A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim- Book Review + Giveaway

The picturesque town of Alpine in the foothills of Washington state’s Cascade Mountains—home to Emma Lord and her weekly newspaper The Alpine Advocate—has long charmed and enthralled mystery lovers. Now, with The Alpine Zen, Mary Daheim has at last reached the anticipated letter of Z. Her legion of avid armchair sleuths will relish this deliciously gripping novel.

As an early summer heat wave beats down on Alpine, Emma and her staff are treading very lightly. For unfathomable reasons, the paper’s House & Home editor, Vida Runkel, is in a major snit, refusing to speak to her colleagues, or even her boss. So when a peculiar young woman walks in claiming her parents have been murdered, and that she’s in mortal danger, too, it fits right in with the rest of the craziness. Then, to the utter bafflement of her colleagues, Vida vanishes without a word to anyone. And just when Emma and her husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, start to unsnarl these tangles, a male body, dead too long to identify, surfaces at the town dump—making what seemed merely weird feel downright sinister. Has the hot weather driven everyone nuts, or are cold-blooded forces committing deadly misdeeds?

The Alpine Zen tingles with all the mystery and allure that only Mary Daheim’s brand of small-town life can provide. Gossip, love affairs, feuding, and plenty of dirty secrets make for an intriguing adventure every Alpine fan will want to read all about.


The Alpine Zen (Emma Lord Mystery, #26)The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Alpine Zen by Mary Daheim is a 2015 Ballantine publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher as a part of the LibraryThing early review program.

It's hard to believe we have gone from A-Z in the Emma Lord Mystery Series. While it seems to be a forgone conclusion that this book is the wrap up of the series, I hope that isn't the case. However, the story does seem to lean on the nostalgic side just a little and takes us down memory lane on a few occasions. The mystery was even kind of poignant.

A women calling herself “Ren” arrives in town claiming her mother, a one time Alpine resident, was murdered. Then a dead body is discovered in the dump, and while it may be a hippie, like it's suspected Ren's mother was, this is the body of a man. In the meantime, Ren has a breakdown of sorts and ends up in the hospital.

Emma's nose for news can't resist a good mystery, so she and Milo team up once again in their cute way to solve a mystery. But, if that weren't enough to keep them busy, it's seems Vida has finally cracked up and is in one long running foul mood from sun up to sun down, seven days a week... and the unseasonably hot weather is only making matters worse for all of them.

The mystery, while certainly puzzling, is not really the main focus in what could to be the last book in the series. However, some really shocking secrets are revealed involving some long time residents of Alpine.

Having settled into married life, Emma and Milo have perhaps moved out of the honeymoon phase a little bit, but their banter was as sharp as ever. It was wonderful to know that Emma is finally going to have some peace of mind in regards to a situation that has been the only stumbling block to her complete happiness and contentment.

The author reminds us in small ways of all Emma has gone through in the course of this series and it is so nice to see her finally settling into a stable relationship with most of the I's dotted and T's crossed. She is content and at peace I think, and although she and Milo often have conflicting agendas due to their perspective careers, they make a great detective team. So, even though we have worked through the alphabet- maybe the next title will have a number in it and those could go on for a finite amount of time- which would be fine by me.



Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim has been fascinated by story-telling since early childhood. She first listened, then read, and finally began to write her own fiction when she was ten. A journalism major at the University of Washington, she was the first female editor of The Daily where she attracted national attention with her editorial stance against bigotry.
After getting her B.A., she worked in newspapers and public relations, but in her spare time she tried her hand at novels. In 1983, Daheim’s first historical romance was published, followed by a half-dozen more before she switched genres to her original fictional love, mysteries. Just Desserts and Fowl Prey, the first books of twenty-three (with Scots on the Rocks set for the end of July) in the Bed-and-Breakfast series were released in 1991. A year later, the Emma Lord series made its debut with The Alpine Advocate. The eighteenth, The Alpine Scandal, was published in late March 2007. The Alpine Traitor is scheduled to come out in early 2008. Daheim has also written several short stories for mystery anthologies and magazines.
Married to professor emeritus and playwright David Daheim, the couple lives in Seattle and has three grown daughters. She has been an Agatha Award nominee, winner of the 2000 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Achievement Award, and her mysteries regularly make the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times top thirty.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst- Review + Giveaway

The highly anticipated third novel in the Searching For series from Jennifer Probst, “one of the most exciting breakout novelists” (USA Today), featuring a runaway bride and the man who wants to be more than just her best friend...

Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin...and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.

When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.

Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love?

Searching for Beautiful (Searching For, #3)Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst is a 2015 Gallery Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and the S&S XOXperts- The Official Street Team for XOXO After Dark.

Many of you will recognize Wolfe from a previous series, so having him featured in his own story is exciting. ( This book can be read as a stand alone- so don't worry if you aren't caught up with the other series)

When I picked the book up, I thought I knew what I as getting into. Friends to lovers has always been one of my favorite romance tropes, and with the premise of a runaway bride in the mix I was thinking of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Well, this story is nothing like that...

If you have read Jennifer Probst novels in the past you might find this one a little bit surprising. There are some uncomfortable topics addressed in the book and one should be prepared for a darker tone with this novel.

Wolfe has come from a very difficult background but was given a second chance in life by some really awesome people. He and Gen have always clicked, been great friends, but nothing more. But, Wolfe has always sensed something off about Gen's future husband, David, so, when Gen listens to that voice in her head telling her to RUN!


Wolfe doesn't ask questions, he simply whisks her away from her wedding and the alleged charmed life with David she was about to embark on.

Wolfe and Gen spend several days together having the time of their lives, but sooner or later Gen must return home and face David and her family. Thus begins a massive tug of war between Gen and David, with Wolfe in the middle. But, Gen is stronger than she knows and if there was ever a time to follow her heart, it is now. But, will outside forces and Wolfe's past prevent them from having their HEA?

This is a very different friends to lovers story, one I wasn't really expecting , but one that left me feeling very impressed.

I loved Wolfe, but his story is very difficult to read about. I think his outlook on life and the progress he has made proves that even if you don't get the best start in life, you can change how your future unfolds. Granted, Wolfe was given a chance many aren't lucky enough to get, but it was still up to him to make the best of that second chance, which he does - and it really pays off for him. In fact, Wolfe is the best hero I have encountered in awhile.

Gen makes a lot of progress in this book too, but she certainly made me nervous a time or two. I was terrified she would crumble under David manipulations and pressure from her family. At times I felt she should have taken a harder line in defending herself, but all in all, she did what she felt was right at the time. Gen is a great character with an open heart and mind, which complimented Wolfe perfectly.

I was disappointed in some of the secondary characters who advised Wolfe, and was proud of others who were supported Gen, when others didn't.

This story is not only one of romance and sensuality, although there is plenty of both, and ladies -Wolfe is all you dreamed he would be and then some, but this story is also packed with depth and meaning making the journey with Gen and Wolfe all the more special.

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Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain. She is published both erotic and sexy contemporary romance with Entangled, Decadent, Red Sage and TWRP. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story, "A Life Worth Living." Visit her website for more info!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells- A Book Review

The  fabulous new romantic comedy by Nicky Wells is available  from Amazon NOW! Grab your copy here:

7 Years Bad Sex

One wedding. One curse? Disaster ever after…

A seven-years-bad-sex curse? Surely not! Yet something went wrong when rock singer Casey and drummer Alex got married on that beautiful yacht anchored off St Tropez in the south of France. Something went badly wrong. For even on their wedding night, the young couple discovers a complete and somewhat surprising inability to make love. Muddling through their honeymoon with a string of thin excuses for their predicament, the lovers defer finding a solution (and panicking) until the return to their home in London. After all, they married for life and to make rock music, not for the love of sex. Right?

But when they resume life as normal in London, all hell breaks loose. Increasingly frantic in their quest for release, the unhappy newlyweds embark on a string of hilarious and occasionally harmful antics that drives them, their band, and an assortment of random strangers to the brink of despair. But it ain’t over ‘til it’s over or, in this case… it ain’t over ‘til the newlyweds sing.


7 Years Bad Sex7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells is a 2015 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well, with a title like this, one simply can not help but be curious, because this is the stuff nightmares are made of. The thought of it alone is enough to make a person break out in a cold sweat. But, for Alex and Casey, the nightmare is a terrifying, and as you can imagine, frustrating reality.

Alex, a rock musician and Casey, a singer, are the perfect couple. They are deeply in love, compatible in every way, including in the bedroom, until they get married and take off on a three week honeymoon vacation. All of sudden Alex is unable to perform sexually, and no matter what they do nothing seems to help. Initially, they make light of it, but as time passes, desperation sets in. Casey and Alex then embark on a hilarious quest to restore their once sizzling sex life.

I have said this on several occasions, but it is worth mentioning again, I have a love/hate relationship with romantic comedy novels, mainly because what passes as comedy in many cases, is just plain silly to me. Then there are RomComs like this one. Laugh out loud funny, but cohesive, and underneath it all a wonderful love story. The lengths Casey and Alex go to and the things they are willing to try, which often leads to “epic fails” are hilarious, and sometimes cringe worthy. But, there is also the the mounting frustration, then the desperation, then the sadness as the situation begins to take it's toll on the relationship. Can the marriage be saved? Is there really curse? Will Alex get his Mojo back?

If you enjoy contemporary romance, and romantic comedy, you really should check this one out. It 's a super fun read, and I definitely recommend it.

So what are you waiting for? Go and grab your copy! Here’s that link again:



About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and ad-hoc radio show presenter. Rock on!

***Coming May 2015: 7 Years Bad Sex!***

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Upper West Side Story by Susan Pashman-Book Blog Tour + Giveaway

Book Description:

Meet Bettina Grosjean, a professor of Women’s History, and her husband, a high-ranking environmental policymaker in the New York City mayor’s office. Once a pair of student radicals, they are now raising their two brainy children on New York’s Upper West Side.

Here is the tale of their fierce parental love as it is tested in a startling eruption of racial hostility and political chicanery within the very community they have long loved and helped to build. Despite the deep love and affection they have for each other, their domestic life is suddenly thrown into crisis by a shocking and tragic event: During a school field trip, their son Max and his best friend, Cyrus, are horsing around when, in a freak accident, Cyrus falls down a flight of stairs, and dies a few days later.

The fact that Cyrus is black, that his mother is Bettina’s closest friend–that jealousy, suspicion and resentment have long been simmering in the community, and that there are powerful political forces at work as well–all conspire to reveal an ugly underbelly of the community the Grosjeans have worked so hard to fashion into a model of an enlightened, multiracial world.

Upper West Side Story is also the story of a remarkable multi-racial friendship, of two women united by their ideals and their devotion to their children, then divided by events that spiral out of control.

With cries for racial justice rising up all around our country, we must stop and consider how recent headlines are impacting our children, kids raised to believe in an America that is different from the one now showing its face.

Where to buy the book:


Upper West Side StoryUpper West Side Story by Susan Pashman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Upper West Side Story by Susan Pashman is a 2015 Harvard Square Editions publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't know quite what to expect when I began reading this book. Race relations is always a hot button topic, and I wasn't sure what angle the story was going to represent or how is was going to be handled. However, as I neared the end of the book I realized this story was not just centered around race as I had originally thought. Yes, the book is an eye opening portrait of how bitterness breeds hatred, the enormous gap between the races , the skewed ideas of equality and how to achieve it, dirty politics, and how in times of crisis we may find ourselves utterly alone, fighting an uphill battle against strong and powerful forces. But, in the end, the power of friendship, of good moral people, and love, brought about healing and forgiveness, and thwarted injustice by working together as a team. I have used this adage several time recently, but it is just as true with this book, if not more.. Two wrongs do not make a right...

Two women with children the same age, attending the same school in Manhattan, forge a deep friendship. Bettina is white, mother of Max, Viola is black, the mother of Cyrus. The women begin a special enrichment program at the school, and pretty soon, as the women grow closer, so do their sons. Bettina and Viola are from very different backgrounds, and their friendship may have seemed unlikely, but Bettina and Viola are as close a sisters. However , on one October day, Cyrus and Max leave for a field trip where a horrific event will have a domino effect that changes all their lives forever.

As events unfold, the reader gets a glimpse inside of Bettina's personal life, where her mother is unwell, her marriage is teetering on an precipice, with Stephen's job as a public servant coming between them, and her precocious daughter challenging her in a blunt, honest way, that makes her uncomfortable at times, but Max is the absolute love of her life and while things are not perfect in her world she feels like she, as an academic, teaching, and working in the enrichment program, living in a coveted area of Manhattan, enjoying the view from her apartment, and all the vast advantages of city life at her feet, she is an enlightened soul, doing all the right things. Maybe the reader even senses a certain smugness in Bettina, with her lofty views and high brow education. But, she is also extremely naïve and sheltered from the many harsh realities others deal with on a daily basis. Her husband Stephen is no better that Bettina really, but he chides her and judges her views , until he finds himself in an unbelievable situation and the wool is pulled from his eyes.

Viola's life is not examined fully, since for much of the book she is in a grief induced stupor and her family appears to not only shelter her from Bettina , and the on going crisis with Max, but from the reader as well. Viola was a wonderful lady and I wish we could have been given a deeper insight into her personality and the trials she faced as the story developed.

While we get Bettina' perspective for the most part, we also get Max's point of view and see his struggles as his entire world is upended and even his parents can't seem to protect him. He becomes an example, a pariah, a victim. With his mother immersed in the battle to keep him safe, he winds up more alone than ever with his parents stretched to the breaking point. But, he is a strong kid, resilient and as a parent, I often wanted to reach down into the pages of the book and comfort him.

There were times when I didn't know what to think or feel with the community divided, with the people Bettina thought she knew, thought would help her, turning their backs on her, or worse, remaining neutral under the advice of an attorney. Stephen was totally behind the system believing they could work within it to help Max. I didn't trust that system and felt bad for Bettina who appeared to be fighting this thing on her own. Even the family therapist was quite hard on her, also calling her out about her moral high road. But, at the same time, I wanted to scream at her, believing many of her actions were only making things worse for Max and for herself too. But, in the process she learned some really hard lessons and definitely came down off her high horse a little, as did her husband.

This story touches on some very difficult and delicate topics and is sure to evoke many different emotions ranging from empathy, sympathy, sadness, anger, frustration, and shock, but don't lose sight of the main message of the story which goes back to the beginning of the book- Viola and Bettina's friendship. Viola, while her perspective wasn't outlined verbally, was the star of the show, the example to follow, the light that shines in the very gloomy darkness of tragedy. She rises up out of the ashes and pulls herself upright, and comes through for Bettina and Max which helps her heal, giving her peace of mind, and highlights her great integrity. She could have placed blame on a thirteen year old boy, could had become bitter and full of hate, could have sought vengeance, but instead she saw the situation for what it really was, new what was happening to Max was wrong, and did what she could to forgive and hopefully prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.

Bettina's often neglected daughter steals the spotlight as she also chronicles the year her family went through an unforgettable crisis and trauma that changed their entire outlook on life , but also brought them closer together, made them stronger, opened their eyes to the way of life they had been so proud of only a short time ago and gave them a new purpose with a more realistic view of things. They will come to cherish the little things, each other, and a slower, less fraught way of life.

Very disturbing on one hand, very though provoking in another, but ultimately I have chosen to feel good about the bonds of parents and children, of husbands and wives, and of deep abiding friendships, and the lessons we can all learn from this type of story. 4.5 stars

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Author's Bio:

Susan Pashman is a philosophy professor and former attorney. While in law school, she served a year in the New York City Council President’s office; some of what she learned there has found its way into this story. But most of this book derives from her experience of raising two boys on her own in Brooklyn. Many of her sons’ childhood exploits, and the hopes and fears she had for them, became the heart of this novel.
She now resides in Sag Harbor, New York, with her husband, Jack Weinstein.

Connect with Susan:  Website ~  Facebook Twitter  ~  Goodreads


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Behind the Mask by Caroline Crane- Book Tour + Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Behind The Mask (Associates, #4)

Author: Carolyn Crane

Release Date: May 19, 2015

Category: Romantic Suspense

Buy Links:



When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group--and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?


Behind the Mask (The Associates #4)Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane is a 2015 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I confess this is my first book by this author... but it will certainly not be my last!

This dark, and I do mean dark, romantic suspense novel centers around, Zelda, a woman once involved in the spy game with the CIA but is now a member of a smaller, more focused group - “The Associates”, but is botanist at heart. She is haunted by horrible mistake she made once that is slowly eating away at her soul.

When her twin sister, a prostitute, finds herself in a bind, Zelda uses her skills to take her sister's place and infiltrate a dangerous group of criminals.... but, she never thought she would find herself rescued and more or less held hostage by the shadowy Kabakas- someone she thought was dead.

Hugo is a lethal mercenary, but has rescued a young boy, and his now trying to do the right thing by him. Zelda comes along at just the right time, since a string of housekeepers and governesses have quit on him. Zelda/Liza can cook and teach the boy lessons, and he will let her live since she has seen his face now.

What neither of them are prepared for is the bond they forge with one another. Can these two hardened and ruthless souls actually be falling in love?

This is a very tense story, character driven, dark and brooding, action packed and filled with all manner of dangerous people and dangerous feelings. Trust issues, regrets, scars, duty, all weigh heavily on the main characters, but love slowly chisels away at the armor Zelda and Hugo have built around themselves. If you like deeply flawed characters or an unconventional love story, you will really like this one. I was riveted from start to finish and this one of the most interesting romantic suspense stories I have read in awhile. Very imaginative, descriptive, with well drawn characters worked together to creat an atmospheric tension that is simply captivating.

I'm on board for the next book and in the meantime I hope to locate the first three books in the series and get up to speed. However, it should be noted, this book can be read as a stand alone. I highly recommend this one!


Blog Tour Stops

Monday, May 18, 2015

Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com

Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog

Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com

Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com

Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com

Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com

Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com

Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com

That's What I'm Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com

Cricket's Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/

The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com

The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com

Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella.exlibris.com

Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com

The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/

Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com

Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/

Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com

So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com

Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog

Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com

Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/

Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0

Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/

Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com

C. K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/

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I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.

Give and Take by Tigris Eden- Release Day Blast + Giveaway

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Enter for a chance to win a 
Signed Print copy of GIVE AND TAKE or, 
a $25.00 Amazon/B&N eGift Card

Stories from Beauville #1
Tigris Eden
Releasing May 19th, 2015

Compromise is a word Annabelle Macon knows well. Sacrifices at home, in college and with her career, have all given her the tools to be the person she is. Now it seems she must also make concessions for her long-time love, Jackson Storme.

Six months into their relationship, and he’s already making unrealistic demands. With distance putting that much more of a strain on their relationship, how are the two ever going to manage?

Old insecurities have a way of resurfacing, making Anna feel less than suitable for someone like Jackson. She’s worked hard to get to where she is now. Her life and her work are clashing, making matters worse. Bringing a whole new meaning to work/life balance. But Anna knows that with a little give and take everything will fall into place, regardless of the obstacles that may stand in her way.


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One of Tigris’ fondest memories, was in the sixth grade, when her teacher read her story, “The Case of The Missing Pepperoni”, out loud to the class. It was then she decided she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. But like all childhood dreams, reality has a way of crashing in and disrupting plans. But her imagination and the voices inside her head never stopped talking. Every dream she could remember was jotted down in her dream journals.
When she’s not writing Tigris marvel’s at life’s gifts. She likes to take pictures of beautiful things. She openly admits that what she may find beautiful another person might not, and she’s perfectly okay with that. She enjoys her music and doesn’t leave home without it. Long pillow conversations with LL about nonsensical things, and hanging out with her boys, when they deem her “cool enough.”

Tigris is a military brat who’s done her fair share of travelling, thanks to her Army father. She’s married to the infamous LL and has three boys. She currently resides in Houston and is actively seeking a book-buddy for the end of the world.

Don't forget to grab 
(Stories from Beauville #0.5)

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright- A Book Review

Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.

Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.

The Canterbury SistersThe Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright is a 2015 Gallery Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had no idea how I would perceive this novel going in. The blurb made me think it was a book I should try out and now that I have read it, I am so glad I took a chance on it.

Che Milan, daughter of Diana, named after a political revolutionary, now has to face the reality that her mother is dying of cancer. When Diana asked Che to take her to the cathedral in Canterbury to be blessed, hoping for a miracle, Che agrees, knowing full well her mother would never make that trip. But, when Diana passes away, and Che receives her mother's urn, there is a note from Diana insisting she be taken to Canterbury. On the same day Che receives the urn, she also receives a note from her boyfriend, Ned, who informs her he has met someone else and their relationship is over. So, Che makes the sudden decision to take the pilgrimage along with a group of other women, intending to be blessed and spread her mother's ashes in Canterbury.

The trip gets off to a terrible start, when at a bar in London, Che loses her cell phone. Her entire life is in that phone, or so she thinks. But, the show must go on, so she meets her guide and her fellow travelers and away they go on a life changing journey, the outcome of which none of them could have predicted.

As they walk each woman will tell a story ala the Chaucer tradition, with love being the chosen topic. giving Che a lot of food for thought as she examines the parallels between these stories and her own life, the path she has taken so far , the reasons for her actions to this point in time, and what steps she will take from here on out.

The author does a great job of drawing the reader into each person's story and wisely takes a short break between each tale to allow you to absorb the tale before moving on to the next day's journey.

This is one diverse group of women, let me tell you. A mother and daughter with years of lies and resentments between them, a mafia wife and reality TV star, two best friends who discover they didn't know each other as well as they had presumed, and a rather odd duck who doesn't seem to fit into any particular mold, and a health and fitness freak, and Che. The guide, Tess, is an interesting character in her own right as she manages to keep the group moving and talking and seems to have pitch perfect timing when she interrupts or changes the subject, or guides the discussion back on course.

I loved how the stories were unique, yet the threads all tied in together. There were so many deep themes to explore here such as the complex relationships between mother and daughter. What did you mother teach you? This question was posed to Che at one point and it was obvious that before this journey she had not given it a lot of thought, but has learned Diana did indeed pass something important along to her.

With love being the theme of these stories, the complex relationships between women and men is explored leaving the reader with the distinct feeling that love is complicated and there are no pat answers or solutions.

What do women really want in our relationships with men? To be accepted as we are, loved despite our flaws, to be given a choice, to make our own decisions?

The impact of fairy tales on our lives begs one to debate whether or not they are healthy or harmful in the end or do they have an underlying message we could all learn from? What is your favorite fairy tale and why?

Each tale touches on something in particular- lies we tell ourselves, lies we tell others, self-blame, secrets, lessons learned, wisdom gained, and finally honesty with oneself that leads to healing and understanding.

Some of the stories were stronger than others, some made me feel differently about the character after they divulged something personal about themselves. Some of them I respected more and in one instance a character really turned me off and I never warmed back up to them. But, over all I think each lady learned a little something from the other that will help them on whatever journey their lives take them on from here.

For Che, she will come away from this experience having learned something about her mother, her relationship with Ned, will learn to put things into perspective in her career, her drive for perfection, and maybe her whole life will no longer be contained on her cell phone. She will emerge as a hero of a sort, as an inspiration, and will have made an impression on those around her and in one special case, will have built an emotional bond with the most unlikely member of the group and maybe there could even be an love connection for Che in her future.

When all is said and done I feel very strongly that Che will be alright from now on. Her life took a turn off the beaten path but she made the best of it, even it wasn't her intention in the beginning, and will be better and stronger and happier because of it. This is an absorbing series of stories, well written and certainly thought provoking making it an excellent book club selection.

4.5 rounded to 5

When I was a kid I was so obsessed with books I used to check out four at a time from the library - that was the limit in the small NC town where I was raised - then walk down the street, sit under a tree, and read them as fast a I could so I could go back to get four more. I've always been obsessed with books.

Now I am the author of Love in Mid Air and the sequel The Unexpected Waltz, published by Gallery on June 8th. Love in Mid Air is told from the perspective of Elyse and her best friend Kelly picks up the tale in The Unexpected Waltz. Both books focus on women who reinvent themselves at midlife - who arrive at the ages of 40 or 50 and begin to seek a whole new direction for their lives. I see this in myself and so many of my friends and have always wondered why fiction tends to mostly tell the tales of twentysomethings - as if nothing interesting happens to women after that! I love following my feisty midlife heroines on their spiritual and romantic adventures and am now at work on my third novel in this vein, which will join a group of women as they travel the Canterbury trail in England, swapping stories as they walk.

I also write the City of Mystery series which includes City of Darkness, City of Light, City of Silence, City of Bells, and the upcoming Christmas novel, The Angel of Hever Castle. This series is set in the Victorian era and deals with another of my obsessions, the founding of the first forensics unit in Scotland Yard. My chief detective, Trevor Welles, struggles to be a modern man in an antiquated system.

I am the mother of two grown children and recently became a grandmother for the first time. (I highly recommend it!) My hobbies include ballroom dance, travel, and dogs

The Rake to Reveal Her by Julia Justiss- Review + Giveaway

Dominic Ransleigh lost more than his arm in battle—he lost his reason for living. Returning to his family seat, he shuns all society. If only his beautiful, plainspoken tenant, Theodora Branwell, wasn't so hard to ignore…

Since her fiancé's death on the battlefield, Theo's devoted herself to caring for soldiers' orphans. She's powerfully attracted to Dom, but knows all too well the consequences of temptation. Is Theo, who's survived so much, brave enough to reveal her secret to her handsome, wounded neighbor?


Thanks so much for joining us today at The Book Review!  It's always a pleasure to have you as our guest!


Dom’s book is about change—in his case, changing what he thought he was going to do with his life when the injuries he sustains at Waterloo make it impossible for him to pursue that goal any longer. Change is a scary, defining, generally unwelcome force in our lives, but it often leads us into doing and becoming something better and greater than we had envisioned. With the help of Theo, an unusual and remarkable woman, Dom finds his path to a new life.

In my teen years, I had a very small incident of life-change. My mom was a nurse, I had trained as a nurse’s aide, and the summer before my senior year of high school, I worked full-time on the evening shift at a local hospital. I was assigned to a unit for disturbed geriatric patients; those with a limited grip on reality—or the uncooperative—were bedded in this 10-patient unit.

One evening after dark, when the charge nurse was on her break, leaving me the only staff member in the unit, a patient called me to her bedside to help her get a drink of water. She was a fall risk and had been trying to get out of bed, so had been put in hand restraints (her hands were loosely bound at the wrists with gauze and tied to the bed rails so she couldn’t get up—something you can’t do any more.) She beckoned me to lean close to her face to put the straw to her lips, and then whispered, “Y’all have been so mean to me, after I die, I’m going to come back and haunt you.”

Her dark eyes glowed with malice as she glared at me. I was sixteen, all alone in the dark with a voodoo queen, me who had never done well with horror movies or scary stuff. The incident was disturbing enough that, combined with several other episodes that occurred that summer, I decided I didn’t have the internal fortitude to be a nurse and headed in another direction that eventually led to writing.

Dom’s reason for change was physical limitations rather than emotional ones, but whatever the cause, one defining moment can certainly send you off in another direction!

Have you ever experienced a dramatic “ah ha, I need to do something else moment?”

Share your thoughts on your change or change in general; one commenter will win a copy of THE RAKE TO REVEAL HER.


The Rake to Reveal Her (Ransleigh Rogues, #4)The Rake to Reveal Her by Julia Justiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Rake to Reveal Her by Julia Justiss is a 2015 Harlequin Historical publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Once more Julia Justiss writes a historical romance with depth, feeling, plus an inspiring story that will leave you feeling happy and uplifted.

War is just an awful thing, no matter what era of time or what the circumstances. The survivors suffer the aftermath in a number of ways. For Theo is was the heartbreak of losing her fiance, then the death of her father. For Dom it was coming back disfigured and without one of his arms. He was unable to enjoy his horses any longer, and all the activities he had once taken pleasure in no longer held any joy for him. So, he has retired to the country to recuperate and spend a little time alone.

But, a chance meeting with the unconventional Theo opens up a new world for Dom, but Theo also opens up his mind and his heart to this refreshing young lady and her work in caring for the orphans of soldiers. But, Theo has a secret, a secret so explosive it could undermine all her work, change Dom's opinion of her, and could result in the loss of a very special young man in life. Will Theo's secret be revealed? Will Dom turn his back on her? Or will he come to her rescue?

I love regency period romance that steps away from the marriage mart, balls, earls, dukes and all the rules of society. In this case we have Theo, a woman who has seen much and lost much, but who has a big heart, a straightforward and plain spoken manner, who has made a choice in taking in an orphaned child as her own that very could prevent her from marrying, since most men wouldn't consider to marriage to a woman with an orphaned child in tow.

The effect Theo has on Dom is incredible. She draws him out and gives him a new, loftier purpose in life. Dom also has a profound effect on Theo who is having a hard time giving her heart to someone again after her fiance's death.

This is a tender romance, featuring characters with charm, humor, and fortitude. These days I can't find too many regency era novels that employ this type of depth, and as always I thank any author who will adhere to the social and moral laws that were in place in this era, while giving her characters a more progressive thought process. The story is not overly angsty, but still builds tension and is proves true romance is not just about the physical display of affection. These characters show how the real power of love can have such a positive effect on each other and how that love spreads out to others who need love and support. I really enjoyed this novel and recommend it to lovers of regency romance, but also to anyone who enjoys a wonderful feel good story.

4.5 rounded to 5


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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ruby by Cynthia Bond- A Book Review

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city--the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village--all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.
My Review:

RubyRuby by Cynthia Bond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ruby by Cynthia Bond is a 2015 Hogarth publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss and Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Classified as Southern Gothic, this novel embodies the genre and breaths new life into a long ago abandoned form of writing. There is no question the writing here is absolutely beautiful, the prose lyrical, immediately capturing my attention and I was positive I would lose myself in this novel.

However, it should be noted that this book is very difficult to read due to the extreme graphic nature of the events depicted. As a student of the Gothic genre, I have come to learn what to expect in Southern Gothic, but even I had to put the book down and go back to reading something much lighter in tone. Some of these themes were explored too often and it became a distraction that took me out of the story completely. At one point I stopped reading the book and wondered if perhaps I should just leave it be indefinitely.

I decided to see it through to the end and was indeed happy to see the hard work Ephram put into saving Ruby was indeed paying off. I rooted for Ruby, I felt her pain, wanted her to recover, to live and be productive and see Ephram, really see him. I think there is triumph in this area, and still much work to be done.

In the end, I wondered if seeing Ruby form some kind of fortitude, gain strength, overcome real or imagined demons, fight the good fight, and all the rest was worth the harrowing journey it took to get to that point. I'm not sure I would go through it if I had known more about the intense graphic nature of the book. However, I have made it through to the other side now, breathing a huge sigh of relief, feeling that I was at least rewarded with hope for Ruby and will have faith that she will succeed for herself and on behalf of all her children. 3 stars

CYNTHIA BOND is a New York Times Best-Selling Author. Her novel RUBY was chosen to be an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection. RUBY was also a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and an Indie Next Pick. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Bond attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. Cynthia has taught writing to at-risk and homeless youth for over fifteen years, and is on staff at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. She is currently completing the second book in the RUBY Trilogy. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.