Saturday, February 28, 2015

Shattered Angel by Carrie Beckort

Published March 2, 2015 by Carrie Beckort

The choice between life and death should be an easy one. However, the life that I had been given—the life I’m being asked to go back to—makes death seem like a welcome reprieve.

Before I turned eight, my mother sold me. The man who bought me trained me for the life he expected me to live. For more than ten years I was held captive, beaten, tortured—shattered. There was one person who cared about me, and that gave me the strength to hold on to the small part of me that still existed. I finally escaped, only to learn that the hold of my past was stronger than the pull of my future.

Now he’s captured me again, and he’s given me a choice—life with him, or death.

I have 24 hours to decide.

My Thoughts…

Oh my gosh!  If you are looking for a book that will pull you in, tug at your heart, and leaving you spinning when it is done this is exactly the book for you.   I started this, not sure I could handle the idea of a child being sold at age eight, and was not able to put it down.  While the storyline is not an easy read, Carrie Beckort told the story in a way that showed compassion and love.  

Isaac is amazing.   He stands up to his dad, the man, and falls in love with Angel.   He goes above and beyond to protect her, putting himself in danger at every turn.  He understands things that most people will never know about.  He understands why Angel does not like to be touched, why she flinches at loud noises.    I am amazed at all he goes through to keep her safe and his reaction when things do not always work the way he thought they would.   

While this story line scares me, who wouldn’t be with the thought of selling children and training them to be sex slaves, I found myself unable to stop reading about the horrors Angel went through.   I also could not stop thinking about the story when I was away from the book.    I had to know if she would come out on top, ever be able to live a semi-normal life, or if she was destine to be lost in the sex slave world forever.   

I certainly recommend Shattered Angel.

Book Links
Amazon  |   iTunes   |   Barnes and Noble   |   Goodreads    

Friday, February 27, 2015

Seaside Secrets by Melissa Foster & Giveaway

The newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series, featuring a group of fun, sexy, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re funny, flawed, and will have you begging to enter their circle of friends. You met them in READ, WRITE, LOVE, (The Remingtons, Book 5), follow these friends on their search for forever love in the Seaside Summers series.

Tony Black is the hottest surfer on the planet. He travels the world throughout the year and spends his summers on Cape Cod with his friends, at the Seaside cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He’s got his choice of women, but Amy Maples is the one he wants. Fourteen years ago she was his for an entire summer, until a devastating accident changed everything, and what they had seemed like it had never existed—at least for her.

Amy Maples is as consistent as the day is long. She’s spent summers on Cape Cod forever, she always does the right thing, and she’s spent years trying to reclaim the heart of Tony Black, the only man she’s ever loved. She’s back for a summer of fun with her friends at Seaside, only this year she’s been offered the opportunity of a lifetime thousands of miles away, and she’s decided to try one last time to reconnect with Tony. But having a relationship with Tony means dealing with her past—and dealing with her past may knock her to her knees.

My Thoughts…

Of course, I loved this book.    Since the first book in the Seaside part of this series I have wanted Amy to find her happy ending and hoped it was with Tony.    As the quieter and more down to earth member of the group she needed the little pushes that the other girls gave her to go for what she wanted and not give up.   

Even after reading the other books in this series, I am still in awe of the depth of the friendships of the Cape Girls.   When Amy finally shares her secret, oh what a secret it is, the girls are honest with their feelings, but never let that stand between their friendships.    They accept what Amy has to tell and give her more support than is actually possible, all without missing a step in their friendship.   I know this is a book about Tony and Amy’s romance, but the friendships stand out so much to me.  

Now, let me tell you about the romance.   Oh My Gosh!!  Steamy, sweet, sexy, and so good.   This is a story of love withstanding time.   Amy and Tony have made google eyes at each other since Amy was six, and now as adults they are still making eyes at each other.   I love that they decide to have a relationship, go out on dates, and enjoy each other before jumping into bed.  Although the jumping into bed part was exactly what both of them deserved, especially Amy after her revelation to Tony. 

As with every other book Melissa Foster has written, I cannot wait to be able to share this with my friends.    Everyone I have recommended Melissa Foster to has fallen in love with this series.   I cannot possibly recommend it enough.   

SEASIDE SUMMERS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series
**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from...... 

About Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. 

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa at The World Literary Cafe or her personal website.Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Six Months to Get a Life By Ben Adams PROMO POST

Newly divorced father Graham Hope is on the verge of a mid-life crisis and in fear of never having sex again. Faced with a desolate future he sets a deadline to turn his life around in this hilarious and heartwarming novel inspired by the author’s own break-up.

Finally liberated from the shackles of his unhappy marriage, Graham Hope is ready to embark upon a new life of carefree dating and unbridled fun. But before he knows it, his days are filled with endless TV soap operas and battling to engage with his two reluctant adolescent sons. Middle-age is looming and Graham has little to show for it; finding his happy ending is clearly going to be much tougher than he thought. Armed with a false confidence bolstered more by beer than true self belief, Graham sets himself a secret challenge to turn his life around by his 43rd birthday. But with B-Day only six months away, will Graham succeed in his quest for happiness and fulfillment? And more importantly, will he ever have sex again?

Six Month’s to Get a Life follows Graham Hope on his half-year adventure to discover life — and love — after divorce. Written in diary form, we follow Graham from the abject misery of his eccentric and meddling parents’ spare bedroom, to the relative highs of regaining his independence. Graham’s emotions ricochet, not unlike his young sons’, between anger and elation, desperation and determination, but with the support of his friends — well, those he was allowed to keep after the divorce — he manages to push himself into trying exciting new things. Graham’s zest for life leads to some priceless and often farcical moments; from twerking in night-clubs to taking fashion tips from his kids. But no sooner than Graham starts to find his feet, he learns that along with complacency may come imminent disaster.

 Having survived his own separation and the accompanying administrative and emotional maelstrom, father-of-two Ben Adams turned to writing as a catharsis. He brings a refreshing realism and depth to the character of Graham Hope, a man galvanized into positive action in the face of personal adversity. No-nonsense, full of belly laughs and moments of real pathos, and underscored throughout by a delicious, acerbic wit, Six Month’s to Get a Life reveals Ben Adams as an exciting new male voice in commercial fiction.

Book Links

About the author: Based in south-west London, Ben Adams has spent the past two decades working within local government service sector. In his spare time, Ben loves writing and spending time with his two sons and their dog, Albus. Six Months To Get a Life by Ben Adams (published by Clink Street Publishing RRP $10.99 paperback, RRP $3.82 ebook) is available online from 21st January 2015 from retailers including and can be ordered from all good bookstores. For more information, please visit or follow his exploits on Twitter @BenAdamsAuthor

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life To My Flight by Lani Lynn Vale PROMO

I have read many of Lani Lynn Vale's books.  When I hear a new one is coming out I am always excited and anxious to get my hands on it.  Life to My Flight is coming out on March 5th.  I cannot wait!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

You’re The Life

Cleo’s a Pararescueman for the U.S. Air Force. When a PJ is called, it’s because everyone else has said no. It’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the entire military, but also one of the most rewarding. It’s the reason he doesn’t form relationships. He’s seen his teammates divorce one by one, and he doesn’t want to do that to a woman. Especially one that he’s supposed to love. However, nowhere in his grand scheme did he plan for the force that was Rue.

To My

Rue’s life has been rough. What she needs is a break. One that’ll distract her from the fact that she’s drowning in responsibility. It comes in the form of a dark and dangerous biker who has a habit of putting his life on the line. He gives her the world, and she holds on with both hands, knowing that he only wants to be friends. Or does he?


Thinking she knows what’s best, she pushes him too far, causing his control to take flight, and Cleo to disappear before the dust settles. One night of passion turns into a year of heartbreak as Rue tries to find the ability to move on from Cleo. He was pretty clear with his wishes, and they didn’t include her.
Cleo’s not through with Rue, though. Not even a little bit. She’ll be his. All it’ll take is a little bit of…persuasion. 

Amazon US:   |    Amazon CA:   |     Amazon AU:   |   Amazon UK:   |   Goodreads
Photographer:  Furiousfotog
Model:  Nick Bennett

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best Women’s Erotica 2015 by Violet Blue

Published January 13, 2015 by Cleiss Press

Women and desire are the focus of this lust-filled literary exploration. Violet Blue has her finger on the pulse of sex and culture today and is an in-demand sexpert sought after by the likes of Dan Savage, Forbes Magazine, Oprah Winfrey and everyone in between. There is no more in tune with what women want and, especially, what female readers want. Love, romance, and risk run rampant in this volume, expertly curated by Violet Blue, and she leaves no holds barred in stories that will steam up your reading glasses. From first time encounters to break-up sex, couples rekindling their spark and long-time partners engaging in game-changing experimentation, Best Women's Erotica 2015 guarantees the best erotica for women of the year (if not the decade).

My Thoughts…

Erotic fiction is not for everyone.   I like my erotic classy and fun.   In this collection of short erotic stories the reader will find first times, break-up, make-up, same sex, rekindling, and game play; just to name a few.  

Since this book was a printed copy for me, I kept it locked up in my bedroom.  It is not for faint of heart or those who are innocent.    It is an adult story book, with only adult themes.    I was not even comfortable taking it out of my house and into public.     I know which friends I have that will enjoy this and cannot wait to discuss some of the short stories after they have read it.  

While many of the stories fall in what I would consider classy, there were a few that I had to skip.   I don’t feel bad about that, I accept that everyone has different tastes and what I enjoy reading is not always what others enjoy.  
I liked that Best Women’s Erotica is a great collection of stories.   It is easy to pick up, read a few, and then put it down.   I actually found that when I read only one or two at a time I enjoyed them even more.    I was able to pick up another book, totally different, and break up my reading time between the two books.   

This is a book I will recommend by erotic readers check out.  

Book Links
Amazon   |   Goodreads     |  Barnes and Noble

Monday, February 23, 2015

Accept This Dandelion by Brooke Williams

Published February 4, 2015 by Prism Book Group

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host on a nearby secular station. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of “the Bachelor,” Renee goes along with it in order to raise her profile. Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition. Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee. He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. Enjoy a local version of the popular "Bachelor" TV show...where nothing can go right for Renee!

My Thoughts…

Oh, how I love the Bachelor.   I know it is a silly show, who goes on live TV and dates many girls just to find their true love.  Yet, I still tune in (or DVR it) every week.    When Accept This Dandelion showed up in my emails I knew I had to read it.    I am not sorry I did. 

Let’s start with the bachelor, oh Ben.   I picture him meeting the girls, have a cocktail party, and trying to figure out how you are going to come out alive with a dozen women all wanting and demanding your attention.   While he may not believe he will find love on this show, at least he knows what he wants.   He wants love, he wants a real relationship, and he is willing to send the girls who are not interested home.    Then he meets Renee Lockhart.  

Renee Lockhart.  I truly believe that anyone who meets her has their life changed forever.   Her klutziness, her truthfulness, and her open heart all endear her to Ben.   I cannot imagine how you deal with the man you falling for dating other people.  I understood her self doubt, her jealousy, and her wanting to be honest.  

Accept This Dandelion is exactly what I hoped it would be.   It is a light, fun, and easy book.   I laughed out loud many times, chuckled a few other, and thoroughly enjoyed this story.    I will recommend it.

Book Links

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fudge Berries and Frog Knickers by Lynda Renham

Published February 14, 2015 by Raucous Publishing

Poppy Wellesley is rich. In fact Poppy Wellesley is very rich, so when her fortunes change from riches to rags Poppy has to start a whole new life. Put yourself in her Guccis as she swaps her penthouse apartment for a run-down houseboat on Regent’s Canal. Meet her dippy friend Chelsea, the infamous Jack Diamond (see The Dog’s Bollocks) and her hunky boat neighbour, Taylor. Will Poppy hold on to her millionaire fiancé or will Pug-face Pandora steal him from her? Can she avoid the advances from Balls (Lord Balthazar Wyndham-Price) or does she find true love on the canal? Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers is a romantic comedy roller coaster ride that will put a smile on your face and a cheer in your heart.

My Thoughts….

I have read many of Lynda Renham’s books.  This is by far my favorite so far.   Instead of being your typical rags to riches story, this is the exact opposite.  Can you imagine living in a high rent area then being forced to live on a boat (not a yacht)?   I loved the twist and it not being the same ole same ole story. 

The characters made me laugh, the dialogues had made me giggling, and the entire story made me smile.   Taylor is my favorite character.   He is kept such a secret in the story.   Lynda keeps him mysterious and sexy.  I love how he just sweeps in and saves Poppy so many times, yet Poppy doesn’t see him as anything but a savior for the longest time.    I also love how Taylor realizes Poppy is a little (okay a lot) into herself and doesn’t hold that against her.   Then there is Chelsea.  She came across to me as the ditzy friend.   She opens her mouth without thinking, sticks her nose into everyone’s issues, yet everyone loves her. 

If you are looking for a fun and easy read Fudge Berries and Frog Knickers is what you are looking for.   This is the perfect book.   

Book Links

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tight by Alessandra Torre

Published February 7, 2015 by Alessandra Torre

I was happy in my small town. In my life as a single, thirty-two year old woman. I had a good job, wonderful friends, my independence.

I also hadn't been laid in three years. Hadn't been on a date in two. Had stopped counting calories and wearing makeup... a while ago.

Then Brett Jacobs waltzed in. Caressed my thigh, dug rough fingers into my hair, lowered his soft mouth to my skin, took sexual control of my mind and stirred it all around with what he packed in his pants. He flipped my quiet life upside down and crawled into a place in my heart I thought was dead.

The issue is his secret.
The issue is her.
The issue is that I don't even know she exists, and he thinks she's dead.
The issue is that shit is about to hit the fan and I can't hold on to him tight enough. 

My Thoughts…

Holy Heat!!!  I started this early one snowy morning, hoping that it would keep me entertained and maybe a little heated on this cold wintery day           ( we got 11.5 inches of snow overnight).  Tight did just that.   It kept me reading, kept me connected to my tablet, and totally heated.  

I was on the edge of my seat this entire book.   I thought I knew what was happening, I thought I knew what Brett’s secret was, and I thought I knew who Riley was.   I was wrong!   Entirely wrong.   I could not believe when I reached the end of the book what was happening.   The endings that surprise are usually the best ones.    Alessandra Torre is a pro at writing this type of story.  

The best stories are the ones that make me wake up, the ones that make me feel, and the ones that play like a movie in my mind as I read.    That is exactly what Tight did to me.   There is intrigue, suspense, hot scenes, and love.   Lots of love.  

Alessandra Torre is always good for a book that will capture the reader from page one and not let go until the story is done.   I definitely recommend Tight.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Streets of Mayhem by John W. Mefford and GIVEAWAY

On a cool October afternoon, the majestic blue sky above Dallas is polluted with swells of gray smoke, carrying shattered memories of fifteen people, mostly children, who've just been killed by an explosion on a bus.

A white supremacist group claims responsibility, opening old wounds, turning neighbor against neighbor--fracturing the community. A Southeast Dallas native, Booker T. Adams couldn't be more invested in the city…in the people he'd served for the last seven years as a beat cop for the Dallas Police Department. Without warning, it becomes personal for Booker on so many levels. And as panic grips the city, he must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice to end the chaos.

With his career called into question and his family in the crosshairs of one terrorist act after another, Booker invests every fiber of his being to protect a broken community, and to stop the brutal, senseless slayings.

If he fails, terrorism will reign in the city of Dallas.

My Thoughts…

Streets of Mayhem played out as I read it like a 50’s/60’s TV drama.   I could see them men in blue racing to the scene of each crime with the red and blue lights twirling on top of the old time police cars.    I do realize the gadgets and technology is from the current timeframe, but I guess I just over looked that when picturing the different scenes.   I love a good police drama and this was a fun read for me. 

Booker is a great character.  He is diverse.  Being a multi cultural police officer working up the ranks of the Dallas Police Department made him very interesting to me.   He was able to relate to the many sides affected by the bombings.   I enjoyed how he was able to figure out more clues and the reasoning behind the crimes than the officers assigned to work the cases.     I would like to know more about his PI business.  I felt like this was sometimes a distraction from the bombings and could almost have done without it.    The two cases did not go together as smooth as I had hoped they would have.

There were many typos and corrections in the grammar that could be made, but overall I enjoyed this story and look forward to more from John Mefford .

Book available from...    Barnes and Noble    Kobo    Apple   

About the Author
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Housewitch by Katie Schickel

Published February 17, 2015 by Forge Books

Allison Darling, former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, desperately wants to fit in with the organic latte drinking, hundred-dollar-yoga-pants-wearing moms who run Monrovia, her charming seaside village. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children. When the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most charismatic and powerful women in town, recruits Allison, she jumps at the invitation. The Glamor Girls have a hand in everything in Monrovia, from bake sales to business deals. This is what Allison’s wanted her whole life—to be liked. To be popular. To belong. After Allison’s estranged mother passes away, she learns her family’s heartbreaking legacy and the secret Allison’s been fighting to suppress all her life emerges: she’s a witch. What’s more, she’s not the only one in town. There’s more to the Glamour Girls then it seems… and once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back. Allison must use her rediscovered magic to defend Monrovia, protect her marriage and her children, and reclaim her legacy. Fighting tooth and nail for her family is easy, but what about for herself? Is it too late to confront her own demons and become the woman she dreams of being? 

 My Thoughts…

Oh my witches!    This is the cutest, most fun book I have read in a very long time.    The town of Monrovia is interesting.  I knew right away something was off.   There is no way that a town can be that “perfect.”   It took me a lot of reading to start putting the clues together.  I am glad that Katie Schickel did not give it all away too quickly and made the reader work for the answers.    As the clues started falling into place I could not wait to keep reading and find out how the story would end.  

The movement from past to present was seamless.     There was no real break in the story as the same characters were in both parts.  I enjoyed learning the history of Allison and her family.   The surprises in who was who and how they were all related surprised me sometimes, but it all made sense as more of the history was shared.    The witchcraft part of the story was told perfectly in both parts of the story and made total sense.   It was not way out there or making me think “no way.” 

My favorite character (yes I am crazy) is Freya.   I loved her spunk and attitude.    Her belief in herself and what she is doing is so strong who could possibly disagree with her?   The clues to what happen to Freya were buried in the chapters and took some time for me to put together.    I actually gasped out loud when it finally came together.  It was truly my ah-ha moment with this book.   
I definitely recommend The Housewitch for anyone looking for a great read.  

Book Links
Amazon   |   Goodreads

What others are saying…

“An unforgettable cast of characters and a powerful story about family, secrets, and magic. A magical, beautifully entertaining debut.” — Suzanne Palmieri, author of The Witch of Belladonna Bay

“In the spirit of John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick and Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, Schickel casts a spell all her own. Housewitch takes us deep inside the darks arts of twenty-first century motherhood and sparkles with unexpected magic.” — Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author of The Starboard Sea

“Positively enchanted me from the first page to the last. Perfectly paced, witty, and sharply observant. This is a don’t-miss debut by a writer to watch.” — Meg Mitchell Moore, author of So Far Away


KATIE SCHICKEL graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in English. A former newspaper reporter, Schickel's writing career and passion for scuba diving has taken her to Pensacola and Key West, FL, as well as throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. She has been a freelancer for several scuba magazines, including Scuba Times Magazine and Outside Magazine. Schickel lives in Massachusetts where she spends her time writing and with family. When she’s not doing that, Schickel also surfs the chilly waters of New England, even in the winter. HOUSEWITCH is her first novel.


Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1993 and committed (although not limited) to thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction and general fiction. Forge includes books by bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Douglas Preston, Eric Lustbader, W. Bruce Cameron and Ralph Peters. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is also the home of award-winning Tor Books, which annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Jump, Jive, and Wail by Kathryn R. Biel

Published January 29, 014 by Kathryn R Biel

Kaitlin Reynolds is used to fearlessly flying off mountains. But nearly two years after a devastating injury has ended her ski jumping career, Kaitlin is still struggling to put one foot in front of the other and find her new life. A chance meeting with a handsome stranger begins to put life into perspective. Dashing figure skater, Declan McLoughlin has just returned from the Olympics amid a swirl of publicity and fan fare. Just as Kaitlin begins to have hope again, her charming savior turns out to represent everything she has lost. If Kaitlin can just let go of the past and take a leap of faith, will she find herself soaring into Declan's arms?

My Thoughts….

Kaitlin is a sad, angry, and depressed ex-athlete.   I was not sure where this book would go, but had a good idea once Delcan came into her life.  Declan is exactly what Kaitlin needs.   He lets her wallow in her grief of losing her chance to compete at the ultimate level, but does not let her get to deep in her wallows.  He makes her smile, gives her a shoulder to cry on, and understands her grief.   He also makes her feel in ways she hasn’t felt in a long time and wasn’t sure she would be able to feel again.   

While Kaitlin struggles with her loss, Declan is also struggling.   He is dealing with his career ending, his partner pressuring him to keep skating, and what he is going to do with his life now that he is not skating.   While Kaitlin tries to step up and support him, somehow every time she does it gets turned around and is about her.  I felt like Kaitlin was very selfish, it was all about her own feelings not about what Declan is going through.  

Kathryn Biel wrote a book that brings attention to a new sport to the Olympics.  She also shows just how intense the training and lifestyle of those athletes can be and how losing that focus can throw a life out of control.   I enjoyed the story and am proud of how Kaitlin finally turns her life around and becomes the positive person who can enjoy life again. 

Book Links

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Club choice for February...Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

I belong to a book club of women who enjoy reading a wide variety of books.   Each month we choose a different local restaurant, staying away from chains, and enjoy a night out.  No kids (maybe an occasional baby to satisfy those of us who are done with babies or haven’t had any yet), but definitely no husbands or boyfriends.  This is our book of choice for January.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Our Thoughts...

While not everyone in our group was able to read this book, we have two new mommies (one with twins), the over all thoughts was that is was a slow book.  Yet, it was a book that we all enjoyed.   We found it interesting knowing all the different perspectives of the characters.   We enjoyed seeing how all the characters reacted to the same happenings and how different the characters reacted.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

Published February 10, 2015 by Amy Einhorn Books

It was the summer everything changed.…

My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

My Thoughts… 

Most of the characters in this book are teenagers, characters I can relate to as I am raising two of my own right now.   While the crime against Lindy Simpson is the main story, I felt a connection to the younger boy who is obsessed with Lindy.   There is no name ever given to the young boy, yet I felt like I knew him.   He was truly obsessed with Lindy.  He knew her schedule, what she wore, how she sat, and who did the unthinkable to her.    It was frightening and eye opening at how such innocence can turn into something so dangerous without anyone giving it a second thought.  

I enjoyed how the story was told from a male point of view.  This is rare in the books I usually read.  The setting of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was interesting and eye opening when it was described how the city flooded, how the people forced to leave New Orleans invaded it, and how the children were left to play outside and entertain themselves.   I could picture the streets, with the lights on the porches, and the kids playing in the front yard with their bikes.    The flooding made me smile, with the idea of a neighbor driving his boat from house to house to check on his neighbors and give them food.   

The words in this book are from childhood memories.   They are shared as a child would share them and in the way a child would perceive what was happening.   There was some jumping between timeframes, but it flowed with the story perfectly.   I enjoyed that the memories were not taken from a child view and turned into an adult view.   The innocence and fun of childhood was shown as was how tough circumstance sometimes appear different to a child than to an adult in the same place.  

This is a must read for 2015.  

Book Links

"I really loved this book. I am in awe, swept up in the quiet beauty of the prose, and in the wisdom and compassion of the narrator. I can't praise it enough. My Sunshine Away is not a thriller; it is not genre fiction; but it's realism at its finest, and it is a page turner—a story made memorable in paragraph after paragraph by the brilliance of its author, and by the scope of the questions he asks as to how we live this life to the fullest as loving and moral beings. It’s about love, obsession, and pain. Such a beautiful book. Such a remarkable book. I hope M.O. Walsh writes many more wonderful books.”
—Anne Rice, #1 nationally bestselling author of Prince Lestat

“Try and restrain yourself from flying through the pages of this wonderful novel. Instead savor this lush Louisiana mystery that takes you back to what life tasted like when you were still somewhat naïve to the ways of the world. Not just Southern, but American in its vivid Baton Rouge colors and scents, treetops and grasses, My Sunshine Away is the story of how the events of our youth profoundly affect us as adults. The last page is as satisfying as the first. A mystery you cannot wait to solve.”
—Kathryn Stockett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help

“This is literature of the highest order. Although the book snaps with the tautness of a thriller––and Walsh keeps the reader guessing until the end, as the best mystery writers do––My Sunshine Away also asks essential questions, like how much responsibility we have to each other, and whether we can we ever fully reassemble the pieces of broken lives. And whileWalsh hints at answers, it’s his willingness to engage such ideas that makes My Sunshine Away an important work of fiction. We need more novelists with the guts and clarity of M. O. Walsh.”
—Matthew ThomasNew York Times–bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

“If you start this novel, you will not put it down. My Sunshine Away is a riveting, suspenseful, page-turning mystery. It is also a wise, insightful, and beautifully written novel. This is an extraordinary debut.”
—Jill McCorkle, New York Times–bestselling author of Life After Life

My Sunshine Away is that rarest find, a page-turner you want to read slowly and a literary novel you can't look away from. At times funny, at times spine-tinglingly suspenseful, and at times just flat-out wise, this novel is also a meditation on memory, how it can destroy or damn us but redeem us as well.  It's a book to read and reread, one that will only get better with time, like its writer.  I'm already excited about M. O. Walsh’s next book, whatever it is.”
—Tom Franklinbestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“M.O. Walsh has written one of the best books I've read in a long while. An outstanding examination of the way that the past and the weight of our memories shape us, My Sunshine Away, thanks to Walsh’s verve and total control over the narrative, feels utterly original.”
—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

"MY SUNSHINE AWAY begins with a crime. But the novel is so much more than a mystery; it’s half lament, half love letter to youth and to possibility. On every page, we feel complicit, perhaps even guilty. Guilty of what? For ever having been young ourselves. The magic of MY SUNSHINE AWAY is in M. O. Walsh’s extraordinary ability to make us long for the heartache of youth and its inevitable sins. This is an awe-inspiring debut."
—Hannah Pittard, author of Reunion and The Fates Will Find Their Way

"If I were asked to list the qualities the ideal novel would offer, I'd start by demanding beautiful sentences.  I'd want the opening to grab me and I'd want the ending to refuse to let go.  I'd ask for characters who consistently surprise by being somehow deeper and less predictable than we could ever have guessed they'd be.  I'd want Place to be written with a capital P.  I'd want a mystery at the heart of story, and a mystery or two in every heart.  And when I finished reading the book, I'd want to be both wiser and sadder than when I started.  M. O. Walsh's magnificent novel MY SUNSHINE AWAY afforded me all these pleasures and more.  This is one of the best novels I've read in ages."
—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances.

“Q: When is it a thrill to feel gutted? A: When you start reading the book you hold in your hands. M. O. Walsh’s MySunshine Away reminds us that art can be wrenching and a delight, that pain—if examined through wit, intimacy, and wisdom—can be a salve. This novel is great.”
—Darin Strauss, internationally bestselling author of Half a Life

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Deviation (Clone Chronicle #2) by Heather Hildenbrand

Published March 12, 2014

Protect. Obey. Sacrifice.

These words are the mantra of my existence. I’m not sure if it’s TitusRogen inspiring my desire to go against what I am or my own DNA deviating. All I can think is how Titus will look when he meets his end. It trumps even my wish for freedom. In this moment, I want nothing more than to watch the life bleed from Titus’s body. And I want it at my own hands.

Titus. The Creator.

I stare at my palms. Strength aside, I wonder if I’m capable of taking a life. A human life; one with a soul. And I wonder if that isn’t easier than taking the life of an Imitation. At least humans have souls that live on. What do I have after this? Where will I go? Back into a syringe? Will Titus recycle me? Or will I be lost forever down a lab drain?

We don’t deserve that.

We don’t deserve him.

Deserving and receiving are so very different here. And I am beginning to understand, to beat someone in this world, I‘ll have to play in it.

My Thoughts…

Deviation is the second book in the Clone Chronicles. Being the second book, you never know what to expect.   Heather Hildenbrand did a great job tying the two books together.   She started with enough background from the first book to refresh the readers memory but not bore them with retelling the entire story. 

Ven, aka Raven, is still the main character and still an incredibly strong character.   I enjoyed seeing where her life was heading and how she was coping with the stress of living the life of an imitation. 
The action was a little slow, but it was by no means a boring read.   I ate up each page as quickly as I could anxious to find out more about the Imitations and their master plan.    There are twists and turns that made me keep reading. Just when I thought that I knew what was going to happen or where the story was heading, I would learn how totally wrong I was. 

 Deviation is definitely leading up to another book and sets it up leaving the reader needing more.   I love the ending and am thrilled with where the story is heading.

Book Links

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Death By Roses by Vivian R. Probst PROMO

Mae Rose McElroy never imagined that she would die while sitting on a toilet. At the sight of her totaled Volkswagen Beetle, her unfaithful husband, and the bouquet of yellow roses, Mae Rose careens into a fit of rage and dies in her bathroom in DEATH BY ROSES by Vivian R.
Mae Rose’s humiliation at being found dead on the toilet is carried into her afterlife. 

While in Heaven, she is shown all the possible happier outcomes her life and marriage could have taken. Armed with this knowledge, Mae Rose can’t keep herself from interfering in her family’s affairs from Heaven. Her unsanctioned meddling earns Mae Rose a ticket out of Heaven and traps her spirit in the body of Mary Lee Broadmoor, a cantankerous writer and director of horror movies known as “Scary Mary.” Mary Lee knows she is dying of cancer and wants only one thing before her lifeline is cut: to win an Oscar.

Can these two formidable women learn to share the same body? Will Mae Rose get a second chance with her husband? Will Mary Lee get the Oscar she so craves? While untangling a complicated web of relationships at the core of their lives, Mae Rose and Mary Lee must learn to make the most of their second chance—or die trying in DEATH BY ROSES.

Meet Vivian R. Probst...

1.            What inspired you to write Death By Roses?

It had something to do with my older sister’s death from Lou Gehrig’s disease, which had occurred six months before the story began.  I had grown up deeply introverted with an intense fear of death that never relented until I wrote this story.  Somehow, I think my sister’s passing started this story, as if she was telling me to relax, enjoy my life, and not take death so seriously. My older sister had always watched out for me. Perhaps, even now, from her heightened perspective, she knew how to help.

2.            When Art Jr. sees Allie, he falls in love with her right away. What do you think told him that Allie was his soul mate?

Most likely it was his mother’s meddling. Art Jr. was very much like his father in this way.  Love had to “reach out and grab him,” which occurred when he finally touched Allie for the first time but Mae Rose was on the scene and ‘turned up’ the desire he felt.  True love can occur in an instant and finding a soul mate can feel sort of like spontaneous combustion.  Love at first sight happens—it did to me when I met my husband, Tom and I have seen it happen to others.

3.            After Arthur’s sons learn he cheated on his wife Mae Rose, both John and Art Jr. react differently. How does this secret change the relationships in the family, especially between Arthur and his sons?

Both Art Jr. and John lose the innocence of youth when they learn of the affair.  Any illusion they have that their parents relationship was normal, even though they argued so much, dissolved when they found this out.  John was the emotional one who lived with his feelings on the surface; Art Jr., the older of the two, was more careful and perhaps responsible about his emotions.  Both boys had to face their differences as they processed their very private pain. Both refused to talk to their father for some time after they learned about the affair and each had to make their way back to their father on their own. I was touched by how the story resolved these feelings for both young men.

4.            Death By Roses features an intricate web of intertwining characters. Who is your favorite character and why?

That would be impossible to say. Each character endeared him or herself to me although, the toughest character for me to write was Eugene Gregory.  I fought him for quite some time and refused to allow his character to articulate.  However, I learned that no writer has the right to ‘diss’ any character who shows up.  To have left Eugene out the story would have changed an important dynamic that I did not understand until much later.

VIVIAN R. PROBST is an author and entrepreneur, whose first novel, Death By Roses, explores her fascination with the comedic side of worldly and otherworldly events. Probst has been writing fiction for the past 14 years, and has built a successful national consulting practice. Her company provides training to major investment firms that work in the affordable-housing industry. She submitted her manuscript for Death By Roses to the When Words Count Retreat literary competition where it won first prize.

Praise from readers

“I have never read a book like this before.  It's perfect, and I'm looking at my marriage and my life through a whole different perspective…”A.K.

“I am almost dying of laughter while I am reading your book...I just love it!  I don't want the story to end.”  – Debbie W.

“I loved this book and never laughed so hard! Vivian Probst weaved such depth, excitement, and humor into her characters. I couldn't wait to discover which one would be responsible for my next fit of laughter. If you are out for great time, read this book! It is truly a comic masterpiece.” Roger Corea

Excerpt from
By Vivian R. Probst

                If Mae Rose McElroy had known that by evening she would be dead à la commode after a fit of rage at her husband, she might have made different choices. Of course, if she’d done things differently, she might not have died while sitting on the toilet.
                But on that frosty March morning, as she stood by the kitchen window washing breakfast dishes, Mae Rose was preoccupied with the effects of the last night’s storm. Everything glistened in sparkling crystal coats of ice that most would have found beautiful. As she anxiously surveyed the backyard trees, the barn, and the gardens and fields of their farm home, Mae Rose was far from feeling awestruck.
                This was because today—of all days—her husband would be driving her meticulously restored 1974 VW Beetle to the mechanic shop where she worked. “Please be very careful, Art,” she said without looking up from the sink, “the roads could be very slippery.”
                After thirty years of marriage, Art understood the meaning of Mae Rose’s words. They meant she didn’t trust him and was worrying about her precious car. Her fretting did not dissuade Art from feeling an uncharacteristic joy.
                Mae Rose could tell from the noises in the background that he was indeed ecstatic. The hangers clanged merrily as he removed his coat from the closet. Even the zipper sang with an abnormal enthusiasm as he closed his jacket against the cold.
                “You know I’ll be careful,” Art replied, planting a dutiful kiss on his wife’s stern cheek. Earlier, while shaving, he had practiced saying “I love you” to Mae Rose. Although her obvious unhappiness made him decide not to attempt it now, nothing—not even his irritation with her remarks—could suppress his buoyant feelings of hope.
                It was rare for Art to drive Mae Rose’s car. But once his new client at the shop saw the car’s spectacular restoration, he was certain the man would confirm his intention to pay the large expense of having his own antique Beetle refurbished. And Art hoped for much more—surely his impressive sale would help to renew Mae Rose’s faith in him and their marriage.
                Three decades of marriage to Mae Rose had left deep creases across his forehead. Each crease could have been labeled: the upper line for shock at Mae Rose’s intensity, the middle for his resistance to her relentless drive, and the lower for the wavering boundary where Art tried to keep his identity from being discarded as irrelevant.
                As he squeezed his tall frame into her car, he put the keys into the ignition and waited patiently for the engine to turn over. It was understandably reluctant, but as if it knew how important the day was, the engine gave in to Art’s persistence. He headed down the long gravel drive, turning left on the two-lane country road with caution.
                As the sun melted the icy coating on the asphalt, Art was able to relax and enjoy his drive. Everything glistened in the soft, feathery frost—so breathtaking that Art considered it the best possible omen for a successful day. He couldn’t help that his right hand caressed the leather upholstery he had so lovingly used to recover the seats of Mae Rose’s car; he felt pride, perhaps even a mild flirtation, as he touched the dashboard and turned the radio dial to his favorite oldies rock ‘n’ roll station.
                He’d have to remember to turn it back to Mae Rose’s country music station later, but just now he needed to mark his territory. Art loved nothing more than working on old VWs, the only car, he claimed, that possessed a personality all its own, and the possibility of working on another old VW Beetle gave him an unfamiliar sense of exhilaration.
                “I’d hammer ‘bout justice!” Peter, Paul, and Mary sang, and Art joined in: “I’d hammer ‘bout freedom! I’d hammer ‘bout the love between,” and Art, who loved to change the words of a song to suit himself, sang, “A man and a Beetle, all over this land!”
                As Art brought Mae Rose’s car to an obedient stop at the four-way before proceeding into town, he downshifted through each gear, listening for the purr of pleasure as one cog slid into the next. But today the car growled low and mean as if to remind Art to drive straight through town instead of turning right, as he often had years ago for a cup of coffee and some fornication with Maggie Whitman. Back then, he felt justified in doing this because of Mae Rose’s increasingly insufferable nagging and her proportionately deflated interest in sex.
                A trip through Fairview included passing Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, a cornerstone of the McElroy’s lives. It housed times of great joy: when Art and Mae Rose had married and when they had baptized their son Art Jr., and eight years later, their son John. It radiated with the beauty of Mae Rose at the piano and organ, and more often than not, a flower arrangement she had created adorning the altar. But the church also held their deepest pain in its stone structure as the wounds of Art’s affair had been exposed in quiet confidence to Pastor Frank. The hope of a happy marriage had faded into an ever-sensitive, tender scar.

Excerpted from the book DEATH BY ROSES by Vivian R. Probst.  Copyright © 2015 by Vivian R. Probst.  Reprinted with permission of SelectBooks.  All rights reserved.