Review: Jagdlied by Dolly Gray Landon

Jagdlied: a Chamber Novel for Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists (color paperback) by [Landon, Dolly Gray]

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This musically and graphically enriched chamber novel is an over-the-top black and blue comic extravaganza about the conspiratorial undoing of a teenage entitlement princess. The story throbs throughout with an undercurrent of apocalyptic motifs related to the extinction of art, fall of empire, and coming of the Antichrist. It is an epic farce that reads like an erotically supercharged psychological suspense thriller. The narrative takes the reader/audient on a veritable boomerang roller-coaster ride (with multiple inversions) through a reputational strip-and-whiptease of the novel’s malignantly artful (albeit ingenuously doe-eyed) protagonist: a wealthy young heiress and socialite who boasts an exclusive claim to her progenitors’ munificent estate. Her inheritance comprises an immense fortune amassed through shareholder investments in the world’s largest employment recruiter: the multi-national temp agency behemoth known as the Pleasant Peasant Corporation.

The character-driven narrative of Jagdlied explores themes of jilted love, misinterpreted motives, paranoid ideations, bombastic egos, ghoulish envy, smoldering jealousy, unconscionable revenge ploys, extravagant public humiliations, ruthless power games, insatiable greed, pernicious corruption, feigned moral outrage from all sides, and even (Heaven forfend!) coldblooded murder—all the type of stuff pre-calculated to magnetize your run-of-the-thrill-seeking bookworms and bibliophiles.

A rich repository of tongue-in-cheek nonce words, malapropisms, neologisms, archaisms, spoonerisms, slanguage, and whole swaths of unintelligible nonsense, the text of Jagdlied is also replete with irreverently lurid, salacious, and scatologic elements, which serve to set it in motion as a formidable contender for the distinctive cachet of being regarded (by cultivated aesthetes of omnifarious persuasions) as a momentously serious dirty book. It is targeted towards percipient readers and audients in possession of a well-seasoned sick and—dare it be said—cruel batch of funny bones inflected with a gallows-cum-smoking-room bent.

Whilst the plot of this story (grotesquely absurd as it will undoubtedly be esteemed) embraces reflexively cringeworthy sadomasochistic motifs, its author would hesitate to instyle it as porn, yet he would not be wholly disinclined to characterize it as a farcical parody thereof. And whilst at the same time its author is admittedly predisposed to eschew ascribing labels of any kind to this opus (especially seeing as what he has concocted is so rarefied in its formal structure that it cannot be facilely pigeonholed), it may not be altogether off the mark to view it as a form of literary neurotica (if, indeed, there is such a genre) as opposed to the more boilerplate literotica—or what in sex nazi circles is dysphemistically adverted to (in no uncertain squirms) as “filth.”

Whilst the text of Jagdlied may be read in silence as a novel in the traditional sense, it is ultimately written for the purpose of being recited by a skilled elocutionist to the accompaniment of extemporized music by ad hoc variable ensembles in relatively brief, self-contained or—depending on how one looks at it—semi self-contained episodes with the aid of a do-it-yourself improvisation kit provided in its appendix. This “kit” is likenable to a Baroque-style table of ornaments, albeit comprehending specific sets of chance operations for each and every participant involved in renditions of individual fascicles of this work. Aside from entailing a professional narrator and musical extemporizers, the score discretionarily calls for pantomime actors, dancers (hence choreographers), set designers, culinary artists, and even members of the audience itself.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Jagdlied by Dolly Gray Landon is a thriller novel unlike any other. Its words lead you on a journey that give a unique literary style I have not seen before. I was curious and lost within the pages immediately. The plot was complex. Dolly Gray Landon knows how to write in a way that peaks one’s interest and holds it until the end. The language was a bit bigger than my normal reads, yet it was still a good read. Due to the level of content and words, I highly recommend it for adults only. Although, I can see young adults grabbing this book and hiding away to read it. There was a combination of styles poured into this book. They add to the flavor. Reading this book takes time, but it has so much to offer. Overall, this is a rich, fun, and one epic read.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison is another great tale. It has the mystery, intrigue, and dark edge to it like all of her previous books. However, the pacing was what almost stopped me from reading the book. It felt dragged. In the beginning there was no action or dialogue that made me want to dig in further. I felt myself wanting to quit until the middle of the book when the story finally gripped me. I should be hooked in from the beginning. But I was not. I love this writer’s work. Every book is unpredictable as to which way she writes. This one kept me wondering…until the clues came straight out which gave away too much in my opinion.

The story was about a family a family being torn apart by deception. The main characters is dying and relied on her parents to help save her. Only to find out, they are not her parents after all. Can you imagine being a family all those years only to discover that when it really counts, the truth come out…or sort of does. Mindy’s predicament is a tough one. Then there is someone wanting to keep things hidden. Only time will tell if Mindy survives and whether her family is completely destroyed. Overall, Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison was a good book. But not as great as her previous ones.

Review: Cross Breed by Lora Leigh

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fans of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh’s scorching Breed series first met Cassie as a little girl in Elizabeth’s Wolf. Now Cassie has finally come into her own as a young woman, and she’s about to discover the one she is destined for–but it is unclear whether her fate is to be mated for life, or marked for death…

The Breeds are humans altered before conception with the DNA of the predators of the earth. But although they all carry the genetic material of beasts within them, Cassandra Sinclair stands apart. A unique mix of wolf, coyote and human, she is revered by many–but preyed upon by others. She is fiercely protected by her community…but no one manages to stop her when she slips away one day to offer her body in exchange for her sister’s safety.

The man she succumbs to surprises her by unleashing her inner animal in ways she never dreamed possible–and provokes her deep, furious rage. To Cassie’s shock, he is the mate she has long awaited. She may never be able to forgive his deception. Still, as dangerous enemies track her, and as the threat of all-out war between Breeds and the humans who despise them hovers in the air, they must join forces and hold fast to each other.

But the passionate union between them holds a potential that could change the world–and some will do anything to stop it…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Cross Breed by Lora Leigh is an intense paranormal romance tale. I was sucked into the whole Breed and Human world. Scientists took children away from their families only to use their embryos for creating half humans and half animals. Taking sperm from coyotes and wolves the government thought they could create an army to use as a weapon against others. Only it backfired on them in ways they did not expect. Eventually, enough human families had missing family members used and killed for these experimentations. The offspring were not looked at as monsters by the majority of the humans. But that did not mean that others were not disgusted with the Breeds and hybrids.

A young woman, Cassie, is overpowered by the feelings of lust and lack of fear towards a man who first aimed to kill her. He knew she was his mate when he saw her at eighteen. But he never went to claim her until 6-years later. One challenge between, and a night of exotic passion lead to distrust and anger. No matter the danger towards them both, their mating heat keeps increasing and only they can help each other survive its brutal wave.

Dog, aka Cain, is a coyote Breed. But he lets the council who created him think he’s undercover for them. Dog wants to get the info to take them out and destroy them. The council are the ones responsible for creating the Breeds and Hybrids like himself. Anger and loss is all Dog knew until his mate. Cassie gives him hope and tears his world upside down…but he’ll do everything in his power to keep her alive and with him.

Lora Leigh created a world full of drama, risks, and heat. I felt the instant attraction between both protagonists. They reeled me in deep. The plot is full of adult language from time to time, some fighting but not graphic, and a little bit of BDSM is inside the sex scenes. I recommend this paranormal romance to all adults.

Review: Some Like It Sinful by Robbie Terman

Some Like It Sinful

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Chloe Nelson and professional hockey player Griffin Lange get along like chocolate and pickles. But Chloe needs the famous (and infamously unattached) Griffin to attract people to her struggling bakery, and Griffin needs the curvaceous and fiery Chloe to keep him out of trouble. A fake relationship for the media to focus on seems like the perfect plan.

But when temptation throws them into bed together, a new plan arises. Why not make the most of things? Griffin’s winning every home game, and Chloe’s business has never been better. Both know it’s only physical-and only temporary-so why is it starting to feel like more? And can they drop their defenses long enough to find out if what started out as playing pretend can rise into something sinfully good?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Some Like It Sinful by Robbie Terman is a sexy heartfelt story. I love stories that swept me off my feet. This one did exactly that plus, more. I lost my heart to the characters. They were irresistible. Their anger banters soon took a quick turn for the hot romantic kind. The lady baker, Chloe, immediately judged this hot shot hockey player. But as he works off his community service in her bakery, there’s more to Griffin than most see or know.

Then, Griffin’s tale alos tugged at my soul. He grew up in a life that embarasses him. He had to work so hard to get where he’s at now. Rich, popular, and center of attention. Griffin is needing to be remembered but wants to be remembered in good ways. His current actions have dragged his hockey team and his loved ones through hell. Time to own up and confess.

Hot, sexy, and funny too. Griffin isn’t looking for a happy forever. But Chloe wants that…and little do they know they needed each other more than words can say. Robbie Terman had me laughing, crying, and rooting all the way. I was so happy to have bought this book! It was perfect! Overall, I recommend it to all contemporary romance lovers.

Amazon currently has the book still on sale for FREE as of 8/8/18: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G8BTRWW/

 

 

Review: The Ancient Nine by Ian Smith, M.D.

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Spencer Collins thinks his life at Harvard will be all about basketball and pre-med; hard workouts and grinding work in class. The friends he’s made when he hits the storied ivy-clad campus from a very different life in urban Chicago are a happy bonus. But Spencer is about to be introduced to the most mysterious inner sanctum of the inner sanctum: to his surprise, he’s in the running to be “punched” for one of Harvard’s elite final clubs.

The Delphic Club is known as “the Gas” for its crest of three gas-lit flames, and as Spencer is considered for membership, he’s plunged not only into the secret world of male privilege that the Gas represents, but also into a century-old club mystery. Because at the heart of the Delphic, secured deep inside its guarded mansion club, is another secret society: a shadowy group of powerful men known as The Ancient Nine.

Who are The Ancient Nine? And why is Spencer—along with his best friend Dalton Winthrop—summoned to the deathbed of Dalton’s uncle just as Spencer is being punched for the club? What does the lore about a missing page from one of Harvard’s most historic books mean? And how does it connect to religion, murder, and to the King James Bible, if not to King James himself?

The Ancient Nine is both a coming of age novel and a swiftly plotted story that lets readers into the ultimate of closed worlds with all of its dark historical secrets and unyielding power.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Ancient Nine by Ian Smith, M.D. is one very interesting mystery. A young man who appears to be the average guy, is soon chasing after clues to solve a disappearance. From there, it leads to a lot of intriguing connections like the Nazis and a college club society that leaves behind more questions than answers. Dark, edgy, and entertaining, I got lost within this novel. Ian Smith’s main protagonist was easy to relate to and felt real. The plot was steady. Overall, I recommend this book full of secrets to all readers.

Review: One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Love Me Again returns to the town of Hope, Oklahoma where school is in session and love rules the playbook.

Josie Barnes has always craved a sense of home. She’s found that in Hope, Oklahoma–she bought a house, has a new job as an English teacher at Hope High, she’s made wonderful friends, and she’s taking in stray animals that no one else wants. Now she’s flirting with fellow teacher and hot high school football coach Zach Powers. But he’s almost too good to be true, and Josie learned long ago not to trust in the too-good-to-be-true, because it has always let her down.

A former pro football player, Zach had to pull back when a career-ending knee injury forced him to rethink his future. Now he’s happy calling plays as Coach. If he could just get Josie Barnes to stop benching his players for their poor grades, life would be perfect. Instead, she drives him crazy as the stern teacher at school and the sexy woman of his dreams outside of the classroom. He knows she’s been hurt in the past, but he wants to be that guy she can trust.

The one thing Josie has never been able to count on is the people closest to her. But Zach intends to show her that what they have between them is a textbook case of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton is a romantic contemporary romance read. It was simple, fast-paced, and heartfelt. I loved the funny yet fun banters between football coach and English teacher. Both feel an undeniable attraction towards each other. Good looks, intelligence, and a passion for helping others in need made this a sweet story.

Josie is experiencing family issues from her past and present. Her mother is struggling to keep a job and to stay drug free. Her mother is always calling her for help…more like more money for drugs. Yet somehow, Josie finds the courage to not feel bad about giving into her mother’s needs. Then, there’s her stereotyping towards men like Zach. Good looking yet popular men. However, Zach keeps proving to Josie that there’s more depth to him than just his looks.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. It had themes of overing coming one’s fears, relationships both romantic and family wise, and friendship. I fell in love with the characters. Their journey was one that melts my heart and makes me swoon.

Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Most men can’t handle Hazel. But her best friend Josh isn’t most men. Don’t miss New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren’s new novel about two people who are definitely not dating…no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren is the best contemporary fiction novel I have read in a long time. At first, looking at the cover, I thought it was be okay. But it proved me wrong on so many levels. The novel was out of this world good. Stunning, engaging, heartfelt, and well-written…It was super easy to get lost within Hazel’s and Josh’s world. Both were so interesting, that I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know more about both of them. Hazel is the typical ordinary girl who felt like a loser due to her lack of trouble. She is always having some kind of embarrassing thing happen to her. I felt a deep connection to Hazel. She’s full of life. Funny, real, and entertaining to be around…while Josh was kind, clever, and charming. Two completely opposite people coming together in unexpected ways. I loved following their story. Overall, I would recommend it to readers worldwide.

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff is one YA romance that swept me up quickly. I couldn’t read fast enough. The plot was that juicy…and addictive. The characters felt real. Their dilemmas had me laughing, crying, and left wondering what next.

A young finds her her boyfriend in an unexpected situation. To Sari, it looked like betrayal and felt like it too. Her boyfriend, Zev, tried to explain but Sari wasn’t having any of it. She just wanted to leave immediately and be rid of him. But love, if  real, doesn’t back down nor die. Nor does it give up that easily. Sari will have to find the answers to how to deal with the shocking betrayal and decide where her and Zev’s fate lie.

Shani Petroff had me hooked. This book was a lot of fun. I really like the teenagers that were created. First love, kisses, and the confusion of what to do in those cases led me back to a time when I too, was that young. Overall, I recommend this romantic and heartfelt tale to all readers.

Review: One More Moment by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Julian Grayson is taking a break
…from his cheating fiancée
…from his band
…from his life in the spotlight

Charlotte Clark is devoted to her work
…to save the world
…to help the homeless
…to get a broken man back on his feet

When Charlotte Clark offers to pay for Julian Grayson’s coffee, the world-famous drummer assumes she wants something from him. But Charlotte has no idea who he is, and Julian can’t resist keeping up the charade—being incognito is a novelty and a relief. He’ll have to tell her…eventually. But as Charlotte cheerfully undertakes to transform his life, Julian realizes there’s something about her that gives him what he hasn’t felt in years: hope.

Shaughnessy Brothers: Band on the Run Series:
One More Kiss (Book 1)
One More Promise (Book 2)
One More Moment (Book 3)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

One More Moment by Samantha Chase is the best novel yet in this Band on the Run series. I could not tear my gaze away from the pages. Heat plus, raw emotions, and flaws that make it super easy to connect with the characters, make this a must read. Inside, is a famous rock musician who was badly burned. His ex burned him repeatedly and broke his pride. Julien is so full of anger that his character had this heavy weight constantly keeping him from being happy. Everyone tells him what and how he should live. He’s not ready to let go of his anger. That was until he met, a beautiful kind hearted woman. Charlotte has a way of stunning the drummer. He expects her to ask him for something. Yet she continuously proved she wanted nothing more than to help him. Julien needs to let lose his anger and face his past. Otherwise, his present happiness won’t be his future. And Julien wants Charlotte in his future more than he knows.

Once more, Samantha Chase has created a masterpiece. One that everyone can relate to…as well as remembering way after the last page is read. The characters made me fall in love and root for their happiness. Julien was a stubborn man. That made his fight tougher and more realistic. I liked how he was an average joe, who looked good, and had  a heart of gold despite his wealth and music talent. Charlotte was just an ordinary woman helping the homeless finds jobs. She complimented Julien and was his light to his darkness. Both were strong and independent characters. I cried for Julien’s pain, I laughed at how ridiculous Julien’s jealousy was, and I melted when they had their good moments. I cannot read a book by this writer without my heart and soul getting attached every damn time. Overall, I highly recommend this sexy as hell contemporary romance to all.

 

Review: Dagger’s Edge by Lora Leigh

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

#1 bestselling author Lora Leigh is back–with a vengeance–in her latest novel of passion and intrigue, Dagger’s Edge, featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ivan Resnova wants nothing more than to escape his hard, brutal past. Starting over is not so easy once you’ve been a powerful crime boss but now, instead of being punished for his alleged crimes, Ivan fears that the one woman he can’t forget is in danger of paying the price.

Crimsyn “Syn” Delaney thought the danger she’d faced was over, and that she could resume her life. She never imagined it would return with a vengeance and throw her back into Ivan’s world. But when an attempt is made on her life, she needs Ivan more than ever to keep her safe–even if she is in danger of falling deeply and dangerously in love. . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Dagger’s Edge by Lora Leigh is one hell of a romantic suspense novel. Dark and intense like J.T. Ellison’s books yet hot and steamy like that of Lynsay Sand’s books. I could not tear my eyes away from this read. It was so intense, dark, and sexy. The characters were on edge constantly. Danger hung in the air on every page. One pair also had to battle their raw lust and love for each other until it exploded. Their lives were at risk and the depth to which they went to stay alive was amazing. Lora Leigh did not disappoint. Her words created vivid scenes and plenty of action to keep myself entertained. Overall, I highly recommend this epic romance to all.

Review: A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, #1)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.

Rating: 4-stars

Review: 

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter is a sweet heartfelt tale. A historical novel using a Christian theme. Inside, illegitimate children were being protected by a young woman. The same young woman whose father abandoned her and treats her with disgust. Yet hope remains in sight, and with the help of a new friend, Kit can help the children find a family.  There was also another theme of not judging a book by its cover. A young man, Graham, lived in the rich lifestyle. However, he was nothing like what Kit expected from a man such as himself. Graham displayed nothing but kindness, generosity, and love for the children and Kit. I loved the characters. They made reading this book enjoyable. It was hard not to cheer for Graham and Kit. The illegitimate children also touched my heart. Entertaining, charming, and engaging, this book is a must read for all. I recommend it to all Christian and historical readers.

Author Interview with Andrea Thome

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome

ULM: When did you first begin your writing career? 

AT: My mom was a published poet, and when she passed away a few years ago, I really started to feel that time was of the essence.  I knew that if I was going to embark on this second career of mine, I’d better get started. So I started writing my first book Walland in January of 2016, published it later that year, and never looked back.  My daughter tells her friends that I’m like Alexander Hamilton; “writing like I’m running out of time.”

 

ULM: What inspired you to the Hesse Creek Series? 

 

AT: I’m inspired by lots of things, but I think my two biggest inspirations are travel and music.  If I’ve visited a place that I feel connected to, you can bet it will end up in one of my stories.  Case in point: I spent five weeks in Southern California last summer, and loved a particular seaside community there so much, I decided to write that one of my characters had grown up there.  Music is a huge motivator for me too. It happens often that a lyric will hit me just the right way, sometimes while I’m driving, and I’m sent scrambling for my pen and paper to jot down the birth of a new plot line.

ULM: How has your career in broadcast journalism helped you with creative writing?

 

AT: I was a broadcast journalist for years, covering both sports and news, and it was a very interesting profession.  I wrote most of my own scripts in the newsroom and out in the field, and the tight deadlines pushed me to become a stronger writer very early on in my career.  That said, I absolutely prefer fiction writing. It’s much more fun to tell these kinds of stories, with the goal of making people feel good at the end of it all.  I’m not a fan of cliffhangers or depressing endings, because I spent so much time covering that stuff as a member of the media. I’m a big fan of a “happily-ever-after.”  There aren’t enough of them in the real world.

ULM: Describe the feeling when you became an award-winning author.

 

AT: I couldn’t believe it when I heard that my first novel Walland had won the National Indie Excellence Award for Romance.  It was surreal, but also a real validation of my work that was completely unexpected but not unwelcome.  My second book Seeds of Intention went on to win multiple awards, including a Ben Franklin Award and another NIEA award for Chick Lit.  I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for House of Belonging.  The third and final book in the Hesse Creek Series is a book that I’m so proud of.

 

ULM: How did you chose the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop to your last novel, House of Belonging?

 

AT: I personally feel most alive when I’m in the woods, hiking near a river or stream.  I really didn’t have any idea that my second book Seeds of Intention would take me to the Rockies when I started writing it, but as it often happens, the characters and their story made that decision for me.  House of Belonging picks up a year after Seeds ends, and it afforded me the luxury of really spending some literary time exploring Aspen, which is one of my favorite towns on earth. I simply go where the stories and characters lead me.

 

ULM: What was it like creating both Logan Matthews and Laina Ming? 

 

AT: In Laina Ming, I tried to create the kind of friend with personality traits that I value the most; Laina is strong, independent and funny.  She was a dream to write. Logan was a character that carried over from Seeds of Intention.  I didn’t see him coming, and when he showed up near the end of Seeds, I knew his story had to be mined a little more deeply, and I immediately knew there would be some intense chemistry between he and Laina.

ULM: Using only three words, how would you describe your style of story telling.

 

AT: Sexy, Classy, Inspiring

 

ULM: How did it feel when you finished writing the last novel, House of Belonging, for the Hesse Creek Series?

 

AT: Finishing that last chapter of House of Belonging was very emotional for me.  I was thrilled with how it all came together in the end, but sad to say goodbye to these characters who had grown to feel like members of my own family.  That said, I’m ready to move on to create something new. I hope my readers will stay on board.

 

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

 

Readers can find me all over social media, (links below,) and I also have a personal website with lots more information.

http://www.andreathome.com

http://www.facebook.com/andreathomeauthor

http://www.twitter.com/andreathome

http://www.instagram.com/andreathomeauthor

ULM: What other works are you planning to complete, if any?

 

AT: I’m working on the first book in a brand-new series about three brothers, which will primarily be set in the Pacific Northwest.  (At least that’s the plan for now…who knows where my imagination will take me?)

 

ULM: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

 

AT: Be prepared to invest time and a lot of effort.  It might take you a few books to get some traction, unless you’re a leprechaun or you’re in the right place at the right time.  Keep doing it because you love to write. Soak up every moment of the joy that it brings you. Because the writing is the easy part.  There is so much more to building a career as an author.

You should make it your business to learn how to be social media savvy, and be prepared to post interesting and thoughtful things across all platforms daily.  Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest. And don’t forget about managing a website!

 

Authors should also find an excellent literary publicist to help guide the way, if budgets allow.  I’ve been so lucky to have the best people helping to show me the way.

 

It doesn’t hurt to invest in some fun book-related swag to send out to the incredibly generous bloggers and media that go out of their way to help spread the word about you and your work. Book-loving people are generous.  They want to help you. Make sure to thank them at every opportunity.

 

And be sure to hit the gym.  You’ll be carrying boxes of books in and out of events, particularly if you’re an indie author.  My arms have never looked better. ☺

Review: The Fall of a Sparrow by Dan Scannell

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Found in Paris, an old, long neglected book that purports to be the journal of one Henry Howard turns Michael Devon’s world upside down.

Within its tattered pages, Michael finds a rich tableau of mid-sixteenth century life, experienced with all of the wonder and sense of adventure of a teen-aged boy at the brink of manhood. A story of improbable love, loyalty, friendship, and courage emerges, set in the tumultuous events of the France of Catherine de Medici and Nostradamus.

Woven within this narrative is the story of an emerging poetic sensibility, coupled with an uncanny ability to bring to life a richly imaginative world. Howard provides a subtle sprinkling of linguistic tropes that suggests, in its early stages, the rich language of Shakespeare.

The Fall of a Sparrow is a book about language, the beauty of its texture, the force of its eloquence, and the music of its cadences.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Fall of a Sparrow by Dan Scannell is an interesting take on Shakespeare literature. I was swept back into the 1500’s and enjoying the time period. A young man named Henry Howard has grown up through a troubling time. He writes a lot of work that resembles that of Shakespeare. It comes back to the present moment where one of the characters suggests that somebody else wrote what Shakespeare created. I got to travel back and forth between present and past in discovering the character’s suggestion. I love Shakespeare’s work. This story created a vivid yet entertaining tale that I just could not stop reading. Any fan of literature would love reading this book just as much as I have. The writing was so easy to get swept up into and lost within…

Review: Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman

Amish Celebrations: Four Novellas

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Gift of Sisters 

Hannah and Rachel are fraternal twins approaching their sixteenth birthday—a time when they will be allowed to spread their wings and enjoy their rumschpringe. The sisters couldn’t be more different: Hannah is outgoing and beautiful, while Rachel is shy and withdrawn. And when newcomer Abraham Stoltzfus arrives in Lancaster County, both women fall head over heels for him, each fighting for his affections in their own ways and driving the sisters to turn on each other. Who will Abraham choose? And will Hannah and Rachel reunite after a devastating heartbreak?

A New Beginning 

Rebecca and Noah are in love and about to be baptized. But when Noah decides to enjoy one last night of his rumschpringe a few weeks before the ceremony, he does something that causes Rebecca to reconsider his proposal. As Rebecca and Noah navigate the turn in their relationship, Rebecca must learn to forgive Noah or abandon her dreams of marrying him. If Noah won’t forgive himself in time for the baptism, his guilt could cause him to run from his love for Rebecca and leave his community behind.

A Perfect Plan  (previously published in An Amish Wedding)

Priscilla King has been planning to marry Chester Lapp since she was sixteen years old, and when Chester pops the question on Priscilla’s nineteenth birthday, wedding plans begin immediately. But everything begins to fall apart as Chester works to build a house for his new bride, only to have one disaster after another occur. Can true love take this couple through the challenges that threaten their union, or will they begin to doubt that they are on the right path, the one God has chosen for them?

A Christmas Miracle 

Mary is twenty-seven years old and already has five young children. Married to her husband at age eighteen, she wasn’t quite prepared for motherhood, and exhaustion and frustration are sending her into a downhill spiral as the holidays approach. Too proud and ashamed to ask for help, Mary’s situation begins to take a toll on her marriage. But when an elderly man in a red suit and his sidekick elf befriend Mary, showering her with wisdom and advice, she must choose to accept help, learn to cope with her situation, and ultimately find the true meaning of Christmas.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman is a heartfelt collection of four inspirational stories. Each one with it’s own unique message. However, all four shared common themes such as family, faith, love, and friendship. The characters were both Amish and non-Amish. I loved how these tales showed that both groups can be friends despite their differences in faith. Beth Wiseman displayed the real accuracy of Amish living. From the rules to living out their faith, I was brought into each character’s life. I laughed, cried, and cheered for them. This set was an emotional journey that I highly recommend to all.

 

Review: Don’t Look Back by Dawn Ryder

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In DON’T LOOK BACK by Dawn Ryer, she is the only woman worth fighting – or dying – for…

Shadow Ops Agent Thais Sinclair has sworn off falling in love for good. It’s what’s kept her calculated, steady, and on-task in a world dominated by men. She needs nothing and no one but her own wits and strength to guide her. But when she’s slated to shadow the one man who could reveal their entire operation, all bets are off.

Dunn Bateson, illegitimate son of a Southern debutante, has always had to fight harder than the rest to get what he wants. Now, the last thing he needs is Thais following his every move. She is so strong, sly, seductive. . . No woman has ever captivated him so completely. Thais may only have room for her mission in her heart, but is Dunn up to the challenge of showing her that she’s worth every risk he is willing to take?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Don’t Look Back by Dawn Ryder is a hot as hell romantic suspense novel. I love the characters. Thais and Dunn make the perfect pair. Both are tough, smart, and willing to take risks. Only Thais is willing to risk her life for her career. Dunn will not sit back and watch the woman her cares about get hurt. Dunn has issues but he’s so attracted to Thais he can’t stop thinking about her. Thais drives Dunn crazy by teasing him. Both are playing with fire. Thais is now in jeopardy due to the bad guys making her look like a murderer. A warrant is out for her and both her team and Dunn are working to keep her alive. The fun banters between Dunn and Thais is charming, intense, and sexy. These pages are smoking in humor, action, and danger. This one one romance book that I recommend to all readers. Dawn Ryder does not disappoint.

Review: Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

Cowboy, Cross My Heart

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close–and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger–without risking his heart?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant is a strong read. There are issues of sexual harassment, rape, and unlawful men abusing their power status. The emotional journey was a roller-coaster ride. There were just as many ups as there were downs. I cried for the women being abused by men who should have been trusted. It was sickening reading how a strong character broke into a frightened women for her life. Until her best friend came back to visit her and start investigating into what was happening…the young lady would have been drowning in a miserable life. Their friendship was unbreakable and held them together. The men, aka the cowboys, who came to the rescue made my heart melt multiple times. I fell in love with each cowboy who swore to protect the women and their family. Also, the theme of family was strong here. It showed how one family who went through abandonment survived. Their love and support for each other made me smile. Their were parts that were funny, charming, and romantic as hell. Other parts were intense, dangerous, and scary. Donna Grant provided a lot of action-packed scenes. This made the contemporary romance novel a quick read. I loved it. Overall, I would highly recommend this title to all readers. Plus, it provided an inspiration for women to stand up for themselves.

Review: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

“Byrne is a force in the genre.”—RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne is a fun filled historical adventure. A young man goes after a bad man. This leads him to life in prison and where he meets his friends. A group of other men in jail for lesser crimes banding together like brothers. Ash ends up being beaten to death due to switching a cell with a friend. That friend still lives thanks to Ash for that day. Ash is then found by a young woman. She nurses him back to health. They become best of friends…and their attraction grows. Ash has to keep reminding himself to wait…that his friend is too young for where his heart and thoughts take him. Her deceitful older brother ends up taking Ash to a life of misery and hell. Ash fights his way through it all by thinking of his lady friend. Until one day he does find her again…only to find she’s about to marry an old man. Ash’s anger gets the best of him. He kidnaps her and her lady friend. Taking them both to his ship. Ash forces her to marry him. Only his plans keep falling apart…Ash will have to fight again to save his lady. But he must also find a way to gain back her trust. Only then, can he have her heart…

This novel was funny, heartbreaking, and romantic. The intensity of the attraction from both Ash and his lady is engaging to follow. It’s full of sweet and innocence. Two injured and bullied people coming together to form a long lasting relationship. Only it gets taken from them, and as the years grow, they lose each other. The characters were believable. I loved them. Ash had so much hell to go through, I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Overall, I would highly recommend this pirate historical romance to all.

 

Review: How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You by Tara Eglington

How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You (Aurora Skye #2)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After a perfect first kiss, Aurora’s second kiss lands her boyfriend in the hospital, and her matchmaking strategies start to backfire in this sequel to Tara Eglington’s How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You.

For a girl who shares her name with a princess (aka Sleeping Beauty), Aurora Skye’s romantic life seems fathoms away from a fairy tale. Sure, she’s landed her prince charming, Hayden Paris. And she got her wish—one first kiss with all the knee-trembling, butterfly-inducing gloriousness she’d hoped for. But instead of happily ever after, their second kiss landed Hayden in the emergency room. If that’s not mortifying enough, the whole school is now referring to her as “Lethal Lips.”

When Aurora’s best friend decides to run for class president and offers up Aurora’s matchmaking service as one of her campaign initiatives, the kissing games begin. Aurora has to convince everyone that her program works—but that might be hard to do when it seems like her own love life might be falling apart.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You by Tara Eglington is a lighthearted read. It’s funny, sweet, and realistic. I loved Aurora’s list for finding the perfect guy. Do not settle for anything else than what you are worthy for-according to Aurora. I wished I had met this teenage girl when I was in high school. She’s cool, caring, and energetic. Aurora has waited a long time for her first kiss and got it. Her second kiss turned out to be a disaster and from there life got messy for her. The trials, friendship, and relationship stuff was fun to follow. It felt like I knew her for years. Out of all the YA contemporary fiction novels that I have read, this one beats them all. The morals, laugh out loud moments, and heart melting scenes made this a special read. Overall, I recommend to readers everywhere.

Review: The Secret Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book & Scone Society by [Adams, Ellery]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams is a fun and interesting murder mystery. The characters were charming. I loved Nora. She is the lady to go to for a book recommendation. Her personality made her perfect for this novel. I also enjoyed her group members. The ladies were all supportive of each other. Nora was supposed to meet a man only for him to turn up dead. That’s when Nora took lead into investigating the murder. She ended up placing herself into grave danger and took high risks. Then, there was Jed. I really liked him. I want to read more about him and Nora. They scenes made me blush and sigh with content. Overall, Ellery Adams sure knew how to charm me into loving her new book. I would recommend this to all to fans of Agatha Frost and Angie Fox.

 

Review: The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Janet Peery’s first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and clear-eyed gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with her second novel, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, town judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.

Billy’s misadventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel’s disappointment. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own failures, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.

With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery is a story of family. Families are the center of the community. This one displayed how a family struggled yet still supported and loved one another. It was heart felt, emotional, and entertaining. The funny part was that the mother seemed to head the family even though she feared how her husband would react to their son’s behavior. Grief, mischief, and and unconditional love are shown here. It was amazing to follow them all. The characters gave this book a three-dimensional touch. It felt like I knew the family for years. Overall, I recommend this dramatic yet beautiful story to all.

Review: I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain

I'm Not Missing

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.

When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain is a heartfelt YA novel. I followed a young Latina girl as she went through abandonment from her mom and her so-called best friend, Sydney. The girls relationship felt more one-sided. Miranda was more of a friend to Sydney than Sydney was to her. I was glad that Miranda didn’t have such a toxic friend in her life. It was sad but in a good way. Miranda is a protagonist that was easy to love. She’s bright, kind, and energetic. Her life seemed empty until she fell in love with a guy. Nick is a top boy scout and is headed to Harvard. Miranda is headed to Brown. Their colleges are pretty close…and it’s up to them to see where their stars lay.

Carrie Fountain had me falling in love with her characters. A young girl trying to step out into the light after being hidden away by a friend. Sydney was rude, obnoxious, and overbearing. She kept her friend in the dark, literally. The two girls had one connection other than that, they were complete opposites. I cried, laughed, and cheered as Miranda found herself. She totally blossomed by the ending. Overall, this novel was spectacular.

Review: Every Day Above Ground by Glen Erik Hamilton

Every Day Above Ground (Van Shaw #3)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A favor for a dying ex-con turns into a violent battle against a mysterious enemy for Van Shaw in this emotionally powerful and gritty thriller from the award-winning author of Past Crimes and Hard Cold Winter

It sounds like a thief’s dream to Van Shaw: A terminally-ill ex-con tells him of an easy fortune in gold, abandoned and nearly forgotten after its original owner died in prison. For the dying man, the money is a legacy to ensure his pre-teen daughter’s future. For Van, the gold is cash he desperately needs to rebuild his destroyed family home.

The grandson of a career criminal who taught him all the tricks of his trade, Van suspects that nothing is ever that easy. Sure enough, the safe holding the fortune is a trap—set by a mysterious player armed with tremendous resources and a lifetime of hatred. Now, Shaw’s partner is in the clutches of the hunters, and the former Army Ranger may be their next prey. But when the ex-con’s innocent daughter is threatened too, Van’s own hard childhood means he can’t let her come to harm.

To discover who has them in the cross-hairs, Shaw must seek out the hunters’ real prey. His quest leads him from an underground bare-knuckle fighting ring, which may be fronting a darker purpose, to a massive pop-culture convention, where Van and his allies, Hollis and Corcoran, play a dangerous game with foes on every side. It also introduces Van to a brash and beautiful aspiring journalist who poses a whole different kind of personal risk.

For years, Van Shaw has tried to live every day above ground, on the right side of the law, even though crime is his gift . . . and in his blood. If he survives the coming storm, he’ll have to decide what he wants—and whether he can live as an outlaw without sacrificing his honor.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Every Day Above Ground by Glen Erik Hamilton is a great crime fiction novel. I instantly liked the main protagonist. Van Shaw is trying to live by the law but present circumstances are making that difficult. He could lose everything he’s trying to build. Then, out of nowhere, an offer too good to be true happens. From there, I was sucked into the troubled mess that Van got himself into…

Plenty of action, suspense, and intrigue are supplied. The plot was enjoyable. I found myself wondering how Van Shaw was going to make it. A criminal who turns into a good guy only to be propelled back into hell is exactly what this book contained. I was rooting for this criminal. Normally, I like the good guys and Van was sort of a good guy. He  wanted to do good. Overall, I recommend this crime/mystery to all readers.

Review: Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz

Among the Red Stars

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz is a heart breaking tale. One of war, loss, and grief. But with that also comes hope, love, and strength. A young woman bravely goes into the air force knowing the risks. Her male friend is also fighting on the front lines. Danger, nightmares, and risks await them both. Their friendship never fades even as the war breaks out all around them. Hope keeps them both going.

Females are being allowed to fight in the war as pilots. Valka is one of them. She defies all the stereotypes that go against women during that time. Valka is brave, smart, and a good woman. I like her. Her personality makes this sad journey more enjoyable. I easily got lost within the pages. The relationship between both Valka and her male friend, Pasha, is heartfelt. Missing opportunities before the war, now have the chance to happen. But only if they both make it out alive. Overall, I would highly recommend this historical/women’s fiction novel to all.

 

Review: California Summer by Anita Hughes

California Summer

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“The perfect beach read!” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Timesbestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. —Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate store, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

California Summer by Anita Hughes is definitely for fans of Samantha Chase, Brenda Novak, and Debbie Macomber. Here, I got to meet a young woman who finds betrayal where she least excepts it. From there, she moves forward creating a new life. New friends, following a dream, and maybe, even a new romance. But balancing her dreams and a new love seems impossible…this story is about finding the courage to chase after one’s dreams. It is sweet, engaging, and had me rooting all the way. California Summer is an easy read. The pacing is steady and fun.

Anita Hughes introduces Rosie. She lives with her love until she finds him breaking her heart. After the betrayal, Rosie leaves her old life. Starting a new one, seems like the best thing. Until she falls in love again. Fear, challenges, and acceptance are featured on these pages. I am in love with all the characters. Rosie is determined to keep everything she wants in her new life. But whether that happens is to be seen. Josh is a handsome man who makes Rosie believe in love again. Suddenly, the future looks bright. Overall, I recommend this contemporary to all readers.

 

Review: Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson

blythe-cover-hirez.jpg

 

 

 

 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson is a deep emotional story that pulled me in from the start. The main characters went through a life of hell before they got to where they were. A young baby boy left in blood at a nunnery, was then working on a farm where he was abused, and then left as an orphan. He soon worked in a carnival where he meet an older man. One that had magic. The magic drew him in unlike anything else. It held promise of a better, happier life. Yet, the things we want in life are not always what we need. The boy becomes the magician. He meets our lady protagonist. From there, she has lived in fear of her husband. A sadness swept over me  like an ice-cube going down my back. It was depressing. She ended up living a rich lifestyle but was abused by the magician. Her happiness sapped out of her. Until, Sean…a man as ordinary as her. He makes her happy but not perfectly happy. Things spiral out of control and our lady find herself in one chaotic mess after another.

Blythe of the Gates featured themes such as marriage, abuse, and moving forward. Luna and her husband were both lost souls looking for happiness. After reading this novel, I am still not sure if Luna will ever find it. Her husband managed to  find a temporary form of happiness but it still never gave him the full satisfaction that he desired. This story was epic. The pages were dark, engaging, and mysterious…I enjoyed reading it. Overall, I recommend this book to fans of Unfortunate Events. It has the same resemblance but better.

 

 

Review: The Day that A Ran Away by B.C.R Fegan

The Day That A Ran Away by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Master Jet has forgotten to complete his homework… or has he? Jet’s teacher is surprised to find that instead of the alphabet, his page is completely blank. Jet tries to explain that it really isn’t his fault. After all, how can he help it, if none of his letters want to stay on the page!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Day that A Ran Away by B.C.R. Fegan is an interesting tale. A young boy heads to school only to find that his letters are not there. The mystery that lies, is whether or not there were there in the first place. Master Jet goes on to say how each letter went missing from his page. The teacher; however, does not believe Master Jet. I am not sure I do either…but I still wonder.

The pages were bright and colorful. They went smoothly with the story being told. Each letter of the alphabet had its own escape. Designed in a fun yet entertaining way, it was easy to get lost. Children can easily learn their letters and have fun at the same time. Overall, I highly recommend this book to both parents and teachers alike.

 

Review: Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

Second Chance At Two Love Lane

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Kieran Kramer, comes Second Chance at Two Love Lane, a fast-paced tale about the intoxicating effects of fame and what happens when a past romance is rekindled behind the silver screen.

Sometimes love is waiting in the second act…

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston—one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge film star…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up—at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid—all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life—and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

 

“Readers who enjoy works by Nora Roberts and Luanne Rice will want to give Kramer a try.”—Library Journal

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer is a sweet heartfelt story of second chances. New beginnings await a young pair. Their future lies in their hands. I loved the father-daughter bond. It was engaging…and brought me a little closer to the main protagonist. I felt her passion for theater, as well as her love for her father. Ella is a woman who leaves people liking her. Her personality if warm. Determined and ready, Ella leaves to tackle a college career. She will be the first to get a degree in her family. I felt the happiness bloom inside of her. A young guy catches her attention early and it is from there that they have a connection. Love on the horizon…or is it? They proved they have the heat and attraction, but they need more if there is to be a future together. Overall, I loved the fiery banters and chemistry that was displayed on every page. Tugging at me heart, I will never forget this story.

 

Special Guest: Elyse Douglas Author of The Lost Mata Hari Ring

Image result for elyse douglas author

You Are a Real Character

by Elyse Douglas

A young teacher at a small town high school—married, in her 20’s, with aspirations to become a television journalist—was accused of murdering her husband.

In the weeks before her arrest, she appeared on television several times, making emotional pleas, asking anyone with knowledge of the murder to please come forward to assist the police in locating the person who had killed her dear, kind husband.

This is a true story that took place on the East Coast a few decades ago.  The killer turned out to be a 15-year-old boy from the school where the teacher taught, who said he was her lover.  He testified that she helped plan the murder, so it would look like a burglary.

Of course, everyone in the community was stunned.  Many said, “It was so out of character.  She was so nice and good.  How could she have killed her husband?”

My uncle Ted was not a big man, but he always bought shirts that were much too large for him.  He usually wore old baggy jeans and a cotton shirt that covered him like a gown.  If the wind blew brisk, the shirt would puff out like a balloon.

Whenever anyone asked him why he wore those big shirts, he’d say, “Small, medium, large, extra-large… all the same price.  I get more value for my money.”  He wore a medium, but an extra-large had more fabric, so instead of buying a medium, he’d buy the extra-large.

My Aunt May would say, with weary resignation, “Ole Ted Boy is a character, ain’t he?”

Cussing Helen and soft-spoken Wayne were the parents of a best friend.  Helen was a contractor and Wayne a caterer.  She built houses and he built wedding cakes.  People would often say, “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” Meaning shouldn’t Helen be the caterer and Wayne the contractor?

Helen would say, “I can’t build a damn cake and he can’t build a friggin’ doghouse, and that’s okay with us.”

These characters had been happily married for over twenty years.

One writer said, “In every novel I’ve written, I began with a character, and allowed the drama to emerge out of human nature and relationships.”

As a young girl, I recall being fascinated by people: how they dressed; how they talked, their choice of words; their beliefs and opinions.  I soon discovered that everyone—without exception—was a character, and I would write down aspects of their character in a notebook.

From a young age, I observed that people often say one thing but do another; that guilt can ruin an entire lifetime; that laughter often masks great pain.  I would ask myself, why?

Invariably, in my own life, I’ve learned that what people say about someone else usually says more about them than the other person.  I’ve learned that what people think will make them happy doesn’t, especially, if it’s obtained too easily.  Instead, they get disenchanted and feel the frantic need to chase after the next happiness.  (This can be a great driving force for an entire novel.)  I’ve observed that true happiness mostly comes from sacrifice, tenderness, patience, and a good sense of humor.

When I began writing novels, I learned that I could drop any flawed, colorful character into nearly any plot and the story would sail off and hold the reader’s interest.

So, I usually begin my stories with a character who is struggling with fate, a painful secret, or a buried fear.  In our latest novel, The Lost Mata Hari Ring, a Time Travel Novel, the protagonist is plagued by nightmares from a past life, which she learns are a consequence of painful events and bad choices that left her estranged from her daughter.  After our protagonist time travels and meets the love of her life, she must then face herself as she was in the past and reconcile with her daughter, so that she can move on with her life in the present.

I love writing about romantic discovery and relationships, where characters meet that special someone who attracts and challenges them.  Over the course of the story, it is the relationship that helps to change and expand the protagonist from a tiny bud into a glorious rose.  The once frightened, flawed character finally grows up and blossoms.  She doesn’t just find herself, but she is free to create a new and authentic life.

As the great playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.

A quote that I have never forgotten was one I first read in junior high school:

Character is destiny.

—Heraclitus

 

 

 

The Lost Mata Hari Ring: A Time Travel Novel by [Douglas, Elyse]

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Up-and-coming actress, Trace Rutland, has had nightmares about a tragic past ever since she was a little girl. She struggles with her everyday life, finally seeking help from a hypnotherapist.

While under hypnosis, she inadvertently experiences a tragic past life in Paris, in 1916, during the First World War.

Later, while visiting a wealthy man’s private Mata Hari collection, Trace is drawn to a glittering ring, once worn by the convicted spy. Trace is enthralled. When she’s alone, she slips the ring on and is swiftly hurled into the past. There, she must face herself as she was in the past, while struggling to change the course of her destiny.

When she meets the handsome Edward Kenyon Bishop, a World War I British flying ace, she falls in love. She is swept away into a journey of suspicion and treachery, and must fight for her life.

Can she survive the past? Can she return to the present? Can true love endure for all time?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Lost Mata Hari Ring is so much like The Time Traveler’s Wife. The plot is full of mystery, intrigue, and a bit of romance. There is plenty of action to follow. I was never bored. I am hooked. It captures my interest from the first chapter. Time travel that allows a young woman to find her past and move past her nightmares. This journey in time, gives Trace a new beginning and a sense of peace. I easily was swept into the story as I followed Trace reconnecting with her past life and accepting her present one. Trace is a strong character that was likable. I can connect with her without difficulty. Overall, I recommend this novel to all readers.

Enter to Win a Copy of The Lost Mata Hari Ring

To enter into the free giveaway: participants must be from the US; like this post; comment on this post, and share on social media. Tell your friends to enter! Contest ends Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11 PM Central Time. 

 

Review: Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Laird Callum MacLean vowed to marry Maggie MacDonnell. But when his father’s supposed suicide makes him Laird of a clan, he’s too busy unmasking his father’s killer to bring her into his dangerous new home.

Maggie’s home isn’t any safer, so she does what any resourceful Highland lass would do. She escapes―and finds herself toe-to-toe with Callum, who’s determined to fulfill his promise. Maggie can’t bring herself to trust him with her heart again. But with a traitor still at large, they must rely on each other in every way, or their clans―and their love―will be destroyed.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne is one exciting Highland adventure. From one danger to another, Alyson McLayane kept me intrigued. Danger hung onto every page. Enemies seemed to appear from everywhere. Spies were in every clan making the intensity of the deadly situation for the heroine and hero that much more interesting. I loved how the lead female protagonist was just as strong, if not stronger, than the male protagonist. It brought a lot of humor to the dark journey.

Inside this tale, I found a young Highland woman left by her fiance, to stay, at her home. It was supposed to be safer for her there. Callum had every intention of returning as soon as possible for her. But his father’s death kept him away. Maggie thought her fiance broke his promise to come back for her. Now, her clan was full of traitors and enemies. The leading enemy being her cousin. He has planned to take the Laird title from her dying brother. Then, he planned to force her into marrying him. His evil plan went as far to have rapped to get her pregnant. Talk about betrayal…

Maggie came up with a plan. One that involved her leaving behind her home and running to find her other brother. She never intended to run into her old flame…

Callum loved Maggie and when he found out she’s in danger, he won’t let her go. He has a plan to take her to his home and keep her safe. Even marrying her…but was he too late? Overall, I recommend this exciting read to all readers.

A love that never died out…

Mistrust on both sides…

And enemies wanting them both dead…

Can they survive?

 

Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

One summer, two sisters and a chance to start over…

Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix Rose had a fiancé, a successful store and a busy, happy existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at the lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the world.

Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister, Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper. Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the resort’s handsome scuba instructor.

For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place they most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is surprising…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster is about second chances. Friendships, fresh starts, and a bit of romance can be found on the pages. The story is sweet, steady-sometimes slow, and engaging. I felt it tug my heart in some places. Other spots in the book dragged a little. It felt like there were more details than was needed. The main female character seemed sad and distant. Her new job was just the thing to stir up her life. It like she came back to the living. Cooper, her boss, was real likable. He had this way of dragging me further into the plot. Charming, hard-working, and kind, Cooper was a great character to follow. Overall, it was a good story about letting go of the past and moving forward.

 

Review: I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly

I Hate Everyone, Except You

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling author and television host Clinton Kelly pens a hilariously candid, deliciously snarky collection of essays about his journey from awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult.

Clinton Kelly is probably best known for teaching women how to make their butts look smaller. But in I Hate Everyone, Except You, he reveals some heretofore-unknown secrets about himself, like that he’s a finicky connoisseur of 1980s pornography, a disillusioned critic of New Jersey’s premier water parks, and perhaps the world’s least enthused high-school commencement speaker.

Whether he’s throwing his baby sister in the air to jump start her cheer-leading career or heroically rescuing his best friend from death by mud bath, Clinton leaps life’s social hurdles with aplomb. With his signature wit, he shares his unique ability to navigate the stickiest of situations, like deciding whether it’s acceptable to eat chicken wings with a fork on live television (spoiler: it’s not). Clinton delves into all these topics—and many more—in this thoroughly unabashedly frank and uproarious collection.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

I Hate Everyone, Except You is a deeper look into the man many have come to love. Clinton Kelly has always appeared to be this perfect well-put together man. I could never imagine him doing anything that was well-done.  His taste and mannerisms come alive in this journey. A journey through his younger years and into the man he is now. I found it quite interesting. There’s more depth to this celebrity than I thought originally. He’s funny, bold, and learns along the way. Watching him fail, wasn’t really failure…it was success in if it didn’t feel so at the time. Failure moments teach and change us. Clinton Kelly grew as he approached his station in his life and career. I loved his caring demeanor towards his family. He and his step-dad went from not liking each other to liking each other. I think we all can learn something from this memoir. Apply it to our own journeys and grow from them. Overall, I Hate Everyone, Except You was inspiring and motivational. The pages held a lot of humor making this feel nothing like a typical memoir.

Review: Jealousy by Nancy Bush

Jealousy

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

HATRED LEADS TO OBSESSION . . .

It’s taken time for the plan to unfold, years spent waiting, watching, hating. . . . And after the first victim, the killing gets easier and easier . . .

OBSESSION LEADS TO JEALOUSY . . .

The Crissmans, owners of Crissman & Wolfe department store, were once one of Portland’s most powerful families. There’s still enough fortune left to sow mistrust between Lucy, her bohemian sister Layla, their brother Lyle, and his grasping wife Kate. When a charity event at the Crissman Lodge ends in a fatal poisoning, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But the truth is even more twisted, and Lucy can’t be sure which of her family is being targeted . . . or who to fear.

AND JEALOUSY LEADS TO MURDER . . .

Renowned defense attorney Dallas Denton has been hired to clear Lucy’s name, unaware of the secret that ties them together or of the deep cracks in the Crissman legacy. Someone is ready to eliminate every obstacle to get what they most covet, and prove that envy runs deeper
than blood . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Nancy Bush is the new Mary Higgins and J.D. Robb. Jealousy is a new mystery/thriller that quickly spirals out of control. Secrets are coming out from the grave. A family is tearing apart. Murder, blackmail, and mistrust add to the suspense. I liked the fact that I wouldn’t be able to predict who or what was really going on…but the pacing seemed steady no matter how much drama was added.

Jealousy is about a family that has and still is experiencing a lot of issues. A father who never let wife leave him. Kids who thought their mother left them. A family will that has been hidden and another one was recently found. Secrets make for a lot of trouble. The siblings are struggling to trust each other when they really need to…danger is closing in around them. It’s only a matter of time before more are killed. Death hangs in the air…as the family scatters to catch up.

Overall, it was a good read. I didn’t see the ending coming. The plot was intense and emotional.

Review: Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home–and falling head over heels. . .

Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes–and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.

Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcee who shows up to the garage in stilettos–and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham is an exciting romantic read. I loved the fierce protectiveness that Mack feels towards Ella. At first, he didn’t want her anywhere around him, but getting to know her changed all of that. Her determination sparked a fire inside of Mack. One that he tried to diminish but was helpless in shaking off. His attraction towards the beauty only increased. As other characters from the previous books and new ones came onto the scene it only sparked more of an interest to keep on reading. I ended up finishing the entire read in one sitting. Fast-paced packed with action, hot scenes, and humor to make the pages fly by…I was impressed.

Laura Trentham’s latest novel, wasn’t just a hot romance that I could not put down. It went deeper than that. It displayed the family and marriage abuse that Ella went through in her life. It gave me a glimpse into her loss. Losing a family member is never easy. The car mechanic garage meant and reminded Ella of her older brother. It was sentimental value to her. Plus, the brothers that worked it became like family to her. Despite what hell life brought to Ella, she bounced back. She became stronger and more independent. But she was also able to put some trust into the tough as nails mechanic aka Mack. Mack has his own personal struggles as well. I loved the depth and meaning this book brought. It was more than just a romance. It was life. Overall, I would highly recommend this romantic story to all readers.

Review: Judy Moody (Mood Martian) by Megan McDonald

Mood Martian (Judy Moody #12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s Backwards Day, so Judy Moody double-dares herself to become Queen of the Good Mood for one whole week. Can she do it?

Will the real Judy Moody please stand up? In honor of Backwards Day, Judy Moody decides to turn that frown upside down, make lemonade out of lemons, and be nice to stinky little brothers. In fact, Judy becomes a NOT moody, cool-as-a-cucumber neat freak for one whole entire day. But when her combed hair, matching outfits, and good moods hang around for days after, her friends begin to worry. Could this smiley Judy be an impostor?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Judy Moody: Mood Martian by Megan McDonald is the best novel yet. In this tale, I got to watch Judy Moody show a different side to herself than her usual self. In fact, her family started to think she wasn’t really Judy…at all. The change was pleasant and welcoming.

Judy Moody is a young girl who has a wild imagination and a good heart. She wants to be good, but her plans always went wrong. There was always a big oops, somewhere if not everywhere she went.

I was surprised by how much Judy changed and grew up. Her personality is still creative as ever. I laughed a lot. Her and Stink will always be my favorite two characters in this series.

Judy Moody: Mood Martian is about Judy trying not to be her usual Moody self. Readers familiar with the series all know how moody Judy Moody can get at times. Her ways of accomplishing not being moody was interesting! I definitely recommend this book story to all. Judy did make a lot of boo boos as usual, but she somehow ended up at the top. I liked the themes and the new adventure presented. The illustrations were great. They went well with each chapter. Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: House of Belonging by Andrea Thome

House of Belonging (Hesse Creek #3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Who can we count on? The family we’re born into, or the one we create for ourselves?

Renowned chef Laina Ming walked away from the culinary spotlight and an unhealthy relationship—one that still haunts her a year later. She’s trying to start fresh in the Rocky Mountains, opening a concept restaurant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, where she hopes she’ll be able to express her passion for food and bury her heartache.

Horse rancher Logan Matthews moved to Aspen to be near his sister and her husband, grateful for his newfound family. Since a chance meeting with Laina the previous summer, Logan’s been enchanted. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him—which makes her all the more appealing.

Despite Laina’s efforts to protect her heart, Logan has been on her mind, too—and he has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. Can they learn to trust one another and finally find the sense of belonging they’ve both been searching for?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is so much more than it appears. I thought it was about a woman or women overcoming an obstacle and moving forward. Yes, it was about that. But it had more depth and emotion than I knew. The journey that each character went through to get to where they ended up was heartfelt. I could not be happier. They were so realistic. I felt as if I lived right beside them for years. Sad, funny, and charming-Andrea Thome hooked me. I couldn’t stop reading. One chapter turned into several and then I was finishing the whole book. Love, new beginnings, and a promising future were shown here. I enjoyed it. Overall, I would recommend this inspirational and heart warming tale to fans of Hallmark, Debbie Macomber, and Susan Mallery.

 

Review: Bells, Spells, and Murders

Bells, Spells, and Murders (Witch City Mystery #7)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Someone’s spreading deadly holiday cheer through Salem, Mass . . . 

Lee Barrett has landed her dream job at Salem’s WICH-TV. As the new field reporter, she’ll be covering events live as they’re unfolding. Next on her holiday checklist is an interview with the beloved chairman of a popular walking tour through Salem’s historic districts. But it may be his ghost walking this snowy Noel season after Lee finds him murdered in his stately offices, bloody Santa hat askew.

With her police detective boyfriend working the case and a witch’s brew of suspects–including some bell-ringing Santas–Lee chases down leads aided and abetted by her wise cat O’Ryan and some unsettling psychic visions of her own. When a revealing clue leads to another dead body, not even a monster blizzard can stop Lee from inching closer to the truth . . . and a scoop that could spell her own demise this killer Christmas.

Praise for the Witch City Mysteries

“Perfectly relaxing and readable.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This rewarding paranormal cozy series debut will have Victoria Laurie fans lining up to follow.”
Library Journal

“An entertaining story that keeps readers guessing until the very twisted and eerie end.” —RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Bells, Spells, and Murders by Carol J. Perry is another grand adventure full of mayhem. Murder, secrets, and danger lie here. It’s up to Lee Barrett once more to solve another murder investigation. She has a fiery personality that is fun to follow. Her curiosity and determination to solve a case is crazy sometimes dangerous. She is always finding herself in a difficult position. But in the end there is her boyfriend, Detective Pete, there to come to her rescue. It was funny, sweet, and engaging. I could not stop reading this novel. The mystery was good. So many possible suspects that I was guessing the whole way…I liked the red herrings that the main character dropped for readers like me. It was enjoyable. I am hooked.

Bells, Spells, and Murders is highly recommended for all cozy mystery lovers. For fans of  Angie Fox this is a must read. I loved the main character’s visions and the presence of cats running around…plus, there’s a bit of romance inside, too.

Review: Paradox by Catherine Coulter

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

With unparalleled suspense and her trademark explosive twists, #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter delves into the terrifying mind of an escaped mental patient obsessed with revenge in this next installment of her riveting FBI series. When he fails to kidnap five-year-old Sean Savich, agents Sherlock and Savich know they’re in his crosshairs and must find him before he continues with his ‘kill’ list.

Chief Ty Christie of Willicott, Maryland, witnesses a murder at dawn from the deck of her cottage on Lake Massey. When dragging the lake, not only do the divers find the murder victim, they also discover dozens of bones. Even more shocking is the identification of a unique belt buckle found among the bones. Working together with Chief Christie, Savich and Sherlock soon discover a frightening connection between the bones and the escaped psychopath.

Paradox is a chilling mix of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, old secrets that refuse to stay buried, and ruthless greed that keep Savich and Sherlock and Chief Ty Christie working at high speed to uncover the truth before their own bones end up at the bottom on the lake.

Don’t miss Paradox, the twenty-second FBI thriller.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Paradox by Catherine Coulter is a thrilling race to catch a murderer before it’s too late. Two agents wake up to find their son being threatened by an unknown man in a mask. The man escapes from them. But his threat leaves behind a mass of fear and a start for a new investigation.  Little do they know his tie to a bigger and former case will be connected. Until then, they have to be faster and outsmart their enemy.

Catherine Coulter creates a suspenseful new tale in Paradox. Immediately, I connected with the agents. Their level of protection for their son was amazing. Being in their field of work, it is understandable to have such security and plans made. It worked. Their plans gave them the alert and saved their son’s life. Their young son is clever for his age. There was a hint of Winnie the Pooh bear somewhere in the boy’s room, which suggested he was still pretty young. But like his parents, he came to the conclusion of what really happened. His parents couldn’t lie to him. I liked that. It made the situation realistic. Then, there was the chase after the criminal and the procedures of starting an investigation. I felt like I was there watching and participating with the agents. The pacing of the plot was quick. I just kept on reading chapter after chapter. My attention was fully caught with this novel. A thriller with enough action and intrigue to keep me reading. Overall, I would recommend it to all fans of Laura Griffin, Heather Graham, and Criminal Minds.

 

Review: Slowly We Die by Emelie Schepp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An accidental slip of a blade…Then murderous revenge…A patient’s accidental maiming leads a young surgeon to abandon his profession…Now, ten years later, a series of gruesomely senseless murders are rocking the medical community. The weapon? A surgical scalpel.Who is preying on these victims? What does the grisly pattern reveal? And who will be next? Special prosecutor Jana Berzelius is in charge of the investigation. What she can’t know until finally closing in on the murderer is how her own mother’s recent death is intimately connected.

For fans of Tess Gerritsen and Patricia Cornwell, an intricate medical thriller that keeps everyone guessing. 2017 SWEDISH CRIME WRITER OF THE YEAR’Schepp may be the smoothest storyteller among the new crop of Nordic noir aces…the ingenious plot reveals and hidden connections keep you glued to the action.’ – Kirkus Reviews

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Slowly We Die by Emelie Schepp is a frightening thriller. Imagine being locked in with an unconscious prisoner only to find him awake…the nurse dropped the needle. Her partner bent down to pick it up only to find her dead and the prisoner alive.

Death hung in the air on every page. The intensity of the increasing violence and the volume of people being murdered by a scalpel made my hair stick up. Then, I found out the main character, a prosecutor, may have a personal attachment to the case at hand. Freaky, deadly, and chilling…Emelie Schepp got the fear factor in full force.

The novel really went into depth on the strictness or lack of strictness in the punishments for prisoners. It also showed how some higher individuals also got lower to no punishment for their crimes. Unjust and quickly spiraling out of control, the justice system is sinking. People are scared. These issues are still a big problem to be dealt with…yet nothing got fixed.

How many people have to die before the justice system is fixed? And who is behind all the killings? Is a less strict policy best for deals with criminals…like our prosecutor thought? Or was she wrong? Overall, I enjoyed reading Slowly We Die by Emelie Schepp. It definitely left me thinking hard on these subjects.

 

Review: Feared by Lisa Scottoline

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Machiavelli, a corrupt lawyer, aggressively strikes close to the DiNunzio household, attacking Mary’s father and one of their beloved family friends by filing a lawsuit that accuses them of embezzling from the treasury of a local South Philly social club to which they belong. The lawsuit is frivolous, but Machiavelli ups the ante by spreading rumors that support its allegations, muddying the reputation of Mary’s father.

The claims shake the DiNunzio clan to its foundations, threatening her father’s weakening heart, and Mary steps in to fight back. But Machiavelli is a more than worthy adversary. Then the unthinkable happens, and Mary goes to her own dark side, finding a part of herself that makes her more fearsome than ever before. Is it still a battle between good and evil, when good turns evil? And will Mary be able to find herself, before she loses her soul completely?

Feared, the sixth entry in the acclaimed Rosato & DiNunzio series, expertly explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Feared by Lisa Scottoline is a heart-racing plot. The intensity of the scenes kept my heart pounding. I was not sure of what would be the outcome. The main character went through a lot of changes recently. From motherhood to catching bad guys, this strong independent woman made me speechless. Her bravery was crazy. Lies, deception, and danger hung in the air. Lisa Scottoline poured suspense and action onto every page. Not one single boring moment. Also, I loved the small community of support that was created for the main character. It softened the hard yet dark edges of this story.

Romance, crime, and mystery are displayed here. I could not get enough of the characters. Mary is the central character. She is pregnant and solved a case that others couldn’t solve. Her instincts are so clear, that it was frightening. Her guesses were right but sometimes the wrong suspect is chosen. But none of that stopped Mary from working the case. Her strong willed personality helped define her as a woman not to be toyed with…as one of the male characters has figured out later in the plot. The connection between Mary and her husband, as well as the connection with another man kept the me guessing. Feared is a novel about facing fears and getting justice. Overall, I would recommend it to readers seeking a rush of adrenaline.

Review: The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs

The Winter Lodge (Lakeshore Chronicles #2)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On the longest night of the year, Jenny Majesky loses everything in a devastating house fire. But among the ashes she finds an unusual treasure hidden amid her grandfather’s belongings, one that starts her on a search for the truth, and on a path toward a life that she never imagined. The Winter Lodge, a remote cabin owned by her half sister on the shores of Willow Lake, becomes a safe refuge for Jenny, where she and local police chief Rourke McKnight try to sort out the mysteries revealed by the fire. But when a blizzard traps them together, Jenny, accustomed to the safe predictability of running the family bakery, suddenly doesn’t feel so secure. For even as Rourke shelters her from the storm outside, she knows her heart is at risk. Now, following her dreams might mean walking away from her one chance at love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs was a heart felt tale about loss, grief, danger, and love. Moving forward and hope for the future were the other themes. The book was realistic. I could see everything that happened-happening in real life. It was emotional. I felt the characters’ pain and fear. Family is a huge thing. Having no parents and losing the grandparents that were like parents to the female protagonist was sad.

Imagine having loved someone yet someone else got between…that middle person died and all that’s left is an open sore. One that doesn’t diminish…but maybe, with a little hope there could be some healing. The pacing was steady. I never got bored while following the characters. The plot intensified as the bond between the protagonists grew. Their love never died…overall, I loved this story. It was sweet, heart breaking, and utter chaos. But it was so good.

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Review: 101 ?s You Need to Ask in Your Twenties by Paul Angone

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties: (And Let's Be Honest, Your Thirties Too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Adulting got you down?

Whether you just polished off your college graduation cake, are in your twenties or thirties struggling through a quarter-life crisis, you’re simply trying to figure out how to become all grown up, or you’re a parent looking for that perfect college graduation gift or Christmas gift for your twentysomething, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties is the book for you. 

To find important life answers in your 20s, you need to start with good questions. Author, speaker, and blogger Paul Angone has dedicated the last 12 years to helping twentysomethings and in this book he culminates his work to give readers wisdom through major life questions like: 

What’s the best way to know if you’re actually ready to get married?
Where’s the future of work headed and what does having a successful career look like today?
How do I make a choice when I don’t know what to choose?
How do I stop networking and start “relationshipping”?
Why do some people have great marriages while others have complete wrecks before they even make it to the highway?
Am I seeing the other side of people’s Instagram photos (you know, the side they’re not exactly posting pictures of)?
What are the Pivotal Plot Points of my story?
Do I have anyone on my “Dream Team”?
After his success with 101 Secrets for your Twenties and connecting with millions of twentysomethings around the world through speaking engagements and his blog AllGroanUp.com, Paul Angone captures the hilarious, freakishly-accurate assessment of life as a modern-day twentysomething (and thirtysomething) facing real Millennial problems, but now he’s digging even deeper. 

If you’re drowning your anxieties in Netflix and ice cream, are afraid you’re failing, going crazy, or both, or are just longing for a little guidance to get past “just getting by,” grab this book and start thriving in the most “defining decade” of your life.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties is an easy to read book that I found intriguing. Once I started to read, I just kept on reading it. There were a lot of great questions found here. Then there were the typical questions one would have asked this writer. I found interesting how he went through each question with a flair that made it not boring. It was nothing like what I had expected. No dull boring words filling up pages that would fall on deaf ears. Instead, I got exactly what the book said I would get. A deep thorough examination of myself. In other words, I got to explore where I was at, what I was doing, and where do I want to be.

Paul Angone is a motivational speaker. I did not need to read the back blurb to see that. Instead, I just read his book. I can see the intelligent words and wisdom they offered. It was like flashing a light into a dark tunnel. It inspired hope. The writing was clear and organized. Each chapter was divided into a particular subject with some of the writer’s own personal experience attached. I did not feel alone. This book, made me feel like I was understood and being heard. As a twenty-something, I had no clear idea where I was headed. But reading this book, I know where to go and what needed to be done. Overall, I would recommend this book to high school students and those who planned to enter college. It was a great read.

Review: Wonky (A Robotics Club Story) by Darcy Pattison

Wonky: A Robotics Club Story

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“A delightful story of friendship and teamwork.” Dori Hillestad Butler, Theodore Geisel Honor Award for King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats, and Edgar award for The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy

Howie ambles into robot club hoping to find a friend. But when Lincoln bounds into the room, Howie hides. The strange new bird is too big and fluffy. The teacher, however, puts the unlikely pair together. Will they be able to accept each other’s wonky ideas and become friends?

For STEM classes, this story emphasizes the discussion of form v. function.
The story encourages divergent thinking as Lincoln and Howie design a robot. For kids who are rigid and inflexible, they’ll see the value of considering different options, and accepting those who are different.

Kirkus Reviews says, “. . .offbeat and clever. . .this tale will certainly appeal to kids. . . .”

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Wonky: A Robotics Club Story by Darcy Pattison is a sweet novel that combines STEM science and friendship in one easy sweep. I liked how the characters Howie and Lincoln had differences but were able to connect with each other.

However, the book was a little bit predictable in that its two main characters were boys. Boys whose ultimate goal was to scare their sisters. It was funny. I could definitely picture boys creating that kind of robot. Robotics is cool. Unfortunately, nothing really about robotics was told her. It just showed two boys becoming friends during a robotics meeting.

Overall, I would give this children’s illustrated book a 5-star rating for the themes discussed. And I would give it a 4-star rating for it not really inserting girls and boys into the central picture. This book would be more suited to boys than girls. I liked the humor that was created with the images. The illustrations went well with the story. In the end, a great story book for kids.

Review: Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

ARE THEY IN TOO DEEP?

Ex-Navy SEAL Cabe Moss always comes when called to duty―at all costs. Even though the death of his fiancée nearly destroyed him, Cabe won’t let his past interfere with any work that has to get done. When his latest task pushes him to team up with FBI Agent Amy Murray, a fierce beauty with the undercover skills to match, Cabe must admit that, for the first time in years, he wants to do more than just complete their mission together…

Amy was born ready for this assignment, but working side-by-side with the the strong, silent, and frustratingly professional Cabe seems to be the biggest challenge of all. But when the sparks begin to fly―and the stakes rise to dangerous heights―the only thing Amy is left worrying about is how she can resist him. Their lives may be in danger, but their hearts hold the biggest risk of all…

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Deep Cover by Scarlett Cole is a sexy yet dangerous journey. Loss, grief, and moving forward after a death are commonly found here. I found them realistic, inspiring, and heart melting. The characters felt like I knew them forever. One character loss a loved one and on the two-year anniversary finds a woman who interests him. Instantly guilt hits him hard and he leaves. It isn’t until later that the same woman is working with him on the same op. That’s where everything rides like a roller-coaster from a theme park. A separation of work and love are seen on the pages. Also, there’s a hint of women harassment in the workforce dominated by males. I found it interesting.

Inside Deep Cover, I got to meet a Navy Seal who lost his love. Both him and his loved one were in the military and just started to get serious when he lost her. The loss has plagued Cabe ever since. He goes to work but is like a robot. Cabe keeps putting one foot in front of the other, until he meets, FBI Agent, Amy. Amy is a young gorgeous yet clever woman in a male dominated sector. She has just been sexual harassed by a senior male agent before meeting with Cabe. Cabe changes everything. He is nothing like the men she has worked with or met. He loves her intelligence and beauty. Both feel happy being near each other. However, Amy is on a deadly deep cover op that could go wrong any second. Cabe has to fight with letting Amy do her job as an agent while, doing is job to protect her. It’s a difficult situation for both of them. Yet Scarlett Cole made them so likable, I couldn’t stop reading. The intensity of their attraction and danger of the op made this a must read. Overall, I would highly recommend it to all romantic suspense readers.

Review: Highland Devil by Hannah Howell

Highland Devil (Murray Family, #22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell returns to medieval Scotland where daring and desire stir the passions of the Murray clan…

When a red-haired woman tries to steal Sir Gybbon Murray’s horse on his journey back to the Murray stronghold, he thanks his lucky stars that his horse is a rude lout—and that the pretty thief is not so injured that she can’t tell her tale. He’s no nursemaid to delicate lasses, but Mora Ogilvy is fleeing her ruthless cousins, fearing for her life. And when she tells him of the home they’ve taken from her and the man they say she murdered, Gybbon cannot let such injustice stand.

Mora’s pride demands she take back her lands, but not by risking the lives of this handsome, wicked knight and his family. Still, she needs to recover from her wounds, and staying close to Gybbon in his brother’s keep is a seductive solution. A few weeks at his side will be a sweet memory for her when she returns to fight her own battles. Except the depth of her cousins’ treachery—and the fierceness of Gybbon’s love—may turn her own heart against her plans.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Highland Devil by Hannah Howell is an interesting tale. One where family is set against its own. An evil cousin is set upon killing everyone to get what he wants. And no one has been able to stop him yet…even his own father won’t stop him. That’s when Mora and her younger brother, Andrew, flew for their lives. Their paths soon cross that of one brave highlander, Gybbon. Gybbon immediately seeks to help Mora and her brother against her evil cousin. But the fear, danger, and passion that sparks between keeps them at ends.

The suspense in this historical novel was intense. I was not sure what would have happened to Mora. Several times, I thought both she and Andrew would die. As for her older brothers…I did not see that unexpected twist happening. Fast-paced and brilliant, Hannah Howell plucked my curiosity and kept it. I would recommend this read. It was deeply engaging and emotionally fun to follow. Brave, funny, and strong men racing to help those in danger made my heart melt every time. Highland Devil is just as it sounded. A highland devil was detailed here. Running and finding out why the highland devil wanted the characters dead was a unique mystery. It appeared to be greed but I am still left with wondering if it was simply just because he was a mad man. Or was he?

Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

 

Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .

 

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is one that I could not stop reading. The plot was intriguing from the start. I was curious about the the young boy who was a slave as a child and the spoiled young woman. How their paths crossed was a tempt of fate. In the previous plots before this one, readers are aware of the trouble from the villain aka Wolf. Wolf sought to destroy the Kincaid clan due to a personal feud. One that was his caused by his own doing. A woman scorning a man is seen repeated here. Yet there is much more to the tale than sympathy for the cast of characters.

Romance, action, adventure plus hot Scotsman are inside this book. I loved the heroine. She was a spoiled lady but willing to suffer for the ones she loves. Not wanting to leave her family behind, Derryth is sent away to prepare for her sister and husband to come over…yet, their plan goes bad. They traveled only a small distance before they are trapped. That’s where the tall, handsome, yet unemotional man awaits. Taking them prisoners. The banters between Cull and English Guard and the Scotswoman is fun to follow. I was laughing, and devouring up every detail. Overall, I would recommend Lily Blackwood’s novel to all readers.

 

Review: Double Blind by Iris and Roy Johansen

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning authors are back with an electrifying new novel that will leave your heart racing.

Kendra Michaels, formerly blind and now a hired gun for law enforcement agencies who relies on her razor-sharp powers of observation, is reluctant to help the FBI with the most recent case they’ve brought to her. But then she hears the details: the body was found just blocks away from Kendra’s condo. The young woman was carrying an envelope with Kendra’s name on it, and inside was an SD card with what appears to be an innocuous video of a wedding reception. The woman died trying to get the video to Kendra, but for what purpose? Before Kendra and the FBI can answer that question, the bride is abducted from her suburban home.

And so the hunt is on for a killer whose nightmarish plan is slowly becoming clear. A plan that involves a powerful law firm and a multi-billion dollar corporation. As the body count rises, Kendra joins forces with private investigator Jessie Mercado and agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to stop the plot as it grows ever closer to its terrifying conclusion.

In Double Blind, Iris and Roy Johansen deliver an emotional, gripping new entry in the bestselling Kendra Michaels series.

Praise for Double Blind:

“Magnetic characters and a twisty, suspenseful plot ensure that readers will eagerly anticipate the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

“When it comes to delivering amazing tales of edge-of-your-seat suspense, team Johansen and Johansen have proven they are unbeatable! Kendra Michaels is an exceptionally compelling protagonist…Get the snacks ready and keep the lights on, for this book will keep you hanging on until the last word!” RT Book Reviews (5 stars)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Double Blind by both Iris and Roy Johansen is an exciting thriller. A deadly game that could end up worse if not stopped soon. A serial killer is hired by a company to handle problems for them only that the killer goes off the edge and blackmails them. The killer is then able to get away with a lot more than planned. Murders are now being traced to the company and the company can’t control their hired hired any longer.  FBI is introduced into the case when a dead woman has something for someone they know…that’s when the chase really begins…

Kendra Michaels is the lead female character. She is the one the FBI like to work with because of her ability to notice the smallest details quickly. Kendra cannot handle working on cases like the FBI does, because she hates seeing victims’ families suffer. Death is never easy to handle. But now, a dead woman is found with a USB drive containing damaging evidence for her. Only she never knew the victim. It is only a matter of time before the FBI bring her in on the case. Kendra feels obligated to help since the dead woman tried to reach out to her. Other than that she wants noting to do with the case. But that’s where it starts to get complicated. Her former FBI friend that she is attracted to, handles deadly crime stuff. She feels something more for him but she isn’t allowing herself to fall in love. Adam Lynch wants Kendra Michaels as his woman. However, he knows it will be difficult to get to agree. She likes him just as much as he likes her but she won’t open up. Instead, she pushes away from him. The new case is provides a tug of war in their relationship.

Overall, this new novel was suspenseful. I was deeply engaged from the start. Both Iris and Roy Johansen have caught my attention with Kendra Michaels. She is a detective for the FBI in a way. The personality was easy to latch onto as well as like. Kendra is a strong independent woman who won’t let anyone or anything bring her down…Adam Lynch is a cocky good looking man who is smart and deadly to mess with. But when it comes to Kendra he makes mistakes and doesn’t know how to approach her. I felt their push/pull relationship. It was intriguing and sad to follow. Double Blind was fast-paced. It kept me guessing the whole way. I highly recommend it to all.

Review: The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

One night of passion, mistaken identity… and unmistakable consequences! Jillian Ross craves adventure. And she gets it when her new career as a film scout leads her to the ranch owned by the wealthy Wyoming McNeills. Giving in to temptation with the playboy McNeill causes havoc–since it’s actually his reclusive twin, Cody, she’s fallen for! Now she’s pregnant–and still can’t get enough of her reluctant rancher. Is this adventure just beginning?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock is amazing! I was left begging for more. I want to read every book by this writer. Romance, check. Emotional journey, check. Hot heroes, check. Realistic situations, double check. This tale showed how a family reunites under trouble, stress, and how they can set aside their differences. Themes of responsibility, love, and family are shown throughout the pages. Being the older sibling, the main alpha hero has a lot to live up to, as well as balancing…sometimes, it’s just too much. Struggles of battling a cancer and fighting to regain her confidence, the heroine, is a breath of fresh air. Her determination to live life the fullest was felt. The entire plot was heartfelt.

In this latest novella, I was immediately taken with both main characters. Cody is the oldest heir and the most responsible. Lost his mother while young and fighting to be strong for his family. Family responsibility can be a heavy weight. So, when opportunity arrives in a sassy yet vibrant woman, Jillian, he is all for letting go. Jillian is all for a little flirtation that soon leads to a full seduction. Cody and Jillian’s passion turns into something more…something deeper. Jillian ends up getting a gift that she never thought she would ever get in life. Cody didn’t think he could love someone after being hurt in the past. Yet both seem to find their dreams in each other. The Forbidden Brother by Joanne Rock is full of passion, sparks, and adventure. Overall, I would recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson

 

The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim, #8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson is another form of Aladdin. This one has so much more meaning and depth than the original Aladdin story. Yes, not stealing is the main moral of the story, but it holds more emotional luggage. Themes of friendship, love, and hope are discovered here. Somehow, a weave of Christian influence has been swept into the tale. It created a hopeful plot with characters searching for peace of mind and heart. Some violence is found in the book. Violence such as theft, bullying, and child abuse are mentioned. However, it is so low and almost non-existent.

Aladdin grew up knowing loss, grief, bullying, and theft. He has always felt ashamed of himself. One day, he sees young Kirstyn and they instantly become friends. Their friendship blossoms and as they grew older it turned into something much more. An attraction formed between a wealthy lady and an orphaned abused boy.  Aladdin felt the pressure of not being able to give his lady, Kirstyn what she deserves. So, he raised himself up the ladder and worked hard to provide her with a good home and a happy life. But will it be enough? Together, they help each other and create a happiness that is hard to ignore. I found this novel to be sweet, engaging, and heartfelt.

Review: Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Dinner with Edward shows that life can be unappreciated at times. With work and everything else pulling the characters’ attention away…some of life’s greatest moments pass by them. Lost love and never having been loved, are two stories followed here. Life is messy, complex, and uncertain at times. That too, is shown here. Sometimes, a purpose is needed for some to move forward and that is exactly what Edward has found. Isabel is at that crossroads point in her life where she felt like something she wanted is missing. With Edward around, she has gotten to enjoy life more so and forget a little more about not having a love.

Isabel Vincent’s novel, is heartfelt. I got to savor the cooking, friendship, and life’s lessons through the eyes of the characters. Each one had his and her own problems. But when they meet, they ended up changing each others’ life. I loved how each one gave and took from the other in equal amounts. Their blossoming friendship helped heal their wounds. It also gave them a renewed purpose in their lives. Moving forward after losing a love one and feeling old and lonely only to have found a good friend to share life with was sweet. I cried for both characters. Isabel is charming and middle-aged. I was able to relate to her issues easily. Never being loved truly has left her feeling sad. Edward is a fabulous cook, who made me mouth water with his recipes. His way of making sure Isabel is fine, tugged at my heart. They had a way of making me fall in love. Realistic characters, good plot, and emotional journeys inside made this a must read for me. Overall, I recommend Dinner with Edward to all readers.

Review: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery

Marry Me at Christmas (Fool's Gold, #19)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Wish upon a Christmas star with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery’s sparkling Fool’s Gold romance!

To bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug, organizing a Christmas wedding sounds like a joy—until she finds out she’ll be working closely with the gorgeous brother of the bride, movie star Jonny Blaze. How will a small-town girl like her keep from falling for the world’s sexiest guy? Especially with mistletoe lurking around every corner!

Jonny came to Fool’s Gold looking for normal, not for love. Happily-ever-after only happens in the movies. Still, nothing about this quirky town is quite what he expected, and “ordinary” Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he’s ever met. Refreshingly honest, disarmingly sweet. Achingly beautiful.

Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. And Madeline finds Jonny in real life even more captivating than her celebrity crush. But will the action star be brave enough to risk his heart and step into the role of a lifetime?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery is an enchanting tale of hope and dreams. A young woman who owns a bridal shop, ends up planning a wedding for another young woman. The woman’s wedding that she is planning happens to be the sister of her crush movie star. Madeline wants to jump with excitement but she is also weary of Johnny. Johnny is a big star with his career getting the best of him. He feels like he needs something more. Only he does not realize what that is or how to find it, until he meet Madeline. Madeline has Johnny’s full attention. She’s charming and full of life. A breath of fresh air compared to the other women he’s used to meeting. Madeline helps his sister with her wedding and they both get to know each other better. Maybe, love is real and can happen to anyone…Susan Mallery does not disappoint in this title. The spirit of Christmas and the joy of the season are on every page. A blossoming friendship and a dream of happily ever after might just be in the air. Overall, I loved reading this clean romance and recommend it to others.

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