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?

Pike by @TM_Frazier #MCRomance #Suspense


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“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.

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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

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

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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*

Sugarcoated by @ErinNicholas #NewRelease #Romance


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“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!

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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.

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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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Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy #Mystery by @JamesCudney4 #NewRelease


I’m excited to share one of my blogging buddie’s new releases- Frozen Stiff Drink by James. J. Cudney!

I’ve read, and enjoyed, many of Jay’s books (you can check out my review for Haunted House Ghost here, Academic Curveball here, and Father Figure here. Needless to say, I’m a fan!

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. 

Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. After Nana D disappears, one of her patients turns up dead and a second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears.

Between finding Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Unfortunately, neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition.

Can Kellan find Nana D – and who is the killer terrorizing the town?

What Readers are Saying

As this series moves along, we watch the characters grow and learn life’s lessons. An air of mystery shadows this story and I feel it may run into the next story, though all the stories in this series are stand-along if you wish to read them that way.

Cudney builds an exciting story around these events, with occurrences and surprises we don’t see coming. 

Amazon Reviewer

Book 6 in James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries is another page turner, a shell-shocker and will most certainly leave you gasping, “What?” but in a good way! 

Amazon Reviewer

Biography

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I wanted to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through words. In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. From there, I wrote another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. Many of my books are available in print, electronic, and audiobook formats, and we are beginning to release foreign language translations. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com.

Outside of writing, I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 1,000 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I share several fun features, including the Book Bucket List, Tips & Advice, Author Spotlights & Book Alerts, and the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. You’ll find tons of humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers… where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Baxter, a two-year-old shiba inu, constantly tries to stop me from writing so I can play with him and keep him amused. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

WWW Wednesday #Read #amreading


WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

This looks like a fun challenge, so I decided to join in.

What am I currently reading?

I came across this ebook on sale the other day, and while I have a dog-eared paperback in my library I decided to make the purchase anyway. You can’t have to many copies of The Outsiders!

This book is every bit as good now as it was the first hundred times I read it!

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

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

What Book did I Recently Finish Reading?

If you’re looking for a lighthearted story to rid you of the virus blues, this one will do the job! You can check out my review here.

In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.

What Am I thinking of Reading Next?

I have two books on my reading list for this category.

I’ve been reading rave reviews for Warning Signs and can’t wait to start it myself!

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.

Karen Robards is one of my go-to authors. She has an uncanny knack for combining suspense and humor to her stories- I love them!

With her back against the wall, everything’s on the line for Bianca St. Ives. She’s either going to save the world—or die trying.

It took one hell of an effort for the authorities to finally get the jump on master manipulator Bianca St. Ives, but now that they have, it’s far from the capture she expected. Instead of taking her in, there’s an offer on the table, a one-shot deal that would allow Bianca to walk away scot-free as if they’d never found her. And all she has to do is run one last mission—the kind she might never return from. But if Bianca wants to go back to her normal life in Savannah, it’s not like she has a choice.

An intelligence operation is already under way in North Korea, one that’s poised to end the country’s existing tyrannical regime for good. But first, the US need one of their own to go undercover as the female hacker who recently stole top secret intel from NORAD. Enter Bianca. After everything she’s seen, Bianca knows feeding fake information directly into the belly of the beast is about as dangerous as it gets. It could mean torture or endless imprisonment—assuming she survives. But it might also ignite the kind of chaos that forces a revolution. It might just change the world. Besides, if Bianca has to go down, she’s gonna go down swinging…

If we have to stay home, at least we have our fictional (and blogging) friends to keep us company 🙂

squad

#BookReview- In Search of McDoogal by @MaeClair1 #RomCom


In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.

Biography

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.com

Photo by Matthias Oben on Pexels.com

My Review

The things we do for love…

When Brady Conrad inadvertently sells his girlfriend’s prized painting of her beloved feline, he talks friend Declan into helping in its recovery.

They follow a vague trail of clues leading them to a small town with a suspicious sheriff and a calamity of events that make for entertaining reading. Brady and Declan act more like brothers with their witty dialogue and unending support and the supporting characters are a hoot!

The more we learn of this painting, the curiouser it gets and was a highlight of the story for me.

If you’re looking for a little lighthearted relief from the current world crisis, this book fits the bill!

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#BookReview- Incriminating Evidence by @RachelSGrant #Suspense


From enemies to allies…
When archaeologist Isabel Dawson stumbles upon an unconscious man deep in the Alaskan wilderness, her survival skills are put to the test. She tends his wounds and drags him to shelter, only to discover she’s saved the life of Raptor CEO Alec Ravissant—the man who may have covered up her brother’s murder to save his senatorial campaign.

With no memory of the assault that landed him five miles deep in the forest, Alec doesn’t know what to believe when he wakes in the clutches of the beautiful redhead who blames him for her brother’s death, but he quickly realizes he needs her help to uncover the truth about his lost hours.

Isabel never imagined she’d find herself allied with Alec, and he’s the last man she ever expected to find attractive. But the former Army Ranger-turned-politician proves seductively charming, and he’s determined to win much more than her vote. When their quest for answers puts Isabel in the crosshairs, Alec must risk everything—his company, his campaign, and his life—to protect her.

Biography

USA Today bestselling author Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and mines her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco, survey and excavation of many prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, researching an historic concrete house in Virginia, and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children and can be found on the web at http://www.Rachel-Grant.net.

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My Review

Isabel Dawson is on a mission to find out the truth behind her brother’s death in the Alaskan backcountry. She uses her job as an archeological surveyor to comb the land searching for clues and butting heads with the owner of the secretive military organization her brother worked for- Raptor.

One minute CEO Alec Ravissant is driving towards the Raptor compound and the next he awakens with a pounding head and a feisty woman single-handedly pulling him by travois to a cabin in the woods. Not only that, she’s the firebrand ruining his chance at running for senator by accusing him of murder.

While the attraction runs hot, trust doesn’t come easy between these two, but when danger erupts around them they turn to each other to stay alive and find the answers before a killer finds them.

This is a action-packed suspense with futuristic weapons and plenty of red herrings. I think the romance was a little over-the-top considering the situation, but overall a good read.

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#BookReview- Parental Guidance by @AveryFlynn #SportsRomance


“A fantastically fun, HOT love story.” – Kendall Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
It wasn’t me.

It was my team.

But as almost co-captain I raised my hand to fix it.

Never imagined they’d arrange a PR stunt to make me look like Mr. Right to someone my mom picks out on some new dating app.

Then my salvation walks into the restaurant.

Zara Ambrose.

The five-foot-nothing redhead with more freckles than inches that I convinced to go on five dates with me for all the world to see.

She’s got her own reasons for our set up–and her own rules.

But somewhere between the couples’ obstacle course, wrestling matches with her Great Dane, and fights over mashed potatoes, Zara went from means-to-an-end to something so much more.

What happens when you start to fall for the one girl you can’t have…on live TV?

Biography

Avery Flynn is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

Find out more about Avery on her website (averyflynn.com), follow her on Twitter (@AveryFlynn) and Pinterest (pinterest.com/AveryFlynnBooks), and like her on her Facebook page (facebook.com/AveryFlynnAuthor).

Join her street team, The Flynnbots, and receive special sneak peeks, prizes and early access to her latest releases!

Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.

Contact her at avery@averyflynn.com. She’d love to hear from you!

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My Review

Get a group of alpha males together and the trash talk is bound to flow. Such is the basis for this fun, yet insightful story about NHL player Caleb Stuckey and Zara Ambrose.

A recorded cab trip with some of the rookie’s on his team goes viral overnight after the guys brag about their luck on and off the ice. Caleb’s mother comes up with the idea of showing her son’s remorse by having him date a woman she picks out via a new app called Bramble. Caleb just wants to get back to playing hockey.

Zara is a miniatures artist and a self-professed workaholic. She has zero interest in dating men (bad experience with a flighty father), but gives in to her friend’s pressure after a few too many drinks and adds a racy bio to the Bramble website, never expecting a call to come through. When it does, her father begs her to try it as a way for him to get his SAG card through the TV segments.

Caleb and Zara’s first meeting is awkward. Neither one wants to be there, but are determined to make the best of a bad situation. They decide on the required five dates, and done.

Too bad their attraction is off-the-charts!

Favorite Lines

What was wrong with her? He hated mashed potatoes. Only sociopaths hated mashed potatoes. It was a sign on top of all the other ways they were total and complete opposites

Parental Guidance- Avery Flynn

“Life is like hockey—you put in the preparation, you put in the work, and you pray like hell that the calls will go your way.”

Parental Guidance- Avery Flynn

This is a fun read! I give Parental Guidance 4 lovely kisses.

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High-Tech Crime Solvers Presents Virtually Gone by @Jacqbiggar #Suspense #Read


Virtually Gone: in the crosshairs of a serial killer

I’m thrilled to present the new multi-author series High-Tech Crime Solvers and my novel, Virtually Gone…

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Jacquie Biggar, comes a gripping techno-thriller, part of a multi-author series tied together by an interlocking cast of characters, all centered around the fantastic new promise of high technology and the endless possibilities for crime that technology offers, in a world where getting away with murder can be not only plausible, but easy…if you just know how..

Investigative reporter Julie Crenshaw stumbles upon the case of a lifetime–one that could cost her everything.When Julie is called on to investigate a string of sexual abuse cases, she doesn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial rapist. Soon she’s in a race to find the facts before a killer makes her the headline.

Detective Matthew Roy is frustrated with his inability to track a rapist terrorizing his city. Added to that, his partner’s reporter girlfriend is dogging his every step and won’t heed his warnings. Time is ticking with the perpetrator escalating his crime to murder. Matt needs to find the killer soon, or chance losing someone he cares for-the question is, how?

★★★★★ “This author is an auto-buy for me. Each of her novels including this one is a perfect mix of angst, suspense, humor, and steaminess.”

Virtually Gone

(Volume II of High-Tech Crime Solvers)

Preorder now… Be the first to read it!
When Detective Matthew Roy and reporter Julie Crenshaw are called on to investigate a string of sexual abuse cases, they don’t expect Julie to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.

Excerpt

“Hey, Detective, got a minute?”

Matt closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. He liked and admired his partner’s girlfriend, but the last thing he felt like doing was playing nice for the press right now.

“Can’t, Jules, I’m busy.” He didn’t have to turn his head to see her disapproval, it bore a hole through his shoulders.

“C’mon, Roy. The public have a right to know what’s going on. They need to be notified.”

That did it. He rose and swiveled on his feet to stomp over and get in her face, heedless of the camera crew waiting in the wings. “What in the h-e-double-l do you think we’ve been doing?” he roared. Connor had warned him about taking cases like these personally, but dammit, it was personal. This young woman had a family somewhere, maybe even a husband and children who would never get to see her or tell her how much they loved her again.

Damn right, it was personal.

Julie gazed at him with worried eyes before turning to her crew and slicing a hand across her throat. “Give us a minute, guys. I’ll call you when I’m ready.” They looked at each other, shrugged and gathered their gear, moving to stand beside the VIBS News van. When she returned her attention to Ray, determination overrode the concern. “You want to tell me what has you so riled up?” She raised her hand. “And yes, it’s off the record.”

No, he did not want to tell the pretty reporter the story of his life, thank you very much. He trusted Julie as much as he did most of the individuals in his life, with the exception of Connor—which was to say, with a bag of salt. He’d found people tended to say what they thought you wanted to hear, not what they actually meant. In his line of work, there was a stark contrast between the two. Which meant he kept to himself, safer that way.

On the other hand, this was Jules and she’d been through some tough times of her own, so he made an effort to tone down his frustration. “I don’t like when I can’t keep my city safe,” he admitted. He angled sideways so he could keep an eye on the techs. “This guy, it’s like he’s always one step ahead of us, you know?”

She leaned over the yellow ribbon and patted his too-tense arm. “You’ll get him, Matt. I know you will.” Then she straightened and donned her investigative reporter face. “Can VIBS get a short statement from you? It doesn’t have to give away anything, just let the public know you’re working on it, okay?”

Matt sighed. She was like a Pitbull with a piece of meat.

From a power team of bestselling authors comes a gripping series tied together by an interlocking cast of characters, all centered around the fantastic new promise of high technology and the endless possibilities for crime that technology offers, in a world where getting away with murder can be not only plausible, but easy…if you just know how.

A Simple Wedding by @LeighRDuncan #Romance #Reading


ASimpleWedding_blogtour

Today we have the blog tour for A SIMPLE WEDDING by Leigh Duncan! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

9781947892477_FC (1)

Title: A Simple Wedding

Author: Leigh Duncan

Genre: Sweet Romance

About A Simple Wedding:

Fall in love with Heart’s Landing,a romantic wedding destination, in the first book of a Hallmark series.

Jenny always dreamed of getting married at Heart’s Landing. But when she finally visits the charming small town, she’s there to make wedding arrangements for someone else: her cousin, who also happens to be her boss and a famous movie star. Her cousin wants a simple wedding, not a media circus. To keep the event top-secret, she’s talked her assistant Jenny into pretending she’s the one getting married.

Nick, a baker and lifelong resident of Heart’s Landing, is intrigued by this bride-to-be who starts visiting his bakery for sweet treats and conversation. It seems strange that her fiancé isn’t at least little involved with the wedding plans.

As Jenny tries to keep up with her fickle cousin’s ever-changing demands—which exasperate the florist, the caterer, and several other vendors—she tries to hide her attraction to Nick. Meanwhile, the people in town talk Nick into trying to distract Jenny with a sightseeing tour in order to keep her from changing her mind again. The more time Nick spends with Jenny, the harder it becomes to remind himself that she’s already spoken for.

Planning this wedding couldn’t be more complicated…and what will happen once the truth comes to light?

Get Your Copy Today:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Moonlight In Vermont

A Simple Wedding Leigh Duncan

“No buts. If you need to adjust the plans, just do it.” He managed to angle his body away from hers, a move that back- fired when he ended up facing her. Staring down at Jenny’s pert features, he cleared his throat. “Why waste the energy fighting it? If you know it’s something you’re going to end up doing anyway, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache if you just tackle it head on.”

Jenny’s dark eyes brightened. “That’s exactly what I need- ed to hear. Thanks, Nick.”

“Now, how can I help?”

She reached out. Her fingers barely made contact with his arm, but her touch sent tingles of awareness coursing through him. He tried telling himself that his was nothing more than the usual reaction of a man in the presence of a pretty woman, but he knew there was more to it than that. He was dangerously close to crossing a line with Jenny, something he absolutely wouldn’t do. Not even if she wanted him to.

“Well.” Jenny tilted her head and issued a challenge. “I need a bigger cake.”

“No problem.” He could easily add another layer to her wedding cake, maybe even two. But something in Jenny’s expression triggered a flicker of doubt. Had he just commit-

ted to more than he could deliver? Not exactly sure he was going to like her answer, he ventured a tentative, “How much bigger?”

Her gaze cut to one side. “Enough to serve two hundred and fifty guests.”

“Whooo.” Air whistled through his teeth. That was a lot more cake.

“I’ve been having second thoughts about the flavor, too.”

“Okay,” he said bracing himself. He’d known about Jenny’s soft spot for chocolate since the day they met. But to craft a cake in her favorite flavor for that many people would require extra work. He’d need to dowels to support each layer of the dense, heavy…

“Almond,” she said firmly.

Not chocolate? He frowned, recalling how her nose had scrunched up during the tasting. She didn’t even like almond.

“And it needs more, uh.”

“More what?” he asked, growing more perplexed by the moment.

“It needs more pizzazz.”

He took a breath. Of all the brides he’d worked with over the years, he would have sworn Jenny was the least likely to want a lavishly decorated cake. But maybe he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did. “I could pipe the icing to match the pattern of your dress,” he suggested, certain she’d consider the idea too ornate. “And add a cascade of rose-gold flowers down one side.”

A happy smile teased Jenny’s lips. “Yes. That’s it. Exactly.”

Nick folded his arms across his chest. They said no good deed went unpunished. He should have known offering ad- vice to a bride-to-be would come back to haunt him. This larger, fancier cake would take the better part of a week to

create. Worse, just when he’d sworn he’d keep his distance from Jenny, he’d have to work closely with her on a whole new design. “I’ll get on it first thing in the morning,” he promised on his way to the stairs.

“I’ll stop by in the afternoon so we can go over the par- ticulars. Save me a cupcake?”

Though he automatically agreed, he shook his head as he headed for the van. His determination to keep his distance from Jenny had lasted less than two minutes before she’d melted it, just like she’d melted his heart.

About the Author:

Author Leigh Duncan. (Photo by Chris Kridler)

Leigh Duncan, an Amazon bestselling author and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, has written over two dozen novels, novellas and short stories, including A Simple Wedding,A Country Wedding, and Journey Back to Christmas for Hallmark Publishing, the Glades County Cowboys series for Harlequin, and her own Orange Blossom series. Leigh lives on Central Florida’s East Coast where she writes complex, heartwarming, and emotional stories with a dash of Southern sass.

Connect with Leigh:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

#BookReview- Moments We Love by Balroop Singh #Poetry @BalroopShado


Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life; butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; it just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how they could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. My imaginative muse transformed them into poetry.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows,
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

Biography

Balroop Singh, an educationalist, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in San Ramon California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

My Review

A rich tapestry of emotion guides the reader through first love through the pain of loss and poignant memories in Moments We Love by Balroop Singh.

The words flow like a warm breeze, inspiring us to think about the moments that change our lives.

My Favorite Lines

From Rift

We lie trapped in darkness

In the shadows of stillness

Butterflies of hope are fluttering

With tears in silent eyes.

Moments We Love- Balroop Singh

From Rooted in Love

Love is not just growing together

It is weathering storms

Smiling through gales

Reaching out to each other

Making memories

That could be cherished.

Moments We Love- Balroop Singh

From I Feel Most Like Me

I feel most like me

When random memories make me smile When rain drains away emotional dust That gathers unawares

When my grandson hugs me tight

And whispers, “I love you.”

Moments We Love- Balroop Singh

A refreshing look at life and love. I give Moments We Love 5 lovely kisses!

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#BookReview- Viral Blues by C.S. Boyack #Suspense @Virgilante


Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Biography

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Pexels.com

My Review

When an underground organization tampers with the world’s vaccine supply, endangering thousands of lives, Lizzie and The Hat are brought in to help a group with supernatural abilities to find, and stop, whoever is behind the scheme.

Using their band as a way to infiltrate local hangouts in a search for the culprits, Lizzie is joined by a robotic covergirl, a guy who can turn himself into fog, a take-no-prisoners thug who likes to break knees and ask questions later, along with a few more interesting characters.

They are faced with zombies, mobsters, and a demon intent on annihilating the world.

The pacing is fast in this highly inventive story of the battle between good and evil. The author added a number of twists and turns that kept this reader guessing what would happen next!

If you like supernatural suspense thrillers, Viral Blues is a must-have addition to your #readinglist!

I give Viral Blues 5 lovely kisses- Imaginative storyline!

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A Little Sweet and a Lot Sassy #Romance #Reading #mgtab


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Looking for your next read?
Our Sweet and Sassy boxed sets are a great way to discover a new author or try out a different romantic genre for only 99 Cents. Some are steamy and they are all a little sweet. 
Here we go- click the covers for more info… 

Enjoy being curled up with a good book by the fire or under a palm tree. 

The Unexpected Series by @StacySEaton #Romance #Reading


Unexpected Packages

The Unexpected Series, Book 1

by Stacy Eaton

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Lexi Miller restarted her life five years ago and has been living a regimented routine ever since. With a great job and a best friend who tries everything to get her to break-out of her boring life, it’s not until her birthday present arrives at her door, opened by a stranger, that things finally start to get interesting.
Alex Miller is ready for his second career after retiring from the military. He’s excited to start training contractors in safety issues and getting to know his daughter after being away for so many years.
When a package addressed to him shows up on his doorstep, he is kind enough to deliver the box to the rightful owner. When Lexi opens the door, Alex quickly realizes that he’s found the beautiful woman he has been catching peeks of as she comes and goes from the building.
From misunderstandings to new beginnings, Alex and Lexi come together, but a business trip threatens their future right before Valentine’s Day, and neither is sure they will ever be reunited.

Unexpected Arrivals

The Unexpected Series, Book 2

Trevor Vaughn loves his job, his women, and his bachelor lifestyle. Sadly, for him, all of that might change when Davina Daniels walks into his office pushing a stroller.
The problem is that Trevor doesn’t have any idea who Davina is. After she explains that he’s a father to the infant boy, Devon, in front of him, he finds himself clueless as to what to do next.
After reaching out and begging for her help, Davina and Trevor begin to form a friendship that will bring them together in time for their friend’s wedding and a single night of steamy romance.
It’s after their moments of bliss that words are misspoken, strangers show up, and Devon is raced to the hospital that their newfound romance is put to the test. Will Trevor and Davina find a way back to each other, or will the storms continued to crash down over them?
Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Bestselling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016 due to a second serious concussion. Her last three years on the job were in investigations and crime scene investigation. She now writes full-time.
Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter. Stacy also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy. She is also very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.
Stacy writes a variety of genre’s, but mostly romance. She enjoys writing real-life stories that people can relate too with real-life problems, emotions, and solutions.
Her favorites: Classic cars, photography, Disney, music, coffee and her favorite sweatshirt that says, “You are dangerously close to getting killed in my next novel.”
Visit Stacy’s website for more information on her and her books. stacyeaton.com
$10 Amazon – 2 winners!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

New Release News- The Player by Jacquie Biggar #RomCom #SportsRomance


I have a new release and it’s a Rom-com!

When I started writing the second book in the Men of WarHawks series I had in mind a suspense novel with a female antagonist because I’d read somewhere that something like one in ten women are criminals. Enter Olivia Brandt- psycho stalker.

Excerpt from Villain’s POV

Unable to help herself, Olivia lifted the spyglasses just as Roy got out of the car and went around to open the door for the chunky woman who climbed out and stared up at the rather impressive log cabin in front of them. What did he even see in her? She had no style sense—seriously, bubble coats when you’re plump is like adding wrapping paper to a watermelon, there is no hiding those curves—and what was with those glasses and hairstyle? Did she dream of becoming the next Marilyn Monroe?

Roy put a hand to the woman’s elbow and solicitously helped her over the icy gravel drive and up the stairs to the wraparound porch. They paused for a moment while he unlocked the door, then ushered her inside. Olivia’s blood boiled. She threw the binoculars onto the seat—where they promptly bounced to the floor—and smacked a gloved hand on the steering wheel.

“She’s going to pay for getting in my way,” she vowed.

“You’re going to jail, is what’s going to happen,” Mike retorted. “C’mon, sis, you already have a restraining order against you thanks to this guy, isn’t that enough?”

Heat rose up her chest and coated her cheeks. “I told you, it’s a misunderstanding. Once I get a chance to speak to Roy, he’ll clear it up. That’s why I need you.”

He rolled his eyes. “You’re making excuses. He doesn’t want anything more to do with you. He’s moved on, why can’t you?”

Rage rose in a tidal wave. Before she knew what she was doing, Olivia reached down, grabbed the binoculars, and rammed them into her brother’s face.

“Ow, you bitch,” he yelled, putting both hands up to protect his bleeding nose. “What the hell was that for?”

The anger ebbed, the monster in her head silent for now. She started the truck and backed down the drive until they were out of sight of the house. A couple of maneuvers later, the four-by-four was turned around. Olivia glanced at Mike and frowned. She threw a roll of paper towel from under the seat in his direction. “Clean yourself up, we have a date with a rental agency.”

“You’re fricking crazy,” he mumbled.

She laughed, exhilarated now that the time was near. Soon we will be together, darling. And no one was going to stand in her way.


As you can see, Olivia has a few issues. But, as well as her character came together, I couldn’t tame my protagonists into having the proper respect and solemn attitudes given the seriousness of the situation.

Roy Donaldson is an attitude-ridden hockey player, frustrated with his general manager’s request demand to take time away from the game to get his personal life in order, and Patience Kennedy is the unfortunate PA hired to help him. Roy figures he can boss the PA into leaving so he can get back on the ice, but Patience isn’t the pushover he expects.

Short Excerpt between Roy and Patience

Roy stripped down in the empty locker room and stepped into the shower, sighing as the warm water massaged his back. He’d paid a hefty price to get the arena to himself, but it was worth the fee to escape the merciless eyes of the press. If he wasn’t under contract… hell, who was he kidding? His career was all he had left, he wasn’t going anywhere. His cell phone jingled, wrecking the quiet. He tipped his head back, letting the water roll off his face. Olivia. Again. He had nothing to say to her. She’d made a fool out of him in front of his entire team—unforgivable.

He rubbed his face and blinked unseeingly at the tiled wall. Two months. He and Olivia had been happy together—well, content. God. If he hadn’t come home early that day and found her ensconced in his bed…

They’d agreed to take things slow, enjoy the natural growth of their relationship. Instead, she’d stolen his keys, inserting herself into every part of his life. Calling his mother, arranging a dinner with his teammates, adding her name—in a relationship—to his Facebook profile. He pounded the wall, then bowed his head, failure ringing in his ears.

He rinsed off and left the shower stall, hands squeezing the water from his over-long hair—he needed a cut. A startled screech stopped him in his tracks. A curvy brunette sat half-turned on the bench. She’d covered her eyes and held out his towel, reminding him of a pinup from the fifties with her flouncy dress, short sweater and colorful knotted headscarf.

“Who the hell are you?” he snarled, making a grab for the towel to cover his privates—though it was probably too late for modesty. So much for having this place to himself.

“Umm, P… Patience Kennedy.” She peeked at him from an oversized pair of mint green glasses that made her brown eyes look huge.

Great, they were sending ingénues for reporters now. Didn’t matter, he wasn’t buying into it. “Well, Patience Kennedy, this is the men’s locker room. You aren’t supposed to be in here. Tell whatever rag you’re working for the whole sex kitten thing is wasted on me.” There, that should send her running in…

One.

Two.

The young woman erupted off her seat in the most interesting flurry of bounces and wriggles. Hands on hips, she glared at him in all her bifocaled glory. “That is a horrible, sexist thing to say.” Her eyes lowered to his bare chest and the towel tucked haphazardly around his hips. She jerked her gaze up, cheeks flushing a becoming pink. “This is a misunderstanding. My boss suggested I come down and introduce myself after your practice. I wasn’t expecting…” Her hands flapped in front of her like a frightened peacock attempting to take flight.

Unexpectedly, he grinned. “Never see a naked man before, Patience Kennedy?” He double-checked the towel and chuckled when she sealed her eyes shut. “Don’t worry, your virtue is safe with me.” The smile faded. “I learn from my mistakes.” He looked around for his clothes, realized he’d left them in his locker and Kennedy stood in his path.

“I wish I could say this has been fun, but…” He waited until she reopened her eyes, then jerked his chin in the direction of the other room.

She tipped her head and a heavy sweep of chestnut hair slipped over her shoulder to cover the plump fullness of her breast—not that he was looking. “Sorry?”

He saw the moment the lightbulb went on. Her eyes widened and her mouth made an oh that hooked his attention. She had a beauty mark. “My clothes are behind you—unless you plan on holding me hostage until you get your story?” And why the hell did that not sound like a bad idea?

She jumped out of his way and promptly twisted an ankle on the wet bricks. “Ouch,” she cried, leaning over to cradle the injury.

That damn sweater was too small, her breasts were hanging out of the top, jiggling with every pained breath she took. He was such a pervert. He crouched to get a closer look at the injury, tucking the towel between his legs. Yep, she’d sprained it. Who came into a locker room in three-inch heels anyway?

“You’d better sit down. You can’t walk on it like that.” He rose and took her elbow, frowning when she jerked away.

“Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do. It’s fi… fine,” she groaned as she put her weight on the foot in question. Her face paled and she reached behind her for the bench, easing her rump down. “Dammit, what else can go wrong?”


If you’d like to find out how these two survive themselves and the crazy Olivia, check out The Player releasing Feb 28th!

The Player: Men of WarHawks- Book 2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CZVVLG

International: https://books2read.com/ThePlayer

TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50439233-the-player

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-player-men-of-warhawks-book-2-by-jacquie-biggar

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?

Early Reviews

Oh this one took a surprising turn and I couldn’t put it down. I won’t give any spoilers but it is a doozy! It is well written and a nice blend of sports player, strong woman, romance,a touch of humor, twists, family and yes, suspense!

Bookbub reviewer- The Player

I love sports stories (especially hockey ones) and Jacquie gives us Roy who gets sidelined from NHL thanks to his stalker ex so he ends up needing some little help from a PA Patience … so you can imagine the good laughs and antics and aww moments she mixed up for us and to be frank, I think the story would have deserved to be longer! I for sure will keep my eyes open for more by Jacquie!

Bookbub Reviewer- Irresistible Valentine Anthology

#BookReview- Simple by Anita Dawes #Suspense @jaydawes2


SHADES OF DELIVERANCE MEETS THE WALTONS…
Simple’s life is a painful nightmare.
He is one huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child. He suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.
Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.
Will they ever discover the joy of freedom?

Photo by Connor Danylenko on Pexels.com

My Review

Life in the backwoods of Eastern USA is not easy. The hardscrabble country folk live by their own set of tough rules and there is a price to pay for breaking them.

Leanne’s family are as much a part of the woods as the trees and carnivores of the forest. They are rough, cruel, and frightening except for Simple, a big brute of a man with a soft heart and the mind of a child. Leanne would have run away long ago, but she was too scared of what her Uncle Jimmy would do to Simple to leave him behind.

When trouble comes to the mountain, Leanne is forced to make decisions for her and Simple or die.

This is a gripping suspense with intense scenes and complex characters who practically leap off the page. Uncle Jimmy, Jack, Granny are all people I would NOT want to meet in a dark alley!

Favorite Lines

When Simple got worked up his words stuck, stretched out like an echo rebounding around the woods before finding the end of it.

Simple- Anita Dawes

Putting on a face, Gran always said, don’t mean you can hide what you are.

Simple- Anita Dawes

I fell asleep, listening to the rain and Simple’s mind spilling out on to the dry leafy floor.

Simple- Anita Dawes

This book is the haunting story of one young girl’s journey to a new life. It is the story of survival.

I give Simple 5 lovely kisses- Unpredictable!

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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!

#BookReview- Amanda in Alberta by Darlene Foster #ChildrensMystery @SuperMegaWoman


Amanda is delighted to show Leah aaround Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos.When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems to want it – including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger?Spend time with Amanda as she explores her own country while attempting to decipher the mysterious writing on the stone and keep it from those determined to take it from her.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Review

Amanda is excited to show her friend, Leah (visiting from England), the sites in southern Alberta.

While at the Calgary Stampede Parade, a clown drops a stone with strange markings. Amanda rescues the stone from the road and tries to get the clown’s attention, but he’s gone. She decides to hang onto the rock to see if her Great-Aunt Mary, a famous paleontologist, might know what the markings mean.

Strange and frightening encounters occur while the girls are sightseeing the Stampede, a working cattle ranch, Drumheller with its world-famous dinosaur museum, and Writing on Stone Park- a Unesco World Heritage site. Someone wants the stone back and they aren’t above hurting the girls to get it!

Amanda in Alberta is a fun, page-turning mystery with interesting tidbits of indigenous history along with Alberta landmarks thrown in.

While geared toward the pre-teen age group, this book has something for every reader to enjoy.

I give Amanda in Alberta four lovely kisses- Traveling with Amanda is an adventure!

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Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon #NewRelease #Poetry


Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?

And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?

When Harold dies, he leaves a simple memorial request

Will his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.

A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.

Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. It features a variety of my photos including: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and even some Halloween poems!

I doubt I would have created Mr. Sagittarius if it wasn’t for these two amazing ladies: Colleen Chesebro (for her weekly poetry challenges and Charli Mills – Carrot Ranch (flash fiction challenges.) Both ladies have been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement.

Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a story about the circle of life, with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year and sibling relationships.

Huge thanks to my amazing cover designer and formatter: Rachael Ritchey who has done an amazing job creating the ebook, paperback cover and graphics.

Get your copy today

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084DQV3HW/Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DQV3HW/

Contents include:

THE GOLDEN WEEPING WILLOW (story and poem plus photo of a dragonfly)

GOLDEN WILLOW TREE (poem and photo)

ROBIN: ETHEREE (poem and photo)

LIFE LESSONS FROM BUDDHA (poem)

LIFE LESSONS FROM CATS – poem – (photo image via Samantha Murdoch)

MR. FROWNING TREE (poem and photo)

RAINBOW CHILD – story – (image of Tourmaline crystal via Samantha Murdoch)

FRIENDS FOR TEA (poem)

THE CANDY CORN MONSTER (Halloween poem)

CANDYFLOSS CRITTER (Halloween poem)

MR GHOST WITH EASE (Halloween poem)

DREAMING AT HALLOWEEN (Halloween poem)

ODE TO LOVE –ETERNAL (Ghost/love poem)

LOVE TAKEN BY DEATH: DIAMANTE (poem)

GHOST: SEPTOLET (Ghost poem)

A FACE ON BARK: ETHEREE (poem)

LOLLIPOP SUNSHINE TREE (poem and photo)

FOR MR. SNOWMAN (poem)

SERENA’S CHRISTMAS BUBBLE MONSTER (humorous story and photo)

BUBBLY SNOWMAN KISSES (poem)

THAT TWINKLE IN HER EYES IS MAGIC (poem)

THE OLD MAN OF SNOW AND THE SNOW SNAKE (story)

MY HEART IS A CAVE (poem)

MR. SAGITTARIUS (story)

MR. SAGITTARIUS DIED THIS DAY IN THIS SNOW DROP GARDEN (poem/prose/photo of snow drops.)

Love (story)

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Other Books by M J Mallon:

YA Fantasy:

The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone

http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime

Coming in 2020

YA Fantasy:

The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer.

Short Stories in Anthologies:

Bestselling horror compilation –

Nightmareland edited by Dan Alatorre –

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 –

“Dexter’s Creepy Caverns” (Short Story)

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 –

“Ghostly Goodbye” (Short Story)

My author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/

Author Bio

I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I share book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of my writing journey at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com/

I’m a member of two professional writing groups: The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators  and Cambridge Writers

As well as this I run a supportive group with fellow Administrator D G Kaye on Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

I work as a Receptionist/Event organiser for an international sixth form and live in Cambridge, England.