#BookRelease, #BookReview & #BookGiveaway: Love, Jane By Katie Blanchard

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Jane always longed for security and thought she found it when she married Stewart. When stress takes a toll on their marriage, she hires yoga instructor Shana to help him, but finds that sometimes inviting a stranger into your home means they never leave.

Tossed out of her home and marriage, penniless, while Shana sleeps in her place, Jane is brutally attacked. With help from Billy, the cop who saved her life, Jane takes on a new identity to hide from the man who assaulted her. Hiding is exhausting, but she’s not sure who to trust. Even Billy has past ties to her husband.

While the cops hunt for her attacker, a run-in with Shana exposes a secret that could result in a new madman on Jane’s tail– Stewart. Both women are in peril and Jane must decide if she can help the woman who ruined her marriage.

Will she be able to save them both or is the danger closer than either of them imagines?

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Katie Blanchard does it again with “Love, Jane”!

We all met the steadfast Jane Voss in “Dear Anna” and now we are afforded the opportunity to learn her backstory. It is not often that an author takes us on this journey and what an awesome idea this is. I found it to be not only super exciting, but; realized how truly powerful learning her history was.

The theme that runs vibrantly through this novel is that “Girls Stick Together” and…it bleeds into (or out of) “Dear Anna”. That is the beauty of how Katie Blanchard wrote these novels; you can read them in either order.

The depth with which each character is driven is triumphant! I truly felt compelled to care for each character. Her character development is flawless.

The most magnificent part of this novel was that Jane’s ex-husband, Stewart plays one of the strongest characters in the storyline, yet we never meet him, or even see him from a distance. He is so hated by me. He is so vile, and disgusting….It is pure talent that can give this type of power to a character that is unseen.

I was totally taken away! I not only recommend this book…I give it high praise!

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

5 Stars.

—-Annie Horsky McDonnell

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Katie Blanchard is an author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her debut novel, ‘Pressing Flowers’ is available for purchase through Amazon. Katie resides in Southwestern, Pennsylvania where she spends most of her days chasing two children. When they give her a moment, she’s found crocheting on the couch. You can find out more about Katie and her upcoming releases at www.authorkatieblanchard.com, or follow her on Facebook. http://bit.ly/KBlanchardFBPage

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#NewRelease, #AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Eileen Sanchez and learn more about “Freedom Lessons: A Novel”

1CFD5BB2-3D9E-4704-BC53-B87AABEAD12EQ: What first sparked your interest in writing “Freedom Lessons”? 


Ten years ago, I was at a professional educational conference in New Orleans, LA. After a long day of presentations, we went out to Pat O’Brien’s, a great bar in the French Quarter. If you ever visit NOLA be sure to go there to have a
Hurricane and request your favorite song to be played by the dueling pianos. In between the drinks and entertainment, I surprised the people I was with when I told them I had taught in a small rural town in Louisiana. It was during the mandated integration that followed the October 29, 1969 Alexander v Holmes Supreme Court decision which ordered schools across the county to desegregate. I had rarely shared that experience. I explained how a 22-year-old young woman from NJ wound up in the middle of the poorly planned mandated integration of the public schools. My husband was in the Army and we lived there for the last year of his service.

I always knew the impact it had on my personal history, but that revelation made me realize how significant the event was in the history of our country. I was a witness and felt a responsibility to share it. At the time, my first grandchild was two years old and a friend challenged me to write about my life during that year so that my granddaughter would learn about it.

When I started to write, I realized that I only knew my story. I had returned to NJ at the end of that school year when my husband was discharged. What happened to my second grade students after that traumatic year? I uncovered numerous personal stories through reading and research.


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


The story is told from three points of view. Colleen represents my own experience and I created two characters, Evelyn and Frank, to tell the point of view of a black teacher and a black high school student. My November 12, 2019 publishing date commemorates the 50th anniversary of southern states meeting the mandate of the Brown v BOE decision, followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and finally on October 29, 1969 the US Supreme Court ordered schools across the country to desegregate in the little-known but milestone case,
Alexander v. Holmes. It was 15 years after Brown v Board and most black students in the South still attended segregated black schools.  If they had not integrated public schools, they would have forfeited federal funds on Dec. 31, 1969. Stubborn resistance to move beyond “Freedom of Choice” plans created numerous last minute decisions to meet the mandate.

My book is based on my personal experience that I more fully understood by studying the impact on the black families and teachers forty years later through research and interviews about that school year of 1969-1970.

I fictionalized my experience to create the characters of Frank and Evelyn after reading first hand accounts of the impact of the mandated integration on families of the children I taught and the black teachers and administrators who were moved from respected positions to secondary support staff. Having two POV characters who are black and one white misplaced “Yankee” I have tried to give a more accurate expression of the small stories and the wide impact of this event.


Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

That’s easy, it’s Frank. Five years ago, I was able to visit the town and the school I taught in. The visit filled some of the history of the people and the community. One of the opportunities allowed me to meet the current principal of the school. The school had been reopened and now serves as a middle school. She had been away in college the year of the mandated integration, but she told me some of her own family’s experiences. The stories about her brother who was a high school senior in 1969 helped me to personalize and build a deeper background for Frank. He became the character to tell the story from a student’s point of view.  I created a family for Rachel, one of Colleen’s second graders. Frank became Rachel’s brother, the eldest son who was deeply impacted by his father’s death in a suspicious fire. Frank and his parents had been counting on a football scholarship for him to be able to attend college. But when the schools were integrated the football team spots were already filled by the white students.  He wasn’t able to play and lost his chance for the scholarship. He struggled with the unfairness but maintained the core values from his parents.


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

Five years. Slow and steady. I tend to write in chunks of time. The discipline of writing every day for an hour doesn’t work for me. I get immersed in the research and the “telling”. Some writers can turn out books very quickly but that’s not how mine happened. Once a week for four years I met with my writing group as we wrote our novels under the tutelage of my mentor, Michelle Cameron (The Fruit of Her Hands: the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz, & Beyond the Ghetto Gates). There are other methods to writing a novel, but I wrote 10-20 pages a week for three years. We each read our pages aloud to the group and then received feedback. I had to learn to show not tell. After decades of writing educational reports of all kinds which required concise specific explanations, I had to learn how to let the story roll out through the characters. Creating characters and learning who they were was a huge challenge because two of my main point of view characters are African American. It took a great deal of research to understand Frank and Evelyn. I began a personal black history study and wove what I learned into their background and their lives.

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

“Who me?” It’s still sinking in.

Annie: Today is the day! Congratulations!

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

The initial critical reviews from people who I’m not related to! I’m most pleased with my Library Journal (LJ) review and being included in a LJ article titled Fall/Winter Best Debut Novels.


Q:  With this being your first novel, do you think you will always explore historical fiction? Maybe still more to tell about this particular era?

There’s always more to tell about an era. I enjoy writing and the history research that supports the story.


Q: I love the Music that comes with the book. Where can people order this?

I created the playlist mainly for book club swag. It’s from my personal music burned to a CD. So, I can’t sell it, but some lucky readers can win it!

Name

Artist

My Girl

The Temptations

All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)

Charley Pride

A Beautiful Morning

The Rascals

Okie from Muskogee (Rerecorded)

Merle Haggard

Yellow Submarine

The Beatles

Honky Tonk Women

The Rolling Stones

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The…

The 5th Dimension

Ball of Confusion (That’s What the…

The Temptations

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Simon & Garfunkel

ABC

Jackson 5

Both Sides Now

Judy Collins

Get Together

The Youngbloods

Annie: Thank you for including this CD in your Giveaway!

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

There are two authors that have influenced my interest in storytelling.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings follows thirty-five years of a complex relationship between Sarah and her ownership of Handful, as both women strive for lives of their own. I would never compare myself to Sue Monk Kidd, but I love her books and wish that her readers might like mine. She is a prolific writer and develops the rich interior lives of her characters with prose that keeps you turning the page. Her books build from real historic figures to tell the small stories of everyday people that make up our history. My book tells the small stories directly from the everyday people. I can hope for some of her readers, can’t I?

 Amy Hill Hearth’s endorsement, featured on the cover of Freedom Lessons, validated my writing and the telling of the story. She has been generous with her support of a second career debut author. Amy, a New York Times best selling author, has written several books, two fiction and several non-fiction, the most recent is Streetcar to Justice. Her most successful book became the Broadway play “The Delany Sisters – Having Our Say”. I loved these two: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society: A Novel and Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County: A Novel. The Stories take place in a rural area of Florida that became Disney World and the setting rises to a level of the characters. A transplanted “Yankee” from Boston shakes up the community by starting a literary salon, aka a book club. Both books “will touch the heart of anyone who ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in.”


Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

When I started Freedom Lessons I wrote in an upstairs bedroom dedicated to be “A Room of my Own”. It was sacred and when I returned to write more the next day the thoughts and ideas returned as I started to write. Mornings are the most creative times for me to write but I can return to ideas any time of day. I need to be alone to write; I can get distracted easily. I’ve witnessed an author friend writing pages by hand in a notebook in the middle of activity around us as we waited for a conference to begin. I write on my laptop. I type fast and the ease of quick edits releases my worry about getting it right the first time. I’ve learned that I just need to write it and then fix it later. A handwritten manuscript would slow me down. I can type almost as fast as I’m thinking the ideas.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

I’ve already mentioned Amy Hill Hearth and Sue Monk Kidd. I would add Camille Di Maio, and Tara Conklin. Kwame Alexander inspires me with his poetry and books for “children of all ages”.  Books? Any book by Sue Kidd Monk but The Secret Life of Bees came to mind first.  I love poetry and have just discovered Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover because of my grandson. Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic is an old favorite to pull out. Judith Viorst keeps me laughing as I age with her poems from How Did I Get to Be Forty, Forever Fifty, Suddenly Sixty and I’m Too Young to Be Seventy. (Yup, 72! How else could I have been there in 1969?)

Annie: I love Sue Monk Kidd!  Must read Kwame Alexander, as I love poetry.


Q:  What books are in your nightstand right now?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is my most recent finished book. Starting in 18th century Ghana to Jazz Age Harlem, the novel illuminates’ slavery’s troubled legacy. I am often reading several books at a time. I’m reading a lovely lyrical memoir by new author Marlena Maduro Baraf’s, At the Narrow Waist of the World, which tells the coming of age story of a young Jewish woman in Panama who is torn by love and worry for her mentally ill mother.  And I’m listening to Camille Di Maio’s The Beautiful Strangers, it’s historical fiction and a cozy mystery. To further support my book talks and events that are coming up I’m reading non-fiction The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.


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

Holding the book, meeting people who are interested in the story and hearing the connections they have to the themes in Freedom Lessons.


Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Is traveling a hobby? I love to travel and if I had unlimited funds I would do more, I like to explore the history of the places we travel to.

Annie: Traveling, learning the history! Amazing hobby..especially for authors! Often makes for great novels. (Hint, Hint)


Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?? Audible?

Each of these have their place for me. I prefer holding a print book and I have stacks of books on shelves and tables to prove it. But eBooks are great, especially for traveling. I used to listen to books only when I would be driving but now I find myself listening when I’m cooking dinner. How else could I be reading three books at the same time?!

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Intro: Colleen and Miguel were married for five days when they moved into the home Miguel had found for them.
Trailer pic: “Oh my God.” Colleen clapped her hand to her mouth. “You’ve got to be kidding. It’s turquoise! It has porthole windows! Does it float too?”

 

 

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Intro: Colleen taught in a segregated black school. Each Saturday she took four of her students to the library to get library cards. She had just dropped the children off at their homes and was stopped by a police officer.
Road pic: “Officer, did I do something wrong?”
“Well now, that depends. Why would a white woman be out driving in these parts?”

 

Annie: Congratulations Eileen on your New Release today! I know “Freedom Lessons” is going to be an amazing story for so many to read. Thank you for telling it! I appreciate you taking the time for this interview today. Learning more about you and  your story has been amazing!

GIVEAWAY:  PRINT COPY OF BOOK AND BOOK CLUB SWAG PACK WHICH INCLUDES CD OF MUSIC, BOOKMARKS, AND RECIPES THAT CONNECT TO THE BOOK.

TO ENTER PLEASE LEAVE COMMENT BY 9PM FRIDAY.  THANK YOU.

#BookReview: Never Forget (Honoring Those Who Serve #1) by Marie Savage

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 11, 2019

Summary:

Staff Sergeant Adam Brody is ready to put eight years of military life behind him. After witnessing his best friend and fellow soldier Mike Hargrove’s death, he carries a burden of guilt he can’t shake. Returning home to make good on a promise he made to his friend is the only way to keep his sanity and hope that one day he will be forgiven.
Mike’s widow Shannon Hargrove is not only facing eviction but the possibility of losing custody of her unborn son. Despite her efforts to make a life for herself and her baby, she faces obstacles that she may not be able to overcome by herself. With no husband, no support from family and a baby due in a few weeks, she doesn’t have the finances or the strength to continue fighting. That is until her husband’s best friend Adam, steps in to help.
Adam is duty-bound to make sure his friend’s wife and baby are taken care of, even if it means taking on a new role as a husband and father. Shannon is running out of choices and time, but is a marriage of convenience the answer? And when she begins to have feelings for her new husband, will she be betraying the love for the man she promised to never forget?

Review:

Marie Savage has written this deeply emotional novel that I enjoyed

Shannon’s heart wrenching story was one that was deep and believable.

With Veterans Day approaching, this was a truly touching story.

I have enjoyed all of Marie Savage’s books and this one is no exception.

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

#AuthorInterview & #Giveaway: Meet Barbara Artson and learn more about “Odessa, Odessa”

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

Oh my! That goes back some 40 years when I was a graduate student in English Literature at San Francisco State University pursuing an academic degree.  My concentration was the 19th century novel, particularly, Charles Dickens.  I was drawn to his compassion for the underdog, the overlooked, the underprivileged. For my final project, I elected to complete Dickens’s last and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. While writing that paper, I had an experience that felt somewhat akin to magic where I felt I was not the one in charge of the writing — that the characters were dictating their dialogue and advancing the narrative. Now, I’m not a “woo-woo” kind of person and I understand that I had so deeply steeped myself into Dickens’s characters and his style of writing, that my psyche took over the process of writing.

I attained my Master’s degree and was on my way to a doctoral program at U.C. – Berkeley when, because of a divorce, my personal life fell apart.  With two young children to raise, I knew that I couldn’t spend the next seven years (the average time to complete a doctorate in English Lit) without income. Because psychoanalytic theory was the framework in viewing literature, it seemed a natural alternative to apply that theory to real people rather than to characters on the written page; and so, I applied to graduate school in clinical psychology.  It was then that I vowed to write a novel at some future time.  And that opportunity announced itself when I began to plan for my retirement from my clinical practice.  I had no idea of what I would write until I sat down at my computer, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and wrote: “Henya Chanah is a woman who no longer bleeds, so she puzzles over how this could have happened.  Try as she might, she can’t remember the last time she and Mendel were together. We must have been, she thinks, otherwise how could this be?” I knew then that my novel would be a fictional account, very loosely based on my mother’s experience, of immigrating from a shtetl on the outskirts of Odessa to America.

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

As with most immigrants, my mother was loath to recount, or to remember, any aspect of, what I now realize, was the trauma of her life in Russia.  Some of the characters in my novel are based on my mother’s character traits and those of and her brothers and sister, and on what I, as an eight-year old child, recall of my maternal grandparents.  Although the incidents and dialogue of my characters are made-up, it rings true to my memory of their personalities. There are two characters, however, who are completely my invention, as is the final section of the book: Bessie, the young woman who befriends Henya while sailing to America, and Mendel’s rejected brother, Shimshon.  But as with all the characters in Odessa, Odessa, they contain features — both good and bad — of its author: me.

Q: Do you have a favorite character? Why?

This is a challenging question to answer, Annie.  As each character evolved, for example, Henya in the first chapter, I fell madly in love with her.  I treasured her because of her valiant struggle to do what was required, despite realistic fears. She represents the struggle and resilience that many women have had, and still encounter, to take on tasks thrust upon them that had been previously denied. And similarly, when I wrote the chapter about Marya, the product of Henya’s bewilderment in that very first sentence of the novel, I was totally love-struck.  But from my present vantage point, having given birth to Odessa, Odessa well over a year ago, I confess to favoring Shimshon, the character invented wholly from my fancy. You ask why?  Shimshon audaciously stood up for what he believed in spite of its very serious consequences: loss of tradition, of family, of the life and loss of his mother tongue. He wasn’t perfect — far from it — and was plagued with guilt for the remainder of his life. But, significantly, he took responsibility for his wrongdoings.  At this junction in our history, we need a man, such as Shimshon, to stand up to the immoral and corrupt forces we presently encounter.

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

I began to write Odessa, Odessa about seven years ago. At that time, I was also totally involved in conducting my psychoanalytic clinical practice, which left time for me to write in the evenings and on weekends. At times, it was difficult to pick up where I left off but I made a habit of ending my writing session with the beginning of next sentence so that when I returned I could pick up where I left off.  Sometimes that worked and sometimes not.  When I retired four years ago, I had a complete draft of the novel which then required editing.  I was fortunate to find an awesome editor to help with that process.

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

Nothing can compare to my delight when I first opened the cardboard box containing my Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) of Odessa, Odessa. To hold a real, live book in my hands for the very first time, was a surreal moment.  The flowers from my publisher, She Writes Press, arrived at the same time to make it a celebratory occasion.

Annie: I can only imagine the joy of opening that box and holding your very first book!

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

I love, love, love reading historical fiction.  Not only do I get to experience good writing, but I also get to learn much of which I wasn’t previously aware. I learn about other civilizations, customs, societies, and events and that is exactly what occurred when writing Odessa, Odessa. In addition to reading authors that wrote about the same period in which I was writing, like Mary Antin (The Promised Land), Michael Gold (Jews Without Money), and Henry Roth (Call It Sleep), to name but a few, I learned of historical events and significant people through my extensive research. For example, “the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648, when Jews were murdered and kicked out of the Ukraine…” (p. 25), or the “Edict of Expulsion and the banishment in 1886 of Kiev’s Jews…” or the “1881 pogroms in Elizavetgrad, Kiev and Odessa.” All was new to me.  And disturbing. So, yes, I can’t imagine writing anything other than historical fiction, but then I’ve also learned never to say never.  That is what’s so exciting about being an author.

Annie: Great book recommendations! I’ve added them to my Goodreads TBR List. Thank you.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot.  Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities); George Eliot (Middlemarch); Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse).  Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose); Robert Graves (I, Claudius); Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See); Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Ginni); George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo); Toni Morrison (Beloved); Markus Zusak (The Book Thief); Sharon Kay Penman (For all of her historical fiction novels about kings & queens).   Well, I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that.

Oh wait! E. L. Doctorow (The March) and (Ragtime).

Oh wait!  Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

Well, you get my point.

Annie: haha! Amazing books! I could see how the list could go on and on!

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

Talking to groups.

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….The scariest?
My launch at Books, Inc. in San Francisco.

Q:  Do you have another book on the horizon?

Not exactly, but several of my readers and friends have suggested writing a sequel to Odessa, Odessa beginning with the next generation and tying together, and filling in the strands of the generation that comes after Roberta and Hannah, Dora’s daughters.  At the moment, I’m giving myself some space to recuperate from a year of living on the edge.  But I also look forward to the time when next I put my fingers on the keyboard with the humbling possibility of discovering my next creation.

Q: Lastly, Do you prefer Print Book or eBook?

Both.  In the evening when I read in bed, it’s eBook time for me.  At all other times, the feel of the paper, the image of the written word, the heft of the book, that’s me all over!

Annie: Thank you Barbara for the fun and informative interview! It was great getting to know more about you and your debut novel, “Odessa, Odessa”.

Barbara Artson is offering a Wonderful Giveaway of Two Print Books!!

To be entered leave a comment by Sunday at 9pm. Thank you.

#BookReview: True to Me by Kay Bratt

CBD7996D-2A95-4112-98DF-503A22A8B4DDReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 10, 2019

Summary


From the bestselling author of Wish Me Home comes a breathtaking novel about the secrets that families keep and one woman’s illuminating search for the truth.

Quinn Maguire has a stable life, a fiancé, and what she thinks is a clear vision for her future. All of that comes undone by her mother’s deathbed confession—the absentee father Quinn spent thirty years resenting is not her real father at all. With that one revealing whisper, Quinn embarks on a journey to Maui, her mother’s childhood home, a storied paradise that holds the truth about her mother’s past and all its secrets Quinn is determined to uncover.

But settling on the island has its complications, and with the fiancé she left behind questioning every choice she makes, Quinn’s quest for her truth is even more difficult than she expected. As time passes and she digs deeper into her family history and her own identity, one thing becomes clear: Maui is as beautiful as she’d always imagined, and its magic is helping uncover the woman that Quinn was always meant to be.

Review:

Kay Bratt has written a beautiful heartfelt novel with “True To Me”.

Quinn’s truly emotional journey was one that instantly drew me in and had me right there with her through the happy and the sad times. Complex and tear jerking at times! I loved this story and found it hard to put down!

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotional journey!

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: November 11, 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes the moving story of a man whose life is changed in an instant. How do you start again when you lose the only love you’ve ever known?

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsurehow to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

 

Review:

“The Light in the Hallway” by Amanda Prowse was amazingly beautiful and wonderfully written. I could not put this book down. The story flips between two time periods in Nick’s life, the summer he was 10 years old and the present at the age of 35. I enjoyed both time periods and getting to see the characters in Nick’s life grow and develop long term relationships. 

This novel brought back so many feelings for me and at times there were tears shed. Nick was a young widower and since I was a fairly young widow, I understood everything he was experiencing. There are a wide range of emotions from the initial panic and heartbreak to finding the ability to move forward with life. 

Nick was a man who understands what love and life is all about and is not afraid to do the right thing. I would highly recommend this novel.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Love, Jane by Katie Blanchard

FA0BE975-7A7A-4298-8552-A3600416524CReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 12, 2019

Summary:

Jane always longed for security and thought she found it when she married Stewart. When stress takes a toll on their marriage, she hires yoga instructor Shana to help him, but finds that sometimes inviting a stranger into your home means they never leave.
Tossed out of her home and marriage, penniless, while Shana sleeps in her place, Jane is brutally attacked. With help from Billy, the cop who saved her life, Jane takes on a new identity to hide from the man who assaulted her. Hiding is exhausting, but she’s not sure who to trust. Even Billy has past ties to her husband.

While the cops hunt for her attacker, a run-in with Shana exposes a secret that could result in a new madman on Jane’s tail– Stewart. Both women are in peril and Jane must decide if she can help the woman who ruined her marriage.

Will she be able to save them both or is the danger closer than either of them imagines?

Review:

“Love, Jane” by Katie Blanchard – Wow, just Wow!!!!!

What can I say????

I finished this gripping thriller in one day and was totally enthralled from the very beginning.

I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next !!! The twists in this novel were mind-blowing!!!

This was a fantastic read!!! I cannot wait for the next book!!!!

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: A Rocky Divorce by Matt Coleman

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 11, 2019

Summary:

Raquel “Rocky” Champagnolle is an antisocialite. Swift-thinking. Stiff-drinking. Quick with a joke between Cape Cods, but would rather get lost in a book than a nightclub. Nevertheless, when divorce leaves her stripped bare of everything except wit and a winning smile, Rocky does the unthinkable. She joins the Junior League of Texarkana.

Brimming with blondes, the Junior League affords Rocky the opportunity to sip cocktails and make fun of wealthy people. She even starts to eye-roll her way into a little philanthropy until Junior League matriarch Waverly St. Laurent insults Rocky’s weight. After that, Rocky refuses to put her skills to use solving a string of home invasions plaguing Texarkana’s wealthiest benefactors. Instead, she channels her contempt into spurning the usual Junior League fundraising efforts in favor of transforming a pack of soccer moms into drug dealers.

But then Waverly St. Laurent mistakes her husband for the home invader and shoots him dead. And Rocky finds all the inspiration she needs to awaken her greatest talent. Not solving mysteries. Spite. When Rocky’s finished, Waverly St. Laurent may find herself guilty of killing her husband to cover up a string of decades-old murders. In addition to her greatest crime: fat-shaming Rocky Champagnolle.

Review:

LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY!

“A Rocky Divorce” by Matt Coleman is a worthwhile read. Personally, I found the beginning of the book a little slow. Looking back, I think it was necessary to get to know Rocky, the main character. 

Rocky whose real name is Raquel is a rather brash young woman not afraid to speak her true feelings. She doesn’t hold back! Rocky is an elementary school teacher who gets herself involved in solving crimes and problems. She is so irreverent she mercilessly tickles the funny bone. 

Matt Coleman takes you on a rollercoaster ride with his first book in a new series. You will want to jump in and enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for the next installment to see what Rocky is going to do next.

You’re gonna love her! 

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Butterfly Recluse by Therese Heckenkamp

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: August 13, 2019

Summary:

Learning to love is like learning to fly . . .

Eccentric. Weird. Crazy. Whatever people call her, Lila doesn’t mind. Most of the time. She finds solace in her sheltered world by raising butterflies and surrounding herself with their gentle beauty. They’re all she needs.

Most of the time.
Until a motorcycle-riding stranger roars up her driveway, invading her safe haven, throwing her life off-kilter, and forcing her to question everything. Persistent and stubborn, Harvey Sanford may be just what she needs—or everything she doesn’t.

He’s easy on the eyes, but hard on her emotions. What exactly is he after, and what is he not telling her? Should she safeguard her heart or follow it?

As a summer wedding approaches, Lila must decide how much she’s willing to risk for a chance at true happiness. In one intense night of desperation and revelation, she must confront her darkest fears—and hopefully discover that with faith and courage, shattered dreams can be restored, damaged hearts can love again, and broken wings can heal . . . maybe even fly.

A clean, inspirational, sweet summer romance!

Recommended for fans of contemporary Christian romance.

Review:

Therese Heckenkamp has written a beautiful novel with “The Butterfly Recluse”.

Lila’s story and the way the butterflies were woven into everything was phenomenal. I picked this book up one night and finished it the next. Hard to put down but I had to sleep!!!! Watching Lila discover herself was truly endearing, and that’s what held my interest.

There were some twists in the story that I did not expect and were pleasantly surprising.

The characters were well written and very relatable.

This was my first book by Therese Heckenkamp and will absolutely be searching out more soon!!!

I definitely recommend this book !!!

I received this in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Alone for the Holidays by Vivien Mayfair

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 16, 2019

Summary:

Snow is falling hard near the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont, with its scrumptiou bakeries, brightly lit storefronts, and twelve-foot Main Street Christmas tree. Romance is in the air for everybody except spicy Russian Clara Neverov, recently divorced, bitter, and alone for the holidays. As an acclaimed romance author, she revels in her solitary life relying only on Internet book groups for her socialization under a fake American name pulled from childhood memory and her best friend’s photo.

Giving up on Christmas after too many of them alone, she adores the solitary life free from Scrooges and messy entanglements. When a mysterious editor from a Goodreads book group she cares about shares a sad story about being alone for the holidays after his wife passes away, she accidentally invites him to spend them with her.

The only problem is that her snowy country cottage is nowhere close to the magical Santa’s wonderland that she described. In fact, it closely resembles the undergrown Grinch’s lair on a bad day.

The situation goes from bad to worse when Finn Jacobs drops an email that he’s on his way to spend Christmas with her. He doesn’t mention an arrival date and he believes her to be a trim blond bookshop clerk instead of her real identity as an overweight author with unruly espresso hair and black eyes. With some festive holiday intervention, icy roads slam her truck right into his car, where she quickly finds herself desperately scrambling for another false identity, terrified he’ll learn the truth.

When an unexpected storm snows them in while their cars are being repaired, Clara continues the ruse as somebody else with hopes that her online dream man will come to love her as she is and not as the fantasy women in his mind. The only way she can do that is to give him the Christmas of a lifetime.

There is one thing that is for sure, that spending Christmas alone is no longer an option. Lose yourself in this sweet holiday romantic tale of hope, second chances, and forgiveness during the most magical time of the year.

BONUS MATERIAL: Delicious tried-and-true family holiday recipes as seen in the book. Treat yourself to a cheesy chicken crunch-top casserole, dreamy peppermint dark chocolate mochas, a white chocolate peppermint cake, a melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, buttercream frosted cutout cookies, and many more.

The perfect Christmas short story novelette ideal for sweet romance fans of authors like Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Brenda Novak, Holly Martin, and Jenny Hale.

Review:

Vivian Mayfair’s “Alone for the Holidays” was a whimsical and entertaining holiday romance. The characters were funny and relatable.

Clara had many secrets which caused turmoil that she had to overcome throughout this novelette.

Bonus with some yummy recipes!!!

Overall this was a fun romance! I am going to definitely check out her other books.

I received this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.