Book Review · Book Tour · FIction · Mystery · Paranormal

Possession

Thank you to author Ginny Fite, Milford House Press, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for the gifted copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Synopsis

Recently widowed Sylvie Andrus moves with her young son, Jason, to a small river town, and discovers she must solve a two-century old mystery to rid herself of the ghost who haunts her. Still grieving, she finds the ghost of her husband, Ned, waiting in her new home to seduce her. Jason warns Sylvie the ghost is evil but, swept up by her yearning for her husband and determined to reveal what happened to Clarinda Braxton, a Revolutionary Era painter who disappeared without a trace in 1794, she delays, putting her son’s life in peril.

Review

What an interesting book! I remember reading the synopsis, thinking “let’s give it a go,” as I am pretty finicky about books that have historical fiction in them and paranormal activity in them (I think that is what ghosts are categized as). When I began reading this book, I thought it might be a DNF book for me as I felt the book was SO slow to get started. However, once the story got started, boy did it pack a punch!! And it ended up being a page-turner for me! I really enjoyed hearing not only Clarinda’s story but the story of Sylvie and Jason as well. While this book was set in 2 different time periods, it was easy to follow what was happening in each of them, and both time periods really held my attention. Ginny Fite writes a beautifully sad story about 2 different families both affected by death and the effects the deaths have both in the hear and now and in the afterlife. I ended up really enjoying this book. It was not the story that I expected, and I am pleased to say the story was better than what I was expecting! I hope to read more by Ginny Fite in the future!

Rating

About the Author

Ginny Fite, author of Blue Girl on the Night Dream Sea, the thriller No End of Bad, and the dark mystery thrillers Cromwell’s Folly, No Good Deed Left Undone, and Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder is an award-winning writer and journalist. 

She’s also been a spokesperson for a governor and for a member of Congress, for colleges and universities, and a robotics R&D company. With degrees from Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University, she also studied at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute. 

In addition to her novels, she is the author of I Should Be Dead by Now, a collection of humorous lamentations about aging, three books of poetry– The Last Thousand Years, The Pearl Fisher, and Throwing Caution– and a short story collection, What Goes Around. 

She is addicted to Twitter and posts as @Unwrinkledbrain. She resides in Harpers Ferry, WV. Website http://ginnyfite.com/

Book Review · Book Tour · FIction · Historical Fiction

A Frenzy of Sparks

Thank you to author Kristin Fields, Lake Union Publishing, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for the gifted copy of A Frenzy of Sparks. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

It’s 1965, and thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where she feels at home among sea birds and salt water.

But when one of Gia’s cousins brings drugs into their neighborhood, it sets off a chain of events that quickly turn dangerous. Everyone will be caught in the ripples, and some may be swept away entirely. Gia is determined to keep herself and her family afloat while the world is turned upside down around her. Can she find a way to hold on to the life she was so eager to leave behind, or will she have to watch it all disappear beneath the marsh forever?

Review

It’s been a minute since I took time to review a book. I’m not sure what really happened, other than life got in the way. Don’t worry, I have still been reading up a storm, but just didn’t get any posts written. But, I am here now and I am excited to get to reviewing again!

I really enjoyed a Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields. This was a wonderfully written, heartbreaking story of what happens to a family and a community when drugs are introduced into their lives. As a social worker, I know all too well the effects that drugs not only have on the person who is taking them, but also the aftermath that happens to loved ones. Gia, a 13 year old girl, is stuck in the middle of trying to discover who she is and who she will be in the future, while also trying to take care of and protect her family. My heart broke as I read about Gia and her family. About all the trials they go through. But, her life too was sparked with bits of light. Kristin Fields’ writing has a serious manner to it, while also making you want to turn page after page to read more of the story. This books comes out on November 3rd, and I hope everyone goes out and gets a copy to read!

Rating

About the Author

Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Kristin studied writing at Hofstra University, where she was awarded the Eugene Schneider Award for Short Fiction. After college, Kristin found herself working on a historic farm, as a high school English teacher, designing museum education programs, and is currently leading an initiative to bring gardens to public schools in New York City, where she lives with her husband.

Adult Fiction · Book Review · Contemporary Romance · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

Clipped Wings and Inked Armor

Synopsis – Clipped Wings

An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn’t ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley’s past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side…or run?

Synopsis – Inked Armor

In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker’s tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn’t believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents’ death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

***These are books 1 and 2 of the Clipped Wings Series***Order of Books

Review

OH. MY. GOD!!! Why have I just discovered this series? I randomly stumbled on Book 0.5 — Cupcakes and Ink when I was searching for a different book to read. I listened to Cupcakes and Ink as an audiobook and I was HOOKED. I mean hook. line. and sinker hooked. I immediately headed to my library’s webpage so that I could reserve the books. They came in, I checked them out, and then they sat in my TBR pile (stupid move on my part). Then I realized they were due soon, so I picked up the first one yesterday and well…hook. line. and sinker!!! I read both of these books in a day and stayed up until 2am to finish the second one, even though I had to work the next morning. THEY WERE THAT GOOD. Helena Hunting has a way with words and storylines. In this case, both books were beyond EXCELLENT. Helena Hunting writes an emotional and heart-wrenching story about two lost souls – Tenley and Hayden. Both stuck in their own worlds of loss and grief, each clawing to find a way out, Tenley and Hayden meet by chance when Hayden’s aunt hires Tenley to work at her store. What I thought might be a glossed over version of grief and loss, turned out to be a story of heartbreak, courage, second chances, and finding a way to move on when the pain seems too heavy to carry any longer. There were so many layers to this book that were reveled in just the right way at just the right time. These are two books that will stick with me for a lifetime. Even though I checked these two books out from the library this time, they are now on my “to buy” list, so that I can read them over and over. I cannot say enough good things about these books. Simply AMAZING writing and storytelling.

Rating (for both books)

Order of Books

0.5 — Cupcakes and Ink

1 — Clipped Wings

1.5 — Between the Cracks

2 — Inked Armor

2.5 — Bleeding Ink

2.6 — Get Inked

3 — Fractures in Ink

About the Author

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

Book Review · Book Tour · FIction

Shrug

Thank you to Lisa Braver Moss, She Writes Press, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for the gifted copy of Shrug. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

Martha Goldenthal isn’t your typical 1960s Berkeley radical. Her rebellion isn’t sex, drugs, or rock ’n’ roll―it’s doing well at Berkeley High and planning for college. Her father, Jules, is a raging batterer who, because of his own insecurities, hates academia. Not that her off-the-rails mother, Willa, is much better. Meanwhile, Jules’s classical record store, located directly across the street from the U.C. Berkeley campus, is ground zero for riots and tear gas. No wonder Martha has a nervous tic―a shrug of the shoulder.

Preoccupied with the family situation and barely able to concentrate, Martha plods along in school and somehow manages to achieve. But her parents’ hideous divorce, the loss of her father’s record store and livelihood, a heartless eviction from the family home, and an unlikely custody case wind up putting Martha in Jules’s care. Can she stand up to her father and do the one thing she’s sure she must―go to college?

With its running “soundtrack” of classical recordings and rock music and its vivid scenes of Berkeley at its most turbulent, Shrug is the absorbing, harrowing, and ultimately uplifting story of one young woman’s journey toward independence.

Review

Lisa Braver Moss is a new to me author, and I am glad that I was introduced to her. Lisa Braver Moss writes a great story about Martha, a teenager growing up in the 1960s and her family. A wonderfully descriptive story about the struggles Martha has as the “odd duck” of her family with a mother who thinks that much of the world damages a child’s psyche, and a father who is abusive, yet loving, to his wife and children. With an older sister who can do no wrong and a younger brother who is the baby of the family, Martha finds herself trying to please everyone and yet is miserable at the same time. Lisa Braver Moss has a way of telling the story of Martha in such a way that you feel all that she is feeling and want nothing more than a happy ending for her. Although set in the 1960s, I felt like I knew exactly what it was like to grow up in the 1960s even though I was born 20 years later. I really enjoyed Lisa Braver Moss writing and the characters that she developed. I enjoyed rooting for Martha throughout the story, while at the same time knowing that nothing was going to change for her. I really enjoyed this book, and hope you will too!!!

About the Author

Lisa Braver Moss is the author of the novels The Measure of His Grief  (Notim Press, 2010) and the award-winning Shrug (She Writes Press, 2019). Her essays have appeared in the Huffington PostTikkunParentsLilith, and many other publications. 

Lisa’s nonfiction book credits include Celebrating Family: Our Lifelong Bonds with Parents and Siblings (Wildcat Canyon Press, 1999) and, as co-author, The Mother’s Companion: A Comforting Guide to the Early Years of Motherhood (Council Oak Books, 2001). She is the co-author of Celebrating Brit Shalom (Notim Press, 2015), the first-ever book of ceremonies and music for Jewish families seeking alternatives to circumcision.

Born in Berkeley, California, Lisa still lives in the area with her husband, with whom she has two grown sons.

Book Review · Cozy Mystery · FIction · Mystery

Death in Cold Waters

Thank you to author Tannis Laidlaw and The Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the gifted copy of this book. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

The first book in the new Madeleine Brooks Mystery series!

Madeleine Brooks, Senior Probation Officer, is having problems at work with a boss who is threatened by Maddie’s competence. And now one of her long-term probation clients has been returned to prison on suspicion of murdering a child, the details of which have strong similarities with his original crime. Maddie doesn’t believe it and worries the police are not looking for anyone else.

When Maddie is suspended by her revengeful boss, she finds herself with time and energies she can put to good use. What if her client was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted years ago, just as he has always maintained? This would have implications about the present murder. When Maddie’s teenaged daughter becomes involved, things spiral down.

Has Maddie compromised her own family?

Review

Tannis Laidlaw is another new to me author and I was excited to read the first book in her Madeline Brooks Mystery Series. Death in Cold Waters was a quick and easy read, that kept you guessing until the very end. Death in Cold Waters was full of twists and turns that I did not see coming, and each one of them left me questioning the “who done it” that I developed in my head. Each time I thought I had it all figured out, another twist would be added, and I had to go back to the beginning of the clues to put another guess together. I enjoyed each of the characters created by Tannis Laidlaw, especially Maddie. Maddie’s character of the smart, quick-thinking probation officer made the story what it was. As I read, I could picture this wonderful, charismatic character in each step she took, and each move she made to solve the mystery. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series!

About the Author

Dr Tannis Laidlaw has worn many hats in her career as a psychologist: clinician in private practice, in psychiatric bins and in the prison service; researcher in schizophrenia, anxiety, psychopathy and other personality disorders, mind-body interactions, and the therapeutic use of hypnosis; research manager; writer and lecturer.

She has always been fascinated by the human condition, not only in those with crossed wiring but also when ordinary people are driven to behave in extraordinary ways. Her fiction reflects her psychological background; her non-fiction, her interests as a wife, mother and friend.

Tannis lives with her husband in Auckland, but spends half her time at a deserted beach in Northland, the semi-tropical northern part of New Zealand, and in a remote cabin in the woods on a Canadian lake – all places where she writes and writes and writes.

Book Review · Book Tour · Contemporary · FIction · Women's Fiction

The Exit Strategy

A big thank you to Lainey Cameron, The Wild Rose Press, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for the gifted copy of this book. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

Silicon Valley investor Ryn Brennan is on the verge of achieving everything she dreamed. She’s succeeded in the male-dominated venture capital world, has a supportive husband, and is about to close the deal of her career. Everything is going exactly as planned, until she meets Carly, her husband’s mistress, across the negotiating table.

Carly clawed her way back from being a teenage runaway to become an accomplished scientist, caring single mom, and co-founder of her startup. Once she marries her loving fiancé, she’ll secure the complete family she craves. But she’s blindsided to discover her not so perfect fiancé is already married—to Ryn, her company’s biggest investor.

In an industry full of not-so-subtle sexism, can the two women rise above, and work together to overcome heartbreak, and ensure their success?

Review

I absolutely LOVED this book!! This was the first book that I have read by Lainey Cameron and I am glad that I was introduced to her! I think it is really cool that this book was inspired by experiences Lainey Cameron had in the tech world. This made me like the story even more because I know part is based in truth rather than a completely made-up story (don’t get me wrong, I love those too!!). I loved the characters that Lainey Cameron created. The book was full of amazingly strong women, who tackled the world head-on. If anyone could inspire you to live life by “taking the bull by the horns,” the characters in The Exit Strategy could! No matter what was thrown at them, the women in this book did not shy away. They did not rely on a man. They took charge and didn’t run away. If you can’t tell, I LOVED the go get ‘em attitude of the women! Besides the characters, I LOVED the storyline. The story had many twists and turns thrown in. It definitely made this book a page-turner as I could not wait to see what happened next! Overall, I thought this book was fantastic! I can say without a doubt that you MUST pick up this book!!

Rating

About the Author

Lainey Cameron is a digital nomad and author of women’s fiction. A recovering tech industry executive, her award-winning novel, The Exit Strategy, was inspired by a decade of being the only woman in the corporate boardroom. It’s been called a “rallying call for women to believe in themselves and join together” and tells the story of a Silicon Valley investor who first meets her husband’s mistress across the negotiating table.

A digital nomad—meaning she picks locations around the world to live (and write) for months at a time—Lainey is an avid instagrammer, and loves to share her travel tips and insights with readers.

She’s a proud member and volunteer with Women’s Fiction Writers Association, believes community makes the author’s life worthwhile, and is on a mission to obliterate the term aspiring writer.

Originally from Scotland, Lainey has a soft spot for men in kilts and good malt whisky, and when she’s not writing (or reading), you’ll find her hunting down new single malts, checking out rooftop bars, and when possible, hanging out with anything equine (donkeys rock!).

Find her online at www.laineycameron.com where she talks books and travel, or Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Book Review · Cozy Mystery · FIction · Mystery

What the Hatmaker Heard

Thank you to author Sandra Bretting and the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the gifted copy of What the Hatmaker Heard. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

When a groom gets murdered, Louisiana hat maker Missy DuBois must look behind a veil of secrets on a former sugar plantation . . .

Bride-to-be Lorelei Honeycutt is brimming with excitement over the elaborate headpiece Missy has created for her wedding but fears she won’t be able to maintain her balance when she walks down the aisle. She’s asked Missy to assist her during the rehearsal at Honeycutt Hall, a once grand sugar plantation now used as the family’s home. Missy’s trying to keep a cool head herself, as her own wedding is coming up in three short weeks on the Riverboat Queen. But after the rehearsal, she overhears the bride and groom quarreling. The next morning, Wesley Carmichael is missing. After searching the house and grounds, Missy discovers the groom lying at the bottom of an old, unused sugar silo—and now it’s up to the mystery-solving milliner to find an unbalanced killer . . .

This is book 6 of the Missy DuBois Mystery series.

Review

This was a cute book and a great cozy mystery!! I have not read any of the other books in the Missy DuBois series, but that did not matter. Sandra Bretting did a great job of writing a story in a series, where she included enough information from previous books so that you understood completely what was happening and some of the history of Missy DuBois. Sandra Bretting’s writing is fun and lighthearted. You can’t help but keep turning the pages. Sandra’s characters are instantly likable and one can’t help but like them from page one. I will be sure to pick up more of Sandra Bretting’s books in the future!!

Rating

About the Author

I was born in Southern California, but moved to the Midwest to attend the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I found my true calling when I took a creative writing class and another student assumed I’d come to Mizzou to be a novelist. (Bless you, oh stranger!)

I returned to California to freelance for the Los Angeles Times and also took every creative writing course I could get my hands on. Now I live in Texas, where I write cozy mysteries and enjoy life with my husband, daughters, and one slaphappy rescue dog.

In addition to having a wonderful agent and publishers, I’m blessed to have the very best readers in the world.

Taken from Sandra Bretting’s website: https://sandrabretting.com/index.html
Book Review · Contemporary · Contemporary Romance · FIction · Romance

Mason’s Gray

Thank you to Geri Myers Goodwin, The Review Crew, and Jones Media Publishing for the gifted copy of Mason’s Gray. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

Impossible To Resist…

Rock Icon, Brody Mason, steers clear from commitment at all costs. When an unforeseen accident draws him to the new neighbor, Morgan Gray, he finds her impossible to resist. His stubborn attitude and playboy ways will not be enough to keep the barriers from faltering.

Two strangers, two completely different lives meld together. Fate or coincidence? Either way, love found them when they weren’t looking for it.

Review

I have been saying this a lot lately, however, this was my first introduction to author Geri’ Myers Goodwin. And, at the risk of repeating myself, I am very glad that I did. I can’t believe this short, but cute novel was a debut for Geri’ Myers Goodwin! There was no introduction or lead up, Geri’ Myers Goodwin just jumped right in and the story took off…and I loved it! Geri’ jumped right in with a wonderfully descriptive story with fantastic, likable characters. I could not help but like both Morgan and Brody from the first few pages and through the rest of the story. I enjoyed the storyline that Geri’ created and also enjoyed some of the unexpected, yet fun things she added to the storyline. I am sort of sad that this is Geri’ Myers Goodwin’s debut novel as I cannot wait to read more of her fantastic writing!

Rating

About the Author

GERI’ (JUR-REE) MYERS GOODWIN is an Arizona native and mother of three children and two step-children. She has dreamed of writing a romance novel for the last 20 years.

With empty nest syndrome approaching, what better time to work toward her goals? With the loving support of her devoted husband, family and friends, Geri’ has done just that. A special person once told her, “Don’t just follow your dreams … DO your dreams.”

Book Review · Book Tour · Contemporary · FIction

The Laundress

Thank you to author Barbara Sapienza, Suzy Approved Book Tours, and She Writes Press for the gifted copy of the Laundress. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

Twenty-six-year-old Lavinia Lavinia is burdened by her unknown heritage—but her uncle Sal, who raised her in San Francisco, has always kept silent, refusing to reveal the devastating secret of her origin. And now, following the death of his wife, he’s left for Italy. 

In the wake of her uncle’s departure, Lavinia has quit school. Now she works as a personal laundress to a diverse cast of San Francisco residents—people with stories as complicated as her own. As time progresses, through the sacred ritual of washing clothes—and with the help of a friend and her nurturing, flamenco dancing mother—Lavinia begins to recover memories of her past. Gradually, her gifts of receptivity multiply, and she communes with nature, finding messages from birds and the leaves of her garden’s fig tree. And when she recovers Raggedy, a beloved doll that accompanied her from Naples when she was four years old, she experiences a tangible connection to her own mother. 

Even as Lavinia makes these discoveries, she is busy building new relationships—discovering healing dance with her lover, a barista in a North Beach coffee shop; learning to understand Time and forgiveness with an elderly client; and even getting to know her father, a man who has never been a part of her life. Poetic and poignant, The Laundress is a coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever sought to understand where they came from in order to figure out who they’re meant to become.

Review

Barbara Sapienza is a new to me author. I must admit that when I started this book I was not a huge fan. I felt like the story was a bit jumpy and I did not understand exactly what was happening or how the synopsis related to what I was reading. While I was struggling, I decided to keep reading and give the book another chance. Maybe more pages and more details would help and maybe not and this would be a did not finish. And I must admit it did! As I continued to read the story and learn more about the life of Lavinia Lavinia and those in her life, I began to enjoy the story. For me, this story was about finding oneself. About discovering one’s past to discover one’s future. I very much enjoyed learning about Lavinia as she learned more about herself. I enjoyed learning about the relationships that she had built over the years and the ones that she built as she began to find herself. I felt for her as she experienced heartbreak and pain. Most of all I saw a little of me in her. I am so glad that I was turned on to this book…even if I did have a bit of a rough start.

Rating

About the Author

Barbara Sapienza, PhD, is a retired clinical psychologist and an alumna of San Francisco StateUniversity’s creative writing master’s program. She writes and paints, nourished by her spiritual practices of meditation, tai chi, and dance. Her family, friends, and grandchildren are her teachers. Her first novel, Anchor Out (She Writes Press, 2017) received an IPPY bronze medal for Best Regional Fiction, West Coast. Sapienza lives in Sausalito, CA, with her husband.

Author Links

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Audiobook · Book Review · Contemporary · FIction

The Language of Divorce

Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours, author Leanne Treese, and Filles Vertes Publishing for the gifted copy of The Language of Divorce. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

Hannah and Will Abbott define the American dream:  two kids, a home in the suburbs, and a seemingly perfect marriage.  But discontent lurks under the surface of their outwardly happy lives as each Hannah and Will suspect the other of infidelity.  When they independently consult divorce attorneys, the conflict escalates and Hannah flees with the children against a court order.  This snap decision starts a social media firestorm and, suddenly, the Abbott divorce is big news.

With family stress and legal fees rising, Will and Hannah accept an invitation to appear on a reality television show for divorcing couples.  During filming on the beautiful island of St. John, the Abbotts must decide once and for all: can their love survive their past?

Review

Reading this book was my first introduction to author Leanne Treese, and boy am I glad that I was introduced to her! In her debut novel, Leanne Treese writes a book full of heartbreak and loss as well as a book about finding one’s way through life, no matter what has been thrown at them. I listened to this book on audio and from the first minutes of this book, I was hooked! I loved every one of the characters and the story that Leanne Treese told about each of their lives. This book was so wonderfully descriptive, I genuinely felt like I was part of the book and living right alongside the characters. I cannot say enough about how good this book was! Every minute I could, I was listening to the book, and I must admit that I did not want the book to end. I wanted to know more about the characters’ lives and “what happened to them after.” I am so glad that I was introduced to Leanne Tresse and hope that she writes more books in the future!!

Rating

About the Author

Leanne lives in New Jersey with her husband of twenty-five years and their three wonderful children.  When Leanne is not cheering her kids on in their activities, she can be found running, watching 76ers basketball games, and spoiling her two beloved dogs.  Favorite locations include the Jersey shore, Martha’s Vineyard, and any place that sells books or coffee, preferably both. A passionate student, Leanne’s dream life would include going back to college and majoring in everything.

Leanne is a graduate of Lafayette College and The Dickinson School of Law.  She is a former attorney who is now lucky enough to write full-time! The Language of Divorce is her debut novel.