Fitness Junkie book review

Published July 17, 2017 by francesothomas

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Ironically, the first word that comes to mind for by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza is delicious. A deliciously wicked insider view of the fashion and fitness industries.

It’s the tale of an otherwise brilliant woman who is hurt and whose confidence is shaken when her supposed best friend tells her she is too fat. He’s the designer and she the brains behind a bridal gown company.

She embarks on a hilarious but also sad “journey” through every fitness and weight loss regime New York City offers. The women who patronize the gurus have more money than sense and have bought into the myth that a woman only counts if she is a size zero. Janey, the protagonist has to face some unpleasant truths about her BFF before she can truly find self-acceptance.

If you are a fan of Project Runway or The Biggest Loser, you will feel right at home within the covers of this book.

Guest author Patricia Preston

Published June 19, 2017 by francesothomas

Our guest author today is Patricia Preston. She  has graciously shared information on her latest book Not Through Loving You.

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In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove. When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn’t exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad complete with Aaron’s cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her. Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she’s determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad and more unsettling, everything she’s ever hoped for in a man. After all she’s put him through, is it too late to form a family and maybe put a song in the good doctor’s heart?

Excerpt:

She grinned as she considered the man across the table from her. With his looks, he could have given Cole Younger a run for his money with the ladies. She wasn’t certain about his personality. He remained reserved, almost indifferent as if he had herded his emotions off into a safe room, away from the threat she posed. She wondered if Cole Younger’s charm was buried beneath Aaron’s guarded façade?

“I wrote a song about Cole.” She held Aaron’s gaze. “The Outlaw in My Arms.”

He gave his head a shake. “There’s something wrong with you.”

“No, there isn’t.” She fondled her locket. “I wrote it for a western movie. An indie film about Cole and Belle. I’ve written a lot of songs with western themes,” she said. “I love the history and majesty of the Old West.”

“Have you ever seen Lonesome Dove?”

“Like a dozen times!” She tried to contain her enthusiasm. “It is so epic, and I love the music. It literally breaks my heart when I hear it.” She let out a deep sigh. “Plus there’s Woodrow Call. Tommy Lee Jones did such a great job. Woodrow Call is right up there with Cole Younger in that I’d run away with either one of them tomorrow.”

“Well,” Aaron sliced his steak with a brisk stroke of his knife. “I can see why you and Dallas Peyton are a couple.”

For the first time, her smile was artificial. “Yeah,” she answered quietly. It would appear to Aaron that Dallas, who had grown up on a ranch in Colorado and had the West in his blood, would be the perfect match for a girl like her. At one time, she had thought so, too.

After she had taken a sip of her wine, she shifted the conversation away from her relationship with Dallas. She found herself wondering what kind of woman intrigued the doctor. “Who fascinates you?”

He glanced up from his plate, looking at her as if she’d just spoken in ancient Aramaic. “Nobody,” he retorted, and he turned his attention back to his food. He didn’t say anything else as he rushed to finish his meal. It was a wonder he didn’t choke.

She took a couple more bites of the chicken and pushed up her half-finished plate.

He noticed. “You’re done?”

“I’m a picky eater.” She settled back in the chair and emptied her wineglass. “Aaron, are you always so dark and serious?”

He tossed his napkin over his plate. “Would it help if I wore a gun belt and robbed banks?”

Sneak Peek: Read Chapter 1

Available June 20th in ebook and print. Buy Links:

Amazon  http://amzn.to/2p0U63y

Barnes and Noble   http://ow.ly/vuIs30brDgY

Kobo    https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/not-through-loving-you

 

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Author Bio:

Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes mainstream humorous romance, historical romance and comedy. She is represented by the Seymour Agency. Her newest titles are part of a standalone series, Love Heals All, for Kensington Books/Lyrical Press imprint. She has several other e-book titles available including a historical romance, TO SAVE A LADY, set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans. She also has a comic short story anthology, DIXIE DARLINGS, available in print. Besides writing she loves music, photography, graphic design, and visiting her favorite historical locales including the French Quarter and the Natchez Trace.

You can visit her website at www.patricia-preston.com

Follow her on Amazon  and BookBub

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Guest author Mike Lord

Published June 18, 2017 by francesothomas

Our guest author today is Mike Lord who has graciously shared information on his book. His work is quite different from what I write, but given the life he has lived, that is to be expected.  Seems like the appropriate book to feature on Father’s Day.

Vietnam Alive

 

VIETNAM ALIVE

Mike Lord has spent most of his working life in sub-Saharan Africa, or in South or East Asia.  This novel was written by Van Hung and describes six of the first hand experiences involved in Mike’s work and life in Asia. 

All these stories involve the writer’s interaction with local people and their families, horror, humour, rumour and belief, plus intrigue and adventure.

Mike has now retired but still lives with his wife in provincial Vietnam, with frequent visits from the families of their seven grown up children.

Find out more about him at http://www.lordmaity.com or his alter-ego at  http://adammannauthor.com.

 

Guest author Lynne Stringer

Published June 9, 2017 by francesothomas

Our guest author today is Lynne Stringer who has graciously shared information on her book Once Confronted.

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Blurb:
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her?

Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. But what will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness? Is it the only way forward for her?

 

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Author bio:

Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.

Lynne is the author of the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance series released in 2013. Her latest novel, released in October 2016, is Once Confronted, a contemporary drama. Visit www.lynnestringer.com for more information.

Buy links:

http://www.lynnestringer.com/once-confronted/
https://www.amazon.com/Once-Confronted-Lynne-Stringer/dp/1925139786
http://www.rhizapress.com/once-confronted

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

The day went quickly, mainly because we were constantly busy, with people in and out. I knew Michael would be pleased with how much we’d taken. I didn’t have any time to put the new books away until we were nearly ready to close.
With eleven o’clock fast approaching, Evan gave the pile of books a pointed look. ‘We need to get stuck into those, especially since things seem to have finally quietened down.’
‘Do you think Michael will worry, given that we haven’t put them away because we’ve been so busy?’
He cocked his head. ‘That’s certainly a plus, but you know that people are more likely to buy …’
‘When they can find a book on the shelf,’ I finished for him. That was Michael’s favourite mantra.
I checked to see if there were any more customers coming in. Nope. I’d been cleaning the tables constantly throughout the day, so I only needed to give one or two a quick wipe and they were all good. Then I reluctantly turned to the books I’d sorted earlier.
I glanced at Evan, where he stood looking at the cash register. ‘Maddy, I think we’re out of cash register tape. I’m just going to grab some from out the back.’
He walked past me, dodging the piles of books I’d spread out on the floor, and ducked into the back room.
As he did, two men came into the store. One looked irritated, but the other leant all over the counter and grinned at me. ‘Hi, love. Can we get some coffee?’
I walked over to the coffee machine. ‘Sure. What would you like?’
The man at the counter smiled in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. His blue eyes gave me the once over. ‘I think a cappuccino would be great.’
I tried to keep my smile in place, wishing Evan would hurry up. How long did it take to find cash register tape? I turned my attention to the other guy, who was younger and had his hair back in a ponytail. ‘Anything for you?’
He started, as though he was surprised I was speaking to him.
‘No, nothing.’ Then, when his friend gave him a sharp look, he said, ‘Actually, I’ll have a decaf.’
Yeah, I think you need it.
As I grabbed some cups I felt a movement behind me. I turned, assuming one of the men was going to ask me a question.
Then I froze.
There was a gun aimed directly at my face.

 

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband book review

Published May 30, 2017 by francesothomas

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Is it possible for Julia Quinn to write a book that is not delightful? I think not.

Cecelia Harcourt has made the arduous sea voyage to Manhattan to find her missing brother. When she arrives, Edward, her brother’s best friend, is in a coma and badly in need of nursing. Only family members are permitted to stay with the wounded. What’s a woman to do?

Second son of an earl, Edward Rokesby has been fighting in the colonies. He wakes up in a makeshift hospital with an agonizing headache, no memory of the past several months, and, oh yes, a woman who claims to be his wife.

Although he’s never met Cecelia face-to-face, he feels he knows her from the letters her brother has shared. He can’t remember any marriage, but given their respective circumstances, it’s not implausible.

They are indeed a charming couple. Let’s bring back letter writing.

Guest Author AnneMarie Brear

Published May 24, 2017 by francesothomas

Where Rainbows End AnneMarie Brear

 

AnneMarie Brear’s latest novel Where Rainbows End was just released. She graciously provided the blurb and excerpt below.

 

Blurb

“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.

Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

 

Excerpt:

‘Pippa! Come look!’ Davy ran into the stables. ‘There’s a carriage coming with two shiny black horses with white feathers on their heads.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her outside. ‘A carriage!’

Intrigued, Pippa frowned at Robson as he came to stand at her side. They both stared along the valley track. Indeed a large, shiny black carriage pulled by magnificent horses rumbled beside the creek towards them.

‘Who could it be?’ Pippa glanced at Robson for his input.

‘Nay, miss, I know of no one with such a carriage in this district.’

Davy jumped up and down, clapping his hands. ‘It’s a Prince!’

Pippa gently pushed him towards the house. ‘Go to your mother.’

She and Robson walked away from the stables and waited under the big gum tree near the footbridge. On the other side, Davy and Millie watched the carriage approach.

The driver halted the fine pair and drew the carriage to stop. The door was flung open and Gerald popped his head out. ‘Pippa!’

Pippa’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘Father?’

Gerald exited the carriage and handed Hilary down and then the maid, Cissie. ‘We’re here at last!’ he shouted, reaching back into the carriage.

Hilary ran up to Pippa and hugged her. ‘It’s good to see you! Have we surprised you? How are you? Mother fainted! As soon as we started the descent into the valley, she screamed that we would all fall to our deaths and then fainted.’

Blinking rapidly to make sure of her vision, Pippa let Hilary’s words wash over her. Her family here! She couldn’t believe it. They’d sent her no word of their impending arrival.

‘Come, come, Esther. Pippa wishes to greet you,’ Gerald cajoled his wife out of the carriage. ‘You’re safe now, so stop your hysterics.’

Pippa stepped forward and kissed her mother’s pale cheek. ‘Welcome, Mother.’

Esther, fanning herself with a white handkerchief, sniffled. ‘What a journey, Philippa, what a journey.’ Slowly she raised her head and gazed about. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open.

The heavy weight of guilt sunk Pippa’s happiness at her family’s arrival. Her mother’s rigidness confirmed her fears. She hated the valley. ‘Mother—’

‘You …’ Esther turned to scan the whole valley and all it contained, her eyes filling with tears. ‘Gerald …’ She blinked, her chest heaving as though she struggled to breathe. ‘You brought me here?’

‘Mother—’

‘Esther—’

‘How could you?’ Esther’s voice lowered in anger. ‘I’ll not spend one night in this god-forsaken backwater!’ She spun on her heel, re-entered the carriage, and slammed the door.

Pippa stared at her father, whose cheeks flushed beet red. He stormed to the carriage and jerked open the door. ‘Get out at once!’

Hilary silently came to Pippa’s side and took her hand as, in disbelief and with acute embarrassment, they watched their parents argue and wrestle. At last, Esther emerged from the carriage, dishevelled and indignant.

‘I will stay but one night, then I am returning to Sydney to the Talbots.’ She marched past them all and crossed the footbridge. Hilary hurriedly followed her.

Sighing, Gerald walked away, around the other side of the carriage, and, after a glance at Hilary, Pippa went to join him.

‘I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t expect you. Hilary’s letter said it could be another month as Mother had engagements. Inside the house is not complete yet. I kept the men working on extending the stable block.’

‘I do not blame you in the least, dearest.’ His eyes softened and he slipped his arm around her waist to hug her to him. ‘In fact, I’m so very proud of you.’ He gazed out over the valley, at the cluster of buildings, the horses and sheep grazing. ‘What you’ve achieved here in such a short time is inspirational, my dear. You have the courage of a lion.’

Pippa kissed his thin cheek, aware that his ill health had taken its toll on him. ‘I did it for us all, Father. This is our home now, and we’ll be successful, I know it.’

‘I have no doubt about it, not with you in charge.’

‘Oh, but Father, I’m not in charge now you’re here.’

Gerald shook his head. ‘No, Pippa. This is your dream, your future.’

She stepped back, frowning. ‘But it’s yours, too. We share it together.’

‘Yes, but I don’t have the youth, the energy, the heart that you do.’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘All I wanted to do here was to make money. You wanted to make a home.’

She touched his arm, frightened by how old and defeated he looked. ‘We can do both, Father.’

He remained silent for a long time, staring out over the land.

‘Please don’t be dispirited, Father. We can be successful. The mistakes made in England do not have to be repeated here.’

‘My health is failing, but I tend to think that is a good thing.’

‘No—’

Gerald held up his hand. ‘Hear me out. I insist we have honesty if nothing else after so many years of lies.’ He paused and took a deep breath. ‘If I were hale and hearty and a few years younger, there would be no stopping me, but no doubt that would have led to our ruin as it did back home.’

‘Father—’

‘I’ve had time to think while bedridden and holed up with the Talbots, and I’ve made a decision.’ He took both her hands in his and smiled. ‘I was going to tell you this later, but I might as well do it now and be done with it.’

‘What is it?’ Pippa braced herself for bad news, for his tone was the same he used in England when he would admit failure in some investment or when the bailiffs came to clear the house of their belongings to repay his gambling debts.

He sucked in a deep breath. ‘The valley is yours to do with as you please. I’ll sign it all over to you, with the provision that you support your sister.’

Pippa blinked. ‘But what about you and Mother?’

‘We shall return to England.’

‘No!’

 

To buy Where Rainbows End

All Amazon Kindle sites; myBook.to/WhereRainbowsEnd

Kobo UK: https://goo.gl/24Tir1

Annemarie Brear

Author Bio:

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England. AnneMarie Brear on the web: http://www.annemariebrear.com http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear   Twitter @annemariebrear.

Rewrite Your Life book review

Published May 8, 2017 by francesothomas

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We’ve all heard the dictum “write what you know.” And most if not all writers use incidents from their own lives in their books. Yet how well do we know ourselves on an emotional level? I read an awful lot of “self-help” books but rarely do the suggested exercises. All that introspection is hard work and brings up too many things I don’t want to examine or re-live.


In Rewrite Your Life,
Jessica Lourey bravely exposes her own experiences and relates how she has freed herself by incorporating what she learned about herself. I am trying to deepen my own fiction writing, so I am actually working my way through her prompts.

Along the way, Lourey also gives good info on choosing a genre, concept, characters, plot, and setting.

I highly recommend this book to both authors and those who want to overcome the painful parts of their lives through journaling.