Thursday, September 21, 2017

WISH ME LOVE by Michele Ashman Bell

WISH ME LOVE by Michele Ashman Bell. This book was such a fun read. There were times I questioned why Charlotte and Jack didn't figure things out sooner, but I understood the reasons why. Then when Charlotte met Max . . . I was thrilled even though a part of me kept saying, "But he's not Jack." It is a darling story that anyone who loves a good, clean romance will love. I highly recommend it.

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Charlotte Wells does not date. After surviving a broken engagement, she's taken a leave of absence from the social scene. So when her best friend and coworker, Jack, challenges her to get back in the game, she's not so sure she's ready to play. But ultimately, curiosity gets the best of her, and Charlotte accepts the daunting challenge: she will attempt to have fifty first dates in her effort to find "the one." Unfortunately, she quickly realizes that the dating pool mostly holds clown fish as she goes on one lousy outing after another. Without a good man in sight as summer ends, Charlotte cuts her losses and sets her sights on a fun-filled trip to her cousin's destination wedding in Brazil.
Brazil is a land of beautiful sights and delicious offerings—including Max, the charming brother of her cousin's new husband. Max has all the makings of a Prince Charming in soccer cleats, and Charlotte's happily ever after seems to be within reach. But love is a funny things, and soon charlotte finds herself wondering: could it be that her true soul mate has been right in front of her all along?

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Monday, September 11, 2017

MIND GAMES by Stephanie Black

MIND GAMES by Stephanie Black. This was a very interesting book. The last phrase is very true. Nothing is as it seems. I have to admit that I found my mind questioning everything I read as the story went on. I knew I had part of it figured out but the rest of it was not as it seemed. It was a fascinating book that I will read again just to piece everything together. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller and likes to really have to think about how the story will end.

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Psychologist Natalie Marsh's dream is now reality: her mental health services clinic has opened and is houses in an elegant, newly renovated nineteenth-century building. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the clinic's presence, including Heather Osbourne, a troubled young woman who wholly objects to the occupation of the building. Heather has spent years wandering the halls of the abandoned structure, convinced she's communing with her ancestor's ghost. When Natalie thwarts Heather's attempt to leap from a window, the shaken psychologist soon realizes Heather's failed jump is merely one piece of a disturbing puzzle. Greed and deceit are weaving a web around Natalie, and someone will stop at nothing?—not even murder—to get what they want. Stretched to her breaking point, Natalie struggles to learn the truth, but only one thing is clear: nothing is as it seems.


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

ALL THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT by Josi S Kilpack

ALL THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT by Josi S. Kilpack. In a way, this book was hard to get through. I have felt all of the overwhelming feelings and sense of losing ones self that Harriet talks about. It was hard to read about someone else going through almost exactly what I feel. However, it was comforting to see that things were worked out and to see how they worked out for her and Calvin. It was interesting to learn what added to and helped Harriet become the great writer she was known for. I would recommend this book to anyone.

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When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.
Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed—being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman's life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband's heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.
Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.
Can their love endure, especially after "I do"? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MISS LESLIE'S SECRET by Jennifer Moore

MISS LESLIE'S SECRET by Jennifer Moore. This book was so much fun. We actually just took a trip to Scotland and I was very excited to read a story set in the Scottish Highlands. It did not disappoint. I knew of many of the places that were talked about, so visualizing the characters at home was easy to do. I loved the personalities of Conall, Aileen, and Jaime. Watching the characters grow together was done so well. Then the when the secret comes out, the tension rises and the ending was perfect. I would highly recommend this book to any and everyone.


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Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.
After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past. Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

DOUBLE EAGLE DOUBLE CROSS by M R Durbin

DOUBLE EAGLE DOUBLE CROSS by M. R. Durbin. I loved the prologue to this book. I was really excited to get into the story based on that but it took another 100 pages to recapture my attention. To me, it felt like the main characters were apart for too long (Charley in Oregon and Mac in Utah). I understand why it was done the way it was, and a lot of the set up with the mystery happened, but for me, I wish it had moved faster. Once the two were working together, it flowed and kept me turning the pages. It really is a fascinating story that I enjoyed reading. It's a fantastic suspense novel that would hold the interest of most people.

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After an unexpectedly thrilling summer with his grandfather, Oregon State student Charley Sawyer is ready to catch his breath at his late parents' Oregon beach home. Hoping for some rest and relaxation, Charley is met instead by devastation: the house has been ransacked. In his inventory of the damage, Charley stumbles across the item the trespasser must have been after, the only things that seems out of place: a mysterious key. And when he learns what it unlocks, Charley is drawn into yet another adventure with a ragtag group more than willing to help.
Mac Bowman, the brainy and beautiful anthropology student who joined Charley in his summer escapade, is thrilled when she is presented with the opportunity to conduct research in Oregon. Maybe a little time together will allow the pair to explore their feelings for one another. But when she arrives, she is disturbed by what she finds: Charley has disappeared without a trace.
As Charley and Mac each work to unravel their mysteries, their searches collide dramatically. Only one thing is clear: the moment he found the key, Charley unwittingly opened the door to a long-held secret—one that could cost him his life.


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen. This is another fantastic proper romance from Shadow Mountain. There have been a couple of books I've read recently set in India, and I have loved all of them. This is no exception. This story is full of mystery, secrets, and broken-hearted love. Anthony is an Earl caught between duty and his heart. Sophia is just trying to understand why. As the plot unfolds and thickens, the pages fly by to see whether or not secrets are revealed in time and hearts can forgive. It's a wonderful story that is for anyone who loves mysterious secrets with their love stories. I highly recommend it.

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Anthony Blake, the Earl of Wilshire, is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies—including his own—has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the facade of a flirtatious playboy.
Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.
She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?




Monday, August 14, 2017

THE SEARCH by Clair M Poulson

THE SEARCH by Clair M Poulson. This is one of the better suspense novels I've read of Poulson's. The prologue was incredible gripping and I couldn't wait to get into the story. The next few chapters were on the slow side. It felt info dumpy, yet at the same time it was done in the way of an interview and the information was necessary for the story. Part of me wishes he would have done it in a different way though. Once the story got moving, it was great. I loved the snarkiness of Jayden, and the relationship between Jayden and Nadia felt real. I especially loved reading about Bullet, Jayden's partner. The list of suspects is long, but as they weave through each one, it left me wondering until the very end, if I had gotten it correct. This is a great suspense novel that has a little bit of romantic elements in it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good suspense.


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Young private investigator Jayden Spaulding has cracked his share of tough cases, but nothing like this one.
When stunning professional basketball player Nadia Fairchild walks through his door, her story seems simple enough: two days ago, her mother disappeared along with a member of the women’s college basketball team she coached. Jayden and Nadia delve into a baffling maze of motive and opportunity with a lengthy list of possible suspects. 
As they work together amid their growing attraction to one another, the unlikely duo seems no closer to discovering the truth. Then the threats begin. Soon, the pair begins to suspect that this case is much more complicated than a simple disappearance—they have unwittingly stumbled on a conspiracy of corruption, greed, and murder far more deadly than they ever imagined. 
Others are also searching for the missing women, and they will eliminate anyone who stands in their way . . .



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Friday, August 11, 2017

HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines


HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines. I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency Romance. It had elements of piracy, betrayl, love, King Arthur, and much more woven throughout the story. Elaine and Gareth were wonderful characters to get to know and love. Havencross itself was a beautiful setting that was perfect for everything that needed to happen, and it helped me fall in love with this particular area. Julie did a wonderful job of keeping the pages turning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story full of adventure love, intrigue, and forgiveness, this is the book for you. 


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When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Post -- Marlene Bateman

Today I have a guest post by Marlene Bateman. She has many books out, her latest being SEARCHING FOR IRENE. Be sure to check out all her books. Enjoy her Tips on Plotting.



Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner


Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 





Tips on Plotting
By Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

Plot is built of significant events in a given story. The events are significant because they have important consequences.  For a plot to be effective, there must be something very specific at stake—something vital.  Ask yourself what the central conflict is, the struggle that’s the basis of plot.  Then ask yourself how to show—rather than tell—why this is so important to the character and how to best make the reader understand, empathize and care about what happens.
  • Make Tension Fuel Your Plot. Without tension, there is no plot.  Remember, whenever the protagonist’s desires are denied, tension arises.
  • Make Certain There Is a Two-way Urgency.  Your protagonist wants a particular, important desire fulfilled as soon as possible, and the antagonist wants to wreck the chance of that happening, also as soon as possible. 
For Example, if the hero wants to preserve his valuable stamp collection and the villain has stolen it and intends to sell the items piecemeal their wants are on a collision course. But why would the reader care about the stamp collection? If it belonged to President Franklin Roosevelt, an avid stamp collection, the reader will care more. He will care if the protagonist cares.

  • Create Tension Through Opposition.  The role of the antagonist is to thwart the intention of the protagonist. Make the antagonist as smart, wily, and brave as the protagonist.
  • Work to Express the Core Plot In a Sentence Or Two. Pretend you’re writing a description for the TV guide.  See how brief and direct you can make your summaries.  For example; The police chief of a New England vacation community, although terrified of the ocean, sets out to destroy a huge killer shark. (Jaws)
  • Make Tension Grow As Opposition Increases.  It’s a chain of cause and effect, which builds and produces conflict and tension, which you need to keep the story going.  Every time something happens, the stakes grow larger, the actions snowball.
  • Throw in a Surprise or Two or Three. Nice surprises are one of the pleasures of life. When reading a book, readers thrill to the unexpected: a new obstacle, an unexpected confrontation by an enemy, or a sudden twist of circumstance. Every twist in your story starts adrenaline pumping and pages turning. Surprises aren’t hard to create. Look at each important incident in your plot and see what you would expect to happen next. Then have the opposite happen.
  • Make Change the Point of Your StoryWe expect events to affect the main character in such a way that they force a change in his personality.  Your main character should be a different person at the end of the book than he was at the beginning.
  • Balance Scene and Exposition. After an intense scene, have some exposition to cover events of a day or two or a week.  You can account for the doings of several characters that don’t merit full scenes or describe distant events that have a bearing on the here and now.  
  • When Something Happens, Make Sure It’s Important.  Plot is your compass.  You’ve got a general idea of the direction you’re headed. If you write something that is specifically related to the advancement of the plot, keep it. If not, chuck it.  
  • Make the Causal Look Casual.  Everything in your writing has a reason, a cause that leads to an effect, which in turn becomes the next cause. For example; If a shotgun is necessary, show it casually—in a way that the reader almost doesn’t notice.  Later, when a gun is called for, readers will remember seeing one earlier.
  • Make Sure Your Lead Character Performs the Central Action of the Climax. Keep the main character on center stage with the action. Your main character should act, not be acted upon.
THANK YOU, MARLENE!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SEARCHING FOR IRENE by Marlene Bateman


SEARCHING FOR IRENE by Marlene Bateman. This was an interesting book. I found I loved each individual character by themselves. I loved most of them together, but I had a hard time following some of their "mood swings." It was obvious that Anna had something to hid in the beginning, and as her secrets were revealed, I wondered if they were revealed too early in the storyline. In the end, her secrets were laid out at the right time which helped things along. As the story progressed though, I had a hard time figuring out who the culprit was. Just as I was solid with evidence and person, something else would happen that caused me to question my deduction. When everything came to a conclusion I still felt confusion. As I thought about it I felt like there were too many red herrings for my taste. I will have to go back through the story again to see if I missed some cleverly hidden clues as to the true guilty party. I'd be curious to see what other people think about this.

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Anna Coughlin is a modern 1920s woman, armed with a college education and a partiality for numbers. Now, within the walls of a fantastic castle-like mansion in the hills of Virginia, her skill will be tested as never before. Hired to serve as financial advisor to wealthy Lawrence Richardson, Ann finds the welcome she receives anything but warm. Lawrence's handsome but antagonistic son Tyler wants nothing more than to send her packing. The household staff isn't much better, but who can blame them, considering the way Lawrence's last advisor, Irene, disappeared...
Convinced that one of the enigmatic members of the household had something to do with Irene's disappearance, Anna doesn't dare trust anyone—not even temperamental Tyler Richardson, who, despite her best intentions, is beginning to steal her heart.
A series of frightening incidents ensnare Anna in a maze of intrigue, putting her life in peril. But even as Anna begins uncovering the secrets hidden within the mansion's stone walls, she harbors a secret of her own. Now, the only question that remains is whether she will disappear as mysteriously as Irene.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MORMON GIRL: INCOGNITO by Kari Iroz

MORMON GIRL: INCOGNITO by Kari Iroz. I always hesitate when books say they have an LDS aspect to them. For me, most of the time it feels over the top on the religious aspect of the story. This book weaves in the religious side of things very naturally. It's not over the top and is in fact well done in my opinion. I loved this story. I loved how Jacky finds herself in this situation and they way she handles herself. I love the adventure and the way Damon grows throughout this book. The only thing I found frustrating was the reference to another story that we obviously should have known about. As the pieces fell together, I felt like I knew the other story but couldn't place where I had read it. I looked for other books the author had written but could find any information in the book. I finally figured out what other story was being referenced and things made even more sense. It would have been nice to have the other book (A DATE WITH A STRANGER) mentioned somewhere, (usually there's a seperate page that lists the author's other books in the beginning). Other than that, I loved everything about the story. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great adventure full of tension and high stakes.

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Hilarious heroine Jacklyn Wyatt is back—this time in a dicey Vegas adventure! Jacklyn “Jack” Wyatt is just your average Mormon girl—other than her brief stint with the FBI, her subsequent brush with death, and her dreamy boyfriend, Special Agent Damon Wade. But in the eight months since she helped save a kidnapping victim, Jack’s life has returned to its mostly stagnant state. She’s still trapped in a dead-end job, and even her relationship seems to be stuck in a rut. These days, adventures are few and far between. So when Damon heads to Las Vegas on assignment, Jack sees the perfect opportunity to surprise her boyfriend and rekindle the spark in their relationship. But the surprise is on her: she has just landed herself in the middle of a high-stakes operation involving Russian criminals. Unwittingly drawn undercover once more, Jack is all too aware that the survival of Damon and his associates depends on the success of her charade. In the unfamiliar world of luxurious limos, exclusive nightclubs, and gambling, Jack must convince the high-rolling hustlers that she is a terrifying international arms dealer. If only she knew anything about poker. Or guns . . .

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ROMANCING DAPHNE by Sarah M Eden

ROMANCING DAPHNE by Sarah M Eden. I just love Sarah's books, and I just love the Lancaster family. It is so fun to see the stories of others involved in the stories I've thoroughly enjoyed. Daphne is so easy to love and sympathize with. Then James joins and the story gets even better. The twists and turns keep one turning the pages to discover how the situations work out. It is a wonderful story of love, hope, love lost, risk, deceit, and sacrifice. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good, romantic story.

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As her first London Season looms before her, the thought of the impending social whirl fills Daphne Lancaster's timid heart with dread. She hasn't her sisters' beauty nor their talent for conversing easily. Even her family's enviable connections may not be enough to prevent disaster.
But Daphne's misery turns to surprised delight when the first even of her Season brings an unexpected visitor to her door—James Tilburn, whose tender kindness stole her heart in her youth. When the handsome young gentleman expresses his desire to court her, Daphne is elated. Their feelings for each other quickly grow, and it appears that, much to Daphne's disbelief, her happily ever after is within reach.
Yet nothing is as it seems. The couple finds themselves caught in a tangled web of greed and deceit, leaving James and Daphne to determine whether they are willing to risk everything for true love.



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