A boxed set, of Christmas Lights

Comfort & Joy

In my mind it’s never too early. I love Christmas any time of year.

Maybe it’s because I don’t get caught up in all the stressful parts of the season like I used to – the shopping, baking, obligatory social events – I’m past all of that these days. Now I relish the positive parts of the season – lights, music, family, the reason for the season. Every year it seems to feel a little sweeter, in spite of some circumstances, I love how that happens. So…. pardon the early start 🙂

Looking at the cover of this Christmas boxed set, you might be thinking fluff – but you would be wrong. The one line teasers on Amazon even give a feel-good impression. That’s why it was a bit of a shock to find these stories were definitely not light reading. They would fall more into the category of Romantic Suspense. There was romance alright but the details of their lives  took them to unexpected, and sometimes dangerous, places.

Having said all that, I enjoyed this set. The exposure to different authors is great. It  provides a first introduction, if we haven’t already met, and gives us a chance to see if we enjoy what they have to offer.

Alana Terry is author of the first book Frost Heaves and is someone to keep your eye on. She’s young and relatively new to the writing scene but is prolific, with an impressive number of published books to her name. She has participated in boxed sets before, I enjoy her writing and look forward to reading more from her.

Toni Shiloh is author of the second book Deck the Shelves and is new to me. She is listed on Amazon with 8 or 10 books and looks to be a promising author as well. BookBub also carries Toni’s books and that accomplishment is a recommendation in itself.

Cathe Swanson is author of  the third book The Christmas Glory Quilt. I don’t believe I’ve read anything from her before. This was a good experience for me and her offerings on Amazon look promising.  I’ll be watching for more from her as well.

Chautona Havig is no stranger to this blog, having been mentioned here many times. She is highly involved in the writing scene and shows up in different places, in different ways, and is a regular participant in boxed sets. Not just Christmas sets either. The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, the fourth book in this set belongs to her.

I like the way they’ve planned and tied the stories together; it makes for a unique and  interesting reading experience. All of the books in this set are stand-alone but there are familiar elements threaded through them.

They are all captivating and well written but my personal favorites were books 1 and 4.

The set has been offered on Amazon for .99, (in US and Canada anyway, not sure about other countries) which is a steal and makes it easy for us to take a chance on new authors.

Comfort & Joy

 

I hope you are feeling inspired to search for captivating books. There are so many out there just begging to be read.

Happy searching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christy Barritt Mysteries

I cannot believe how quickly the weeks are flying by. It feels like a new month is starting every couple of weeks. I know it’s not but it sure feels like it

Lately, I find myself spending more time in front of my work computer and less in front of my blog computer. I have mixed emotions about this. I appreciate the heavier workload but ……  like my favorite bumper sticker says I’d rather be reading. I’m gradually working up to I’d rather be writing and I do see a little progress in that area.

It seems I’m not the only one writing less these days. I’ve noticed many of the bloggers I follow aren’t writing as often as they once were, either. It would be interesting to know why this is. Is it a busier life? Less interest in writing… or in life? Is it a normal cycle, maybe, to start out strong and fade after awhile? Every day, as I check emails for new notifications of blog posts, I wonder about the answer to this question of why. I miss the writers I used to count on as being there. I miss seeing the regular readers for my posts too. They still pop up now and then but not like before. Hopefully things will change one day and we will find our motivation again.

It would be nice to overcome the lethargy I feel at the end of a work day, and find the energy to spend time blogging. The writing process can be an uplifting experience, releasing some of those feel good endorphins. My intentions are good, to do better……. but you know what they say about good intentions…..

In the meantime, I’m still finding good books. Today I have a couple of mystery books to share with you. Author Christy Barritt is showing up often these days and her books are always a good read.

shadow of intrigue  Lantern Beach Romantic Suspense – Shadow of Intrigue book 2 – Christy Barritt …… Lisa Garth feels out of place, all of her friends have someone to share life with and she is odd man out, having no one. It’s most noticeable in the off season with tourists gone and reduced hours at her restaurant leaving her too much time to think.

Braden Dillinger plans to spend several weeks at Lantern Beach, on the recommendation  of his therapist. The hope is that beach time will bring some healing for the debilitating scars of his Special Forces days in battle.

Friends have loaned him the use of their cottage while they are away visiting family. Lisa promised Ty and Cassidy she would play hostess to their guest and cook for him while they are gone.  Things have gotten off to a rocky start, and now she wants to turn her back on that promise.

With no car in the driveway , Lisa assumed their guest had not yet arrived and let herself in to prepare dinner. Braden, forgetting about the special arrangement for his meals, has gone to take a shower and doesn’t hear her come in. She knew he had an injury of some sort but had no idea just what it was, or what reaction her presence in the house would trigger.

She thought she was going to die at his hands.

She explains her presence, he apologizes and, eventually, they begin an uneasy truce.

Distressing, inexplicable events keep happening to them both. Evidence of break-ins in his cottage, shadowy figures watching both houses, shots fired through her window.  With his blackouts, Braden is afraid the memories of these events are part of his paranoia and he is only imaging things. Lisa is labelling her attacks as bored teenage pranks.

Gradually, Braden is convinced someone is trying to kill him, but who is it and how did they know where to find him? Then, there’s the question of Lisa’s attacks – are they connected to his or is something else going on with her?

When he sees Lisa is busy and short handed, Braden decides to offer his services at the restaurant . He thinks listening to the town’s gossip may give him clues as to who and why.  He’s hoping he can figure this out before it’s too late.

 

Random Acts of Outrage  Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries – Random Acts of Outrage book 6 – Christy Barritt ….. As usual, Holly arrives on time after school to pick up Sarah, her fourteen year old foster daughter. She’s even a little early today. The line keeps moving up and eventually Holly realizes, all the other students have gone, and Sarah isn’t here. Convinced something is terribly wrong she runs to the school staff and calls her case worker, but no one takes her seriously. They are all of the opinion Sarah has run away, that’s what foster kids do. Holly doesn’t believe it. There are too many indicators, in her mind anyway, that Sarah has been taken against her will.

Holly is desperate and can think of only one person with the ability to help her. He is her ex fiancé, and it will be awkward, but she asks them to call Detective Chase Dextor. Sarah has Type 1 diabetes and without her meds, she could die, they have to find her..

Holly is convinced Sarah hasn’t run away. They have developed a close relationship, and this home situation is the best she’s ever had. She’s even more convinced now that she’s   talked to the teachers responsible for supervising after school pick ups. Someone saw  Sarah get into a lady’s car in the student parking lot and drive away. Holly doesn’t believe she is running, there is something else going on here.

Once she’d gone through her house and found all of Sarah’s meds still there, Holly knew this wasn’t a planned meeting. The deeper she searches the greater her conviction, something is desperately wrong.

Fortunately for her; Chase believes her and is doing everything he can to help figure out what happened. The problem is; they have very little to go on.

It’s a good thing they are looking, because Sarah needs them more than they could ever imagine.


How is your book search going?  Have you discovered a good source for books? What is your favorite? My favorite is still BookBub.

Happy searching, and happy reading this week!

 

Exposed

Hours of enjoyment, that’s what was waiting for me in this boxed set. A Romantic Suspense collection.

Off the top, I have to say – I appreciated the clean-ness of these books. I find that when it’s less than clean (for me anyway) it’s like going to a party with a spot on the front of your favorite outfit …..  it takes the shine off the whole experience. I love an awesome,  distraction free, tale of mystery and intrigue.

These books were well written, with interesting characters, and a fresh slant on the idea behind the stories. I’m a fan of all three attributes but fresh slant is my favorite.

It seemed like before I knew it, I was finishing the last book. I’m a chain smoker when it comes to books. Finish one and light up another. I think I’ve mentioned I’m an addict.

I’m always sad when a story comes to an end. For a few seconds anyway.


Speaking of addictions: that reminds me……. of a idea I’d better save for the next post.


 

So….. back to books

Exposed

Exposed

A Boxed Set Book Bundle Collection of Romantic Suspense with seven great books

Hallowed Ground – Mary Alford …… Erin is devastated when Blake, her CIA partner, is killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan and she’s grateful to have the support of Blake’s best friend and fellow agent, Jax.  The team is sent to Afghanistan on a mission to find  Blake’s killers but it’s a set up. This realization set in when their unit was attacked and  none but two survived.  The details of their deployment could only have come from their superiors. With no idea who to trust, they carefully start digging and uncover more lies. Did Blake discover something he shouldn’t? Or was he part of something worth killing for? Working with Jax to find the truth has Erin realizing for the first time, Jax is a good man.

Fire – Lynette Bonner …. Kyra is a teacher by trade but helps out with manicure’s on the side. It’s a shock, on the first day of school, to see a new student in her class, looking much like a younger version of the good looking guy in her shop on Friday, the one who asked her out. Case Lexington is just as shocked to see Kyra and is living with fear she will blow his cover. He’s posing as a student, to help umcover the source of the drug supply killing local teenagers. Kyra wants to do her part in this search, motivated by the drug related death of her brother. Case is attempting to discourage her, afraid for her safety. A mere student has no credibility so, as a last resort,  he chooses to keep an eye on her by working with her. Not an easy thing to do. It’s been a very long time since he met a woman who could catch his interest, and she thinks he’s a student. The next shock is the source of the fatal drugs.

Jill Came Tumbling After – Lesley Ann McDaniel …. Jill Martin, a single mother of two, is looking for a job, after finding the courage sever ties with her alcoholic husband. Jobs are scarce but there is a new factory in town and, in spite of her obvious lack of skills, they hire her, effective immediately. Working to get the offices up and running she begins to see things that don’t seem quite right.  She is smarter than expected and  manages to figure out they are planning something that will be a hazard to the whole town, She’s torn between the need to tell and the need to keep her job. If they notice her discovery …. will she even live to tell?

Deadly Exposure – Lisa Phillips …. Bradley Harris comes home from deployment to discover his sister, a US Senator, has been abducted and the FBI suspect Alexis, her best friend and former aide. The whole town holds Alexis in contempt, but, knowing her as well as he does, Bradley has doubts about the accusations against her. Once he uncovers the truth behind her fall from grace, he wonders if any of them will survive the fallout.  Getting his sister back and saving Alexis too – seems like an impossible challenge.

Dead on Arrival – Angela Ruth Strong …. Peruvian Princess, Maritza Rosado and her father land in Washington DC and instead of the usual presidential welcome, they are  greeted with a gun battle that kills her father and his body guard and has Maritza running for her life. Hiding out in a soup kitchen is not going well, she’s been recognized by Levi Parker, fresh home from a mission trip to Peru where he learned of her.  Terrified to trust him, she does anyway, and venturing they discover someone has taken over her country. Not only that, they killed her father and want her dead. Devastation is finding out the betrayal is at the hands of someone they both trusted.

Termination Dust – Alana Terry …. Kimmie is afraid to move away from her abusive step father after the death of her mother. She is old enough to leave and make a new life for herself but she is afraid she would be forced leave her little brother behind, and he  would pay the price, in escalated abuse, for her actions. The family has lived in isolation and secrecy for so long, she can think of no one she can turn to for help.The local State Trooper suspects the truth of the situation and is trying to offer acceptable support,  encouraging Kimmie to leave before the abuse escalates. It happens, before her plans are in place, – she is forced to grab her little brother and run for her life.

For Love or Money – Virginia Vaughan …. Amy Sullivan left everything  behind with the lure of a family connection. When an aunt she didn’t know existed, contacted her  requesting a visit, it seemed like a dream come true. While finding a family connection is important to Amy, it’s not easy learning to love a stranger. Inadvertently she discovers there  is more to the situation than she has been led to believe. Her aunt has been hiding the fact she has terminal cancer. Amy was there for her mother and is determined she won’t be shut out now. Despite the growing closeness in those final days, it’s a shock for her to learn she has been left with a sizable inheritance. It’s an even greater shock to   discover someone wants it enough to kill her to get it.


‘Til next time – Happy Reading!

Here’s hoping you are also experiencing many hours of good reading. I don’t want to be the only one finding exquisite treasures, not when there are so many to be found.

 

Wilma Derksen – writer, communicator

I want to share another awesome writer with you.

We were privileged to have a local celebrity, Wilma Derksen, as speaker at two of the writer’s events I attended this spring. Hearing Wilma was a first for me, and I was impressed. She is wise, has a sweet spirit, and relates well to her audience. I can see why she is popular and in demand.

Wilma’s writing career started with a tragic event in her life, the disappearance  and murder of her young teenage daughter, Candace. The purpose of the first book was to help her make sense of the tragedy, and to assess it’s effect on her family. Publishing and making it publically available brought help and healing to many of those facing similar circumstances. It was also found to be a good resource for those working with victims of serious crime.

The first book was Have You Seen Candace. It was followed by three others, all dealing with other aspects of the coping process. Wilma is tenacious and forgiving, willing to share her secrets with us – and did, in these books. The Way of Letting Go, Confronting the Horror, and Unsettled Weather.

Have you seen Candace   The opportunities as a result of these books have been amazing. She’s had invitations to speak in unexpected places. Her books have been used as educational and training resource material. She’s been given many, and varied, teaching opportunites. There have even been awards.

I’ve had the privilege of reading two of her books, so far, but will list the rest of them for you anyway.

The Way of Letting Go   The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness

Confronting the Horror   Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence ….. The Victim’s Journey Through the 15 Elements of Serious Crime

Unsettled Weather  Unsettled Weather: How Do I Forgive . …. a group study on forgiveness using a story telling method

 

The next two are the ones I’ve read, and will probably read again. Unlike the first books, these two are novels. Story seemed to be a good way to share some of the wisdom she’s  gained walking through this life of hers. In case you are wondering, these books are not biographical. I know, it feels like they are.

Path of the Heart  Ava Series – Path of the Heart book 1 …..  is the beautiful story of a neglected little girl who loves and feels loved, by her grandmother, a wise woman sought out by many in the community. They come by way of a special path through the forest, knowing she can help them because she has seen an angel.

Echo of the Soul  Ava Series – Echo of the Soul book 2 ….. there is oppression in the community. An overbearing man, and his wife, have moved in and taken over. The man, secretly a liar and a cheat, has bullied people into following his dictates. The path has never seen this much traffic, so many coming to see the wise woman who has seen an angel. She has had many answers for them in the past, they are convinced she will have an answer for this too.

These last two books are already available on Amazon. It’s hoped the rest can be made available soon; as well as the new book that’s about to be released.

I hope these books will inspire and encourage you in your journey.

Happy reading, for a brighter tomorrow.

Poets, and their stories

Four Days With Hemingway’s Ghost was so much fun that I’m feeling pumped.

Usually I bask for a little while in the afterglow of a good book  and then quickly move on to another one. By the time I get around to mentioning it here the glow is long gone, never to be felt again

This time I’ll try to talk about it while I’m still feeling it.

As I run through this experience in my mind, trying to make sense of it for you, I recognize that it is the emotional experience, more than anything, that makes me categorize a book as great.

It’s wonderful if the subject is interesting and the book is technically well written. It helps if the characters are relatable and the plot flows well and is easy to follow. Everything about the book can be perfect but in the end it’s evoked emotions that leave me loving a book.

This story was a perfect. There was a full range of stirred emotions, with laughter and giggles at the top of the list.

There are many things that could be said about what it takes to write in a way that will  stir emotions, but that’s a post for another day. By someone else. I recognize those times when I’ve been made to feel but I can’t tell you how to write to make it happen.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I do know that you have to be real to write like that. It has to flow out of  the authentic you. The emotions have to be inside the writer before they can be poured out on the page.

The flow of this  whole consideration led me to think about actors. They can make me feel things when they are pretending to be someone they aren’t. At the same time though, their strategy is to conjure up whatever emotion they need, to play the part. In that regard it’s real. Pretend (when it comes to emotions) doesn’t work well for actors either.

So getting back to Hemingway. This story was fantasy, similar to some of the second chance TV shows we’ve seen.

I will admit, as a disclaimer, I have heard of most of the great poets but have not read much of anything they’ve written. I haven’t paid much attention to their lives either. That means I have no idea if the biographical material contained in these stories  is accurate in any way.  I just know I liked these books, accurate or not.

Four Days With Hemingway's Ghost Four Days With Hemmingway’s Ghost – Tom Winton …..  Jack Phelan had been spending a lot of time reading everything he could find about his favorite poet, and Hemingway was on his mind  when a serious accident put  Jack in a coma. Imagine the shock, to find himself standing outside of one of Hemingway’s houses, talking to an old man he suddenly recognizes.

The next four days were a real trip. They were days chock full of amazing experiences, places and people. They were also days full of angst. There was uncertainty about how this experience would  play out for Jack. Would he pass the test and live?

It could be, that the purpose of this book was to show Hemingway in a different light. Or, it could be that it was just for the fun of it. Either way, I liked it.


Unlike the Hemingway novel this next one is written as Historical Fiction, no fantasy involved.

As mentioned earlier, I have no background knowledge to decide if any of the details set forth are true. For the first time I can remember, I was wishing I did know.

I do know it was immensely enjoyable and it made me think about reading his poetry sometime. Preferably in a book I could hold.

A Strange Beginning  The Lord Byron Series – A Strange Beginning book 1 – Gretta Curran Browne …. a stand alone novel

So…. I decided to do a little research in Wikipedia. It seems the author stayed pretty close to the truth of Byron’s life, although there are differing opinions on several points in the historical accounts. It’s not clear what the truth would be there.

The story has been cleaned up quite a bit too, there was no mention of his debts and only veiled references to his dalliances.

Ms Browne set out to create a work of fiction, loosely based on Lord Byron’s life, so it was the author’s prerogative to write whatever she felt would make it an interesting story.  In my opinion, she succeeded admirably.

Now that I’ve read up on Byron, I think I’m glad I didn’t know much at first. There were no comparisons happening in my head as I read. There was even sympathy for the abuse suffered at the hands of his mad mother.

With a clearer understanding of the circumstances of his life and the direction of his thoughts, I seem to be having some doubts about reading his poetry. We’ll see…. maybe.

I did love the book and stand by my assessment of it. Read it if you can, I think you would like it too.

Happy Reading.

 

 

Best book this week – A Noble Masquerade Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade was my favorite this week, but really, all of the books in this list were top notch. I think maybe it was the humor that put this one ahead of the rest, probably because I needed a laugh right about now.

A Noble Masquerade  Hawthorne House Series – A Noble Masquerade book 1 – Kristi Ann Hunter …..  This one was my favorite, it was so good I had to tear myself away from it when duty called (read that – when caught reading while neglecting responsibilities).

One of the best things was the dry humor, some scenes almost had me rolling on the floor, it was great. Humor wasn’t intended to be the main attraction though, just an added bonus. The unconventional characters and unexpected plot twists were the main attraction.

This book has intrigue, romance, sibling rivalry, and most importantly –  lessons in deportment. 😉 It was a fun read, I loved it.

 

murder in mind  Sloane Monroe Mystery – Murder in Mind book 2 – Cheryl Bradshaw ….. A thriller…. the body of a woman has turned up in a super market parking lot, and inestigators are convinced evidence points to the reemergence of a serial  killer.

Sloane has solved all of her previous cases but one, that of her sister’s murder, and this one looks like it was committed by her sister’s killer, he’s back.  He is brilliant, meticulous, leaving no clues. Can she rise to the challenge and outsmart him.

This book was a page turner. Another favorite.

Unintended Consequesnces  A Jack Turner Suspense Novel – Unintended Consequences book 3 – Dan Walsh ….. Jack and Rachel planned to spend a few days of their honeymoon visiting his grandmother who has never met Rachel. Jack is called away with emergency work obligations but leaves Rachel behind because he wants her to hear the incredible family story his grandmother has to tell.

It  all happened during the second world war and it’s a miracle any of them lived through it.

These days there seem to be many books written around the theme of WWII, and you would think there would be a sameness about them all, but there isn’t. Probably because there are as many unique stories as there are people in the world and the difference in detail adds a freshness. Authors have done an admirable job of finding something that would set their work apart from all the rest.

This story was worth every moment of reading time. Lest we forget.

Beneath Copper Falls   Rock Harbor Series – Beneath Copper Falls – Colleen Coble ….. This is one of Colleen’s latest releases and it is an excellent book. All of her books are, actually. Colleen is a successful and prolific writer with nearly 4 million books sold. I’m thinking most of you must have read at least one or two of her books, if you haven’t  – I hope you will.

A book description for this story would sound much like others I’ve mentioned recently; escape an abusive husband – relocate and hope to start life over in a safer place. The outlines sound the same but the details are as different and unique as any of our personal stories. Colleen’s stories are always well thought out with a depth that makes them worth reading and this one is a good example of that.

 

The Keeper of the Ring SeriesThe Keepers of the Ring Series – Angela Hunt ….. Angela is another prolific and successful author, on a par with Colleen Coble, both selling in the millions of books. You have probably been exposed to her books as well, but if not I hope you will read some of these too. Their styles are different, so you would enjoy both authors. They both write in several different genres as well, reading their work doesn’t get old.

Angela has a number of historical series, The Keeper of the Ring is one of them. The time frame for this series is the settling of North America, before Columbus. The theory is that he was not the first one to arrive on our shores. There were others before him. This series sets out how that could have happened.

Roanoke, the Lost Colony book 1 …. this is the beginning, with a small number of settlers landing on a inhospitable piece of shoreline. Things do not go well and three children are all that’s left of them. They manage to escape but each of the three are captured by a different group and they don’t see each other again for many years.

Jamestown book 2 ….. the children have become adults, inspite of difficult and unfriendly circumstances. This will be a time of discovery as they cross paths again. This contact revives buried memories of families they once had. Others have come now to join the first settlers and have been a mixed blessing, some more hindrance than help. This book follows the continued journey of the three, their joys and their sorrows.

There are three more to go yet on this so I will be getting back to you with them.

 

The Treacherous Journey  Heart of the Mountains – This Treacherous Journey book 1 – Misty M Beller …. Emma, expecting a baby and afraid she may be arrested. is fleeing with her twin brother after the hanging of her husband for fraud. They are travelling on horseback through treacherous mountain passes when Joseph’s horse loses it’s footng and falls, injuring his rider.

Simeon lives a solitary and primitive life, hiding out in his grief, and is not prepared to receive visitors in need of help, especially with one of them an expectant female. It brings back too many painful memories.

Joseph and Emma are trying to make it to Canada where they feel they will be safe from the possibility of arrest, but with Joseph’s injuries they need Simeon’s help to make the journey. Winter will be settling in soon and time is running out. That’s what Simeon is afraid of, time running out.


I hope there is somehing here to inspire you. Be sure to check out these authors if they are new to you. Or, even if they’re not.

Happy Reading!

The ones you hang out with

We were just talking about this today… how easy it is to begin sounding like the people  we hang out with. One of my nieces, and her husband, spent a school year in the Canadian Maritimes where there are regional differences in the way certain words and  letters are pronounced. They were commenting on how, in that short time, they found themselves starting to sound like the locals.

Now they are on their way back home to Western Canada, it will be interesting to see if the changes stick or if they revert back to the old ways. I’m betting on the old ways.

I’m convinced the same thing happens when we read…. we begin to sound like the writers we hang out with. That’s why I like to hang out with the best books I can find. I need all the help and positive influence I can get. Hmmm…. I wonder if it’s possible to learn good grammar by osmosis? Wouldn’t that be nice. 🙂


 

Saving Grace  Fleetwood and Shiels – Saving Grace book 2 – Simon Wood …..  the kidnapper, consumed with teaching parents to take better care of their children, zeros in on a young girl whose family is focused more on the tourist attraction than on her. He has had practice, and with his perfectly executed plan, they leave and no one even notices anything wrong.

When the ransom call comes it goes to a local, struggling, newspaper. The person he asks to speak to is Scott, a reporter who no longer works there because of a previous kidnapping gone wrong. Scott’s family is still recovering from their own trauma, how can he get involved with another one? And why would they ask for him anyway?

 

Lady at Arms  Lady at Arms: a Medieval Romance – Tamara Leigh …. Lizanne Balmaine managed to escape her abuser and run for her life. Now, years later, when she spies her enemy at a neighboring castle, made bold by her new skills and an  overpowering need for revenge, she captures him and locks him in her dungeon. There is something a little off about all of this though, he isn’t exactly as remembered, and the difference escapes her.

Ranulf Randieu is furious at finding himself stripped and chained up in a dungeon, accused of offenses he has no memory of; and the lady refuses to enlighten him. With patience, he manages to turn the tables on her, in this game they are playing, and now she is the captive headed for his castle.

What will her over protective brother do when he comes home to find his sister gone? Has she made a fatal mistake with her rash decision to attempt revenge on her enemy?

 

Homecoming   Sweet Hearts of Sweet Creek – HomeComing – Carolyne Aarsen …. Mark is on a mission to find his partner’s sister for him, he doesn’t know much about her except that she hasn’t been home in years. Things begin to go a little wrong when he tracks her to a bar and his attempt to talk to her enrages her boss. It goes from bad to worse and she finds herself without a job she desperately needs.

Sheryl tries but can’t place Mark in her memory and she isn’t about to trust him or go anywhere with him. Especially not back to the place of bad memories. And she doesn’t even want to know why he is here.

Mark has made a promise that he doesn’t understand but feels compelled to keep. He needs to convince her to go home, even for a few days.

 

Blackstone and the Rendezvous  The Blackstone Detective Series – Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death book 1 – Sally Spencer/Alan Rustage …. a shabbily dressed young man hurries through the streets realizing  he should have left for home hours ago. It will soon be too dark to find his way and there are footsteps following him. This cannot mean anything good in this part of town.

Inspector Blackstone frowns when he sees a body with the face of a gentleman dressed in the rags of a commoner. Who is he, why is he dressed like this, what could possibly  cause him to be in this part of the city; and why has no one listed him as missing. The handling of this will require special care to find the answers, and Blackstone is out of his element, dealing with gentry.

He gets a break when a young lady comes to his office, concerned about the disappearance of her brother. Now he has to find a way to discretely meet with her high powered family, to discover their secrets.

 

Death of a Dead Man   Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery Death of a Dead Man book 1 – Karin Kaufman …. Rachael is new to town and hasn’t learned all the secrets yet but that is about to change when Julia, her neighbour, crosses the yard to show her the latest headlines in the local newspaper. Julia is upset because the editor is out to get her and doesn’t play fair. Rachel reads the headline George Foster officially declared dead and now she’s puzzled, she was under the impression he was dead. She will be even more puzzled when the man in question suddenly shows up dead in her back yard, and his wife is the prime suspect.

 

Cozy Mysteries Collection  Cozy Mysteries Collection – Home for the Holidays , Road to Savannah, Suite Revenge, Winds of Deception, Lethal Lobster, Magnolia Mansion Mysteries – Hope Callaghan …… This was a fun read. Six books pulled from four of Hope Callaghan’s series, one of them on board a cruise ship. They aren’t book 1 of each series either, which means the reader gets a taste of story progression well into the series. Some are holiday, and some are home themed. They were all good.

Happy Reading! I hope you are finding many good books to hang out with.

 

It’s time to talk about some books

Spring has arrived, the snow is gone, and that means dreaded yard cleanup.  Some of my friends love gardening but for me? ….. I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word love. I do love having pretty gardens though. And I love the feeling of accomplishment when full  garbage bags pile up and clean looks so good.  I love the strength returning to muscles that have had the winter off too. Over all, it’s a win/win situation.

Maintenance I can handle. The hard part is knowing what looks good, when new plants are needed. Manitoba Hydro came through last fall and took out two tall blue spruce trees that were the focal point of my back yard. Now they have to be replaced, but with what? That’s the challenge. Maybe I will learn to like this aspect of gardening too, it could happen.

The up side of stiff muscles from yard cleanup? Extra reading time. When it comes to reading, any excuse works for me.

It has been an excellent week, with many books of the hard to put down variety.

 

Tomorrow's Lullaby Chasing Tomorrow – Tomorrow’s Lullaby book 2 – Lindzee Armstrong ….. Sienna is back in college pursuing music and an entrance into Juilliard, a dream side tracked by an  inopportune pregnancy. Giving her son up for adoption was one of the hardest things she had ever done.

Aaron is conflicted over his place in the family, feeling like an outsider most of the time. Forced Spanish lessons, meant to help him connect with his roots, have only served to widen the gap, also leaving him with a negative attitude toward the birth mother who put him in this uncomfortable position.

Sienna has a secret and Aaron has emotional baggage. Is it possible for their attraction to survive any of this?

Bitter Roots  Bitter Root Mysteries – Bitter Roots book 1 – C.J. Carmichael …… A dead woman has been found on the walkway to the local clinic and after a quick look at the crime scene, the sheriff decides the blame belongs to an unknown outsider.

Zak has taken the job of dispatcher by choice, even though he is underutilized in that position. He has his reasons. And besides, one of the perks of dispatcher – he’s privy to  information he would never see in any other role.

Deputy Black cannot understand his reluctance to take a deputy position. She recognizes his talent and is quick to enlist his help when she sees him taking an interest in some of the areas the Sheriff has bypassed. They hope to uncover the truth. Is this woman dead at the hands of an outsider, or is she dead because of harboured small town secrets? Is the sheriff trying to cover for someone?

Charming the Trouble Maker  Mitchell’s Crossroads – Charming the Trouble Maker book 2 – Pepper Basham …. Dr. Alex Murdoch is demoted to a small town university and he doesn’t expect to have reason to stay any longer than necessary. His natural charming ways come out when he catches a glimpse of beautiful Rainey Mitchell and he thinks this small town job may work out better than he thought.

For her part, the last thing Rainey needs is an arrogant flirt in her life and she tries to put as much distance between them as possible. It sort of works until cutbacks threaten her special program and it seems Alex is the one with the needed skills and connections to help save the project,

Forgotten Coast 1 to 4 Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series was my favorite read this week. I liked it because the  characters are complex and well developed, the plot is interesting and unpredictable, and the story doesn’t remind me of any other book I’ve read. The quality of writing is high too. I was hooked and stayed with it until I’d read all four books. The fifth one is from 2016

 

Low Tide Low Tide book 1….. a dead body is discovered on St George’s Island and Lt Maggie Redmond  is distressed to find it’s someone with a past connection to her. It’s been ruled a suicide and she is confident no one, including her boss, knows her secret but she is still worried someone will accuse her of murder. When Gregory’s rich and infamous uncle views her with a sudden and inexplicable interest, the worry increases.

Riptide  Riptide book 2 …. Before Lt Redmond has a chance to solve the cause of death for Gregory Boudreaux the foot of his best friend shows up in a fisherman’s net. It’s looking more and more like Bennett Boudreaux – Gregory’s uncle and the town villain – could be responsible somehow. Maggie is conflicted with this development because, against her better judgement, she is starting to like Bennett. This increases the angst she feels about keeping secrets from the boss she is also starting to like. Sheriff Wyatt Hamilton likes her too and is not happy about her meetings with Boudreaux and the unhealthy rumors they are causing.

what washes up  What Washes Up book 3 ….. Multiple bodies have washed on the beach, appearing to be those of families attempting to reach US shores. The first two murders have yet to be solved and now there are two more murder cases. The second new murder is the body of a man found tied to the mast of a burning boat. The whole situation has turned out to be much bigger than the death of a man and his best friend. The feds have gotten involved and the residents of Apalach are outraged at the thought of all these deaths. Has all of this been part of a bigger Bennett Boudreaux scheme all along?

Ladfall  Landfall book 4. …. Maggie is getting ready to leave town before the hurricane hits, because someone is threatening her family and she is trying to keep them safe. What she doesn’t know is that the threat is coming from an unexpected source and when a stranger shows up at her door she is stunned to find herself and her family hostages of a madman. Even worse, no one will know they are in trouble. They are expected to be on the road already.

In the middle of the madness and her attempts to free herself, the hurricane hits with a vengeance and everything goes sideways. Help in an unexpected form shows up but even that doesn’t go well. Will they be able to survive, or is this the end for them all?

These four books form the foundation for the rest of the series and are best read in sequence. After that, the following books can be read as standalone.

Book 5 showed up on my radar in 2016, I liked it then, too.

Dead Wake Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series – Dead Wake book 5 – Dawn Lee McKenna …. Local florists, William and Robert, are not happy about   tearing their shop apart after a flood only to find a dead body bricked up behind the dry wall. it’s bad for business in a resort town. They don’t want the whole town in on the news so instead of 911 they call Lt Maggie Redmond at home. She doesn’t want to deal with this alone so she drags her boss, Sheriff Wyatt Hamilton, along. She already knows the victim is someone declared missing decades ago so the big question is –  how and why  did he turn up in the wall of the florist shop?

What well kept town secrets will be uncovered this time?

Happy reading for you this week too.

Staci Stallings Part 2

This will be Staci Stallings books in my-Kindle-collection part two, but first……. I have pressure building up from a major frustration and need to vent before I explode.

Please, please, please,  rewrite as many times as it takes before you publish.

Do you know how disappointing it is to read a book that could be great if it wasn’t so full of typos, mistakes, murky paragraphs, and conversations in need of tweaking?

Rewrites would help expose many of these problem areas, even if grammar is not your strong suit.

Read your book out loud, you would be amazed at how many things will pop out at you, begging for a fix.

Ask someone to edit your book. Make sure it’s someone proficient in the craft. A well intentioned friend won’t help you succeed unless they really are good at the job.

In this micro-wave world of instant gratification, don’t be in such a hurry to publish. I’ve heard some of the most widely read authors say they rewrite more than a dozen times. And, when they think they are ready to publish they put it in a drawer for three months to a year (if possible) so they can read it again with fresh eyes, to do a final rewrite.

If you want your books to be widely read, follow their example and do the rewrites.

If you want to publish many books in a year, start filling up the drawers.

OK, I feel better now. I truly hope you will take this to heart and do whatever it takes to be the best you can be.


Now on to Staci Stallings, and some good examples of fine writing.

And the Greatest of These is Love A Novel – And the Greatest of These is Love …….. Gabi had no idea the community centre was in this much financial trouble, and she is determined to find a way to keep things going. These kids have no where else to go.

Andrew has been working on the biggest breaking story of his career, and now that it is published – he is not happy about his editor demanding he take a day away from it, to do a piece on the financially strapped community center located in a slum area. When he walks in and discovers he has found the beautiful girl from the baseball field, the one invading his dreams, everything changes.

 

The Long Way Home A Novel – The Long Way Home …..  Jaxton is more than a little upset his parents have ordered him to abandon his high powered clients and visit the ailing grandfather he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. The whole idea of this visit is distasteful.

Ami is surprised to find a stranger in her yard, especially one who looks as out of place as this lost city boy. She’d handled his condescending tone just fine until it dawned on her, he was Clarence’s absentee grandson. Now, she sees red as she thinks about Clarence and his family’s neglect after his recent heart attack. Jaxton is seeing red himself, at her attitude, who does she think she is, treating him like this?

Coming Undone  A Novel – Coming Undone …… Ben is revelling in the single life; few responsibilities, weekly card games with his buddies, parties on the weekends. He is totally unprepared for the call asking him to step up and be next-of-kin, the one making the  hard decisions.

Kathryn struggles with singleness, hyper aware of the years slipping by, with little hope  of ever meeting Mr. Right. Fortunately for her, she finds fulfillment in her hospice role, helping families navigate the distress of final days. Ben, faced with his father’s imminent death, looks completely undone and desperately in need of help.

Lucky Harmony series The Harmony Series – Lucky book 2 …. One terrible moment and everything Danae believes to be true is exposed as a lie, and she’s left in a puddle of grief, with no way of getting home from the wedding.

Kalin, trying to rebuild his life after the devastation of bad choices, has taken a job with a band playing the wedding. From his place on the stage, he couldn’t help but notice the beautiful bridesmaid as she flitted about taking care of details, or the groomsman she  was obviously with.  The last thing he expected to find, as he left to go home, her, crying  alone, huddled against the side of a car in a muddy parking lot.

Happy reading!

 

Featuring Staci Stallings…Part 1

Out of curiosity, after downloading yet another Staci Stallings book, I searched my downloads to see how many other Stallings books are in my Kindle collection. There have been nineteen since 2012, and only three have been mentioned in this blog. It’s time to change all that.

As an encouragement to writers out there, Staci’s website tells the story of beating the odds while breaking the rules of formula writing. She was also a pioneer in self publishing, before self publishing was even a thing.

Formula writing includes external conflict, Staci’s writing uses internal conflict. That makes her writing a blessing to many because as readers we can relate to characters facing many of the same hurdles we do.

So, without further ado, here is the list, or at least part 1 of the list.

More Than This  A Novel – More Than This …… Jake likes the anonymity of the dark corner of the coffee shop, a quiet place to sit with his laptop writing the novel that will have his name in lights. At least he’s hoping it will.

Liz and Mia make a game out of examining customers, trying to guess who they are and what they are about. They think the mysterious Jake could be clandestine CIA or something equally exotic. In an attempt to find clues about him Liz makes excuses to refill his coffee cup, succeeding only in breaking his concentration.

A Work in Progress Faith series The Faith Series – A Work in Progress book 1 … Rebecca has never been one of the beautiful people, instead she finds herself forever doing the alone thing, watching the beautiful people enjoying relationships, wondering how they do it.

Eric is drifting through college, not really settled on anything, looking at relationships as something to give him credibility with the world in general. Rebecca notices him after a disastrous meeting involving spilled hot chocolate, he’s cute, quirky, and interested in her roommate.

 

To Serve and Protect The Courage Series – To Protect & Serve book 1 …. Jeff endures much good natured  teasing from his friends over his inability to strike up a conversation with a pretty woman. Reluctantly, he joins a celebratory night out on the town after graduation at the fire academy.

Lisa is buried under piles of work in her ad agency and does her best to avoid the  awkward situation that will be her sister’s bachelorette party. Things are even worse when the girls move over to join the firemen’s table.

 

Eternity friendship series The Friendship Series – Eternity book 1…. Aaron has given up on life and girls since the love of his life left him for someone else. He’s stuck in a job he hates and the only bright spot at work is Harmony, a friend who has always been there for him. Unfortunately for Harmony, she loves Aaron but doesn’t expect he will ever feel the same way about her.

Aaron has a new roommate, Drew, a talented landscape artist who would like to start his own company and Aaron can see he would be great at it.  Drew has met someone special and is on a hot date. I have a feeling I know who that someone will be, and Aaron won’t be happy.

 

Deep in the Heart  A Novel – Deep in the Heart…… Maggie has successfully applied for a nanny position she desperately needs. What she doesn’t know – the strict house rules have been responsible for the short tenure of the all previous nannies, and there are bets she won’t last either. In the meantime, the children are starved for simple connection   and there is something about her that causes them to cling to her.

One other thing she doesn’t know – the handsome hired hand, who does funny things to her heart…. he’s actually part of the family… and he’s engaged.

 

Cowboy - Harmony series The Harmony Series – Cowboy book 1 ….. Beth is struggling to make a life for her little daughter, stuck in a diner trying to make ends meet, flooded with grief after the death of her husband.

Ashton’s life has been destroyed by the death of his best friend and biggest fan. Tempted to end it all on a rain soaked road, he stops at a diner for a cup of coffee. What he doesn’t expect, as he sits in his misery, is a perceptive waitress wanting nothing from him but the unburdening of his broken heart. She remembers the pain of running to escape and wanting it all to end.