Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review - THE PERFECT GUESTS by Emma Rous

 


Title: 
The Perfect Guests

Author: Emma Rous
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Release Date: January 12, 2021


About the Book:
The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel—about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game—and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose. 

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined—even with damage from a fire decades before—but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.
Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:
Emma Rous takes the reader on a Gothic trail from the late 1980's with a story of Beth, an orphaned girl, who comes to live in Raven Hall as a companion to Nina, the owners' young daughter. Her life at Raven Hall is... strange. I don't know how else to say it without giving away spoilers, but it's not the life of a typical young girl.  The story then shifts to 2019 and the life of an out of work young woman, Sadie, who gladly accepts the role of an actress in a mystery mansion weekend party. When the stories of Beth, Nina and Sadie collide, the true mystery begins.

With so many twists, turns and dark secrets, you will have to hang on to ride this one out! It was an enjoyable read for me, with interesting characters and an intriguing plot line. This was one of those stories that made you sit back after turning that last page and all you can do is take a deep breath and blow it out slowly! Wow!

My Rating:



About the Author:

Emma Rous
grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, then worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before starting to write fiction. Emma lives near Cambridge in England with her husband and three sons, and her rescue dog and cat.


The Au Pair was her first novel, published in eleven countries in ten languages. The Perfect Guests is her second novel, out in January 2021.

Website: emmarous.com
Facebook: EmmaRousAuthor
Instagram: emmarousauthor


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Book Review - THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V. E. Schwab



Title: 
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Release Date: October 6, 2020


About the Book:

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

This book was ten years in the making according to blurbs I read about it. I must say that it was an interesting concept and I kept reading because I really wanted to find out how it ended. 

Addie LaRue is a young woman in France in the early 1700's. Life is difficult and she is forced into marrying a man she does not love. In fact, she doesn't even like him. Prior to taking her vows she unwittingly makes a deal with the devil while mistakenly praying to the wrong "gods" after dark. The rest of the book portrays Addie as quite lonely because no one remembers her. Can you imagine meeting new friends and spending the day with them and as soon as you are out of sight for a wee moment, they instantly forget ever meeting you? Be careful what you wish for!

The pact she made with the demon allows Addie to live forever and the story takes us back and forth through time from the 1700's to modern times. It is well written and imaginative. Quite creative, in fact. So creative, that I normally would have given this five wine glasses, but I'm dropping it down to four because the story dragged on quite a bit and I became disengaged on numerous occasions. I perked up when Addie met Henry, but again it started to drag and I couldn't seem to connect with Henry's personality.


My Rating:



About the Author:

V.E. Schwab
, also known as Victoria Schwab, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet, and Vicious. Her work has received critical acclaim, has been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, and more, has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she's not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she lives in Nashville and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.



Monday, March 8, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - SECRETS OF A DUKE'S DAUGHTER by Samantha Holt

Secrets of a Duke’s Daughter
Samantha Holt
(The Duchess’s Investigative Society, #1)
Publication date: March 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance

A duke’s daughter must be prepared for whatever life—and love—throws her way…

Lady Cassandra Fallon is finally ready to take control of her life and join her late mother’s investigative society. She’s more than confident she can do the job—even when her first case involves a potentially deadly scandal. What she’s not quite prepared for is her brother’s attractive (and increasingly distracting) friend acting as her self-appointed bodyguard…

When Lord Luke promised his best friend he’d keep an eye on Cassie, he meant it. But the brazen and entirely too alluring woman she’s become is a far cry from the mischievous, freckled girl she used to be. Luke knows a lowly viscount has no business longing for (or touching) a duke’s daughter. But against all reason…he does…

She craves independence. He only craves her. An epic battle of the sexes is at hand. But will love be enough to get them to happily ever after? Cassie and Luke will soon find out…

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Anton will not be pleased you are keeping secrets.”

“Anton is not here, and even if he were, he would not be as tiresome as you are being.” She shook her head. “I know you mean well, Luke, but I am not going to get into trouble as my brother fears and it is rather tedious to be treated as though I am still a little girl.”

Oh he well knew that. If she were, he would not have to dwell on how womanly she appeared in her powder blue pelisse. More slender than technically fashionable, her figure still teased, the coat hugging under her breasts and offering a hint of curves.

Luke prided himself on being an equal opportunities sort of a man, finding himself attracted to a variety of traits but there was something about the tall length of Cassie that made him want to claw at his gut to rid himself of the itch there.

If he had a penny for every time he’d thought of her naked over the last year or so he’d be, well, still too poor to afford Cassie’s upkeep but it would certainly buy a decent meal. His desire to see her long legs, bare and spread out on his sheets, or those delicate breasts free of their confines bordered on the obscene.

He clenched his jaw and watched their progression through the busy London streets. Drivers cursed one another and pedestrians darted between the vehicles, slowing the journey to an agonizing pace. He needed it over as soon as possible so he could breathe Cassie-free air and rid himself of this madness.

Because, damn it, she was Anton’s little sister.

“I will never understand why you do Anton’s bidding. Surely you have better things to do with your time?”

He allowed a tight smile. Cassie had little idea quite how wild he had been back in his college days and how close he had come to ruining his life forever. He considered that perhaps he should tell her and frighten her away for good, but he couldn’t bring himself to see the disappointment in her gaze.

“I gave Anton my word to protect you, Little Cassie, and I am a man of my word.”

She made a dismissive noise and lifted her gaze to the roof of the closed carriage. “You men and your word. I would rather see action than words.”

Luke’s throat tightened and he swallowed hard, but the knot did not budge. She wanted action. He wanted to give it to her. By some miracle, he managed to remain on his seat and resist the desire to leap across the gap between them and pin her to her chair, ensuring they went absolutely nowhere while he showed her exactly what sort of action he was capable of.

“I am here, in your carriage, escorting you to your friend’s house.” He forced a relaxed smile that felt borderline fraudulent. “That is action, Cassie.”

The redness in Cassie’s cheeks deepened. “Must you be so…relentless.”

“I must.”

“Well, I do not care what anyone has told you, it is a frustrating trait.”

Luke smirked to himself. Frustrated by him she might be, but he doubted Cassie felt even half of the frustration he suffered by simply being in her company.

Today would be a long day.

Author Bio:

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Samantha Holt is known for fun, witty, and usually steamy historical romances. She's been a full-time writer for longer than she ever thought possible having originally trained as a nurse and an archaeologist. She's a champion napper, owner of too many animals, mum to twins, and lives in a small village near the very middle of England.

She's usually writing (or napping) but when she's not, Samantha is plotting (books of course!) with her husband, drinking coffee, climbing hills that are far too high for her fitness levels or visiting stately homes and pretending she's posh.

You can claim a free book by signing to to her newsletter www.samanthaholtromance.com

If you're not sure where to start, why not try:

Capturing the Bride (The Kidnap Club #1). A fun Regency read full of spice and an unusual heroine trying to escape an arranged marriage and a hero who has no idea how to keep his hands off her!

You're the Rogue That I Want (Rogues of Redmere #1) is a longer read with heat, witty dialogue, a feisty heroine and adventure. All books in the series are standalone.

There Are Plenty More Dukes in the Sea (The Inheritance Clause #1) is a fun, steamy read focused on the Templeton family as they fight to save their inheritance.

Wake Me With a Kiss is a sweet, fairytale romance. Twists on Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are also available if you love a clean, fun read.

To Steal a Highlander's Heart is a full length dive into the world of sexy highlanders. For those who love braw Scots, some steamy scenes, and medieval romance, this series is a perfect escape.

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Monday, March 1, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - THIEVES by Greg Jolley

Thieves
Greg Jolley
(Obscurité de Floride Trilogy, #1)
Publication date: February 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Suspense

From Tropea, Italy to Michigan and Florida, the thieves Molly and April Danser are on the run, trying to escape from an enraged ex-US Marshal. He is hell bent on stopping them once and for all, his twisted black heart fired up for revenge and their total destruction. Will the sisters elude his blood-soaked hunt? They have their smarts and resource but have never faced a pursuit like this.

Can they somehow put an end to his blood lust?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Chapter Twenty-Nine

A Day to Do

April woke at first light, seeing she had slept on top of the bed instead of climbing in under the blankets. After putting the coffee percolator on the burner, she went and checked the boat’s position at the lower helm. Starting the engines, she steered southeast in the northward Gulf Stream and watched the blue swells until the boat was pretty much in the same location as the day before.

“At least eat,” she instructed herself, it being twenty-four hours or more since her last meal. Opening a can of stew, she ate it cold with a spoon while sipping coffee. Looking at the closed laptop at her elbow, she hesitated to reach for it.

“Only one way to deal with fear.” She opened the lid and started the computer.

Her fingers unsteady above the keys, the vision from the previous day’s nightmare came fully into view. The big dark doorway at Klave’s. Her imagination ran with and gave her the rolling door crashing down and up fast like steel teeth chomping, chewing.

“Back off.” Her shoulders shuddered, and she barked at the vignette.

Opening a secure internet browser, she launched the messaging application.

After addressing an email to Allison, she froze for a minute, her fingertips quivering. The three hardest words she ever typed displayed.

April: Did she die?

Hitting send, she stared at those three words, waiting for the reply that she couldn’t will Allison to answer.

***

Sometime later, she opened a browser alongside the messaging application where her question to Allison still floated without an answer. The local television stations had previously recorded ‘on scene’ footage ripe with frightful images of Klave’s with the breathless voices of newscasters. There were no details of any worth.

Opening the online Daytona Beach News-Journal, the story was in the banner.

Three Killed in a Possible Attempted Robbery

April read that David Klave was declared dead on the scene. She learned that Molly’s pal, Dennis, was also murdered, evidence suggesting that he was trying to cover and protect another victim. No other names were offered, pending notification of next to kin. One man had been shot twice and was expected to survive. He was being attended to in the ICU at Memorial Medical Hospital. There was nothing about the third victim. No mention of Molly or her status.

She saw her own name given as one of the ‘persons of interest.’

Klave’s employees were quoted as saying that the suspect had a long face that was injured. He had driven off in a late model red Corvette, heading north.

She read three more news reports in the Ormond Beach, Orlando, and St. Augustine newspapers, the body count making the story a headliner. There was no additional information, only a recap and worthless commentary.

She closed the browser and looked to the messaging application.

No reply from Allison.

She sent the text again and waited ten long and painful minutes.

Leaving the table for the flying bridge, she grabbed a bottle of water and a package of the saltines she had seen her sister snacking on. The light went out over the middle of the galley as she left, and she made a mental note to put in a fresh bulb.

Up top, the breeze was sweeping away the heat of the day. She checked her location, fired the engines, and spent the next hour staring at the ocean until she had the boat back in place.

Climbing down the ladder, she went inside and saw that Allison had not replied.

“My beautiful Molly…” she held her eyes closed, “… I’m still hoping.”

She spent the rest of that day at the lower helm, getting up every half hour to look for a message from Allison.

As the sun set at her back, she went inside to look again. The darkening galley reminded her to find a package of light bulbs and a step-ladder. She found both in the click-lock supply closet and had the dead bulb out and was poised to twist in the new one when it slipped from her fingers. It shattered, and she got a new one from the closet, along with the dustpan and broom. The second bulb went in easily, and she climbed down to sweep up the aluminum cone and shards.

The messaging application pinged.

Instead of hurrying to it, she stalled, fearful of the news. She finished up the sweeping and stepped to the table, the ball of her right foot landing on a stabbing missed piece of glass.

“Brilliant.” She felt the deep cut as she swung around on the bench and looked to the message screen.

April: Did she die?

Ali: Don’t know.

April: Find out.

Ali: I’m on it. It is a fuck storm here. Wasn’t here when it happened. Parts store.

April: You learn anything?

Ali: Yes, of course.


Author Bio:

Greg Jolley (also published under Gregory French) earned a master of art in writing from the University of San Francisco. He is the author of sixteen novels and one collection about the fictional, film industry-based Danser family. He currently lives in the Very Small town of Ormond Beach, Florida

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Saturday, February 13, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN by Freda Hansburg

Suffer Little Children
Freda Hansburg
Published by: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: January 26th 2021
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

Robin Perry’s life is finally on track with her dream job and a promising relationship with Ben Martin, even if his two spoiled children, Amber and Jaden, hate her. But things take a downhill turn when Gloria Reyes, an acquaintance of Ben’s, asks her to admit her young son to a cancer study meant for adults and Robin, heartbroken, must turn her down. But Gloria won’t take no for an answer and begins an insidious crusade to force the issue.

Amber Martin hates living with her crazy mother since her parents’ divorce, but she can hardly live with her dad, who’s too busy with “Miss Perfect” these days. When Amber runs into her mother’s friend Gloria, she’s glad to finally meet an adult who seems to be on her side. But as Amber becomes friends with Gloria’s sickly son, Alex, she begins to think Gloria is not as nice as she first thought, and Alex may be in trouble.

As Gloria’s threatening behavior escalates, Robin must protect the children while finding a way to save her career and her relationship with Ben. But Gloria always manages to stay one step ahead. When a secret comes to light, Robin discovers the stakes are even higher than she imagined.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

“Morning.” Robin settled into the chair opposite Gloria’s as a waitress approached. “Just coffee, please.”

Gloria set down her cup. “So?”

Getting right down to business then. Robin braced herself. So much the better.

“I’ve kept my part of our bargain,” Gloria announced.

“Bargain?” Robin’s eyebrows shot up.

“I spoke to Vanessa about the therapy. I managed to be quite convincing. You see, she posted a rant on Facebook yesterday after Amber defaced a library book.” Gloria shrugged. “I seized the opportunity.”

A bitter taste filled Robin’s mouth. Trashed library books, trashed kids on social media. She should be happy Gloria took advantage of the situation, but she wished Ben had persuaded Vanessa.

The woman’s dark eyes fixed on her. “Now, what about your part?”

Robin bristled. She’d made no promises. The waitress appeared with her coffee. Robin didn’t intend to stay long enough to drink it.

“I made a few inquiries yesterday,” she told Gloria. “Formally and informally. I found no new information about Pediatric MATCH. It’s still slated to launch sometime next year.” Robin took a breath. There, I said it. “I’m sorry.”

Gloria shook her head. “Not good enough.”

Robin sat upright. “What?”

“That’s not soon enough. My son’s life is at stake.” Gloria’s eyes bored into Robin’s. “You have kids?”

“A son in college.” Robin didn’t like bringing Sean into the conversation.

“Suppose it were him?” Gloria kept her voice low, and Robin had to lean forward to hear. “What would you do to save him?”

The same question Robin had asked herself yesterday. Anything.

“Or one of Ben’s kids,” Gloria continued without waiting for Robin’s reply. “But that would be different, wouldn’t it?” Her lips twisted in a mocking smile. “Convenient, even.”

Robin sat up and pushed aside her coffee. “I have to go. I’m due at the wrap-up session.” Reminding herself that the unnerving woman had a dying child, she added, “Gloria, if I were in your shoes, I’d be as desperate as you are. Medical research doesn’t always follow the timetable we want, but MATCH will move ahead, and when it expands to include children, it will be safer, on more solid ground.” She hoped she sounded as clear as Will had last night, but either way, she would end the discussion. “I promise I’ll keep my ears open and let you know of any developments.” She pushed her chair back from the table.

“You’ll do more than that, Robin. You’re a very responsible person. I’m counting on you.”

Robin stood, her chair rattling. “Goodbye, Gloria.”

“I’ll be eager to hear what you come up with.” Gloria’s smile widened, revealing her white teeth. “I’ll be in touch.”

Author Bio:

Freda Hansburg is a psychologist and author of Tell on You, winner of the 2020 Independent Press Award for Psychological Thriller, the 2019 New York City Big Book Award for Suspense, and Thriller Finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her mystery thriller, Shrink Rapt, is now available from Micro Publishing Media and her new psychological suspense novel, Suffer Little Children, will be released by Red Adept Publishing on January 26th, 2021. She is currently working on her fourth psychological thriller, Trick or Treat.

Freda is also co-author with Mel Silberman of the self-help books, PeopleSmart: Developing Your Interpersonal Intelligence - a bestseller translated into a dozen languages - and Working PeopleSmart. She has the good fortune to live on beautiful Hilton Head Island. There, she takes refuge from her fevered imagination by sitting on her dock and watching pelicans and dolphins fishing on the intracoastal. Freda is an avid Pickleball player who has spent her entire adult life being mistaken for Carol Burnett.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Book Review - MAID FOR LOVE by Marie Force


Title:  Maid for Love  (Gansett Island Series)
Author:  Marie Force
Genre:  Women's Saga, Romance 
Release Date:  April 28, 2011
Print Length:  252 Pages


About the Book:

She’s a single mom with no patience for a playboy until he proves he’s playing for keeps.


The Gansett Island Series: Book 1
Maddie Chester is determined to leave her hometown of Gansett Island, a place that has brought her only bad memories and ugly rumors. Then she’s knocked off her bike on the way to her housekeeping job at McCarthy’s Resort Hotel by Gansett’s “favorite son,” Mac McCarthy. He’s back in town to help his father with preparations to sell the family resort and has no intention of staying long. When Mac accidentally sends Maddie flying over the handlebars, badly injuring her, he moves in to nurse her back to health and help care for her young son. He soon realizes his plans for a hit-and-run visit to the island are in serious jeopardy, and he just may be “maid” for love.

Book 1: Maid for Love (Mac & Maddie) 
Book 2: Fool for Love (Joe & Janey) 
Book 3: Ready for Love (Luke & Sydney) 
Book 4: Falling for Love (Grant & Stephanie) 
Book 5: Hoping for Love (Evan & Grace) 
Book 6: Season for Love (Owen & Laura) 
Book 7: Longing for Love (Blaine & Tiffany) 
Book 8: Waiting for Love (Adam & Abby) 
Book 9: Time for Love (Daisy & David) 
Book 10: Meant for Love (Jenny & Alex) 
Book 10.5: Chance for Love, A Gansett Island Novella (Jared & Lizzie) 
Book 11: Gansett After Dark (Owen & Laura) 
Book 12: Kisses After Dark (Shane & Katie) 
Book 13: Love After Dark (Paul & Hope) 
Book 14: Celebration After Dark (Big Mac & Linda) 
Book 15: Desire After Dark (Slim & Erin) 
Book 16: Light After Dark (Mallory & Quinn) 
Book 17: Victoria & Shannon (Episode 1)
Book 18: Kevin & Chelsea (Episode 2)
Book 19: Mine After Dark (Riley & Nikki)
Book 20: Yours After Dark (Finn & Chloe)
Book 21: Trouble After Dark (Deacon & Julia)
Book 22: Rescue After Dark (Mason & Jordan)
Book 23: Blackout After Dark (Full cast)

"With the McCarthy's of Gansett Island, Marie Force makes you believe in the power of true love and happily ever after. Over and over again." Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Serendipity series.

"No one tells a love story like Marie Force or makes characters come alive for the readers. She has an incredible ability to pull you into the story and long after you finish the book the scenes still play out in your head and your heart. The McCarthys of Gansett Island sets a very high standard for all other series." Desiree Holt, author of the popular Phoenix Agency and Naked Cowboys series

Buy Links: Amazon
(Currently FREE on Kindle)
My Review:

This book has been around for awhile and I'm almost embarrassed to say that this is the first book I have read by Marie Force. Her name kept popping up when talking to friends of mine who enjoy romance novels. I didn't actually "read" MAID FOR LOVE, but I listened intently to the audiobook. I must say that it was very enjoyable and the audio was well-peformed.

This is a story about a single mom with an undeserving past that she just can't shake. When a bicycle accident causes her to connect with Mac, her life definitely takes a turn for the better.

I'm off now to read Book #2 in this series. The audio will be great on my next road trip!

My Rating: 



About the Author:
Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. Her series include Gansett Island, Fatal, Treading Water, Butler Vermont, Quantum and Miami Nights.

Her books have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller more than 30 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, as well as a Speigel bestseller in Germany.

Her goals in life are simple--to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie's mailing list on her website at marieforce.com for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MarieForceAuth
or and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/marieforceauthor/. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Book Review: PUTTING OUT FIRES by Michael Hampson

 


Title:
Putting Out Fires: Physical and Mental Fitness for High Pressure Jobs
Author: Michael Hampson
Genre: Self-Help, Exercise & Fitness, Mental Health
Release Date: January 21, 2021


About the Book:

Michael Hampson has dedicated his life to helping others become the best version of themselves. As a firefighter, trainer, and family man Michael has experienced firsthand what it takes to Put out Fires. The demands of High-Pressure jobs such as firefighting can bring the strongest of individuals to their knees and if you’re not careful it will keep you there. To begin living his best life both physically and mentally. Michael had to develop the steps necessary to dig himself out of a hole of self-pity, addiction, PTSD, and unfit lifestyle choices. Now he has made it his personal mission to guide his brothers and sisters to experience the same kind of joy. No one is left behind. Two in and two out. Please join the Putting out Fires Family and learn the steps necessary to be both mentally and physically fit.
Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

PUTTING OUT FIRES appears to have been written for the benefit of First Responders, but it can clearly be of benefit to anyone! With times being as they are today, so many of us are feeling the stress and anxiety of daily life. Michael Hampson explains in a straight forward manner how he improved his life and we can do the same. 

Expertly written from the heart, the author covers time management, eating habits, hydration, fitness and exercise. My favorite sections of this book, however, are the mental health recommendations. Getting outdoors, shifting your focus from negative to positive, experiencing love and finding your happy place. 

This is not a huge book. Only 104 pages. You could read it in an hour or two. But I don't recommend that you do that. I recommend that you read each section and then pause to think about what you just read. Let it really sink in. And I would also recommend that you get the paperback version of the book instead of the ebook since it is written in workbook style with pages you can fill out. 

PUTTING OUT FIRES is a must-read for those in high pressure jobs and for those of us who are simply feeling the pressure of life. 

My Rating:


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Book Review - RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER by Robyn Carr

 


Title:  Return to Virgin River

Author:  Robyn Carr
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Publisher:  MIRA
Release Date:  October 13, 2020



About the Book:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

The Virgin River series is full of heartwarming stories and RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER is no exception. Wonderful characters are revisited and the storyline is well thought out.

I did have a bit of difficulty connecting with the characters in this one, but that may not be the fault of the writer. It may just be a sign of the times with this reader having a difficult time escaping into my normal bliss of a book. I actually read this book a couple of months ago and am just now writing my review.

*Disclosure:  I received a complimentary advance copy from NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The third novel (THE FAMILY GATHERING) in her fan-favorite new series, Sullivan's Crossing, will be released in April 2018. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Book Review - A FIGHTING CHANCE By Chrys Fey

 

A Fighting Chance
Chrys Fey
(Disaster Crimes, #6)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: January 11, 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

***A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it's a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.***
Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse--space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away.
And Amanda is afraid. She's scared of her attraction to Thorn. Most of all, she's terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.
Content Warning: 
f-bombs, stalker, abusive relationship (past), sexual assault, violence, PTSD/anxiety, blood (minor)
Heat Rating: Hot (Steamy scenes but NOT erotica)

Disaster Crimes Series:
Hurricane Crimes (#1)
Seismic Crimes (#2)
Lightning Crimes (#2.5 free story)
Tsunami Crimes (#3)
Flaming Crimes (#4)
Frozen Crimes (#5) A Fighting Chance (#6, spinoff) The Disaster Curse (#7, short)

My Review

A FIGHTING CHANCE is a quick read. Or it seemed so anyway. Once I started, I couldn't stop and read from start to finish in one sitting. It was THAT good!

If you have read the other books in this series you will have already grown to adore Thorn and Amanda. If you haven't read the other books in this series, I recommend that you do, even though this could be read as a stand-alone. The first five books in the series are more about Beth and Donovan, but Thorn is a major character in those books. Book #6 is a spin-off from the series and the focus is on Thorn and Amanda and the domestic violence Amanda had to endure prior to working for Beth... and the chemistry that has slowly developed between Amanda and Thorn. Oh my! I love Thorn! He is the perfect match for Amanda and a perfect example of how to treat a woman who is having a difficult time adjusting to day to day life after enduring such torment as what she went through with Damon. 

Highly recommended and well-deserving of my five wine glasses!

My Rating



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Author Bio:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press. https://www.chrysfey.com

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Audiobook Review - THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST by Chanel Cleeton

 

Title: The Last Train to Key West

Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: June 16, 2020


About the Book:

In 1935, three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.

For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in HavanaMirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.


Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST was this past month's pick from a book club I belong to here in the Florida Keys. I must say that this was the perfect book for us to read. Having lived through numerous hurricanes and being a longtime resident of the Keys, this story went straight to my soul. 

Three women with three entirely different backgrounds cross paths and are linked through circumstances during the time of the massively destructive hurricane of 1935. Helen, a Key West native, is a victim of domestic abuse and we watch her struggles to exist day by day as her pregnancy unfolds. Mirta, a woman newly in Florida from her home in Cuba, is the new bride of an American gangster through an arranged marriage in order to help her family. And then there is Elizabeth, a New York socialite now struggling to make ends meet after her family lost their wealth during the Great Depression, and feverishly trying to find the one person who may be able to help her get away from the man she is engaged to marry.

This book of historic fiction brings together not only these three women, but it brings to mind the struggles of the people in the Keys during this time period. Not only the anxiety and devastation from the hurricane, but the lives of the men who worked in the camps and the conditions they had to endure, as well as a fascinating description of what it was like to travel through the Keys.

Chanel Cleeton has created fully dimensional fictional characters that you love or love-to-hate, and has also brought together well-developed historical facts about life in the Florida Keys during that time period. Wonderful book and highly recommended to anyone who has ever visited the Florida Keys.

This review is based on the audiobook, which I also give a 5-star (5 wine glass) rating. The narration by Kyla Garcia, Rachel L. Jacobs and Karissa Vacker was outstanding and well-paced.  

My Rating:



About the Author:


Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.


Learn more about her on her website at www.chanelcleeton.com.
 

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