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9/21/21

Taylor Partially Matured - Grayson Avery

 


4 Stars!


ABOUT THE BOOK -

Twenty-seven year old Taylor Quinn rocks the three I's. She's immature, impulsive, and totally inappropriate. Now  that she's been admitted to the Sweet Water Circle, a group of long-time friends now in their 30s and 40s who love to push each other to be their best selves, Taylor is tasked with growing up. God knows they have no hope of curing her inappropriate behavior. After calling for a Sweet Water Circle intervention, fellow Circle member and Taylor's boss, Shelly, puts Taylor on the clock: figure out what she wants to do with her life or join the unemployment line. Who knew getting paid to do nothing wasn't a long-term career option? Taylor certainly didn't, so of course, she rebels. Why think about the future when she's having so much fun in the present?

The pressure on Taylor intensifies when the a love match set for Shelly falls for Taylor instead. This love match is none other than Benjamin Bach (Billionaire Ben), a contemporary of the Sweet Water Circle who has since made it big in Silicon Valley. Should Taylor take Ben on as her sugar daddy or pursue her own career? Or will the Sweet Water Circle's top-heavy nemesis, Sasha, beat her to it?

Follow Taylor on a journey of self discovery and misadventure (and total inappropriateness) in love and life. If you've read Project Kaitlyn or Jenn Reinvented you know that full maturity for Taylor is out of the question, but perhaps partial maturation is possible? Or maybe not. How can Taylor grow up and find her passion and still be Taylor? You'll laugh out loud as she tries.

With hysterical antics, witty and humorous dialogue, and a strong character arc, you'll love the follow-up to Project Kaitlyn and Jenn Reinvented. Taylor Partially Matured is the third book in the hilarious Sweet Water Circle series, exploring the relationships, life adventures, and personal growth of a small circle of friends, who you're gonna want to hang out with, which is good, because their stories are ready to be told in the  rest of the Sweet Water Circle series!

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091P9WV3B

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B091P9WV3B

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/taylor-partially-matured-grayson-avery/1139177342?ean=2940162279884

https://books.apple.com/us/book/taylor-partially-matured/id1561547940?ls=1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Grayson Avery is the author of The Sweet Water Circle Series, a romantic comedy series that focuses on childhood friends in their 30's and 40's as they help each other navigate the stormy waters of dating, marriage, divorce, and a whole lot of inappropriate, naughty, and downright hysterical situations.

Social Media Links –

https://facebook.com/GraysonAveryAuthor

https://amazon.com/author/graysonavery

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20888386.Grayson_Avery

MY THOUGHTS -

What a fun ride this book was! I have to disclose that I was not so sure about this book at first. I didn't think I was going to  like - I was totally wrong! I ended up really liking this book. It took about up to 15% (on a kindle version) for me to get into it. So if you plan on reading this (and I suggest you do) don't stop at the beginning. Just keep reading! It's worth your while.  :-)

That Taylor! She is something alright. To say she was immature is an understatement. Totally not my type of friend, but she did end up kinda growing on me! There is a lot of "dirty talk" and I do mean a LOT. But that is the whole point of the story and is a major part of Taylor's personality. Trust me, it works! I loved Ben! He was the absolute opposite of Taylor, that may be why I liked him so much. LOL

There are lots of laugh worthy moments for sure! This series reminds me of Sex and the City. So, if you liked that series you would love this one! 

I also read Project Kaitlyn (also a book in this series) and I loved it! Read my review - HERE  Honestly I can not wait to read another one in this series! Question for the author - Is there going to be a book about Shelly?  <3

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources -  Thank You!!

9/16/21

The Babysitter - Gemma Rogers

 

5 STARS!!!

ABOUT THE BOOK -

It’s every mother’s worst nightmare…All NEW from Gemma Rogers

Ali and Christopher Tolfrey's one year old daughter Eden is abducted whilst in the care of Ali’s best-friend.

Snatched in broad daylight from Bushy Park on a trip to the swings, Eden disappears without a trace.

Brooke Simmons, regains consciousness, dazed from a blow to the head, to find Eden, her bestfriends’ child is missing.

Someone has taken Eden and Brooke knows who.

But it's a secret she can't share with Ali or the Police without revealing the web of deceit she's spun.

Can Brooke get Eden home before her lies come back to haunt her? Or is the net closing in on her?

Amazon Purchase Link - https://amzn.to/3dojACz



ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

 Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog, Buster.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gemma.rogersauthor.35

Twitter https://twitter.com/GemmaRogers79

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/gemmarogersauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/GemmaRogersNewsletter

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gemma-rogers


MY THOUGHTS -

Holy cow, this was an "edge-of-your-seat" book if I ever read one! This story was very well crafted. It was terrifying in the way that this could actually happen in real life, and probably has. I would have to not recommend this to my daughter. She would never leave her kids with a babysitter ever again.

When my daughter was a baby, this was my biggest fear - having her abducted. So much so that I sometimes would take my pillow and sleep on her bedroom floor next to the crib. I think this is every parents worst nightmare. 

This is told in three different points of view, Ali - the mom, Brooke - the babysitter, and Jimmy - the abductor (also Brooke's ex!). I love when books do this if its done right and it is expertly done in this one!

Excellent character development - except I didn't really like anyone! LOL but I really think you are not supposed to. This book is more about the situation, which is intense, not so much about the characters. It just works! One thing I really loved is how the reality of taking care of a baby really hits Jimmy. It's not as easy as he thought. And baby Eden really gives it to him. This part was actually quite humorous. 

This author has a handful of other books that I will be checking out. This was a great one from this new to me author. I read the whole thing in almost one day! Couldn't put it down.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources -  Thank You!!

9/12/21

MURDER WORTH THE WEIGHT BY D.M. BARR - (with a GIVEAWAY!)

 


5 STARS!!

ABOUTT HE BOOK -

Whenever Terry Mangel’s body acceptance revival meeting rolls into town, local diet execs and “fat shamers” turn up dead, often in grotesque, ironic ways. All single murders in small suburbs, no one’s noticed a pattern, until rookie investigative reporter Camarin Torres takes a closer look.

Torres is a crusader against discrimination. She reluctantly accepts a job offered by handsome publisher Lyle Fletcher, a man with a vendetta, who sees the recent college grad as salvation for Trend, his fledgling fashion magazine. Torres, however, detests everything the publication stands for, and joins solely to transform its judgmental, objectifying content. 

As an unexpected romance blossoms, the overconfident, justice-hungry reporter defies orders and infiltrates Mangel’s world, only to find herself in the crosshairs of a vigilante group targeting the $60 billion diet industry. To this vindictive mob, murder is definitely worth the weight. But as Torres soon learns, unmasking the killer may save her life but shatter her heart: every clue seems to implicate Fletcher, her mercurial mentor and lover, as the group’s mastermind.

Previously published as Slashing Mona Lisa.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire. My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy. The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, unlike as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings. As a yo-yo dieter, I’ve never offed anyone at my local diet clinic. While I’m a bit paranoid, I’ve never suspected my husband of wanting to murder me for my inheritance. Well, that’s not entirely true, but let’s go with that for now. And while I’ve volunteered at senior centers, I’ve never mastered the hula hoop. But that’s not to say I haven’t wanted to…


MY THOUGHTS -

I have fallen in love with this author! This book exceeded my expectations. Even after reading two of her other books, and loving them as well... this book was STILL better than I thought it would be!

This is a story about injustice and discrimination. Not against color or religion, or race. It's discrimination against body size. How many times have we seen this happen? This is reality - Sadly enough the majority of people in America are overweight and still the perfect body size is... a twig! 

Great characters! I loved Cam, the main character, she was sweet, yet brave and bold. I also liked, kind of, Lyle. It was a on again, off again relationship between he and I. I did end up liking him, as soon as I could make up my mind. But - the character who stole my heart, and my laughter, was Rachel, the receptionist! She was hilarious and became such a great, devoted, friend to Cam.

This story definitely keeps you guessing all the way through. Had me fooled! I really thought I had it figured out, but was wrong. This is a great suspense/mystery, complete with a few murders.

But... surprise, surprise... it is also a Chick-lit/RomCom. Actually it felt more chick-lit with a touch of suspense thrown in. Which is one of my favorite genres. So, what I am trying to say is - THIS BOOK IS FUN! One minute I was trying to figure out "who done it" and the next I am laughing out loud. And then there is also a very sad period that really got to me and put me in tears. So, a little bit of everything!

The perfect book (for me!).  Loved it with a capital L! OK DM Barr, I'm ready for another one, bring it on!

*** A bit of a warning, there is swearing, talk of sex and one semi-graphic sex scene.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

CAMARIN TORRES PEERED down the tracks again, as if repeated checking would cause her delayed train to magically appear. It was a warm April afternoon, but the unexpected heat did little to lift her spirits. She was heading back to her apartment after yet another unsuccessful interview. If this kept up, she’d be the only one of her NYU friends graduating next month without a job lined up. How ironic not to be able to afford the food she wouldn’t allow herself to eat anyway. She checked her watch a third time. The 5:03 from White Plains to Grand Central was already ten minutes late.

Camarin heard a voice a few feet behind her softly exclaim, “Dammit!” Curiosity aroused, she spied a girl in her late teens standing by the vending machine, fervently searching through her handbag.

Camarin stared, mesmerized by what could have been a mirror image of her late twin sister Monaeka. Long, dark hair partially obscured her tanned, pretty face, and despite the temperature, she’d draped her two-hundred-plus pound body in an oversized raincoat. But as Camarin well knew, yards of fabric didn’t really fool anyone. The girl hunched over slightly, a stance her sister Monaeka had perfected, a sign of deference to a world demanding an apology for violating their arbitrary standards.

Camarin felt a familiar tug of compassion as the girl plunked a few coins into the machine and then searched for more. Looking on, she debated the merits of acquiescing to her own desire for a late-afternoon sweet. What’s really the harm? Cam reached into the pocket of her dress and pulled out three quarters, which she held out toward the stranger as she walked toward her.

“Want to share something?”

The girl tensed and gave her a quizzical look, but after a moment her shoulders relaxed. “That’s so nice of you. Thanks.”

Camarin winked and pushed the quarters into the machine. One click and clunk later, she retrieved their prize—a Kit Kat bar. One of Monaeka’s favorites. As she held it out to the girl, a slim, stylish woman clad in black came out of nowhere and snatched the chocolate bar right out of her hand.

“You don’t need it,” she said. “You’ll thank me later.”

The girl’s face turned bright red, but she said nothing, just watched in shock as the thief continued down the platform.

Camarin felt the blood rush to her temples. No matter how many years and miles she’d put between herself and her past, the critical voices kept seeking her out, today in the form of this interloper. Enough, she decided. She set down the briefcase containing her resume and clips and tore after the woman, grabbing her arm and pulling her around so they stood face-to-face.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Camarin yelled.

Heads turned. Conversations ceased.

“What’s it to you?” the offender shot back.

Camarin pointed at the girl, whose eyes were wide in disbelief. “That girl happens to be a friend of mine, so I’m asking a second time… what are you doing?”

“Saving her from herself, that’s what. Your friend is huge, and it’s unhealthy. If she can’t control herself, she needs others to do it for her.”

“Well, Miss High-and-Mighty, since you know everything about everyone, did you ever consider that my friend…Sabrina’s…size might have nothing to do with self-control? Could it be the result of…the lithium she takes to control her bipolar disorder? Are you a psychiatrist who has a better suggestion for more appropriate meds that don’t put on weight?”

“Well, no… no,” the woman stammered, as if the rush of passion suddenly drained from her, leaving her feeling exposed.

“You know what I think?”

The fat shamer glared back but remained silent, so Camarin summoned her courage and repeated herself, a few decibels louder. “I said, do you know what I think?”

“No. What?” The woman sneered.

“I think you should go over to Sabrina and apologize.”

“Apologize for helping her get thin?” Her voice dripped with indignation.

“No, apologize for sticking your big nose where it doesn’t belong,” interjected a young, beer-bellied man in overalls a few feet away. A Joe’s Plumbing patch was embroidered on his chest pocket.

“What exactly do we have to do to be accepted by you people? Why can’t you just leave us alone?” screamed a plump, older woman with perfectly coiffed hair and a fitted suit.

“Give her back the Kit Kat bar,” hollered a man clad in military garb, who then started chanting, “Kit Kat, Kit Kat, Kit Kat…” Others joined in, and the cacophony grew stronger.

“You may have grabbed a Kit Kat, but you ended up with Snickers,” said Cam with a smirk. “Maybe you want to just hand over the candy, so we can forget this whole ugly incident?”

The woman spat at the ground in front of Camarin and defiantly threw the chocolate bar on the tracks, eliciting loud boos from the small but agitated crowd. Then she ran down the platform, heading for the stairs that led to the parking lot.

“Good riddance,” the plumber called after her.

Camarin stood for a moment, shaking from the encounter. Then she returned to the now teary-eyed girl. “Sorry I made you bipolar,” she whispered. “I needed to make a point, and it was all I could come up with on the spur of the moment. Hi, I’m Camarin.”

“I’m Lexie,” the girl said. “No one has ever stood up for me before. Thank you.”

“Hey, I know what it’s like. I used to deal with jerks like that all the time.”

The plumber pushed a run of quarters into the vending machine and took out two Kit Kat bars, handing one to each of the women. Others on the platform clapped and cheered. The sound was slowly drowned out by the roar of the oncoming 5:03 PM train.

As the doors opened, Camarin noticed Lexie and the plumber now chatting animatedly. Not wishing to intrude, she entered the next car over. It was practically empty, not unusual considering most people were traveling in the opposite direction at this hour. A perfect opportunity to relax after an upsetting confrontation. Perhaps savor that chocolate bar. She could always purge later.

Given the plethora of unoccupied seats, she was surprised when a handsome man in an expensive-looking suit asked if the spot beside her was taken. She guessed he was in his early forties, since his face was too young for the silver in his hair and beard. He spoke with a confidence so lacking in her gawky college-boy contemporaries. She felt a shiver as the silk of his sleeve touched her bare arm as he settled in.

She wondered what clever icebreaker she could use to engage her attractive new neighbor in conversation. Nice weather, huh? would be too lame. Seconds passed. Other passengers shuffled by. Soon, the moment would be lost.

Then, to her delight, he leaned in covertly, as if sharing a private confidence. “Nice going. You’d never seen that girl before in your life, had you?”

She pulled back and studied his expression. Affable or accusatory? His smile assured her of his friendly intentions.

“What gave me away?”

“Nothing. Just a hunch. One you just confirmed.”

Camarin twisted her mouth, irked at having been so easily played.

“Do you always go around tricking strangers into confessing their secrets?” she asked.

“Probably as often as you go around defending the underdog.” The man winked. “Nothing to be ashamed of though. Quite the opposite. As I think you’ve already figured out, life is just a series of bluffs.”

Camarin considered the comment as the train rumbled along the tracks toward Scarsdale.

“And do you bluff much?”

“Funny you should ask. These days, it’s all I do.”

Grateful for such a provocative opening, she pressed forward. “That sounds intriguing. Care to elaborate?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” he said with a smile. “Up until a few years ago, I’d spent my entire career practicing law. Then my circumstances and interests changed, and I decided to become a redeemer of lost causes. I just purchased a failing magazine, which I intend to make profitable again. If that’s not the bluff of the century, I don’t know what is.”

Elegant and he owns a magazine? Camarin’s heart skipped a beat.

“That’s such a coincidence. I’m just coming from an interview with a magazine.”

“Some might call it a coincidence. I call it kismet,” the man said as he held out his hand. “Lyle Fletcher, fledgling publisher.”

Chapter 2

AS THE TRAIN rolled down the tracks toward Manhattan, Camarin sensed her future suddenly lurching ahead as well. “Camarin Torres, journalism and prelaw major. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

She reached out to shake his hand, eager to see if his grip would be as firm as she imagined, but the conductor interrupted, asking to punch their tickets. There was no way to try again without looking awkward, so she swallowed her disappointment and returned her hand to her side.

Fletcher broke the pregnant pause. “So, there must be many professions out there for someone as bold and beautiful as you. Why journalism and law?”

Camarin’s face grew warm. Had anyone else handed her that line, she would have regarded it as a come-on. But he seemed sincere, so she felt comfortable opening up. “All my life I’ve seen bullying and discrimination. As a child, I felt helpless to stop it. But as an adult, I can make a difference.”

“Bullying because of your ethnicity? You’re… ”

“My mother’s side of the family comes from Guam. But no, fortunately, I’ve encountered very little bias because of my roots. Maybe it’s because we live just outside Los Angeles, where I’m part of a large Chamorro community who share an intense sense of cultural pride. In fact, I think my background may have worked in my favor, that push for diversity in colleges and all.”

“So, discriminated against as a woman?”

“No again,” she said, reluctant to share too much of her past with a stranger, no matter how charming. “Let’s just say I’ve seen how cruel people can be to those who don’t quite fit in, no matter how hard they try. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again.”

“You’re going to personally end intolerance?” Fletcher seemed both dubious and amused.

“Well, at least make a sizeable dent in it,” she said with a smile. It wasn’t the first time that people had appeared incredulous at her idealism. “You’re speaking to the world’s first female Chamorro anti-discrimination crusader. After graduation anyway. And eventually law school, when I can afford it.”

“Lofty ambitions. You’ll need them in a world that doesn’t always cooperate with people’s dreams. Again, I’m impressed.”

“Thank you,” she said, her face growing even hotter. A charismatic publisher thought she was impressive. A once-disappointing day was rapidly metamorphosing into something magical, like a child’s giant, colorful carnival balloon.

“Have you interviewed at my magazine, Trend?”

Pop! Camarin did her best not to cringe with contempt. Trend represented everything in the world she’d come to hate: the brainwashing of women to fit into narrow, permissible roles dictated by fashion designers and greedy advertisers. And this man, appealing or not, was one of their leaders. Camarin paused, trying to formulate a polite and diplomatic response.

“You have heard of it, right?”

“Yes, of course. But no, I didn’t interview there. No offense, but as you said, it’s failing. As a matter of fact, I turned down an unsolicited offer from one of your competitors, Drift. I’m just interested in more…serious publications.”

“No offense taken,” he said with a grin. “I realize that up to now Trend has just covered style and gossip—total fluff. That’s what I’m planning to change. In your words, go in a more serious direction.”

She wondered if the comment was authentic or if he was just another jerk and this was an excuse that allowed him to live with himself. They remained quiet for a bit, and then curiosity got the better of her.

“I didn’t realize Trend is based in Westchester.”

Fletcher’s face clouded over. “No, it’s in Manhattan. I was out here today because…my late wife owned a condo in White Plains that we’d been renting out. I was just meeting with the real estate agent I might hire to sell it for me.”

Cam looked down at her pumps, annoyed at herself for bringing up such a sensitive subject. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Of my wife or the condo?”

She glanced back, astonished. He started to laugh, and she felt the earlier harshness of her judgment soften by a smidgen. He really was quite charming—for a body shamer.

“Are you ever serious?” she asked.

“Oh, when I am, you’ll definitely know it. Like now. How many years of college do you have left?”

His tone switched from whimsical to all business, and something about the way he commanded control sent a shiver up her spine. Hot as hell. Dammit. “About a month. Then I’m done.”

The conductor announced that they would soon be arriving at Grand Central Station, their final destination, and the windows grew dark as they entered the tunnel.

He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a business card. It read Trend Magazine, with a fashionable NoHo address, close to her own apartment.

She held up her hand. “That’s kind of you, but I really don’t think—”

“Hey, I can see you’re not enamored with our current format. Nevertheless, I’d still like you to come in, show us your work. Allow us to describe the magazine’s revamped editorial direction. I think it may surprise you. I can use someone with your guts and ambition to develop our investigative-reporting beat. That is, if you have any interest.”

She took the card, slipping it into her jacket pocket. “If you’re really serious about moving away from your current focus, I’ll try to keep an open mind.” After all, a job was a job, and up to now, no one else but Drift had made an offer.

“Call tomorrow and speak to Rachel. She’ll set everything up. You’re going to be a superstar. Of that, I’m already certain.” He reached out to shake her hand. It felt as forceful as Camarin had imagined earlier. She didn’t try to read anything into the almost imperceptible squeeze he added at the end. Until proven otherwise, he was still the enemy.

As he rose and headed for the exit, she waited a few beats longer before also joining the crowd jostling toward the platform. By the stairs a newsstand featured the latest issue of Trend. Hating herself, she slapped down her $3.50 for a copy. Magazines like this were part of what had driven her sister over the edge, but she needed to see if there was anything redeemable within its pages. The jury was still out until Lyle Fletcher had proven himself a reformer, and not an enabler.

***

Excerpt from Murder Worth the Weight by D.M. Barr. Copyright 2021 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

9/8/21

Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills (with a GIVEAWAY!)

 


5 STARS!

ABOUT THE BOOK - 

Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Tyndale | Books-A-Million | Murder By The Book | Goodreads



ABOUT THE AUTHOR - 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction, and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Catch Up With Our Author, DiAnn Mills:
DiAnnMills.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @DiAnnMills
Instagram - @DiAnnMillsAuthor
Twitter - @DiAnnMills
Facebook - @DiAnnMills

MY THOUGHTS -

Absolutely fantastic story! I loved it, really loved it! What really did it for me was - Shelby! I just loved her. Right from the start she won my heart. She was so genuine and real for me. I could see us being friends in real life. I could not believe everything she went through and how strong she still was. A much better person than I, that's for sure! I loved how her faith in God was what kept her going. She always leaned on Him first. 

I also loved Denton. In the beginning I wasn't so sure about him. I had my doubts, but I quickly fell in love with him too. He was a very strong but kind person, and faithful to the end.

The book took turns with the POV between the two of them, Shelby and Denton - which I love. And they were clearly labeled so no confusion.

This was full of "edge-of-your-seat" suspense. Kept me reading even when I should have been doing other things. Even with the intense suspense it was a nice clean read, but still felt real and edgy to me. 

There was a nice slow to develop romance which I also loved! The slowness of it made it so much more believable. It made you wonder if it was really going to happen.

There weren't a lot of surprises, for me at least, but that just didn't matter to me. I loved it any way.

"I stared up at the Big Dipper and recalled another of her statements. "If God can hold up the stars in the sky, He'll lead you through the mud that Satan slings your way." ~ I love that!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!


Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

SHELBY

Would I ever learn? I’d spent too many years looking out for someone else, and here I was doing the same thing again. Holly had disappeared after I sent her to the rear pantry for potatoes. She’d been gone long enough to plant and dig them up. I needed to get those potatoes boiling to feed hungry stomachs.

I left the kitchen to find her. The hallway to the pantry needed better lighting or maybe fewer corners. In any event, uneasiness swirled around me like a dust storm.

A plea to stop met my ears. I raced to the rear pantry fearing what I’d find.

Four women circled Holly. One held her arms behind her back, and the other three took turns punching her small body. My stomach tightened. I’d been in her shoes, and I’d do anything to stop the women from beating her.

“Please, stop,” Holly said through a raspy breath. For one who was eighteen years old, she looked fifteen.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I forced my voice to rise above my fear of them.

“Stay out of it, freak.”

I’d run into this woman before, and she had a mean streak. “What’s she done to you?” I eyed the woman.

“None of your business unless you want the same.”

“It’s okay, Shelby. I can handle this.” Holly’s courageous words would only earn her another fist to her battered face.

And it did.

“Enough!” I drew my fists and stepped nose to nose with the leader.

The four turned on me. I’d lived through their beatings before, and I would again. I fell and the kicks to my ribs told me a few would be broken.

A whistle blew, and prison guards stopped the gang from delivering any more blows to Holly or me. They clamped cuffs on the four and left Holly and me on the floor with reassurance help was on its way.

I’d been her age once and forced to grow up fast. No one had counseled me but hard knocks, securing an education, and letting Jesus pave the way. I’d vowed to keep my eyes and ears open for others less fortunate.

Holly’s lip dripped blood and a huge lump formed on the side of her head. I crawled to her. “Are you okay?”

“Not sure. Thank you for standing up for me. I thought they would kill me. Why do they do this? I’ve never done a thing to them.”

“Because they can. They want to exert power, control. Stick by me, and I’ll do my best to keep you safe.”

CHAPTER 1

I tightened my grip on the black trash bag slung over my shoulder containing my personal belongings—parole papers, a denim shoulder bag from high school, a ragged backpack, fifty dollars gate money, my driver’s license at age sixteen, and the clothes I’d worn to prison fifteen years ago.

The bus slowed to pick me up outside the prison gates, its windshield wipers keeping pace with the downpour. The rain splattered the flat ground in a steady cadence like a drum leading a prisoner to execution. I stepped back to avoid the splash of muddy water from the front tires dipping into a pothole. Air brakes breathed in and out, a massive beast taking respite from its life labors.

The door hissed open. At the top of the steps, a balding driver took my ticket, no doubt recognizing the prison’s release of a for- mer inmate. He must have been accustomed to weary souls who’d paid their debts to society. The coldness glaring from his graphite eyes told me he wagered I’d be locked up again within a year. Maybe less. I couldn’t blame him. The reoffend stats for female convicts like me soared high.

For too many years, I imagined the day I left prison would be bathed in sunlight. I’d be enveloped in welcoming arms and hear encouraging words from my family.

Reality hosted neither.

I moved to the rear of the bus, past a handful of people, and found a seat by myself. All around me were those engrossed in their devices. My life had been frozen in time, and now that I had permission to thaw, the world had changed. Was I ready for the fear digging its claws into my heart?

The cloudy view through the water-streaked window added to my doubts about the future. I’d memorized the prison rules, even prayed through them, and now I feared breaking one unknowingly.

The last time I’d breathed free air, riding the bus was a social gathering—in my case, a school bus. Kids chatted and laughter rose above the hum of tires. Now an eerie silence had descended.

I hadn’t been alone then.

My mind drifted back to high school days, when the future rested on maintaining a 4.0 average and planning the next party. Maintaining my grades took a fraction of time, while my mind schemed forbidden fun. I’d dreamed of attending college and exploring the world on my terms.

Rebellion held bold colors, like a kaleidoscope shrouded in black light. The more I shocked others, the more I plotted something darker. My choices often seemed a means of expressing my creativity. While in my youth I viewed life as a cynic. By the time I was able to see a reflection of my brokenness and vowed to change, no one trusted me.

All that happened . . .

Before I took the blame for murdering my brother-in-law. Before I traded my high school diploma and a career in interior design for a locked cell.

Before I spent years searching for answers.

Before I found new meaning and purpose.

How easy it would be to give in to a dismal, gray future when I longed for blue skies. I had to prove the odds against me were wrong.

***

Excerpt from Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills. Copyright 2021 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.

 

Check Out This Fab Trailer for Trace of Doubt:


Giveaway: 
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants:

8/28/21

In a Grove of Maples by Jenny Knipfer, Narrated by Jenn Lee (Audio book review)

 


4 STARS!

ABOUT THE BOOK -

In 1897 newly married Beryl and Edward Massart travel more than one thousand miles from Quebec to farm a plot of land in Wisconsin that they bought sight-unseen. An almost magical grove of maples on their property inspires them to dream of a real home built within the grove, not the tiny log cabin they’ve come to live in.

Misunderstandings and tempers get the better of them when difficulties and troubles arise. Just months after they wed, Edward leaves pregnant Beryl in the midst of the coming winter to tend the farm and animals while he goes to be a teamster at a northern Wisconsin logging camp.

Will Beryl and Edward walk into the future together to build their house of dreams in the grove of maples, or will their plans topple like a house of sticks when the winds of misunderstanding and disaster strike?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.

She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.

Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons.

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR - 

After 20+ years as professional NYC actor, I stumbled into some documentary voiceover work. From that moment on, I knew the trajectory of my career had been changed forever. I adore narrating and doing VO, and every job feels like a gift.

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MY THOUGHTS -

This was a very serious book, a very real look at how life must have been back in the late 1800's. I must say historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and the 1800's, my favorite time period to read about.

I thought the author did a great job of depicting farm life back then. Great character development. I loved Beryl and really felt for her, not only at the death of her child but also marrying a man who was not good at showing the feelings that she so desperately wanted to see. I do think back then it wasn't "manly" to show your feelings so much. I also loved her neighbors and friends and how they stepped up to help when she needed it.  I did not like Edward's cousin who stepped in to help in Edward's absence. And ends up overstepping! 

There are two different parts of this story and it goes back and forth between diary entries and time as it was happening. The only problem for me was that the diary entries were more in the future a bit and at first it confused the heck out of me! But I did soon "get it" and got used to it so it didn't bother me as much. Probably if I was reading the book and not listening to the audio I would have figured it out much quicker,

Audio - I thought the narrator did a great job1 It was exactly how I would have expected Beryl to sound. So 5 starts for that!  :-)

All-in-all a very good book and one that is definitely worth the read, or listen!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from The Audio Bookworm -  Thank You!


8/26/21

Coming soon!!! - Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills

 


I have just started reading this book and already am in love with it!

Please come back on Sept. 8th to read my review (which I am sure is going to be great)!

Here is a sneak peek of the book. And, how adorably sweet is DiAnn Mills!!!


 

 Preview thanks to Partners in Crime Tours - Thank You!

8/25/21

My Magic Summer With the Moon Maidens By Brian Carmody

 


4 Stars


ABOUT THE BOOK -

Who are these moon maidens?

Summer of ’94 and Connor Whelan is excited to spend the last three months before his senior year with his uncle in Texas. Aware this trip is due to his mom’s cancer treatments, he still hopes this will be a season of magic.

He gets his wish when he encounters three magical women one night. Claiming to be from the moon itself, bewitching Iluna, flighty Eiru, and motherly Cassiopeia are about to make Connor’s last summer of childhood one to remember.

However, his interest in local girl Laura puts him in hot water with her tough boyfriend. His fascination with Iluna also confuses him. Will the moon maidens’ lessons about joy, wonder, and hope get him through this crazy summer?

Links:
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0965XBJ7Y
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-magic-summer-brian-carmody/1139629159?ean=9781939844804
Goodreads - 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58346132-my-magic-summer-with-the-moon-maidens


ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

An award-winning screenwriter and author, Brian Carmody is a dreamer, a wisher, a hoper, a prayer, a pretender and a magic bean buyer. He’s had moondreams from Texas to Virginia, and now California, where he has plenty of other flax golden tales to spin by his fire.

MY THOUGHTS -

This was a fun, sweet, coming of age meets fantasy story. 

First there's Connor, an extremely likable kid, who wouldn't love him. He's kind, sweet, sticks up for others and is even a hero! Sound a little like fantasy? Maybe, but it is that kind of book! ;-)

Second, the "Moon Maidens" - loved! Honestly, I don't think there was enough focus on them in the story for me. I could have used more. Three wonderful, fun, magical young women that kept the story interesting.

And then there is a handful of others, friends, family, and even a few enemies. All done very well.

I loved the magical parts of the story, but for me, the in-between was a little slow. Certainly not enough to  make me stop reading. It was still a good story and a very nice ending!

A lot of great quotes. Here are a few of my favorites -

"It tastes like what it is, which is high fructose corn syrup."

“But isn’t corn good for you! I asked. “It is a vegetable, right?”

“These powers,” she said, holding up her hand, “are wonderful, and you may be amazed, or even jealous. But what matters is what we do with them. Otherwise, these miracles are simply tricks.”

“Don’t forget the little things, Connor, for even a meager display of charity can produce a well-spring of hope. Hope is like a seed you plant, and it continues to grow with each action, each prayer, each smile…"  ~ I love this!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Dancing Lemur Press -  Thank You!


8/18/21

The Ninth Session by Deborah Serani - audio review - (Giveaway!)

 


4 STARS!

ABOUT THE BOOK -

An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller that brings a unique mix of psychotherapy and sign language and Coda culture. Just when you think you have it figured out, think again!

Dr. Alicia Reese takes on a new patient. Lucas Ferro suffers with crippling anxiety, and as sessions progress, he begins to share the reasons why he's struggling. As Ferro's narrative becomes more menacing, Reese finds herself wedged between the cold hard frame of professional ethics and the integrity of personal truth. And, finally, when Ferro reveals his secrets, Reese learns how far she's willing to go, willing to risk and willing to lose to do the right thing.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

Visit Audible to listen to a sample!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Deborah Serani, Psy.D. is psychologist in practice 30 years. She is also a senior professor at Adelphi University and has been published in academic journals on the subjects of depression and trauma. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found at ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post and USA Today, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is also a TEDx speaker and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Serani has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - where a recurring character, Judge D. Serani, was named for her. Dr. Serani is an award-winning author, writing about psychological topics in many genres.

Catch Up With Deborah:
www.DrDeborahSerani.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter - @DeborahSerani
Facebook - @Dr. Deborah Serani

& Find out what's new on Instagram - #deborahserani

MY THOUGHTS -

Do you know the kind of book where you are reading (or listening) and something keeps interrupting you making you stop? It makes you so angry because all you want to do is keep reading!?! Yeah, well this was that book! This was so good I just wanted to listen all day, but... life. 

Edge of your seat writing. It got very intense at times the kind that makes you want to turn around and look behind you even if you are in the kitchen washing dishes. I loved the therapist/patient concept. It made for a very interesting story. I also love how the author broke it down into sections - The sessions, the notes, and her personal life at night. I thought this was great.

Audio - This one was read by the author herself. In an audio the voice can really make it or break it for me and I thought the author did a fine job!

The only thing I really didn't care for was the ending, or I should say the non-ending. The pre-ending was great, very intense. But it really had a non-ending, as I call them. It kind of made me wonder if there was more??? 

Since writing this review- I have been told by the author that there will be a sequel!! So now the “non-ending“ makes perfect sense! So excited for the sequel!

All-in-all a great read - or listen!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!


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