Friday, April 29, 2022

Real Life Fearless by Colleen L. Donnelly #FearlessFriday #romance

FEARLESS FRIDAY

My guest today, Colleen L. Donnelly, knows how to entertain us. I'm voting her the most fearless this year to date on Discover... And because she is such a good tale spinner, you'll want to check out her fiction books too. So read to the end and then check out her books! 

Fearless? Maybe not, but when Kenny Rogers sang “The Gambler,” I heard my escapes from harm crooned to a catchy tune. My dad had already dubbed Kenny a herald of truth when “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille” coincided with a bout of bad blood sugar that weakened my mom, his best farmhand. But Kenny’s insight didn’t dawn on me until long after endless replays of his Greatest Hits during high school study hall. Much later his words brought my brushes with disaster to light through The Gambler’s eyes. 

“Son, I've made a life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowing what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes”

Targeted
The face I read outside my closed car window told me what cards that man held. Cajoling and sincere, he assured me under meager streetlights that the person I said I was looking for was just around the corner. “Leave your car, and follow me,” he coaxed from outside my locked car. Then his pleas shifted from “Trust me” to “Roll down your window so I can hear you better.” The way he held his eyes told me to start my car. When “No, don’t go” darkened his face, I hit the gas. 

“Every gambler knows
That the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away
Knowing what to keep”

Which goes for advice. Like that given to me in a Burger King parking lot by a man who pointed to my rear tire before I exited my car, advising, “You should see your tire. It’s flat.” When I hesitated, he persisted, “Don’t drive with it that way.” Since I had just driven there without the flapping limp of a flat, I challenged him. Which brought him closer. “Get out and look at it,” he insisted. “See for yourself.” His persistence piqued the Gambler’s “secret to surviving.” Throw away lunch? A tire? I threw away the fellow’s advice, knowing what to keep. Me. So I left—on four solid tires. 

“The night got deathly quiet
And his face lost all expression”

Make that a deathly quiet alley. And two faces. Two that went from cocky assurance to shock when I wheeled my ninety-month pregnant body around and faced them. They’d trailed me as I waddled from a local grocer to my house. I felt them before I heard them, footsteps then voices that donned a casual pretense designed to keep my defenses asleep. They drew closer. Their pace quickened. I couldn’t run, had nothing to defend myself with, so I turned. If innocent, they would smile and step aside. But their pretend joviality and conversation vanished. They stood expressionless as their pregnant victim suddenly barreled straight toward them, through their deathly quiet, and then away. 

“If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right”

Wrong place, wrong time
Which means truthfully. Someone wanted something I had. When threats and coercion failed to get it from me, they took me to court. To the judge, they spun a yarn that painted them a victim and me a scoundrel. I pondered an equally fabricated defense until the judge turned my way. King Solomon shone in his eyes, the same brilliance that had ages ago resolved the squabble as to which of two women an infant belonged to by decreeing the baby be cut in half. The judge raised a question the way Solomon lifted his sword. He was looking for the truth—the real mother who would give up her child in order to save its life. I played it right and told him the truth. His gavel hit the podium. And what was mine remained mine. 

“You got to know when to hold ’em”

Rumor had it that the man who backed into our parked car, but accused us of hitting his, was tied to organized crime. Cool, calm, and collected, he swaggered into the courtroom, hands stuffed in the pockets of a long trench coat, and stood beside us in front of a judge. The rumor seemed true when the judge entertained only one side of the story…not ours…then dismissed the case. While my co-witness screamed, “Liar,” I watched the back of the trench coat swagger out the doors he’d entered. She screamed it again in the hallway, utterly fearless while I considered the enormity of what…not who…had dinged the car. Wisdom said, “Hold ’em,” and I did. But she didn’t. Until that enormity turned and delivered her a promise we knew he would keep. 

“Know when to fold ’em”

Is it fearless to climb into the basket of a hot air balloon when you’re terrified of heights? Or was I more afraid of the people who clapped my back and said, “You can do it, come on.” My wits that had kept me safe through countless other scrapes, failed me the moment pride took over. More cowardly than wise, I knew I should have folded before I stepped into the basket, or before I even accepted, or by pretending to be sick. But when the gas failed to ignite and lift the balloon into the air, it was time. I folded. And kissed the ground I belonged on. 

“Know when to walk away”

Bullies. Two giants decided to tail my daughter and I in the mall. Enormous shadows darkened wherever we walked. Taunts and snickers bristled the air. Chortles and insults tempted me to turn and retaliate, but I took her hand and kept moving forward. The more they picked on a mother and child, the smaller they became. So small, even their sticks and stones fell flat. I understood then what my mother always said—insecure people try to bring you down to their level. Low and small. My daughter and I became the giants then, and we walked away. 

“And know when to run”

Approaching a gate after dark to an outdoor testing site that I and other lab techs worked, my car became besieged by Spanish-speaking men, roused from singing around their campfire. They grinned as they surrounded the car of a dazed blonde who quickly locked her doors. To their too happy expressions, I offered smiles, exaggerated gestures, pressed my ID to the glass, and tried a simple English explanation to encourage them to move away. I even claimed I had a husband—a grande husband—in broken Spanish, but nothing budged them. Preferring not to drag them with my car, I pondered employing the 21 Foot Rule and demand they step outside my vulnerable distance. Then the smile pressed against my window vanished. A large hand clapped the man’s shoulder and pulled him from my car. His friends moved also when our heftiest lab tech didn’t let go. His nod said what I already knew—this is when I run. 

Colleen L. Donnelly is an Amazon #1 Bestselling author of historical fiction and romance. She can be found at:

http://www.colleenldonnelly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ColleenLDonnelly

http://www.Goodreads.com/colleenldonnelly

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/colleen-l-donnelly

http://amzn.to/37vcnO4

https://twitter.com/ColleenLDonnell/ 

And her books:

Mine to Tell     http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S

Asked For        http://amzn.to/1TyflEu         

Love on a Train     http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx

The Lady’s Arrangement      http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2

Out of Splinters and Ashes   https://amzn.to/2K0WTHt

Letters and Lies      https://amzn.to/2yNFGNv

Sonata Contineo     https://amzn.to/2I0zzYi


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Me Being (Nicely) Wicked by J. Arlene Culiner

WICKED WEDNESDAY

I'm so happy to welcome back Jill Culiner to Discover... She has such a wickedly fun post for Wicked Wednesday. Despite knowing spiders are good guys, I still get all creepy crawlie over them. Gosh, not sure I like what that says about me. Ha!

I couldn’t stop myself… I just had to do it. One reviewer who did enjoy my contemporary romance, All About Charming Alice, mentioned that it was somewhat difficult to get used to a heroine who loved and protected snakes. She then added: “At least the heroine didn’t protect or save spiders.”

            You see what I mean? That was a call to arms as far as I’m concerned. I immediately knew I had to have a heroine who loved spiders, and that was a pretty easy since I happen to be a great lover of spiders, rescuing them and putting them in safe places. Spiders are our great friends. We need them desperately because they get rid of all the buzzing things we don’t want around us. Why are so many people afraid of them? Lucy Barnes, one heroine in my new book, A Room in Blake’s Folly, gives this explanation: 

“The more you know about spiders, the more appealing they become. So why do people hate them? Because some people associate spiders with the things they consider repulsive like lice, dirt, slime, and dust. Arachnophobia can also be linked to sexual problems and sexual repression. What’s definitely true is that half of all women but only ten percent of men are afraid of spiders. Now just try and work that fact into a discussion about sexual equality.” 

       Now let’s see what happens when Lucy first meets the very appealing hero, Lance Potter 

Excerpt from A Room in Blake’s Folly 

       Lance saw the woman doubled over in the dirt road, her legs bent backward and to each side of her in what looked to be an exceedingly painful position. Had she been hit by a car? Probably not: few enough cars passed this way. She might have had an attack of some sort. He loped toward her, thinking only of rescue and alleviating pain, because that’s what a veterinarian’s job is all about, and humans happen to be animals, too.

       He was less than ten feet away, when she raised her head and glared at him with fury. The look, as toxic as a poison arrow, halted him in his tracks. She certainly didn’t look as though she needed his help. She didn’t look as though she’d ever need anyone’s help.

“Um…I’m sorry. I saw you down there, in the road, and I thought…”

       He saw her fury seep away, transform into visible regret. “You chased it away.”

“Right.”

       Swinging her bent legs into a more reasonable position, she stood up without using her hands. For someone who wasn’t young, she looked to be in perfect shape. Or at least she had maintained an admirable flexibility.

       He knew who she was, all right. Who else had a long bushy ponytail of silvery hair? Who else had three dogs trailing after her—three dogs now sitting calmly in the shade of the abandoned laundry and watching him, wary-eyed. They knew he was one of the vets who gave them shots every year, and that meant he was no real friend.

       The woman in front of him, what was her name? Lucy something…oh yes, Lucy Barnes, and she worked in Rose Badger’s vintage clothing shop whenever Rose roared off to Reno. For the first time, he noticed the camera.

       “Look, I thought you had fallen or…”

“Yes, I realize that’s what you thought.” She didn’t look as though she were about to forgive him for it either.

       “You were taking a photo?”

       “Yup.”

       “Of what?”

       “A Xysticus.”

       “A what?

       “Oh, sorry. A ground crab spider.”

       “Of a ground crab spider?”

       She relented slightly. “They’re called crab spiders because they look and move like crabs.”

       “Yes,” he said dryly. “I think I’ve worked that one out.”

       “Right.”

       “What for? Why were you taking a photo?”

       “Because I like them. I like macro photography, I like taking photos of spiders, and this particular spider was very pretty.”

       “Pretty. Got it.”

       She looked annoyed again. “Veterinarians don’t consider arachnids worthy of notice?”

       “Did I just tell you that?” he said a little too defensively because she was right: he never noticed them. Okay, he never killed them either, because he knew how useful they were, but that was as far as things went. “What was particularly pretty about that one? I mean spiders look like spiders to me. I never thought aesthetics came into it.”

       “Really?” She even looked surprised.

       “Really.” Inwardly, he sighed, regretting his attempt to maintain chatty conversation. It was always the same when you dealt with nuts, cranks, and fanatics: they couldn’t understand how normal people functioned.

            “Most crab spiders are brown-beige so they can blend into their surroundings and catch prey easily. They do have splotches though, and this one had a nice leaf marking on its opisthosoma.” She smirked. “Sorry, that’s the posterior part of the body. The front part is the—”

       “Prosoma,” he interrupted.

       The smirk faded and, wordlessly, she stared at him. It was his turn to be haughty. “Since you know I’m a veterinarian, you’ll probably accept that, in this century, we do go to school. And while we’re there, we manage to study a little science.”

       “Sorry,” she said contritely.

            “That’s all right.” He tried not to look too self-satisfied. 

A Room in Blake’s Folly by J. Arlene Culiner

(published by The Wild Rose Press) 

If only the walls could speak…

In one hundred and fifty years, Blake's Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels,
scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town.
Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a
room at a long corridor's end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations. 

Purchase Links

https://books2read.com/BlakesFollyRomance

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt3VkYUTVNk 

Author Website: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com

Blog: http://j-arleneculiner.over-blog.com

Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-arlene-culiner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jarlene.culiner/

Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/author/jarleneculiner-quirky-romances


Monday, April 25, 2022

Rockstar, Bad Boy, and #Inspiration by Heather E. Andrews

MUSE MONDAY

Please join me in welcoming Heather E. Andrews to Muse Monday on Discover... Yum a rockstar and a singer. And I love how she was inspired for this story. Enjoy!

Can a bad boy rockstar overcome his rough reputation to gain the respect of his colleagues? Can a hometown sweetheart make her dreams come true in LA?

Will falling in love threaten everything?

The inspiration for Bright Melody came from watching videos of The Voice and American Idol on YouTube. I watched American Idol during its first season and Kelly Clarkson won. I became fascinated with what it would feel like to perform onstage, trying to prove yourself to the world.

Then Gwen Stefani fell in love with Blake Shelton. I thought that was super romantic. Then I thought, how controversial would it be if she’d fallen in love with one of the contestants? That's how Bright Melody began to form.

I've watched a lot of clips of The Voice and American Idol while doing research for the book. I find it interesting that though the winner gets a record contract, they’re not more likely to be successful. In fact, very few artists who've won have gone on to sustain popular careers. Kelly Clarkson is an exception, but she also received a lot of criticism because of her weight and has pulled back from the industry.

In the middle of the storm, she is my sunshine.

Can a bad boy rockstar overcome his rough reputation to gain the respect of his colleagues? Can a hometown sweetheart make her dreams come true in LA?

Will falling in love threaten everything? 

Travis’ reputation is in tatters, and he needs to revamp his rep now. Jody is a hometown singing sensation taking what could be her last chance to make her dreams come true. Jody joins the Hidden Voices competition where Travis is a judge. As they both fight for their futures, will falling in love threaten everything?

Travis
A leaked sex tape. A bitter ex-girlfriend. An angry record label.
Nobody was happy with me right now.
My band was going on hiatus to weather the fallout. The label slotted me as a judge for Hidden Voices to recoup my reputation.
I didn't expect to find Jody singing behind the veil, her voice warming my soul, her soft body calling to me.
But I can't get involved with a contestant if I'm a judge, or my reputation and my career could bomb.

Jody
Music was the light of my life, the link to my late mother, the energy in my veins, the sun in my sky.
When I took the stage with my little garage band at the local biker bar, people stopped and paid attention. I might not be LA famous, but in Savannah, I was a rockstar. I just had to learn to tame my attitude and my insecurities if I wanted a shot at the big leagues, or the industry was going to eat me alive.
Then Hidden Voices had blind auditions in my area and Momma D told me I had to go. So off I went, ready to follow my dreams, even if I crashed and burned in the arms of a forbidden judge.

Excerpt: 

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t mean to offend you. I just wasn’t expecting to get mauled by a crowd. Usually I’m protected in crowds.” He paused and squinted when he looked at us. “Not to sound pretentious, but do you know who I am?”

“Of course. I may be old but I’m not dead. You’re that singer who showed his ding-a-ling on camera for all the world to see.” Momma clucked three times in disapproval. “And now you’re running away from mobs of women. Boy do you keep catnip in your jockeys or something?”

I burst out laughing, unable to control myself. Oh. My. God. My mother just asked Travis White, the most popular lead singer in the world, if he kept catnip in his pants. I wish I had this moment on video. 

“Well just because he’s Travis White, don’t mean he shouldn’t behave. You’re a celebrity, Mr. White, you need to be a good example. Kids pay attention.” Momma D began her lecture.

Release Date: May 30, 2022

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09VZBJHMR

Universal Amazon: http://mybook.to/BrightMelody_HEA


Find out more about Heather and her books here: AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

 


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Character Interview #romance #suspense #mystery

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day's work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe's stories to life, throwing her into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

In Southwest of Love and Murder, the heroine, Phoebe, is more than a little attracted to Mason Meadowlark. Mason is the sheriff’s brother from book one, The Art of Love and Murder. He’s a rancher in Chino Valley, Arizona and the polar opposite of his brother. 

Q: Hi Mason. Thanks for being here. I understand you have quite the reputation as a playboy.

A: Someone’s been telling tales. 

Q: You’re single. Widowed or divorced and any children?

A: I’m divorced. We, uh, no children. My baby daughter died. 

Q: I’m sorry. Anything more you’d like to add?

A: No. That was a long time ago. 

Q: Anyone special in your life right now?

A: Hey, they’re all special, right? Although, I do have to say, Phoebe blew into my life, and I can’t get her off my mind any more than I can get the prairie out of my soul. 

Q: Sounds like she’s rocked your world, to coin a clichĂ©. Tell me more.

A: She’s not like anything we have in this ranching country. Phoebe is a murder/mystery writer with a sense of humor and a sexiness you can’t ignore. I call her my gypsy. 

Q: Let’s try some flash questions to get to know you more personally.

A: Sure. Shoot. 

Q: Night or Day?

A: Night. Moon over the prairie. Coyotes howling. Sitting on the veranda with an after-dinner bourbon and watching the stars twinkle in Phoebe’s eyes. 

Q: Love or lust?

A: Ha. Well, let’s start with lust and see where it goes. 

Q: Boxers, briefs, or commando.

A: My brother warned me about you. Boxers.

 

You can find out even more about Mason Meadowlark here: MEET THE CHARACTERS

Successful mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, killed her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and his marriage twenty years ago until Phoebe shows up. With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.



BOOK BUY LINKS:

Monday, April 18, 2022

Love Wins, You Win, Earth Wins by Mrs. N #Ukraine #Romance

I am honored to have Mrs. N on Discover... today to announce an extremely worthy cause. And you can help! In addition to helping, you'll be rewarded with an entertaining book. I've already reserved my copy.  

I’m so thrilled to be a guest on this blog. Thank you so much for hosting me. My name is N. N. Light, otherwise known as Mrs. N. I write uplifting stories with my husband and better half, Mr. N. 

In late February of this year, Russia invaded Ukraine. My heart plummeted as I saw the brute force of Russia’s army attack a sovereign nation. Can this really be happening? After all we have been through as a people, can we just sit by and watch the elimination of a race of people? I knew I needed to find some way to help. I certainly didn’t have the resources to fly over there but what could I do? The answer came in an Instagram post about two weeks ago. My fellow author, Dania Voss, put out a message on Instagram asking for more romance stories for a charity anthology. I signed up right away and I’m so honored to be a part of the Love Wins anthology. 100% of the proceeds go to a charity with boots on the ground helping Ukrainians in need. 

We can’t stop the bombs from falling but we can do our part from this corner of our world. Please consider purchasing the anthology for $1.99. Not only will you be helping innocent people struggling to stay alive, but you’ll get fifteen romance novellas/short stories. These stories vary between sweet and contemporary. 

Series Title:

Love Wins: A Ukraine Charity Anthology 

Series Authors:

Dania Voss, Maribelle McCrea, Marlene Cheng, K.M. Jenkins, Deborah King, Annie McEwen, Pamela Clayfield, Tiffany Carby, Aimee O’Brian, R.A. Clarke, N. N. Light, Judy Fisher, Robert Beech, E.J. Powell, Alex Grehy, Maris Parker 

Genre:

Contemporary Romance, Charity Anthology, Romance Short Stories 

Book Blurb: 

LOVE WINS—a Charity Anthology to support Ukrainian refugees

More than 15 contemporary romance authors have joined forces to create this unique collection of stories, covering an assortment of different sub-genres and tropes.

LOVE WINS is set to publish on April 21, 2022, with 100% of the proceeds going to World Vision’s Ukrainian Refugee Fund. This organization has people on the ground in the Ukraine and Romania, providing food, shelter, medical aid, and all necessary assistance for the needy, with the focus of making sure children are safe and provided for.

LOVE WINS is available for a limited time only. Make a difference for the people of Ukraine—buy your copy today! 

Stories include: 

ALL ROADS LEAD TO SHEPHERD GROVE--DANIA VOSS

PAST, PERFECT, POLO--MARIBELLE MCCREA

THE MADAM’S FRIEND--MARLENE F CHENG

THE SUNFLOWER MEADOW--K.M. JENKINS

DESTINED DREAMER--DEBORAH KING

THE SLEEPLESS CAFÉ--ANNIE MCEWEN

HAVEN OF SECRETS--PAMELA CLAYFIELD

GOLD MINE--TIFFANY CARBY

MISROUTED BY LOVE ~ A TALE OF MAYBE--AIMEE O’BRIAN

CLICKING--R.A. CLARKE

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF LOVE--N. N. LIGHT

THE POWER OF LOVE--JUDY FISHER

LOVE, ETERNAL--ROBERT BEECH

SHIFTER: A WERE-CAT’S TALE--E.J. POWELL

ON THE WINGS OF KITES--ALEX GREHY 

MOANA ACCOUNTANT--KERRY CARLISLE

TWO WEEKS IN THE TETONS--MARIS PARKER

Authors include Dania Voss, Maribelle McCrea, Marlene Cheng, K.M. Jenkins, Deborah King, Annie McEwen, Pamela Clayfield, Tiffany Carby, Aimee O’Brian, R.A. Clarke, N. N. Light, Judy Fisher, Robert Beech, E.J. Powell, Alex Grehy, Maris Parker

THANK YOU so much for supporting those in need.
 

Excerpt from Planting the Seeds of Love: 

Jack took a step back letting go of her pinky. He crossed his arms; his eyes glittered angrily. 

"You love me?" He snorted. "You don't even know I exist." 

Sally's nostrils flared. Taking a step back, she crossed her arms. 

"That's a fine thing to say to me after all we've been through." She turned to leave. "Maybe Trevor's right..." 

"What?" Jack sat down on the cot, not looking at her. "What did Trevor tell you?" 

"Trevor has a buyer for the farm. It's a friend of his father's and he loves the idea of a brewery out here in the country. He wants to add a restaurant and make it some sort of oasis for city folk." She ran her fingers through her blonde hair. 

"A buyer?" He put his head in his hands and sighed. "It's too fast." 

"What are you talking about?" She looked down at her watch, wishing she hadn't come. Her sister was right; men were nothing but trouble. 

"Look, I know I've messed things up." He stood and walked towards her. "But you've got to give the farm and me a second chance." He extended his hand through the bars. 

Sally's emotions shook her body. Guilt, love, pain, regret, anger and hope battled for supremacy in her heart. She eyed his outstretched hand warily. Could she trust him? Could he be depended upon? 

"Why should I give you another chance, Jack?" She let her arms fall to her sides. A force not her own pulled her body closer to his. She whispered, "You hurt me." Tears welled up but she didn't care. 

He reached up and wiped her tears away. 

"Oh Sally," he whispered, his voice cracking with emotion. 

Her lower lip quivered. 

"I'm so sorry. I'm a first-class jerk." He cupped her face with his hands. "Please don't cry." 

Sally closed her eyes. She felt like a tiny dingy in the middle of the ocean, battered and torn in pieces. She leaned her head against the bars.

 "Your opinion matters most, it always has. When you say things like you just did, it tears me apart." She lifted her head. "I need you, Jack. I can't do this without you." 

Jack exhaled slowly. 

"That wasn't me; it was my jealousy rearing its ugly head." 

"What do you mean? What do you have to be jealous of?" Her brows furrowed, she thought hard. 

“I’m jealous of how happy you seem to be with Trevor,” he replied. 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub): 

Preorder your e-copy for only $1.99. The price goes up to $4.99 after release week! 100% of the proceeds going to World Vision’s Ukrainian Refugee Fund. 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WP6XHRF 

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09WP6XHRF 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09WP6XHRF 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60739931-love-wins 

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-wins-a-ukraine-charity-anthology-by-dania-voss-and-pamela-clayfield 

Author Biography: 

N. N. Light is the award-winning husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N. Books are their addiction and lifeblood. 

Life is meant to be lived; cherish the exciting moments, and relish in those all too brief moments of relaxation. They are here to live their own lives, read as many books as humanly possible and live it passionately. N. N. Light's Book Heaven serves as a vessel to project their passions, and clue in their loyal readers as to what inspires them in this crazy world. So, sit back, relax, and read on. One link to rule them all: https://bio.link/nnlightsbookheaven 

Social Media Links: 

One link to rule them all: https://bio.link/nnlightsbookheaven

Website http://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/NNP_W_Light

Instagram https://instagram.com/nnlightsbookheaven

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7873791.N_N_Light

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/n-n-light

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Reading and #Reviews (Maxwell, Diede)

I'm an author, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you 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, I read crime and law novels, once in a while a true story, WWII historicals, mysteries, 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 Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell 

Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.

Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness.

But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?

 

Review: If you like dark prose and heavy human failings, then you’ll like The Widow’s Watcher. Ms. Maxwell did well with her characterizations. The story was twisty, and that always keeps a reader turning pages. Her blurb above is exact, so I’m not going to elaborate on the storyline. I will add that there is a character who I found intriguing. Jenna’s dead daughter speaks to her, and as a teen, she is irreverent but also insightful. Of course, it’s actually Jenna’s mind…or is it? I won’t spoil the ending for you, but if you read the last paragraph of Ms. Maxwell’s blurb, I think you just might figure it out. Did I enjoy the book? Yes. I won’t say it’s particularly uplifting, but I think good entertainment isn’t always joyful, and if you get tangled up and keep turning the pages, then it must be a good read. 

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Whispering Pines by Kimberly Diede March

Summers at Whispering Pines defined Renee's childhood. Days meant swimming and sun, nights meant ghost stories and campfires. Best of all, Whispering Pines meant time with Celia, her favorite aunt. Through the years, Celia would remain Renee's most steadfast confidant, but trips to Whispering Pines would fade to memories. Raising kids alone and a demanding career consumed Renee's life.

Now Celia is gone and Renee’s career is in shambles. Promising herself she’ll look for a new job in January, Renee is determined to make the most of her unexpected time off. But when mysterious events begin to swirl around her kids, her worries compound.

A spontaneous trip, meant to lessen the growing pressures and soothe Renee's battered pride, could turn out to be so much more when she finds herself alone on a moonlit beach, half-a-world away, with a handsome stranger.

How can Renee keep her family safe as she works to rebuild their lives? Does she dare take another chance at love?

Celia's final gift may provide answers, but there are risks. Renee wishes she could seek comfort and advice from her dear aunt, but Celia's recent death has left a void. Why can't things be simple, the way they were when she spent summers at Whispering Pines?
 

Review: I found this book felt like three stories trying to masquerade as one. There is the story of a single woman who has lost her job and isn’t sure what to do with herself. There is the story of a woman whose daughter is being stalked. There is the love story of a woman who takes a trip to an exotic island and has a fling that becomes more in a long-distance relationship. They are all about the same woman. The stories are interwoven and at times, I wasn’t sure which story I was in the middle of reading. Threads would come and go and then pop up unexpectedly which threw me off.   

Being a writer and an editor, I also had some trouble with point of view issues and other technical problems. 

I’m sorry to not be 100% behind this book. She has a decent storyline. Lots going on, but it never quite gelled for me.

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