Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Chasing Hope

Chasing Hope
Chasing Hope by Dana Wayne

Friday, July 19, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends by Katarina Bivald - Feature and Review


Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.



  The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends by Katarina Bivald is a 2016 Sourcebooks Landmark publication.

What a wonderful feel good story!!

If you love books about books, you will want to try this one.

Amy, from Broken Wheel, Iowa and Sara, from Sweden, are pen pals who share a love of books. When Sara loses her bookstore job, she decides to take Amy up on her invitation to visit Broken Wheel if she ever got the chance.

However, when Sara arrives, she is stunned to learn that Amy has died. But, the town goes out of their way to make their only tourist’s stay in Broken Wheel comfortable and pleasant.
Overwhelmed by the resident’s generosity, Sara works to pay it forward, and honor Amy and her love of books by opening a bookshop in Broken Wheel. The longer Sara stays, the more attached she becomes to the small little town that has all but dried up, and the residents love her just as much as she does them, giving them all a renewed sense of optimism and hope. Soon, they all begin to wish Sara could stay with them on a permanent basis. But, will she be able to extend her Visa?
I love offbeat and quirky characters, unconventional love stories, and books that imbibe charm and wit, and add just a touch of whimsy to top it all off. But, as a book nerd, a book that features characters who love to read, who love to share good books with others, is always going to get top marks from me.
So, it goes without saying, this book was simply delightful. It’s quirky, funny, sweet, touching! I enjoyed watching the town wake up, as if from a long slumber, and it was wonderful to feel Amy’s spirit moving through the town, as Sara finds an unexpected purpose for her life doing exactly what she loves most.
If you love small towns, stories about friendship and books, this book has your name on it!





Katarina Bivald grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves she can get by her. She'scurrently trying to persuade her sister that having a shelf for winter jackets and shoes is completely unneccessary. There should be enough space for a book shelf or two instead. Limited success so far. Apparantly, her sister is also stubbornly refusing to even discuss using the bath room to store books. 

Katarina Bivald sometimes claims that she still hasn't decided whether she prefer books or people but, as we all know, people are a non-starter. Even if you do like them, they're better in books. Only possible problem: reading a great book and having noone to recommend it to.

Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar/The Readers in Broken Wheel Recommend is her first novel.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Chasing Hope by Dana Wayne- Feature and Review + Giveaway


  Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: June 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 295
Scroll down for giveaway!

Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hell-hole to anotheruntil the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed. Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof. Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google's it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that. Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart? Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?

PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE:  "The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars." – Readers’ Favorite
"I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air." - Mary McCormack, ARC reader

Chasing Hope

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chasing Hope by Dana Wayne is a 2019 Book Liftoff publication.

A lovely and realistic romance!!

Former Marine, Max Logan, has always wanted a family of his own, especially after growing up in foster care. But now, he’s putting that goal on a back burner as he struggles to cope with his PTSD.

Skylar is the single mother of a brilliant and precocious seven- year old daughter, named Maddie. Currently working in a diner, she is hoping to renew her nursing career. She also wouldn’t mind a second chance at love after suffering through a failed marriage.

When she and Max meet the chemistry between them sparkles and shines. But Max is still too unsure of himself to pursue it. However, the adorable Maddie becomes a formidable match maker.

As Max and Skylar tiptoe around relationship land mines, Skylar copes with the unwanted advances of Cade Jackson, who will not take no for an answer. As time passes, his aggression becomes more and more sinister.

This love story appealed to me because of how credible it felt. Max and Skylar are the salt of the earth kind of people anyone can relate to. The romance is a slow burn at first and it is not flashy or overly angsty.

Things play out as a real- life romance might, with Max and Skylar meeting challenges, coping with insecurities, and other very common emotions that come with falling in love. They have reservations, worries and distractions, but address them with maturity. However, the relationship proceeds in fits and starts mostly because Max is afraid of exposing Skylar to his PTSD symptoms. It doesn't help that certain people continuously plant seeds of doubt in his mind.

There is a mild romantic suspense element, adding some additional tension to the story. However, the focus is mostly on the emotional growth of the main characters, both individually and as a couple. Watching Max and Skylar learn to work out the bumps and pings, and witnessing all their hopes- and Maddie's- finally realized, is rewarding and very heartwarming.



      more links: BOOKS2READ

Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs. 
"I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That's when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn't until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination."
A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers' groups.

FIRST PRIZE:  Signed Copy of Chasing Hope  + Swag bag including fan, tote bag, and throw blanket;  SECOND PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope + $10 Amazon Gift Card
THIRD PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope + $5 Amazon Gift Card
(US Only)
  July 9-19, 2019

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The A-List by J.A. Jance- Feature and Review


More than ten years after the abrupt end of her high-profile broadcasting career, Ali Reynolds has made a good life for herself in her hometown of Sedona, Arizona. She has a new house, a new husband, and a flourishing cybersecurity company called High Noon Enterprises, where her team of veritable technological wizards hunts down criminals one case at a time.

But the death of an old friend brings Ali back to the last story she ever reported: a feel-good human interest piece about a young man in need of a kidney to save his life, which quickly spiraled into a medical mismanagement scandal that landed a prestigious local doctor in prison for murder.

Years may have passed, but Dr. Edward Gilchrist has not forgotten those responsible for his downfall—certainly not Ali Reynolds, who exposed his dirty deeds to the world. Life without parole won’t stop him from getting his revenge. Tattooed on his arm are the initials of those who put him behind bars, and he won’t stop until every person on that Annihilation List is dead.

In this gripping suspense novel from the New York Timesbestselling author praised for her “inimitable, take-no-prisoners style” (Kirkus Reviews), Ali Reynolds and her team race against the clock to stop this ruthless killer—before her own name is crossed out for good.



The A List (Ali Reynolds, #14)The A List by J.A. Jance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The A- List by J.A. Jance is a 2019 Gallery Books publication.

A top -notch chapter in the Ali Reynolds series!!

Dr. Edward Gilchrist suffered a spectacular fall from grace when it came to light that he was the main sperm donor at his fertility clinic. Not only that, he may have passed down a genetic illness to his progeny.

Ali, in one of her last assignments as an L.A. News anchor, broke the story, which had a domino effect, resulting in the doctor serving a life sentence without parole.

Despite the passage of time, Edward is still bent on exacting revenge. He's drawn up a list of his enemies- An annihilation list he has dubbed ‘The A- List’.

He even went to the trouble of tattooing the first initial of each of his enemies on his skin. As each person who wronged him, in one way or another, is ‘taken care of’, he inks an X over the initial, marking them off the list.

Ali Reynolds may be the one most at fault, in his eyes, and he can’t wait to tattoo that X over her initial…

This story takes readers back down memory lane to a time when Ali was a star news anchor and married to Paul. After she broke the story about Edward Gilchrist, she kept in touch with the families involved. But, now in shockingly close succession several of those involved in the case have died in tragic accidents or homicides. Yet, Ali has no idea she’s even at risk. But then Stuart and Frigg 'stumble across' a few shocking discoveries, making it clear that Ali is in grave danger. Can they warn in Ali in time?

This is one of the best installments in the series we’ve had in a while and I am happy to see it rebound so strongly, especially after the previous installment, which left me pondering the future of this series.

The plot is very compelling and plausible in the sense that we’ve heard of actual cases where a doctor used his own sperm to father countless children. Many times, this type of situation was only discovered years later due to advances in DNA.

Jance did a terrific job of setting the stage, adding rich details to the diabolical revenge plot, while also adding emotional depth to a classic good versus evil scenario.

Jance kept the focus more on Ali, this time around, which I liked, and the bad guys were super creepy and scary. The story is very suspenseful, and well executed. Ms. Jance's veteran writing chops are on display here, reminding me of why her books are always a 'must buy' for me.

I still don’t know what to make of the developments with Stuart and Frigg. I had hoped they might get a series of their own instead of taking over this one. But it looks as though they are here to stay. I’m going to keep an open mind, though, and see how it goes. But, I must say my faith in this series has been greatly restored.

Fans of the series won't need to be persuaded to buy this one. However, if you haven’t tried this series out yet, this story gives you enough background to on, so that you could enjoy it as well.






J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bad Axe County by John Galligan- Feature and Review


Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.



Bad Axe County: A NovelBad Axe County: A Novel by John Galligan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bad Axe County by John Galligan is a 2019 Atria Books publication.

A gritty, atmospheric crime story-

This is an ambitious mystery thriller which profiles the rural Wisconsin terrain as much as it does the characters, becoming an intricate part of the plot.

Heidi Kick was a small -town beauty queen when her life took a tragic turn. Her parents allegedly died as a result of a murder-suicide pact. Despite their financial downturn, which was believed to be the motive, Heidi never bought into that theory.

Now, after the local sheriff’s sudden demise, Heidi becomes interim sheriff. This doesn’t set well with the local good ole boys in the community at all. But Heidi is not totally without a support system, with one or two allies in the department helping her make logical decisions.

She does have to balance a marriage, and small children, along with her demanding, pressure -filled job. She’s holding her own, until an unexpected storm in the area triggers a series of events, revealing the dark, lurid underbelly of Bad Axe County.

Suddenly, the inexperienced, but determined sheriff is neck deep in corruption, human trafficking, sleazy private parties hosting underage girls, and a strange burglary. The deeper she scratches beneath the surface, troubling implications hit a little too close to home. Dark forces are working against Heidi, thwarting her at every turn. While working around the clock to locate a missing girl, Heidi fervently hopes to finally discover the truth about her parents.

I won’t lie- what initially caused me to give this book a closer look was the atmospheric cover art. The premise sounded intriguing enough, with the promise of a strong female lead, so I decided to take a chance on it.

However, I also must admit, in all honesty, the story wasn't quite what I was expecting. Although Heidi refuses to accept the official cause of death in her parent’s case, her obsession with uncovering the truth runs more in the background. More in the forefront, is Heidi’s ‘race against the clock’ mission to locate a missing girl without making any critical missteps.

The story starts off on an odd, unexpected note, emphasizing the character's quirks, as they pertain to the rural setting. The banter is light and good-natured, but the atmosphere suddenly shifts turning super dark, edgy, and suspenseful, with a no holds barred tendency towards violence. I immediately sensed it was time to fasten my seatbelt and hold on for dear life.

Unfortunately, there are several threads running at once, along with a large cast of characters, which, as I’ve stated countless times, rarely works out for me. Sure enough, I struggled to keep everything straight. I had to slow my reading down to a crawl and do a little re-reading on a few occasions, to be sure I was keeping everything and everyone straight. I can’t say I was a big fan of the execution, or the uneven flow, but at the end of the day, despite its messiness, all the threads eventually come together, and the book ends on a high note. So, as they say, a win is still a win, even if it’s an ugly one.

The conclusion is gratifying, especially since Heidi Kick lives to fight another day. I liked Heidi’s character, as well as her sidekick, Denise. Those two made a great team. I wouldn’t mind stopping by Bad Axe County again someday. I think this rural, deceptively bucolic area of Wisconsin still has many secrets, and the feisty Heidi Kick knows just how to unravel them.






John Galligan,in addition to being a novelist and teacher, John has worked as a newspaper journalist, feature-film screenwriter, house painter, au pair, ESL teacher, cab driver, and freezer boy in a salmon cannery. He currently teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College, where his experience is enriched by students from every corner of the local and world community.

Monday, July 15, 2019

MANGA MONDAY- A Bride for Glenmore by Sarah Morgan and Haruhi Sakura- Feature and Review


Kyla MacNeil is a nurse on the small and pleasant island of Glenmore. When her brother, Logan, a doctor, decides he needs some help for the season, Ethan Walker takes the job, moving to the small island from the big city. His arrival brings some much-needed help to the tiny island, but it also brings its fair share of problems. Ethan seems to hold everyone at arm’s length, but when he meets Luke’s infant daughter, he’s taken aback. Luke’s a recent widower, but Ethan seems to know more about his late wife than he ought to. Can Kyla find out Ethan’s secret before storms and sins break the two apart?


A Bride for GlenmoreA Bride for Glenmore by Haruhi Sakura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Bride for Glenmore by Sarah Morgan and Haruhi Sakura (Illustrator) is a 2018 Harlequin/ SB Creative publication.

I read the original Harlequin Medical release of this book not all that long ago. I really like Sarah Morgan and am pleased with the direction her career has taken. It’s so fun to watch an author’s blossom. It is also fun to see one of Sarah’s books released as a Manga.

The story is centered around the small community of Glenmore and the medical dramas they encounter, ranging from minor incidents to serious issues. Dr. Logan MacNeil has decided he needs a little additional help during the summer months.

Dr. Ethan Walker is hired and Logan’s sister, Kyla, a nurse, helps the new doctor familiarize himself with the clinic. At first Ethan’s big city attitude is annoying, but the more time he spends with Kyla, the closer they become. However, Ethan his harboring an explosive secret, one that could change the way Kyla feels about him. Not only that, their budding romance can’t deepen into anything too serious because Ethan has no plans to stick around Glenmore Island once the summer is over.

This is a wonderful medical romance with a very surprising twist I never saw coming, when I read the original story this Manga is based on.

Now, however, since I already knew what the big secret was, the fun was in seeing the story come to life through the fabulous artwork. The illustrator captured the characters and the scenery quite well.






USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women's fiction and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors.