Friday, April 29, 2016

Mayday Mayday Mayday by Holly Schindler


In this installment of the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle we return to characters we met in Come December. Natalie and Damien are now engaged. Natalie's family and friends are less than happy with Natalie for becoming engaged to Damien after only 4 months. When Natalie starts hearing the warning of, "Mayday Mayday Mayday" within her mind she begins to question her decision as well. Is the warning coming from George? Is he warning her that she is about to make the worst mistake of her life?

Once again I enjoyed returning to the town of Finley! The bonus is getting a glimpse of what is happening with characters we have already met in the cycle. I love the legend of George visiting "those in need." There is definitely something magical about the town of Finley! I think it would be the perfect place to settle down in. Looking forward to the next installment!

Mayday Mayday Mayday is the 6th installment in the cycle. Each short story can stand alone, or you can start from the beginning with Come December.

Check out my reviews of the rest of the series:

Come December
January Thaw
Forget February
Dearest March
April's Promise




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Web of Secrets by Susan Sleeman


About the book:

Years ago Becca and her best friend Molly were held captive by a serial killer. Becca was able to escape, but has always felt guilty not knowing what happened to Molly. The killer was never found even after all of the information Becca was able to give the authorities. Having changed her identity, now an FBI agent, Becca has devoted her life to finding the serial killer known as Van Gogh. Having not killed in 16 years it seems that Van Gogh is back and Becca is determined that this time he will not get away.

My Thoughts:

WOW, WOW, WOW! From the first sentence of Web of Secrets I was hooked! And the suspense just kept on building! At one point the suspense was so intense that I had to close my Kindle, but then immediately had to pick it back up to find out what happened. In Web of Secrets the reader gets a peek into the killer's mind and motives. There are some definite dark and brutal passages in the book. I thought Connor was the perfect romantic interest for Becca's character. He was tender and yet firm with Becca and knew when to push and when to back off. Both were holding back secrets that were keeping them from exploring their feelings for each other which caused some frustrating moments while reading, but that only added to the tension of the read. Romantic suspense is my favorite genre to read and Susan Sleeman never disappoints!

On a personal note:

Check out the quote on the front of the book! Yes, that is a quote from yours truly!

Check out my reviews of the first two books:

Web of Deceit
Web of Shadows


Monday, April 25, 2016

Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren



For several years Odessa St. Clair has fought for every breath she has taken. Wracked with consumption Odessa's father sends her and her brother Dominic and her sister Moira  to Colorado to "chase the cure" as thousands of others  have done before her.

The sanatorium where Odessa stays is renowned for their progress with consumptives. Before long Odessa is able to meet her fellow consumptives. Bryce McAllan is a handsome young man, owner of a horse farm, convalescing and hoping to return to his horses soon. Sam is an older gentleman that likes to play matchmaker.

Dominic and Moira are settling into the town hoping to open a bookstore for their father's publishing company. It doesn't take long for them to meet the Sheriff and run into trouble. Sheriff Bannock has set his eyes on Moira and is determined to have her. Moira is not a woman to be owned though. Her only desire is to sing in front of an audience, but the men in her life seem to thwart her at every turn.

It doesn't take long for the three St. Clair's to realize that while Colorado has wonderful healing powers for Odessa, it also offers more danger than any of them anticipated.

I really liked the characters in Breathe. I liked that the St. Clair's were strong and independent. Even though they were young and had never been on their own before they each have a sense of who they are and have no desire to be run over by anyone or anything. Have you ever been afraid to turn the page in a book for fear of what will happen to the character next? That is the way I felt while reading Breathe! There were so many times that I needed to take a break because I was afraid of what was going to come next, but then found myself going back to it so I could find out! The characters were written so well that you could feel their emotions, which made it a bit hard to read where the Sheriff was concerned. From the moment he is introduced the reader knows there is something "not right" about him. His evilness leaps off the page and has the reader wishing that the St. Clair's can pack up bag and baggage and run!

Breathe is the first book in the Homeward Trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading Dominic and Moira's stories in Sing and Claim.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Birthstone Book Tag


I was tagged in The Birthstone Book Tag by Miranda Atchley at A Real Writer's Life blog. I thought it looked fun so was happy to participate. Here are my answers:

1: January
Garnet: Name a character that you think is evil/dark.

Villains scare me! You never know what they are going to do. Some evil and dark characters you can just feel as you read the book. The book I am currently reading(Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren) has a sheriff that is corrupt. Oh my, he scares me and I know the hammer is going to fall here pretty soon because I'm 85% into the book. The end is coming! It makes me bite my nails. I don't like this evil guy. I don't like characters that want to inflict pain on others. Another evil character is Carpathia(the anti-Christ) in the Left Behind books. Pure evil right there!

2: February
Amethyst: Name a book you think of as regal.

Can I change "regal" to epic? I'm not sure if you would consider Gone With The Wind regal, but it sure is epic and was the first book that came to mind when I read the instructions. I've read GWTW a couple of times and love it. There really is something regal about the era. Slavery and the Civil War were awful yes, but chivalry where men treated women with respect to me was something to be admired. 

3: March
Aquamarine: Name a character you think of as weak, or as more of a follower.

I have a feeling I might reference Pride and Prejudice a lot in this post. But I think of Mr. Collins as weak and a follower. He was very swayed by the wealth of others(especially Lady Catherine), and willing to kiss the feet of anyone that could further his self-importance. 

4: April
Diamond: Name a book that you love, but isn't very well known.

Christy by Catherine Marshal. I think the TV series made it popular for a time, but I don't know that many knew that it was actually a book. I loved it way better than the series and bring it out every now and then to re-read.

5: May
Emerald: Name two characters who balance each other out.

This is another reference to Pride and Prejudice. I think that Darcy and Elizabeth balance each other out well. He has a propensity to be proud and look down his nose at people and she seems more grounded even though she can be proud too. He elevates her and she helps him to be more grounded. 

6: June
Pearl: Name a character that is loyal.

You must read Lisa T. Bergren's Waterfall series! Luca is so loyal and soooo stinkin swoon-worthy(if you like swoon-worthy men). Anyway, yes, loyal! He was the first character that came to mind. 

7: July
Ruby: Name a book that aggravates you/ makes your blood boil.

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman. Honestly probably any book written by Julie has the potential to make my blood boil and have a character aggravate me. But Charity in this book had me wanting to throw the book across the room! I despised that girl! BUT as the title says "redeemed" was central to the story and Charity has become one of my book favorites :) If you haven't read Julie Lessman's books before please remedy that. Full of passion(with a purpose, Julie's tagline), and so full of Christ's redemption for her characters that start out unlovable, but worth seeing what the Lord can do with a contrite and broken spirit.

8: August
Peridot: Name a supporting character you preferred to the main character.

I think that Cazien stole the show in The Ryn and The Remedy by Serena Chase. While yes, Sir Julien was the main character heartthrob in these two books a small appearance by pirate Cazien De Pollis had fans clamoring for him to have his own story which Serena produced for us in The Seahorse Legacy. So in this case a supporting character eventually became a main character. If you haven't read this series...YOU MUST!

9: September
Sapphire: Name a book that you found to be calming.

I find a lot of books to be calming but especially old favorites that I tend to read over and over. There is something about reading a favorite that is calming and relaxing. My favorites to read over and over are the Twilight series(I know, why would a 50 year old woman be into that teen stuff? but it really is like a comfort food to me). I love to re-read the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson and the Californian series by Lori Wick. Those are all comfort books for me.

10: October

Opal: Name a book with a pretty cover.


I love the covers of both of these!

















11: November
Topaz: Name a book with a resilient protagonist.

I think I'm going to go with Miranda on this one. Cinder's character in Cinder is definitely resilient. Poor girl is practically falling apart(literally) and she still has gumption! And what about poor Iko? That poor character does literally fall apart and get put back together several times! 

12: December
Blue Zicron: Name a fictional friendship you would love to be a part of.

Ok, this is going to go back many many years to when I was a young girl. I always wanted to be a part of the Bob Whites in the Trixie Belden series. There were 7 in the club and I always thought it would be wonderful to have such good and close friends as those in the club. And to solve mysteries would be a bonus! 

So there you have it! Thanks again Miranda for tagging me! I enjoyed it!


Friday, April 22, 2016

A Castle in the Sky by Miranda Atchley: New Release


About The Book


In 1915, it is believed that there isn't much hope for a woman beyond marriage. Yet Abi Leigh Hensley, lover of the written word, believes otherwise. Growing up as the daughter of a wealthy lawyer in the gold mining town of San Francisco, Abi never felt like she fit in with her parents' stifled lifestyle. And though she's been raised to believe that her lot in life is to marry, she's always loved to read and write and has dreamt of being an author all her life. 

After her parents' failed attempt at an arranged marriage, Abi leaves the comfort of her wealthy upbringing in San Francisco to pursue her dreams of becoming an author in New York City, a city she has always loved. Excitement seems to loom around each corner, yet Abi may be in for than she bargained for.
Full of hopes, dreams and self-discovery, A Castle in the Sky is a novel fans of historical fiction are sure to love.

Book Excerpt

Merriam helped Abi into the new gown Mrs. Hensley had handpicked for the party. A nice midnight blue velvet, which Abi was rather fond of, with sapphires about the neck. Her mother had surprisingly given into letting her wear her hair in a pompadour, rather than another atrocious chignon, claiming she had grown bored of the new styles. Once Abi was dressed and her hair was styled, Merriam left to attend to the kitchen. Before slipping on the dreaded kid gloves and heels, Abi placed a few more tops and skirts into one of three suitcases she had laid on her closet floor. The other two contained books, manuscripts, short stories and journals she had kept, the earliest dating back to 1902 when she was just learning to write; the urge to put words on paper already strong.

"Abigail, are you nearly ready?" she heard her mother say from the hallway as she laid a pair of shoes in her clothing suitcase. She could hear her mother turning the brass doorknob. Quickly, Abi shut the closet door and turned to face her mother.

"Almost. I just need to put my gloves and shoes on."

Her mother stared at her for a moment, her steely gaze as cold as the ocean breeze on a winter night. "What were you doing in the closet?"

Abi panicked; sweat beading on her powdered brow, heart pounding in her chest. "Just making sure Aunt Penelope's things are where they ought to be."

Abi could tell her mother was skeptical and she felt sorry for her lie, but she didn't know what else to do. Mother slowly walked over to the closet and looked inside. Thank goodness I shut the suitcases, thought Abi.

With a shake of her head and a clack of her tongue, Mrs. Hensley shut the closet door. "It's time for the party, dear. Put on your gloves and shoes and come outside."

Mrs. Hensley walked out into the hallway, shutting the door behind her. Abi almost fell to the floor in relief as the door clicked shut. Her body was still shaking with nerves as she stepped into her shoes and slipped on her gloves. She knew the time would come soon enough when she'd have to tell her mother and father about her plans, but she wanted to put it off as long as possible.

Drawing in a deep breath, Abi left her room and walked out into the family portrait lined hallway, down the grand stair case, through the house and into the back yard, greeting family and friends as she went, the way her mother and father had always instructed her to. The vibrant green lawn was trimmed and manicured in pristine fashion, almost too perfect to be real. Everyone seemed cheerful as they sat at tables set out for the occasion, laughing, talking and drinking. The air had that feeling it has when something great is about to happen. Like freedom and dread charged with electricity.

She looked about for her friend and former maid to the Hensley's, Lizzy, though with disappointment, did not see her. She would have liked to have believed it was because the invitation had gotten lost in the mail, or perhaps Lizzy's son was feeling unwell and she couldn't leave him to come to the party. Yet Abi had a feeling that this was not the reason her dear friend was absent.

As she walked through the crowd, she spotted Jonathan speaking to another young lady. The two looked quite cozy, as the girl Abi thought to be one of her distant cousins fluttered her lashes like butterflies at Jonathan. He laughed and smiled and touched her hand. One could tell that Jonathan Smith really did think quite a lot of himself by the way he spoke and held himself. Abi didn't mind in the least to see him flirting with the girl; it actually made her feel somewhat relieved. It somehow seemed like it would lessen the blow when she she'd reject his proposal.

After a few rounds of dancing were held, Mr. and Mrs. Hensley took their place in front of the crowd and called its attention.

"First and foremost, we'd like to thank all of you for coming here this evening," said Mr. Hensley; Mrs. Hensley smiling and nodding in agreement. "As you all know, our daughter Abigail has come to an age in which she is to leave the home and make a family of her own. We are blessed to say that she has found the man who is fit to accompany her in this new endeavor. It is my pleasure to introduce to you Jonathan Smith."

The crowd clapped politely as Jonathan took his place next to Abi, her mother and father stepping back.

As the crowd grew silent, Jonathan dropped to the ground on one knee, taking Abi's dainty hand in his. Gazing upward at her face he said, "Abigail Hensley, will you marry me?"

She stared down at him, her mouth agape. All she could think was, "He doesn't even know my middle name." Weren't men supposed to use women's middle names when they proposed? Her own mother and father wanted her to marry a man who didn't know her middle name.

Giveaway
One winner will receive a free signed copy of A Castle in the Sky, a hair comb to match Abi's from the book, and a handwritten note from the author. The giveaway will begin April 19 and a winner will be drawn on April 26. (Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.)






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:

Miranda Atchley loves books of all sorts, but has always had a special place in her heart for historical fiction, and A Castle in the Sky is her first venture into the genre. Writing is her favorite thing to do A Real Writer's Life. When she isn't writing, you can usually find Miranda with her head in a book, taking a walk, or watching Downton Abbey at her home in Arkansas.
and she has published three contemporary young adult novels, and also writes the blog






Social Media Links

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Will, A Way, and a Wedding by Melody Carlson


Just when Daphne thinks that she may be getting close to fulfilling her aunt's will Jake has some news that will put a crimp in her hopes and dreams. Daphne's aunt left everything to Daphne provided that Daphne marry within a year of her aunts death. That year is quickly coming to a close and Daphne still is not any closer to marrying than she was at the beginning. Through many dating mishaps Daphne has had in the last year for one reason or another only one man has captured her attention. Her lawyer Jake. But now it seems that just when they find they have feelings for each other circumstances will separate them and Daphne is back to the beginning of her search  or risking losing everything.

My Thoughts:

I've been a fan of the Dear Daphne series from the beginning and have been waiting for this last book for a long time! I loved the outcome of Daphne's story, but the twists and turns to get there were about ready to do me in! One of my favorite things about Daphne's character is that she is honest. Both with herself and with others. Even though she knows she will lose her home and everything else that her aunt left her if she doesn't marry, she is not willing to marry just for the money. No matter how much pressure her friend Sabrina puts on her, Daphne is unwilling to compromise there. Another thing I like is how helpful Daphne is. She's willing to sacrifice her time and energy for friends, family and anyone else in need. She's just an all-around nice person. And that is what makes the reader stay invested in the story and want the Happily Ever After for her. The rest of the cast of characters are fun as well. Jake her lawyer/love interest, Mabel her adopted daughter who loves life to the fullest now that she is safe with Daphne, and Sabrina her quirky well-meaning friend and neighbor who is always ready to help Daphne further her quest for marriage with suggestions for whom to date, and an open pocket-book to help Daphne look like a knock-out when she goes on her dates. Each character is blessed in one way or another by Daphne, and her life is made much richer in having such close friends to carry her through life's bumps. The Dear Daphne series provided many laughs and tender moments and I highly recommend it to my readers.

Check out my reviews of the rest of the series:

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel
Dating, Dining, and Desperation
Home, Hearth, and the Holidays


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

INTERVIEW

I had the privilege of being interviewed by author Keli Gwyn on her blog today:



Head over to her blog and check out the fun interview in Keli's feature Meet the Reviewers. There is also a giveaway you can enter for a copy of Keli's newest book A HOME OF HER OWN which I reviewed HERE.

It was fun to chat back and forth with Keli while preparing the interview! If you haven't read any of her books you must check them out:

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California
Family Of Her Dreams