Thursday, May 16, 2024

Reading and Reviews (Cockrell and Imbalzano)

I'm an author, but I'm also a reader. From time to time, I'll share my reviews of present and past reads. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a paperback or an eBook at night for the last hour of my day. 

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. Besides Romantic Suspense and mystery, I read crime and law novels, once in a while a true story, WWII historicals, romance, and mainstream character driven books.

Here are some of the books I've read recently or in the not-too-distant past. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author.
 

The Downtrodden (The Brown Rain Series, book 2)
 by Connie Cockrell
 

After their near-miss with the Children of God, Alyssa and Kyra are hesitant to trust strangers again. The world after the mysterious brown rain isn’t what they had been expecting, but they cannot go back. Hunger and thirst drive them onward, and duty takes them into the embrace of another survivor community.

Will they find a more open welcome this time around? Or is the depravity of man more universal than Alyssa and Kyra can comprehend?

My Review:

I read the second book in this series by Ms. Cockrell as a bookclub choice. Although I don't normally read Sci-Fi, I'm glad I got to be entertained by this story. On one hand, it's bleak and sad, but on the other it kept me glued to the pages...there was hope. The characters are vivid, which is always a plus for me. This future world is totally believable. There is definitely a moral to be learned. There is definitely an underlying lesson. I am going to have to read book one. You don't have to read book one to enjoy book two.

https://www.amazon.com/Snapshot-Murder-Izzy-Munro-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0CFKB7V5Y/ 

 

Island Detour (Sunrise Island Series book 1) 
by Maria Imbalzano

Falsely accused of wrongdoing at a Princeton Prep school, Sophie Kearns accepts a temporary teaching position at an environmental school in the Florida Keys to wait out her suspension. The time away is meant to be an anxiety-free escape, but her clashes with the hot but arrogant marine biology teacher, Max Heaton, are anything but tranquil.

Max is determined to start an environmental research institute at the school, but he suspects the gorgeous new Lit teacher, who lacks even the most basic outdoor skills, is there to hinder that dream. Yet something about her tames the demons from his past, and he can no longer ignore the fire she’s lit inside him.

 My Review:

Sophie Kearns is falsely accused of wrongdoing at the prep school where she teaches, just as she’s about to rise to an elevated position and reach her dream. She escapes to an environmental school in Florida owned by an old friend who offers her a temporary position while she awaits the verdict. She’s totally out of her element, and one of the biology teachers, Max, finds every excuse to clash with her over her ineptness at the outdoor activities. He mistakenly concludes she’s there to hinder his goals at the school, and he’d like to drive her away. 

Physically, Max and Sophie are attracted to each other from day one. But Max is arrogant and a hot head focused only on his aspirations. Sophie is uptight and not suited for the layback atmosphere and outdoorsy routine at the school. Plus, Max has a huge trust problem. 

As Sophie falls in love with a style of life she didn’t know she even liked, she also falls for Max. Max of course falls for her too, but he can’t get over his fear that there is something she isn’t disclosing. They come together, and they fall apart. Several times. When Sophie finally comes to the realization she can never be a prep school teacher again, she has to make a decision what path to follow. Max wants her to stay and work with him on his dreams, but he’s afraid of holding her back and won’t tell her. 

The biggest problem for both of them is their reluctance to communicate openly, to make assumptions without full disclosures, and to run from what will make them really happy. Will they finally admit their true feelings? Will the pathways open for Max to complete his dreams? Will Sophie turn her back on a way of life for which she yearns? 

If you’re up for a lot of angst and some well done love scenes, this book is for you.

https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Laylah-Abrams-ebook/dp/B0CK8T9ZWR/

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Next Book: New Release and Giveaway

Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder is the third book in the cozy mystery adventures of sisters Nicole Earp and Emma Banefiled, Nic and Em. The book released to the world yesterday, April 30th. This story was great fun to write and promises even more enjoyment to read. We're on tour with the book, and you can catch all the excitement as well as a chance at a $20 giveaway. Hope to see you there! 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE 

May 1 – Sarah Can’t Stop Reading – REVIEW


May 2 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT


May 2 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT


May 3 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


May 4 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT


May 5 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW


May 5 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT


May 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR GUEST POST


May 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST


May 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT


May 8 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT


May 9 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE POST


May 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST


May 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW


May 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHTWITH EXCERPT


May 13 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


May 14 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST









Friday, April 19, 2024

Life's Adventures

I seem to be on an extended adventure right now...aging. 

As much as I attempt to not name getting older as the culprit for a host of things, I also can't ignore certain facts. I might write fiction, but I'm a stickler for realism in my own life. My latest adventure in aging is apparently weight.

Taking on years has taken on pounds. I'm not talking a lot of weight, but all things are relative. For me, I am carrying around more of me than I want to see. Part of my realism in attitude is I don't expect to wear the same size I wore in my twenties or even thirties. Back then I could go up ten pounds, but take it off with hardly a blip in my normal lifestyle. Not so now.

Two months ago, I decided to count calories. And five years ago, that would've been a sure fire way to lose these eight pounds. I've lost nada. Not even an ounce. This morning I did some Googling to see what could be holding me up. I walk everyday. I have a squat routine I do every other day. And I lift light weights several times a week. I'm restricting my calories to under 1200, 1140 most days. So what the heck?

After a few articles online, the black and white truth of it is my poor sleep habits and age...neither of which I can change. I've not slept a night through in years. I've tried everything that Google and the experts recommend. And I for sure can't keep from aging. Stress can also play a part in the inability to lose weight. I do have a little, but don't we all?

I thought back to a week several years ago. My son and his someday wife came to visit for the first time. We were living in Minnesota then. That week was pure joy. I actually slept the nights through after full days of activity and just being with them...and eating at will. At the end of the week, after they left, I was sure I'd gained weight. The scales surprised me. I'd actually lost three pounds. And I didn't need to lose it back then! In my mind, it just proves that no stress, good sleep, and joy are so important to our health. Well, and age. I was twelve years younger.


The only end to this adventure is the end, so I'm not going to complain endlessly, but I'm not going quietly either. I'll accept the years but stand up, move, and find joy. If the extra eight pounds won't give in, I'll just have to take them with me. 


Monday, April 15, 2024

The Next Book

I'm excited to announce the third book in the Chocolate Martini Sisters Mysteries, Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder, is up for preorder. The eBook will release on April 30...but you can preorder now for it to magically appear on your reader April 30.

ORDER YOU COPY BY CLICKING HERE

If you're a print book lover, you'll be able to order your copy on April 23rd.

Joyce and I feel Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder is going to delight you! The third book in this amateur sleuths, cozy mystery series will have you chuckling and on the edge of your seat as the sisters solve the murder.

It’s a rib cookoff…with a recipe for murder. 

Nicole Earp and Emma Banefield are celebrating another birthday at the Dulce Inn with the added fun of a rib cookoff in the park. Not only are chocolate martinis in their plans, Nic has her heart set on winning the cornbread contest. But as the excitement bakes, someone is stirring up trouble for the inn and its employees. 

Strange occurrences at the Dulce are on the rise. Slashed tires, menacing phone calls, and unsavory characters add a vibe that threatens the sisters’ anticipated fun-filled stay. When the hot-headed hotel owner is caught wielding a bloody letter opener over a dead coworker, the sisters are embroiled in a caper to help the one person who finds their sleuthing as welcomed as a rattlesnake in her bed. But is she innocent? 

The Chocolate Martini Sisters are primed to find out. First, they’ll have to eliminate a host of suspects that includes a dishonest restaurant owner, a jilted girlfriend, an ex-wife, the barkeeper, and a masseuse with a crush. If they can stay off the radar of the surly chief homicide detective long enough, they can put out the fire…unless the killer burns them first.

Would you like to read the first chapter? You can on my website: https://brendawhiteside.com/cornbred%2Crib%26murd-chp-one






Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Fang, Fur, and the Single Girl by Lisabet Sarai #NewRelease

Please welcome Lisabet to Discover... She has a brand new release! Congrats, Lisabet.

Twisting Tropes

Like most authors, I write the kind of books I’d like to read. The wide range of genres and styles you’ll find in my back list reflects the diversity of my reading tastes. Check out my books and reviews on Goodreads and you’ll see what I mean.

I tend to value most highly books that are original and surprising. Perhaps the worst sin a story can commit, from my point of view, is to be predictable. Alas, romance is frequently guilty of this transgression. Tropes practically define the genre, especially these days. Authors explicitly label their work according to the tropes it exploits: enemies to lovers, forced proximity, reverse harem, slow burn, secret baby... Nothing turns me off more than knowing, before I even open the book, what is likely to happen.

As an author, I strive for the originality I seek in the work of others. One way I (try to) achieve this is by deliberately twisting tropes and turning clichés on their heads. I delight in up-ending my readers’ expectations. Meanwhile, looking at familiar situations or characters from a fresh perspective provides great opportunities for enriching the narrative.

Few sub-genres are more stereotyped than paranormal romance. Everyone knows that vampires are centuries-old, dark, brooding, and full of power. Werewolves live in packs where roles from alpha to omega are clearly defined. The two races of supernatural creatures rarely encounter one another, but if they do, they are mutually hostile.

My new paranormal romance Fangs, Fur and the Single Girl plays with these well-trodden themes. My vampire hero has been undead for a mere six years; he was turned by accident. My werewolf has never met another of his kind. And although the two initially hate one another, their love for my heroine eventually overcomes their antipathy.

I do hope I can coax readers to step outside their comfort zone a bit and take a chance on this tale of love, lust, power and commitment. You might not recognize the tropes, but I do guarantee a happy ending.



EXCERPT

The shock of separation drove black spikes of pain into her temples. She opened her eyes, gasping for breath. Motes of red swam in her vision. She twisted around to look at him, in wonder and terror.

“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I didn’t know how else to convince you.”

“You’re—you’re the real thing, aren’t you?” Bianca thought her chest would burst. “Nosferatu. Undead.”  She rubbed at her throbbing forehead. “But it can’t be! I never believed...”

“Believe,” he whispered, almost inaudible. Then all at once was back in his chair, leaving her heart slamming against her ribs. He smiled at her, that wide open, country-boy smile. Bianca worked to catch her breath, to calm herself to some semblance of normalcy.

It wasn’t possible. Vampires were a fiction, a legend. They were creatures of fantasy and nightmare. For some reason even she didn’t comprehend, the notion of vampires tapped into something fundamental in the human imagination. She personally knew dozens, maybe hundreds, of people who desperately wanted vampires to be real. These people, and others like them, fueled the engine of her success. However, even the most obsessed, the ones who caught and ate flies and slept in coffins in their cellars, knew the truth.

And now, here, that truth was being challenged.

He read her doubts, in her mind or on her face. He disappeared suddenly, then reappeared at her side
with a glass of water. “Looks like you could use this.” Another blink and he was back where he started, smiling at her across the desk. The water was there, at her elbow, proof that she hadn’t been hallucinating. She took a sip and stopped fighting the evidence of her senses. It wasn’t possible that he was a vampire. But it was true.

“Are you very ancient?” she asked, finally. The question sounded absurd. What was she doing, continuing the interview?

Jim laughed, wholeheartedly this time.

“I’m twenty four. Or I was, that night six years ago at the frat party, when somebody’s girlfriend’s sister turned me. I admit that I was drunk. Barbara had just told me that she wanted a commitment, and I knew I wasn’t ready. I told her I loved her, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. So I went off, got plastered, and the next thing I knew I was in bed with this slutty-looking brunette who had very sharp teeth.” Bianca couldn’t help giggling. His tale was such a contrast to the mythology that she marketed.

“And then? What happened next? What about Barbara?”

Jim’s face grew shadowed. “Look, I don’t really want to talk about it. Not now, at least. Not here. Can we go somewhere quiet and dark for a drink?”

“You can drink? I mean, besides—well, you know.”

“Sure. I can’t eat solid food, though. It’s awful, because my senses are exceptionally acute. I can smell a juicy steak grilling half a block away. Pure torture.”  He sighed. “Anyway, what about the job? Do you still think that I’m unqualified, Ms. Sorenson?”

Bianca took note of the challenge in his voice. Her body still trembled at the proximity of an honest-to-goodness creature of the night, but her mind was working overtime. How could she best use him to further her goals? To expand her vampiric empire? His photos were far too raw for her audience. Could he project the same level of intensity in a less extreme scene? And what about his co-models? Could he elicit the same sort of rapturous response from them that she had seen in Barbara’s face? Without actually taking them, of course?

She imagined herself in the woman’s position, offering her throat to those vicious fangs. The notion was seductive. She had just been given a taste. To give in completely to that kind of power—to be overwhelmed, consumed by an unnatural hunger... She’d scoffed before, but now she understood the temptation.

Bianca had always felt like the boss, even as a lower-than-dirt intern at Harper’s while she was still a student. She’d always wanted the power, never considered letting go. Now the thought of offering herself to this creature made her damp with desire. A wave of dizziness swept over her, followed by a surge of fear. This guy was dangerous. He was a threat to Bianca’s essential self. She wasn’t all that concerned that he’d kill her. No, she was afraid he’d somehow erase her, turn her into some craven, submissive creature begging to be bled. Like all those silly girls who snapped up her magazine as soon as it hit the stands.

The city is full of fanatics who believe vampires are real. Bianca knows that’s a fantasy. Then a blond, blue-eyed blood drinker walks into her office and turns her universe upside down. Trying to escape from the vampire’s seductive influence, she collides with a wolf shifter whose mere presence inspires irresistible lust. How can Bianca resolve her feelings for her two mutually hostile lovers?

Buy Links

Kinky Literature https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/1508-fangs-fur-and-the-single-girl/

Amazon  UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CXF755SM

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CXF755SM

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1540924

Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fangs-fur-and-the-single-girl-lisabet-sarai/1145179250?ean=2940167695276

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fangs-fur-and-the-single-girl

Apple Books – https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id6480071026

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/210320373-fangs-fur-and-the-single-girl

Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/fangs-fur-and-the-single-girl-by-lisabet-sarai

About Lisabet

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genreparanormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Youll find information and excerpts from all Lisabets books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. Shes also on Goodreads, BookBub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh