#BookReview: My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals the Glitz, the Glam, and the Batsh*t Crazy by Vince Spinnato with Mickey Goodman

Summary:

Finalist, LGTBQ Nonfiction Category, 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards

At age 10, Vince Spinnato watched TV soaps with his grandmother and became enamored with the characters on The Young and the Restless, who owned a cosmetics firm. He vowed he would follow in their footsteps and chose a name – VS Vincenzo. In his unconventional memoir, Spinnato shares the inner workings of the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry with entertaining tales about creating beauty products and fine fragrances for celebrities including Michael Jordan, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, and many others.

Spinnato also shares some of his life’s most bizarre situations: the time he survived a tornado in Iowa while being tethered to a bridge; another when he became stuck inside a resort water slide that involved melted butter and a rescue by the fire department; an embarrassing meetup with film star Lauren Bacall; and his terrifying flight post 9/11 that was nearly shot down by fighter pilots. 

Transforming himself into a well-known serial entrepreneur and beauty industry expert was no small feat. Along the way, Spinnato dealt with incessant bullying, coming out, dyslexia, body dysmorphia, trichotillomania, and multiple betrayals. “A devastating breakup was the last straw,” he says. “At age 20, I got in my car, waved good-bye to New Jersey, and headed to Hollywood, determined to launch my career.”

He eventually founded TurnKey Beauty, Inc. to develop beauty and personal care products for celebrities, as well as major retailers (more than 300 products and counting). A contributor to VogueVanity FairHarper’s BazaarWEsquire, and GQ, the cosmetic chemist founded Aegean Skincare, LLC and Vincenzo Skincare, LLC. In My Pursuit of Beauty, Spinnato not only reveals behind-the-scenes tales of working with the rich and famous, searing stories of loves lost, and his scramble to make it, but also his moving journey to self-acceptance. 

Review:

Vince Spinnato is the walking embodiment of the quote “Never give up because great things take time”!


“My Pursuit of Beauty” can serve as a self-help book for those following their dreams and feel like they are getting knocked down too many times along the way.


Vince is my hero!! He always holds his head high and pushes though.


A seed grew in his young mind as he watched “Young & the Restless” & “Dynasty” with his mother. Then it blossomed into this glorious, rather sensational dynasty! The VS Vincenzo Dynasty!


He began implementing his plans, like selling creams at a futon shop!


Vince is affectionate and caring! He had friends that loved him and friends that loved him a lot less! Things happen to him that seem ridiculous, and you will laugh out loud or cry. So many times I just wanted to reach through the page and hug him. Many times, Vince deserved better. Many times, I felt outrage!


Follow Vince’s journey to Success. You will be happy you did, because it is so entertaining. Early in his career path he met an executive from Elle Magazine, just as I started with Elle Magazine! That Magazine brings good things to life!


He is always ready to give you the shirt off of his back.Vince Spinnato definitely makes waves along the way to becoming a successful entrepreneur!
He is a force of nature!


“My Pursuit of Beauty” is such an personal journey you will feel like you are best friends with Vince by the time you finish the book. You will want to meet him and shake his hand, because you’ll be proud of him, but mostly impressed by him!


I read the book and listened to the audible! I adored both.


Vince makes my heart smile!


5 Stars.


Author Bio:

With more than 25 years of experience in the personal care, cosmetics, and fine fragrance industries, Vince Spinnato, a cosmetic chemist, certified nose, executive and marketer has become one of the leading names in the refinement and development of new products and private label lines for beauty brands and fine fragrances.

After studying chemistry and international business in college, Spinnato completed a two-year apprenticeship learning about cosmetic chemistry as well as the national and international manufacturing and retail ends of the industry. During that period, Spinnato acquired vast knowledge and became an expert in identifying the “real world” effectiveness of ingredients and raw materials while working and managing within a team framework.

Spinnato’s wealth of experience and continual search for the best and most effective ingredients has led to multiple product breakthroughs. Through the years, he has worked with numerous cosmetics and healthcare companies such as Chanel, Limited (Victoria Secret, Bath & Body Works), Gap/Banana Republic, P&G, J&J, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Kmart/Sears and many others. Spinnato has also worked on developing new products for celebrities including Ole Henriksen, Michael Jordan, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Lilian Garcia, Carrie Underwood, Pitbull, French Montana and others.

Spinnato is a member of the California Chapter of the SCC; and he has been a contributor to publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Esquire, GQ, Whole Foods Magazine, Health News Digest, Live, Riviera, WWD, OC Metro and Burn Magazine. The entrepreneur has also served as the Beauty Editor for both Modern Luxury Magazine and Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine. He has made guest appearances on television shows such as the Vicki Johnson Show, Go Curvy, The Real Housewives of Orange County, Workout, Blow Out, and Kathy Irelands Modern Living.

Known for his devotion to the beauty industry, Spinnato takes great delight in developing and putting together cutting-edge products. Also known for being ahead of the curve, Spinnato regularly contributes to International Trends Forecasts for the beauty industry. He often travels the world to keep a watchful eye on what’s hot, and he uses that knowledge to inspire his state-of-the-art beauty innovations.

A popular, entertaining and knowledgeable speaker, Spinnato is at home in front of a wide range of groups including those in the beauty industry to those in the Society of OBGYNs. Due to his keen eye for natural products that address multiple issues, Spinnato has long been an advocate for safe and high performing beauty and personal care products in women’s categories that address such issues as the functionality of transdermal pre- and post-menopause, PMS, sexual dysfunction, breast tenderness and varicose veins.

Spinnato’s management and development teams who work with him at TurnKey Beauty – his R&D lab, and private labelling company – are versatile, tightly-coordinated and uber-talented. Spinnato and his team’s competence, proficiency and experience in both the executive and technical areas offer clients ‘turnkey’ solutions with a detailed handbook that covers everything from a product launch through all the integral parts of the beauty and business arenas including production, distribution, product promotion, labelling, pricing, merchandising, account management and related activities.

A specialist in the creation and management of rapid growth strategies, Spinnato helps to maximize profits for existing manufacturers’ accounts – managing all marketing and sales strategies, operations and personnel. Responsibilities include the development of GMP’s, SOP’s, ISO 9001 procedures, marketing plans, business plans, training manuals, P+L reports, SDS’s and COA’s. A highly effective manager, problem-solver, strategic thinker and motivator, Spinnato thrives working with operating, sales and marketing teams.

In addition to guiding clients through the intricate process of generating their own skincare, body care, haircare, baby products, and/or pet products, Spinnato has launched his own personal product line: Vincenzo Skincare. His products have superior performance to most products available in the marketplace today. The Vincenzo Skincare line features products designed to help treat fine lines, wrinkles and feathering, plus certain types of sun damage with full capability on various skin combinations. Caviar and Diamond Skincare Products, Spinnato’s newest product line, has an amazing effect on the skin serving as an anti-aging ingredient that helps to diminish fine lines, wrinkles and feathering. It also contributes to renewing and regenerating energy to long forgotten dead skin cells.

To capture his colorful and wildly successful career, Spinnato is releasing his memoir entitled “My Pursuit of Beauty – The Glitz, The Glam, and The Batsh*t Crazy”” in January, 2021. Also in 2021, Spinnato is releasing a behind-the-scenes documentary named ‘Skin Deep – Formulating A Legacy’. Both the book and the documentary chronicle Spinnato’s journey of self-discovery in his trek towards becoming a world-famous cosmetic chemist and perfumer.

Spinnato is also involved in philanthropic efforts including:

– Wells of Life, a non-profit organization providing reliable water projects to communities in African nations that suffer from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation. A portion of the proceeds from Caviar & Diamonds have been earmarked for this organization. 

– Beginning in 2015, wanting to honor his father and grandfather — both musicians – Spinnato established two college scholarships for talented seniors at his former high school in Vineland, N.J. 

– And, as someone who suffers with the condition trichotillomania, a lifelong hair-pulling disease, Spinnato is involved with raising awareness for this condition, which is estimated to affect one to four percent of people and usually begins in childhood or adolescence. 

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#NewRelease, #BookReview & #Interview: Shutter by Melissa Larsen ~ 4⭐️


Summary:

A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker’s latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.

In the wake of her father’s death, Betty Roux doesn’t allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to run.

When she’s offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino’s new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.

Anthony gives her a new identity–Lola–and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she’s been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.

Review:

“Shutter” grabbed me with its unique and terrifying storyline! Melissa Larsen invented quite the landscape while adding wonderfully interesting characters. I’m now both in love with Maine and too scared to visit!

As I crept my way to the ending, I grew more terrified! You would think there was a camera watching me, as they watched Betty. I love when I story takes you to it’s location! But, a story that makes the hair on your arm stand up, even better! “Shutter” does both!

Thank you Melissa Larsen for imagining this story, I was reading it under the blankets! For a debut author, you’ve entered the thriller world with a vengeance!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

Interview:

Q: What first sparked your interest in writing “Shutter”? 

The spark was a sudden, clear vision of Betty, covered in blood, asking me for help. I had just finished a novel I had started writing in college that (fun fact!) had Anthony as the narrator and Betty (named Lola) as his love interest. This unfinished novel had haunted me for about four years, so it was an incredible feeling to reach the end of that manuscript—for about five minutes. Then it dawned on me that this story, with its lack of plot, internal logic, and conflict, was written purely for me. I knew I would never show it to anyone else (and that’s for the best). After a somewhat intense panic attack, I took another look at the manuscript. I lifted what I liked from it—Anthony and Lola—and decided I would write Lola’s story. And that’s when I saw her, covered in blood, asking for help. For the next nine months, I wrote toward that image. I have that hidden novel and the resulting panic attack to thank for SHUTTER! 

Q: Is there any truth to your story that is personal to you?

This is a tricky question, because I believe both that every single aspect of the book is personal to me and simultaneously that none of it is. I am everywhere in there because I wrote it, but the story took on its own life. I am everyone and no one!

That being said, I have actually stayed in a small cabin on an island off the coast of Maine (my eternal gratitude to the Norton Island Writers Residency!), only my cabin didn’t have plumbing or a hot actor as a roommate. I have likewise keenly felt Betty’s desire to escape, to run away from life and start over, and I have shared some of her heartaches and self-doubts. 

Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why? 

Is it a total cop out to say that they’re all my favorite? I’ve spent enough time with them that they really do feel like old friends. If I had to pick two, though, and my heart breaks already, I’m sorry to every character I don’t name here, I would say Betty, of course, because she and I essentially grew up together, and Mads, because he was the most fun to write. He is a himbo. If only Brendan Fraser was still in his twenties somehow and could play him in the movie. 

Q:How long did it take you to write “Shutter”?

It took about nine months to write the first draft (like carrying a baby to term!) and then around two years of working on it first with my agent and then with my editor. 

Q:  As you gearing up for your Book to be released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Seeing the actual, real, physical copy of the book has been wild. The reality of it as an object, a beautifully bound book, still hasn’t sunk in, even a week after seeing it for the first time. Holding it has the same mental effect on me as staring at the ocean—my mind clears, my breathing slows, the world feels beautiful again.

But the most exciting part is knowing that complete strangers are reading it! I’m used to knowing the readers (which is also an incredible experience, don’t get me wrong!). This morning, though, I saw a post on Instagram from a reader who is more than halfway through the book and wants to skip work to finish it. Again, like staring at the ocean.

Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore psychological thrillers?

love psychological thrillers. I always need more of them in my life (please send any and all recommendations my way!). For the foreseeable future, I will most likely be writing in that sphere, but I’m really excited to explore other genres, too. There’s a lot more coming J

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are? 

These are the authors whose work I will always read, no matter what, and whose work I will immediately reread, no matter what: Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King, Tana French, Marisha Pessl, Laura van den Berg, Jon Klassen, Ron Currie Jr, C Pam Zhang, Jenny Offill, V.E. Schwab, Lara Vapnyar, Tommy Orange, Elena Ferrante, Kiese Laymon…

Q:  What is your favorite part of becoming a published author?  

My absolute favorite: the privilege of having my book read.

But honestly, a close second: the editorial process. To discuss, very seriously, the motivations and actions of characters that I had been privately fantasizing about on phone calls with my editor and my agent was truly a highlight. It’s a mind-blowing experience, every single time, when someone talks about my characters as though they are real people. 

The scariest?

Losing control of my book! For the past few years, this bookhad belonged only to me. It was just me, alone, at my computer, working at the story. I’m basically the booster rockets of this ship. I got us off the ground and in motion, but as soon as the book went into production, my job was basically done. This book is everything to me, but (I hope) it belongs now entirely to its readers. This is something that both fascinates and terrifies me—this book is mine and not mine. 

Q: Your cover is Epic!! Like art!! Is is hanging in your home or office? I hope it is.

Thank you so much! I totally agree—I am obsessed with this cover. I really should have a framed print of it, but instead I have about ten printed copies of it floating around my room, one featured very prominently on my desk, and the others all hidden away so that if I’m digging through a stack of books or papers, it surprises me. OH! I also put it on t-shirts! It makes for a very striking, very perfect shirt. I (and my sweet, supportive family!) wear it everywhere.

 Q:  Do you have another book on the horizon? 

Yes! For now, though, it’s still just me, alone, working at it on my computer. 

 Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook? 

Both! Print ultimately wins, because I prefer the experience of handling the physical book—each one has its own personality!—but I appreciate the accessibility and flexibility of eBooks. Once I learned that I could borrow and download eBooks from my local library, my life changed! I have a very well-loved Kindle, and I have read many books on my laptop, too. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of reading on my phone (I don’t like how the text formatting looks on such a small screen!), but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. 

Thank you so much for this interview. I am so excited and honored.

Annie: Thank you, Melissa! You have a huge fan in me!!l lll

#NewRelease & #BookReview: “The Season of Lights” by Gregory Erich Philips ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Summary:

Passion, ambition and escape in the colorful artistic underworld off-Broadway, Cammie, a dancer in her mid-thirties, has just landed her first part in a show since coming to New York City. Yet the tug of familial obligation and the guilt of what she sacrificed to be there weigh down her dancing feet. Her lover, Tom, an older piano player, came to the city as a young man in the 1980s with a story eerily in tune with Cammie’s own. Through their triumphs and failures, both learn the fleeting nature of glory, the sweetness of new love, and how a dream come true isn’t cherished until it passes. The bright lights of the stage intoxicate, while degradation and despair lurk close behind the curtain. Their sagas are marred by two pandemics, AIDS in the 1980s and COVID-19 today, which ravaged the performing arts community, leaving a permanent scar on those who lived through them. The poignant intersection of their stories reveals a love affair unbound by time, reaching across decades through the notes of a piano’s remembered song. 

Review:

With bright and smoothly written ambience, Gregory Erich Phillips took me back to a time that still resonates deeply in my soul. Only “Season in Lights” brought me invigoratingly closer to a life I always wonder about. 

This is a book to be savored. 

Leaning in personally and stirring my heart from one beat to the next, I was mesmerized. 

I was falling in love. It was a state of all-inclusive love by the end, without exception.

This novel felt alive. 

Close your eyes (after each chapter) 

And feel the pulse. 

The movement.

Frantically flipping from page to page feeling like I was an exuberant eavesdropper. 

Close your eyes at the end.

And feel that last pulse!!

That movement!

Gregory is a force with the written word, a force with his knowledge of the arts and surely a gift to all of us who love these crafts!! I feel Gregory loving my city.

As I wait for theaters to open in NYC, “A Season in Lights” gave me a reprieve from the heartache of it being closed!

I was utterly beguiled with Gregory’s story. As he opened the curtain to his story he had my full attention. As a New Yorker, I say Bravo!

I’d certainly offer “A Season in Lights” a standing ovation.

I’ll read this again. It’s a book I’ll keep on my nightstand.

5 Stars.

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Gregory Erich Phillips writes stories with strong characters whose lives, with their many challenges and joys, resonate with a wide audience. Raised in a literary family, Gregory began writing at the age of fourteen. 

His debut novel, Love of Finished Years, won the the grand prize in the Chanticleer Reviews International Writing Competition and was an Amazon bestseller in historical fiction. It was praised by Publishers Weekly, which called it “beguiling.” His second novel, The Exile, won first place in mainstream fiction in the PNWA literary contest.

Also an accomplished tango dancer and musician, Gregory has impressed audiences from the West Coast to New York City with his drama and grace on the dance floor (visit Moonlight Tango to see him in action).

Gregory’s website: https://gregoryerichphillips.com/about/

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#BookTour & #NewRelease & #BookReview – Her Last Chance by Alison Ragsdale ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: April 13th, 2021

Summary:

My darling girl, I watch you playing outside in the grass. Your long blonde hair sweeps back and your blue eyes are bright with joy. You are utterly perfect, I never imagined something could be so wrong and I’d be powerless to protect you…

Ava’s daughter Carly is everything a ten-year-old should be: energetic, creative and the light of her parents’ lives. But when she starts stumbling down stairs and walking into doors, Ava wants to rush to the doctor. Her husband Rick is sure she’s fretting over nothing – kids can be a little clumsy sometimes. But Ava’s instinct is telling her something is seriously wrong.

Against Rick’s advice, Ava takes Carly to see a specialist and is given a devastating diagnosis: a rare genetic condition that will change her future forever. When Rick realises the truth, he is determined to do all he can to help Carly enjoy what light she has left. The close-knit family take it one day at a time, walking to the beach and watching the sunrise.

Just as Ava begins to imagine a new future for them all, a tragic accident throws their lives into chaos once more. To give her daughter a chance at a full life, Ava faces a devastating choice. How can she possibly choose between the two people she loves most?

An emotional, heartbreaking page-turner about a mother’s love and an utterly devastating decision. Readers of Kate Hewitt, My Sister’s Keeper and Diane Chamberlain will keep this story in their hearts forever.

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Review:

Alison Ragsdale is going to give Jodi Picoult a run for the money with these books that dig so deep into the real grit of life, and leave you weeping, tugging at your heartstrings and parts of your soul you didn’t realize you had! 

Her novels are always smart family stories with complex drama that you can tell is extensively researched! This story knocked it out of the park for me. 

“Her Last Chance” had me begging to comfort the characters from their razor-sharp anguish that had me crying out.  

I even paused to wonder if it was me that needed comforting. 

Don’t get me wrong, this story isn’t all sadness. But, those were the parts that compelled me to keep reading. I needed relief, if there was any!

To elevate our deeply-seated emotions to this level takes sheer talent.  I imagine the profound suffering Alison Ragsdale’s pen must sense after some scenes are written, let alone Alison herself.  I thank her for this gift.

Alison always gets it right! Her storytelling is superb! Gold-Star!

I dare anyone to read this and not be fully absorbed! Invested! Mind, Body & Soul!

#Tissues

5 Stars.

Author Bio:

A former marketing executive, originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives near Washington D.C. with her husband and dog. She was educated in England and holds an MBA from Leicester University.

For more information on upcoming books go to www.alisonragsdale.com.

Author Social Media Links: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralisonragsdale

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AlisonRagsdale 

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#NewRelease & #BookReview: The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Linn Probst ~ 5 ⭐️

Summary:

The highly anticipated new novel from the multiple award-winning author of Queen of the Owls . . .

What if you had a second chance at the very thing you thought you’d renounced forever? How steep a price would you be willing to pay?

Susannah’s career as a pianist has been on hold for nearly sixteen years, ever since her son was born. An adoptee who’s never forgiven her birth mother for not putting her first, Susannah vowed to put her own child first, no matter what. And she did.

But now, suddenly, she has a chance to vault into that elite tier of “chosen” musicians. There’s just one problem: somewhere along the way, she lost the power and the magic that used to be hers at the keyboard. She needs to get them back. Now.

Her quest―what her husband calls her obsession―turns out to have a cost Susannah couldn’t have anticipated. Even her hand betrays her, as Susannah learns that she has a progressive hereditary disease that’s making her fingers cramp and curl―a curse waiting in her genes, legacy of a birth family that gave her little else. As her now-or-never concert draws near, Susannah is catapulted back to memories she’s never been able to purge―and forward, to choices she never thought she would have to make.

Told through the unique perspective of a musician, The Sound Between the Notes draws the reader deeper and deeper into the question Susannah can no longer silence: Who am I, and where do I belong?

Review:

Barbara Linn Probst delivers a novel that tugged at my heart strings so often I could imagine the sound of music coming from my soul as I read. 

Her reverence for women is remarkable!

While taking a break from reading, I would close my eyes, and visualize piano strings in movement, actually being able to touch “The Sound Between the Notes”. 

Her message was delivered.

My heart in cadence with the life of Susannah.

This book felt personal to me, I dare a woman not to find herself somewhere.

I admire the melodious nature in which Probst shares this story. 

Exceptional!

She treats a woman’s life in an amazingly ceremonious manner, no matter what part of the story she is telling. 

In this, I learn that my life is always extraordinary. “I am woman, here me roar”!

Probst teaches us lessons!

While there are piercing moments there are soft edges, too. “The Sound Between the Notes” is truly an inspired work.

As we dig deeper into Susannah’s life, I realize that her life is like that of a piano chord. A chord is the combination of two or more notes played simultaneously. 

This was her life’s struggle…wanting to hit that chord in her real life!

Hit two or more things at once successfully and make it sound and feel like wonder!!! She just wanted everything to work, and never feel neglect.

You must read this to learn the sound of her song. I bet you will learn a little bit more about yours.

I love a book that lives in you and moves your spirit. This is it!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Author Bio:

Barbara Linn Probst is a writer, researcher, clinician, and “serious amateur” pianist living on a historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. 

Barbara’s novels (QUEEN OF THE OWLS, April 2020, and THE SOUND OF ONE HAND, coming in April 2021) tell of the search for authenticity, wholeness, and connection. In both novels, art helps the protagonist to become more fully herself. 

QUEEN OF THE OWLS has been chosen as a 2020 selection by the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, a network of more than 780 book clubs across the U.S.

Author of the groundbreaking book on nurturing out-of-the-box children, WHEN THE LABELS DON’T FIT, Barbara also holds a PhD in clinical social work and is a frequent guest essayist on major online sites for fiction writers. To learn more about Barbara and her work, see http://www.barbaralinnprobst.com/

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#NewRelease & #BookReview: The Secret Stealers by Jane Healey ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: April 1st, 2021

Summary:

A female American spy in Nazi-occupied France finds purpose behind enemy lines in a novel of unparalleled danger, love, and daring by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Beantown Girls.

Anna Cavanaugh is a restless young widow and brilliant French teacher at a private school in Washington, DC. Everything changes when she’s recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by family friend and legendary WWI hero Major General William Donovan.

Donovan has faith in her—and in all his “glorious amateurs” who are becoming Anna’s fast friends: Maggie, Anna’s down-to-earth mentor; Irene, who’s struggling to find support from her husband for her clandestine life; and Julia, a cheerful OSS liaison. But the more Anna learns about the organization’s secret missions, the more she longs to be stationed abroad. Then comes the opportunity: go undercover as a spy in the French Resistance to help steal critical intelligence that could ultimately turn the tide of the war.

Dispatched behind enemy lines and in constant danger, Anna is filled with adrenaline, passion, and fear. She’s driven to make a difference—for her country and for herself. Whatever the risk, she’s willing to take it to help liberate France from the shadows of occupation and to free herself from the shadows of her former life.

Review:

Utterly fascinating WWII Novel by Jane Healey that had me so engrossed, I actually lost sleep.

“The Secret Stealers” was yet another gift about a corner of history that women stood out with their strength and perseverance, that Jane Healey shared with us.

Thank you, Jane! All women, and readers alike, thank you for helping us bear witness to this part in history.

Her characters are always so engaging that you don’t feel so “outside” the story!
I was truly enraptured! Give me Historical Fiction, WWII, France, Female Empowering stories and I’m all in!

Like “The Beantown Girls”, I met a menagerie of strong women that I was rooting for until the last page….and, now I am searching Female WWII Spies”!!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

About Author:

Jane Healey shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing historical fiction, she enjoys running, reading, cooking and going to the beach. 

For more information on the author, her upcoming events or to schedule a virtual book club visit: 

Website: http://www.janehealey.com

Facebook: facebook.com/JaneHealeyBooks/


Twitter and Instagram:@healeyjane


YouTube: https://bit.ly/2O3c72

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#NewRelease & #BookReview: Paradise Road by Marilyn Kriete ~ 5⭐️


Date of Release: March 21st, 2021

Publisher: Lucid House Publishing

Summary:

A restless child of the 1960s, Marilyn yearns for love, hippiedom, and escape from her mother’s control. At 14, she runs nearly a thousand miles away to Vancouver, British Columbia, eventually landing herself in a Catholic home for troubled girls. At 16, she’s emancipated, navigating adulthood without a high school diploma, and craving a soulmate. When she falls in love with Jack, the grad student living next door, life finally seems perfect. The two embark on a cross-continental bicycle trip, headed for South America, but before they reach Mexico, tragedy strikes. Utterly shattered, Marilyn does the hardest thing she can imagine: a solo bicycle trip, part tribute, part life test. She conquers her fears but goes wildly off course, chasing her heart as she falls into a series of tragicomic rebounds. Two itinerant years later, a chain of events in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains leads to a peace she never expected to find.

Reminiscent of Wild and Travelling with Ghosts, Marilyn’s journey portrays a life unmoored by grief, brought to shore again. 

Review:


Watching Marilyn Kriete crack wide open and feel utterly wounded, only to watch her attempt to piece herself back together one mile at a time.

From her happiness feeling truly ebullient to her crestfallen soul, we meet a woman furiously bicycling towards her future.

“Paradise Road” is such a beautifully painted story, I felt as if I was with her and cheering her on the entire time.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Author Bio:

Never one to choose the boring route, Marilyn has lived in four continents and 16 cities (so far), earning her keep as a cook, waitress, janitor, chambermaid, fisher-woman, bill-deliverer (on foot in 40 below zero weather), missionary, church leader, tutor, academic writing editor, housekeeper, and–with a little luck–author. She writes about her adventures in a series of memoirs, all slated to be published over the next few years. 

She makes her home in Kelowna, BC, where she shares her cozy home with three cats and her husband of many decades, Henry. They have two grown children and are eagerly awaiting their first grandchild, scheduled to arrive in July, 2021. 

PARADISE ROAD is her first memoir, and yes, in the way of all good memoirs, it’s every bit true. 

Follow Marilyn Kriete Here:


Add to your Goodreads TBR List:


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21270138.Marilyn_Kriete

Order Here:

Kindle/print:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paradise-road-marilyn-kriete/1138999526

#Giveaway & #BookTour & #BlogTour & #BookReview: A Child Lost (Henrietta & Inspector Howard #5) by Michelle Cox ~ 5⭐️

Summary:

A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta―much to Clive’s dismay―begins to believe the spiritualist’s strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results. 

Review:

Michelle Cox saved the best story for last! At least for now! “A Lost Child” is a true stunner! It has everything, and I fell right into this rabbit hole! It was too exciting! Of course, it tugged at my heart strings because of the lost child! But, what a story! Michelle sure can deliver a well-researched, heartfelt, mysterious story that you don’t want to put down. She is on the pulse of what readers want!
I give Michelle Cox’s writing the highest praise!

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Author Bio:


Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade. 

How to find Michelle & purchase the book:

Website: http://michellecoxauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellecoxauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellecox33
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellecoxwrites/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-cox-ab8700193/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-cox
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/michelle-cox-610476432

Buy Child Lost by Michelle Cox

Amazon (Kindle, Audible, & Print)
Apple{eBook)
Apple (Audiobook)
Kobo (eBook)
Kobo (Audiobook)
IndieBound

Giveaway Child Lost by Michelle Cox Tour – $100 Amazon Gift Card

This giveaway is open to Canada, the U.S. , and UK only and ends on March 31, 2021,midnight pacific time. If you live in the UK, the amount will be the equivalent in pounds. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e23ee71d1436/

#BookReview: The Arrangement by Kiersten Modglin ~ 5 ⭐️

Date of Release: January 28, 2021

Summary:

Ainsley Greenburg is a fixer.
It’s what she prides herself on.

So, when she realizes her marriage is at its breaking point, she makes a decision to repair it, no matter the cost. Approaching her husband to propose the arrangement is supposed to be the hard part, but Peter agrees to the salacious plan almost immediately.

The rules are simple:
They will each date someone new once a week.
They will never discuss what happens on the dates.

Soon, though, the rules are broken, turning terrible mistakes into unspeakable consequences.

When the only person they can count on to keep their darkest secret is each other, new questions and deceits surface. Can they truly trust the person they share a life with, or will the vicious lies that have mounted over the years destroy everything they’ve built?

Once, Peter and Ainsley vowed to stand together forever, but as they push boundaries of deception, suspicion, and temptation, each begins to wonder if ’til death do us part may come sooner than they’d intended.

Review:

Kiersten Modglin’s sublime writing keeps surprising me! I don’t know how she does it! In “The Arrangement” she digs deep and truly finds twists and turns that have me carefully turning the pages as if I’m sneaking around the corner! I’m so careful because the intensity has me there in the story!
Not knowing what will happen at any given moment in the story gives me goosebumps and the little hairs on my arm are always at attention.
While my body prepares for her surprises, I realize I can’t because she is a shocking writer! Once again I felt like I had whiplash from how often she proved me wrong!
If you can, try going into this book willing yourself to not have your heart set on an ending, or guessing anything…..because I promise, you’ll be wrong!
Epic storyline, characters you’ll love or love to hate and an ending you’ll never guess!
Kiersten did it again! Another prize of a book!!
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review..

5 Stars.

Author Bio:

Kiersten Modglin newly signed to Bookouture. She is an Amazon Top 30 bestselling author of award-winning psychological thrillers and a member of International Thriller Writers. Kiersten lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and their two Boston Terriers: Cedric and Georgie. She is best known for her unpredictable suspense and her readers have dubbed her ‘The Queen of Twists.’ A Netflix addict, Shonda Rhimes super-fan, psychology fanatic, and indoor enthusiast, Kiersten enjoys rainy days spent with her nose in a book.

CONNECT WITH KIERSTEN:

➜ NEWSLETTER: http://eepurl.com/dhiRRv
➜ FACEBOOK: facebook.com/kierstenmodglinauthor
➜ FACEBOOK READER GROUP: facebook.com/groups/kierstenstwistedr…
➜ INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/kierstenmodglinauthor
➜ TWITTER: twitter.com/kmodglinauthor
➜ WEBSITE: kierstenmodglinauthor.com
➜ TEXT ALERTS: kierstenmodglinauthor.com/textalerts….

Kiersten Modglin may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

kierstenmodglinauthor.com/events.html (less)

The Pulpwood Queens 2021 Zoomathon!

Claire Fullerton writes the best blog posts! I had to share her write-up on our awesome Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Zoomathon Weekend!

Claire Fullerton Author

All hail The Pulpwood Queens, the largest book club in the world! The International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club is more than its 800 book club chapters, it’s a literary culture populated by avid readers and enthusiastic authors who fraternize under the Pulpwood Queens literary umbrella to share the love of books!

In existence for more than twenty years, The Pulpwood Queens hold an annual, book club conference experienced more like a party. Featured authors and attendees dress up in the Pulpwood Queens’ signature leopard print and tiaras for three days, in what becomes the ultimate meet and greet between authors and readers. Featured authors are panel guests in the most unique forum imaginable. Nothing staid and stuffy about the proceedings, rather, the panels are conducted as a celebration, where authors share more than the synopsis of the books they’ve written– they tell their background story: where they’re…

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