Man Overboard

Man Overboard
Man Overboard by J.A. Jance

The Somnanbulist's Dreams

The Somnanbulist's Dreams
The Somnambulist's Dreams

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Goody One Shoe by Julie Frayn- One Sale for a Limited time for only 99 cents! - Author interview+ Giveaway

 
 
Eleven-year-old Billie Fullalove witnesses the murder of her parents at the hands of a gun-wielding thug. In the melee, Billie loses a leg. But her Batmanesque beginnings don’t turn her into a superhero. Yet. Billie survives her lonely childhood and settles into a solitary life, pursuing her dream of being an editor in a top publishing house. Unable to avenge her parent’s unsolved murder, she is accosted by news stories of bad guys going free thanks to an inept court system. She wields her red pen and edits the newspaper to fight evil forces, right wrongs, and bring justice to victims. When her edits come true, and criminals start dying, Billie must discover the vigilante’s identity before they act out more of her revenge fantasies







I am THRILLED  to have Author Julie Frayn  author of "Goody One Shoe"  with us today!  Julie was nice enough to take some time to sit down with us for a little Q&A.  

Who or what was your inspiration for “Goody One Shoe” ?

 
I wrote a flash fiction piece for a fellow writer’s blog (Dan Mader, 2minutesgo!) that started the whole Goody story. The name came from a flip comment I made on Facebook, and after-party of sorts with other flash aficionados. Someone joked about LSD, and I said I’d never taken it, was a goody two shoes back in the ‘70s in school. Now I’m just a goody one shoe. And so it began….

 
Are you a Batman or Dark Knight Fan? Do you read graphic novels?

 I don’t read graphic novels, but since the days of Adam West as Batman, I have been a fan. With the darker turn the tales have taken in the theatres, my fangirl love grew. I often sport Batman shirts, a retro Batman hoodie, have a cookie jar, slippers, and my favourite, Batman wallet. He is my boyfriend you see. He just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Pantser all the way! I have tried plotting, but my characters tend to veer off in directions I hadn’t intended them to go.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had several, but two come to mind. I am Susie, a sweet little hard cover (as so many children’s books were in the ‘60s) about a little blonde girl just like me. The other is a first edition of The Silly Book by Stoo Hample. Boodleheimer, Boodleheimer, clap clap clap…. I still have that book. Every once in a while I come across it in my stack of memory boxes, and I stop everything and read it again.

 

 

Where can readers contact you?

I love hearing from readers! They can contact me through my website (www.juliefrayn.com), via twitter (@juliefrayn), through my facebook page (www.facebook.com/juliebirdfrayn), goodreads. Or they can just send me an email to juliefrayn@juliebird.ca

What are you working on now?

I have my fifth novel underway – The Orphan and the Rose is the fictionalized tale of my parents’ love affair. I am not writing much at the moment, as taking care of my mother (she has Alzheimer’s) is taking up my non-working hours. I do write about it on my blog under the “Adventures in Alzheimer’s” tag, and plan on turning those posts into a “Mom and Me” memoir one day. Always trying to find the humour in the daily struggle. It’s what Mom always did.

 

 

Coffee or tea? Dogs or cats? Favorite dessert?

Coffee (decaf soy caramel macchiato extra caramel please) AND tea (chai, no milk). Dogs…. (not that I dislike cats, I love ALL animals. But I am highly allergic to cats). Dessert has to be cheesecake! Plain cheesecake with thick graham cracker crust and either fresh berries, or frozen cherries thawed and drizzled overtop with all the lovely cherry juice. Dang… need cheesecake.

What do you do for fun?

I write! And I hang out with my kids. I love that I can drink with them and have raucous conversations and debates that they swear and I never feel the need to scold them because they are grown adults. Adult kids are amazing.

Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share.

A quote from William Blake that I have on my website. My nickname from childhood is JulieBird (yes, all one word). So even though this quote refers to men, I take it as my own. “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”


 
 
Thank you SO much for joining us today, Julie and I hope you come back and visit with us again soon!!

MY REVIEW:


Goody One ShoeGoody One Shoe by Julie Frayn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goody One Shoe by Julie Frayn is a 2015 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have read books by this author in the past, and was always impressed with her work, which is often literary in nature, with a more serious tone to them. So, as I began this book, I could tell right way the author had decided to branch out and show another side of her personality... humor, allegory, wit and tongue in cheek sarcasm are peppered all through this dark psychological super hero style novel. This is one of the most unique stories I have read in a long while and I was utterly mesmerized by it.

Just like Bruce Wayne, in the Batman graphic novels, Billie's parents were killed in a senseless crime, which has remained unsolved, and Billie, only eleven years old at the time, lost a leg in the melee. As an adult, Billie works as a proofreader, but aspires to become a book editor. While wielding her red pen, both literally and figuratively, Billie fantasizes about retribution and vigilante justice. But, somehow, someway, Billie's imaginary edits are becoming a reality. Billie will have to figure out how this unknown personal crusader of vigilante justice is pulling this off , and in the process may very well find a way to make peace with the past once and for all.

If you have any kind of working knowledge of the publishing world, editing or proofreading, you will find yourself laughing out loud at Billie's musings. The writing here is crisp, sharp, and spot on. This story is very multi-layered and since I have a thing for dark humor and quirky characters this one was right up my alley.


Obvious parallels between Batman are woven inside Billie's story as she could truly relate to this tale of an unsolved crime involving her parents and the drive to find the killer and see justice done. But, Billie's tale is just a little bit more twisted, and while Batman is pretty dark stuff, this story takes it a step further, or maybe several steps further. I will admit I don't read graphic novels and other than being a big Batman fan myself, and having a son who is a HUGE Dark Knight enthusiast, I really am not a fan of any of the other superhero comics or big budget movies. However, I will go out on a limb and say I do think if you like graphic novels you will certainly enjoy the homage to the superhero genre and the imaginative way it is presented.

I only have one complaint and I hate to even bring it up, but I feel I should advise you that if graphic violence is something you have a hard time with you should know up front there are a few disturbing scenes and one scene for me was just a bit too descriptive for my taste.

For me this book was quite different from my usual fare and I hope I have gleaned from it what the author was hoping for, but it could be open to various interpretations. I think it's one of those books you can read more than once and pick up something new from it every time you read it. In fact, I've left this one in my 'favorite' folder because I want to read it more leisurely and really absorb all the various nuances of it I may have missed the first time around. ( If my schedule ever permits me to, that is)

Once again, I was impressed with Julie Frayn's ability to weave so many elements together into one cohesive story that is sure to capture your imagination and challenge your senses, and is a testament to her skill and talent as an author.

I recommend this novel to those who enjoy a good crime novel, psychological thriller, graphic novels with superhero elements, maybe even those who read fantasy novels or enjoy whimsical tales, and those who enjoy dark humor as well. 4.5 stars

HURRY! GET YOUR COPY TODAY! ONE SALE FOR ONLY 99 CENTS- FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!!
http://www.amazon.com/Goody-One-Shoe-Julie-Frayn-ebook/dp/B00Y93GH2O/ref=




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  Julie Frayn is an award-winning author, bean counter by trade, and mother of two perfect children (well, two perfect adults). Julie pens short stories and writes for her blog as mental floss between novels.

-Follow Julie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juliebirdfrayn
-Visit Julie's blog at www.juliefrayn.com
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-Sign up for eNovel Authors At work Newsletter. It will only land in your mailbox to tell you when a books are on special, or to announce book tours, giveaways and contests.

The Perfect Bargain by Julia London/ Jessa McAdams - Release Blast + Giveaway


Enter to Win a $100.00 Amazon GC
or
#GOKILT Mug


THE PERFECT BARGAIN
How to Marry a Highlander # 1
By: Julia London writing as Jessa McAdams
Releasing June 30, 2015

Entangled: Lovestruck


American lass seeks brawny Scot...

As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield's friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she's waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…

In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there's an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend...and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What's the worst that could happen?


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Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and the The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several acclaimed contemporary romances, including The Cedar Springs series, and the recent Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming. Julia has added a short contemporary series to her titles as well, including The Perfect Bargain, writing under the name Jessa McAdams.


Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/julialondon



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fixed in Blood by T.E. Woods- Spotlight + Review + and Interview with the author


Perfect for fans of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter thrillers and the novels of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter, the gritty, action-packed Justice series continues as a depraved mind taunts those who seek retribution on both sides of the law.
 
I become whatever they want. Whatever they need.

Seattle Chief of Detectives Mort Grant is still reeling from losing his daughter—again. When Allie first walked back into his life, breaking years of silence, he could hardly believe his luck. And after hearing her story, Mort tried to do everything in his power to keep her safe. The only person he trusted with Allie’s life was The Fixer. But, for the first time, The Fixer let him down.

Now Mort has been called in on a gruesome murder case: a beautiful young woman found in a ravine, her body riddled with stab wounds. Within twenty-four hours, the police uncover a snuff film depicting her murder, the killer’s face always just out of shot. When a second body and video are discovered, Mort knows this is no ordinary case.

From a chain of sleazy payday loan shops to the dark underworld of the sex-slave trade, Mort’s chasing a twisted menace to hell and back. But he’s not the only one. Once again, The Fixer is on the hunt—and she’s desperate to make things right.





About The Book

Title: Fixed in Blood (A Justice Novel)

Author: T.E. Woods

Genre: Thriller / Suspense


I am so excited to have T.E. Woods here with me at The Book Review!!  T.E. was nice enough to join me for a little Q&A-  So, here goes!



  1. Lydia - Would you describe her as an “anti-hero”? Is it OK to root for her? Why or why not?



Not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but it depends on what your definition of “anti-hero” is. She certainly doesn’t fit the stereotypical view of a hero…which is male, muscular, handsome, and virtuous to a nauseating fault. Lydia is an abundantly flawed young woman acting in tortured isolation. Yet she does do what she does strictly as a matter of last resort. She acts when all other avenues to justice have been exhausted. She’s the last chance for hope for the victims who have been denied their due and people who reach that particular life-stalling level of frustration certainly would consider Lydia a hero. I like to think of her more as a champion. She tucks the battered and shattered under her protective wing and uses her considerable prowess to avenge them. What no one offered her when she was being abused, she willingly offers to others. Who doesn’t love a person like that? So, naturally, we root for her. Pick up any newspaper on any given day. You’ll read story after story of innocent or powerless people being denied justice. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a number we could call and set in motion a quick and justified fix?



  1. Lydia and Allie are both dark characters. Do you see a parallel between them since both are connected to Mort?

I do, indeed. Certainly they’re both loved by Mort. He’s the father-figure to each, isn’t he? To Allie, Mort is the biological father, ever-dedicated to loving his girl despite all the havoc she brings whenever she walks into a room. To Lydia, Mort is the nurturing and steady paternal force who believes in her much more than she ever believes in herself. Beyond their connection to Mort, Lydia and Allie are parallel in their behavior. Both kill. Both hold themselves above the law, ready to act and prepared to justify their actions on no other authority than their own internal code. It’s the motivation of the two women that set them apart. Their behavior may be identical…I mean a dead body is a dead body, right? But it’s the reasons behind the killings that make Lydia someone we hope finds true and lasting happiness. We hope for something far more sinister for Allie, don’t we?



  1. Name a few of your favorite authors.

Oh, man. Got a week? How about I hit the highlights? In my opinion, no one tells a story like Stephen King. He the master of plain, straight-forward language that grabs you by the throat, pulls you into the story, and doesn’t let you go until he’s drained every emotion out of you. I also like Dean Koontz. Ever notice how many of his plot lines take place in a single 24 hour period? Man, that guy packs a lot of punch into one day. Kurt Vonnegut was the guy who, when I was in middle school, showed me reading could be more than informational or fun. He taught me a story could change a person. Fundamentally and forever…fiction can alter the way we see fact and force us to use our own judgment to challenge what others want us to believe. Like the rest of the world, I adore Harper Lee’s solitary contribution to the literary world. I guess we can’t say that anymore, can we? She’s got her second book coming out after all these decades. Jeffrey Eugenides and Toni Morrison put me on the floor with their ability to craft a perfectly told tale out of nothing but perfectly formed sentences. I mean, where does someone get THAT kind of talent? Janet Evanovich makes me laugh from my belly. Gotta love that. Ah…I could go on and on, but then you’d think of me as boring and I certainly don’t want that, do I?



  1. What do you do in your free time?

Free time…free time…ah, wait. Yes, I remember. I really don’t have much of it. I have a full-time clinical practice and I write (my other job) at least thirty hours a week. But when I do find myself able to carve out time, my first priority is always the three creatures with whom I live. There’s my husband, who after all these years still is my favorite person to hang with. Then there are our two dogs, Tugger (an eleven year old Cavachon) and Gitch (a year old cockapoo). The three of us can make a whiz-bang day of things just futzing around the house, doing our best to make the others laugh. I also kayak (rivers are my favorite, but I’ll take a lake, too), hike, and bike. I have wonderful friends. Give me time to sit with nothing other on the agenda than talk, talk, talk, while sipping a great glass of wine and I’m in heaven. And I simply love binge-watching good television shows while sitting in a bubble bath. All my shows are on hiatus now. I’m feeling the loss.



  1. What are you reading now?

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.



  1. What was your favorite book as a child?

The same book that’s my favorite as an adult. Like most Americans it’s To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it first when I was in middle school…assigned by my English teacher, of course. I thought it was a cool story about how a Southern girl lived. I re-read it when I was 20. That time it was a story about how we treat the marginalized in our society. I decided to re-read the book every year I hit an age with a zero in it. It’s been a different story for me each time. Perhaps by the time I’m ninety or one hundred I’ll be able to have stood witness to each and every one of the layered messages the genius Lee wanted to share. As I say these words I’m wondering if Atticus’ demands for justice might have influenced my Lydia’s motivations. Hmmm…I’ll have to think about that.



  1. Coffee or tea? Dogs or cats? Favorite dessert? Favorite season?

What a delightful set of questions! De-caf coffee, black is my daily choice. I start early, drink lots, and stop at precisely noon. Then I switch to iced tea until 8:00. Then it’s a nice merlot or cabernet. When I’m sick I like hot tea. Fortunately, I’m not sick often. I’m definitely a dog person. It has been my experience (albeit rare) to be in the company of some human and not have a good time. I have never, ever, ever been in the company of a dog and not had a good time. My favorite dessert of all time is the crème brule at the El Tovar Lodge on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I know…odd place to find gourmet after-dinner treats, but get there and try it. You’ll see what I mean. As relates to my favorite season, I am blessed to live in Wisconsin, where the weather is honest. The winters aren’t cold, they’re damned cold. The summers aren’t hot, they’re damned hot. Spring bursts forth with such color and sweet lilac scent. And if autumn was any lovelier I’d need medication. I love them all. Snowshoeing and dogsledding in the winter, long active days in shorts and tank tops in the summer, the return of birds and rabbits and squirrels in the spring, and the low, slanted, golden glow of autumn lights when I shuffle through fallen leaves, happy to feel the crisp breeze on my face. There’s not one I don’t look forward to.



  1. Who plays Mort and Lydia on the screen?

The truth is, anyone the director tells me is playing them. But in my mind’s eye, when I’m writing, I see Ed Harris as Mort. Maybe Kate Beckinsale as Lydia. I’d be more interested in who you or your readers see. How about sharing that with me?



  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a couple of things. Of course, the Justice Series continues. Fixed In Fear, book five in the series, comes out in October of 2015. I hope your readers will be looking forward to that. Allie’s making a mess of things while Mort’s looking for the killer of his friend Larry’s uncle. I’m working on the next book in the series. Book seven brings Allie and Lydia into a direct showdown. In addition to the Justice Series, I’m about half-way through the first draft of a stand-alone mystery novel. It’s set in Madison, Wisconsin and involves a woman who, while sitting in stalled traffic, looks off to her right and sees something that, in the blink of an eye, sets off a series of events that lands her in the police station trying to explain her connection to a newly discovered body now laying on a slab in the morgue. Beyond those two main projects, I’m always working on short stories, articles, and posts for the blog I do for Psychology Today.

  1. Where can readers contact you?

I’m always eager to hear from readers. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to connect with them and hear what they think of my work. There’s lots of ways they can reach me. My Facebook page is T.E.Woods. My website is tewoodswrites.com. My twitter is @tewoodswrites.



  1. Is there a favorite quote you would like to share with us?

Again, what a great question! I’m a woman who collects quotations. I use them often. So many people, FAR brighter than I’ll ever hope to be, have said so many wonderful things. Maybe it’s easier to quote others than to think for myself, huh? Wow. It would be hard to pick a favorite. I’ll bet the one I use most (remember, my day job is being a shrink) is one of Dr. Maya Angelou’s. I’m probably not getting it exactly as she said it, but she once said something like, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Isn’t that great? I can’t tell you how often I use that. So many of my patients get themselves stuck trying to believe that whoever is hurting them…boss, lover, spouse, sibling…whoever…will someday change and magically begin to treat them better. So much energy and time is wasted needing someone to be other than who they’ve shown you to be. When someone shows us who they are, we must believe them. Hmm…perhaps one of my characters needs to remind Mort of Dr. Angelou’s sage guidance.



 
    



Author Bio

T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.





Links







MY REVIEW:

Fixed in Blood (Mort Grant #4)Fixed in Blood by T. E. Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fixed in Blood by T.E Woods is a 2015 Random House/ Alibi publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finally! It's been a long wait between books and I have been dying to know what would become of the relationship between Mort and Lydia, which ended on a very sour note in the last installment.

As the story opens we find things have not gotten better between the two, but when a young mother is found murdered and the bodies keep piling up, Mort and Lydia find themselves once more working on a disturbing murder case. How did Lydia get involved ? When one of her patients calls in obvious distress and promptly disappears, she does a little investigating of her own and runs right into Mort in the process. So, for Auld Lang Syne the two are back together again working to find a murderer, and hopefully Lydia can refrain from sliding off the wagon, so to speak.
And of course we will get an update on Allie and it's not a positive update, as she has gone from bad to worse, causing Mort and his son great distress.

This series is one my favorites. I love the dark themes and Lydia is always a unique character study, and is an interesting parallel to Mort. Allie is out of total control now having completely given herself over to evil, drawing yet another interesting parallel between these two women. One of which is pure sociopath and the other well... I'm not really sure how to define Lydia, and the two are connected by Mort.

Snuff films, something we have all come to believe is really a urban legend, seems to be given some credence with this story as young women are forced into prostitution to pay off debts, then found murdered, then for kick and giggles a recording of the murders surfaces. It is of utmost urgency that Mort find this sick killer, never in his wildest dreams thinking he could somehow be connected to the case in a personal way.

This installment was worth the long wait. There are hairpin turns, huge and shocking developments, very atmospheric, and a truly twisted story.

This series has everything a good thriller should have with a psychological angle that sucks you in and keeps you entrenched in the drama as much as you are in the crime solving element. I love that the main female protagonist, Lydia, has this calm professional exterior but hides an impulse that sets her apart, making her character border on the anti-hero side of things. “The Fixer” is most assuredly controversial, but I can't help but cheer for her and I even understand her brand of justice, even if I might not actually condone it.

I was happy to see Mort and Lydia working together as a team again, putting their issues in the past. I have a feeling Mort is really going to need Lydia now as more details leak about about Allie. But, I know for sure I can't wait for the next book to come out.. I hope the wait isn't too long though....hint, hint. 4.5 stars




 
 
 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Beautiful Little Fool by K.K. Hendin Relase Day Blitz! Only 99 cents- For a Limited Time Only! + Giveaway

 
 
 

BOOK BLURB: 


Eighty seven billion dollars. 
One dead New York business mogul. 
No heirs. 
No wives. 
No relatives. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
Not hers yet. 
He doesn’t deserve them. 
He doesn’t know what to do with them. 
She does. 
She always has. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
He’s overwhelmed. 
She’s prepared. 
That will should have had her name. 
Not his. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
His looks are a bonus. 
Her looks are her weapon. 
He’s fighting a losing battle against his heart. 
He doesn’t know it yet. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
She gets everything she wants. 
He’s what she wants. 
Love has nothing to do with it. 
To get to where you’re going, sometimes you need to step on a few people to get there. 
Good thing her heels are sharp.



 
 
 
 
 
 

GOODREADS link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25004570-beautiful-little-fool 

Join the BEAUTIFUL LITTLE STREET TEAM: 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/385115911670394/

BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL IS ON SALE NOW FOR JUST .99 CENTS! 
This sale is just for a limited time! 
Amazon:  amzn.to/1FikBnE
iTunes:  apple.co/1IslKHO
Kobo:  bit.ly/1JcaRzJ 
Barnes & Noble: COMING SOON


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AUTHOR INFORMATION: 
KK Hendin's Bio:
KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. 

KK spends way too much time on Twitter (where she can be found as @kkhendin), and rambles on occasion over atwww.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.
 
 
 
 
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart- A Book Review

Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books advocating transparency in every relationship. But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie. Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.

The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life. His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding. But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open.






MY REVIEW:


That Chesapeake Summer (Chesapeake Diaries, #9)That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart is a 2015 Pocket Books Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and as an XOXpert- The official street team for XOXO After Dark.- (and a big thanks to Edelweiss for the digital version)- in exchange for an honest review.

This book is just the right kind of book to take along for a day at the beach. This is light reading, but there is such a sweet spirit about the book which gives it substance and depth.

Jamie is the author of a wildly successful string of self help books based on the importance of truth. But, when she discovers her own life has been a lie, she sets off on a journey to discover her true heritage, which leads her down roads she never would have traveled and to a place she can really call home.

Dan is a widowed single parent, running an Inn at St. Claire's Point, a job he inherited after his father passed away. Living at the inn with him is his mother, Grace, who is recovering from an accident that has left her wheelchair bound for the time being.

When Jamie arrives at the inn, there is an immediate spark between Dan and Jamie, and Grace knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this new guest is going to become someone special to all of them. But, Jamie has serious issues to contend with and Dan is still trying to come to terms with the circumstances of his wife's death eight years ago, and the responsibilities of running the inn and raising two children alone. However, the chemistry between them is quite strong and the two seem magically drawn to one another. Will they be able to resolve their issues before Jamie has to leave Chesapeake?

The underlying theme in this story is truth and lies. Why do people lie? Keep secrets? What does the truth really consist of and why is it so important? Jamie will have to learn a new way of dealing with truth now that she finds her life was built on the lie of omission and everything she thought to be true was indeed false. But, she learns that it's not all black and white and sometimes the truth is complicated and are there are many variants to the truth as well.



Jamie's character is strong and lively, she brings the little Inn to life when she arrives, giving Dan food for thought about his obsession with running his business, the way he approaches parenthood, and finally allows him to face all the guilt and anger he feels about the way his wife died. He will learn to let go of the painful past and fight for what he wants... which is Jamie. Jamie is just what Dan needs to add some spice to his stagnant workaholic life. I enjoyed watching him open up and relax with Jamie and I liked seeing the effect she had on him and his family, and the effect he had on her too.

But, of course the most poignant part of the story is the real reason Jamie is in St. Dennis and the truth she seeks from one special resident there. With the help of Grace, who nearly steals the show with her special gift of having “the eye”, Jamie will have the courage to seek the answers she needs so she can begin an new chapter in her life. You might want to keep some tissues handy once you reach the last couple of chapters.

The long buried secrets that come to light are not at all the bad thing some think it will be, and much good comes from finally releasing those secrets and letting the truth set them free. So, while people do have selfish reasons for keeping secrets or for telling lies, sometimes people have good reasons to keep things to themselves too, but the burden can be just as great.

So, there are some deeper thoughts to ponder upon while reading this book, but for the most part this is just a delightful story of second chances and finding peace and love in the most unexpected ways.
This was an enjoyable read and I do recommend it to those who enjoy light women's fiction especially, but also to anyone looking for a great summertime read. 4 stars


 
Mariah Stewart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-six novels and three novellas and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. She is a RITA finalist in romantic suspense and the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO Award for excellence in women's fiction, and a Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. A three-time winner of the Golden Leaf Award presented by the New Jersey Romance Writers, Stewart was recently awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award (which placed her in their Hall of Fame along with former recipients Nora Roberts and Mary Jo Putney — very excellent company, indeed!)

After having written seven contemporary romance novels, Stewart found true happiness writing murder and mayhem. She considers herself one lucky son of a gun to have landed the best job in the world: getting paid for making up stories. At home. In sweats and J. Crew flip flops. Could life be sweeter?
 
 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Lake Seson by Hannah McKinnon- A Book Review

Set in the weeks leading up to an idyllic New England wedding, this “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) novel sparkles with wry wit, sweet romance, and long-kept family secrets.

Iris Standish has always been the responsible sister: the one who studied hard, settled down, and always made the right choices—even when they came at the expense of her passions. Meanwhile, her sister Leah dropped out of college to “find herself” by hiking through Yellowstone and switches jobs nearly as often as she switches lovers, leaving Iris to pick up the pieces in her wake.

But now Iris’s life is coming apart at the seams, and when Leah calls her back to their childhood home with a desperate cry for help, she is thrust headfirst into preparations for her sister’s wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met…with her own marriage and family on the brink.

Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, a high school crush who beckons with the promise of a new start.

While Leah faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say goodbye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive—and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this “glittering…memorable” novel of second chances and the ties that bind (Michelle Gable, nationally bestselling author of A Paris Apartment).

The Lake SeasonThe Lake Season by Hannah Roberts McKinnon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lake Season by Hannah Roberts McKinnon is a 2015 Atria/ Emily Bestler Books Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is women's fiction at it's finest. I have a habit of reading several books at one time, but once I got several chapters deep into this one, I couldn't put it down.

Iris and Leah are sisters, but you would never know it judging by their personalities. Iris is a solid, hard working person who got the good grades in school, was dependable, reliable, and did all the right things, but she was practically ignored by her parents in favor of her sister, Leah, who was beautiful and talented, but was never consistent, went through men at warp speed, partied hard, and never really made much of her life. But, her parents always got her out of trouble, gave her money if she asked, and made excuses for her.

Now, Iris is going through a crisis of her own, right when Leah decides to finally settle down and get married. So, Iris heads home to stay with her parents for the summer and plan a wedding for her flighty sister.

But, Iris could never have predicted the way this summer would end, what deeply rooted pain and resentments would come to light, what secrets would be unveiled, and how she herself will change in just a few short months, leading her on a road of self discovery with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, even if the road is still a rocky one.

We see life mostly through Iris's point of view as she tells us about her sister, her husband, her kids, her job, and her parents. Iris is just a little hard on herself and it's obvious she has spent most of her life trying to please people, starting with her parents, then her husband. But, now Iris needs to do something for herself, even if it's painful and terrifying.

However, as Iris returned home to New Hampshire, I couldn't help but notice how little self confidence Iris has, and how it's so often true that the way we view ourselves is so different from the way others see us. So, Iris is shocked at times, surprised at others times, sometimes pleasantly so, by the confessions made by her friend Trish, her sister, and her mother. Iris sees that maybe she had been taken notice of after all and that maybe she had something going for herself that others were envious of.

Still, even if she did have a life others wished to have, at this moment in time it's all in jeopardy. Iris's future is up in the air as her husband hints that maybe their marriage has run it's course. What will she do now? What will happen to the children, her career?

While she ponders these things, and goes though the painful process of realizing her marriage is a failure and is about to come to an end, out of the shadows walks Cooper Woods and before too long, Iris begins to gain perspective, learns dark family secrets, becomes closer to her unstable sister, and becomes a more well rounded person, and discovers a new found confidence in herself.

Watching Iris go through this transformation is often heartbreaking, and I felt her insecurities, and her indecision is so human and real. Iris finds it very hard to let go of that people pleasing habit she has, often teetering on the edge of settling for something less, in order to do what she thought was best for others. It is situation many people have gone through and her concerns were real and legitimate, and while I hoped she wouldn't waffle and back down, going backwards and not forward, I found I wouldn't be able to judge her too harshly. But, I so wanted Iris to feel complete on her own, without needing approval from her mother, or sister, or anyone for that matter.
Personal growth did come at a cost, and all that Iris goes through in this story was hard on her. The truth about Leah is a gripping story on it's own. Again, I was struck by the preconceived notions we have of people, the judgments we make without knowing all the facts. Leah seemed to have so much promise, but continually threw it all away, and never seemed to have any accountability. Iris will learn the reasons for some of this behavior and will gain a much better understanding of her sister and her mother in the process.

I never knew how to feel about Millie. I saw she was mother doing the best she could, but didn't realize the damage she was inflicting on Iris in the process. Millie is not the warmest person on earth, and some of her advice to Iris got under my skin, but often I felt bad for her. Iris never understood her mother's favoritism, but will learn her mother does love her, just not in the same way as Leah, who has special needs. But, remember too, that even those we think are strong, who don't need us a much, often do need us and one should never presume such a thing. But, this summer will mend fences in some ways and help to heal resentments and past hurts.

Cooper Woods... well, I think I had crush on Cooper. I really, really liked him, and I think he is so good for our Iris. He knows exactly what Iris is going through right now and knows all about the ups and downs she is about to face, the uncertainty, the doubts, the many tears to come, and he has an intimate knowledge of her family's struggles, so there too he is a big help. I think all Iris needs now is time and some patience from Cooper and all will be well between them.

Ultimately, this is a story of love, forgiveness, family, friends, and personal growth. I believe Iris will become a better person, friend, parent, sister, daughter, and maybe even a happy wife someday. But for now, it's Iris's time to shine on her own and shine she will.

Pick up your copy Here:   

http://www.amazon.com/Lake-Season-Novel-Hannah-McKinnon-ebook/dp/B00P42X1HI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1434513376



 
I have a new novel coming out, THE LAKE SEASON, on June 2nd 2015, with Emily Bestler/Atria of Simon and Schuster Books. I just completed my next novel, BACK TO YOU AND ME, which will publish in spring of 2016. Previously, I published two young adult books: Franny Parker and The Properties of Water, FSG/MacMillan in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Witness to Passion- A Guarding Her Body Novel- by Naima Simone- Release Blast + Giveaway



Enter to Win an
Ignite Prize Pack
(US/INTL)


WITNESS TO PASSION
Guarding Her Body #1
Naima Simone
Releasing June 16th, 2015
Entangled: Ignite


Under his protection and in his bed…

For Fallon Wayland, birthdays are just another reminder of her looming spinsterhood. This year is shaping up to be no different. Unfairly fired from her job, dumped by her boyfriend, and oh yes, witnessing the murder of a high-ranking lieutenant in the local crime family… Yeah, birthdays suck.

Ever since a disastrous, hot-as-hell kiss years ago, soldier-turned-security specialist Shane Roarke has avoided his baby sister’s reckless—and gorgeous—best friend. Yet when her life is threatened after she witnesses a gang hit, he insists on protecting her…even if she objects.


The two are forced to hole up in a safe house. Alone. Passion long denied erupts between them, burning away their inhibitions. But even as layers—and clothes—are peeled away, danger closes in. Shane and Fallon might finally have a chance at love…if they survive long enough to see it.

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Naima's love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Linda Howard many years ago. Though her first attempt at writing a romance novel at 11 never saw the light of day, her love of romance and writing has endured. Now, she spends her time creating stories of unique men and women who experience the dizzying heights of passion and the tender heat of love. She is the wife to Superman - or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent - and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Susannah Screaming by Carolyn Weston - A Book Review

 
It’s the turbulent 1970s, a time of social upheaval. University-educated ex-surfer Casey Kellog is the youngest homicide detective on the force. He’s teamed up with Al Krug, an older, tougher, street-wise cop resistant to change. Their latest case involves a vicious hit-and-run death: a driver in a Mercedes chases a motorcyclist, hits him, and then backs up over him again, making certain that he’s road kill. The investigation takes a bizarre turn when the victim is undressed in the morgue and the two cops discover that his corpse is plastic-wrapped in twenty-dollar bills…
 
MY REVIEW:
 

Susannah Screaming (Al Crug and Casey Kellogg, #2)Susannah Screaming by Carolyn Weston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Susannah Screaming by Carolyn Weston is a 2015 Brash Books Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a wonderful caper style mystery set in San Francisco in the 1970's featuring Al Krug and Casey Kellogg.

When Rees decides to do his laundry at a rather unusual time of the morning he witnesses a hit and run car crash. Badly shaken, he calls the police, who discovers there is another witness, a young woman named Susannah. The veteran officer, Krug takes an immediate dislike to Rees, pegs him as con-man and therefore somehow involved, while Casey, relatively new to the force, tries to take a less cynical view of things.

When you read this book, you will need to stay focused on the plot, because this is not just a run of the mill police procedural, but is instead a case dealing with a very well thought out counterfeit ring, so there are lots of sudden shifts and changes, and twist and turns, which gives the story a caper style atmosphere.

I loved the era the story was written in, and the story is top notch. Despite the out of date lingo, ( the Fuzz! LOL! ) the story itself stands the test of time wonderfully. I was challenged, engaged, engrossed, and thoroughly entertained. Krug is crusty, cynical and can read people quite well, but his jaded attitude can hinder him at times, while Casey has a more open mind and is able to look at the situation with a more unbiased eye, but he is also misses some ques, his partner picks up due to his experience. This is what makes them a great team and I loved the banter between them.

For those of you too young to remember, this book series was the basis for the popular cop show “The Streets of San Francisco” which starred Karl Malden and Michael Douglas and aired from 1972-1977.


Overall this is a solid crime drama and I enjoyed spending my Saturday afternoon with Krug and Kellogg. 4 stars

Grab your copy here:

 
 






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


 
 
 
Carolyn Weston grew up in Hollywood during the Depression. She played hooky from school in movie theaters and libraries, honing the craft that would make her books so remarkable. During World War II, she worked in an aircraft plant and then did odd jobs around the country before writing Poor Poor Ophelia, the first Al Krug / Casey Kellog police procedural... which became the hit TV series The Streets of San Francisco. Two more books in the series, every bit as good as Ed McBain's 87th Precinct and just as memorable, followed and all three are proudly being published by Brash Books.

website: http://www.mysterythrillerbooks.com/author/carolyn-weston/