Review: Almost Human

Synopsis:

Almost Human is a thriller where creatures with the enormous strength and power of a chimpanzee and the intelligence and size of a human are sought out and discovered in a remote compound in equatorial Africa. The special bond between trainers and their animals is central to the story. Drs. Ken Turner and Fred Savage follow rumors of chimp-human hybrids. The scientists want to study the hybrids, but government operatives want to exploit them. The resulting conflicts threaten Turner and Savage’s research and their lives, as well as the lives of many others. Can they stop the murderous onslaught in time?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Almost Human by Kenneth L. Decroo is a fascinating thriller. The entire plot hangs onto the theme of: what happens when the line between ape and man is blurred? That question lingers in my mind long after this read. I keep thinking what if…and what will happen if that were indeed a reality. We are already hearing about robots taking over humans in the workforce…what is to say that scientists won’t go so far as to blur the lines between ape and man. 

Almost Human is exciting and terrifying at the same time. The impossible comes possible. Scientists working on experiments that no one really wants to know about…and soon, it will hit the papers. Secrets will come out…and the fear of the unknown will conquer those involved. The plot takes readers to Africa were these experiments occur. Ape-human hybrids…danger is just lurking on every page. The intensity of this wild situation will send readers with nightmares and chills as they explore what happens when the lines become blurred. Kenneth L. Decroo is a talented writer. I was awed and chilled by what his words showed. Interesting scenarios. The characters were brilliant. Both the good and the bad made it believably real. Overall, I recommend Almost Human to readers worldwide. 

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. 

Review: The Significant Other by Nicole Strycharz 

Synopsis:

Adam: I swore off men years ago to protect myself. I don’t trust guys. Guys break hearts, they take, and they don’t give like women do. That’s why for the past ten years I’ve entrusted my heart to a tattooed, multi-hair colored, vixen named Trix. Trixie is my safe haven. She doesn’t just back up my voice in our band she backs me in life. 
Sadly, I don’t reciprocate like I should. My phobia of PDA and my over-protectiveness are hard to put up with. It might be because I need more than I let on. More than I would dare to admit to. 
We moved to NY to grow as a band but then I met ‘him’…our boss; a sexy as hell, bad boy with a convict’s past and a talent for breaking men and women’s hearts alike. He’s bad news… An urban beast with too much edge and he’s prowling around my comfort-zone relationship. 
Now I’m not sure who my significant other is… my girl or the man determined to remind me who I really am and what I truly want. 

Trixie: Coming to the city was our ticket to fame. It was me and Adam against the odds of notoriety but since we arrived in the Big Apple, we’ve also been made aware how small our bubble of safe love is. 
I know what my boyfriend probably hasn’t admitted to himself… that I’m not enough for him. We both are just too chicken to do anything about it. 
New York is changing us. The people we meet here, the emotions we face, even our music… and if there is anything you learn from these streets, it’s this… 
Traffic and life, they both wait for no one. You have to go with the flow, ride the current, and keep up the pace. Both Adam’s love and mine is being tested, or it’s about to end. 
Hopefully we can figure it all out. Oh and add that to my list of to do’s like keeping my twin away from a dangerous drug lord, struggling not to fall from a stranger, keeping the band from falling apart and not becoming a bumbling idiot in front of our criminally hot boss. Yeah…criminal…

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Significant Other by Nicole Strycharz is another brilliant masterpiece. Striaght and the LGBT community will love this book. Once more, I got another taste of the heart and soul the writer puts into her words. Emotionally, tugging on my heart strings. I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love. Frustrating, stunning, and well-told. The entire tale was nothing but epic. 

Nicole Strycharz created her first novel featuring a gay couple. A man who likes other men. That was until he had his heart broken. Then, he went and fell for Trixie. A female singer. But despite her loving him…something just was missing. Both knew it. Adam just didn’t want to face it and neither did Trixie. Adam is a sexy hot alpha male who easily gets under readers skin, like he did to me. His has a big heart. I noticed that from the beginning. Adam hid himself with Trixie…keeping his heart guarded. Until, they meet their new boss. A boss that is more alpha than Adam, sexy hot too, and has a thing for Adam…

Trixie is a submissive kind of woman. Made her great for Adam. But she wasn’t meant for him. That’s thought love. She knew Adam’s real love and it wasn’t for her. Trixie too, has the biggest heart anyone has read in fiction. Despite her sexy tough looks, lies a sweet engaging woman looking for love. Trixie finds love but it fails…then she has a sister that made me want to hug Trixie. Trixie goes out and beyond for her sister. A sister who will never change…

Overall, The Significant Other is a book I can easily see made into a movie for 18-year-olds and above due to its content. Sex, drugs, and other things. Life is messy, complicated, and unfair. I really enjoyed this novel, because it brought out real life issues that people battle with each day. Believable, intriguing, and well-written. Nicole Strycharz has done it again with her latest piece. I applaud Nicole for her astounding job in creating three-dimensional characters whose stories I’ll never forget. So readers, yes, I highly recommend this talented writer’s book, The Significant Other to all. 

Review: The Chapel Car Bride

Synopsis:

Intriguing Glimpse into the Past by Bestselling Historical Author Judith Miller
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.
Luke Hughes shares Hope’s love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn’t until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager’s cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller is a beautifull woven Christian tale. Here, I got to follow two charcaters as they went about God’s calling. Faith, hope, and trust are themes inside this book. Without any of these the charcaters wouldn’t have made it to where they did. Engaging, sweet, and entertaining read. 

Inside, The Chapel Car Bride, there’s a young woman who travels with her father. A preacher’s daughter. Together, they go about spreading the Word and deed of God to many. Soon, they arrive to a town they turns out to need them most. There they stay giving the people hope, kindness, and faith. Hope Irvine soon is led by a man who hides his real intentions…and then, there’s Luke Hughes. A good man who is excited to see what Hope and her father have to share with his people. Luke takes an instant liking to Hope and so does the other man. Luke has to find a way to caution her without causing her to turn away from him. Proceeding to warn her off, will prove most difficult. But with a lot of prayer, faith and guidance from God, anything is possible. Even love. 

Judith Miller’s latest novel, shows readers what kindness can do. Prayer helps. Times are tough and life can be hard…but with some faith, things can turn around for the best. The Chapel Car Bride offers, intrigue, suspense, and some danger too. I was fascinated with this clean Christian book. The plot was believable. The pacing apwas perfect. Overall, I recommend it to all. 

Review: Mr. Make Believe






Synopsis:

Marnie Martin’s formerly perfect life is not quite going to plan. 
Hard-hitting newspaper journalist turned stay at home mum slash part-time (terrible) cookery columnist slash full-time day dreamer, she’s not entirely sure when it all went wrong… 
She suspects it was at exactly the moment she gave up writing the front page for the apparent bliss of perfect motherhood. But while her (tall, handsome, lawyer) husband Matt’s career is taking off, she is left behind with the impossible task of pairing socks. His late nights at the office are turning into late nights who knows where else. They haven’t had a proper conversation in weeks, sex in months, and a full night’s sleep in what must be years. Love has taken a back seat to the laundry pile and Marnie is feeling a little lost. 
So when an extended fantasy about movie star Maddox Wolfe leads to a missed deadline, a very high profile case of food poisoning, the loss of her job and potentially her husband… Marnie becomes Mrs Make Believe: Anonymous blogger, secret spiller and voice of fantasy-life spinning imperfect mums everywhere. 
Mrs Make Believe knows the bedtime battles, the marriage screw ups and the shrinking clothing (she remains a size 10, what are her clothes playing at?) only too well. She also knows that it’s ok to let your mind wander into make believe… What she didn’t know was that a movie star crush could walk off the screen and into her life, turning her already muddled world (with a husband with one foot out the door) totally on its head. 
Will Marnie be sucked back into the world of uncomfortable cocktail dresses and Botox-frozen smiles? Will she find happiness in her infuriatingly imperfect marriage or in the arms of the (literal) man of her dreams? Or will Marnie find that true love is just make believe? 

This laugh out loud romantic comedy will have you glued to your sofa. Journalist turned author, Beezy Marsh, is perfect for fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, Tracy Bloom and The Bad Mother’s Diary. The battle through love, life and laundry should never be a one woman struggle. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Mr. Make Believe by Beezy Marsh is a hilarious women’s fictional tale. A romantic comedy about life and marriage. Inside this book, readers will find a strong woman whose life changes after becoming a mother. Her fashion writing career comes to a halt as well as the romance in her marriage. Her career comes to a haunt, while her husband is to busy with his. Lately, he becomes more interested in his work and other things than in the woman he loved and married. 

Marriage has its ups and downs. Beezy Marsh clearly shows readers just that withevery page. However, its more complicated than just a marriage suffering. The main charcater, Marnie finds a way to combat her dead end life. She creates a column about fantasy life. Her readers become so engaged in her that she ends up selling a book. By that time, Marine will have had a romance with her fantasy crush, experienced being cheated upon,and come to realize that her love for her husband is greater than what she thought. Whether she leaves her crush for her husband is for readers to figure out for themselves. I loved following this emotional journey. 

Mr. Make Believe is the type of novel, that pulls in readers like myself. I became addicted. Page after page, the fun never stopped. The ending was just as brilliant as the beginning. Love, marriage, betrayal, and second chances are all inside this book. Beezy Marsh has a way with brining her charcaters and words to life. Over, I was satisfied with reading it. Highly recommend it to all. 

Review: Spring at Blueberry Bay




Synopsis:

Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner… 
Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined… 
But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman. 
Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again? 
A gorgeously romantic and heartwarming story to completely lose yourself in. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jane Costello and Miranda Dickinson. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin is the best novel written by her thus far. I was instantly taken by the themes presented inside this book. Homelessness is not something to overlook yet most do. The homeless suffer from a lack of shelter, food, and other things most of us don’t take for granted. I was amazed by this writer incorporating this issue into her novel. The way Holly Martin presented the theme was believable. Not many remember or know what it’s like to be homeless. Because of my parents, I was able to understand and easily connect with it all. The other themes were of kindness, generosity, and second chances.  Beautifully woven together. 

Spring at Blueberry Bay is an exciting romantic comedy. The charcaters are charming, realistic, and hilarious. From awkward moments to heated ones…I fell in love with both Bella and Issac. Bella was left abandoned by her parents. She was then raised by her aunt and uncle. To Bella, they became her real parents. From there, I got to follow her journey as she lost a job due to her boss embezzling only from the fundraiser organization. After that, she can’t find a job. Bella applies to work for a major well-known corporation that fundraisers for the poor. This where the plot gets more exciting by the second. 

Issac then enters the story. He’s the CEO of the major corporation that Bella applied to work for…only he goes about meeeting future employees in an interesting way. Issac’s way of finding out more by his employees has always worked for him. Until, he met Bella. Everything gets messy, complicated, and heated. Something about Bella has Issac wanting more of her. But if she works for him, their relationship has to be professional only…

Holly Martin creates sizzling reads. I was deeply engaged and emotional hooked. Fast plot, intriguing scenes, and irresistible charcaters. I loved it. Overall, I highly recommend Spring at Blueberry Bay to readers everywhere. 

Review: Dangerous Liars





Synopsis:

Jaxon has a mission. Retrieve a valuable emerald for an entry fee and join Maxime, the most prestigious club in the Secure States of America. No problem, if his ex-thief, super-hacker friend Riley can lower the shield around an island where the stone is hidden. And when he discovers a purple-eyed woman who can make herself invisible, he adjusts his plans to include her skills.

But Violet has plans of her own, and a guy who can knock down a shield will fit in nicely. To get her disfiguring scars repaired, she needs access to another island, so when opportunity knocks, she grabs it. Even if it means telling a few lies. Or stealing. Or putting herself in the crosshairs of a pissed-off drug dealer.

Working with Riley again on the other side of the law fires up cravings Jaxon thought he’d suppressed. While he struggles to escape the shadow of his notorious family and unlawful past, Violet faces old demons she’d rather keep buried. Focusing on their goals and keeping their agendas hidden, they travel from Maine to Florida, fighting each other, and a losing battle with lust and love.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Dangerous Liars by Naomi Bellina is a thrilling romantic tale. Suspense, intrigue, and adventure. Readers will be sucked in from the start. I definitely was. The charcaters are three-dimensional. Realistic with real world issues. Romance can’t happen just when both needs to focus on their goals. Goals that involve lying and stealing to get to where they want to be. Each has a past that is full of darkness. Their present moments have a way of keeping readers, like myself, on the edge of our seats. Waiting to see what happen next…

Dangerous Liars is intense. The pacing is good. The troubles leave so many what if moments. I was constantly guessing as the plot kept moving. Romance full of risks. Naomi Bellina has talent in creating fictional worlds full of entertainment. Overall, I recommend this book to readers everywhere. 

Review: Beyond Justice





Synopsis:

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm…if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she’s fired by a partner with a vendetta.

Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate’s cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case—or her—die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own unfinanced firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life? 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman has brilliantly spun a romantic suspense read. One that brings forth legal matter that could make or break the heroine’s life career. I loved the fact that despite what pressure there was…the heroine went digging for the truth. That alone made this novel a winner. 

Cara Putman’s main charcater, Hayden McCarthy is believable. She’s strong, independent, and very determined to make herlatest case the best case ever. It’s a tough one, but I felt that Hayden could handle anything that came her way. Her personality is likable. Hayden chose the legal life for personal reasons. After reading reading this book, I admit she was indeed the best at what she does. 

Next, there’s the love interest in Hayden McCarthy’s life. A young man who feels the instant connection between them. Hot, sizzling, and romantic. But the complications are there just like real life. Andrew Weasley has a father in politics and with Hayden’s current case against the government, things are going to be intense. The plot heats up with every page. 

Beyond Justice is a thrilling adventure. Danger, risks, and a career are on the line. Hanging loosely by a thread. Hayden McCarthy will have to juggle it all until the outcomes are released. Finding truth, working hard, and doing what’s right are just some themes from this novel that hooked me. I was deeply engaged. The charcaters were great. Overall, I highly recommend Cara Putman’s book, Beyond Justice, to all. 

Review: The Blue Hour




Synopsis:

Sometimes you get a second chance to live the life you’ve always wanted…if you’re brave enough to take the chance.
In this epic tale of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change — until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.
Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life. 
When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini is a historical read that will inspire many. Inside, readers will find out how women lived, what was expected of them by society, and the difficulty of marriage. Marriage is scary especially, during this time period. If stuck in a bad marriage, there was any escape. I easily connected with the main charcater. A pioneer woman. Stronger than most women I know. 

The Blue Hour presents readers with the journey of one woman. Emily Wainright. She wasn’t married yet but the pressure of it caused her some serious issues. Then, marrying lead her to a man who looked good outside but was rotten inside…the marriage was a disaster. No escape. But Emily spores her best to survive. Soon, fate gives her a second chance in life. Her husband dies leaving her free. Only Emily isn’t sure of what to make of the new man in her life. Life is hard and having already made one mistake, Emily is weary of making another one. 

Next there’s the male protagonist. Cole Walker. A decent man who is a farmhand. Good looking and kind. He is good for Emily. However, due to her past, Cole may not have a chance with her. Their futures are set on whether Emily can overcome her fears and let go of the past. Otherwise, she may lose her chance at happiness. Real happiness. 

The Blue Hour is an unforgettable tale. Detailing the hardships and life of women out west. I was fascinated from the beginning to end. Here, I experienced hard work, society’s rules and expectation, romance, love, loss, and kindness. The emotional journey was believable and stunning. Overall, I highly recommend Vicki Righettini’s novel to readers everywhere. 

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: Royally Roma





Synopsis:

In this charming, modern retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.

Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.
Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.
Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for. 
Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Royally Roma by Teri Wilson was a terrific read. Hot romance with unexpected outcomes. I was excited and deeply engaged from the first page to the last. The first book to a new series. A young woman who is intelligent but taken abuse of in situations had lead her to not trusting some people. Especially, one good looking man that oozes all sex and lust. He lies to her about who he really is. But then knowing who he really was, the whole situation was easy to understand. Both charcaters were easy to relate to as well as love. An older prince wanting to escape his duties for a bit. All the pressure caused by his younger brother and his all demanding grandfather make his job less appealing. Out for some space…he runs into a gorgeous but brilliant woman. From there Rome has them bothenchanted and falling in love little by little. Funny, sweet, and one amazing adventure that readers don’t want to miss. Overall, I recommend this contemporary romance novel, Royally Roma, to all. 

Review: Tell Me How This Ends Well




Synopsis:

Why is tonight different from all other nights?

Tonight we kill dad. 

In 2022, American Jews face an increasingly unsafe and anti-Semitic landscape at home. Against this backdrop, the Jacobson family gathers for Passover in Los Angeles. But their immediate problems are more personal than political, with the three adult children, Mo, Edith, and Jacob, in various states of crisis, the result, each claims, of a lifetime of mistreatment by their father, Julian. The siblings have begun to suspect that Julian is hastening their mother Roz’s demise, and years of resentment boil over as they debate whether to go through with the real reason for their reunion: an ill-considered plot to end their father’s iron rule for good. That is, if they can put their bickering, grudges, festering relationships, and distrust of one another aside long enough to act. 

And God help them if their mother finds out . . . 

Tell Me How This Ends Well presents a blistering and prescient vision of the near future, turning the exploits of one very funny, very troubled family into a rare and compelling exploration of the state of America, and what it could become. (less)

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson is a dark read. A dysfunctional Jewish family that has more problems than most. Each family member has struggles. These struggles create the craziness and intensity that becomes frightening. Three adult kids each one hates their father in more ways than I can count. Their hatred is so strong that it sends chills over my arms and down my back. Despite hating their father, they all love their mother. They see her a the victim against their father’s terrible iron clad rule. As the pages unfold, I also learned what the father felt and thought of his kids and wife. There was never a good moment between all members. Sad, edgy, and unexpected twits. Tell Me How This Ends Well is a bold telling of one family. Their lives are far from perfection. The family’s pain will stay with readers for a long time. Overall, David Samuel Levinson’s book was a great read. 

Review: Weave A Murderous Web





Synopsis:

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support. 

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous. 

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Weave A Murdeous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks & Ken Hicks is an entertaining thriller. One that kept me on the edge of my seat. Suspense oozed all over the pages. The threat and danger followed one New York litigator very closely. Jane Larson is well-known in her career. But soon her upcoming case, will bring not only chaos but deadly consequences. The opponent is one that sent chills down my back. I kept guessing as the plot swirled past me. Divorce, child support, and murder. Not just one but many. Little by little, each person involved is being killed. It’s only time before, Jane Larson becomes the next victim. But there’s still a case to solve…can she do it in time?

I was immediately taken with Weave A Murdeous Web. The pacing was fast. Not boring. Always  waiting for what may lie ahead. The main character, Jane Larson, is a strong determined woman. She’s a character readers can easily like and connect with…plus, the darkness that engulfs her due to the current case is thrilling. Drugs, murder, lies. Absolutely, crazy and dangerous. Just enough action to keeps things moving along. As each page went by, the plot got stickier like a spider’s web. The book’s setting was in New York, and it felt so real to me. I’ve been there once, and I got to revisit it again by reading this novel. Unexpected twists, the search for truth, and finding the killer was an adventure I enjoyed. Overall, I recommend this crime piece to readers everywhere. 

Review: A Gleam of Light

Synopsis

In 1995, at the age of eight, Una Waters survived a terrifying encounter at 30,000 feet aboard Flight 564 from Dallas to Las Vegas. It changed her forever. After 21 years, and a decade away from the Hopi Reservation where she grew up as a child, a surprise plea for help brings Una back, to solve a mystery that threatens their traditional way of life. The U.S. Army’s sudden interest regarding a cave discovery in the Sacred Peaks has triggered alarm, leading to violence. With the help of friends, new and old, Una must confront her painful past, seek proof to qualify the ancient site for protection under law, and stand up to a stiff-necked general, whose agenda is more concerned with retrieving a mysterious power source. 

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

A Gleam of Light holds a promising adventure ahead. The characters’ struggles were realistic. The plot itself held some suspense over me. I was instantly intrigued as to what was going on that was so interesting that the army wanted to find. Then both Jack and Una have fears. Una’s fear is the greatest. Her fear of planes is one that I could definitely relate to. The writers, T.J. & M.L. Wolf both combined multiple words within this one read. The Native Americans and that of the white Americans worlds. Loneliness, survival, and violence break out on the pages. The journey was good. However, I felt someething was missing. The pace seemed to be at a constant steady walk. A cave discovery held the entire interest. I felt that Una got her peace that she was searching for too soon. The ending itself didn’t feel complete. As for characters like Jack, I didn’t really get to connect with him as much as I did with Una. I would have liked to have explored more on him and Colin as well. Other than that, I liked reading A Gleam of Light. 

Review: Plain Jane Volume 1

Synopsis:

Plain Jane is a fictitious character that transitions from humblings beginnings into a Multi Millionaire. Along the journey she meets a special person; whom she thinks is truly for her, but is he or is he just an opportunist? Jane realizes that the top can, not only be lonely, but troublesome. Plain Jane allows you to follow the life of a rap star. This is a series that continues and continues. Guarantees you’ll be well entertain through every page.

Rating:  5-stars

Review:

Plain Jane Volume 1 by Danielle Bouying is an interesting perspective on life. Here, I got to follow a young woman who went from nothing to something. As readers will see, the life of the rich is not all that glamours. People, even the rich, get used. No one really knows if one is a true friend or friend for a specific reason. Same thing happens when romance begins. Is a lover really into the character her or not…and how she handles it all. I was intrigued. This book gives an inside peek into a rapper’s life and the things that could break her or make her better. Overall, I recommend Plain Jane Volume 1 to readers everywhere. The plot is different than my normal reading and proved worthy of my time. Easy to read and follow along. 

Review: The Memory of You

Synopsis:

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Memory of You by Catherine West is a haunting read. One that breaks my heart. Losing a sister is like losing half of oneself. Readers can easily relate to the main character’s pain. Now, that same character has to return home. It is there that I followed Natalie Mitchell to where she grew up…her grandfather needs her. Despite all the dark and nightmarish memories of what home brings to Natalie she still makes her way back there. I loved that about the main character. She was brave and loyal. My heart tore at her pain as the story continued. Mesmerizing and engaging to read.

The Memory of You takes readers to California. There I got to visit a family owned winery. That’s the full focus of Natalie’s pain. Loss, grief, and heartbroken. Complex, intriguing, and entertaining. This was the first novel I have read by Catherine West. I definitely recommend it to readers worldwide. Adventure, family, and an emotional journey waiting to be read by all. 

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: Never Trust A Pirate


Synopsis
The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

Never Trust a Pirate
is part of the Regency-set Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Never Trust A Pirate by Valerie Bowman is a scandalous read. An English rogue who has a twin brother that’s a spy. But little does the spy know his twin, Cade, also works for the government. Cade goes about life feeling like a black sheep due to his mother. However, his life gets shaken when a so called lady’s maid, Danielle, walks into his life. She’s not what she seems. A spy plus more. She’s sent to spy on Cade because he leaves the English government suspicious of his absences. No one knows what his plans are or how long he plans to stay home. Danielle’s life has never been easy. Her mother is thrown in jail, and now, her mother’s health isn’t good. Danielle works as a spy in order to take care of her mother.  But now, danger is rising…both physical and emotional. Love might just hit both Cade and the mysterious lady, Danielle. I loved the humor and the brewing romance. The scenes were engaging and hot. Danielle is taught never to trust a pirate but then again, Cade isn’t a pirate. The suspense and heat is powerfully displayed on every page. I found Never Trust A Pirate very entertaining and well worth reading. Overall, I highly recommend it to all. 

Review: The Dangerous Billionaire 




Synopsis:

Money doesn’t always change the man in this new standalone romance from Jackie Ashenden.
Navy SEAL Sullivan “Van” Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.
“Sinfully sexy.”–Opal Carew on Mine to Take
Nothing about Sullivan “Van” Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van’s most dangerous desires.
Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company. Tall, dark, and muscled, he’s the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Dangerous Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden was brilliant. A family torn apart by a dead father’s secrets. A man who couldn’t have kids adopted and accepted four children to raise as his own. His heirs. The father is a rich man who made his money from oil. After his death he wrote a will. Stating that his eldest adoptiveson, Van Tate, is the sole heir of both the Tate oil company and the ranch. But there lies the problem…the ranch was to go to the youngest. Chloe Tate was told by her father that’s she would inherit the ranch. However, he’s dead now, and he left behind more problems than promises kept. 

Chloe is called out to New York by Tate. She soon learns that he has inherited everything…including the family ranch. Chloe is frustrated at how Tate makes her feel. Tate, too, has deep feelings for his adoptive sister, Chloe. They both try to push the feelings away. But neither succeed and now, the stakes are high as well as the danger. Secrets…Chloe and Tate both find out her real parentage. Shock isn’t the only emotional released after the news. The emotional journey from beginning to end was intense. Powerfully written and engaging in every way possible. Tate soon becomes exactly as the title suggests, The Dangerous Billionaire. Jackie Ashenden has thoroughly impressed me with her applause male heroes and stubborn heroine. The plot twists were unexpected but very good. Enticing, hot, and sweet. I loved reading this contemporary romance novel. Overall, I highly recommend it to all. 

Review: Jorie and the Magic Stones




Synopsis:

When Marjorie went to live with her frosty maiden aunt, she couldn’t imagine the adventures she would have with dragons — good and bad — and all the strange creatures that live in a mysterious land beneath the Tarn. The spunky 9-year-old redhead forges an unlikely friendship with an insecure young boy named Rufus who lives with his crusty grandfather next door. When Jorie — for that is what she prefers to be called — finds a dusty ancient book about dragons, she learns four strange words that will send the two of them into a mysterious land beneath the Tarn, riddled with enchantment and danger. Hungry for adventure, the children take the plunge, quite literally, and find themselves in the magic land of Cabrynthius. 

Upon meeting the good dragon, the Great Grootmonya, Jorie and Rufus are given a quest to find the three Stones of Maalog — stones of enormous power — and return them to their rightful place in Cabrynthius. Their mission is neither easy nor safe, and is peppered with perils in the form of the evil black half-dragon who rules the shadowy side of the land. They have to deal with a wicked and greedy professor, the tragic daughter of the bad dragon, caves of fire, rocky mountainous climbs, and a deadly poisonous butterfly. 

Jorie must rely on her wits and courage to win the day? Can she do this? Can she find all three Stones? Can she save Rufus when disaster befalls him? Can she emerge victorious? She and Rufus have some hair-raising challenges, in which they learn valuable lessons about loyalty, bravery, and friendship. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Jorie and the Magic Stones by A. H. Richardson is a children’s fantasy full of magic. Adventure, friendship, and danger can be found within the these pages. I was immediately drawn into the tale. A. H. Richardson has a way with leading readers further into her world of fiction. As an adult, I was fascinated with the journey. Dragons, magic, and tons of action to keep me entertained all night long. The charcaters are three-dimensional. It’s easy to relate to them and get lost within the scenes. Traveling a magical land, completing a challenge, and finding oneself is a lot of fun. Rich, engaging, and well-told. Jorie is a brave girl who journeys far to help find three stones and return them. Along the way, things happen. Danger is close by and the suspense was phenomenal. I can this book being loved by both adults and children alike. The story elements are appealing to all ages. Overall, I highly recommend Jorie and the Magic Stones to readers worldwide. 

Review: Electric Souk



Synopsis:

Ireland’s gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn’s life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts? Humanity blisters in this haunting, lyrical thriller about trust and treachery.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Electric Souk by Rose McGinty is by far an interesting read. It instantly takes readers on an epic journey. A young woman leaves her homeland for work in another country. A country full of war, distrust, and danger. The stakes are high. Never knowing who to trust, Aisling Finn puts her life in the hands of those around her. Spies, secret police, and work fill her days. At first, the novel shows Aisling following people as they live a fast life full of drinking and good times. But fear hangs deeply in the air. I never knew what to expect next. Rose McGinty writes a superb novel. Suspense, intrigue, and the mysterious lure of what may come. Electric Souk is definitely an electrifying tale. Resistance, destruction, and secrets on every page. The intensity builds. The charcaters are written in a way that visually tugs readers further into the book. Loyalties and deception are major the,es surrounding these interesting charcaters. Overall, I highly recommend reading Electric Souk to all. 

Review: Nothing Like a Duke

Synopsis:

A Georgette Heyer-esque tale of high society in the glittering Regency
Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about Flora, but his plans are thwarted when she suddenly arrives.
Their attraction flares, but their romance becomes complicated when the sinister Anthony Durand shows up and threatens Flora. Every bone in Robert’s body says to save her…but he’ll have to learn that some damsels in distress can save themselves if he truly wants to win her heart. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford is a hilarious yet romantic historical read. I loved the main characters. Their arguements were amusing. The sparks that flew between was fun to follow as the clever plot unfolded. Fast-paced, exciting, and one that will keep readers constantly on their toes. I didn’t know what to expect next. From a woman trying for a Duke’s attention when his heart is set on another to…a cheater found at the card table. Then, more danger is soon discovered. The unique part about Jane Ashford’s latest title, was how intelligent and stubborn her heroine was in wanting to save herself. The restrain of any man to hold back as he watched the danger unfold to a woman he loves…was amazing. Suspenseful but good. I cant imagine any man being able to ho,d back because he knows how important it was to the woman for her to ‘save herself’. Sacrifice, determination, and a love to light up my night. This was definitely a fascinating story. A real page turner. Addictive plot lines and charming characters. Overall, I highly recommend Nothing Like a Duke to readers worldwide. 

Review: Some Small Magic

Synopsis:

She whispers, “I’m supposed to take you home.”
“Not yet,” Abel says. “Please, just not yet.”
All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.
When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.
With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train. 
From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey is a heart breaking read. I wanted to cry and hug the characters. I felt the need to help, sympathize, and care. The entire read was an emotionally deep story. One that takes readers into its core and never lets go. Captivating, well-written, and stunning. Each character had an issue that pulled at my heart. I would love to see this book on the big screens everywhere. 

Billy Coffey has a talent for providing a fictional world that drags readers instantly inside and change everything they feel. A mother who is single and ones what she cans for her and her son.  A son who has a condition that makes readers like myself connect immediately with him. Then there’s others with other conditions that are just as sad. Some Some Magic is about a boy looking for the magic he believes exists. It’s up to readers to find out if he finds it or not. Once I picked up this book and read it, there was no returning from the tragic tale. Brilliantly woven for readers’ entertainment…Some Small Magic is a must read for all. I highly recommend it. 

Review: Best of Luck 

Synopsis:

Amber has only ever wanted one thing in life. To be a star. When that dream has finally come true, an old friend ends up getting in the way and friendships may end up jeopardizing everything. Now in a time when privacy is a thing of her past, where paparazzi follow her every move, she’ll need to decide what’s more important to her, because it’s more than just her career on the line. 
Tom has struggled for years with his feelings towards Amber, his best friend’s little sister. The woman has been driving him crazy since… well, forever. Now that she’s on every TV set, every movie poster in the country, it’s even harder to avoid looking into those sexy blue eyes and not remembering her passion. Especially when she’ll be spending the next few months back in Denver filming her latest movie. This time, Tom may not be able to hold back the sparks that fly between them.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Best of Luck by Jill Sanders is another sensational hit by this talented writer. It’s no wonder her books are stunning. The romance brewing inside this latest novel was heartfelt. I fell deeply in love with the plot. Fast, engaging, and hilarious. A bit of suspense and danger but mostly a sweet entertaining read from beginning to end. 

Jill Sanders has once again, written a superb contemporary romance. I love her writing style. The words are written in a way that entices readers like myself further into the plot. Love…is powerful. Imagine holding onto a love thatnever really gotto begin and then that person comes back…the old feelings come back hitting harder than before. Especially, for Tom. He’s had a thing for Amber for a long time. Her career has made it impossible for Tom to forget how much he likes her…and then when she came back…it was a breaking point. Tom wasn’t going to do nothing…he was going to show Amber. But not all is well in Amber’s world. Threats are happening and Tom isn’t letting it slide. He’s going to do all he can to protect her. Best of Luck is  a romance that shows dreams can come true. Amber made her dream career work but now she doubts it. I felt like that characters were real and their issues were easily believable. This tale was enjoyable to read. Overall, I highly recommend it to all.

Review: The Ebb Tide


Synopsis:

A Heartwarming Tale of Courage and Love from Amish Fiction’s #1 Author

When a well-to-do family asks Sallie Riehl to be their daughter’s nanny for the summer at their Cape May, New Jersey, vacation home, she jumps at the chance to broaden her horizons beyond the Lancaster County Amish community where she grew up. Sallie has long dreamed of seeing more of the world, but her parents are reluctant for her to put off baptism yet another summer, and the timing is unfortunate for Perry Zook, who has renewed interest in courting her. 

Though she loves nannying, Sallie has free time on the weekends to enjoy the shore. It is there that she meets Kevin Kreider, a marine biology student who talks freely about all he’s learning and asks about her interests, unlike most of the guys she grew up with. Time with Kevin is invigorating, and Sallie realizes she’s never felt quite this alive around Perry. Then again, Kevin is Mennonite, not Amish. 

Sallie tries to brush aside her growing feelings for Kevin, but she fears what her parents would think about her new friendship. Just as concerning, however, is Sallie’s realization that her time in Cape May is increasing her desire to see the world, challenging her plans for the future. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will Sallie only find what her heart is longing for back home in Paradise Township?

Rating: 5-stars

Review

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis is a sweet Christian tale. A young Amish woman has had a heart for traveling the world in which God created. Her family wishes to see her baptized as an Amaish soon, but they start realizing it may not be what is good for their daughter. Sallie has a good Amish man back home who cares about her…yet her heart is constantly drifting back to Kevin. His family is Mennonite, not Amish. Sallie never once gives up trying to be a good Amish woman. She tries her best. But her heart is being pulled into another direction. Kevin and exploring the world. Beverly Lewis’s novel is heartfelt. The words carry a deep meaning and captivate me as I went through them. I felt sad and then happy for Sallie. Despite what our families want for us, we have to go find what it is that we want. Happiness is by falling our hearts. A deep and beautifully told story. The Ebb Tide is one that I recommend to readers worldwide. It’s relates to everything we all go through…each day. Finding ourselves. 

Review: The Roanoke Girls 




Synopsis

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is a coming of age story that will captivate readers worldwide. The whole story was an eye opener of how the real world can be so cruel to the innocent. A family with the most dark secrets that will eventually come to light at the end…two elderly family members that should have been the ones that others could rely on…were the real monsters. The scenes made my skin crawl. The horror of what those Roanoke girls went through…was devastating. I can actually see this story being a realistic one. One of the Roanoke girls will make it out alive but the darkness will still continue to surround her. Leaving behind the family was the best thing Lane Roanoke could have done. Her mother and cousin have suffered greatly. One monster is arrested and the other goes free. Not enough evidence to arrest him, too. Sad what can happen in a family and how fast it crumbles. Amy Engel’s writing was great. Her characters felt real. The truth of what happened will stay with me forever…a haunting kind of read. Overall, I recommend The Roanoke Girls to all. 

Author Interview with Paul Allen Dage


 
 

 
 

ULM: What led you to creating the main character, Eddy Trout?

During the summer of 2005 I experienced a harmonic convergence of life-changing events. I’d just retired from teaching high school English and, after a long hiatus, I wanted to resume writing fiction. So I journeyed to Canon Beach, Oregon, and attended a week-long Dangerous Writing workshop, taught by Tom Spanbauer, a well-known writer who lives in Portland. Tom’s teaching and my introduction to Dangerous Writing reignited my writing passions. A year later I found myself divorced, and I’d met the love of my life, Debra, a beautiful person and artist. These events changed me, opened my eyes to see the world a bit differently, and they inspired a story idea about a man’s mid-life renewal. Eddy is the character I chose to tell that story. He’s fallen out of love and he’s down on his luck, but soon enough events conspire to make his simple life very difficult, and over the course of three novels those events forge a brand new Eddy.  

 

ULM: Did you always want to write a book?

Heck no! I grew up very poor, and we didn’t have access to many books. I remember reading a cheap set of Encyclopedia Britannica and the occasional National Geographic magazine that my grandparents had lying about their home. And I certainly was not a stellar English student in grade or high school. Straight out of high school I majored in Forestry, and my Comp I prof took notice of a story I’d written about tracking down a wounded deer. That I could string a bunch of mostly fragments and run-ons into a somewhat coherent story, and that warm feeling I got when my prof uttered a bit of praise—those revelations planted a fruitful seed in my little, non-literary brain. Wanting to see some of the world, I quit school and joined the Army. One dark, rainy night while on guard duty in Vietnam I decided I wanted to teach social studies, so after I got out of the Army I got a teaching degree in Social Science/Language Arts. I ended up teaching high school English, and teaching writing and literature began to nourish the feeling that, maybe, someday I could write a story myself. Largely self-taught, I began writing short stories in the basement of my home. A few were published. It wasn’t long before I set to work on my first novel, Perimeters, a story about an American soldier who falls in love with a Vietnamese woman. It’s unpublished, but I hope to change that someday. That seed my Comp I prof planted has, so far, grown into four novels.

 

ULM: How would you describe your writing?

I aim for the gritty and existential, with spare use of adjectives and adverbs. I like well-paced, noirish plots and characters with flaws. I’m a student of Dangerous Writing and a disciple of Tom Spanbauer’s. DW basically means going to a painful place in your past, dredging those images and feelings up from the past and casting them into stories, often in a first-person voice. For me, it’s therapeutic, cathartic. In the Eddy Trout Novels, Eddy is my first-person voice, and there’s a hell of a lot of his past to dredge up and deal with before he can find the new heart he seeks.

 

ULM: Was it difficult or easy to write Trout Run?

Easy, in the sense it’s a continuation of the Trout Kill story line, the first novel of the Eddy Trout Series. From the beginning, I had a narrative arc in mind that covered three novels: #1, Eddy kills his old heart; #2, Eddy runs after a new heart; and, #3, Eddy finds love and a new heart. The arc narrates Eddy’s transformation from ashes to resurrection. I don’t write from a pre-conceived outline, but rather by feeling my way along from scene to scene, taking notes and editing as I go, and trusting that this rather messy process will keep the story immediate and fresh.

And difficult, too, in the sense that TR took 4 years to complete. But the main difficulty for me was figuring out how to build a bridge between novels #1 and #3. I was challenged to find the right balance between keeping the plot moving forward in a hopefully interesting way, and with bringing in just the right amount of backstory from novel #1 to provide the reader with the necessary context. And then there’s the “meta-fiction” aspect, a novel within a novel, using a book Eddy’s father wrote to help Eddy understand and come to grips with his unknown past. 

 

ULM: How many novels do you have planned for the Eddy Trout Series?

Three. Trout Kill was published in 2013, and I was very pleased with the reviews. Trout Run is just out, and so far the reviews are very positive, too. I’m currently working on the third, and last, novel, Trout Love.

 

ULM: What other books have you written, if any?

 I’ve written a couple unpublished Vietnam novellas and, as I mentioned, the full-length novel Perimeters. After completing the Eddy Trout Series I’ll probably get to work on another Vietnam novel.

  

ULM: Besides writing an entertaining series, what other hobbies can you share with us, readers?

I build stuff. Right now I’m converting an above-garage storage area into a guest room. I’ve been playing poker with the same guys for over 35 years; they’re very slow learners and keep giving me their hard-earned quarters. My wife and I love attending music festivals, and our favorite thus far is The Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. What a hoot! I fish. I walk. I read. I cook. I’m teaching a memoir-writing class this summer.

 

ULM: What advice would you give to other writers?

Swill good coffee. Find a mentor. Read books and join or start a book group. Build your passion however you can and nourish it. Write every day, all the while knowing you can’t. Attend workshops. Keep your day job. I’m basically a self-taught writer, and that’s worked for me mostly because I’m a fierce, ruthless self-editor and not afraid to hit the delete key a million times.

  

ULM: When will the third novel to the Eddy Trout Series be released?

I hope to complete Trout Love in about two years … but my wife might think this a bit optimistic.

   

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

Printed and Kindle versions of Trout Kill and Trout Run are available at my author’s website at pauldage.com and through Amazon. Trout Kill is also available through the online bookstore at Outskirts Press, and Trout Run through the online bookstore at Inkwater Press. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Archbishop 




Synopsis:

The Archbishop by Monk Tihon is a famous book in Russia. Written before the Bolshevik revolution, it came under the steamroller of the communist censorship along with other extraordinary books of Orthodoxy.

The Archbishop is a book that provokes, a literary work, o novella, not a treaty of ecclesiology, continuing to be a cry against the ecclesiastical conformity. At the beginning of the 20th century, the author, Hieromonk Tihon, is unsatisfied with the lukewarm general atmosphere that rules inside the Church. He devises an ideal shepherd in the person of the main character of the book – the Archbishop – who tries to bring the apostolic spirit among priests and believers. 

Although the book is somehow meant to be a spiritual deployment program, it is read as an interesting, realistic, maybe too honest sometimes, chronicle of the ecclesial life. The characters are vivid, honest, uninvented. Nothing stops us from believing that this ‘Archbishop’ existed for real and that, maybe, he himself wrote this book.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Archbishop by Monk Tohin is a great read. I highly recommend it to all. Inside, reader will find a journey full of emotions that we all go through in our lives. The characters play an important part that show readers what is really happening and what we can do. A priest finds himself with nothing but trouble when he takes pity on a young couple. His burdens keep adding to the point that he loses his way…until he meets another priest. One that by looks would seem to act much above the poorer priest. Yet, Monk Tihon surprises me when the exact opposite happened. I was just as surprised as the  poorer priest. Sympathy was instantly felt for the priest with all the troubles. His heart laced with fear, anger, and sadness. The Archbishop is engaging, compelling, and brilliantly written. A spiritual guidance that was raw, honest, interesting. I found it captivating. Readers can easily relate to the charcaters and their troubles. Overall, I highly recommend this literary title to all. 

Review: Love’s Dark Door 

Synopsis:

Charlotte is going through the normal difficulties that follow graduation from college: finding a life of her own and a place to work. It is complicated even more when her parents tell her they are going to get a divorce. The divorce makes Charlotte feel depressed, and it seems as though no one can help her at all… until she meets Lane.

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Love’s Dark Door by Julia Bailey is a contemporary romance that is easy to relate to as well as understand. The character’s situation is one that can happen to anyone. Coming home from college, Charlotte finds her parents fighting. They are getting a divorce. That puts pressure on Charlotte. She thoughtby coming home, she could fix their situation. But she soon realizes that she can’t. She soon applies for an interview…and her dad just barely gives her the time of day. Then, upon the interview she reacted in a way that most people wouldn’t for fear of losing a job. But considering the stress she was under it felt right. From there Charlotte gets more than she thought she would. Love’s Dark Door is complicated, messy, and emotional. The ending felt a little cut off…like it was too short or neededa bit more before ending…other than that the book was great. Charlotte goes through a rollercoaster ride as her life changes from negative to positive to negative again. 

Review: Dark Ties




Synopsis:

Two years after being attacked by a psychotic fan, Ken Simmons has finally released a new novel. It’s the biggest commercial success of his career and Ken should be ecstatic. But happiness is hard to come by with the killer he created haunting his dreams.

Meanwhile, a thousand miles away, Sheriff Allen James is investigating a series of murders. 

Murders seemingly detailed by Ken’s book.

When Allen seeks Ken’s help, they discover that Ken’s book may be more than just a simple crime novel, and Ken’s connection to the killer more than just fantasy.

Ken knows better than anyone how dangerous this killer is and is not eager to get involved. However, the burden of knowledge means Ken can’t quite commit himself to the sidelines, and he finds himself reluctantly agreeing to help Allen bring him to justice.

But when the killer discovers Ken and his new bestseller, all bets are off. Ken must decide whether to run…or face a monster he once thought only existed in his mind. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Imagine being a writer who writes bone chilling thrillers with a crazy murder. A murderer that is hard to catch, if caught at all. That’s where this story takes readers. Ken Simmons writes a book.  A killer who haunts him all the time. The local authorities are having trouble with the crimes and ask Ken to help. Ken knows that the killer is one he doesn’t want to play with…yet, he knows more than the police and can help them. As the plot explodes the scenes get more intense. People are dying…and Ken feels awful. He thinks giving up writing would be best for all…or would that only give the killer a satisfaction of winning?

Dark Ties is a superb thriller. Dark, engaging, and fast-paced. I loved it. Mark Dane did a brilliant job in create the perfect read. I was both horrified yet entertained. I felt chills going down my spine yet I couldn’t stop reading…murder and fiction combo was perfect. It leaves readers with a spooky feeling of what if something like that actually happens. This book has the effect to leave many with a nightmare. Some will die…but catching the murderer is key. Overall, I would highly recommend this novel to all. Mark Dane is a talented writer, and I can’t wait to read what he comes up with next.

Review: Marry Me (A Wedding Romance Duet)




Synopsis:

What could be more romantic than a wedding… unless you’re stuck in a fake relationship with a hot man you don’t like. Warm up after a long winter with two fun, romantic wedding romances available together for a limited time.

Hired Bride by Noelle Adams – For years, Deanna’s eccentric grandmother has been trying to marry her off to a rich man, and she’s finally managed to do it. Sexy, obnoxious Mitchell Graves needs a wife to finalize a business deal, and he thinks she’ll be easy enough to manage as a wife. He couldn’t be more wrong.

The Wedding Season by Samantha Chase – To get through the six weddings she has to attend this summer, Tricia plans to pretend her best friend, Sean, is her boyfriend. But then Sean sends his brother, Ryan, in his place. Now Tricia has to go to all these weddings with her best friend’s brother, who is stirring up feelings she never expected. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Marry Me: A Wedding Romance Duet by both Noelle Adams and Samantha Chase is a collection of two stories. Tales that hold readers like myself in captivity. Romance whether the characters want it or not comes knocking down their lives and changing them forever…

Hired Bride by Noelle Adams is full of sweet, addictive, and hot scenes. Deanna is a young woman taking care of her family. A family that comprises of her two younger sisters and one eccentric grandmother. Deanna always does what her grandmother wants for her. She knows she should say no but the look in her grandmother’s eyes makes her go soft. She loves her grandmother. Thinking she wouldn’t have to go to a ball…her grandmother reinforces her to go get ready…little did she know her life would dramatically change with the meeting of one new man. A sexy rich man…in fact. Life just got more complicated and messy by the minute. Then there’s the sexy hot man, Mitchell, who needs a contract to go through…for his mother. Yet, the one woman who can make the deal go through has the hots for him. However, he doesn’t want her…and afraid he’ll lose the deal…he makes up a story of being engaged to a stranger. That stranger just happens to be Deanna…can a fake romance turn real within their time together or will one of them get hurt? Overall, I loved reading this story by Noelle Adams. It was a first time for me to read her work. I was instantly hooked with her charcaters and stunning plot. I recommend her tale to readers everywhere. 

The Wedding Season by Samantha Chase is a hilarious yet emotional tug of war. Tricia is a woman who gets the pity looks from others due to her still being single. So when her best friend, Sean, calls her with a plan…they make it a date. Yet, something goes terribly wrong…Sean is seriously injured. That ends up brining his older brother, Ryan, and his best friend, Tricia, closer together than they have ever been. Staying in the same house waiting for news on Sean’s health has put both Ryan and Tricia at odds. Emotions start playing at their hearts and it’s not long before things get more complicated and messy. Ryan has noticed how beautiful Tricia has become…and something about their situation makes him more protective of her. Then, his injured brother has him promising to go to six weddings with Tricia…and that’s when things begin to get hot, sticky, and complex…can there be a happy ending or will both have their hearts broken? Overall, Samantha Chase has once more entertained me with her writing. Real feelings, three-dimensional characters, and a sexy plot that had me falling in love. I highly recommend this tale to readers everywhere. 

Review: The Other La Boheme




Synopsis:

The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts the lives and loves of four friends who pursue opera singers’ careers in present-day New York City. Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone) met in music school in Manhattan, where they performed Puccini’s famous opera La Bohème at their graduation concert. After graduation they banded together as a group called the Dolci Quattro, pledging to support one another in their professional pursuits. Several years later, they have landed the roles of Mimi, Musette, Marcello, and Rodolfo in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo—known as “the other La Bohème”—which is to be produced by the New York Bel Canto Opera.

The novel begins with arias and a duet sung by Henry and Stephanie in the Café Momus. Jennifer and John come in, and they congratulate each other on their new roles. Immediately, though, the thoughts of the current state of their personal lives cool their enthusiasm. 

As the story unfolds, Jennifer discovers that her fiancé, Richard, an investment banker and a fiction writer, is having an affair with another woman. Stephanie struggles to find a steady love, while perturbed by a strained relationship with her father, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who abandoned her late mother. Henry faces a pressure from his family to renounce his bohemian life for a more respectful career as he meets his new love, Christine, a poet. John receives a summons for divorce from the lawyer of his wife Michelle, a painter. 

Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro’s lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while true to their pledge they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Other La Boheme by Yorker Keith is stunning tale of four friends whose lives are falling apart as they prepare for their opera performance. An opera performance that may change their careers forever. I loved how Yorker Keith brought the opera life and the lives of the singers in a three-dimensional way. They popped from the pages. Their troubles felt real and the story continued to captivate as their struggles grew. Each friend pledged to support one another and so they do…but life can be difficult to manage as well as maintain a certain professional appearance in the singing careers. Relationships, family, and friends are major themes of this book. I found it captivating. The writing was easy to follow along and engaging. The characters each faced a different issue and their bond as friends helps. A very realtic novel that everyone can relate to. Overall, The Other La Boheme is a must read for those who love music, opera, and art. 

Author Interview with Michael Scott Curnes






COPING WITH ASH by Michael Scott Curnes

Inkwater Press, January 26, 2017

(Reviewed and given 5 stars by Danielle Urban)

Author Interview

 

ULM: What would you like readers to take from reading your book, Coping with Ash

MSC: Loss and grief are universal human elements but how we cope with these is uniquely individualized. There isn’t a handbook for this. This story is meant to be a gift from the narrator (the deceased) to the survivors he leaves behind and a guide to helping them cope with the loss of their lover, brother, son and friend, who was a gay man they loved, named Ashton Taylor. This story is a reminder to not take a day, a person, or moment for granted. Our breathing days are finite and our chances to love and be loved are brief.
 

ULM: The emotional journey of your book was powerful. What did it feel like as your wrote it?

MSC: This story is personal for me and so I wrote it to be personal for the reader. There were many moments when I would write a passage through tears as I put myself in that vulnerable place of someone suffering from loss and abandonment and unspeakable loneliness. Every other page asks the question: how would I cope with this if I were the one left behind?

 

ULM: Coping with Ash is written through the dead character’s point of view. Why did you choose Ashton’s point of view versus his lover’s?

MSC: The overly detailed plan to distribute the cremated remains (cremains) of the deceased is a plot the deceased put into motion. In other words, he started it. It just made sense to me that he should be the one to tell the story he started, posthumously. The deceased was a novelist—a storyteller, in fact had his third novel set to be published and then he died in the middle of his morning shave, unexpectedly. He believed he understood how the news of his death would be received and his cremains managed by those around him so I made him the narrator so that he could witness the execution of his instructions.
ULM: I noticed your book held a racial and LGBT theme. What was your purpose for inserting these into your novel?
MSC: For me, the novel’s main characters just happen to be Native American and gay. I didn’t construct this to be thematic or to make any particular statement. I suppose I could say I made a point of using these characteristics as a reminder that Native Americans and gay men have life experiences and stories to tell and that they love, they mourn and they figure out how to overcome unfathomable loss—just like everyone else. My previous novels, Val and For the Love of Mother also both featured central characters that were gay. Is this because I am a gay writer or that I have a duty to increase the number of gay characters in modern, published literature? Sure.  

 

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

MSC: Intentional. Personal. Exploratory.

 

ULM: What other books have you written besides Coping with Ash?

MSC: ​Val, 1996 Brownell and Carroll Publishers

For the Love of Mother, 2011 Inkwater Press

My writing also appears in two published anthologies:

Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place, 2008

Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast, 2011

 

ULM: Any future works that you can share with us, readers?

MSC: I always have a novel or two percolating. Stay tuned.

 

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

MSC: ​www.copingwithash.com 

​www.Amazon.com

Review: Trout Run



Synopsis:

Eddy Trout, part-time bartender, and pot-grower had a troubled heart. In this, the second novel of the Eddy Trout Series, Eddy has left his wife and buried his father in a gone-to-seed garden, and now he’s running hard toward what he hopes is a new, brighter tomorrow. His sister, Em, has disappeared, and he’s got to find and “save” her. She turns up where they both swore they’d never return—Oak Creek, the small Oregon logging town of their childhood, where dark memories threaten … and may possibly free them.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Trout Run by Paul Allen Dage is a fascinating read. Dark, emotional, and haunting. This second novel in the Eddy Trout Series was engaging, suspenseful, and well-developed. I found the main character, Eddy Trout, as a man with many flaws. His past haunts him. His present seems to drag onward in a way that readers, like myself can feel he’s not happy with…a lot of interesting moments happen inside this book. Eddy Trout drifts further away from his wife. A good woman he doesn’t love anymore. Then, there’s his sister, whom he loves very much. She goes missing and Eddy is determined to find her. Last, Eddy finds himself in trouble. He went and did something deadly…like dumping his father in a garden. Anger, loss, grief and determination can be found on every page. The character’s journey is definitely like that of a rollercoaster. One never knows what to expect next. Paul Allen Dage’s writing is superb. His words have a way of dragging me deeper into Eddy’s life. The further I went, the more I found an explosive destiny ahead. The ending leaves my mind wondering what will come after this. Overall, I recommend this stunning piece to readers everywhere.

Review: An Uncommon Protector

Synopsis:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray is a stunning tale. One that will captivate readers from the start. It hooked me. I love a good romance tale and this one proved to be just what I was looking for…

A young woman lost her family and needs help to protect her property. One woman can’t do it all. She’s strong, pretty, and caring too. The man she hires to help her…proves worthy of her chance on him. 

Thomas is man whose life was not good. He meets one determined woman to help him, if he helps her with some work. She pays his debt for an exchange of work on her property. Thomas thinks he can just do the work and then leave Laurel. But then his plan goes to hell…

Danger occurs. Animals are dying…and threats are coming in…Laurel is in a bad spot. Thomas knows there’s no way he can leave her now…he stays to help fight for her. However, doing so…will ruin his second plan. To stay distant from her…but love comes knocking his world apart, as well as Laurel’s. 

An Uncommon Protector is by far a sweet, clean, and addictive read. I love Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing. Her characters felt so real…and their story wrapped itself deeper into my soul…overall, I highly recommend this novel to all. 

Review: Evil Rises




Synopsis:

THE MAKING OF A MONSTER

Warp speed action. Gripping story. Compelling read.

From China’s ancient spiritual center, the rogue monk Chin arises to redefine Shaolin Kung Fu as a battle plan for his lust for criminal power. Cruelty, murder, and torture are this monk’s hallmarks.

How did Chin become like this? More importantly, as he builds his global criminal syndicate, will no one stop this errant true believer? Can anyone stop Chin and his criminal army? Do they even have the guts to try?

Just like classic literary villains like Tony Soprano or Keyser Söze, Chin gladly spills rivers of blood to force the world’s underbelly to kowtow to his plans.

With cold, unblinking precision, author Wesley Robert Lowe takes you all the way inside this icy criminal empire. Unleashed is the perfect introduction to the psychopathic cosmos of Shaolin Darkness. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Evil Rises by Wesley Robert Lowe is a thrilling read. Every page is full of action, choices, and danger. The suspense was in full force. An epic journey of one man determined to become a monk like the one he met. But once a good man…is now an evil one. I enjoyed watching this particular character go from one end of a spectrum to another. Quite interesting…to watch as it all unfolded. 

Wesley Robert Lowe’s writing is great. I was easily entertained and hooked. The character’s life was becoming a sad one until he left it for another ….then it spiraled out even far worse than it started…and whether it will change for the better or not is for readers to dig in and read. I recommend this dark, violent, and engaging novel to readers everywhere. 

Review: The Thought Readers 




Synopsis:

A new series about mind readers from USA Today bestselling author… 

Everyone thinks I’m a genius. 

Everyone is wrong. 

Sure, I finished Harvard at eighteen and now make crazy money at a hedge fund. But that’s not because I’m unusually smart or hard-working. 

It’s because I cheat. 

You see, I have a unique ability. I can go outside time into my own personal version of reality—the place I call “the Quiet”—where I can explore my surroundings while the rest of the world stands still. 

I thought I was the only one who could do this—until I met her. 

My name is Darren, and this is how I became entangled with all the Russians and learned that I’m a Reader. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Thought Readers by Dima Zales is an outstanding first novel to a new series. For those who love fantasy, sci-fi, and a puzzling plot, than this is definitely the book for you.

I haven’t read any other novels by the talented writer, Dima Zales, however, I am going to after reading this book. His writing is fascinating. I was taken straight into the main character’s story. Told from his point of view. He has a unique ability and doesn’t know the  reasons why or how. I found that prickling my curiosity and glad it did. There was plenty of action, mystery, and craziness to keep me hooked. I didn’t know what to expect…and when another person liked the protagonist popped up on scene…I was instantly pulled in further. The Thought Readers is quite intriguing. I recommend it to readers everywhere. 

Review: Rayna 




Synopsis:

Rayna escaped the bordello as a teenager. She meets a Buddhist monk that helps her to learn that life is worth living again. She learns different languages and several studies of martial arts. Rayna also has a secret. Without warning, time will stop moving. Only Rayna is allowed to move in this frozen world. She can not control it, but uses it to her advantage to seek revenge on those that have hurt her.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Rayna by R. K. Marts is a wonderful YA fantasy. One that instantly draws out an emotional attachment to the protagonist. I felt her sadness, anger, and frustrations. Then, the knowledge about her birth mom only led my curiosity out further. 

Rayna is a young girl who spent her entire life in an orphanage. The kids teased her because of her pretty looks. She has never known her mother. Soon, she’s adopted and and that’s where the plot takes a knife to one’s heart. Dark, frightening, and sad. Rayna will experience things girls herage never should have to go through…yet it still happens. From there she escapes and friends a monk. A man who defended her. I wanted to hug the monk. After that the plot spirals readers further on a journey of revenge, discovery, and a mission for truth. 

R. K. Marts’ book was easy to read. Following along, was simple. Danger, violence, sex, arejust a few themes inside this tale. I would recommend this YA read to those eighteen or older due to the adult content. Beside that, the story was powerfully told and engaging to read. I recommend Rayna to readers worldwide. 

Review: A Thousand Letters





Synopsis:

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision. 
I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them. 
But now he’s back.
I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid. 
Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance. 
One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.
*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Wow! Staci Hart knows how to write well. Her story immediately dragged me deeper into the lives of her characters. A Thousand Letters is about an engaging tale of loss, love, and new beginnings. Deeply emotional…readers beware you will cry and fall in love. 

A love so strong that it literally digs into your soul and doesn’t release you until the ending. Epic. I found myself feeling the raw but bold desire radiating off the two main characters. Their sparks are electrifying. Zapping me each time they were near each other. 

Death can do a lot. Elliot has her reasons and so did Wade. But what tears them apart can also bind them. Family life is complex that is can take a toll on who the characters become and how they live their lives. The book almost had a Dear John kind of vibe but more spectacular. Heartfelt, realistic, and a romance that I couldn’t ignore. My heart tore and stretched throughout the piece. Overall, A Thousand Letters is a must read for all. 

Review: Truly Madly Guilty



Synopsis:

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty is a suspenseful read. Edgy, dark, and gripping. It grabbed me and took me on a journey. The characters’ lives seemed pretty normal until one event that changed everything. Emotions leak out everywhere. The intrigue is so intense that once the wave comes…the relief wasn’t as spectacular. I felt something missing. However, there was humor written inside…and it was good. I haven’t read any of Liane Moriarty’s previous books, so I can’t compare to her normal standards of writing. This book moves slowly, then builds, only to come crashing upon everything readers think might happen. Curiosity is a killer. Overall, Truly Madly Guilty was great. 

Review: Ransomed Jewels


Synopsis

With her husband’s dying words, “My marchioness has it,” the Marchioness of Huntingdon is thrown into a nightmare of intrigue and danger. But even those who are holding her brother ransom can’t force her to do the impossible—hand over a necklace she doesn’t have.
Major Samuel Bennett believes the newly widowed Lady Claire Huntingdon is a traitor. He intends to get the necklace he’s convinced she has, before sending her to the gallows. But when he meets the captivating widow, he discovers that nothing is as it seems.

Claire knows she can’t trust anyone, but she isn’t given a choice when Major Bennett arrives, demanding she give him the necklace. And it isn’t until she’s forced to put her life in his hands that she realizes it isn’t only her life she’s in danger of losing—but her heart as well. 
Rating: 5-stars

Review

Ransomed Jewels by Laura London is a fascinating romantic suspense. Here, a woman is thought to have a necklace due to her husband’s dying words. Yet in truth she doesn’t. But it won’t matter u til her brother is in danger. She has to give the necklace or else something bad happens…

But then the plot gets more interesting…

Major Samuel Bennett believes Lady Claire Huntington is terrible. But upon, meeting her, he can’t shake his gut feelings that something else is going on…and then there’s the attraction to her.

Lady Claire has but no choice. Major Samuel will have to be trusted. But to what extent lies within Lady Claire’s  hands or shall I say heart? 

Ransomed Jewels is by far the most puzzling yet stunning read. I was immediately drawn into the story. A plot that moved so quickly. Bold, fierce, and sexy. I loved it. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review:The Obsidian Chamber



Synopsis:

A TRAGIC DISAPPEARANCE

After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead.

A SHOCKING RETURN

Sick with grief, Pendergast’s ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive–only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past.

AN INTERNATIONAL MANHUNT

Proctor, Pendergast’s longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance’s kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown.

BUT IN A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS

And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred-and it may already be too late . . . 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Obsidian Chamber by both Preston and Child is one of the most intriguing plotines ever. I haven’t read any of the previous novels in this series by either writer. However, I was able to follow along and understand everything. Almost as if it were a stand alone read. I was immediately blown by the amount of suspense. It was a bit overwhelming at first but it suited the book as the plot continued to unfold. So many hidden layers and plot twists inside…every page was thrilling. Tons of action…an unknown danger and a mystery allbrillaintly wrapped for my full attention. 

Here, I learned that someone, one of the main characters has gone missing. Then, another character will have someone from the past pop up within her life. The missing person’s body guard is in full swing of action. Finding and defending people. I liked Proctor, the body guard. I sort of liked Constance. She isn’t my favorite but she has potential…

At first, the plot moves slowly as it goes through time. Explaining things to readers a bit. After that, it speeds up..and before I knew, it I was sucked into the story. A sense of danger, excitement, and the unknown element…I would recommend The Obsidian Chamber to readers. 

Review: The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir



Synopsis:

“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!” 

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives. 

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life. 

In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan is one to love. I am always intrigued by stories about World War II. This one was just that…but much more. Jennifer Ryan brings to readers a story about the women on the home front. Women band together during these terrible and emotional times. Husbands and sons away fighting at war. Life is interrupted and everything opens up…the women are able to step in and do much more. A choir group is dismissed and all seems lost. But not yet. One determined woman goes out and reaches the ladies. They form a new choir…The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. From there, I got to meet a bunch of interesting woman whose stories varied as did their personalities. A refreshing piece of literature. Bold, engaging, and intriguing. I was hooked. Secrets, a crime, and love are all wrapped in inside this stunning story. Overall, I recommend The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir to readers worldwide. 

Review: Accidentally on Purpose

Synopsis

There’s no such thing as a little in love…
Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .
There’s no such thing as a little in lust…
Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .
There is such a thing as…
As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis is the most intoxicating romance read ever. Imagine having a sexy hulk in your life daily…he just oozes male and sex. What I really liked was how the tall handsome hulk never went after the gorgeous long legged blonde he worked with…both of the charcaters had restraint to a point. I was amazed. I would have melted on spot like Elle felt every time she went near him. Archer has that no nonsense attitude and he doesn’t like any other man around her…it drives him insane. But she, Elle, deserves the best. It will take some time before he realizes he’s had enough and goes after her. But by then, he’ll need to convince Elle that they fit together. 

Once again, Jill Shalvis has created a masterpiece. One that tugs at my heart and has me on a rollercoaster ride. Jealously, need, want, love, laughter…sadness…Accidentally on Purpose has it all. I loved it. The charcaters created a visually engaging tale. One that hooked me from the beginning. A page turner. Hot, addictive, and entertaining. The scenes felt real…the romance kept building up…the suspense was a killer. Jill Shalvis has a talent for  writing the perfect romances that have just the right combination of elements to make readers like me fall in love. Overall, I highly recommend this brilliant story to readers worldwide. 

Review: Find You in Paris



Synopsis:

True spite. Fake marriage. Real romance. 

If there’s one man that fledgling art photographer Diane Petit really, really, actively hates, it’s fragrance mogul Sebastian Darcy who stole her father’s company—and wrecked the man’s health in the process.

But the arrogant SOB had better brace himself because Diane has vowed revenge.

And revenge she will have.

– –

Find You in Paris is a standalone contemporary romance inspired by Pride and Prejudice. Lots of laughs and steamy scenes, a touch of cozy mystery and a healthy dose of alpha billionaire romance. No cliffhangers.

WARNING: Just like in Pride and Prejudice, expect to find one rich, brooding and handsome Mr. Darcy and one feisty small-town girl who can’t stand him. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, this book also contains artful nude photos of said Mr. Darcy and nights of wild passion in Paris. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Find You in Paris by Alix Nichols is similar to Pride and Prejudice, which is one of my favorite all-time classics. Romance is definitely happening within this book. A woman who has nothing versus a man who has it all. Everything about Sebastian Darcy irritates the hell out of Diane Petit. He has done something…so terrible that he’s going to pay the price. Diane is determined to see him ruined. Imagine going into a relationship whether fake or not, and end up feeling more than hatred for the other person…well, that’s exactly what happens.

Sebastian Darcy is rich and arrogant in ways. A true alpha male. It would be hard to resist the attraction to such a man. Powerful, enticing, and bold. A good man under the rough edge exterior. He offers Diane money to engage as his fake fiancé. However, the more time they’re together the more he’s unsure of his real feelings…

Diane Petit is a match made for Mr. Darcy. She doesn’t back down…and she’s stronger than one thinks. Smart, determined, and caring. She wants to take down a man who’s responsible for her father’s failure. But the answers she finds may not be what she’s looking for…

Find You in Paris is the first novel I have read by Alix Nichols. It’s no wonder this writer is a bestseller. Brilliant plots with plenty of twists, suspense, and intrigue to keep me interested. I was hooked. A romance novel to die for…I will definitely recommend this read to all. I can’t wait to read the next adventure. 

Review: The Gentleman’s Game of Love



Synopsis:

Losing a bet has never been more exciting…

Lady Anne Lindsey lost a bet!

Oh… how she wishes it were of the monetary variety…

Instead, she has to do a favor that will take her far from London, out in the country, and into the house of a man she loathes just as much as she is desperately attracted to him.

Guy’s the first man who’d been able to banish the darkness that haunts her, but she knows that a rogue can’t be trusted.

Guy Elkin is the new Viscount of Yapperts.

He has a desire:

To transform the tired looking country house into something just as breathtaking as his clubs back in London, and he knows just the woman to recruit for help.

Lady Anne Lindsey.

He has plans for beautiful Lady Lindsey that go beyond picking curtains and couches, and is sure he’ll have her bedded in weeks…

But what Guy didn’t know was he’d also have her wedded!

When a slip of the tongue finds these two facing the priest, it’ll take more than attraction for them to find their happily ever after.

And can Anne truly escape the dark secret that follows her?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Gentleman’s Game of Love by Eleanor Meyers is sweet and addictive introduction of the Elkin brothers. Each man thinks he can stay clear of losing his heart. But then fate brings them each one woman who steals their hearts and sending them falling apart. Inside this novel, it focuses on one particular brother. Guy Elkin has successfully established two businesses. One is an exclusive club and the other is one set for men with ladies of the night. However, Guy has created anger in his mother for that and his destruction is surrounded by one woman…Lady Anne.

Lady Anne makes Guy feel so alive. Her blue eyes, shinning hair, and fiery soul has captured him whole. He doesn’t want any other woman but her. Anne fights her passion and desire for Guy Elkin every day…but he soon grinds her down…

A carriage disaster happens, and Guy Elkin let’s slip a lie about him and Lady Anne. But then his family finds out the lie…and both are going to set his family straight on the truth. However, once Lady Anne meets his family she can’t ignore what she feels and hopes by going along with the lie…that Guy would want her as much as she does him. 

Lies and secrets are still kept between them…

Their desire burns hotter with every page.

It is only time, if they both accept their love and move forward or destroy what they have together…

The Gentleman’s Game of Love by Eleanor Meyers is an outstanding novel. I enjoyed the charcaters’ dilemmas, banter, and romance. Adventure, humor, and an unforgettable journey is waiting inside…I was hooked. Overall, I highly recommend it to all. 

Review: If Not for You




Synopsis:

An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right
If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either. 

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both. 
Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

If Not for You by Debbie Macomber is the sweetest romance tale I have read. Inside readers will find a relationship and a family that resembles most others. I got lost with each charcaters’ dilemmas. Their struggles felt so real…it was hard not to grow attached to each of them. Debbie Macomber is a bestselling writer for a reason, after reading her latest tale, I was hooked. Two unlikely beings brought together by fate. Each one has their own fears and troubles ahead. It will take both of them to help each other. A story of love, healing, and new beginnings. 

Inside If Not for You, neither main character would have found healing and closure. A man tortured by giving up his full rights to his daughter has led a solitary lifestyle. Because of his his daughter’s mother who broke his heart and kept the daughter out of his reach…Sam won’t do relationships. Then, two friends set him up on a blind date. The date was a disaster. Two people completely different that both knew at first sight it wouldn’t work. But then, all it took was one look and a life threatening situation to happen, and now, neither one is alone. Sam stayed at Beth’s side while help came. He was there during her recovery and through her therapy sessions. As time let on, they become closer.  

Beth was always living her lif the way her mother wanted. But Beth wasn’t happy. She was brought up to be smart and refined. Deciding enough was enough…she left home to be on her own. She had her Aunt Sunshine. Until one blind date, and a disaster out of nowhere. Car crash, injured, and stuck at the rehab. Beth will go through a rollercoaster ride that will bring many unexpected outcomes. Like her annoying mom, her aunt’s happiness, and finding her own happiness. But before all that, life will be crazy and bumpy as hell…

Debbie Macomber sucked me in whole. Every page made me want to be there. The charcaters were raw, rough edged, and sweet. Funny too, at time. Their inner and outer turnmoils made it impossible not to love them. It showed the realities of life, love, and forgiveness. Healing isn’t easy, but it can happen, if we let it. Overall, I highly recommend this contemporary romance to readers worldwide. If Not for You is a must read. 

 

Review: Wishes at First Light


Synopsis:

Starting over, one wish at a time… 

Gabriella Chance has devoted her life to helping others overcome traumatic events. Now it’s her turn. Gabby’s come home to Heartache, Tennessee, to finally face her past. She finds solace in an unlikely ally, her high school crush, Clayton Travers. But while Clay wants to be Gabby’s refuge, he’s returned to Heartache to confront his own demons. With so many painful secrets in their past, can they hope to wish for a happy future…together? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Wishes at First Light by Joanne Rock is full of dark moments as well as sweet ones. Immediately, I was drawn into the characters’ lives. Each one has a dark past that sends shivers down my spine. Families that didn’t love them back and the past that’s holding them from moving forward…

Joanne Rock showed me a young woman thinking she was meeting her life crush only to meet a monster who would take advantage. Luckily, she had a friend who came to her rescue. Her brother and his friend went with her leaving behind their only home. Now years later, she returns back home. She is determined to face her past. But to do so, she,it’s also face her crush. I loved how Joanne Rock brought two characters who secretly seem to have fallen for one another only to be separated. Each one can’t love freely u til the past is over…but will it ever be? 

Clay has parents who were not good. He ended up in foster care and his siblings weren’t that lucky. One of them died and Clay feels responsible. He’s working hard to get his siblings together as a family should be. Then, his father is super ill and the love of his life is back in town….life is complicated and messy all over again. 

Wishes at First Light by Joanne Rock is thrilling to read. The plot moves by quickly. Before I knew, I was finished. Compelling, addictive, and heartfelt. Overall, I highly recommend this novel to readers everywhere. 

Review: Blood and Circuses



Synopsis:

Phryne Fisher is bored. Life appears to be too easy, too perfect. Her household is ordered, her love life is pleasant, the weather is fine. And then a man from her past arrives at the door. It is Alan Lee from the carnival. Alan and his friends want her to investigate strange happenings at Farrells Circus, where animals have been poisoned and ropes sabotaged. 

Mr. Christopher has been found with his throat cut in Mrs. Witherspoon’s irreproachable boarding house and Miss Parkes, an ex-performer, is charged with his murder. Phryne must go undercover deeper than ever to solve the circus malaise. She must abandon her name, her title, her protection, her comfort, and even her clothes. She must fall off a horse twice a day until she can stay on. She must sleep in a girls tent and dine on mutton stew. And she must find some allies. Meanwhile, in Melbourne, the young and fresh-faced policeman Tommy Harris has to solve his own mysteries with the help of the foul-spoken harridan Lizard Elsie, or Miss Parkes will certainly hang. Can Phryne uncover the truth without losing her life?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood presents yet another fabulous Phryne Fisher adventure. This book holds a darker and rawer version of my favorite detective. Sure plenty of gruesome stuff happens where Miss Fisher is bound to be found. I think trouble finds her everywhere. In this particular case, Miss Fisher goes alone to help another friend of hers. With her personality and intellect, I can see how the woman detective can indeed have so many friends. A friend in a Circus calls for her help in solving a murder. But to do so, Miss Fisher will go undercover, leaving behind her luxurious life. The fact that our main character has not always lived a perfect life, helps her when put in this crazy circus lifestyle. Kerry Greenwood took everyone’s favorite sleuth and put her in a sitatuion that tests every skill she has. Entertaining as always… Phyrne Fisher remains my favorite heroine.

Blood and Circuses is bold, dramatic, and worldly. Vulgarity and the ugly side of life shows up…but Miss Fisher is tough enough to handle it all…overall, I highly recommend this fast-paced thrilling journey to readers everywhere. 

Review: Onyx Webb (Book 8)



Synopsis

Welcome Back to the World of Onyx Webb! This is Book Eight. (Episodes 22, 23 & 24) Haven’t Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One.

The timelines – the web – is more tightened than ever. Although the connections are clear, suspense reigns as always.

Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times.

The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series. Written like a book version of your favorite tv series (think: supernatural soap opera like American Horror Story) each character’s story moves forward with most every episode. It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself.

In Book Eight: Onyx and Alistar’s grandson Noah grow close as they create a “life” together with exciting new projects. The Mulvaney mansion is crawling with ghosts as a big event looms. Stan Lee continues to make mistakes without consequences, for now. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz have once again, outdid themselves in their latest book. Onyx Webb, book eight, is a closer piece to this stunning yet mysterious series. Onyx Webb is the lead character as always. She is my favorite. I loved where the writers have left me wondering on how Onyx Webb’s life may or may not come together. I love the romance part. But the other parts have a darker and more intense feeling and they too make me happy. I can’t find any reason not to love this book or its series. I have read every book up til this one, and it just lures me deeper into the fictional drama. This enchanting tale is like a soap opera but so addictive. There’s plenty of action and complex situations that will capture audiences from everywhere. Truly, a page turner. Onyx Webb is the best. Realistic characters, real life drama, and emotional rollercoaster rides to keep all entertained. Overall, I highly recommend book 8 as well as the entire series to readers worldwide.