, and teachers.

Review: The Luck of the Bride by Jana MacGregor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can a woman who’s down on her luck find love with a dashing Duke-to-be? Find out in The Luck of the Bride, the next Regency romance in the Cavensham Heiresses series from Janna MacGregor.

She’s leaving nothing up to chance. Not even love…

March Lawson is an orphan who, for the past eight years, has struggled to raise her siblings on a meager allowance. Most women March’s age would be picking out ball gowns for the upcoming season. But March’s focus is not on finding a husband. First, she must devote her energies to just one man: the coldhearted skinflint who refuses to release her inheritance.

Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin, is not a heartless man. When he learns that Miss Lawson has been forging his name to procure funds, he can’t bring himself to have her arrested—not when the bold-faced embezzler is so enchantingly beautiful. Instead, McCalpin agrees to visit her home to assess the situation more closely. March has no choice but to accept. But how can she manage the handsome trustee who controls her purse strings—when he tugs at her heart strings as well?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Luck of the Bride by Jana MacGregor is another interesting tale. A historical romance that takes readers deep inside a family’s woes. A young girl of 16, eldest daughter, lost her parents. After losing them both, she had to grow up quickly and take care of her family. Two other sisters and a baby brother, plus managing their family estate isn’t what March should have been left to do. Yet she took her responsibilities seriously and made do with what they had. Until too much of the burdens were adding upon her shoulders. Now, seeking her inheritance to help her family eat and stay well, she forges a letter. This letter leads March and her siblings into a headfast journey. One that brings trouble, trials, laughter, memories, and maybe, love.

Next, there is Michael. A Marquess who has a heart of gold. All his life he has struggled with a secret. He cannot add or subtract numbers. In fact, he can’t do anything with numbers. But he’s very smart with reading, arguing, and hard labor. The man helps anyone who needs him. But his brother fears of March using Michael’s generosity and kindness for her own personal gain. But as Michael and March hang out together, a path so unknown to them opens up…I was immediately enchanted and deeply engaged.

Jana MacGregor definitely knows how to lure readers, like me, into her world of fiction. The characters were memorizing. Believable, charming, and realistic…they were. I couldn’t help but to fall in love with them all especially, March’s young brother, Bennett. I hope to read his adult story. He will become a great man one day. This novel, was wonderful. I highly recommend it to all.

Review: A Refuge Assured

 

 

Synopsis:

Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green is full of historical events like the Whiskey Rebellion. I felt as though I have traveled back in time. The characters really portrayed their time periods. The accents and actions made the historical moments come alive. I was impressed. The plot was steady but good. Danger, risks, and hope are filled on these pages. A single woman traveling with a boy under her care looking for a safe place. A man wanting to run his farm but might be forced to fight for it again. These were strong independent characters. I could easily relate to their troubles and connect with them on many levels. Overall, it was a great read. I recommend it to others.

 

Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose unspeakable evil . . .

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose is the first installment to a regency murder mystery series. I loved the combination of the protagonists. One is a determined single female writer and the other is a male scientist. Together they are brought into a murder mystery. While working on this new adventure both find their attracted to each other. Yet neither one is ready to pursue that path too soon. But they acknowledge that they cannot deny it. Here, one of the protagonist, Wrexford, finds himself in deep trouble. He is being treated as a possible suspect for the current murder of a clergyman. Charlotte Sloan is penning under the name of her deceased husband. She is afraid of anyone knowing that she is the popular writer of their time, he pushes her to help him find the real murderer. But will she accept the challenge or let him expose who she really is?

Andrea Penrose has created a set of characters unlike any others. Their personalities are charming to watch unfold as the plot unraveled. I was anxious to see what became of their partnership, if anything at all. Plus, the trouble hanging around Wrexford’s neck and Charlotte’s fear of her pen name dissolving had me intrigued. The whodunnit suspense was strong as well. I couldn’t stop reading this novel. Overall, Murder on Black Swan Lane is a must read for all liking for risks, danger, and a bit of romance.

Review: The Rainmaker by Petra Landon


 

 

Synopsis:

As they race to untangle the past and thwart a power-hungry Wizard, Tasia must face her toughest decision yet. Can she take a leap of faith and risk her deadliest secret?

Tasia Armstrong is no longer a nondescript, friendless and naïve Wizard flying under the radar on the fringes of Chosen society. With her fate now publicly entwined with that of a powerful Shifter Pack, she must navigate the minefield of Pack politics while keeping her secrets and cover safe from the Chosen who hunt her. With a Pack to defend her, a powerful Alpha to protect her interests and friends to watch her back, her life is a far cry from before. But living with the Shifters holds new challenges for a Chosen more used to the shadows.

The stakes have never been higher as old fault lines, long-buried secrets, Wizard dysfunction, and Lady Bethesda’s ruthless machinations draw the Chosen ever closer to a civil war. While Tasia grapples to avoid the pitfalls and confront her demons, it is an unlikely nemesis who forces her to face her moment of truth. Tasia finds herself at the crossroads – at stake are her carefully constructed house of cards and her tangled relationship with the man who holds her enemies at bay. Will Tasia risk opening Pandora’s Box or will she disappear into the shadows again?

Author’s Note: The Rainmaker continues the story from The Prophecy. The books are not standalone and are intended to be read in order.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Rainmaker by Petra Landon is the second installment to this exciting paranormal fantasy series. Here, three sisters are crucial to fulfill a prophecy that none of them really know about…their mother is using them to create the prophecy foretold. Chaos, danger, and risks are involved on both sides. War seems inevitable seeing as one woman wants to destroy would be alliances among different beings as well as use certain sides for her own agendas.

I found this story intriguing. Plenty of action to keep the plot moving at a great pace. So many things are involved and the end game could result for the worse. Wizards, weres, and vampires are found as cast members. Each one has a particular tie in this tug of war. Enemies are everywhere and it’s only a mattter of time before things break apart. Tasia is the leading protagonist and most likable character. Her life is barely hanging onto a thread. So many choices and so little time…I highly recommend this second novel to readers worldwide.

Review: Reclaiming Shilo Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Trapped on the ice-planet of Delon, gamer girl Sofi and Ambassador Miguel have discovered that nothing is what it seems, including their friends. On a quest to rescue her brother, Shilo, a boy everyone believes is dead, they must now escape and warn Earth of Delon’s designs on humanity. Except the more they unearth of the planet and Sofi’s past, the more they feel themselves unraveling, as each new revelation has Sofi questioning the very existence of reality.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sofi’s mom, Inola, is battling a different kind of unraveling: a political one that could cost lives, positions, and a barely-rebuilt society, should they discover the deal made with the Delonese.

But there’s a secret deeper than all that. One locked away inside Sofi and ticking away with the beginnings, endings, and answers to everything. Including how to save humanity.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber is an exciting adventure. Once more readers are led by Sofi Snow in search of her brother. A brother everyone presumed to be dead. But not Sofi Snow. Together she and Miguel search her memories for clues to find him. Humanity is besting destroyed and it’s up to them to keep it safe.

I found myself completely engaged with this YA sci-fi fantasy novel. I was easily hooked. Sofi Snow is a likable character. Her caring personality and determination make her a strong protagonist. I loved how she would go to such ends to find her brother and save the world. Mary Weber created a stunning tale with an unforgettable emotional journey. I enjoyed every page of this suspenseful world. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: Exhibit Alexandra

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

He thought he knew everything about her until she went missing.

Before she disappeared, Alexandra Southwood lived an average, happy life: devoted to her wonderful husband, Marc, and caring for her two beautiful daughters. But now, held in a room against her will, Alexandra is forced to think about all she’s lost, and imagine how Marc and her daughters are coping in the wake of her disappearance. She’s shown news clips of Marc, desperately appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts. She tortures herself with visions of her family’s devastated new reality. And as she envisions Marc’s distress, she can’t help but remember their courtship, their marriage–all that he saved her from and all that they’ve built together.

Marc’s pain is visceral. He thinks of nothing but her. Even when the police discover Alexandra’s bloody belongings by the river, turning their missing-persons case into a murder investigation, he cannot accept that she is lost to him. He shifts from total despair to frantic action, embarking on his own journey through the dark maze of secrets she kept and passions he never understood. Following a trail that leads him to find answers to questions he never meant to ask, he’s forced to confront how frighteningly little he’s grasped about the woman he loves.

EXHIBIT ALEXANDRA is a shocking psychological portrait, an original and unrelenting thriller that ultimately proves how unknowable even those closest to us can be.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell is a fascinating thriller. So many twists and turns to keep readers, like myself, intrigued for hours. Alex is a character that was a puzzle within a puzzle. From the synopsis, I had so many questions. As the plot dug deeper, I felt her husband’ Spain and surprise at what was discovered. Marc is the loving husband who goes to very deep depths just to find his missing wife. I applaud a man who is that deeply attached to his wife. A love that shocked me. The story flowed easily. It was a bit strange but well-told.

Spotlight Feature: The Rainmaker by Petra Landon

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

As they race to untangle the past and thwart a power-hungry Wizard, Tasia must face her toughest decision yet. Can she take a leap of faith and risk her deadliest secret?

Tasia Armstrong is no longer a nondescript, friendless and naïve Wizard flying under the radar on the fringes of Chosen society. With her fate now publicly entwined with that of a powerful Shifter Pack, she must navigate the minefield of Pack politics while keeping her secrets and cover safe from the Chosen who hunt her. With a Pack to defend her, a powerful Alpha to protect her interests and friends to watch her back, her life is a far cry from before. But living with the Shifters holds new challenges for a Chosen more used to the shadows.

The stakes have never been higher as old fault lines, long-buried secrets, Wizard dysfunction, and Lady Bethesda’s ruthless machinations draw the Chosen ever closer to a civil war. While Tasia grapples to avoid the pitfalls and confront her demons, it is an unlikely nemesis who forces her to face her moment of truth. Tasia finds herself at the crossroads – at stake are her carefully constructed house of cards and her tangled relationship with the man who holds her enemies at bay. Will Tasia risk opening Pandora’s Box or will she disappear into the shadows again?

Author’s Note: The Rainmaker continues the story from The Prophecy. The books are not standalone and are intended to be read in order.

 

 

Goodreads Link: The Rainmaker 

Preorder Link: The Rainmaker

Author Links:

www.petralandon.com
www.twitter.com/PetraLandon
www.amazon.com/author/petralandon

Review: Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes Shattered Mirror, a new explosive thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan.

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is once again thrown into a deadly game of intrigue when she receives a cryptic package containing a skull and a two sided mirror. Eve is determined to reconstruct the skull and uncover the mystery of the person’s identity, and when she does, the face of a beautiful woman begins to emerge. But who is she?

As Eve gets closer and closer to finding the answer, she becomes swept up in a lethal chase that spans continents and threatens to destroy the family that she has worked so hard to bring together. Eve and her team must work quickly to discover who is behind the murder – and maybe even prevent more loss of life. But how do you fight a killer who is willing to destroy anyone as a means to an end?

No one is safe in #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen’s next explosive, high-stakes thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seat through every heart-pounding chapter.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Once more, I am lured deep into Eve Duncan’s deadly world. The dead Speak to,her in terms of their bones. Eve Duncan can take bones and reconstruct them in a way that shows who or what they were before they ended up dead. I love that about Eve. Now, Eve is a mother and a wife. She’s being targeted by a killer. The killer doesn’t like Eve and the way she’s handling everything. It bothers the killer until the killer feels only rage and hatred. Because Eve is upsetting the killer, her little boy becomes the target. From there her world spins out of control.

Iris Johansen’s latest novel, Shattered Mirror, is the most intriguing mystery I’ve read. The suspense builds up into an intense atmosphere. There was plenty of action to keep me guessing and keep me hooked. Mystery, murder, and chaos are found in this new thriller. I absolutely loved it. Overall, I highly recommend this Eve Duncan novel.

 

Review: Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .

With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is an exciting adventure. It is perfect for bookworms of all ages. So many literary references and book talk that I could not stop reading it. I love books. Jane does too. She owns Storyton Hall. Inside it, there is a library with dozens of mysterious books waiting to be read. Jane is planning on building a luxurious spa to attract people. Yet on the day of building, a body is found with a book. A murder mystery that spirals out of control. The who and why kept me intrigued. Everything in this novel is booked theme. Even the spa is named after a famous writer. I can easily relate to Jane. A single mother of two boys, twins. Double trouble and full of mischief…yet the danger and real trouble have just begun…

Ellery Adams is a master of suspense, intrigue, and mystery. Her characters are interesting. Some are quirky and older than Jane. The cat, Muffet Cat, is like a stray cat in a way. He lives in Sotryton Hall but mostly keeps to himself unless he wants someone’s food. I loved how the cat was defended in this book. Even though one mystery is solved another is still a cold case. Jane is tempted to figure it out…and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Adventure, action, and humor can be found here, in Murder in the Locked Library. I enjoyed every moment. So many twists and turns…overall, I recommend this cozy mystery to all.