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September 3, 2016

The Rush by Laura Leigh Abby

cover of The Rush
At the first rush meeting of her sophomore year, Laura and her sisters meet Sam, a reckless and secretive transfer student who quickly has the sorority girls on edge. Determined to forge a friendship, Laura finds herself more powerfully drawn to Sam than she has ever been drawn to anyone—and, to add to her confusion, she’s not the only one. In this memoir of unexpected romance, Laura Leigh Abby channels the turbulence, absurdity, and seriousness of self-discovery, growing up, and reaching out, painting a picture recognizable to anyone who has ever been young and in love; it hurts.


Poignant, honest, raw ~ KatyMH

A quick read that...draws you right in. ~ Stephanie Klein

Loved this book! ~ Holly

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Buy The Rush at Amazon

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Hold on to Summer a Little Longer with These 4 Books

 by Susan Roberts

summer reading


Summer is drawing to a close, and it's time to send the kids back to school and light a fire in the fireplace.  But you can hold on to summer a little longer. Here are 4 books that you need to read before summer is over.

cover of Forever Beach
Forever Beach by Shelley Noble

WARNING: This is not a light, fluffy beach read despite the cover unless you want to sit on the hot beach, totally immersed in a book and crying your eyes out.

What this is, is a fantastic book about love and family and friendship. Sarah grew up in the foster care system and stayed there until she aged out at 18. She is in the process of adopting 4-year-old Leila until the girl's biological mother decides that she wants her back. Sarah tries to work within the system, despite the fact that Leila was returned to her mom twice in the past with disastrous results. Sarah gets through this with the help of her friend Karen, who understands the foster care system and her former case worker Reesa, who is close to burnout from all of the unimaginable things that she has seen on her job. There is also a light romance with a man who wants to be more to Sarah than she will allow him to be. Along with this, there is a dual story line about Sarah's best friend from her days in foster care who comes back into her life and causes lots of emotional pain.

From my brief description above, you can see that this isn't a light read, but it's a book that will make you think a lot about what it takes to make a family - more than blood - family is the people that you love and that you want in your life. Fantastic book!

Buy Forever Beach at Amazon
(A free book was provided by the publisher for this review)


cover The City Baker's Guide to Country Living
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Olivia (Livy) is a pastry chef and works in an elegant club in Boston. When she accidentally sets the club on fire with her baked Alaska, she does what she's done many times in the past - she runs away. This time, she runs to her best friend in Guthrie, Vermont, a small town where everyone knows their neighbor's business. Her friend convinces her to stay and to take a job at Maple Hill Inn. Once she starts the job, lots of fantastic characters become part of her life, and for the first time in her life, she begins to feel settled and happy. Will she remain feeling part of the community or will she run when the next crisis happens?

Along with some wonderful sounding food, the author throws music and dancing into the mix to make the story even more fun and enjoyable.

I really enjoyed this novel and I liked Livy and the other characters. I could almost smell the apple pie baking and the author rewards us with a great apple pie recipe.

Buy A City Baker's Guide to Country Living at Amazon
(A free galley was provided by NetGalley for a review)


cover of The Legacy of Us
The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino

The Legacy of Us is a multigenerational novel about 4 women and their connection to each other through a cameo necklace. Two of the women - Liz and Gabriella are the main characters and their stories are told in the most detail.

Liz is a 20 something jewelry designer who spends her time hanging out with her friends and looking for love (sometimes in the wrong places). When her grandmother Ella dies, Liz finds a cameo necklace and a diary in the desk that her grandmother left her. In the diary, Liz learns about her great-grandmother Gabriella and the man she was engaged to who gave her the cameo necklace. The book moves seamlessly through the stories from different generations.

I enjoyed this novel and the multigenerational stories. Even though the women lived vastly different lives, they were all strong willed women who were trying to find love and happiness in their lives. I also enjoyed the parts of the story that were set in Italy. The author did a fantastic job of describing the clothes and the Italian scenery.

Buy The Legacy of Us at Amazon


cover of Since She Went Away
Since She Went Away by David J. Bell

This was the first book that I've ready by David Bell and after reading it, I've ordered some of his earlier books. Since she Went Away is a suspense story that keeps the reader guessing until the end. The author has a lot of false clues that looked like they might lead to the answer and when they didn't the reader is back to trying to figure out the mystery. And the best part, the ending was a total surprise and was also very believable. I love reading a mystery/suspense book that keeps me guessing until the end.

Jenna is a single working mom with a 15-year-old son, Jared. Three months earlier, she decided to try to re-connect with her best friend who had drifted away. They planned to meet at the park at midnight where they used to hang out in high school. Jenna was 15 minutes late and Celia never showed up and hadn't been seen since. What happened to her and why all that was found was one expensive diamond earring becomes the main focus in Jenna's life. There is also a duel story line about her son and his first love who appears to be hiding secrets.

This is an exciting suspense novel that keeps you reading until the end.

Buy Since She Went Away at Amazon
(A free book was provided by GoodReads for this review)


Susan Roberts, Reviewer, lives in NC when she isn't away on a trip.  She and her husband enjoy travelling the world, gardening and helping take care of their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.


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September 2, 2016

All is Not Forgotten by @Wendy_Walker

cover of All is Not Forgotten
In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.




One of the best of 2016! ~ Barbara McArthur

Wow! What a page turner! ~ C. Mitcheltree

Intriguing edge-of-your-seat masterpiece ~ M

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Buy All is Not Forgotten at Amazon



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Writing Seasons

by Chris


As I sat down to write this month’s article, I have to admit I was a bit stumped. It’s not easy always thinking of new things to write essays about. So naturally, I spent a good few hours trawling through Facebook and the internet in general under the guise of searching for inspiration, when I was of course simply delaying having to think of anything to write. I found an amusing article on Millionaire’s Digest about how writers are the worst procrastinators, and only actually write anything when the deadline is nigh. It reminded me of a quote by one of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Then, as I was browsing through by Wordpress feeds, I came across another article at jackreusen.co.uk which made me stop and think for a moment. It’s really quite short and simple: author John Bray suggests that he looks forward to autumn because he finds it comforting and it makes the perfect setting for his novel, Jack Reusen and the Fey Flame. And it made me think about seasons, and the importance they play in the setting for many of the novels I’ve read, and in those I’m writing.

The Feeling of Seasons

In the majority of the northern and southern hemispheres, our lives are often shaped and defined by the weather that surrounds us, and the seasons that come and go. I can’t speak to the tropics as much, simply because my life has never led me to live there for any great period of time, but I certainly find comfort in the changing of the winds and the darkening and brightening of the days as autumn, winter, spring and summer all follow on from one another.

Now, everyone has varying opinions on what their favorite time of year is, but I think that many of us associate the different seasons with certain emotions, feelings, and memories. For me, winter is a dark and desolate place; the night dominates the day, and even the daylight itself shrinks away, leaving what little time there is in the sun a touch dimmer, and cold. When I think of winter, I think of darkness, of candles and fireplaces, of gray clouds and snow. It is the deepest depth of crippling depression, the fire in my soul flickering and threatening to go out. And bizarrely, I love it for this.

But just as winter threatens to overwhelm me with its darkness, a ray of light shines through: spring casts a sunny glow over the fields of snow, and slowly the cold recedes, the frost melts, and a blade of grass or a bluebell shows itself. Spring is a time of hope, of renewal, of trying again and making a fresh effort at life. The world around me lifts up, the skeletal trees clothe themselves again, and the fields that were not so long ago barren and deathly white flood with color, rouge on a resurrected corpse. Spring sometimes overwhelms me with positivity and threatens the native darkness in my heart—the relentlessly cheery friend who insists you buck up even when all the world is collapsing around you.

And then comes the dreadful heat of summer. Just as you think the world couldn’t get brighter, the sun bursts through the clouds and bears down on you with an intolerable intensity, threatening to burn you alive if only you would stay out long enough. The flowers wither, the dust blows, and the folk around you trudge onward with their heads down, waiting for the heat to dissipate. Sand gets everywhere, and your skin blisters. As you might be able to tell, I’m not a fan of summer.

Still, if summer is the worst time of year, it’s followed by certainly the best. Autumn, the season of cooler air, fading sunshine and dying trees, shedding their brilliant reds and golds as they prepare to return to the darkness from whence they came. The glory of the ending of the world burns fiercely and walks through the woods become not only tolerable but enjoyable. The time comes to light the first fires, boil up endless mugs of tea, and sit by the window watching the colors change. Even the rains and gloom of storm clouds bring a comfort with them, and the smell of earth and decay penetrates the soul, reminding you that all things must come to an end. I rather like autumn.

Seasons in Erâth

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that most of the settings in my series, The Redemption of Erâth, tend to focus around autumn and winter, avoiding spring and summer like the plague. The first book, Consolation, is primarily focused on winter, with much of the action taking place in snow-covered fields. Spring is mentioned, but not dwelled upon, and summer doesn’t make much of an appearance. This wasn’t necessarily a deliberate choice, but rather the consequence of writing a story that is essentially a giant metaphor for depression and despair. Interestingly, a story I’ve been working at on and off for many years, completely unrelated to The Redemption of Erâth, is set entirely in the last autumn and winter of a young girl’s life.

But the rest of the world of Erâth, which the hero sets out to discover in the second and third books, is not so lucky in its choice of seasons. Instead of the timely passage from spring into summer, and cycling through autumn and winter and back again, the world is covered in shadow. The people of Erâth haven’t seen the sun as far they can remember, and even when the clouds lift, they don’t break. This sets the world in a state of perpetual gloom and despair, and the folk that inhabit it have lost all hope and faith.

A great deal of my second book is set amongst various mountain ranges, the first being a lower range that remains below the clouds at all times. These mountains are filled with dangerous animals and beasts, on the hunt for our heroes as they travel valiantly to reach a grand city—only to find the city encompassed by an equal state of despair.

The second set of mountains they travel through, however, lead them ever higher and higher, and miraculously, they reach a pinnacle that stands out above the clouds, and our heroes see the sun for the first time in nearly a decade. This is why I chose the cover image of the second book to be a sea of clouds penetrated by snow-capped peaks: it’s one of the most pivotal moments of the story.

But below, the darkness remains, and the as the story continues, the questions becomes whether the world of Erâth will ever see the sunlight again. For me, this is an important world to create, because it so vividly represents my own life and the struggles of living with depression and despair. There are moments of sun, but they are brief, and eventually you have to descend below the clouds again. But, if we struggle long enough and hard enough … can the world be rid of darkness? Only time will tell.

Seasons in Other Books

I find it interesting to consider the setting, seasonally speaking, of other books as well. Many books, I think, are written in a ‘season-neutral’ tone—that is to say, the season in which the book takes place is irrelevant to the plot or story. Sometimes there might be a storm, or gathering clouds, but the turning of the days plays little part in the overall storyline. Sometimes this is because the book is in an urban setting, or perhaps the focus of the story is on romance, or mystery, and the time of year is more or less incidental. Yet sometimes even books where the outdoors and wilderness is important fail to explicitly mention seasons: I remember reading John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids when I was young, and although it is set in a primitive setting with much of the action taking place in woods and forests, I don’t recall much mention of the changing of seasons, falling leaves, or other seasonal affects (I may be wrong—it’s been many years since I read it).

However, there are other stories where the time of year is either linked to the plot, or forms a solid foundation for the main action of the tale. Sometimes these stories become inextricably linked to their season: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is a great example of a tale that not only is set in autumn, but arguably must be set in autumn, and has become nearly synonymous with Halloween and the general festivities of the fall.

Another book that is often linked to autumn and decay is Dracula by Bram Stoker. Told in the form of newspaper clippings and diary entries, the dates of the events are in fact incredibly specific, each prefaced by a date ranging from May through to November of the same year. What’s fascinating is that not only is the story linked to the changing of the year but as the climax grows and the story darkens, so too do the days grow shorter and the season darkens as well.

Yet another seasonal book, for me, is The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff (not related to Virginia Woolf). It’s a story that, despite my protestations of dislike for summer, actually reminds me of some of the good of that season. Set in Portland, Oregon—where I lived for a time as a child—it follows the life of a twelve-year-old girl over the course of a summer as she practices for and competes in a violin competition. It held my attention not only because of the deeps links to music (a passion of mine) but because of settings such as the Rose Gardens that are at their best during the warm of summer.

I could go on, but the point is that the setting in time, seasonally, can be just as important as the setting geographically. One of my favorite tales that intertwines both of these elements deftly into the plot is Doctor Zhivago, and the 1965 film by David Lean only enhances the feelings associated with long Russian winters and floral springs (despite being primarily filmed in Spain).

Seasons on Writers

Often, the seasons find their way into books because of their influence on the writer; sometimes writers find themselves more apt to actually write at all when the weather is right—whether that be on the beach in summer, or sitting by the fire on a cold winter’s night. For me, autumn and winter end up being my most productive times of the year, usually writing late into the night and deep into the darkness. Perhaps because of this, the stories I write tend to focus around these dark months, or at least take the dark months with them through the rest of the year (as in The Redemption of Erâth). And the weather outside can definitely influence the mood of the story.

Perhaps the most famous example of a book being born out of bad weather is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. In 1815 a massive volcano erupted in Indonesia, and the ash fallout caused cold temperatures and dismal weather for months after, leading to 1816 being referred to as ‘The Year Without a Summer’. Traveling through Europe with friends, Shelley ended up often confined to indoor activities due to the wretched weather and is often thought to be an inspiration for the horror of the story itself. This led to Shelley and her companions, including Lord Byron, to come up with a game of scaring each other with ghost stories, and eventually to the writing of their own, original stories.

The tone of the novel is entirely gloomy, filled with fright, terror, and murder. Although possibly not expressly stated in the novel, one can’t help reading it with thoughts of dark clouds overhead throughout. The very thought of sun and blue skies are inconceivable in the story, and this dreariness has become iconic in every representation of the creature and its story in the two hundred years since its publication.

While Frankenstein remains an example of a story clearly influenced by the weather under which it was written (or at least, conceived), I’m certain there are many other tales whose influence relates back to the season in which the author wrote the story. In fact, perhaps any story with strong elements of season and weather might owe their setting to the real-life environment of the author at the time of writing. After all, who isn’t affected by a warm summer day, or a dark autumn evening?

Ultimately, all stories must contend with their setting, and with the possible exception of science-fiction space tales, the environment of that setting is as equally important as the actual location in which the action takes place. Whether that be winter, spring, summer or autumn, some form of outside influence must be felt while reading, and while writing.

What are your favorite seasons for reading, and for writing? Are you looking forward to the colors of autumn and cozying up with a mug of something hot, or are you just waiting impatiently for the renewal of spring?


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September 1, 2016

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

cover A Vintage Affair
Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.

Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of elegant suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Mrs. Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the poignant tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.


A wonderful story. ~ Kathleen Hope

A charming read with heart and fabulous clothes! ~ Jewel Walker

Amazing page turner ~ Kelly Guerra

Start Reading:



Buy A Vintage Affair at Amazon

 


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Plans for Fall: Hot Drink, Cozy Blanket, and New Books


Summer may be characterized by blockbusters, but fall is one of abundance. There are plenty of books coming out this month to entertain you as you move indoors and curl up under a cozy blanket.

cover of Leave Me
International bestselling author Gayle Forman's trademark humor and insight abound in this masterful adult debut, showing us that sometimes you have to leave home in order to find it again.

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

Available September 6
Buy Leave Me at Amazon


cover of Hogwart short stories 1
No Muggle Prime Minister has ever set foot in the Ministry of Magic, for reasons most succinctly summed up by ex-Minister Dugald McPhail (term of office 1858-1865): “their puir wee braines couldnae cope wi’ it.”’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of power, politics and pesky poltergeists give you a glimpse into the darker side of the wizarding world, revealing the ruthless roots of Professor Umbridge, the lowdown on the Ministers for Magic and the history of the wizarding prison Azkaban. You will also delve deeper into Horace Slughorn’s early years as Potions master at Hogwarts - and his acquaintance with one Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Available September 6
Buy Short Stories from Hogwarts #1 at Amazon


cover of short stories from Hogawarts 2
‘Minerva was the Roman goddess of warriors and wisdom. William McGonagall is celebrated as the worst poet in British history. There was something irresistible to me about his name, and the idea that such a brilliant woman might be a distant relative of the buffoonish McGonagall.’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.

Available September 6
Buy Short Stories from Hogwarts #2 at Amazon


cover of Hogwarts
‘The Ministry of Magic felt strongly, however, that to construct an additional wizarding station in the middle of London would stretch even the Muggles’ notorious determination not to notice magic when it was exploding in front of their faces.’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide takes you on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll venture into the Hogwarts grounds, become better acquainted with its more permanent residents, learn more about lessons and discover secrets of the castle . . . all at the turn of a page.

Available September 6
Buy Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide at Amazon


cover of The 14th Colony
What happens if both the president and vice-president-elect die before taking the oath of office? The answer is far from certain—in fact, what follows would be nothing short of total political chaos.

Shot down over Siberia, ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, a man whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States.

Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin and another ex-KGB officer, this one a sleeper still embedded in the West, are headed overseas to Washington D.C. Noon on January 20th—Inauguration Day—is only hours away. A flaw in the Constitution, and an even more flawed presidential succession act, have opened the door to disaster and Zorin intends to exploit both weaknesses to their fullest.

Armed with a weapon leftover from the Cold War, one long thought to be just a myth, Zorin plans to attack. He’s aided by a shocking secret hidden in the archives of America’s oldest fraternal organization—the Society of Cincinnati—a group that once lent out its military savvy to presidents, including helping to formulate three invasion plans of what was intended to be America’s 14th colony—Canada.

In a race against the clock that starts in the frozen extremes of Russia and ultimately ends at the White House itself, Malone must not only battle Zorin, he must also confront a crippling fear that he’s long denied, but which now jeopardizes everything. Steve Berry’s trademark mix of history and speculation is all here in this provocative new thriller.

Available in paperback September 6
Buy The 14th Colony at Amazon


cover of The Last Mile
In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . .

THE LAST MILE
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

Available in paperback September 13
Buy The Last Mile at Amazon


cover of Spirits, Beignets, and a Bayou Biker Gang
Medium Pyper Rayne and her witch boyfriend Julius are on an impromptu getaway in southern Louisiana. The quaint bayou town has everything: a Victorian inn, a famous brew pub, the best beignets this side of the Mississippi. Oh and an infamous bayou biker gang.

When a ghost rider suddenly appears with clues to an unsolved kidnapping, Pyper and Julius find themselves smack in the middle of a crime ring. Only not everyone is who they seem. They’ll need to untangle the web of secrets and figure out who to trust before they risk everything… including their own lives.

Available September 18
Buy Spirits, Beignets, and a Bayou Biker Gang at Amazon


cover of The Wonder
In Emma Donoghue's latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels--a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

Available September 20
Buy The Wonder at Amazon


cover of Metaltown
Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.

Available September 20
Buy Metaltown at Amazon


cover of Shopping for an Heir
Gerald Wright works for billionaires. He never imagined he’d become one.

The former Navy Seal is a chauffeur by day, artist by night, so when hotter-than-ever ex-fiancée Suzanne Dayton interrupts his nude model sculpting class to serve him with inheritance paperwork from a man he’s never heard of, he assumes it’s a joke.

Turns out the joke’s on him. There’s just one catch. A big one.

And it might be Suzanne — in more ways than he ever dreamed.

Available September 20
Buy Shopping for an Heir at Amazon




cover of The Fever Code
Once there was a world’s end.

The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.

Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.

Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.

The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.

Now there are secrets.

There are lies.

And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.

This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.

All will be revealed.

A prequel to the worldwide Maze Runner phenomenon, The Fever Code is the book that holds all the answers. How did WICKED find the Gladers? Who are Group B? And what side are Thomas and Teresa really on? Lies will be exposed. Secrets will be uncovered. Loyalties will be proven. Fans will never see the truth coming.

Available September 27
Buy The Fever Code at Amazon



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August 31, 2016

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

cover The Light Between Oceans
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.
~Goodreads.com


A beautifully written and sensitively told story ~ Cathy G. Cole

Tragic tale of love gone wrong ~ Fairbanks Reader - Bonnie Brody

Poignant ~ Annie Knoedler


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Review: Writer's Retweet by Piers Anthony

by MK French

cover of Writer's Retweet
Writer's Retweet is a collection of five stories. The first three stories are joined together to form the story "Experiment," about Paula and Bigelow. They're caught up in a field of illusions, and help each other to see through them. They try to figure out who is causing them to see such vivid illusions, and ultimately wind up not only helping the ones that caused the illusions but trapping the enemy.

"Dull Street Incident" involves a reporter, who is trying to find an interesting hook about a rumor on Dull Street. He stumbles across an incident that was rumored to occur, but as he digs into it, he decides that publishing the story would do more harm than good. Interestingly enough, none of the characters in this story have a given name.

"Strange Fruit" begins with an odd fruit that Edith finds in the apartment she moves into. When it sprouts, she plants it and discovers that the blossoms emit a vapor that gives her magic powers when she inhales it. This allows her to explore the world of Lusion, and try to determine which world she belongs to, and where she would serve a purpose.

Piers Anthony is extremely prolific and has written in many genres, mostly science fiction and fantasy. He has a great grasp of language, a wicked sense of humor in his writing, and makes the ordinary out to be extremely likable.

He has moved to Dreaming Big Publications in order to exert more control over his writing, as he explains in the forward to this book. In addition, the title refers to the fact that the stories in this collection were all originally published as tweets online. They were collected here with only minor polishing and editing to allow for the usual story format and speech. Perhaps this is why some of the language is far more stilted than his usual work, and it's even more difficult for me to feel a connection with the characters.

It's great to see how Piers can use a new medium to tell his stories, and you see the outline for a great story in some of them. I think the stories would be even better if they had been fleshed out into longer or more detailed stories, but these were still a lot of fun to read. "Strange Fruit" is probably the best one of the stories, perhaps because it's a little more self-contained and doesn't feel like it's missing characterization or being rushed to the ending.

Buy Writer's Retweet at Amazon

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (94 pages)
published: August 2016 by Dream Big Publications
ISBN13: 9781535513319
genre: fantasy, short stories
source: publisher




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August 30, 2016

Butterfly Dreams by A. Meredith Walters

cover of Butterfly Dreams
In a powerful romance hailed as “heartbreaking, real, and breathtakingly beautiful” by Stacey Lynn, New York Times bestselling author A. Meredith Walters tells the story of a troubled young woman and the unforgettable guy who teaches her to live—and love—to the fullest.

She’s waiting to die. . . . Corin Thompson is paralyzed by her obsession with mortality. Having lost both of her parents, she is terrified by the idea that she too will die young, and she loses control at any sign of illness. But when Corin connects with someone who has survived a very real brush with death, she begins to see the world in a whole new way.

He’s learning to live. . . . As Corin struggles under the weight of her neuroses, Beckett Kingsley is attempting to rebuild a life that feels all too temporary. With the ever-present threat of heart failure never far from his mind, he just wants to make the most of whatever time he has left. And that means pursuing the girl he never expected to find.

Together, Corin and Beckett finally learn to let go of their fears and take solace in everyday pleasures. Who knows what the future holds? After all, nothing lasts forever—the only promise they have is right now.

A beautiful heartfelt story ~ Katie G.

Heart melting read! ~ KindleCousins

Fantastic! I loved it! ~ Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews

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3 Books to Pick Up This Week

by Susan Roberts

reading

There are a lot of great books coming in this week and next.  Here are reviews of several of my favorites.


cover of The Language of Sisters
The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb

I loved this book! I loved everything about it - the characters, the story line, the love and the wonderful sounding Russian foods that were discussed. Cathy Lamb has done it again and written a book with characters who won't soon be forgotten. This book has a little bit of everything - mystery (what was the secret that no one was supposed to discuss?), drama (will the trial end without Valerie being hurt or killed?), love (will Toni learn to love again?), food (what will the special be named at Svetlana's Kitchen tonight?). Most important of all it shows the love and connection between sisters and the entire Kozlovsky clan. The book made me laugh (I loved Svetlana and the food she cooked) and it made me cry (the things that happened to the family before they emigrated from Russian were difficult to read) but it was full of a fantastic family that I loved reading about and will remember long after the book is finished.  I highly recommend this book!

Available August 30
Buy The Language of Sisters at Amazon
(A free book was provided by NetGalley for this review)


cover of Saving Phoebe Murrow
Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Herta Feely's debut novel brings her readers a contemporary story about cyberbullying. I think this is a book that should be read by teenagers and their parents and discussed as a family. It's a real problem in today's social media controlled world and one that needs to come to an end.

Isabel is a modern mother - trying to balance her jobs as a lawyer, the mother to a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old, and a wife along with being on various committees at her daughter's school. She tries very hard to 'keep all the balls in the air' but frequently questions herself and her decisions. Phoebe, her 14-year-old daughter, is starting 9th grade at a private school and after having a bad school year the previous year due to bullying, she and her parents are hoping for the best. Phoebe wants her friends to like her, she wants a boyfriend and to be popular and she goes along with the crowd even when she knows it's wrong. In other words, she is a typical teenager. Despite her best efforts, Phoebe gets bullied again and the results are life altering.

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I thought that Phoebe was an interesting person and I found myself pulling for her to succeed. I didn't like several of the other characters especially Phoebe's dad. Bullying by the mean girls in school has always been a problem but social media allows it to be taken to a sinister level. Read this book and discuss the message with your teenagers.

Available September 2 
Buy Saving Phoebe Murrow at Amazon
(A free book was provided by NetGalley for this review)


cover of Karolina's TwinsKarolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina's Twins is a book about the Holocaust. Even though there is a modern day story line going on too, the primary story is about what happened to Lena Woodward in Poland before and during the dark days of WWII. At the start of the book, she approaches a lawyer and investigator to help her find the twins of her best friend from home. She had promised Karolina that she would find the babies after the war but had waited over 70 years to start looking for them. Even though they all feel that it may be impossible to find the babies after so many years, Catherine and Liam listen to the horrific story of her life and try to help her.

The book is very dark, as are all books about this time period, but there are also some bright spots in the modern story line. I found the characters interesting, especially Lena and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's one that you won't want to put down until the end.

My only complaint is that there is no mention in the blurbs for this book that it is part of a series. There are a lot of references to previous cases that Catherine and Liam worked on and it would have been nice to have read those books previous to this one. I plan to go back and read them now.

Available September 6
Buy Karolina's Twins at Amazon
(A free book was provided by BookBrowse for a review)


Susan Roberts, Reviewer, lives in NC when she isn't away on a trip.  She and her husband enjoy traveling the world, gardening and helping take care of their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.


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August 29, 2016

Review: Lights, Camera, Murder by Nikki Haverstock #MondayBlogs

By Elisa Hordon
cover of Lights, Camera, Murder (Reality TV Cozy Mysteries, #1)

What could be better than a cozy mystery set around a reality TV show full of Savvy Socialites? Nikki Haverstock had me rolling around laughing with Lights, Camera, Murder (Reality TV Cozy Mysteries, #1).

Melissa McBallister is wants nothing more than to be a famous author just like her mom. When a reality TV show is looking for a new cast member Melissa jumps at the chance to put herself out there. Well maybe not jumps at the chance, there may have been a bit of cajoling from her sister.

Once she says yes, Melissa begins to doubt she has done the right thing. She has, even more, doubts when the woman she replaced on the show ends up dead and Melissa is a suspect. She will do whatever it takes to prove her innocence and find the real killer. But will that get Melissa killed before then end?

Ryan Sethi is the handsome producer for the reality TV show. He is smart, gorgeous, and loyal particularly to his sister Rebecca. Rebecca wants to break into the TV business with Savvy Socialites as her starting show. Ryan is not completely convinced this show will be a winner but he will do anything for his sister. Once Ryan meets Melissa he becomes more confident that this show will work if he can just convince her to be on it. Ryan is smitten by Melissa and things could get interesting between these two.

Melissa's family is divided about her doing the reality TV show. Some of her family think it is just not like Melissa to choose to be on the show because she is so introverted.  Some of her family think the show would be great publicity for the family's new ski resort. Melissa thinks being on the show might give her the fodder she needs to write her first great literary work. Melissa adopts Bubbles the dog from an animal shelter and both become popular to fans of the reality TV show. Bubbles is a wonderful addition to the show.

Melissa is a great character. She is shy but also witty, smart, and gorgeous a great combination. She brought something extra to the show that was completely different to the other women. I am really looking forward to reading more about Melissa. I can see her character coming out of her shell more and more.

This cozy mystery had a bit of everything. It is lighthearted but still had a great thrilling mystery to it. There are great laugh out loud moments, some wonderful sweet moments, especially at the animal shelter, and there is even a hint of potential romance for future books. I really enjoyed the whole book and I am looking forward to more from this series. If you like Nikki Haverstock you may also like her Target Practice mysteries. They are a favourite of mine too.

Buy Lights, Camera, Murder at Amazon

Elisa Hordon, reviewer. Elisa lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia where she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and homeschooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance, and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.


Book info:
Available formats: ebook and print (228 pages)
Published: July 2016 Ranch Dog Entertainment, LLC
ISBN13: 9781234444444
Genre: cozy mystery




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Ghouls Rush In by @HPMallory #MondayBlogs

cover of Ghouls Rush In
Do you believe in love after life?

Looking for a fresh start, Peyton Clark becomes the proud owner of a piece of New Orleans history: an Antebellum-era two-story house in the Garden District. It’s going to take time and a fat wallet to restore the fixer-upper to its former glory, but after her recent divorce, Peyton could use the distraction.

It’s not long before Peyton discovers she’s moved into the haunted home of a flirtatious paranormal prankster. She’s receiving kisses from unseen lips and caresses from a ghostly hand, and soon she begins to have vivid dreams, bringing her face-to-face with the incomparably handsome ghost of Drake Montague.

When Peyton grows closer to her general contractor, Ryan Kelly—who is as charming as he is alive—the chill in the air could only suggest Drake’s jealousy from beyond the grave. But even though she’s definitely attracted to and interested in Ryan, Peyton also can’t get Drake out of her dreams, or her heart, as she begins to uncover the frightening truth behind his death a century ago…

Fun interesting summer read ~ K. Marble

Great plot, mystery, and characters! ~ Cheri

Excellent read! ~ Michael Forsberg

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Buy Ghouls Rush In at Amazon



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August 28, 2016

Red Right Hand by Levi Black

cover of Red Right Hand
Charlie Tristan Moore isn't a hero. She's a survivor. On a night when her demons from the past are triggered, she arrives home to something even more harrowing-an attack by three monstrous skinhounds, creatures straight out of nightmares. She fights but is outmatched. Just as hope seems lost, in sweeps The Man In Black, a rescuer even more monstrous and unlikely, dressed in a long, dark coat that seems to have a life of its own and with a black-bladed sword held in his terrible, red right hand.

Her rescue comes at a cost. She must become his new Acolyte and embrace a dark magick she never knew she had inside her. To ensure she gives it her all, he takes her friend and possible love, Daniel, in thrall as a hostage to her obedience. The Man in Black, a Lovecraftian chaos god, claims to be battling his brethren gods, other horrors who are staging an incipient apocalypse. But is he truly the lesser of all evils or merely killing off the competition? Either way, will Charlie be strong enough to save herself, Daniel, and possibly the entire world?

A solid action-packed horror novel ~ B. Haun

What an interesting book! ~ PenKay

Twisted, dark, and fun ~ Magic Door Bookshop

Listen Now:



Buy Red Right Hand at Amazon



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