Calculated Reaction

Calculated Reaction
Calculated Reaction by K.T. Lee

Singapore Fling

Singapore Fling
Singapore Fling by Maida Malby

Friday, November 22, 2019

Calculated Reaction by K. T. Lee- Feature and Review


Special Agent Alexis Thompson is eager to get back to work after getting shot on her last FBI assignment. When she discovers that the man who ordered the hit has sent one of his spies to an energy research facility, Alexis convinces the CIA to send her to take him down. This time, Alexis is bringing along her new partner, Waffle, a highly-trained explosives detection dog.

Matt Brown is a former Navy SEAL who is now working as an engineering professor. He also helps his friend, CIA Operations Officer Cam Mitchell, whenever his skills are needed. When Alexis goes undercover, Cam sends Matt along to try to keep Alexis from coming home in a body bag.

Matt and Alexis soon discover that their enemy’s plans go far beyond good old-fashioned espionage. With the clock ticking, Alexis and Matt must figure out how to stop a dangerous explosion before they become collateral damage.

Calculated Reaction is Book 4 in The Calculated Series. All books in The Calculated Series may be enjoyed as stand alone novels or as a series.



Calculated ReactionCalculated Reaction by K.T. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Calculated Reaction by K.T. Lee is a 2019 publication.

Another thrilling episode in the ‘Calculated’ Series!!

K.T. Lee often creates stories based on our worst nightmares. The prospect of a problem, even a minor one, at an energy facility is enough to keep one awake at night. So, once again, I found myself on the edge of my seat as Alexis and Matt partner up, along with a trained dog named Waffle, in an intense undercover operation aimed at locating an explosive device.

Meanwhile, the chemistry between Matt and Alexis is so fiery, it could become combustible, but Alexis has a strict policy about dating her partners, which means the Matt is off limits-

I’ve read the first three full length books in this series, and so far, I’m really enjoying it. I love the combination of high stakes thrills and romance and all the couples featured, thus far. However, I think maybe Matt and Alexis is my favorite couple to date.

But another reason this book felt a bit more special was because of Waffle! A pet or animal always adds something to a story, but a specially trained dog like Waffle enhanced the plot significantly. I loved his role in this book. As always, there is lots of intrigue, and plenty of action packed into the story.

Overall, Lee packs a lot of entertainment a relatively small package and creates a nice balance between the mystery and the romance, without breaking the momentum. The smart ladies and clever gentlemen complement each other, and the banter is always quick and sharp.

Although there are some references to ongoing investigations and characters who appeared in previous installments, this book can still be read as a stand- alone. However, I recommend reading them all!! You’ll be glad you did!



Calculated Extortion (The Calculated, #0.5)Calculated Deception (The Calculated, #1)Calculated Contagion (The Calculated, #2)

Calculated Sabotage (The Calculated, #3)

K.T. Lee is a writer, mom and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.

Find out more about The Calculated Series and get the latest updates at or on the social media sites below:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Singapore Fling by Maida Malby- Feature and Review + Giveaway

SINGAPORE FLING Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2

by MAIDA MALBY Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

Scroll down for giveaway!

One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair. Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her. Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down. Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue? Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.


“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy “This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1) “This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

Singapore Fling (Carpe Diem Chronicles 2)Singapore Fling by Maida Malby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Singapore Fling by Maida Malby is a 2019 EOT publication.

Exotic locations, high drama, intrigue and sizzling hot romance!

Maddie is enjoying every minute of her life in Singapore, while working in a public relations firm. However, she is having trouble getting Aidan, her best friend’s future brother-in-law, out her mind. She hasn’t seen him in the couple of months since they shared a romantic interlude.

However, when Aidan shows up in Singapore, the sparks reignite, big time, spawning a super intense affair. However, a stunning revelation could throw ice cold water on the couple’s fiery passion.

Excruciating suspense, and foreign intrigue ensues, leaving Maddie and Aidan’s future hanging in the balance…

I loved the combination of sights, sounds, flavors and cultures mixed into this story. Our heroine is of mixed race, half French- half Filipino, adding a much needed shot of diversity in the romance category. The locale is vibrant and full of culture and savory cuisine that will leave you salivating!

And speaking of salivating…

Fans of military heroes and strong, take charge alpha males, are going to love Aidan. Maddie and Aidan are an unusual pair in some ways, but they have an ‘off the charts’ chemistry with each other. The independent, career driven, Maddie, is the perfect match for Aidan. The two may believe they are enjoying a ‘no strings attached’ Singapore fling, but that soon develops into something much more serious. I pulled for them, even though the obstacles the couple faces do seem insurmountable. Will true love win out?

Overall, this is a unique contemporary romance, making it a nice change of pace from the standard romantic formula. The sex scenes are hot, hot, hot, but- for me, it took little too much precedence at the beginning of the story. However, the plot does move forward onto more substantial ground, and really picks up in the second half. I was turning pages as fast as possible, realizing that I’d become very invested in this couple and their happy ever after!

Romance fans who welcome diversity, enjoy steamy romance, military heroes, and an emotional happily ever after will love this book!!


Universal Link


Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website. When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.

1ST PRIZE (US only)
Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
2ND PRIZE (US only)
Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
3RD PRIZE (US only)
Signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
NOVEMBER 12-22, 2019

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire: A Biography- by Susan Ronald- Feature and Review


The first biography in over thirty years of Cond� Nast, the pioneering publisher of Vogue and Vanity Fair and main rival to media magnate William Randolph Hearst.

Condé Nast's life and career was as high profile and glamourous as his magazines. Moving to New York in the early twentieth century with just the shirt on his back, he soon became the highest paid executive in the United States, acquiring Vogue in 1909 and Vanity Fair in 1913. Alongside his editors, Edna Woolman Chase at Vogue and Frank Crowninshield at Vanity Fair, he built the first-ever international magazine empire, introducing European modern art, style, and fashions to an American audience.

Credited with creating the "café society," Nast became a permanent fixture on the international fashion scene and a major figure in New York society. His superbly appointed apartment at 1040 Park Avenue, decorated by the legendary Elsie de Wolfe, became a gathering place for the major artistic figures of the time. Nast launched the careers of icons like Cecil Beaton, Clare Boothe Luce, Lee Miller, Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. He left behind a legacy that endures today in media powerhouses such as Anna Wintour, Tina Brown, and Graydon Carter.

Written with the cooperation of his family on both sides of the Atlantic and a dedicated team at Condé Nast Publications, critically acclaimed biographer Susan Ronald reveals the life of an extraordinary American success story.



Condé Nast: The Man and His Empire -- A BiographyCondé Nast: The Man and His Empire -- A Biography by Susan Ronald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire- A Biography by Susan Ronald is a 2019 St. Martin’s Press publication.

It is hard to believe this is the first biography written about Conde Nast in over thirty years. I think many people may only associate his name with a brand and are either unaware of his history or have forgotten it was his hard work and foresight that influenced society within the pages of his magazine, both in the US and abroad, beginning in 1909, when he bought Vogue.

This is a comprehensive biography of Conde Nast and his vision, his influence on and his place in society. I found most of this history quite fascinating, especially as I am a huge fan of Vanity Fair magazine. The behind the scenes politics is pretty juicy stuff- sort of gossipy, if you will, and was all news to me, since it all took place way before my time.

Nast’s formidable competition was Randolph Hearst and the two warred it out for many years, with Conde holding his own quite nicely- until he hit a snag during the depression.

As engrossing as some of the power struggles, and clever business techniques could be, sections of the book were a bit dry and it was hard not to zone out or resist the urge to skim. The writing is thorough, maybe a bit too much, on occasion, but the author’s research stands out. While Conde Nast endured many personal and professional ups and downs, he is mostly portrayed in a positive light and author takes a soft approach with his life story.

This is an interesting biography which includes some little known, or thought of history, about the publishing business, and the way it evolved over time. Nast was smart, a hard worker, and didn’t abuse his wealth or power, but also made colossal missteps and suffered numerous health issues throughout his life.

If you are interested in publishing, history, or business, you might find this book intriguing. If you are a fan of Vogue or Vanity Fair- in particular- the influence and impressions Conde and his publications had on fashions and society, you will find this book of interest as well.

Although it is occasionally dry, the writing style keeps the pacing moving at a quick pace for a biography. I found it easy to read, despite so many names and events to keep track of.

Overall, the book is informative, interesting, and a compelling biography of Conde Nast- a visionary in the world of publishing.



Born and raised in the United States, Susan Ronald is a British-American author and biographer. Now living in England for over twenty-five years, she is the author of eight history books ranging across the ages. Her latest book to be published (September 3, 2019) is about the pioneering magazine publisher Condé Montrose Nast. She is also the author of A DANGEROUS WOMAN, HITLER'S ART THIEF, HERETIC QUEEN--QUEEN ELIZABETH I AND THE WARS OF RELIGION, SHAKESPEARE'S DAUGHTER (a novel), THE PIRATE QUEEN--QUEEN ELIZABETH I, HER PIRATE ADVENTURERS AND THE DAWN OF EMPIRE, THE SANCY BLOOD DIAMOND AND FRANCE: THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE. She has also appeared as herself in documentaries and has produced films and has written screenplays.

Susan is working on her ninth book entitled THE AMBASSADOR about Joseph P. Kennedy as ambassador to the Court of St. James's (1938-1940)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware- Feature and Review



From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fifth novel.

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.



The Turn of the KeyThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a 2019 Gallery/Scout Press publication.

Ware is back on track in this tense tale of suspense!!

I have loved Ruth Ware since I read ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’, yet, I really struggled with her previous book. I didn’t lose my confidence in Ware, however, and eagerly jumped into this, her latest effort, with gusto- and I was not disappointed!!

As the story opens it becomes clear that Rowan Caine, a former nanny, is sitting in prison accused of having killed a child in her care. Through the letters Rowan has written to a prospective attorney, she explains how she came to be there, taking us all the way back to the moment she answered a classified ad for what Rowan would consider a dream job in her chosen field of childcare. Rowan seems thrilled to be considered for such a great opportunity and is genuinely nervous and excited when she is given the job.

The technologically advanced smart home Rowan gets to live in is fancy and modern, especially the state of the art kitchen, but the enormous venom thrown at her by one of her charges, coupled with a host of strange noises and occurrences, keeps Rowan on edge day and night, turning her dream job into the stuff nightmares are made of…

I think Ware’s most prominent asset, is her ability to quickly create a mood or atmosphere which sneakily draws readers into her well-constructed web. Once ensnared readers soon find themselves trapped, unable to escape until the very last sentence of the book has been read. This story is hypnotizing, and Ware kept me off guard from start to finish…. And what a finish!!

While I had some suspicions, I was mostly caught off guard by the twists and although the ending is a bit ambiguous, I liked it!! I have my own theories, and others will have theirs, making this a fun book to discuss, debate and dissect.

The author is gifted at dropping clues and hiding little Easter eggs within the story, but I was so distracted by the mind games I didn’t pick up on them until after I’d finished reading the book.

Very, very sneaky and clever of Ms. Ware! Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed this one and of course am eagerly anticipating her next release!



Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs Westaway have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times, and she is published in more than 40 languages. She lives on the south coast of England, with her family.

Visit to find out more, or find her on facebook or twitter as @RuthWareWriter

Monday, November 18, 2019

Marilou is Everywhere by Sarah Elaine Smith- Feature and Review


Consumed by the longing for a different life, a teenager flees her family and carefully slips into another -- replacing a girl whose own sudden disappearance still haunts the town.

Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity, two fierce dogs, one book, and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. Deprived of adult supervision, the siblings rely on one another for nourishment of all kinds. As Cindy's brothers take on new responsibilities for her care, the shadow of danger looms larger and the status quo no longer seems tolerable.

So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent, cultured home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family's poverty and slips into the missing teen's life. As Jude Vanderjohn, Cindy is suddenly surrounded by books and art, by new foods and traditions, and most important, by a startling sense of possibility. In her borrowed life she also finds herself accepting the confused love of a mother who is constitutionally incapable of grasping what has happened to her real daughter. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits and, in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.
Marilou Is Everywhere is a powerful, propulsive portrait of an overlooked girl who finds for the first time that her choices matter.



Marilou is EverywhereMarilou is Everywhere by Sarah Elaine Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marilou is Everywhere by Sarah Elaine Smith is a 2019 Riverhead publication.

An offbeat, but effective debut novel

Fourteen - year old Cindy is virtually abandoned by her mother, leaving her at the mercy of her older brothers, one of whom is sleazy and quite inappropriate. The conditions in which Cindy dwells is horrifying and sad.

Jude Vanderjohn, a girl who occasionally dated Cindy’s brother, goes missing while on a camping trip with her friends. Jude’s mother, Bernadette, is a full fledged alcoholic, suffering from an unnamed brain malady. After Jude’s disappearance, a fact, her mother has no real awareness of, Jude quietly moves in with Bernadette, and slips into Jude’s shoes.

This wasn’t a premeditated quest on Cindy’s part, she just capitalizes on an opportunity. From here, Cindy lives a life she could only have imagined before. So desperate is she to be loved, and cared for, she continues the ruse, rationalizing away her actions, but knowing deep down that what she is doing is morally wrong. However, there will come a time when her rationale crosses more than a moral line…

"My life was an empty place. From where I stood, it seared on with a blank and merciless light. All dust and no song."

It is difficult to describe the atmosphere of this novel. It’s an odd story, full of moral dilemmas blended with unvarnished reality, but written with such a beautiful prose, it gives various sequences a surreal quality. At times the writing did overpower my ability to connect with Cindy, who is our narrator, and keeps the remaining characters at arm’s length. The profound writing also worked to introduce dark, gritty, very uncomfortable subject matter forcefully, but without a razor sharp edge, which softens the impact.

I was simultaneously horrified and saddened by the actions and circumstances of the characters and the plot, which left me feeling melancholy and unsure of which emotional box to check.

Although, I am mesmerized by the writer’s turn of phrase, I also appreciated the hands-off approach, allowing the reader to digest the facts without leading me in a set direction. The story is poignant, bittersweet, and truly a surprising gem.

I’m not sure how the masses will feel about the book, or if it will appeal to a broad, mainstream audience, but I am very impressed with this debut novel and am excited to see what Sarah Elaine Smith will do next.



Sarah Elaine Smith was born and raised in Greene County, Pennsylvania. She has studied at the Michener Center for Writers, UT-Austin (MFA, poetry); the Iowa Writers' Workshop (MFA, fiction); and Carnegie Mellon University (BA, English and Creative Writing). She has worked as a metadata analyst (signed an NDA & shall say no more!), a college teacher, a proofreader/copyeditor, design consultant, waitress, and ghostwriter. Her work has received support from the MacDowell Colony, the Rona Jaffe Wallace Foundation, and the Keene Prize for Literature, among other generous entities.

Her first novel, Marilou Is Everywhere , is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in summer 2019. She is also the author of I Live in a Hut , 2011 winner of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center's first books prize, selected by Matthea Harvey. Her work has appeared in publications like FENCEjubilatTin House, and Gulf Coast, among others.

These are some of the things you will find in her work: a goat named Panda Jane, a cam girl named xVapeQueenx, Appalachian country-time sadness, the pony of darkness, angels that can't get their heads out of the hole, pills made out of Sunday afternoon football crowd sound, gin staircases to the moon, a monastery full of sidelined henchmen, shitty candy, Sissy Pecjak's gas station, seers who live in the halfway house and paint manicure tigers in exchange for Red Bull, and much more