Review: The Hideaway

Synopsis:

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.
After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.
Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.
Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.
When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton is a great read for women everywhere. The tale is easy to relate to and connect with the main characters. The writing was well-done. Readers like me will travel to New Orleans. There the story takes place. This book was an eye opener. It laid out choices. Choices that readers like me have to make in life. It’s never easy to make a decision. It just get harder as the time gets closer and places the pressure onto the charcater’s shoulders. Here, I got to explore topics such as family, love, and career. The plot goes further in showing that despite being happy in a successful life that there were things missing that only the life inNew Orleans could provide. I found it inspiring.

Lauren K. Denton’s main character, Sara Jenkins,  returns back to The Hideaway. A place where her grandmother lived. Now, her grandmother is gone and the place needs major repairs before selling it and heading back to her previous life. There Sara finds things belonging to her grandmother that affects her decision on life and whether she stays or not. Plus, there’s the people around her that she has come to love and know that will make saying goodbye that much harder. Nothing’s easy or predicatable in this read. The charcater can take either route and the intrigue is powerful enough to have kept me reading. But there’s also a danger. A land developer threatens to take The Hideaway…and only Sara can stop it. Choices…

The Hideaway is a fascinating read. The charming charcaters, the realistic lives they live, and their believable situations have hooked me. Southern way of life is sweet, memorable, and enchanting. Overall, I recommend Lauren K. Denton’s novel to all. 

Book Review: A Question of Devotion





Synopsis:

Then she saw it – a sheet of paper in the mailbox, underneath the mail. It was white with large black letters and said LEAVE IT ALONE. 
Mrs. B has a quiet life, and she likes it that way. Morning pinochle games at St. Mary’s Senior Center. Afternoon lunches with Myrtle, Anne and Rose. Peaceful evenings with a cup of coffee and the classic movie channel. 
But one day she wakes to a phone call, which leads to consequences she could never have foreseen. Secrets snowball and threaten to change the neighborhood of Burchfield forever. Someone has to make things right. It’s up to Mrs. B.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Question of Devotion by Anita Kulina is one novel that zeroed in on my full attention. An older Polish woman takes it upon herself to solve a case. One that involves her neighborhood. Changes are coming…as well as danger and threats. 

A debut novel, A Question of Devotion, is indeed an interesting mystery. Secrets come to light. Notes with threats are left and phone calls, too. Mrs. B. has a lot to juggle as the heroine of this book. Computer technology is one thing. I found it captivating and funny how one elderly lady’s typical life changes from doing games at a senior center to investigating a crime. 

The characters including Mrs. B are beleivable. For fans of The Murder She Wrote, Piriot, and Columbo, readers will love this book. I was engaged, entertained, and can’t wait for the next installment. Mrs. B is my new favorite lady detective. Smart, brave, and funny. Overall, I recommend A Question of Devotion to all. 

Author Interview with Vicki Righettini

Author Interview with Vicki Righettini


ULM: What inspired you to write your debut novel, The Blue Hour?

As a kid I was fascinated by stories of the pioneers. In fact, there’s a history of pioneering in my family: my mother’s side came to Pennsylvania from Germany in the 1700s, then moved to Kentucky and Illinois, then finally to California by train in the 1940s. Growing up I always imagined myself as one of those hardy pioneers. But after researching The Blue Hour, I’m not so sure! But the idea for The Blue Hour started with a trip my husband and I made to Eastern Oregon in the late 1990s, where we visited the newly-opened Oregon Trail Interpretive Center outside Baker City at Flagstaff Hill. Nothing brought the Oregon Trail to life for me like that exhibit. I didn’t just learn about the Trail, I were there. During that same trip, we drove around the spectacular Blue Mountain area, seeingthe wagon ruts that still exist, and exploring old homesteads and settlements. 

That got my mental wheels turning: why did people settle here? Why not go the rest of the way to the Willamette Valley, where farming is easier and the weather is much milder? They’d already traveled nearly 2,000 miles; the worst of the trip was over. So why did they stop at the Blue Mountains, instead of going all the way to the endof the Trail at Oregon City?I wanted to know the answers, so I wrote – and researched – the book to find out.

ULM: What lead you to use Oregon as your book’s setting?

In 2002, after twenty-odd years living in Oregon, my husband was offered a job in the Boston area. He’d been out of work for a while, a casualty of the dot-bomb, andmy acting career had stalled, so we said “Why not?” and moved lock, stock, and barrel to New England. I was prepared for it to be different, but I couldn’t have predicted the culture shock: the unfamiliar food in the stores; the thick North Shoreaccent which I could barely make sense of; the crazy weather; and the even crazier,hard-to-navigate roads, all of which made me feel as if we’d made a wrong turn and landed in a foreign country. I was so confused by the winding streets in our neighborhood, I didn’t leave our driveway for the first two months!

Once the unpacking was done, I found myself terribly homesick for Oregon. I’d started the novel before we left, and since I had no job yet, and no prospects of one, I went back to the manuscript, and spent a good portion of every day with the state I loved and deeply missed. It was a wonderful year of writing and research, and a great feeling when it was done.

ULM: You mentioned that you love the land of Oregon. What is there to love?

First and foremost, it’s a beautiful state. Oregon is sparsely populated with spectacular natural scenery; there are mountains, desert, and coastline all within driving distance of the major cities. And Oregonians seem to have an almost innaterespect for the land. Practically every person I knew had a serious vegetable garden, and for years I was an avid gardener myself (which came in handy the yearmy husband was out of work). The great outdoors is simply a part of life, whether you’re a hiker, bicyclist, or walker. 

Not every Oregonian is an eco-warrior, but pretty much everyone loves the state they live in. Of course, there’s the rain, but the gorgeous summers more than make up for the nine months of drizzly, gray weather (which is why Oregonians drink so much coffee). Add to that a dedication to fresh, local food, and a growing number of local breweries, and you have a winning combination. If the winter weather weren’ta migraine trigger for me, we would have happily gone back when we left New England. Though I know for certain we’re not the only former Oregonians to have headed for sun-drenched San Diego!

ULM: How would you describe your writing using only three words?

Vivid, visual, and heart-centered.

ULM: The Blue Hour is a historical romance tale. Why choose the historical route for writing it?

The historical part was easy. As I said above, I’ve always been interested in the Oregon Trail and the pioneers who traversed it. What wasn’t clear was the romancepart, which I never set out to write. But once I started asking myself the story questions of who, what, when, where, and why, I immediately saw two characters (who turned out to be Emily and Cole), in two different scenes. Which sparked the final question: how did they get there? Answering that question brought the romance aspect into play.

I could probably have told the story of Emily and Cole in any era, but by choosing the 1860s and the Oregon Trail, I was able to introduce conflicts and hardships thatwouldn’t have been available to me had I set it in modern times. Setting the story in the Victorian era allowed me to explore current issues (women’s rights and gender roles, for example), from a friendly distance. Historical perspective filters current issues and events in a way that makes them accessible to modern readers. I’m interested in how we’ve progressed as a society – where we began, and where we’ve come to. By following the journey of an individual from the past, we can seethose issues more clearly than if we viewed them through the muddied lens of our own time.

ULM: Which of your characters was the hardest to create?

It’s a tie between Samuel and Emily. They were both challenges, but in different ways. Samuel is based largely on my father, which made his behavior familiar to me, painfully so, but it also made him fairly easy to write. After all, I’d had years ofdirect experience and observation to draw from. But I’d never tried to understand his actions; to me, like it or not, that’s just the way he was. Not until my editor told me she had a tough time understanding his actions, did I go back and look at his motivations. She pushed me to show the reader why Samuel did what he did; not tomake him more likeable, but to make him more believable. Justifying and understanding my father’s behavior wasn’t a place I necessarily wanted to go, but itwas good that she made me do it. As a result I understood my father better, and it improved the book enormously. 

My problem with Emily was that she was too internal. I knew what she wanted andwhat she was thinking, but it didn’t come across on the page. She was absent in her own story. I realized if I didn’t communicate her thoughts and desires to the reader, the story would be dead in the water. In the process of bringing Emily’s inner self to light, she evolved into a stronger, more sympathetic character than the one I’d originally imagined, someone with toughness and heart. She was still a reluctant heroine, but much more relatable. And those qualities have resonated with readers. 

ULM: What would you like readers to take from reading The Blue Hour?

Having been a teacher, I rejoice when readers say they learned something they didn’t know before, especially if it’s some tiny detail I geeked-out over! But I didn’tset out to educate anyone other than myself. I like sharing stories, and in this case Iwanted to tell a readable tale about one woman and the obstacles she had to overcome, both imposed from the outside, and coming from within. Of course, I hoped that readers would be inspired by Emily’s story, just as I was by the pioneer accounts I read, but I also know you can’t inspire someone who isn’t engaged. I did my best to tell a gripping story that keeps the reader turning pages, wondering whathappens next to the characters they’ve come to care about. In other words, I wrote the kind of book I like to read.

ULM: Do you have any other writing projects that you can share with us, readers?

Readers have been clamoring for a sequel to The Blue Hour, and it thrills me that they care enough about the characters to want more. I made a stab at it, and have about forty manuscript pages, but the story wasn’t grabbing me. If I’m going to spend five or more years on a book, it has to be something I’m obsessed and in lovewith. 

Also, in writing The Blue Hour, I set many family and personal issues to rest.Now that I’ve battled those ghosts, I feel the need to move on. Perhaps with the passing of time, I’ll miss Griffin Gulch and its denizens enough to revisit it.So…I’m doing the unthinkable and switching genres. I’ve always loved mysteries, and I’m working on a cozy mystery series that takes place in Portland, Oregon, a quirky, beautiful city, and a great place to set a story. 

My amateur sleuth is Camilla Reed, a free-lance singer and voice teacher. Camilla is a transplanted Texan: funny,earthy, and smart, with a heart as big as her home state. But she can’t get her love life together, and she repeatedly falls for the wrong men. 

Her next-door neighbor, Ted Sullivan, a retired Boston cop and fellow transplant, would like to be more than a friend, but he mainly ends up helping her with espionage and house repairs. 

An added detail is that Camilla is prone to migraine headaches. This puts her at a disadvantage, but it also grants her unusual powers of perception. Her heightened sense of smell, hearing, and other sensitivities, especially right before an attack, turn out to be remarkable sleuthing tools. This fits into the category of “write what you know.” As a chronic migraineur myself, I have years of personal experience at my disposal. It’s a pleasure turning this affliction around and showing it in a positive light. 

In all, I’m planning a series of three books. The first manuscript is finished, and thesecond is underway. I’m having a blast writing these stories, so stay tuned…

ULM: What else besides writing do you enjoy doing?

I love reading! I read approximately a book a week, plus I subscribe to a number ofwriting and arts journals. I also love to cook: I’m the weeknight chef at our house, and I find it relaxing and creative. Then, I’ve also started my first vegetable garden in a good long while; my seedlings must be tired of seeing my face peering at them. I still love theatre and music, even though I’m no longer performing, and my husband and I are avid theatre-goers, taking in about three shows a month. I’m also a rabid Red Sox fan. Following the team was the best thing about living in New England; in a word, the Red Sox are habit-forming!

ULM: You have mentioned being an actress. What was that like? 

Also, did that career influence your writing?As a performing artist and teacher, I was lucky to work in a field I’m deeply passionate about. I’ve traveled to places and met people I would never have been incontact with any other way, and who deeply influenced my work and my career. I was beyond fortunate to be able to make a career doing something I loved. But after forty years, with the onset of early menopause, I developed devastating, chronic migraines. 

Because they could strike at any time without warning, I was suddenly no longer reliable. I tried gutting it out, and I did everything I could thinkof to continue to work. But the performing life is chaotic and unpredictable at the best of times; it’s a recipe for constant pain. Eventually it was clear: I had to let thatlife go. I’d had a forty year run, and a good one. I did pretty much everything I’d wanted to do – played coveted roles, traveled, made some great friends, and grew tremendously as an artist. I left without regrets. Acting influenced my writing without question. 

One of my favorite exercises for character development was to write a biography or a journal as the character I was playing. It was my favorite part of the process, and it wasn’t unusual to find me stillwriting on closing night! That process taught me how to step into the shoes of any character, no matter how evil or unsympathetic, and see the world through their eyes, an invaluable tool for any writer. But beyond that, I learned about scene structure, language, and story line. I developed the ability to create huge desires for my characters, devising ways to getthose desires met, and to deal with the success or failure of the pursuit. I learned to look beneath the text for secret desires, to fill in the blanks in the script. And I learned invaluable lessons about dialog, rhythm, and pacing. Without a doubt, my writing would not be what it is today had I not learned those lessons in the theatre. 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your debut novel online? 

Excellent question! I love hearing from readers, and I personally respond to every message I receive. I can be reached through my website and blog  http://vickirighettini.com/

Please take a moment to sign up! 

 There is also an order page for the book on my website: http://vickirighettini.com/buy-the-book/; or you can purchase the book online at Amazon http://amzn.to/2i7Gn6M; Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2mKgX2j; or order it from any bookseller of your choice.

I also have author pages at: Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lHPUqZ; Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1UtgcEu; and Twitter: https://twitter.com/VRighettini 

I look forward to hearing from your readers soon! 

Review: The Barrowfields 

Synopsis:

A richly textured coming-of-age story about fathers and sons, home and family, recalling classics by Thomas Wolfe and William Styron, by a powerful new voice in fiction
Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised and installs his young family in an immense house of iron and glass perched high on the side of a mountain. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again. 
Mythic in its sweep and mesmeric in its prose, The Barrowfields is a breathtaking debut about the darker side of devotion, the limits of forgiveness, and the reparative power of shared pasts.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis takes readers on a journey of discovering truths and facing our demons. A family that was once happy soon turned into anything but happy. A son couldn’t wait to be free from his life at home. Taking off, her thought he could escape what haunts him. But he soon learns that no matter how far he goes, it would never leave him. This caused him to return home. Love, conflict, and family are three important themes corporates into this novel. I found it heartbreaking and dark. 

The Barrowfields is a tragedy that won’t be forgotten far after it’s been read. It felt like Phillip Lewis took me straight into the minds and hearts of both the father and son featured inside this tale. Quite mesmerizing. Broken and sad are the emotions caused by every page. The story begins well…then slows down some. Luckily, it moved back up to speed. Henry is a character readers everywhere can easily relate to and understand. Phillip Lewis masterfully crafted a heartfelt novel whose pages tore at my heart. Overall, I recommend this coming of age tale to all. 

Review: Zenn Diagram 




Synopsis:

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues. 

Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant is a YA novel that will only bait readers but hook them as well. Instantly, I fell in love with the main characters. Especially, Eva Walker. She’s unique. Everything that she touches that is alive or belongs to that live being sends her spinning with their emotions. That’s why she appears as a freak to most. Eva tutors peers in math. Math is her world. She loves it. Then, a new guy comes and she ends up tutoring him. However, he’s different too. Eva can’t stop herself from liking Zenn. Zenn is a guy that readers will gravitate towards immediately. Eva’s hidden ability will send her a shocking truth. That will bring some risks that is interesting to watch unfold. Wendy Brant’s writing is highly engaging from the first page to the last. Although, she has written books, Zenn Diagram is her first debut novel to be published. This read is fast-paced, entertaining, and mysterious. I loved it. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere. Adults everywhere will fall for Wendy Brant’s book as well as the teens. 

Review: The Karaoke Queen

The Karaoke Queen: And Her Year of Yes (Adventures of The Karaoke Queen Book 1) by [Powers, Annie]

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes you get older before you actually grow up, and twenty-seven-year-old Kennedy James is about to discover just that.

Sure, she has a fiancé and a future, but she realizes (just in time) that it isn’t quite the future she wants—much to her down-home Arkansan family’s chagrin.

Stifled by the conventions of Southern society, the expectations of older generations, and the everyday struggles of being a responsible adult and professional woman, Kennedy is in desperate need of a change.

She ditches the ring and starts over closer to home. With the help of a lively best friend, a new puppy, and a few nights with too much alcohol (OK, maybe more than a few), her decision to embark on a “Year of Yes” drives her closer and closer to her true self.

Through everything, she slowly discovers a person she can truly love—the quirky, empowered, karaoke-loving Kennedy she hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Karaoke Queen by Anne Powers is a great read. The main character, Kennedy goes about life exploring. She has to say yes, to everything within reason. I thought that was interesting. However, it felt like she wasn’t really into anything at all. She just skirted by life and ended up where ever life took her. That’s how it felt to me. The only thing that made me like her was her getting Rosie. A newborn puppy. I didn’t feel any kind of emotional attachment to Kennedy. She rolled with each chapter. No connection to anyone or any place. She dumps her fiancé, which I totally understood why. Then, she dates but nothing really hooked me into her story or into why she should be liked. I felt like this was more of a memoir than fiction. No hook. The character was real and I can see her doing the things she did…but everything felt empty. No purpose. Nothing. She didn’t fall in love. She didn’t get her heart broken. Kennedy just does what she wants. This is why I give it only three stars. Felt flat to me. I wanted to be swept off my feet and plunged into the book. That never happened here. The writer’s book was okay. Not the best. The ending held nothing for me as well. So, she forgave someone and moved completely on…but there was no emotional feeling to it. It was like a teacher telling students to do homework. Their minds and hearts are not into it but if they don’t do it, they get a zero. Kind of how this read. The Karaoke Queen would be better if their was a way for readers to connect with Kennedy. 

Review: The Blood Waltz

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Synopsis:

Selena D’Agostino needed a vacation. So when she received a mysterious invitation from England to meet long-lost relations at their family castle, it seemed just the ticket.

But nothing could have prepared her for what she would find there. Not only were her newfound relatives not what they seemed . . . it soon became clear that they were not about to let her leave.

And perhaps the most frightening of all was her overwhelming attraction to the seductive, enigmatic Kieran Ramsey, who bore an eerie resemblance to a 400-year-old portrait that hung in the castle . . . a man of dark secrets, with an insatiable thirst for blood and a lust for Selena’s soul that would not be denied.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Blood Waltz by Rita Dimitra is quite an interesting tale. This isn’t the norm for a detective mystery nor for a vampire story. Yet this book combines both in just the right amounts. Rita Dimitra’s novel is the perfect one to read for this Halloween. It’s dark, edgy, and sends chills down my spine. There’s is a romance inside…everything about it is unusual. Secrets, family, and a Gothic spun tale. Readers will be intrigued from the first page to the last. A vacation to visit family turns out to be a major life changer for the heroine. Her life as she knows it was simple and easy. Now, attending a castle the relatives she finds are much more than the normal way. So much history and mystery surround them all. Yet Selena, the main character, feels a draw to find out more. Curiosity is a weakness or in this case could it be a strength? The Blood Waltz is absolutely enchanting. I loved it. Overall, I recommend it to all.

Review: Waiting for a Lifetime

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Synopsis:

Sunny Siebel isn’t an ordinary girl – she can see what others can’t. She has the ability to see and communicate with the deceased.

Only sharing the company of lost spirits waiting to move on, her life changes when she meets a Reaper for the first time and realizes what she has been missing – why she is so different – when she falls in love. What she didn’t expect was how their connection would change her.

Acquiring comfort and solace in her newfound love, Sunny finds herself running from heaven itself while getting caught in the middle of an even larger plot that not even her assailants see coming.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Waiting for a Lifetime by Samantha Markham is a brilliant YA fantasy. I couldn’t believe the raw talent that this writer had until, I read her debut novel. This tale takes readers on a young woman’s journey in life. Her mother died and she can see and talk to ghosts. No one knows she can except her. Until, she meets him. The reaper captain. Appears to be her age, yet his age is much older than Sunny Siebel would have thought. But that doesn’t keep her attraction to the new strange guy in front of her. Something about her ability to see ghosts attracts the reaper closer to her. Their friendship is instant and something deeper begins to develop. Something that isn’t looked upon as good by the world from which the reaper comes from…it’s banned to be in a relationship with a human. But then again, Sunny ends up susprising both herself and the reaper when an unknown power escapes from her hands.  Waiting for a Lifetime describes this novel perfectly. The waiting of the two characters in finding each other is indeed like and will be a lifetime. Samantha Markham’s characters are believable and her world of fiction is highly entertaining. An deeply engaging tale that brings paranormal an YA issues together beautifully. I enjoyed reading it. Look forward to reading the next grand adventure by this writer. Overall, I recommend this story to readers everywhere.

Review: Scariton

 

Synopsis:

Josh is a nine-year-old boy with an adventurous streak. After a chance encounter with a wily leprechaun, Josh is transported to a strange land inhabited by giants, wizards, and creatures of the undead variety. He quickly realizes Scariton is unlike the suburbs in every way imaginable and learns the only way he can make it back home is to confront King Titan, an evil overlord with mystical powers. Titan has taken over Scariton by force in the region’s biggest war in history. Luckily, Josh doesn’t have to face Titan alone. Uriah, the captain of the guards for Scariton’s former king, is assigned to help Josh with his quest under the condition that he must find Princess Miriam who has gone missing. Armed with a few enchanted items of his own, Josh and his new friends travel the darkest corners of Scariton in their mission to find the princess. It’s non-stop action suitable for the whole family.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Scariton by Paul Charbonneau is an addictive adventure novel that will be a new favorite with adults and children alike. This tale brings readers to a young boy who is almost ten-years-old. He wants to have an adventure. He sets out into the woods. At first, he imagines a woodsman somewhere near with an axe…and instead falls upon an old, leprechaun. At first, Josh isn’t sure whether to believe the man or not. But after taking a small skills test…Josh believes the man is a leprechaun and is sent off on a magical adventure. This is where he meets two other boys about his age and a kingdom where a princess has been taken. To find her, Josh and his companions will go through dangerous territory. Will they survive the dangers and find the princess or will all be lost?  Scariton is indeed a fictional world full of intrigue, action, and magic. The scenes come alive with every page. I absolutely loved following brave Josh as the story unfolded. Paul Charbonneau’s writing is brilliant and well-told. Overall, I highly recommend his novel to readers everywhere.

 

Review: Marked for Life

 

Synopsis:

When a high-ranking head of the migration board is found shot to death in his living room, there is no shortage of suspects, including his wife. But no one expects to find mysterious, child-size fingerprints in this childless home.

Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, won’t be swayed by the hysterical widow or intimidated by the threatening letters the victim had tried to hide. She is steely, aloof, impenetrable. That is, until the boy…

A few days later on a nearby deserted shoreline, the body of a derelict preteen is discovered, and with him, the murder weapon that killed the official. Berzelius finds herself drawn more deeply into the case when, as she attends the boy’s autopsy, she recognizes something familiar on his small, scarred, drug-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory from her own dark childhood. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core.

Now, to protect her own horrific but hidden past, she must find the real suspect behind these murders before the police do.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp is one mind-blowing thriller. It rushes readers through a dark journey that goes deep into a character’s past. A killer is loose and one woman is determined to find the killer before the police do. Readers will be brought into one female prosecutor’s life and digging through demons in order to find clues on the murders at hand. Marked for Life is a chilling and edgy read that will keep readers up all night long.  This debut brings out realistic issues like child trafficking, drugs, and high levels of danger. A team of three forms and the deeper they investigate, the more memories are unleashed.

Emelie Schepp’s novel has wowed me from the beginning to end. I felt my heart pounding and the sweat, build up as the plot continued to unfold. A strong female leading role is evident, inside, this thriller. Having grown-up in a home that lacked the normal emotional journey that families share…leading prosecutor, Jana Berzelius, takes the lead on the murders. A murder weapon… and a container with people inside are found. A murderer thinks that Jana will never piece together the entire mystery…but when she does will it be too late for her and will the killer escape? Jana’s past childhood is darker than she thought…her father isn’t her real father….and her whole life has been dark. Living in the nightmares isn’t something that one wants to live in…and Jana ends up with more questions than answers. I felt sympathy for all the victims and the families that were found in the containers. Not many ended up in a good life like Jana. Marked for Life is a thriller that I would highly recommend to all. It will keep readers guessing…

 

Review: Coinman (An Untold Story)

 

Synopsis:

Coinman, a junior level office worker in India, has a number of eccentricities. The laughingstock of the office, he finds no relief at home; his wife Imli, an obsessed actress, completely vanishes into each role. When tough bully, Hukum, a beautiful enchantress, Tulsi, and the office sage, Ratiram, unite the office to conspire against Coinman, they have no inkling of an apocalypse looming inside the office.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Coinman: An Untold Story by Pawn Mishra is an incredible and an unforgetatable journey. A debut literary novel by a new talented writer. I was easily entertained by the well-written tale. Enchanting…this story took me deep into its plot and set me upon an unknown and remarkable travel. I loved how Pawn Mishra brought in a little bit of an Indian lifestyle and culture to the piece at hand. Highly suspenseful. I never knew what to expect to happen until it occured. The pages are vivid in description and the narrator point of view made me more curious as to what the magical pages held for me. My interest was deeply satisfied. The novel itself moved by fast and is set in an office environment. Coworkers are not always the nicest people nor easy to deal with…yet here I faced an entire office set of workers going against one man. This particular man was nicknamed Coinman. He always has his hand holding onto coins within one of his pockets…never does he use both hands…when he has to use both…he makes an excuse to leave. Everything about him annoy his coworkers…and they set out to plot against him. A business firm that turns violent…a conspirarcy in the works…and a spy among the coworkers. The turn of events in this exciting adventure will keep readers turning the pages and wondering what will be inside Pawn Mishra’s next masterpiece. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading Coinman: An Untold Story and I highly recommend it to all.

Review: The Mirror Thief

 

Synopsis:

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascinationwas it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing?the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals worldwide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, howevera world-weary war hero with nothing to losehas a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . .

Meanwhile, in two other VenicesVenice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa todaytwo other schemers, launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . .

All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put downan old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice . . . and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of art.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay is a sensational masterpiece. Martin Seay is truly a master of creating plots that will absorb readers into a thrilling adventure unlike any other. This thriller contains three varying stories that will intertwine and become one massive story that blew me away. A novel that defies all other works of fiction and leaves readers satisfied from beginning to end. The Mirror Thief is like a black hole that sucks everything and in this case everyone into its depth. A fast-paced highly entertaining tale that had me hooked, awed, and breathless. Readers who want an adventure as thrilling as the most frightening thrill rides in the world….will fall deeply for this splendid masterpiece.

It’s hard to believe that The Mirror Thief is Martin Seay’s debut novel. What a way to splash into the world of fictional writing. I have never read a tale quite like this one. Inside this story, I got to travel to three different locations, meet many intriguing characters and learned about a mirror technology that is the center of it all. Secrets, danger, and three different times periods make this an outstanding read. The craftsmen that created the mirror would be punished by death if they left the island…and there was one who had nothing to lose. A mirror that can be used for information purposes is a rare and highly wanted object used by many. What will come to the thief is something that readers must find out own their own…Overall, I highly recommend this enchanting tale to readers worldwide. I look forward to reading more by this talented writer in the future.

 

Review: Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People

 

Synopsis:

The tears and laughter of life’s ups and downs are the emotional pulse of this mesmerizing debut novel by Joel Michael Dorr–a funny look at fractured lives coming together–proving love and salvation might just come from the most unlikeliest of people.

Ilena Doran dedicates herself to helping battered women–but the therapist can’t seem to get through to the one person who means the most, her son, Sammy. Percy Powers, a drunken, womanizing, morning talk show host, prefers parties with scantily clad women over the company of children. But when one such party leads him to be late to the premiere of his own radio show, he gives junior listeners a chance to spend a night out on the town with him in a desperate attempt to mollify management. The winner ends up being Ilena’s son, Sammy, still traumatized after seeing his father murdered. At first, Ilena isn’t even aware that her assistant nominated Sammy but–she grudgingly agrees to accompany him. There, for the first time in almost a year, Ilena witnesses Sammy laugh. Is it possible that Percy just may be the one to prove that people aren’t always what they seem to be–and that salvation might come from the unlikeliest of places?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People by Joel Michael Dorr is brilliant. His novel immediately took me on a journey that’s deep, funny, and sweet. He shows that nothing is as we see it as…proof of that just lies deep within this enticing tale. Inside readers will me a man who is more than just a drunk party playboy. Then, there is Sammy, a boy who was traumatized by his father’s death and last but not least, there is Sammy’s mom, Ilena. It seems fate has things in store for these three people and their lives about to change forever. Ilena might have just met her match of a man in Percy Powers…and the effect that she plays over him is taunting him like crazy. The fact that he makes her son laugh in a long time is also a step to their growing chemistry…but will it be enough? Joel Michael Dorr has the talent to suck readers in and keep them hooked until the last page. Readers like myself will find themselves laughing and falling in love with this riveting tale. Overall, I highly recommend this to readers everywhere.

Review: Dog Gone

 

Synopsis:

Have you ever seen a report of a terrible animal abuse case and thought, “Someone should stop that person from ever being able to harm another animal?” Then, this novel is for you.

Sam Holden is a young woman who comes across a dog after she has been tortured to death. This starts her down a path of learning about animal rescue. Along this path, there are times where she must color outside the lines in order, to stop an abuser, from harming animals. In order to do this, she must enlist the help of some unexpected characters. This includes a mob family retiree, a housebound social media whiz, and a gorgeous “fence” for stolen goods. She needs the fence since, she funds her illegal projects, by thievery. Sam’s on again, off again boyfriend doesn’t know about her recreational projects. We join Sam as she balances her personal life, thievery, and escalating quests to help animals in need. Throughout all of her competing jobs, she never loses sight of her search for the man who started it all by killing the dog she found by the side of the road. Our story culminates when Sam finds the man, with all points of her life intersecting in an amazing finish.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Dog Gone by Diane Moat is the new novel that I have been waiting for a long time. I wanted an entertaining read that brings out the awareness of animal abuse and still is something that everyone can enjoy. Diane Moat has brilliantly done just that within her novel, Dog Gone. I loved how the story portrayed realistic issues that needed to be addressed as well as others that made this tale believable. Readers will be introduced to an interesting set of characters that will pique their interest from page one until the very last page. There is everything that readers can want in one novel. Action, danger, suspense, and a great mystery. Overall, I highly recommend this brilliantly well-written novel that packs adventure to readers everywhere. It kept me on the edge of my seat waiting what happens next. I look forward to reading more novels by this talented writer in the future.

 

Review: Blue Bath

 

Synopsis:

Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer is a sensational women’s fictional piece. Here, readers are introduced to interesting characters…a married woman with a son…a piece of her past comes tumbling into her present life and the stakes are higher than she realizes. An old flame she once left in Paris is now at an art gallery near her. Kate’s curiosity kills her and she must see…Daniel Blake.  An artist that painted her and still continues to do so…Kate realizes that there is much to lose if people found out that the paintings were of her. The Blue Bath title ties in perfectly with the beautifully woven tale. Mary Waters-Sayer’s readers will fall deeply in love with the characters, scenes, and the emotional journey that unfolds.

The Blue Bath is Mary Waters-Sayer’s debut novel. A brilliant and stunning way to light one’s path into the world of fictional writing. This story is about love, regret, and betrayal. A woman’s secrets haunt her…what her life will be like with her husband once she tells him…is something readers have to read. Life is never easy and our pasts never stay hidden they are bound to chase us no matter how far away we run. Kate is a wife who had an affair with a painter…who is now dead. She knows how he died yet she has lied to the police. Her future is an enormous mess. An entanglement that no one would have foreseen until it happened. Sad, heartbreaking, and well-written. I highly recommend this contemporary novel to readers everywhere. I can’t wait to read more my Mary Waters-Sayer in the future.

 

Review: Jazz Moon (A Novel)

 

Synopsis:

In a lyrical, captivating debut set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and glittering Jazz Age Paris, Joe Okonkwo creates an evocative story of emotional and artistic awakening.

On a sweltering summer night in 1925, beauties in beaded dresses mingle with hepcats in dapper suits on the streets of Harlem. The air is thick with reefer smoke, and jazz pours out of speakeasy doorways. Ben Charles and his devoted wife, Angeline, are among the locals crammed into a basement club to hear jazz and drink bootleg liquor. For the aspiring poet, Ben, the swirling, heady rhythms are a revelation. So is Baby Back Johnston, an ambitious trumpet player who flashes a devilish grin and blasts jazz dynamite from his horn. Ben finds himself drawn to the trumpeter—and to Paris where Baby Back says everything is happening.

In Paris, jazz and champagne flow eternally, and blacks are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It’s an easy life that quickly leaves Ben adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliances in the city’s decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafés to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials, and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: 

Jazz Moon by Joe Okonkwo will make readers question everything they read and feel. Nothing like a novel about jazz that brings out the poetic side to everyone especially the characters. A debut novel that brings, to life, the action, drama, and passion of 1925. Times where everything beckoned and called to those who hearts wanted more. Inside this title, readers will get a glimpse into a poet’s lifestyle. He has a devoted wife but is angry with her…he soon find himself attracted to another who brings out the heat of raw animalistic desire deep within his blood. A stirring unlike any other. Paris is a place where art, passion, and desire come in abundance and that’s where both Ben and his new lover find themselves. Joe Okonkwo brings readers the best world of fiction readers will find. Race, jazz, and travel are deep topics easily explored within this exciting well-written plot. Overall, I highly recommend this new novel, Jazz Moon, to readers everywhere.

Review: Voice of Innocence

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Synopsis:

We’ve all heard the saying: you never forget your first love. For some, however, perhaps the better terminology is haunted—haunted with the memories, the connections, and the life-changing relationship. So begins the tale of Emma Ranstein and Corbin Jones, two typical teenagers who travel the road of first love together, hearts sealed by a seemingly impenetrable bond. When Corbin Jones is convicted of murder and faces years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, though, their love is put to the test. As Emma and Corbin await his release from prison decades later, both reflect on the power of a relationship neither has gotten over. Their unique story speaks to a universal heartstring within all of us: how do we move on past a first love if we aren’t meant to do so? More importantly, it reminds us that there is hope if the heart leads the way.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Voice of Innocence by Lindsey Detwiler is beautifully written. I was hooked immediately. Lindsey Detwiler has a way with writing a romance that sweeps readers off their feet and sending them spiraling out of control…Two young people falling head over heels for each other…only for life to happen. They are separated and torn away from each other but their love doesn’t end there. Lindsey Detwiler will take readers on a thrill ride that they never want to get off from…and the ending will take you whole and never let you go.

This is a new must read for all. I highly recommend this sweet, romantic, yet powerful story to readers everywhere. The Voice of Innocence will blow readers away and keep them hooked. The ending will leave readers finding themselves waiting eagerly for the next book that continues this enchanting tale. Lindsey Detwiler is a new writer to watch out for…her writing is addictive, captivating, and entertaining. Overall, I loved reading this book and look forward to reading more by this writer in the future.

Review: The Good Liar

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Synopsis:

Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion.

Veteran con artist Roy spots an obvious easy mark when he meets Betty, a wealthy widow, online. In no time at all, he’s moved into Betty’s lovely cottage and is preparing to accompany her on a romantic trip to Europe. Betty’s grandson disapproves of their blossoming relationship, but Roy is sure this scheme will be a success. He knows what he’s doing.

As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds their pasts. Dancing across almost a century, decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness, The Good Liar is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Good Liar is a fast-paced thriller that will attract reades instantly. This debut novel will automatically become every reader’s new favorite. Nicholas Searle is a brilliant writers. His words take readers fast into his fictional world full of danger, deceit, and  betrayals. Suspense will cover readers like a thick blanket. Every page will keep readers on the edge of their seats…keeping them hooked on every word. Nicholas Searle is a new writer to watch out for…I can’t wait to see what he delivers in his next exciting adventure.

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle is dark, compelling, and highly uspenseful. Readers will love this new title. The story will take readers on a jounrey that goes back and forth one man’s life. A man who cons his way about and slips into the life of a widow. This story will keep readers on their toes waiting eagerly for the ending…that will be the most rewarding part of reading this entire novel. I love how readers are introduced to the characters and their life stories and how it all ties up in the end. Nicholas Searle is a master of suspense and dark plotlines. Overall, I loved this story, and I recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: The Sisters

 

Synopsis: 

One lied. One died.

When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive

After a tragic accident, still haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets siblings Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.

When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs

As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention?

When the truth outs, will either sister survive?

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

The Sisters by Claire Douglas is one outstanding novel. One that compels readers to keep turning the pages. Two sisters…one died and the other still lives. The sister that lives has her world turned upside down. Her way of surviving is seeing her sister’s similarities in other girls. Once she sees someone with dead sister’s qualities or personality she then attaches herself to that person. The only way to coping with her sister’s loss, Abi finds the tiniest things that remind her of her sister. In her mind she lets her sister live on…but she knows it’s not always good to do so. Readers will be caught breathless as they following Abi’s journey into surviving.

Claire Douglas is a talented writer whose world of fiction lures readers instantly. The world is so much like our own. Readers can easily connect with Abi and her loss. Her feelings automatically become the reader’s own emotions. The plot thickens as Abi sets herself up for failure, stress, and danger. So many what ifs and the suspense is high. The Sisters is a must read for all. The characters are so believable and the plot is fast-paced. Readers won’t know what really happening or going on until the ending. The lies told in this psychological thriller will keep readers, at the edge of their seats. This was the first novel, I have read by Claire Douglas. I loved reading her debut novel and look forward to reading more of her works in the future. It was absolutely thrilling. Overall, I highly recommend The Sisters to readers worldwide.

Review: The Gallery of Wonders

The Gallery of Wonders Cover

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

The Gallery of Wonders by Marc Remus is the most fascinating children’s book that I have read. An illustrator at heart, Marc Remus has turned his illustrations into much more than just words on blank pages. He has beautifully created worlds where a child’s imagination can soar. Adventure, suspense, and a fun world filled with extraordinary things and places one can only dream of. Marc’s talent as a writer is definitely one that readers should look for. His writing is captivating. I highly recommend Marc Remus’s novel, The Gallery of Wonders to both children and adults alike. Who would have thought that a world of painting can be so exciting?

The Gallery of Wonders is a must read for every child. The story is fast-paced and packed with enough action to keep the children turning the pages.  Inside, this remarkable well-written masterpiece, readers will find a young girl worrying about her grandpa. She sees a fire coming from his place and tries calling for help. Her step family won’t let her and yet she goes after her grandpa hoping to help him. Soon, Holly will lose the only family member that cared about her…but all is not lost. Marc Remus then takes readers on one addictive rollercoaster ride of a life time. One that’s involves a painting. A painting that takes Holly and a few others to a world no one knew about. There anything that is drawn comes to life. Readers will have a blast following Holly and friends on their journey. The ending will leave readers wondering what happens next…The good news is that Marc Remus has another book coming soon. Overall, I loved this children’s book and look forward to reading more by Marc Remus in the future.

Review: Made for Me to Love

 

Synopsis:

True love does triumph…in some shape and form.

Isabelle has always risen above tragedy and heart break. When her baby died, she rose and survived. As she dealt with a cheating and abusive husband, she rose and survived. Isabelle thought her chance at finding happiness was fading, but real love was nearby. When true love presents itself she realizes accepting it is not the easiest thing to do. This tale tells the struggle of the human spirit’s desire to be loved even when it is not entirely right.

Set in the 1970’s, Made For Me To Love is a heart-warming story based upon actual events in the author’s life.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

Made for Me to Love by Unnis Ballad is an inspritational journey that readers will love. Heartbreaking at first, then there’s the fight to stay strong despite everything that happens. Yes, life tosses us curves balls and pulls the rug from under our feet occassionally, but readers will find this one woman’s fight is the hardest. Love created a precious gift and only to be taken away from the arms of one woman. Then, her relationship with her man is one that many women find themselves trapped within. However, Isbelle fights and she fights with all the passion and strenght God has given her. Being happy is something we all want. Unnis Ballad’s realistic and believable character, Isabelle believes that happiness just isn’t within her reach, until fate brings something to her. Maybe, just maybe Isabelle will finally find what she deserves after all. Happiness.

Made for Me to Love is a remarkable African American piece of literature that is heartbreaking. A story how how many lives come together all facing a future that none of them wanted. The ending was something, I didn’t expect. It was definitely one that readers won’t see coming. Unnis Ballad weaves family, love, and loss all into this beautifully written story. The characters are well-developed. I enjoyed reading this novel, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere. It will definitely open up one’s eyes to the world’s cruel fates.

 

 

 

Review: The 8th Circle

 

Synopsis:

A year ago, Danny Ryan lost his wife and son in a car accident. He’s still reeling from the tragedy when Michael Cohen, his friend and fellow journalist, drives into the pond in front of his house with a bullet through his gut.

With Michael’s death ruled a murder, Danny must work to get his name crossed off the list of suspects, and that means digging into Michael’s last article, an expose of the twisted side of Philadelphia politics. But powerful people are ready to kill to protect what Michael was about to uncover, and if Danny’s not careful, he’ll be next.

The dark heart of the city is on display in Sarah Cain’s gripping debut thriller, The 8th Circle.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

The 8th Circle by Sarah Cain is the most intriguing thriller I have read. Readers will get an insider’s peak to the real dangers of what journalists uncover. The wrong doers are powerful and they do kill, if their secrets are about to be revealed. Readers will see the scenes of crime come to life with every page. Sarah Cain’s words are vivid and show readers what the corrupt evil ones do to innocent human beings…like a journalist who ends up dead. Then his best friend digs into his work and soon the danger is chasing after him. Can the innocent escape the powerful clutches of evil, or will more lives be shattered to keep things quiet?

Sarah Cain’s debut novel, The 8th Circle, is packed full of live action. Suspense hangs thickly and readers are aware that death is just lingering around the corner. A journalist dies with a bullet to his chest and the next thing that happens is his best friend becomes a suspect. Now, after losing his wife and child Danny Ryan loses his best friend. A friend that dug deep enough into dirt that the dirt came back to get him. Politics is a nasty business to begin with and then add corruptiveness to the mixture, and it’s never good. Michael Cohen found something bad enough that got himself killed. What he didn’t realise was that it would kill him and maybe his best friend too. Readers will love the mystery of who’s behind it all and why. Then there’s also the question of what kind of dirt did Danny Ryan’s best friend find…I highly recommend this stunning plot with its twists and turns. Readers will be on the edge of their seats with this story.

 

 

Book Review: Dream Myself Alive by Brain Lovestar

Dream Myself Alive is a one of a kind paranormal read that will take readers away from reality and take them somewhere in between. Readers won’t know what is real and what isn’t at least not until the ending. A fantastic thriller unlike any I have ever read before. Brian Lovestar masterfully created a novel that lures readers deep into the unknown. At first, I thought I knew what was going on and then it was something that I didn’t expect it to be at all. Suspense, intrigue, and a romance all worth reading. This novel will keep readers up all night long.

Brain Lovestar’s brilliant paranormal romance with a twist of fantasy keeps your heart thumping, and your senses alive. A stunning tale of one man who loves a woman so much that is needs to be with her. He believes she is dead and mourns deeply of her lost. But is his world viewpoint real or just a piece of a dream that he created? Readers will be swept up in the story constantly turning the pages in a race to uncover the truth. I loved reading Dream Myself Alive. It is noting like anything I have read. Truly a masterpiece created by a genius. I highly recommend this fantasy to readers worldwide. You definitely do not want to miss out on this great read. Overall, I rate it a five out of five stars.

Ash to Steele by Karen-Anne Stewart

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 Longer excerpt one:

The annoying buzzing in my pants vibrates again and I give up.  Jess is relentless.  If I don’t show, I’ll never hear the end of it.

Rays of sunlight scatter across the sidewalk as the clouds slowly drift in front of the afternoon sun.  The air is crisp, vibrant, lifting my mood as I pull into Jess’ favorite lunch establishment.  The deli is permeated with the aroma of pastrami, vinegar, and cilantro.

Jess spots me as soon as I step inside, giving me her smartass I-knew-you-would-come smirk, but Emma’s back is turned towards me.  Her long hair is twisted into some kind of smooth bun.  Her jacket hangs from the back of the chair and her soft, feminine frame is covered in a form fitting white sweater.  It’s not too tight, just snug enough to torture a man with fantasies about the sensual curves hiding just underneath.

The acoustics suck in the old building but the food makes up for having to strain to hear the person next to you.  Plopping in the seat next to Emma, she jumps, startled by what I quickly perceive as my unexpected presence.

Her shocked gaze pierces me. A fleeting pleased look flitters across her flawless features and the hint of a smile curves the edges of her soft pink lips before she catches herself and turns towards Jess, cocking one eyebrow, effectively cocking the unruly part of me into a rock hard state.  Damn, I want to fuck her.

“I invited Breck,” Jess shrugs innocently.

“I gathered that,” Emma says through gritted teeth, all pleasure gone from her eyes.

The waitress arrives and starts to ask our order until her gaze falls on me.  Her cheeks tint as she flashes a sexy grin before biting her bold, red lip.

Her reaction is not new to me, women have always seemed to be turned on by my presence for some reason. Despite what people may think, I don’t thrive on the attention; I’m just used to it, and I learned its advantages at an early age.  It’s a mutual benefit.

Bringing the tip of the pen to her mouth, the waitress’ eyes are filled with exactly what she wants to do with me.  I begin the game the women expect, playing the part they seem to want me to play, and give her my I’ll-have-you-out-of-your-panties-in-ten-seconds smile.

Jess mouths a vile word at me.

Emma shifts uncomfortably in her chair.

I smirk arrogantly.

Snapping her finger in front of the blonde’s face, Jess verbally scourges the waitress,  “He’s not going to strip you down and have his way with you on the table, so how ‘bout doing your job and forget about him doing you and take our lunch order.”

The waitress shoots Jess a scathing glare before raising her eyebrow, impatiently waiting for Jess’ order.

Interestingly, the cocked brow action coming from her does nothing for me.

Emma orders an eight inch sub with extra sauce and fries, impressing me.

“I like a girl who eats,” I remark, turning my attention back to the girl who keeps surprising me, this time, by her choice of the loaded sub.

“You like a girl who is breathing,” Emma mumbles under her breath.

Biting back a chuckle, I turn towards the blonde waitress who seems to have regained her earlier flirtatious smile.

Emma glances between the waitress and me before I catch her, causing her to immediately look away.

Winking at the blonde, I have to force myself not to burst out laughing at the way Emma’s mouth drops and her nose crinkles up in that cute way when she’s disgusted.  Knowing it will push Emma over the edge, I slowly lean in front of her, careful to brush my shoulder against her arm, as I grab the waitress’ hand, telling her that I want my sub spicy, hot, and dripping with juices.

The noise leaving Emma’s lips is something between a shocked gasp and a gurgling grunt.  Snatching her jacket, Emma pushes away from the table.

Damn. “Where are you going?” I ask, the thought of her leaving affecting me way more than I like.

“Next to Jess.  Sitting next to you seems dangerous; who knows what I might catch.”

“Ha, cute! I’ve got a clean bill, the epitome of health.  I prefer not to make stupid decisions.  I always use protection and get tested every few months.”

“More than I needed to know,” Emma spouts, her words drowning in disdain.

The pleading look Jess discretely shoots my way weakens me, making me bite back my smartass reply.

Emma refuses to look at me while we wait on our food, but I can’t seem to pull my eyes away from her, or the quirky way she fidgets with everything when she’s studying it.  I want to bite that lip, graze its fullness between my teeth and taste its sweet ripeness before tasting the rest of her, wondering if the intoxicating flavor in my head is anywhere close to what I imagine.  Somehow, I know it is.

Jess breaks the silence by attempting small talk, even going as far as asking me about work.

“Since when do you give a shit about my work?”

Pain explodes against my shin, and I send Jess a warning glare, which she ignores and kicks me again.

Clearing my throat, I slide my legs a little further under my chair and decide to appease her, “I’m busy trying to come up with a design for the new energy efficient solar line Granddad instituted.”

Emma begins to scribble on her napkin as Jess continues to ask me about the design needed while I flippantly answer a few of her questions before slanting my eyes, warning her to knock it off.  She’s about as interested in my work at my grandfather’s business as I am, which is not much.  The only reason I’m working at his company is out of respect for him.

Changing tactics, Jess explains that, in addition to the restaurant, I have taken over the decision making aspect of my grandfather’s business while he undergoes chemo.

Emma’s hand stops moving as her gaze meets mine, her eyes full of empathy.  “I’m sorry about your grandfather.”

There’s a vulnerability in her eyes that I haven’t seen before, a sadness that sends a sharp ache straight through my chest.  Fuck, another reason I want to hate her.

“Working at your grandfather’s company must take away from your other job.  The owner of the restaurant must be really nice to donate food every night and give you the time needed to help out your grandfather.”

Jess opens her mouth to correct Emma, but I return her under the table kick, shutting her up.

Emma’s voice changes, her eyes becoming hooded, “Is your grandfather doing well with the chemo?”

I don’t want her sympathy, and I sure as hell don’t want her looking at me the way she is right now, making me want to scoop her in my arms and hold her until all of her sadness disappears. “He’s a tough bastard,” I state quickly, my gaze turning harsh, desperately needing to dispel the effect she has on me.

Her daddy may be a preacher but Emma seems to possess the ability to curse a man with her bewitching smile, casting a spell on what’s left of my soul, but it’s the radiance in her eyes that conjures the vexing illusion of something I can never have that’s so damning.

“What’s this?” I ask angrily, dragging myself away from her hex as I grab the napkin Emma’s been scribbling on the past twenty minutes.  The bold, smooth lines of the company’s initials with a design made of a brilliant abstract mixed with a simplistic, clear, sure artistry creates a formidable yet inviting feel.  “You just drew this?”

Emma’s hands drop to her lap as she leans back in her chair defensively, “I heard you and Jess talking.  I was just playing around.”

My gaze snaps back to hers, seeing that ambiguous light becoming opaque, and I curse underneath my breath at the harshness of my tone with her.  Although it’s torture seeing the light in her eyes, it’s unbearable watching it go, especially when I’m the one causing it to dim.  Softening my voice, I hold up the napkin, “This is perfect, exactly what we’re looking for.”

“Oh,” she mumbles, relaxing her shoulders a little.  “Um, thank you.”

Jess beams proudly, “Of course it is!  She’s an amazing artist.”

The blush that spreads across Emma’s cheeks at the compliment does hateful things to me. Turning my attention back to the drawing, I ask, “An artist, huh?” I slide the napkin across the table, “How much for this design?  After you recreate it on the computer with a little color and sharpen it, making it 1200 DPI?”

“I don’t mind designing it for you.  I can have it ready by tomorrow.”

“You’d give it to me?” my question is laced with bewildered amusement.

Emma gives a small, unsure nod.

A hearty laugh bursts out before I can contain it, “You really are small town aren’t you?”

“Fine!” she snaps, halting my laughter and catching me off guard.  Emma grabs the napkin, crumbling it and throwing it into her purse.  “Like I said, it was only me playing around.”

Suppressing another chuckle at how she squares her jaw, lifting it just a notch, I can’t help but admire her determination to despise me when it’s clear by the hurt in her eyes that she cares what I think.

“Damn, Jess, I hurt your friend’s feelings again.”

“Stop being a prick!” Jess snaps.

“My feelings aren’t susceptible to your nocuous attitude,” Emma proclaims, smoothing her sweater before folding her hands calmly on the table.

Yes, she is most definitely a beautiful liar.  Bursting out in laughter, my brows pull together, “Nocuous?”

The slightest curve tilts her luscious lips and a need-filled ache builds steadily in my pants as my throat goes dry.  Feelings stirring to life inside shame me.  I’m not the type of man to want the woman, just what the woman can do to satisfy my needs at that moment.  With Emma, I want something more.  If only I knew what that something is so I can just take it already, fuck her, and be done with it.

The next glance into her expectant eyes proves that it won’t be that easy.  Not with her.  “You mistook my meaning.  I meant what I said about the design; it’s perfect for the product, simple but strong.  I still want it, but I won’t take it for free, so what do you want for it?”

Emma appears uncomfortable.  It’s obvious she’s out of her element when it comes to business deals. I’ll have to work with her on that before she starts selling her art, assuming she isn’t giving that away for free as well.  I already know she’s giving lessons for free at the center, a quick call to Patty, the center’s coordinator, confirmed that.

“I-I don’t know.  Maybe fifty dollars.”

“I don’t work for a small mom and pops business, Emma.  Don’t undersell yourself.”

The chewing on the inside of her cheek, causing her lip to curve sideways and downwards, is a pretty good indicator that she’s still struggling with coming up with a price.  I decide to put her out of her misery, “I’ll pay one thousand dollars.”

“One thousand!”  Her eyes widen in shock.

“But, you have to present it,” I state, guessing she’s not done much of that either.

The panic in her eyes proves I’m right.  “Present it where?”

“To the board members at the meeting on Friday.”

“I have to work on Friday,” she blurts, relief filling her beautiful eyes.

“Okay, Friday evening then, at the party the company is hosting for the new line.  You can go as my guest and present it there.”

Jess glares at me.

I smile cockily.

“I have to work early Saturday morning.”

“You’ll be out of there in plenty of time to sleep before work the next morning,” I state, my tone indicating that the decision has already been made.

She opens her mouth to protest, but the waitress returns with our lunch and her blouse open a few more buttons.

Jess rolls her eyes as Emma glances at me through her lashes, deepening her spell.

Clinching my jaw, I tear my eyes away from her and give the waitress a wink chock full of innuendo, effectively disgusting Emma to the point where she is ignoring me again.

The rest of the lunch hour is spent with Emma barely touching her meal and Jess shooting visual daggers at me.  I thoroughly enjoy my sub, knowing that Jess will not be asking me to do her anymore favors with Emma anytime soon.

“Can I please have a carry out box?” Emma asks the waitress, reaching for her purse.

“I’ve got the tab,” I announce, pulling out my wallet.

“Thank you,” Emma manages to spit out, “but I can pay for my lunch.”

“I’m sure you can, but you’re not going to,” I state, leaving no room for argument while I give the waitress a generous tip instead of what she really wants, as indicated with her number written on the receipt she hands me.  Leaving the receipt on the table, I turn towards Emma and Jess, feeling every bit of the tension Emma is struggling to control.

“Thank you for lunch,” Emma’s words are rushed and tinged with a little anger.

“No problem,” I smile, refraining from brushing back a piece of hair that has loosened from the bun and is blowing across her face.  The stark blue of her eyes shimmers, brightened further by her tan, silky skin.  The chestnut wisp continues to torture me as it falls against the corner of her full mouth.  Thoughts of my lips on hers, her lips on me, leave me in physical torment.  I want to feel that mouth getting me off.  Stepping away from her, I grapple with my waning self-control and make myself focus. “Where do you work?”

“Shallonelles,” she replies, her eyes not quite meeting mine.  She hesitates before adding, “And the gallery on Main.”

“What do you do there?”

“I create the art for the paper’s ads.”

“What do you do at the gallery?” I ask, getting the feeling she left that part out on purpose.

“I give tours.”  Emma flashes a forced smile.

“Is any of your work there?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“No.” There’s that fake smile again, and something I wasn’t prepared for…a heartbreaking longing.

Ash to Steele
by Karen-Anne Stewart

Emma
Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It’s my fault; I’m the one who isn’t strong enough. I’ve been damaged…broken. Breck’s words haunt me…’There’s a consequence for every choice you make.’

Breck
I’ve had so many women I can’t even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don’t need or want anyone, ever…not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what’s left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin…my sweetest hell.

Disclaimer: Intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 13th 2014 by Karen-Anne Stewart

LINKS
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20745033-ash-to-steele

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495464415/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1495464415&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ash-to-steele-karen-anne-stewart/1119687292?ean=9781495464416&itm=1&usri=9781495464416&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Author Bio:

Author of New Adult Romance who doesn’t shy away from writing about sensitive issues and hot heroes.

Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, Ash to Steele, and her newly released paranormal romance novel, Feel. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, three dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6920317.Karen_Anne_Stewart

Website:  http://www.karen-annestewart.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SKarenAnne

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Modern Girl Chapter 4

Modern Girl                                                                                       

                                                                              Chapter 4

 

Okay so, I am not exactly jobless nor working yet. More like in between. So I didn’t care what anyone else thought. Only kept thinking about my friend’s words to me and that was enough to keep me motivated.

RING. RING. RING.

There goes the house phone again! Picking it up, I decided I will play nice until the caller made him or herself known. Calls these days were mostly advertisers and I didn’t have the patience to listen to them and waste my time. It was a shame I didn’t have caller ID.

“Hello, who is this that is calling please?” I sweetly asked like any woman my age would.

“Hey loser, just calling to ..”

SLAM! Like hell I was going to talk to that bitch from my friend’s funeral. No one has to put up with the kind of talk. Loser? Maybe she should look in her mirror once awhile to see that only loser is herself.

RING! RING! RING!

It was like the phone wanted to taunt me into exploding with an anger that I have not yet shown to anyone. Staring at it, I waited hoping it would stop ringing eventually.

And it did eventually after another 6 rings. That should show her how much I think of her and her ugly ways. You don’t go around calling people losers. You just never know who you will end up working for or at least that’s how the saying goes.

Maybe, if people were just a bit nicer the world wouldn’t be as bad. But then again, maybe it would be a dull world if everyone followed every single rule to the t.

Deciding to get out of the house, I left a note to my grandparents letting them know where I was going and when I should be back. It could possibly be the last time they ever hear from me again. Like I said, I have the worst luck ever.

Going out the door and locking it, I decided to walk the five blocks to the grocery store. The weather was nice. Sunny, but breezy. I had to buy milk, and something to make for dinner. As I was re-reading my shopping list, I crossed the walkway. Hardly any cars where around, so I decided it was safe. Just as I cross, the pathway, a car out of nowhere comes straight at me. It was like deja vu. I was in this position once before except it wasn’t my fault. I was 6 years old living in Florida. Getting off the bus, I had to cross the busy highway to make it over to my mother on the other side. However, a car came speeding up at me and all I could do was stand there waiting for the impact. It felt like an eternity and then the feeling of being picked up and taken over to the other side. To this day, I don’t who picked me up and carried me. I just somehow made it safely to the other side by my mom. Weird right?

Now, 25 years-old and I am in the same position once again. Except there was no one here to save me. And I was once again glued to my spot. The driver took a swerve at the last minute and drove into a business. Yep. I was not the luckiest one. I don’t know if I just have bad luck or if I am the bad luck charm.

Hm..bad luck charm. Maybe I can use that to my social status? LOL Yeah, maybe, if I was insane. But I’m not.

The driver got out of the car, and walked over to me. A tall, dark hair, brown eyes and pretty easy on the eyes. The man didn’t look too happy. Go figure.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Am I okay?”

“Yes.”

“I guess. But maybe, I should be the one asking you that. Since, it was my fault you drove into the store.”

Biting my lip, I waited for him to take everything I said in and for the anger to burst out at me.

“No, it was my fault. The speed limit is what 45 mph here? And I was going at least 55 mph.”

“Yes.” And then realizing he may not know what I said yes to, I felt that I had to elaborate it for him. “Yes, the speed limit is 45 mph here. You need to use my cell phone for a call?”

“No, I’m sure the owner and the other shoppers are calling the police with a tow truck already. But thank you.”

Mmm hmm..any time. Damn he was hot looking. And I couldn’t make out what he was thinking when he looked at me like he was doing right this minute.

And just as I was enjoying this awkward yet nice moment with this hot stranger, my number one enemy had to show up and make her presence known to the new guy in town.

“Hi, it was your car that hit the store?” She asked like she thought I did it myself.

“Yes.”

“Well, my dad is the sheriff and I am sure we can’t get things settled faster for you if you would like that. Come on, I’ll introduce you to my dad.”

And with that she half pulled half lured him over to her dad’s car that just pulled up. The guy never stopped looking at me though. What was a girl to make of that?

Modern Girl Chapter 3

        Modern Girl                                                                       

                                                                               Chapter 3

Landing one’s first job is harder than you think. I went through my small town’s newspaper and there was absolutely nothing available for me that involved my talents. Mostly drivers and nurses wanted. Anyone who has been inside the car or truck with me knows my driving skills suck. And that’s just being nice. In the truck, I feel like I’m up on some tall pedestal that I have no idea to how to get off from. It makes me feel like a green been inside an enormous cave. I tend to go 10 miles an hour in a truck. As for driving my grandpa’s car. I can go up to 30 miles and be okay. But then again, the speed limit anywhere in town is usually 40-45 miles per hour and only 30 miles in one area. The school zones of course are set to 25 mph. Feeling hopeless in the job hunt, I turn to my computer for better results. Instantly, I am rewarded with many jobs in my skills area but none are here in my town. Damn it! Oops! I am not supposed to swear at all. It’s a sin. Yep, now you know I’m a terrible sinner. Prayer is key to being a better person and then we must act out on our ability to help others without asking for anything in return. Knowing me, there’s always something I am praying about. Like my ability to not screw things up further than what I always do.

I am always saying things when I shouldn’t and then not saying anything when I should. Yep, I am one strange chick alright. And here I am a city girl who is completely jobless and without a hot guy taking me out everywhere. Maybe it’s high time I try to “fit in” with the southern girls. Because obviously they know how to lure the men in and not just to their heart either. Well, if I am going to be jobless, I rather do an internship to build up my job experience for when I’m ready. Aha! Here it is, a job as romance content writer. Pay is if-y. GREAT! Some prior experience needed. Hmm..I have some from writing my blog and my own books. Clicking the apply button, I quickly type a message and hit send. Fingers crossed.