Readers' Favorite

February 6, 2016

"Breathtaking" ~ The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann

cover The Moonlit Garden

Lilly Kaiser had come to terms with her solitary, uncomplicated life after becoming a young widow. So when a stranger delivers an old violin to her Berlin antiques shop and tells Lilly it belongs to her, she’s completely bewildered. Why should she be the one to inherit such an exquisite instrument?

Together with her best friend, Ellen, and handsome musicologist Gabriel Thornton, Lilly sets out to explore the violin’s legacy. From England to Italy to Indonesia, she follows its winding trail. Along the way, she learns of Rose Gallway, a beautiful woman of English and Sumatran descent who lived among Sumatra’s lush gardens more than a hundred years earlier. A celebrated and sought-after musician, Rose once owned Lilly’s violin and regularly played concerts for Sumatra’s colonial elite—until, one day, she simply disappeared.

As Lilly unravels the mystery behind Rose’s story—and uncovers other unexpected secrets—she’ll come to see her own life in an entirely new light. And as each shared discovery brings her closer to Gabriel, her heart might finally break its long-held silence.

Great read for music lovers and fans of historical fiction! ~ the ReviewNotes

Easy to read, kept you interested. ~ Ray

Marvelous mystery! ~ Cheryl L. Jones

Buy The Moonlit Garden at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 5, 2016

Power, Pricing and Control in Self-Publishing

by Chris

As some of you are aware, in November of 2011, I started creating a fictional world. I was inspired to take part in NaNoWriMo, which had been going on for a while at that point, by a good friend whom I had just left behind when I moved from England to the United States. This fictional world became the epic fantasy series I’m currently working on, The Redemption of Erâth. So far the series comprises of two published volumes, and a third coming out this February. The point of telling you this isn’t for self-promotion, but to give you some background into why I ended up doing what I did.

When I first started writing, it wasn’t with any particular idea of publishing in mind. I wrote it for myself, my friend, and my son, who was enjoying books like The Lord of the Rings at the time. But as the book progressed, I began to think that there might be other people out there who’d be interested in my book as well. Naturally, I started to think about the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing, which even five years ago was not what it is today.

I’m not setting out here to settle this difference—what works for one may not for another. Rather, I’d like to take a moment to discuss my own experiences, and the reason I ended up following the route that I did. Perhaps it can give some insight into the publishing world of today, from the point of view of an unestablished author.

iUniverse and Vanity Publishing

I completed the first draft of The Redemption of Erâth: Consolation in the middle of 2012. As I neared the conclusion of the book, my mind began to reach out to the possibility of actual publishing. I knew absolutely nothing about the publishing industry, of course, but I began to have dreams of seeing my book on library shelves, in the fantasy section at my local bookstore—even at the front door of Barnes & Noble! I started doing my online research, and discovered that most ‘publishers’ wouldn’t accept manuscripts, and that I’d have to go through an ‘agent’. And everything I read told me that landing an agent was a crapshoot at best.

In the sidebars of book websites and Google searches, though, I began to see advertisements for self-publishing companies. As I began to read about them, it sounded like a fast-track to a printed book—and I gave in to temptation. The first company I contacted was called Trafford, and they made a compelling argument for publishing with them: high-quality editing, industry contacts, and top-notch print quality. In the end, I ended up choosing to work with a company called iUniverse, as at the time they had some deal or another that brought their prices down.

One of the questions I’m often asked is why on earth I would pay to publish a book—surely you’re supposed to make money writing books, not spend it. The truth is I was naïve, hadn’t had good experiences with short-run print companies, and wanted something professional without the wait or the rejection. And I did get quite a bit for my money, the primary value being something they called an ‘editorial review’. Short of a professional edit, it highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the story, and made suggestions how to bring it in line with industry standards.

This editorial review was immensely helpful, but left me with a great deal of work to do nonetheless. Since they hadn’t actually edited the manuscript, I still ended up paying a professional editor to review the entire manuscript (something that everyone should do, by the way). During the writing phase, I had stayed up every night past midnight, typing madly away, exhausting myself for the sake of my craft. I thought that had been difficult, but it was nothing compared to the editing and review process.

Eventually—and it took two further years—I had the manuscript in a state that I was satisfied with, and qualified for iUniverse’s Editor’s Choice award—a distinction given to books that are of industry quality. I thought the day I held my book in my hands, the little award symbol on the spine, was the most exciting day of my life. Though I had been cautioned not to get my hopes up, I couldn’t help but dream of instant success. Success that, so far, has failed to materialize.

Nancy Chase and The Seventh Magpie

It turned out that writing a book was a walk in the park compared to selling a book. And marketing was something I had absolutely no experience with, and something iUniverse weren’t paid to do. I waited, day after day, month after month, for the sales to start … but they never did. So far I’ve sold less than thirty copies across all platforms, including digital and print, in almost two years. I felt like a failure; here was a project I had poured my life and soul into, and not one single person was interested in it.

The Seventh Magpie
While I was trying to get people to buy my book, another newcomer caught my eye. Through a Facebook writing group I became connected to Nancy Chase, who was working on a dark fairytale called The Seventh Magpie. Right away I was intrigued, by nothing more than the name. And then she started posting some of the illustrations that were to feature in her book, and I was hooked. The beautiful, black and white ink drawings of princes, ships and castles drew me into the world she was creating like nothing I’d ever known. Over the course of several months, I grew to anticipate the release of her book, and when it was finally done, I was one of the first people to devour her story. And oh my, was it good! Not only were the illustrations gorgeous underpinnings, but the fantasy, darkness and sadness were epic—in a book that was barely a hundred pages long.

But here’s the thing—Nancy has, in half as much time as I’ve had, sold over a thousand copies. It’s a number that is, to me, simply staggering, considering she self-published from start to finish, using the free resources that are available to every new author such as Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. I was humbled, inspired, and just a touch jealous. What did her story have that mine didn’t?

Over time, I’ve come to the realization that in fact, her story doesn’t possess any particular ‘magical’ quality that guaranteed its success. Although it is of course imaginative and well-written, it’s a different kind of story to mine. In terms of pure artistic value, our two books have equal merits in different areas. It wasn’t the writing, I believe, that helped Nancy. It was her marketing.

Both prior and after the release of her book, Nancy has spent a significant amount of her time on marketing her story, both to reviewers and distributors. And it isn’t a numbers game, necessarily; I have an equal number of Facebook likes on my author page, and a successful blog with over 2,000 subscribers. No, it’s a question of time, and to a lesser extent, money. Not how much, though—Nancy and I have probably spent equally in the course of our publications. Rather, it’s to do with being smart about it. If Nancy spent anything, it was on getting the book more widely noticed. I spent it on getting it made in the first place.

Writing the Second Book

I wasn’t idle while waiting for my book to take off like a New York Times bestseller; despite my disappointment with the first book’s sales, I knew that I had to continue the story. It’s something I suppose many writers face: do you continue, when it appears no one’s listening? For most of us, I suspect, the answer is yes; after all, no one was listening when we wrote the first word, were they? So while Consolation was failing spectacularly to sell, I was writing its sequel, Exile.

Into this second book went a great number of tips and tricks I’d learned from the first book, and in particular, my editor. The biggest concerns in the first book had been dialogue and flow. The characters spoke excessively proper, with nary a contraction in sight. I thought I was harking back to the style of the fantasy greats like Tolkien and Lewis, but I was actually just making my characters sound like stuck-up, pompous asses. As for flow, this was something easier to manage. I had been inspired in the first book to write along the lines of Dickens’ serial novels—a chapter a week, each one a mini story in itself. But it was too tidy; there were no cliffhangers, no reasons to want to read the next chapter.

All of this was fixed in the first book over time, of course, but it went much more naturally into the second. And here is where I again can’t understate the value of hiring an editor to go over your work. Beta readers and friends’ comments are fine, but no one is going to break it down to you in as real a way as someone whose job is getting books to be their best. My editor is exceptionally good at what she does (I met her through J.B. Lynn, another prolific and successful self-publishing author), and I value her opinion and input enormously.

I also learned from the first book that quality is preferable over quantity. Brevity is the soul of wit, so to speak. I cut the first book down from 110,000 words to a little under 100,000; the second book from over 150,000 to around 135,000. While this does still make the second book almost a hundred pages longer than the first, there is of course more content—more stuff happens.

And so I’ve learned from the past. And probably the biggest lesson was that, as much as you have to write for yourself, you also have to write for your audience. Going into the second book, I was able to bear this in mind and produce a story that, to me at least, is even more engaging and exciting than the first. This isn’t to say that I don’t like the first book—I actually love it. I think it has a small, homey feel to it. Exile, on the other hand, is as epic as you could ask for. And the remaining books of the series? They’re only going to get better.

Doing It On My Own

So now I’m at a point where I’m ready to launch the second book of the series, and I’m going it on my own. And of course, I couldn’t do it without the advances in technology that have come in the past ten—in fact, five—years. Print-on-demand services are coming cheaper every year; it only costs me around $10 per copy to produce Exile, and the book’s 500 pages long. But it isn’t only printing technology that’s made it possible to go it alone; whereas in the past I might have needed skill and knowledge in InDesign or Quark, now all I need is my Mac and Pages for all the formatting, layout and design that I could wish for.

One of the benefits of working with iUniverse is that they did, at least, give me some nice ideas for the internal layout of the book. They sucked when it came to cover design, but they came up with clever little graphics throughout the manuscript (e.g. flame icons to separate sections and start chapters), and I’ve borrowed this idea as I foray into my own design work.

The History of Erath
The first book I published myself through CreateSpace was the companion book, History of Erâth. I used trees and leaves as the graphic elements, and a lovely photo of a tree I took for the cover (the theme of the book is growth, life and death). For this book I didn’t do any particular marketing; I didn’t announce it, or sell it to anyone. I didn’t even ask for reviews. While this is partly because it’s an earlier work and rougher around the edges, it’s also because I was testing the waters. I wanted to see what was possible. And I discovered that I can produce a high-quality, low-cost book that I actually get to hold in my hands.

The good news about this is that with Exile, I’ll be able to pitch the book not only to reviewers and online digital retailers, but the production cost of the book means that I can reasonably expect local bookstores to consider stocking and selling it. After all, I can probably convince you to pay $10 for my book; I doubt you’ll part with $25. And I intend to do so: as soon as it’s launched, I’ll be heading down to my nearest local to show them what I’ve created.

And this gives me hope, ultimately; I feel safe in the knowledge that I don’t have to spend a fortune to make a book, and I don’t have to play the rejection game with agents and big-name publishers. Maybe one day I will, but for now, I’m happy to create what I’m working on and sell it on my own. I’m not in it for the big bucks; after all, Tolkienesque epic fantasy is hardly a mainstream market.

So where does this leave me? Well, it leaves me with three books, two self-published, and a world of possibilities ahead of me. I’m in full control of the design, the publication, the printing and the distribution of my work. I can set reasonable prices, and make the changes I want to change without needing someone else’s approval.

Having said that, there are things I learned from the process. Most important among them is the need for strong, ruthless editing—something you’re unlikely to be able to do yourself. It helps if your editor has worked in the industry, as they’re more likely to have a feel for what a strong, concise storyline is like (mine worked for Simon & Schuster). I think a lot of self-published books lack in quality not because the author can’t write, but because they can’t edit. I’d like to think my own books aren’t falling into that trap.

Still, there’s a lot of work ahead of me; I need to find consistently viable ways of marketing my work to as many people as possible, and ultimately convincing them to actually read what I’ve written. I’m convinced people will enjoy it if they do; after all, I’m writing the stories I’d want to read. But getting them to commit to it is a different story entirely. It’s not just a question of money; I’d offer my books for free if I thought it’d get people to read them. But somewhere in there is the magic combination of marketing and writing, and I’m on a mission to find it.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 4, 2016

Fun read ~ The Hitwoman Hires a Manny by JB Lynn

review by Donna Huber

The Hitwoman Hires a Manny

I love the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series by JB Lynn. Every book is a guarantee fun read. I love when I can spend the day reading one of these books. And that is exactly what I did with The Hitwoman Hires a Manny.

Katie comes home!

Though the Hitwoman series isn't your typical coming-of-age story, Maggie has done a lot of growing up over the course of this series. Especially in this book I think she had some real revelations about who she is and her part in the family.

I think one the truths Maggie is starting to realize has to do with our favorite red-headed cop Patrick. I know many readers (including myself) hoped that there would be a way for the two of them to be together despite Patrick having a wife and a second family. But his constant disappearing act is starting to wear thin on this reader and I think on Maggie, too.

However, there are plenty of other guys that I think have a thing for Maggie. Involvement with either one could possibly get messy.

First there is Jack Stern, crime reporter. He likes Maggie, but I'm not sure if he likes likes her. And I'm not sure how I like him just popping into her life when it suits him. I'm thinking he isn't relationship material even if Maggie gets a little swoony when he's around.

Then there is Angel, the manny for Katie, who happens to be a Delveccio. He wants nothing to do with his family's business. While he does seem to be the best candidate (and maybe the one I'm rooting for) for Maggie. But what happens when he finds out about her side job?

Speaking of side jobs. I was left with some questions at the end of this book. One, now that Katie is home and not in the expensive hospital, will Maggie need to continue to do jobs for the mob boss?

Two, is this series heading towards the end? While it will be sad to day good-bye to Maggie, it feels like the journey we started with her is coming to a natural conclusion. And I would be much happier with that than the dragging out the story or just adding filler to keep the series going forever.

Another question I was left with is a bit of a plot spoiler that I don't want to spoil for you, but it involves the animals. If you haven't read the series, Maggie talks to a lizard, a cat, and a dog and they talk back.

Buy The Hitwoman Hires a Manny at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook (217 pages)
published: October 2015
genres: cozy mystery, humor
source: purchases
read: January 2016

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 3, 2016

Stephen Swartz (@StephenSwartz1): Writing True Life

A Girl Called Wolf
A few days ago my fellow Myrddin author, Alison DeLuca, writer of YA fantasy and steampunk novels, mentioned to me a website called GIRL WHO READS. I had known of it from her past blogging but this time it was like a kick to my head because I was just then launching my latest novel which happens to be about a girl…yes, you guessed it: a girl who reads!

However, the circumstances are not quite what one would expect. This Inuit girl, Anuka (no last name), the protagonist/heroine of the story is based on a real person. I connected with “Anna Good” when she began tweeting and commenting about my 2014 vampire novel A DRY PATCH OF SKIN. As so often happens these days, we “friended” each other, and through that connection I gradually learned about her amazing life growing up in Greenland. I thought it would make a great novel; I told her she should write it. Anna started writing her story for the 2013 National Novel Writing Month competition but she could not make much progress. She declared she wasn’t really a writer but she did love to read. In fact, she is earning a degree in librarianship.

Anna was born on the east coast of Greenland where she was given the name Anuka, which means “wolf” in the Tunumiisut language. Unfortunately, she became an orphan at age 12 yet lived on her own for almost a year in that rugged landscape before being forced to seek food in a distant village. Once “captured” by the villagers, she was put with a family and made to go to school. From there, Anuka’s adventures lead her to the Children’s House, a Catholic orphanage in Nuuk, the capital. Without giving away too much more, Anuka eventually arrives in Canada to continue her adventures. (I explain more in this blog:

Despite being taught only by her mother, who is a shaman, Anuka learns the official Greenlandic language and some Danish before fate pushes her into learning to read English. She learns the language by reading the Classics. She loves books which to her are windows to other worlds, keys to unlocking her imagination—yet her imagination is not as vivid as the real episodes in her young life. And here is where Girl Who Reads comes in: There is a key scene at the Children’s House, when Anuka (renamed Anna by the Sisters) is given a book as a birthday gift from the Sisters. It is Jane Eyre by Emily Brontë. Suddenly Anna realizes the direction her life is going and decides to change it.

At sixteen years I was one of the oldest guests in the Children’s House, so Sister Margret gave me the job watching the younger children. Tuglik [another Inuit girl] got responsibilities, too. She helped the children bathe in the evenings. So we worked together. Then we slept, feeling so tired from our tasks during the day.
The Sisters thought I was good with children. They always told me. The children were happy being with me. I talked with them and we played games in the yard. I was good at herding them. The Sisters thought I could get a job as a teacher or be a child care helper at a school or in a rich Danish family’s house. I heard a clock ringing in my head. It was like that Jane Eyre’s life! She lived in an orphanage, too. Then she was hired to care for a child at a rich man’s house. Later she loved the old man because he was blind. Yet I could never love an old man.
The Sisters tried to take care of me but I always had to go out and climb a mountain. I had to play with dogs. I had to sit by the shore and stare far away. They understood me. I was like Maria in the film Music Sounds. Maria was a Sister, too, and she cared for the children at a rich man’s house. Then she married him! Just like Jane Eyre did with her rich old man. I wondered if that was my path, too. Like her, I wanted to belong someplace and find love with somebody. Having one special person to think about and be with every day seemed like the best thing.
As I mentioned above, Anna Good loves reading and plans to be a librarian. Quite remarkable given her humble beginning and many subsequent adventures. It was fun to collaborate with her. I blogged about the process we went through ( I asked her to break down major events at each place she lived, both good and not good. She told me as many details as she could and I fashioned a dramatic narrative as best I could in her “natural voice”. Then she would read what I wrote and suggest changes. Once finished, of course she read through the whole book and we tweaked it further, trying to shape a dramatic narrative more than getting every little real detail down right. At that point the book had ceased being her story and was becoming a universal story that only began with her actual experiences. For that reason and perhaps feeling a bit introverted, Anna chose not to be listed as co-author.

Writing a true story still has its hurdles. Not everything that actually happened fits into a good story and some things need to be left out. Other things can be combined just to smooth the flow of the reading or to be more clear to readers. On the other hand, a person’s life is full of events and actions we often would have rather not had happen. But that is life and what makes reading (and writing) a biography so compelling. Taking liberties is what I would call it; Anna approved them. The result is what we both hope is an intriguing and uplifting tale of strength, courage, and love in an often cruel world.

Buy A Girl Called Wolf at Amazon

About the Author

Stephen Swartz grew up in Kansas City where he was an avid reader of science-fiction and quickly began emulating his favorite authors. Since then, Stephen studied music in college and, like many writers, worked at a wide range of jobs: from French fry guy to soldier, to IRS clerk to TV station writer, before heading to Japan for several years of teaching English. Now Stephen is a Professor of English at a university in Oklahoma, where he teaches many kinds of writing. He still can be found obsessively writing his latest manuscript, usually late at night. 
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The views, beliefs, and opinions of guest writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 2, 2016

Addictive Storyline ~ Abandoned Soul by Doug Simpson

review by Claire Rees

Abandoned Souls

Dacque awoke with the standard jolt at the conclusion of his short dream. The clock read 4: 45. “Right on schedule, but that one was certainly an unusual dream,” he said out loud to himself as he tapped on the light on the nightstand. Picking up his trusty notepad and pen, he wrote down his most recent message from the Heavenly Powers. Before you go to bed this evening, make sure you leave one of the back doors of your automobile unlocked. Someone needs your protection.

Dacque is at it again, and this time round is just as interesting and fun as the last time.

In Abandoned Soul, Dacque gets his messages from up above via his dreams. They tell him to leave his car door open the following night and that he will find a young girl inside who is going to need his protection and guidance.

He of course follows the instructions and after him explaining to and persuading the runaway girl to follow him to his apartment he tries to prove to her about the messages and that  he was sent to help her. She is suspicious at first but soon realizes that he is genuine and an amazing person.

Dacque introduces her to all of the important people in his life, Dani, Jane and of course Rosie and her family who help to clothe Mary.

They soon become aware that Mary may be a part of their past lives and is very curious and open to the idea and so they set her on her journey to discovering her past lives to see if she is linked to any of them. What she finds out is shocking.

I have loved all of Doug Simpson's past books and this one was no different. I simply cannot get enough of Dacque and his life both past and present. I find the idea of this past life and reincarnation very interesting and love the way that the souls keep finding each other in all their lives although sometimes in very different ways. Dacque is by far one of my favorite fictional characters.

I recommend Abandoned Soul to all those who love a feel good book with a very addictive storyline.
I'm looking forward to reading book six.

Buy Abandoned Soul at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (176 pages)
published: January 2016 by 5 Prince Publishing and Books
ISBN13: 9781631121401
genre: fantasy

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 1, 2016

New Releases - February 2016 #MondayBlogs

Are you needing some new reading material? Check out some of the great books coming out this month.

Renovating the Richardsons

Things are finally starting to fall into a steady rhythm in the small town of Goose Creek, Kentucky. Millie Richardson is hard at work renovating a drafty Victorian house into a B&B. Her husband, Al, is busy writing checks for the renovations. And the new vet, Susan, has finally found acceptance from the town--not to mention a hunky new boyfriend, Justin.

But things never stay quiet for long in Goose Creek. The inner-county softball game is coming up, and Millie volunteers Al as team manager. But the softball team is a disaster. If they're not going to embarrass themselves in front of the whole of Franklin County, Al needs Justin to play. But Justin lives just outside the city limits, and the rules say that players must live in town.

As if that weren't enough to keep the town gossips busy, a massage therapist has come to town and opened up shop. Imagine--a massage parlor!--in Goose Creek! No decent Creeker will stand for it.

It's up to Al and Millie--again--to save the day.

Available February 1
Buy Renovating the Richardsons at Amazon

The Shadow

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel trilogy comes the hotly anticipated follow-up to The Raven, a sensual novel set in Florence featuring the dangerously intoxicating coupling of Raven and William…

Raven Wood’s vampyre prince has returned, pledging his love and promising justice for every wrong done to her. In the wake of their reunion, Raven is faced with a terrible decision—allow the Prince to wreak vengeance against the demons of her past, or persuade him to stay his hand. But there is far more at stake than Raven’s heart...

A shadow has fallen over the city of Florence. Ispettor Batelli will not rest until he uncovers Raven’s connection to the theft of the priceless art from the Uffizi Gallery. And while the Prince hunts a traitor who sabotages him at every turn, he finds himself the target of the vampyres’ mortal enemy.

As he wages a war on two fronts, he will need to keep his love for Raven secret, or risk exposing his greatest weakness...

Available February 2
Buy The Shadow at Amazon

Trace Evidence

A collection of four short stories based on the Virals series from New York Times bestselling authors, Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs!

Fans of the Virals series will be thrilled with this companion volume that includes three short stories originally published as eSpecials as well as an all-new, never-before-seen Virals adventure! Shift, Swipe, Shock and the new story Spike give further glimpses of the Virals' world as they work with Tory's famous great aunt, Temperance Brennan, to solve more mysteries, take look at where it all started before they became Virals, and get to the bottom of an attempted sabatoge at Kit and Whitney's wedding.

Available February 2
Buy Trace Evidence at Amazon

Leaving Yesterday

If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series! Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

Available February 9
Buy Leaving Yesterday at Amazon



Alisha had everything she ever wished for: a loving family, a career and friends who doted on her. But a late night at work, a cup of coffee, and a burning candle changed her life forever. Then Anis--a tall, dark, and handsome engineer, heir to his father's vast empire--walks back into her life. After a brief meeting a few years ago, she isn't sure he'll remember her. When he does, he wants to help her overcome her life-changing injuries. Has her accident scarred not only her skin, but also her soul?

Incandescence is a story of love and friendship in the face of disaster, and one young woman's quest to make the most of her new life.

Available February 14
Buy Incandescence at Amazon

Back Blast

From the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, comes an all-new explosive thriller featuring the lethal assassin known as the Gray Man…
Court Gentry was the CIA’s best agent. Until the day the Agency turned against him and put out a kill on sight order. That’s when the enigmatic international assassin called the Gray Man was born—and Court has been working for himself ever since

Now, Court is back in Washington looking for answers. He’s determined to find out what happened all those years ago that made the Agency turn against him. On his list to interrogate are his former partners and the men who sent him on his last mission. What he doesn’t realize is that the questions that arose from that mission are still reverberating in the U.S. intelligence community, and he’s stumbled onto a secret that powerful people want kept under wraps. And now, they have Court in their crosshairs.

Court Gentry is used to having people on his trail, but this time, it’s on U.S. soil—the last place he wants to be. Now, he’ll have to find the answers to his fate while evading capture…and avoiding death.

Available February 16
Buy Back Blast at Amazon

The Fragment

In the newest high-stakes historical thriller from master storyteller Davis Bunn, skepticism vies with faith amid the grit and grandeur of post-World-War-I Europe.

It’s 1923, and a resilient Paris is starting to recover from the ravages of World War I and the Spanish Flu Epidemic. Enter young Muriel Ross, an amateur American photographer tasked with documenting the antiques that her employer, U.S. Senator Tom Bryan, has traveled to France in order to acquire. Although she’s exhilarated to have escaped her parents and the confines of their stifling Virginia home, Muriel has lingering questions about why the senator has chosen her for this grand adventure. Nevertheless, she blossoms in her new surroundings, soaking up Parisian culture and capturing the sights and sounds of Paris on her camera.

But events take a dangerous turn when she discovers that the senator is on a mission far more momentous—and potentially deadly—than a mere shopping trip. At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senator Bryan asks Muriel to photograph an astonishing artifact: a piece of the True Cross, discovered by Empress Helena—a historical figure familiar to readers of The Pilgrim. When rumors surface that another fragment has been unearthed, Muriel becomes enmeshed in a covert international alliance dedicated to authenticating the fragment—and protecting it from those who will stop at nothing to steal and discredit it.

Available February 19
Buy The Fragment at Amazon

A Girl's Guide to Moving On

In this powerful and uplifting novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.

When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.

Available February 23
Buy A Girl's Guide to Moving On at Amazon


Exiled from his homeland, never to return, Brandyé Dui-Erâth finds himself lost in the wilderness on the coast of a black sea, with the influence of Darkness closing in around him. Here, he learns the true meaning of solitude, and begins to discover that he indeed has an influence on the world that is beyond the natural.

Soon, he finds he is not alone in the greater lands of Thaeìn, and is captured and taken in by the Cosari, a seafaring nation whose delight is in battle, glory and death. Thus begins a new chapter in Brandyé’s life, one that will lead him from the rocky islands of Cosar through the dangerous forests of the Trestaé Mountains, and ultimately to the greatest kingdom of men in all of Erâth.

Along the way he discovers old friends and new enemies, and learns ever more about the world of Erâth, its history and its future, and the role he has to play in its fate.

Available February 22
Buy The Redemption of Erâth: Exhile at Amazon

Country Bride Woodrose Mountain

Country Bride by Debbie Macomber

Luke Rivers is a man of his word.

He agrees to marry Kate Logan when she foolishly proposes to him—after one glass of champagne too many—at her former fiancé's wedding reception. And Luke, stubborn rancher that he is, refuses to renege on his promise.

Kate was devastated when the man she'd always loved married another woman, a newcomer to their Oregon town. But now, not only does Luke refuse to break their engagement, he insists that Kate doesn't love Clay—she actually loves him!

Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne

Brodie Thorne is a man who knows what he wants.

And that's Evie Blanchard, a physical therapist from LA who recently moved to Hope's Crossing, Colorado. He wants her to work with his injured daughter, Taryn. A wealthy, self-made man, Brodie will do anything to get Taryn the rehab she needs—and that includes convincing the reluctant Evie to move in with them.

Despite her vow to keep an emotional distance between them, Evie starts to fall for Brodie's adorable little girl…and for Brodie himself.

Available February 23
Buy Country Bride: Woodrose Mountain at Amazon


The best way to keep your word is never to give it.

Not long ago, in a chapel in Vegas, I swore to love Karissa for the rest of my days. But nobody's promised an infinite number of tomorrows. Nobody's promised forever. Sometimes, all we have left is today.

Carpe Diem
Seize the day.

It should've been over, we should've been happy, but people are making it hard for me to live in peace. I've got so much blood on my hands they'll never be clean, and somebody out there seems to want me to pay for it. Happily Ever After always comes at a cost, one any real man would be willing to pay. But that doesn't mean I'm just going to roll over and accept these consequences.

Because when it comes to the woman I love? The life I've fought for?

Nobody is safe.

Available February 23
Buy Target on Our Backs at Amazon

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January 31, 2016

"Lighthearted read" ~ Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

In the bestselling tradition of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner, Jenny Colgan's moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall

A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.

To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey--courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected--a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.

Includes 7 Recipes!

An exquisite read ~ Ammy Butler

Amazing ~ Rebecca Barnhart

Sweet little book ~ Kathy Clark

Buy Little Beach Street Bakery at Amazon

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