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All posts for the month March, 2016

Guarding Sophie book review

Published March 28, 2016 by francesothomas

I like football and I like the writing of Julie Brannagh, so choosing to read Guarding Sophie was a no brainer. I knew I’d enjoy it. But I also had an ulterior motive. You see, I finally finished a romance novella of my own and I wanted to read Brannagh’s with a writer’s eye, not just a reader’s eye.

Her premise was good. Sophie has run away from a physically abusive boyfriend and gone into hiding. Kyle is also in hiding. In his case it’s from the emotional abuse of family and friends who glommed onto him and his wallet from the moment he hit the big time in football.

Sophie’s ex tracks her down with help from her smart phone. Note to others who may be fleeing from domestic violence: turn off the tracking system in your phone if you don’t want to be found. It’s not enough to stop using the phone without deactivating it.

Soon, the whole team of gentle giants rally around to protect Sophie. The whole thing gets resolved pretty quickly. This is a novella, after all, not a full length book.

I really appreciate the way Brannagh incorporates sex into her work without going into explicit description. I’m also a sucker for stories set in quirky small towns like Noel, Washington, where this series takes place.

Thanks, Ms. Brannagh, for a good lesson in novella plotting.

julie brannagh

Julie Brannagh

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she could hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

When she’s not writing, she’s reading–or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Winter Road Author Q&A

Published March 15, 2016 by francesothomas

Book Info:

HOLIDAY ROAD

On the heels of a bad breakup, Amelia Montgomery heads home for the holidays. Her hometown is a far cry from the metropolis where she lives now, but not nearly far enough away from Jake Grayson.

TERROR ROAD

Amelia’s family festivities turn terrifying when a distraught Jake shows up uninvited on the Montgomery’s doorstep. Jake will not stop until he possesses Amelia; one way or another, she will be his.

DEADLY ROAD

In a chilling nightmare, one man’s obsession is so evil, it’s deadly. Amelia must fight for her life, and the lives of those she loves most, in the only place she’s ever called home…WINTER ROAD.

Purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Road-Novella-Kristina-Rienzi-ebook/dp/B019O48SR4/

Get a signed copy: http://www.kristinarienzi.com/signed-paperbacks/

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28360504-winter-road

 

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Question:

How does your psychology background enter into your writing? Have you ever or do you now practice counseling? Do you have a particular theoretical model–Freudian, Jungian, something else?

Answer:

Psychology has always been one of my first loves. Second to becoming a writer, my career of choice had always been to become a psychologist. I wanted to help people, but even more so, understand them so I could help them help themselves. This goal saw me through six years of college to obtain a master’s degree in counseling psychology and work experience in the mental health industry that has shaped who I am today.

As a therapist, I primarily worked with people suffering from chronic mental illness in both individual and group settings. It was a short-lived career when, at a very young age, I didn’t feel evolved enough to make a difference. I wanted to see the result of my work, which in the counseling field, likely wouldn’t have happened for years, if ever. Counseling is a process, one I was too ambitious and impatient to allow to happen. At the time, it wasn’t a good fit, although I’m not convinced that won’t change in the future.

My theoretical model of choice, if I ever went on to practice counseling as a profession, is cognitive behavior therapy. Specifically, I’m enamored with rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) developed by the late Dr. Albert Ellis, who I had the pleasure of meeting in graduate school. REBT promotes emotional well-being through the achievement of goals and a healthy belief system. While not working in this field any longer, I find I still use versions of Ellis’s REBT techniques in my everyday life when tackling issues or helping others. I’m drawn to REBT because I believe it’s highly effective and focused on the positive side of psychology, one that empowers others, versus the negative side that focuses on what’s wrong.

However, through my education and work, I found my real interest fell heavily in the area of psychopathology, which is what I carry over into my writing today. I explore the dark side of the human mind and behavior in my fiction. I delve deep into the mind of the psychopath, or killer, in an attempt to understand why I believe people do the evil things they do. While there isn’t always an apparent reason in life, I enjoy writing a believable explanation, no matter how abnormal, into my stories. Writing suspense thrillers is the perfect marriage of psychology and creative fiction, one I know will last forever.

Author Bio:

Born and raised in New Jersey, Kristina Rienzi writes suspense thrillers set on the East Coast. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

Kristina received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology/anthropology from West Virginia University, as well as her master’s degree in psychological counseling from Monmouth University. When she’s not writing, Kristina loves reading, painting, relaxing at the beach, watching terrifying television, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers or spending time with her loved ones, wine in hand.

She lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband and three fur beasts (two dogs and a cat).

Website: http://www.kristinarienzi.com/

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

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KristinaRienziAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristinarienzi/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kristinarienzi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristinarienzi

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/KristinaRienziAuthor

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Green book review

Published March 12, 2016 by francesothomas

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MARY GREEN

MELANIE KERR

Historical Fiction, Regency era

Stonehouse Publishing

Release Date: May 1, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mary Green by Melanie Kerr. This story is very much in the Jane Austen tradition of manners and country estates.

The title character starts off Cinderella-like. She’s living with the relations of a woman who adopted her from an orphanage and subsequently died. Never really part of the family, she’s treated almost as a servant. When her twenty-first birthday arrives, it brings with it some startling news. Suddenly she’s rich.

Guided by her own conscience and her newly acquired companion, Mary slowly finds her way to happiness in the new world she’s entered. Finding love is a bit more complicated. Which of the three brothers from a neighboring family has actually captured her heart and not just her infatuation?

This is the Canadian author’s second novel. It is both well-written and well-plotted. Kerr has created distinctive characters that we like in spite of their flaws. Theirs is a gentle world where forgiveness is possible and goodness is its own reward.

I predict we’ll be seeing much more of Kerr’s writing in the future.

Mary Green, obscure orphan and ward of the wealthy Hargreaves family, has always accepted her inferior position with grace, humility, and gratitude. When she discovers that her only friend is to leave the country forever, that her confidence has been betrayed by the unfeeling youngest daughter of the family, and that her very deprivation is the object of the mockery and scorn of everyone she has sought to honour, she determines to cast them off and make her own way in the world.

On her twenty-first birthday, free to choose her own destiny, she dreams of peace and tolerance, and perhaps a partner who might be noble enough to love her in all her simplicity. But when an unexpected foray into London society disrupts all her plans, she is faced with an uncharacteristic storm of feelings. Will she grow strong and happy in her independence, or will her character be lost amidst her newfound ambition? Unable to trust the whims of her own heart, Mary is forced to confront the question that has forever plagued her: Who is she and where does she come from?

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About the Author

Melanie Kerr studied linguistics, English, and theatre at the University of British Columbia, and law at the University of Alberta. Kerr is a reckless lover of clotted cream, a staunch defender of the semi-colon, and a fierce opponent of unpleasant music. She wooed her current and only husband with false promises of skill at word games and eternally good hair. She lives in Edmonton, where she raises her three young children, sews her own Regency costumes, organizes Regency costume events, blogs on all things old and English, endeavours to take over the world, and occasionally practices law.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery book review

Published March 7, 2016 by francesothomas

 

I have to confess I became attracted to Cornwall when I watched the first Poldark series on PBS. The remake stirred up those feelings all over again. Jenny Colgan’s new book Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery is set off the Cornish coast, so that was point one in its favor.

Point two is that the story actually takes place on an island that can be reached by a causeway only at low tide. I live on an island off the coast of Florida, but fortunately you can get here via a bridge.

Point three, of course, is the word bakery in the title.

I am also quite fond of books set in small towns, and this one is particularly charming. The townsfolk are quirky. The spunky, artisan-bread-making heroine lives in a lighthouse and has a pet sea bird .  And an appealing boyfriend who would rather tend to beehives than make a fortune in corporate America. It’s veddy, veddy British, so even the slang is fun.

When Mother Nature throws a spanner into the works, the scenes that follow are riveting. As we know here in Florida, living on an island can sometimes make heavy demands. It is heartwarming to read about how this brings a community together. Well done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across Borders book release

Published March 4, 2016 by francesothomas

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Genre: FICTION / Thrillers / Crime

About the book:

In Across Borders, Lawson Caine, a seasoned Border Patrol agent, is stationed in Presidio Texas with legendary lawman Capt. James Garrett.  Lawson, who is from a long linage of lawmen, has gained the respect and reverence from his team, Dale Chanson, Terry Bennet, and the crazy member, Alex Sweeny.

Lawson never expected anything to come between his dedication with the Border Patrol and his brotherhood with Sweeny until he meets local pharmacy owner, Lia Gonzales.  Against her father’s wishes Lia continues to see Lawson not realizing the inevitable consequences.

In this story of protecting others on the border and the heartache of relationships you will find yourself in the lives of those who have sworn to uphold the law, no matter the cost.

Excerpt:

Pulling onto the pavement of Hwy 170, Amalia Gonzales held on to the sack of prescription medicine she was delivering. Amalia had just opened a local pharmacy in Presidio a few months earlier and had already made many customers, but with many of her customers in their elder years, she made frequent deliveries. Amalia was nicknamed “Lia” during elementary school when the students and teachers had a hard time pronouncing her name.

“I’ll hold them,” a young female said from the passenger seat.

“Thanks Erika,” Lia answered. Erika Santeljo was not only Lia’s best friend, but helped run the pharmacy. Today Lia had asked Erika to ride with her because their first stop was to a schizophrenia patient who made her nervous.

“I told you he’d be OK. As long as you get his meds to him in time, he’ll act normal,” Erika said, tucking the sack under her feet. “He still creeps me out.”

Driving back north toward Presidio, Erika turned the radio station to the only country channel they could receive. With Hank Williams blaring from the 6X9 Sony speakers, the girls sang along.

Lia turned down the radio. “While we out here, I can drop off Mrs. Jones’ meds,” she said, slamming on the brake.

“Not if you kill us both.”

Lia looked over her shoulder and slammed the Jeep Grand Cherokee in reverse. Spinning the tires, she backed to the street she had just passed. Then turning onto the dirt road, the Jeep fishtailed as she floored the gas, nothing Erika wasn’t used to. Flying over a hill, they noticed the three Border Patrol trucks off in the distance with one of the trucks’ cabs disappearing just over the ridge.

Lia pointed to the trucks. “I have a prescription for one of the Border Patrol guys. Check in the bag and see if Alex Sweeny’s bag is in there,” Lia asked.

Erika dug through the sack. “Yep. What is he taking?” She examined the bottle. “Victoria?” she asked Lia.

“It’s his daughters.” The Jeep jetted by the road that led to the trucks, “If they’re still there on the way back, we’ll stop.”

“Why take the chance? I could see me some Border Patrol officers,” Erika replied with a devious tone. Lia looked over at her with a smile and slammed on the brakes. “Lia! You’re killing me!” The Jeep fishtailed the opposite direction as Lia turned down the road and straightened up just in time to cross a cattle gap. As they approached the three trucks, they noticed the farthest truck doors were open. The Jeep crawled to a stop.

“Drugs, please.” Lia held her hand out.

“You’re not going without me.” Erika opened her door and climbed out.

 

An image posted by the author.

About the author:

Lee DuCote has traveled throughout the country and world to help create his stories. Lee lives in a small lake town in the Ozark Mountains and is currently writing his sixth novel. His stories are created to give hope and encouragement to others, as well as to entertain and spark their imagination.

No Place Like Home book blast

Published March 1, 2016 by francesothomas

No Place Like Home

by Jennifer Kacey

GENRE Contemporary Romance

Jennifer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Please follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/02/book-blast-no-place-like-home-by.html

About the book:

Coming Home, Book 1

In high school, Bianca Charleston was a nobody. An overweight wallflower, so invisible that Cole, the boy she had a crush on, never even knew she existed.

Things have changed, and she’s finally ready to show off her new bombshell look. Sort of. Maybe. After a one-sided pep talk with her cat, she takes a deep breath and flies home to help out with the annual hospital carnival. Cole is there, too—and he still has no idea who she is.

FBI field officer Cole Johnson doesn’t have an easy job, and his nights are usually booked solid. Then in walks Charlie, a blonde with killer…everything. Suddenly he’s mentally clearing his schedule for a rare night out. While Charlie doesn’t do one-night stands, somehow after-dinner dessert is served up against the wall of her hotel room. But happiness will have to navigate an emotional minefield of preconceived notions—and a couple of not-so-secret stumbling blocks.

 

 Excerpt:

“You look beautiful. I’m glad you didn’t take my advice on casual. It’s…beautiful.” He shook his head after he stared at her for a few more seconds and then took a drink of what looked like water. They each had a glass in front of them.

 “Kia made me buy it.” She blurted it out and then reached for her wrapped silverware to have something to do with her hands. She unwrapped it, setting the silverware on the table and the napkin across her lap.

 “I’ll have to remember to thank her. I’ve never been that big a fan of the little black dress hoopla, but on you? Big fan.”

 His smile. It melted her. “Thanks,” she managed with a hesitant smile. Attention from a man with his sex appeal threw her off. What she really wanted to do was put her chin on her hand so she could stare at him for the rest of the evening.

 But she wouldn’t.

 Not at all.

 “So, how did the rest of the packet delivering go?”

 She took a drink of water since her mouth had gone dry with him this close. “Good actually. It’s been a while since I was here to help with any of this. Since high school really. It surprised me how many people are still around. How many people never left. Or left and came back. Can’t believe it’s almost been ten years. Seems a lifetime ago.”

“And you’re sure we met in high school? You’re sure of it?”

 Wanting to giggle and groan at the same time was a new one for her. “Only a few hundred times.”

 “It just doesn’t seem possible. Surely I’d remember you.” He gave her a once over from head to waist. Everything he could see above the table probably.

 Shaking her head seemed like the thing to do. “I was very different in high school. Popularity was the name of a very distant planet when I was a teenager.”

 “Can’t imagine you being that different. Truly. Care to give me your name and I can look you up? High school yearbooks and all should be good for something other than killing spiders.”

 “Nope.”

 He chuckled and picked up his menu. “You do know what I do for a living, right? I could run your plates and figure it out within five minutes. I could show you my ID if that would help.”

 “You wouldn’t.”

 “Ha. If you could see your face right now.” He chuckled and she tried to wipe the panic off her face and probably didn’t do a very good job. “I won’t. I’d much rather figure it out on my own. I love solving puzzles.”

 

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living with her miniman in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. She’s the Amazon top seller/evil mastermind of the Elite Warriors Series and award winning author of the Members Only Series and the Surrender Series along with several standalone novels and novellas. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less. Connect with her on twitter @JenniferKacey and Facebook. And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter so you can hear about all of her new releases and giveaways!!

 

Social Media Links

Website – http://www.jenniferkacey.com/

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The Decadent Divas – http://www.thedecadentdivas.blogspot.com/

Amazon Page – http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Kacey/e/B00GXHUB30/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d9_al1?_encoding=UTF8&refinementId=618073011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0G8ZPDQJVKJPKXNBRY10&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.kacey.7

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/jenniferkaceyauthor

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Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6941549.Jennifer_Kacey

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