#BookReview- Survival of The Fittest by Jacqui Murray Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle #amreading @WordDreams @MHurdle112


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Prehistoric fiction and poetry to start out the week

I’m a big fan of Jacqui Murray’s prehistoric fiction series and couldn’t wait to dive into Survival of The Fittest!

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, Survival of the Fittest is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.

Chased by a ruthless enemy, Xhosa leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following a path laid out decades before by her father, to be followed only as a last resort. She is joined by other fleeing tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant, all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, tragedy, secrets, and Nature itself, Xhosa is forced to face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want to ruin her People. It wants to ruin her.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia, where ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a slogan. It was a destiny. Xhosa’s People were from a violent species, one fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened their lives except for one: future man, a smarter version of themselves, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

Biography

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, and a contributor to NEA Today. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days here on Amazon Kindle. Also, read her new series, Man vs. Nature, starting with Born in a Treacherous Time–also on Kindle.

My Review

After Xhosa’s father dies, she must prove her value as leader of The People. Chased from their homeland, they must undertake a perilous journey through treacherous lands and savage tribes.

“Does anyone challenge this warrior?”

Her hands were neutral, giving nothing away about her feelings. When Xhosa rose, like mist from wet hot-season grass, everyone snickered except the Primary Female. A wisp of a smile touched her lips.

“I too am prepared. Nightshade, I challenge you.”

Murray, Jacqui. Survival of the Fittest (the Crossroads Trilogy Book 1)

Along the way, they befriend Others making the same journey, each with unique talents that benefit the tribe and more than once saves them from certain death.

This book was so well-written I was sorry to turn the last page (cliffhanger alert!) and had to buy the next story in the series, The Quest for Home, to find out what happens to Xhosa, Nightshade, Pan-do, Zvi and all the rest of the characters I’ve become invested in- well done!


Next is a wonderful book of poetry from Miriam Hurdle

Human being has the will power to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

Songs of Heartstrings plays the melancholy tune of the suffering and transcending to the melody of serenity and peace. It is a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache circumstances and an unpredictable cancer. It also celebrates true love and fulfilling relationships.

Hurdle in her poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience. Many poems are illustrated with her photos and watercolor paintings.

The poems in this collection are inspiring to the mind, heart and spirit. The readers will echo with these experiences.

Biography

Miriam Hurdle is multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and memoir. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visits to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Oregon.

For more information about Miriam, please visit http://www.theshowersofblessings.com

My Review

This is an intimate portrayal of first love, betrayal, a health crisis, and second chances all couched in beautiful, inspiring words from the heart.

A couple of my favorites

Dawn

Bright sun

Fresh air

Soft breeze

Sweet rose

Close my eyes

Feel the warmth

Breathe the mist

Sense the brush

Smell the scent

Close my eyes

Think on Thee

Hurdle, Miriam. Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

From Healing

The healing of the wound didn’t come from

the source of the anguish, but came from letting go of

the act and the actor.

Hurdle, Miriam. Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

While vastly different, both of these books have one thing in common- Survival.

I urge you to give them a try, you won’t regret it!

Positivity- #SundayStills #Photography


Lifting the spirits with positivity- Sunday Stills Challenge

Terri Webster Schrandt chose a wonderful theme for this week’s challenge- what lifts your spirits? You can view Terri’s photos or join the challenge here.

Number one on my list of things to lift my spirits would have to go to my grandson. He’s truly the light of our lives ❤

Visiting icebergs in Newfoundland
Dressed as a unicorn- for diabetics this means perfect blood glucose readings

Next is my pretty kitty

Harley relaxing
Helping me write

And finally, this beautiful place we call home

Papa and buddy posing
Friendly bunny

Happy Easter!

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about the topic EASTER #RSsos #RomSuspense


The Sisterhood of Suspense​ share lines with the theme EASTER on this week’s Sneak Off and Read.

Word by Word

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about  the topic EASTER

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Tears finally streamed like a Brazos River waterfall in the spring.

Marsha West


Coupled with the Festival of Leaves in the fall, the Festival of Tulips in the spring, Festival of the Fourth every July, and the Festival of Trees in December, visitors had pumped beaucoup de cash into the community, specifically reviving this part of town.

Vicki Batman


The cherry trees lining Main Street were laden with buds, the delicate pink flowers set to open within the next couple of weeks—hopefully, in time for the wedding—and birds sang from the branches.

Jacquie Biggar


But one thing is certain. We will not be eating day-old food on Easter Sunday.

Joanne Guidoccio


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What Draws you to a Book- #FirstLinesFriday #amreading


I came across this fun new challenge via One Book More and thought I’d join in.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book

First Lines:

Roy Donaldson tightened his gloves and adjusted his helmet before giving the WarHawks’ goalie a nod. Time to get down to business. He dropped into defensive position, ignoring the catcalls coming from the Edmonton fans. It was always like this when they played away from home; he’d gotten used to it and actually even kind of liked the anonymous insults and whistles. It only spurred him to try harder. Beat the odds.

Can you guess which of my books this comes from?

The First Lines From Friday Book is… you guessed it- The Player!

Sometimes, love happens when we least expect it…

NHL defenseman Roy Donaldson lives for the game. When an ex-girlfriend/stalker causes trouble for the team, Roy gets benched.

And the only way he can return to the rotation…? Accept help from sassy, sexy PA Patience Kennedy.

Patience is one step away from a junior partnership– all she needs to do is restore a sullen, annoying, attractive hockey player’s image.

Shouldn’t be too hard, right?


What do you think? Did the opening lines catch your interest?

Guest Post- Sharon Marchisello #AuthorInterview #AuthorsCommunity @SLMarchisello


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Guest Post- Sharon Marchisello

I’m happy to introduce you to mystery writer Sharon Marchisello!

Bio:

Born in upstate New York, I moved to Tyler, Texas, when I was five years old. People called me “Yankee” until I was in high school, when I finally perfected my Southern accent. (The American Civil War, over for a century, had not been forgotten.) I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English and then worked for the Texas Department of Human Resources. In my mid-twenties, I received a Rotary scholarship to study for a year in Tours, France, where I lost my Texas accent. About a year after my return, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, which I hoped would lead to a career as a bestselling author. When I graduated and fame and fortune didn’t happen, I got a job at Western Airlines which later merged with Delta Air Lines. I met my husband on the employee bus. In my 27-year airline career, I worked various customer service positions and even did some technical writing in the corporate office. Retired, I now live in Peachtree City, Georgia, writing what I want and doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime and the Atlanta Writers Club.

And if that interesting bio wasn’t enough, here’s an interview where we can get some insights into Sharon’s likes and dislikes…

What do you write?

I write novels and short stories. But I also blog about personal finance (http://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/) and I self-published Live Well, Grow Wealth, a primer on personal finance 101.

What genre do you favor?

Mystery / suspense, women’s fiction.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I have always been a writer. I was telling stories to myself and others before I learned my alphabet. When I was in school, I received lots of encouragement and validation from my teachers with good grades on essays and creative writing assignments.

Nevertheless, it took me a long time to get published. I was in my twenties when I sold my first travel article. I had completed four novels—and abandoned countless others before completion—before my “first” novel, Going Home, found a publisher. Going Home, actually the second mystery I completed, is a whodunnit inspired by my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Her situation prompted me to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Are you published?

Yes. Besides articles and short stories, I have two mysteries traditionally published by Sunbury Press—Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019) And my nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth, was self-published in 2018.

Where can you be found on social media?

Website or blog: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/

http://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello/

https://www.facebook.com/Live-Well-Grow-Wealth-494073360780648/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slmarchisello/

Pinterest: N/A

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonmarchisello/

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

I think the big publishers have the most reach for obtaining advertising, reviews, shelf space in bookstores, and consideration for prestigious awards. If you’re good at marketing and don’t mind doing a lot of non-writing legwork to get your books out, self-publishing is the way to go.

As an introvert who prefers writing to self-promotion, I plan to stick with the traditional route, which unfortunately can be a long, slow process. (And, I’ve found, even authors who are traditionally published have to do most of their own marketing.)

I chose to self-publish Live Well, Grow Wealth because the material was somewhat time-sensitive, and I don’t have a background in finance, which would have helped my credibility with a publisher. The book is based on my own experience of becoming financially independent by living frugally, saving, investing, and developing a healthy attitude toward money. I’m not trying to sell classes or generate business for a financial-planning service, like most authors in the personal finance genre; I just wrote the book and post the blog to share the tips that worked for me.

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

I like reading for pleasure in the mystery/suspense/women’s fiction genres—the same genres I write. I also like to check out bestsellers to see what makes them so special. Research!

How do you approach starting a new book?

I start with an event, an inciting incident. With a mystery, that’s usually a murder. Then I put characters into the situation, giving each motive and opportunity, and watch how they react. I’m what you call a “pantser” as opposed to a “plotter.”

However, with my only nonfiction book, Live Well, Grow Wealth, I approached it like the training manuals I created for Delta, making a very detailed outline before I began writing. I wish I could outline my fiction as well, but so far it doesn’t work for me.

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

One of the best writing craft books I’ve read was Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden. She offers lots of wonderful tips to apply in the editing phase.

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

Besides reading, I love to travel and have visited more than 100 countries; working for an airline was a perfect career for me. My husband and I have taken over 65 cruises together. We’re also Master Gardeners for the Fayette County University of Georgia Extension Office, and we enjoy helping with their many community projects. I like being outdoors, working in the yard or taking walks along Peachtree City’s extensive network of golf cart paths.

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Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Evelyn Marchisello, my mother-in-law, comes to mind. Unfortunately, we lost her in 2012 at age 97. She was a classy lady, always dressed to the nines, always poised and polite. She graciously allowed me to live with her for two and a half years while I commuted between my Delta job in Los Angeles and my new home in Seattle. I developed a closer relationship with her than with my own mother. (Probably because she met me as an adult and didn’t have to endure my teen years!)

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

One of my more memorable jobs—not really in a good way—was in Cabin Service at Delta. My husband and I bought a house in Seattle and the only opening for me there required me to take a large pay cut and join the aircraft cleaning crew. One of my tasks was driving the “lavosine” and dumping the aircraft lavatories. I had just come off a career highpoint, setting up a new station in Amsterdam and training airport customer service agents, so the voluntary demotion just to move to Seattle was quite a blow to my ego.

What was your best date ever?

My week-long cruise around the Galapagos islands with my husband is certainly high on my list. The wildlife is spectacular. The setting inspired my second published mystery, Secrets of the Galapagos.

Tell us something you are really proud of.

I’m proud of the volunteer work I do for the Fayette Humane Society. I’ve been serving as Secretary on the Board of Directors for nine years. I’ve fostered dozens of cats, and while I get somewhat attached to each one, I’m always happy to find them forever homes. I use my verbal skills as the organization’s grant writer, and it’s rewarding when we receive a grant that I’ve applied for. I use my travel privileges to fly kittens from Georgia to rescue groups up north where they have a better chance of getting adopted, and to transport cats with special needs to facilities in other cities for medical care.

For the past four years, I have participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk, in honor of my mother and mother-in-law who both suffered from this awful disease. Because the mother character in Going Home was modeled after my own mother, I sell copies of Going Home at team fundraisers for the Walk and give all the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve discovered I sell a lot more books when I’m giving all the money to charity than when I’m keeping it for myself!

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

I wish I were better at public speaking. I’ve come a long way, but I only consider myself competent, not dynamic. I used to be terrified to speak in front of a group, which makes it hard to get ahead in the corporate world. Not to mention, being an author trying to promote her work. So, I joined Toastmasters, attended meetings religiously, and worked my way through the program—all the way to DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), the highest award. But still, I’d never enter a speech contest or consider a career in public speaking.

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

Short excerpt: (Secrets of the Galapagos – 2019)

Chapter One:

Laurel tugged at my flipper and pointed. I pivoted through the stream of bubbles in time to see a six-foot hammerhead shark, its flat head barely rippling the water it displaced. I could have touched its coarse, gray skin had I dared. My heart pounded. In our dark wetsuits, did we look like seals? The guides said these Galapagos sharks were not dangerous unless provoked, but who knew when one might decide to add a little tourist delicacy to its diet of fish and crustaceans?

Her dark hair floating around her face, my new friend Laurel gave a thumbs-up. I returned the gesture. I sensed her radiant grin through her mask.

The shark glided away almost as quickly as it had appeared, replaced by a school of surgeonfish, their yellow tails and silvery bodies shimmering in the sunlight. I lost sight of Laurel as I floated among them like a mermaid.

I kicked my way to the surface and lifted my head to drain my snorkel tube. As I pushed a strand of wet hair out of my face, I glimpsed the band of white skin where my engagement ring had been—until last month. Don’t think about that jerk, I scolded myself. Focus on enjoying this incredible cruise. And the mission: justice. Our group had been snorkeling in the chilly waters of Gardner Bay for about an hour, and all I wanted to do now was get back on board the ship, dry off, and tell everyone over a tasty lunch of fresh seafood about our close encounter with the shark. Laurel surely had shot some great pictures.

I pulled off my fogged-up plastic mask and rinsed it in the ocean. The sea had grown rougher since we’d started snorkeling, and dark clouds gathered. A wave slapped my face, sending salty water into my nostrils. I held up my right hand, the symbol for, “I’m ready to come in.”

Where was everybody?

“Laurel?” She’d been swimming beside me moments ago, snapping photos of the vast display of marine life.

I scanned the water for my fellow snorkelers and the guides hovering in the inflatable black boats called Zodiacs. Laurel and I had not strayed that far from the group … had we?

I put my mask back on and ducked underwater to see if anyone was still swimming beneath the surface. Nothing but fish. I didn’t care about the fish anymore.

The sudden sensation of being alone in the cold ocean sucked my energy. I took off my mask again, struggling to hold my head upright and tread water while I regained my bearings.

The steep volcanic outcropping where we’d congregated was on my left. It had been on my right before. I must have drifted to the other side. Seabirds squawked at me as if I had plans to disturb their nests wedged into the jagged, guano-coated crevices.

“Laurel?” She must be wondering what had happened to me.

I dog-paddled around the volcanic rock and then sighted one of the Zodiacs—at least thirty yards away and headed back to the ship. A black speck in the distance was probably the other boat.

“What the—?” I propelled myself in their direction, but the current pushed me back. Instead of aiding my progress, my cumbersome flippers, life vest, and wetsuit—the gear that had kept me so buoyant underwater—now weighted me down. I stopped and waved my whole arm rapidly, the sign for, “Come get me now!”

No heads turned in my direction. The boats were moving farther away.

Damn that Fernando! That self-centered excuse-for-a-guide was too busy flirting and boasting about his exploits to notice two missing passengers.

Something bumped my leg. I couldn’t look.

“Hey!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. I kicked hard and sprang upward, spy-hopping like I’d seen whales do. “Hey!” I had visions of myself drowned in the Galapagos or devoured by a shark—a tragic end to this vacation of a lifetime, this attempt to escape the mess I’d made of my life back in Georgia. So much for ever doing any good in the world.

This sounds great! The Galapagos is on my bucket list. Can you imagine- Sharon and her husband have traveled to over 100 countries! How far have you gone?

So This Happened… #Covid19 #Lifehappens


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Thursday, April 2nd began like any other day. I visited my favorite blogs, checked in with Facebook, got hubby ready for work, and then went next door to visit Mom (I’m her caregiver). She hasn’t been doing well lately and I’ve been worried, so maybe I put off my early symptoms to anxiety- I’m not sure.

Mid-afternoon, I developed shivers that lasted a couple of hours and numbed my fingers and toes.

Then I developed a migraine (the first one I’ve had in years), and a fever. I was incredibly weak and tired- I didn’t even feed my poor kitty 😦

I fell into bed at four pm and didn’t get up until eleven-thirty today. Still weak, still sleepy, still worried about Mom and hubby.

What if I passed it on to them?

This is why it is so important to practice social distancing (though I hadn’t been out of my yard in weeks) and wear a mask if you need to go out.

Don’t be the reason someone you love dies.

If I’m away from the blogs for a while, please know I’m thinking of you and praying everyone stays safe. {{hugs}}

#BookReview- Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese #YARomance


Ryder

Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life.

She’s the next generation of women’s soccer.

Wild hair, wilder eyes.

Bee-stung lips that should be illegal.

And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly.

She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word. 

Willa

Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. 

What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal.

Mangy beard and mangier hair.

Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes.

And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence.

I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.

Biography

Chloe writes stories that, like people, resist categories. Portraying marginalized, underrepresented voices and experiences, her books are hot, witty, full of heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. She’s an avid reader, Harry Potter lover, and eats more peanut butter cups than she probably should.

Photo by Zack Melhus on Pexels.com

My Review

College soccer star Willa Sutter is juggling her career, school, and her sick mother. The last thing she needs is to get paired up with a rude, obnoxious, incredibly cute lumberjack in order to pass her business course.

Ryder Bergman is coping (barely) with his loss of hearing and a promising soccer career. All he wants is to be left alone. Unfortunately, his professor- and brother-in-law- is determined to draw him out of his shell. His latest plan? Assigning a fiesty, cantankerous firecracker of a woman as Ryder’s partner.

The war is on.

This is a funny, sentimental, heartwarming story with so many different elements. The relationship between Willa and her dying mother will bring tears to your eyes.Then there’s Ryder, who developed bacterial meningitis in high school and had his entire world turned upside down.

I love how the author brought humor together with these serious real-life problems and created an unforgettable story. I will definitely be watching for more from the Bergman brothers!

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Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

Special Agent Murphy by Mimi Barbour #RomSuspense #mgtab @mimisgang1


Special Agent Murphy
Undercover FBI Book 8
by Mimi Barbour
Genre: Romantic Suspense
It’s Christmas in Washington, but not for one heartsick family.
Agent Shane Murphy has a hard time believing his life could get so crazy. Because of a choice – one he’d make again – he loses his superiority in the FBI. Now he’s forced to work surveillance with a rookie female yapper. And… gets caught up in the kidnapping of a sixteen-year-old that pulls at the heartstrings he keeps hidden.
Fighting the budding attraction for his new partner, he stresses his way through an escalating nightmare. How can he be so infatuated with a trouble-magnet female who drives like a granny and isn’t able to hide her sensitive reactions when on the job?
Agent Kathleen Edwards does a lot of things her new partner dislikes, but what’s a girl to do when a man ties her in knots and turns her into a chatterbox. Working to uncover the mystery of who kidnapped the Senator’s daughter, and where they’re holding her, continuous conflicts arise.
Struggling alongside an attractive realist whose high morals make him someone to live up to, Kayti’s heart doesn’t stand a chance.
Author’s dedication:
My late husband’s persona is the heart and soul for Special Agent Murphy. While bringing out some of his most endearing and stubborn characteristics, his favorite cuss words and his way of looking at the world, I found myself falling in love with the wonderful man all over again.
Together Forever, my love.
**Get it FREE April 1st – 5th, then only .99 cents!!**
Mimi is an incredibly busy NYT and USA Today award-winning, best-selling author who has seven series to her credit. The Vicarage Bench Series – Spirit/Time -Travel tales that have a surprising twist / The Angels with Attitude Series – Angels Love Romance / The Elvis Series – Make an Elvis song a book / Vegas Series – 6 books full of romantic suspense, humor and gritty conflicts / and… the fast-paced, edgy, humorous, romantic suspense, Undercover FBI Series /The Holiday Heatwarmer Series – puppies become cupids. And the latest, explosive Mob Tracker Series – six books full of conflicts and characters you’ll hate to leave.
Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island with her husband and writes her various romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. She’s been known to say: “If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”
**1st place prize of the 2015 – Chanticleer Reviews – Clue Awards. Special Agent Francesca
**A TOUCH OF PASSION, has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards.
$25 Amazon
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Choosing a Genre- #HenLit #Reading @JoanneGuidoccio


All About Fantasy Hen Lit

Guest Post by Joanne Guidoccio

I never intended to write fantasy. I avoided books that featured werewolves, vampires, witches, and other dark creatures. I’m probably one of the few people on this planet who couldn’t read past Chapter 1 of the first Harry Potter novel. But after participating in a series of science fiction workshops, I decided to try my hand at light, breezy fantasy with inspirational elements.

So, I sat at my computer and came up with a contemporary version of my favorite fairy tale: The Little Mermaid. While the original version by Hans Christian Anderson always fascinated me, I struggled with the ending. I wanted a happily-ever-after ending for the little mermaid and the prince and couldn’t wrap my mind around this depressing prediction:

You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds, and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.(Hans Christian Anderson,1836 )

When the Disney version was released, I still wasn’t satisfied. I realize now that I wanted to read about a different kind of mermaid, one who could enjoy a happy and successful life, with or without the prince. And maybe one who wasn’t quite so young or so beautiful.

Keeping this vision of an older and wiser mermaid firmly in mind, I wrote Between Land and Sea, the first book in the Mediterranean trilogy. Later, I added Book 2, The Coming of Arabella.

In early query letters, I described Between Land and Sea as urban fantasy. That did not sit well with one agent who commented that my novel was too light to be considered urban fantasy. Her suggestion: Use “contemporary women’s fiction with fantasy elements” in future queries. I used that mouthful several times and was relieved when senior editor Debby Gibson of Soul Mate Publishing classified Between Land and Sea as a paranormal romance.

Confusion followed when the book was released on Amazon. One friend confided: “When I heard it was a paranormal romance, I assumed you were writing about witches or werewolves. I’m so glad to hear you’re writing about mermaids.”

Still wondering about the “right” descriptor, I started reading articles about literary genres and sub-genres and came across an interview with literary agent Jenny Bent. Asked about the future of chick-lit, Ms. Bent replied, “I think if there’s any future for chick lit, it will be in paranormal chick lit or multicultural chick lit or in mom lit or hen lit.”

I zeroed in on hen lit.

I discovered that these books focus on older female characters (aged 40 to 65) as protagonists and address such themes as giving birth after age forty, dealing with three generations living in the same house, dating after divorce or widowhood, and launching second (third or fourth) careers. To address the mermaid element, I added fantasy.

My new sub-genre: Fantasy Hen Lit.

Now, if I could only persuade editors, publishers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble…

Blurb – Between Land and Sea

After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged, weathered, and abandoned on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. She faces her human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.

With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, she reinvents herself as a career counselor, motivational speaker, and writer of self-help books. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers. As Isabella evolves into Barbara Davies, she embraces her middle-aged body, heals her bruised heart, and learns to love again.

This contemporary version of The Little Mermaid offers hope and inspiration to anyone who has been dumped, deceived, or demoted. It will also appeal to mermaid enthusiasts.

On sale for 99 cents – March 29 to April 4

Amazon (US) – https://www.amazon.com/Between-Land-Sea-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B00F9U5Q50

Amazon (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Between-Land-Sea-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B00F9U5Q50

Blurb – The Coming of Arabella

On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So, when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.

Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.

On sale for 99 cents – March 29 to April 4

Amazon (US) – https://www.amazon.com/Coming-Arabella-Mediterrean-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B0147VXEPU

Amazon (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-Arabella-Mediterranean-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B0147VXEPU/

Bio

A member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime, Joanne Guidoccio writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Website – https://joanneguidoccio.com

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Joanne-Guidoccio/e/B00FAWJGCG/

#TuesdayBookReviews- Two For the Road #amreading


Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

This week I have two completely different stories to share. I love how books can connect with readers in unexpected ways 🙂

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model.
This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment.
–Tami Beall
(Principal, Pine Hill School)

My Review

Teachers are often under-appreciated. Without their dedication, patience, and caring where would we be?

This is an inspiring memoir on one man’s thirty year journey as an elementary teacher and all the challenges and joys he found along the way.

There is much more to teaching than relaying a set curriculum. Many times, teachers are faced with children who are in tough situations, lashing out, bullying, depression (yes, even in elementary). They must navigate a minefield of emotional stress and still manage to portray calm and stability.

This book is filled with helpful information on the classroom setup and teaching methods. While I think it’s geared more toward new teachers looking for advice, it’s also a must-read for parents. I guarantee it will change your attitude the next time you go to parent-teacher conference!


Warning Signs: A Story About Obsession

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?
Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.
Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

https://amzn.to/2X2oHRL

My Review

Niko Nishevsky, aka Eugene Monroe, fancies himself a professor in search of the truth behind a serial killer’s motives. His study of previous cases reveals differences between his own murders and theirs, leading him to believe he is smarter and more evolved than his predecessors. Where they killed, he saved his victims.

Not the same at all.

Angie is a full-time caregiver for her drug and alcohol addicted mother and dreams of the day a white knight will swoop in a carry her away. When she meets Eugene aboard a train heading to Ottawa the connection is immediate. They go on a date, share a few kisses, and Eugene gives her a burner cellphone for ‘secret’ conversations. Angie realizes he is a little bit strange, but her desperation blinds her to the truth.

When Detective Van Ray accidentally gets a look at the biography of a serial killer book in Niko’s briefcase his suspicions rise. Is this the man who has been murdering young women in youth protection?

A game of cat and mouse begins and it’s hard to say who wants the killer caught the most, Van Ray or Niko?

This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that delves into the mind of a psychopath. I was surprised to find myself empathizing with Eugene. He truly wants to change, but life has made him into what he’s become.

An enthralling read!

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Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

How about you? Any good books that you’ve read lately?

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about the topic FOOL #RSsos #RomSuspense


The Sisterhood of Suspense​ share lines with the topic FOOL on Sneak Off and Read Sunday.

Word by Word

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about  the topic FOOL

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Rosa shook her head. “Does she really think that no one is watching when that black Mercedes shows up in her driveway? Half of Moonglo is Italian. Who is she fooling?”

Joanne Guidoccio


Terror and adrenaline coursed through her system, settling like ice inside the marrow of her bones. She couldn’t stay. Couldn’t let Benji know what a fool she’d been.

Jeannie Hall


“You don’t want to take one car?”

“No, it’s wise to take both.” In case I want to do something foolish and go home with you.”

Marian Lanouette


“Well, yes. It’s not like I’ve ever worn a wire before. I’d be a fool not to be nervous.”

Marsha West


I’d made a fool of myself over Ben. And Daniel had…

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Virus Deaths: One Story


A dose of reality on the Covid19 crisis from Pete Johnson- A must read.

beetleypete

I read something on a local newspaper website earlier this week. I went back to get a link to add here, but it has been taken down. Presumably to save the family from more distress.

We are all reading about deaths from the virus, all around the world. As the numbers get bigger, they stop becoming people, and are just numbers. I read that 1,000 people have died fom the virus in the USA. Can you imagine seeing 1,000 dead bodies laid out in a line? I once saw more than 20 bodies at the scene of a train crash. It looked like a lot of bodies. And I was an EMT, so used to seeing such things.

1,000 bodies arranged in a line would stretch almost 3,000 yards. That’s 1.7 miles. That distance would take almost 30 minutes to walk, at a normal pace. Hard to comprehend, I know.

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Pike by @TM_Frazier #MCRomance #Suspense


Pike - BT banner

“T.M. Frazier sucks me in every time with her incredible storytelling.”- Meghan March, New York Times bestselling author

Pike, the first dark and fast-paced story in The Pawn Duet from USA Today bestselling author T.M. Frazier, is available now!

PIKE FRONT COVER

I was raised by the violent laws of the streets, spilling blood without the hindrance of useless emotions or connections.


Unfeeling. Unloved. Alone.

My life was perfect.

Until her.

While on a manhunt for a mysterious enemy, one hellbent on taking both my business and my life, I find Mickey. She’s covered in mud, rambling nonsense, and clearly out of her mind.

She’s also a distraction I don’t need.

That is until I discover a connection between the girl and my enemy.


Mickey isn’t a distraction anymore.

She’s the perfect weapon.

One I’ll use to exact my revenge.


The plan is an easy one, but there’s something about Mickey that’s making it more and more difficult. 


A familiarity I can’t place. A need I can’t explain.


A want I have to deny.


After all, she’s not mine to keep. She’s a tool. My pawn.

My sacrifice.

Pike -AN

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U0Bsdz

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2UlWdiV

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/PikeTM

Nook: http://bit.ly/2IZIBVg

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2IUH1DN

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2WrlXNk

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2vvrOWL

Pre-order Pawn, the stunning conclusion, today!

Releasing April 28th

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ano48Q

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/PawnTM

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2Wwehtj

Nook: https://bit.ly/2vDiDnc

Kobo: https://bit.ly/33AKfGi

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2WGVAmu

Excerpt

I raise the gun in both hands, aiming it at his chest. “I have to go. You can’t stop me,” I say, with all the resolve I have left. “You’re going to trade me and ambush them, but don’t you think they have the same plans for you? I have to go, and that way, fewer people will die. YOU won’t die. So, just let me leave. I have a plan. It will work. I’ll take them down for both of us.”

“No.” Pike looks from me to the gun. “And as I’ve told you before, you’re not going anywhere.” His words are dark and menacing. An amused smile turns up the corners of his lips.

It’s infuriating. He’s infuriating.

I straighten my shoulders. “What’s so funny?” I ask, swallowing down the rising fear in my throat. I remind myself of one important fact to keep from choking on that fear.

I’m the one holding the gun.

Instead of freezing or retreating as one would do in this situation, Pike takes a bold step forward, catching me off guard. I stagger backward, but I’m not fast enough. He reaches out, and at first, I think he’s going for the weapon, but he doesn’t. He confuses me as he wraps his hands around mine, tightening my grip around the gun. He lifts my hands and bends slightly at the waist, forcefully pressing the barrel against his forehead. “You wanna shoot me, Mic? Then, fucking shoot me,” he dares, with wild blood shoot eyes.

My mouth drops open, but words don’t come out. I expected Pike to defend himself. To come at me. To step aside and let me leave, even though it was the least possible of all the outcomes. I didn’t plan for this.

I can do this. I have to do this.

“Not what you were expecting?” His tone is both mocking and rage-filled. “I know what that pretty brain of yours is thinking. You want me to attack you and make pulling the trigger easier on that conscious of yours.” He bites out a laugh. “Not gonna happen. If you want to do this, I’m not going to stand in your way, but you’re not fucking leaving either. So, come on. Shoot me. Go ahead. Do what you planned to do.” His eyes narrow with determination. My hands shake in his. “Pull the fucking trigger!”

The air around us is thick and charged. My skin breaks out in a sheen of sweat. My adrenaline spikes and I feel all too alert. Too aware of what’s taking place between us.

I grip the gun tighter and gaze into his dark eyes, his pupils are large and covering every hint of color within them. Behind the anger and determination, there’s something else that I didn’t expect. Something that I’m all too familiar with. Hurt. Pain that mirrors my own. Desperation that calls out to me like a piece of my soul trapped within Pike.

“Shoot me!” he cries, his face red with anger, teeth bared like a wild animal. “Fucking shoot me!”

With those words, my fiery resolve dissolves into ash.

I step back, needing to put some distance between us, but Pike doesn’t have the same thought. He follows me backward, keeping his grip tight on my hands and the gun between them.

“I…I can’t do this,” I whisper, releasing my grip on the gun.

Pike releases his hold on me, catching the gun before it can fall to the floor.

Shit.

I look to the window, but it’s too high, and Pike is directly in front of the only door. There’s no escape. So much for being brave. Instead, I’ve signed my own death warrant. My heart races erratically with the realization that this is it. It’s over.

I’m over.

“This was a really stupid fucking move for someone who claims to be so smart, ” Pike sneers. He raises the gun.

I pinch my eyes shut, waiting for the feel the bullet of his wrath to pierce my skin. I hear a thud, and my eyes fly open and land on the carpet where Pike’s tossed the gun to the floor.

My eyes meet his in silent question. Why?

He answers by charging, a one-man stampede I can’t avoid as he barrels toward me. His chest crashes against mine, and my head connects with the wall with a thud that rattles my bones. I’m dizzy as fear lands in my gut like a ball of fire. My pulse races as his closeness consumes me. The smell of cologne and cigarettes lingers between us—a trace of whiskey on his breath.

“You’re going to regret not pulling that trigger,” he sneers. The darkness in Pike’s eyes tells me that, gun or no gun, I’m not getting out of this unpunished.

Or possibly even alive.

I swallow hard.

He cages me in with his hands against the wall beside me, engulfing me in the heat and rage radiating from his hard body. I feel his heart beating fast beneath his chest now pressed against mine. “What to do with you now?” Pike muses, his breath ragged. His voice full of promise and warning. He brushes his lips over my temple. I tremble at the contact. “You’re going to pay for that little stunt, Mic.”

He’s close. Too close. I’m entirely rigid, frozen in place. This wasn’t supposed to happen. How did I let this happen? I’m the most terrified I’ve ever been, and yet there’s something else I can’t understand. Something else between us that’s charging the air, causing me to shake, and it’s not just from fear. Hatred mixed with need. The yearning I’ve denied for him is no longer lying dormant. It’s as real as the ache growing in my stomach, the wetness between my thighs. If I thought the room felt charged before, it’s damn near on fire now. The flames of desire and hate lick at the walls around us, setting everything ablaze, making the small room feel smaller, closing in around us.

My nipples harden as they brush against his chest. I suck in a gasp.

He doesn’t miss my reaction. He looks to where my nipples are straining against my shirt with heated eyes.

The only sound in the room is our mutual heavy breathing as he slowly pulls his gaze from my chest. His eyes lock on mine. For a few seconds, we just stare at each other—foreheads lined with confusion and anger.

A silent dare.

My mind, on the other hand, is anything but silent.

“Should I kill you or fuck you?” he muses. And I’m honestly not sure what scares me more. His anger or his desire. He brushes the backs of his knuckles against my jaw. “Maybe, both.”

“What do you—” I don’t have time to finish my question because his lips are on mine. He hoists me in the air, and my legs wrap around his waist on instinct.

It’s an angry joining of clacking teeth and biting lips. A war we are still fighting both with each other and ourselves. He growls at me when I pierce his lip, drawing blood. He licks the blood with his tongue then kisses me again, this time harder. A punishing kiss that has me growling at him in return. His coppery blood on my tongue tastes like victory. He licks his way between my lips, pushing his tongue into my mouth, licking and devouring with rough determined strokes. With a jerk of his hips, he presses the massive erection beneath his jeans between my legs, the pleasure that courses through me has me momentary seeing stars. I grind down on him in return.

He hisses in response, baring his teeth against my lips. “You’re going to pay for that, Mic,” he warns, taking my mouth in another kiss that has us grunting and growling at one another like starved animals fighting over the last scrap of food. But neither of us is about to give up. He pushes me back onto the bed, falling with me over my body, my legs splayed on both sides of his hips as he presses his cock again between my legs. I arch my back, needing to feel more. Needing for there to be nothing between us but desire. For each other, and to win. But, this is no longer a game we’re playing. It’s a battle. A war neither of us can win.

But, one in which we will both go down fighting.

T.M.Frazier

About T.M. FrazierT.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier never dreamed that a single person would ever read a word she wrote when she published her first book. Now, she is a five-time USA Today bestselling author and her books have been translated into numerous languages and published all around the world. T.M. enjoys writing what she calls ‘sexy wrong side of the tracks romance’ with morally corrupt anti-heroes and ballsy heroines. Her books have been described as raw, dark and gritty. Basically, what that means, is while some authors are great at describing a flower as it blooms, T.M. is better at describing it in the final stages of decay. She loves meeting her readers, but if you see her at an event please don’t pinch her because she’s not ready to wake up from this amazing dream.

Connect with T.M. Frazier

Facebook: http://bit.ly/TMFRAZIERBOOKS

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JWHAv8

GoodReads: https://amzn.to/2OjmESr

Join Frazierland:http://bit.ly/frazierland

Instagram: https://bit.ly/2U8gmtH

BookBub: https://bit.ly/2xtlQ4u

Twitter: @TM_Frazier

Stay up to date with T.M. by signing up for her mailing list: http://bit.ly/TMFrazier Website: http://www.tmfrazierbooks.com

For Text Alerts: TEXT “TMFRAZIER” TO 77948

*Standard text messaging rates apply*

A Dozen Ways to Start a Story


Staci Smith Troilo​ is on Story Empire sharing ways to inspire you to write that award-winning novel!

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote that opening. For those of you who missed me, please know I’m sorry I was away so long. I missed you. For those of you new (or new since I took a sabbatical) to the site, I’m Staci, and you’ll come to recognize my posts by me signing on this way.

Before I continue, I really need to give a shout-out to my SE partners in crime colleagues, who went above and beyond covering for me in my absence. I couldn’t ask for a better blogging family. Mae, Joan, Craig, Harmony, P.H., Marcia… many, many thanks for all the support.

Now, back to one of my favorite topics. Not my kids (though I could talk about them forever). And not my dogs (and we all know I could ramble on equally long about my furry family members). Today, third time’s…

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Sugarcoated by @ErinNicholas #NewRelease #Romance


Sugarcoated - RB Banner.jpg

“Sugarcoated is hot, funny, and so adorably swoon-worthy, it’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!” – Katana Collins, author

Sugarcoated, an all-new sweet and sexy standalone romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas is available now!

Sugarcoated300

A hot, funny brother’s best friend rom com…with sugar on top!

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s known her all his life. He’s practically part of the family. There is nothing either of them could do to surprise the other at this point.

Then she showed up in his bedroom in lingerie and asked him to take her V-card.

Now, that was a surprise.

Aiden is pretty sure Zoe was equally surprised when he told her no.

To say that he didn’t handle it well would be a massive understatement. Almost as massive as the amount of work he’s going to have to do now to convince her that he wants her. Forever.

Right after he tells her that he’s bought the company that’s her bakery’s biggest competitor.

Maybe if he tells her he’s in love with her first, that will help sugarcoat the whole we’re-rivals-in-business-now thing.

So, first “I’m in love with you”, then “take off your clothes”, then “I’m now your business adversary”.

Piece of cake.

Sugarcoated - AN.jpg

Download your copy today! Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bjel3L Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/sugarcoated Apple Books: https://apple.co/36BvxzB Nook: http://bit.ly/39UU6t5 Kobo: http://bit.ly/37Lz6Dk Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Wxondp Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/36Etef8

About Erin Nicholas

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

Connect with Erin

Website: http://bit.ly/2NkB2uF Facebook: http://bit.ly/2tdTM8e Twitter: http://bit.ly/2QLd1Pr Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3a3rnm4 Instagram: http://bit.ly/36NqV9y Website: http://bit.ly/2FM3Doo Stay up to date with Erin Nicholas by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/38a5Fv5

#TuesdayBookReview- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton #YANovels


No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction that laid the groundwork for the YA genre. S. E. Hinton’s classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was first published.

The Outsiders transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer world.” —The New York Times

Biography

Susan Eloise Hinton’s career as an author began while she was still a student at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Disturbed by the divisions among her schoolmates into two groups–the Greasers and the Socs–Hinton wrote The Outsiders, an honest, sometimes shocking novel told from the point of view of an orphaned 14-year-old Greaser named Ponyboy Curtis. Since her narrator was male, it was decided that Hinton use only her first initials so as not to put off boys who would not normally read books written by women. The Outsiders was published during Hinton’s freshman year at the University of Tulsa, and was an immediate sensation.Today, with more than eight million copies in print, the book is the best-selling young adult novel of all time, and one of the most hauntingly powerful views into the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. The book was also made into a film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring such future stars as Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise.Once published, The Outsiders gave her a lot of publicity and fame, and also a lot of pressure. S.E. Hinton was becoming known as “The Voice of the Youth” among other titles. This kind of pressure and publicity resulted in a three year long writer’s block.Her boyfriend (and now, her husband), who had gotten sick of her being depressed all the time, eventually broke this block. He made her write two pages a day if she wanted to go anywhere. This eventually led to That Was Then, This Is Now.In the years since, Ms. Hinton has married and now has a teenaged son, Nick. She continues to write, with such smash successes as That Was Then, This Is Now, Rumble Fish and Tex, almost as well known as The Outsiders. She still lives in Tulsa with her husband and son, where she enjoys writing, riding horses, and taking courses at the university.In a wonderful tribute to Hinton’s distinguished 30-year writing career, the American Library Association and School Library Journal bestowed upon her their first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors authors whose “book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives.”

My Review

An incredibly intimate portrayal into the lives of teenagers from ‘both sides of the track.’

I was hooked from the opening line:

WHEN I STEPPED out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

Ponyboy Curtis and his brothers, Darry and Sodapop, are getting by after the deaths of their parents, but life isn’t easy. Darry had to quit school in order to care for his younger brothers, determined to keep his family together even though money is tight and trouble never far away.

The boys and their friends are known as greasers, often preyed upon by the rich socs who take pleasure in taunting them with all that they don’t have.

They had me down in a second. They had my arms and legs pinned down and one of them was sitting on my chest with his knees on my elbows, and if you don’t think that hurts, you’re crazy.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

Life on the streets is brutal. Either you protect one another, or perish. The author does an incredible job of drawing the reader into Ponyboy’s life. It’s impossible not to have empathy for these tough, loyal, misunderstood young men.

“Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold . . .” The pillow seemed to sink a little, and Johnny died. You read about people looking peacefully asleep when they’re dead, but they don’t. Johnny just looked dead. Like a candle with the flame gone.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

I first read this book as an English assignment way back in grade eight and it has stayed with me all of these years. This is a timeless story of disparity and inequality, never more important than in these uncertain times.

A must-read!

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves #Romance – Sunset Beach (Blue Haven Book 2) by Jacquie Biggar


Sally Cronin​ shares my new release and a wonderful review- thanks, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar is celebrating her latest release Sunset Beach (Blue Haven Book 2)

About the book

An explosive secret threatens the peace and tranquility of Sweetheart Cove

Single father Trace Michaels hands are full coping with a rebellious teenage daughter, troublesome ex-wife, and campaigning for the mayor’s election. He doesn’t have time to get distracted by an old flame from his past– one he’s never forgotten.

When an unknown source leaks surprising news that could damage his career, Trace turns to the one person he trusts for the truth.

Single mother Mona Samuels knows how difficult it can be to raise a daughter. She empathizes with Trace, but when he comes to her for advice she’s conflicted. They say the truth will set you free, but unburying the past could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build.

Head over to buy the book:Amazon US

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Find Joy- Favorite Places #SundayStills #Photography


Find Joy however you can

Many of us are scared of what is going on in the world and frustrated with the restrictions this unseen enemy has placed upon our lives. But I challenge you to go through your photos and find the places, or things, that bring you joy. Soak up that feeling and don’t give up- we are in this thing together {{hugs}}

Sunday Stills- Favorite Places

Sunday stills is a weekly challenge created by Terri Webster Schrandt. This week she chose FAVORITE PLACES. Stop by and join the challenge here.

Cherry Blossoms against a cerulean blue sky

I’m blessed to be living in my favorite place. DH and I were both born and raised in north-western Alberta, against the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Winters tended to last seven-to-eight months and could be incredibly depressing if you weren’t into snow sports.

Our summer holidays were often taken on Vancouver Island, Canada’s rainforest. We fell in love with the land and the people and dreamed of one day living there.

Imagine my joy when that dream became a reality!

Our new home- full-time RVers
Cherry trees in full bloom in our park
Goofy grandson at Butchart Gardens
Fisheye shot of Esquimalt Lagoon
My brother here for a visit
Mural at Chemainus
See the resemblance? DH posing, lol

We may be stuck at home, but photos are a wonderful way to lift our moods.

Stay safe everyone!