ANNUAL BARD FICTION PRIZE IS AWARDED TO CLARE BEAMS  ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Author Clare Beams has received the Bard Fiction Prize for her debut collection of short stories, We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books 2016). Beams’ residency at Bard College is for the fall 2020 semester, during which time she will continue her writing and meet informally with students. Beams will give a public reading at Bard in spring 2020. The Bard Fiction Prize committee writes: “The nine stories in Clare Beams’ debut collection of fiction, We Show What We Have Learned, range from factual, historical settings and characters to eerily fantastical ones, displaying a startling depth and an epic scale of imagination. While the characters, and the situations they find themselves in, are sometimes surreal, their psychologies are always absolutely real—fully, compassionately drawn. Every one of these stories has a world and a lifetime behind it, and every one is a compelling, disquieting, and immensely pleasurable journey, reverie, and dream for its reader. Clare Beams is a subtle, quiet master of short fiction, who writes in beautiful and exquisitely crafted prose.” “I am so much more grateful to Bard and to the Bard Fiction Prize committee than I can possibly say for this recognition of my work and for this gift—one of the best gifts anyone could give me, as a writer who’s also a parent of young children—of time. To join this list of winners, so many who are heroes and heroines of mine, is an honor, and to join the inspiring Bard community is a thrill. I can’t wait to meet the students and faculty and work on my third book, a new novel, in their midst,” says Beams. Clare Beams is the author of the story collection We Show What We Have Learned, which was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016 and a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. Her first novel, The Illness Lesson, will be published by Doubleday in February of 2020. Her fiction appears in One Storyn+1EcotoneThe Common, Electric Literature’s Recommended ReadingThe Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere, and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two daughters, and has taught creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and St. Vincent College. The creation of the Bard Fiction Prize, presented each October since 2001, continues Bard’s long-standing position as a center for creative, groundbreaking literary work by both faculty and students. From Saul Bellow, William Gaddis, Mary McCarthy, and Ralph Ellison to John Ashbery, Philip Roth, William Weaver, and Chinua Achebe, Bard’s literature faculty, past and present, represents some of the most important writers of our time. The prize is intended to encourage and support young writers of fiction, and provide them with an opportunity to work in a fertile intellectual environment. Last year’s Bard Fiction Prize was awarded to Greg Jackson for his short story collection Prodigals (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2016).  ABOUT THE BARD FICTION PRIZEThe Bard Fiction Prize is awarded to a promising emerging writer who is an American citizen aged 39 years or younger at the time of application. In addition to a $30,000 cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer in residence at Bard College for one semester, without the expectation that he or she teach traditional courses. The recipient gives at least one public lecture and meets informally with students. To apply, candidates should write a cover letter explaining the project they plan to work on while at Bard and submit a CV, along with three copies of the published book they feel best represents their work. No manuscripts will be accepted. Applications for the 2019 prize must be received by June 15, 2020. For information about the Bard Fiction Prize, call 845-758-7087, send an e-mail to, or visit Applicants may also request information by writing to: Bard Fiction Prize, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000. CAPTION INFO: Author Clare Beams has been selected to receive the Bard Fiction Prize for 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: Kristi Jan HooverPlease contact to request higher resolution image. # ABOUT BARD COLLEGEBard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences with a 155-year history of academic excellence. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 park-like acres in the Hudson River Valley. The College offers bachelor of arts degrees, with nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions—Arts; Languages and Literature; Science, Mathematics, and Computing; and Social Studies—and Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations. Bard also bestows several dual degrees, including a B.A./B.S. in economics and finance, and at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where students earn a bachelor’s degree in music and a B.A. in another field in the liberal arts or sciences. Bard’s distinguished faculty includes winners of MacArthur Fellowships, National Science Foundation grants, Guggenheim Fellowships, Grammy Awards, French Legion of Honor awards, and Pulitzer Prizes, among others. Over the past 35 years, Bard has broadened its scope beyond undergraduate academics. The College operates 12 graduate programs and has expanded to encompass a network of regional, national, and global partnerships—including dual-degree programs in four international locations; the Bard Prison Initiative, which grants college degrees to New York State inmates; and Bard High School Early Colleges, where students earn a high school diploma and an A.A. degree in four years. Bard’s philosophy sets a standard for both scholarly achievement and engagement in civic and global affairs on campus, while also taking the College’s mission to the wider world. The undergraduate college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. For more information about Bard College, visit

The serial killer isn’t on trial…HE’S ON THE JURY! “THIRTEEN” by STEVE CAVANAGH


Thirteen is the legal thriller Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Ruth Ware are raving about and readers can’t put down.

“Outstanding – an intriguing premise, a tense, gripping build-up, and a spectacular climax. This guy is the real deal. Trust me.” —Lee Child

“A dead bang BEAST of a book that expertly combines Cavanagh’s authority on the law with an absolutely great thrill ride. Books this ingenious don’t come along very often.” —Michael Connelly

It’s the murder trial of the century. And Joshua Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house – and to be sure the wrong man goes down for the crime. Because this time, the killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.

But there’s someone on his tail. Former-conman-turned-criminal-defense-attorney Eddie Flynn doesn’t believe that his movie-star client killed two people. He suspects that the real killer is closer than they think – but who would guess just how close?

“A brilliant, twisty, ingeniously constructed puzzle of a book. Steve Cavanagh pulls off an enviable premise with panache.” —Ruth Ware


This book will be available for purchase August 19, 2019 and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts after you read it.

And you will read it!

You MUST read it!

A unique and realistic twist to the trial novel!

Brilliantly written!

I cannot say enough good things about this book!

If you like suspense, get this book NOW! “THE CHAIN” ~ by ADRIAN MCKINTY


“This nightmarish story is incredibly propulsive and original. You won’t shake it for a long time.”







* * * * *


This book reads like a movie in your mind! In fact, I would LOVE for it to be made into a movie if they do it the right way!

I seriously could not put this book down!

It feels so real and it is SCARY!

I was honestly worried that the ending would be disappointing, because I saw no clean way out for any of the characters in this book, but the Author Adrian McKinty gave a very satisfying and very believable ending to this book!

Suspense, action, this book has it ALL!

I got declined when I requested this book from NetGalley (understandable because I’m backed up on my reviews,) but I was so excited I went ahead and purchased it myself.

Money well spent!!!!


A celebration of the most groundbreaking women in comedy who used humor to shake up the status quo and change perceptions of gender and comedy forever.

The League of Extraordinarily Funny Women celebrates the outstanding contributions of fifty women in comedy past and present. From legends like Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, and Tina Fey to current comedy heroes like Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Abbi Jacobson, and Tig Notaro, this beautifully illustrated book charts a rich lineage of women using humor to speak truth to power, tangle with sensitive subjects, challenge the status quo, and do anything but sit still and stay quiet when laughs are on the line.

Some of these women broke boundaries as pioneers on stage as well as in front of and behind the camera. Others penned their way into the history of American humor, redrawing the boundaries of writers’ rooms to include diverse voices and perspectives. Through their collective work as stand-ups, sketch and improv comics, humor writers, and slapstick film stars, these women formed a network forged by creativity, guts, and a deep love of what comedy can do and be. In the process, they continue to pass their knowledge and insights from woman to woman, from funny generation to funny generation, offering support, inspiration, and, above all, laughter.


There is knowledge in laughter, and these women blazed a trail for women! I cannot recommend this book enough, and I am adding several copies to my Christmas list for some special ladies in my life! A fun, informative and interesting read!

I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! ~The Dark Side~ by Danielle Steel


In her new novel, Danielle Steel tells a riveting story of the dark side of motherhood.

Zoe Morgan’s childhood was marked by her younger sister’s tragic illness, watching as her parents dedicated themselves completely to her final days and then divorced. As a young woman driven by these painful memories, Zoe sets the bar high for herself, studying hard and pursuing a career in the nonprofit world, where her deep compassion for disadvantaged children finds a focus.

When Zoe falls in love and has her own child, she is determined to be a perfect mother as well. But before long, old scars long dormant begin to pull Zoe to the edge of an abyss too terrifying to contemplate.

As Zoe is haunted by the ghosts of the past, her story will become a race against time and a tale of psychological suspense that no reader will soon forget.


WOW! I could not put this book down, and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish!

You first read about Zoe’s growing up years with her very ill sister. After her sister dies, Zoe thinks the “The wrong sister died, she was their favorite” which makes her become an overachiever, which later develops into Munchausen by proxy when she has her own daughter.

Both terrifying and compelling, this book felt like it could be ripped from today’s headlines!

This book will be available for purchase on August 29, 2019



What is a cabochon? What are the various types of gilding? What is vermeil? This accessible book—the first of its kind—offers concise explanations of key jewelry terms. The fascination with personal adornment is universal. It is a preoccupation that is primal, instinctive, and uniquely human. Jewelry encompasses a seemingly endless number of ornaments produced across time and in all cultures. The range of materials and techniques used in its construction is extraordinary, even revolutionary, with new substances and methods of fabrication added with every generation. In any given society, master artisans have devoted their time, energy, and talent to the fine art of jewelry making, creating some of the most spectacular objects known to humankind.

This volume, geared toward jewelry makers, scholars, scientists, students, and fashionistas alike, begins with a lively introduction that offers a cultural history of jewelry and its production. The main text provides information on the most common, iconic, and culturally significant forms of jewelry and also covers materials, techniques, and manufacturing processes. Containing more than eighty color illustrations, this guide will be invaluable to all those wishing to increase their understanding and enjoyment of the art of jewelry.



How much more can you give when you’ve already given everything? In Colleen Faulkner’s affecting, thought-provoking new novel, the mother of a pregnant teenager discovers there are no easy answers—and that a mistake-proof life may not be worth living …

Liv Ridgely prides herself on being the responsible wrangler of all things family: stay at home mom, caretaker of elderly parents, supporter of husband Oscar’s career, savior of her wayward sister. Now, with her son off to college, and her ambitious daughter, Hazel, a year away from following him, it’s Liv’s turn. She’s even established her dream career of bringing beautiful old homes back to life in the most picturesque part of Maine.

Until she learns that 16-year-old Hazel is three months pregnant. 

Hazel insists she will have the baby and raise him with her boyfriend, Tyler, who’s no one’s idea of a model father. Clearly, there are going to be some conflicts to iron out.

Liv just doesn’t expect them to be with her husband. 

As it turns out, Liv and Oscar have very different ideas about what to do. Perhaps it’s because Liv, who was adopted, has a unique perspective on this baby’s future. And perhaps it’s because, as a mother, she knows better than anyone how Hazel’s young life will be changed forever. 

As the family fractures in every direction, past resentments and pain come tumbling out. After years of putting others first, Liv wonders if she can do what’s best for her daughter, her parents, and her marriage—while still being true to herself.


This book is so amazingly realistic, that while I was cleaning up my kitchen, I thought about it, and momentarily forgot it was a book I was reading and not a movie I had paused!

The Authors writing style is almost flawless, and I suspect the few issues I found had more to do with the way the ARC formatted onto my Kindle. I’m sure they have been fixed for the final version.

What I loved about this book was the realness of it. The truth and honesty of it. Nothing was sugar coated. Nothing was brushed over.

The characters are thoroughly fleshed out, and the Author hit the nail on the head with all of the characters, especially Hazel, the pregnant teenage daughter.

Book smart does not always translate into life smarts, especially with teenagers, and the Author executed this flawlessly.

It was a most excellent read, and the only times I put it down were the times life called me to duty.

This book will be available for purchase on August 27, 2019

In the meantime, here our some other previously published books by Colleen Faulkner that you can check out!

A MORTUARY OF BOOKS by ELISABETH GALLAS~The rescue of Jewish Culture after the Holocaust~


The astonishing story of the efforts of scholars and activists to rescue Jewish cultural treasures after the Holocaust

In March 1946 the American Military Government for Germany established the Offenbach Archival Depot near Frankfurt to store, identify, and restore the huge quantities of Nazi-looted books, archival material, and ritual objects that Army members had found hidden in German caches. These items bore testimony to the cultural genocide that accompanied the Nazis’ systematic acts of mass murder. The depot built a short-lived lieu de memoire—a “mortuary of books,” as the later renowned historian Lucy Dawidowicz called it—with over three million books of Jewish origin coming from nineteen different European countries awaiting restitution.

A Mortuary of Books tells the miraculous story of the many Jewish organizations and individuals who, after the war, sought to recover this looted cultural property and return the millions of treasured objects to their rightful owners. Some of the most outstanding Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century, including Dawidowicz, Hannah Arendt, Salo W. Baron, and Gershom Scholem, were involved in this herculean effort. This led to the creation of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc., an international body that acted as the Jewish trustee for heirless property in the American Zone and transferred hundreds of thousands of objects from the Depot to the new centers of Jewish life after the Holocaust.

The commitment of these individuals to the restitution of cultural property revealed the importance of cultural objects as symbols of the enduring legacy of those who could not be saved. It also fostered Jewish culture and scholarly life in the postwar world.


I don’t believe I have ever reviewed a movie on this blog before, but I HIGHLY recommend this one.

I purchased it from Amazon streaming, and I’m not sure if it is available in other markets, so check that out if you don’t use Amazon.

The actors did beyond amazing with this movie. There is not a dull moment, not a wasted line…perfection.

Now, keep in mind this movie mainly covers Clark’s ( Real name Christian Gerhartsreiter) marriage to Sandra Boss and his scam towards her.

48 hours has several episodes with him, and also there are books available that detail more of his history, aliases and crimes.

I actually first became aware of him while on vacation in the beautiful area of Canaan Valley, WV

We were relaxing in a rental home and came across Court TV live. As true crime buffs, we got to see Sandra Boss testify on the stand.

They battered her, but she held her own. She was a highly successful working Mom and simply never stopped to question so many things that seemed obvious to the rest of us.

And, I honestly think she was enamored by the name Rockefeller.

A great movie to watch if you are a True Crime buff.

Christian Gerhartsreiter

Christian Gerhartsreiter

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter is a convicted murderer and impostor. Born in Germany, he is serving a prison sentence in California.



What happens when you open your home to the perfect stranger?

Anna Klein is ready to return to work as a literary agent for the first time since having children. She and her husband, Josh, decide to hire a live-in nanny with some trepidation, but all their misgivings disappear as soon as they meet Oaklynn Durst. She has stellar references, a calm disposition, and a natural way with children. Not to mention their kids simply adore her.

But not long after Oaklynn arrives, the children start to come down with the most puzzling illnesses and inexplicable injuries. When the maternal Oaklynn is there to comfort everyone, Anna can’t help feeling a little eclipsed. And suspicious. Her husband and friends assure her that her anxieties are getting the best of her—Oaklynn is perfect. But Anna’s not so sure…

As she delves into Oaklynn’s past, she discovers too late that the woman who has been living in her house is not at all who she claims to be. But Oaklynn’s not the only one who has been lying. And when everyone’s dark secrets are forced into the light, the consequences may just turn deadly.


I enjoyed this book, even though the pacing was slow and the characters were shallow, I still liked it.

I prefer books that show me the story instead of pages and pages of telling me.

But again, that’s just me. It is still a good story and leaves you guessing.

This would be a good book to take on a trip.

Available on Amazon June 18, 2019

A must read for true crime buffs!


The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challenging cases.

The FBI’s pioneer of criminal profiling, former special agent John Douglas, has studied and interviewed many of America’s most notorious killers—including  Charles Manson, ”Son of Sam Killer” David Berkowitz and ”BTK Strangler” Dennis Rader—trained FBI agents and investigators around and the world, and helped educate the country about these deadly predators and how they operate, and has become a legend in popular culture, fictionalized in The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television shows Criminal Minds and Mindhunter.

Twenty years after his famous memoir, the man who literally wrote the book on FBI criminal profiling opens his case files once again. In this riveting work of true crime, he spotlights four of the most diabolical criminals he’s confronted, interviewed and learned from. Going deep into each man’s life and crimes, he outlines the factors that led them to murder and how he used his interrogation skills to expose their means, motives, and true evil. Like the hit Netflix show, The Killer Across the Table is centered around Douglas’ unique interrogation and profiling process. With his longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, Douglas recounts the chilling encounters with these four killers as he experienced them—revealing for the first time his profile methods in detail. 

Going step by step through his interviews, Douglas explains how he connects each killer’s crimes to the specific conversation, and contrasts these encounters with those of other deadly criminals to show what he learns from each one. In the process, he returns to other famous cases, killers and interviews that have shaped his career, describing how the knowledge he gained from those exchanges helped prepare him for these.

A glimpse into the mind of a man who has pierced the heart of human darkness, The Killer Across the Table unlocks the ultimate mystery of depravity and the techniques and approaches that have countered evil in the name of justice.

This book is a Must Read for all True Crime buffs! I had to put it down a couple of times because holy cow!



Please pre-order this book while it is available for $9.99, even though it won’t be released until October 8, 2019!

I will remind you when the publication date grows closer, but do yourself a favor and pre-order now!

This book blew my mind!

Think “A Handmaids Tale meets Author Alice Walker.”

Author Kim Liggett puts pen to paper and creates a world you step into as soon as you open the cover, and you physically and emotionally feel you are a part of this world with each turn of the page.

This book is a journey, not just a reading experience.

And this book is particularly chilling given the views towards women in our current environment.

We are told to lay back and enjoy the rape, our bodies will respond this way and that.

You know what I mean.

This book is still sticking with me, even though I read it a week ago.

Here is the description:


A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!

“A visceral, darkly haunting fever dream of a novel and an absolute page-turner. Liggett’s deeply suspenseful book brilliantly explores the high cost of a misogynistic world that denies women power and does it with a heart-in-your-throat, action-driven story that’s equal parts horror-laden fairy tale, survival story, romance, and resistance manifesto. I couldn’t stop reading.” – Libba Bray, New York Times bestselling author

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.



The first book of his I read was “A Man Called Ove” Fredrik Backman is now one of my favorite authors and I cannot recommend his books highly enough!

A great book for all ages! “THIS LAND IS MY LAND” by Andy Warner and Sofie Louise Dam


Tired of your country’s bad politics? Feeling powerless to change things? Start your own utopia instead! This nonfiction graphic novel collects the stories of 30 self-made places around the world built with a dream of utopia, whether a safe haven, an inspiring structure, or a better-run country. From the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands to the Indian rock garden of Nek Chand, the micronation of Sealand to the pirate-founded, anti-slavery community of Libertatia, here are the empowering and eccentric visions of creators who struck out against the laws of their homelands, the approval of their peers, and even nature itself to reshape the world around them.

This book starts with an Owl talking about the atmosphere with politics these days.

It’s told in graphic novel form which makes it even more enjoyable to read.

It talks about micro-nations, some that are gone and some that are still around.

A very informative and entertaining book!

Written by the daughter of the BTK killer.


What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.

“No easy answers here. No platitudes. Only raw honesty, written with the gracious authority of one who has glimpsed hell. Kerri Rawson shares her earned wisdom and a hope that has been bought with tears and nightmares. This book is a gritty must-read in the library of hope.”

—Paul J. Pastor, author of The Face of the Deep and The Listening Day

Available Editions

EDITIONOther Format
PRICE$22.99 (USD)


I really, really, really, looked forward to reading this book and waited impatiently to see if I was approved to read and review.

I think Kerri, (BTK’s daughter), HAD to write this as a form of therapy, but it wasn’t the book I expected.

I remember watching on live tv, the BTK killer standing up in court and recounting his crimes from memory, in a calm matter of fact voice.

You could tell he was enjoying the attention, but I couldn’t look away.

Kerri is totally honest in this book and makes no apologies for her father.

She found religion and talks WAY too much about it in this book. I mean, good for her if that’s what gives her peace, but it was entirely too much.

Put yourself in her shoes while reading this book. Can you imagine your Father, or even closest friend being a serial killer?

How would you feel knowing someone you were close to was a serial killer?

If you are interested in this case, by all means read this book, it isn’t a waste of time, I just skimmed often.



In Dan Zettwoch’s Science Comics: Cars, you’ll learn where cars came from and how they work. When you pop the hood, what are you looking at? How does gasoline—or electric batteries, or even steam—make a car move? Rev up your motor and take look at the combustible history of the automobile and its explosive effects on our modern lives.

Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic—dinosaurs, the solar system, robots, and more. Whether you’re a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty year old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!


You can find these comics on Amazon and also check out for the full library!

This series is beyond wonderful and a great way for your kid to enjoy reading and learning!

They cover many topics, such as weather, cats etc.

Pretty much everything under the sun!

My Lovely Wife by- Samantha Downing. One of my favorites of 2019!

Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.


If you have just finished reading an amazing book such as “Verity” by Colleen Hoover, and you are having trouble keeping interest in other books, give this book a shot!

You may think you know, but you don’t!

This book has a lot of amazing and wonderful twists!

Millicent and her husband seem to have a normal life, but they have a dark secret.

And Millicent has her own secrets.

So does her husband.

Even though they are not nice people, you will still be rooting for them.

Or her…

or him…

I’ll let you decide.

Available on Amazon.

Thank you NetGalley for this copy to review!


A moving and insightful collection of quotes, memories, and images celebrating the life of Anthony Bourdain 

When Anthony Bourdain died in June 2018, the outpouring of love from his fans around the world was momentous. The tributes spoke to his legacy: That the world is much smaller than we imagine and people are more alike than they are different. As Bourdain once said, “If I’m an advocate of anything, it’s to move…Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.”

Anthony Bourdain Remembered brings together memories and anecdotes from fans reminiscing about Bourdain’s unique achievements and his enduring effect on their lives as well as comments from chefs, journalists, filmmakers, musicians, and writers inspired by Bourdain including Barack Obama, Eric Ripert, Jill Filipovic, Ken Burns, Questlove, and José Andrés, among many others.

These remembrances give us a glimpse of Bourdain’s widespread impact through his political and social commitments; his dedication to travel and eating well (and widely); and his love of the written word, along with his deep compassion, open-mindedness, and interest in lives different from his own.

Anthony Bourdain Remembered captures Bourdain’s inimitable spirit and passion in the words of his devoted fans as well as some of his closest friends and colleagues.


I read and reviewed this book ages ago, but I still remember it clearly and I still love it!

I’m terrified the movie adaptation will ruin it, but I am still keeping my hopes up that they did the book justice!

I highly recommend reading the book first!

Book Trailer – WHEN I LOOK UP | Clavis Publishing, New York


I am a HUGE fan of Audrey Hepburn, and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is one of my all time favorite movies, (and book of course!)

However, beyond her film career I knew very little about her.

This is the PERFECT book for Audrey Hepburn fans! Do not expect a “Hollywood Royalty” story, this book covers her childhood and her experiences during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

As a Holocaust researcher, I was shocked that I didn’t know she was in the Netherlands during WWII.

“We saw young men put against the wall and shot, and they’d close the street and then open it again and you could pass by again…Don’t discount anything awful you hear or read about the Nazis. It’s worse than you could ever imagine.”

~Hepburn on the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands

This book is long, as it is very detailed, but it does not get boring at all!

I will definitely read this book over again and again.

It left me with a greater appreciation for the Actress who has entertained me, whose quotes have inspired me, and whose sense of fashion has found its way to my own closet.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to go see a showing of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s in Concert.”

It was an amazing show! It is hard to do it justice when describing it.

During the speaking parts, you heard the voices of the actors/actresses on screen, but the score was played by a live orchestra onstage.

If it ever comes to your area, be sure to go see it!




Yesterday, I saw a tweet that said,

If you don’t give a book five stars, you better explain why!”

Sorry, but your readers do not owe you anything.

It doesn’t matter if you gave them the book to read and review, if it was gifted by someone else, or if they purchased it themselves.



To me, FIVE stars means I enjoyed it so much, and found the writing, plot and characters so flawlessly written, that I am putting that book on BLAST on ALL of my social networks, and to my friends and family.

FIVE stars is a book that I devoured and enjoyed and could not stop thinking about.

Stop thinking that getting THREE stars is a bad thing!

Most people feel that THREE stars means it was good.

Stop acting like people owe you a typed review.

Many people do not like leaving written comments, or they don’t know how to write it.

Many people think that writing, “It was good, I enjoyed it,” isn’t enough, so they don’t bother.

And…many people look at the stars and not the comments anyway.



Watch your attitude or you’re going to lose the few readers you have, who will talk to other readers, and you will lose them too.

Your skin needs to be thick when you are a writer or any other type of creative person.

Unfortunately, there will always be battles of entitlement between Authors and Readers.

Over many things, for many reasons, both right and wrong.

Take the high road.

The best place to start is by NOT telling your readers what they “BETTER” do.



From the bestselling author of The Marriage Lie and Three Days Missing comes a riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved

Beth Murphy is on the run…

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning—one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing…

A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.


When I first started reading this, I got “Gone Girl” vibes. Actually, I had “Gone Girl” vibes for a fairly decent chunk of this book.




This book was so wonderful and such a fulfilling reading experience that I wanted to cry happy reader’s tears.

You know how you feel after going through a reading slump and you find an amazing book? THIS WAS IT!

While reading, you know something is up, and that things aren’t as they seem to you.

And then later, way later in the book, you start thinking, “Maybe?” “No way!”

Yes way! Ha ha!

Lock yourself in your bathroom, fake bed sick…something!

Just do whatever you have to do to get the time to read this book from cover to cover!

I cannot wait to read more books by Kimberly Belle!

Thank you #NetGalley!





January Gray’s Book Lamp Reading Room

I interviewed book and lifestyle blogger January Gray about her distinctive online reviews, her historical research and her use of meditation and chakras to deal with Graves’ Disease.

Leslie: Can you describe, please, your own approach to your book reviews and to your ‘Lipstick Zombie Beauty and Brains’ blog?

January: I think what makes my blog different from others is I review a large variety of genres. I read/review everything except romance, horror and paranormal. Although in full disclosure, I do slip in a romance from time to time. Also, I’m also known for my fairness and honesty. Writing is hard, and I’m not going to slam an indie author for minor errors. I read/review for both well-known established authors and indie authors, but my main focus are the indie authors.

For my Beauty and Brains blog, I like to focus on realistic lifestyle goals. I think the YouTube makeup tutorials that cover many products and take a while to apply, are more for the younger crowd, not the regular working woman or Mom. I also like to focus on products that are affordable, although I plan to start doing a Splurge Saturday, just for fun. For example, $500 Chanel Sunglasses that none of us will buy but can dream about.

Leslie: You also research the Holocaust. Can you say something about how you do it and how it started?

January: I think I started as most do, by reading The Diary of Anne Frank. It wasn’t until the internet came about that I learned of more books and diaries, and of Yad Vashem in Israel. I have been to that museum twice and have connected with the people who run it and work there. I currently help out with The Children of the Lodz Ghetto Project, where we try to trace what happened to the children who were held there.

Leslie: You have Graves’ disease. How does it affect you and what are the causes?

JanuaryGraves’ disease is caused by a malfunction in the body’s disease-fighting immune system, although the exact reason why this happens is still unknown. Basically, this means my body does not recognize itself, so it attacks like it would the flu virus. It makes me very tired, dry skin, blurred vision.

Leslie: You have been seriously ill with thyroid storms. Can you describe, please, a typical attack and how you deal with it.

January: The thing about thyroid storms is I never know when they are going to happen. I could be feeling great one minute, and then the next very ill. They only last about ten minutes, but they are exhausting.

January Gray

Leslie: How has Graves’ disease changed your outlook on life and the things you do?

January: It took so long for my Graves’ disease to be diagnosed, that I am just grateful that I know what is wrong with me, and how to handle it. Keeping stress levels down really helps, so I use a lot of essential oils.

Leslie: What have you learned from having a medical condition?

January: I appreciate the moments I feel great, and have learned that thyroid storms will pass.

Leslie: What have your learned about the world and about yourself from having Graves’ Disease and working on books, beauty therapy and historical research?

January: From Graves’ disease, I have learned that educating others about an invisible illness and having their understanding helps greatly. I have made some wonderful friends both on-line and off from my book reviewing, beauty blogging and Holocaust research. With all of the bad in the world, it is wonderful to find people you can relate to on many levels.

Leslie: When do you meditate and how do you prepare yourself to do it?

Sapta Chakra an early 19th century manuscript illustrates the esoteric correspondences between subtle energy and Tibetan psycho-physiology

January: I meditate late afternoon, as that fits my schedule better. To prepare, I either run a portable heater or fan depending on the season. I sit or lounge in a comfortable position and focus on the noise of the heater/fan. Once I’ve calmed, I listen to ocean noises and just breathe.

Leslie: What are your best colours and chakras and how do you work with them?

January: I like to do a complete chakra cleanse at least once a month, but daily I focus on the 7th Chakra (Crown), which is the color Violet and is for peace/oneness. I feel if I keep that one cleared, it will help me handle life and all the rest.

January Gray also edits her own online paper THE BOOK LAMP READING ROOM which you can read here.

Next week prolific Welsh artist Penny Jones talks about her struggles to become a professional artist, her journey from landscape painting to abstraction and her courageous performance art.


  1. Heaven’s Rage is a memoir that explores addiction, cross-dressing, bullying and the hidden sides of families, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. “A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage” – William Blake. You can read more about/buy Heaven’s Rage here.
  2. Purple is a coming-of-age novel, a portrait of modern love and a family saga. Set in the North of England, it follows the story of shy ingénue Matthew Lavender living through the wildness of the 60s and his grandmother Mary, born into a traditional working-class family. You can read more about/buy Purple here.
  3. Blue tells the story of Richard and Vanessa Lavender, who join a 90s feminist collective sharing childcare, political activism and open relationships. You can read more about/buy Blue here.
  4. Violet is about late-life love. It begins in 2003 with Beth Jarvis and James Lavender on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister… Signed copies of Violet can be bought here.


Dear book readers,

Some of you are slowly murdering the souls of Authors and you don’t even realize it.

No, it’s not by leaving a bad review. ALL writers get bad reviews throughout their career.

If you didn’t like the book, you didn’t like the book and that’s fine. We aren’t going to enjoy every book we come across.

Reviews are important to Authors, because more reviews equal more exposure.

If you only want to leave stars for your review and not write any comments, that is still super helpful.

Authors do like comments because they want you to discuss their books, and also let them know what you liked or didn’t like.

Authors want to grow as storytellers.

So, I’m not saying don’t leave a BAD review, I’m telling you this:

  • DO NOT LEAVE A BAD REVIEW IF YOUR BOOK DID NOT DOWNLOAD PROPERLY! (Contact Amazon Customer Service for this issue. This is NOT the fault of the Author, it is an Amazon issue!)

Okay, I’m finished yelling. 🙂

Writing and establishing a career as an Author is hard work. Please don’t blame the Author for the things that are not in control of.

Please stop murdering the souls of Authors, they are already bleeding for you.



I wish you the best year ever!

I hope you got some books you were wanting as gifts!

Have you finished reading them, and need something to read?

Is your wallet hurting after the Holidays, or perhaps you and your family are affected by the Government being shut down?

Here are some places where you can get free books to read.

First, if you are on social networks, MANY Indie Authors will happily send you a free copy of their book in exchange for review.

And PLEASE do leave a review, even if only a few sentences.

Amazon of course has free Kindle books and they also have Giveaways for books.

LibraryThing also has Giveaways. It’s easy to set up an account there free of charge.

GoodReads. Authors are all the time doing Giveaways. Again, free and easy set-up.

One of my favorites is NETGALLEY.

A free site with simple e-mail set-up.

You do not have to be a blogger to get books from them.

This is the best place to go if you want to read something for free NOW!

You can go through and request books and wait for approval or denial (they will let you know.)

And, you can also go to READ NOW, to immediately download the book of your choice.

Let me know if you try any of these, and Happy New Year!




After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family — and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.
For ages 9-12.
About the Author: Monika Schröder writes novels for middle-grade readers. Her books include My Brother’s Shadow, which was nominated for the 2014 New York State Reading Association’s Charlotte Award; Saraswati’s Way, a Story of an Indian Street Child, which Bank Street College named one of the best books of 2011; and The Dog in the Wood, which earned a starred review from Kirkus and was chosen by VOYA as “Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.” Monika grew up in Germany but has lived and worked in Egypt, Oman, Chile, and India. She brought an Indian Street dog, whom she calls Frank, from New Delhi to her current home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. When Frank isn’t demanding her attention, Monika invents vegetarian dishes, bakes cheesecakes, and tends her garden.



A powerful and haunting story about the seductive allure of fairy tales and the freedom that comes with waking up to reality

When Teresa sleeps—sometimes for days at a time, the scent of roses surrounding her—she dreams of the Arias, outlaw riders on white steeds, who roam the desert at night. She was told about the dark-eyed horsemen by her mother, Dina, who left her own bedroom window open at night in the hopes that one would take her away from her parents’ house in Santa Fe.

Teresa, who cannot find a cure for her mysterious sleeping sickness, has one true ally: her brother, Silver. Wild and handsome, Silver exerts an irresistible force over everyone he meets—women especially. He pursues a life of crime and danger, and the older he grows, the more reckless he becomes. Teresa wants to break free but is drawn back to her brother again and again, pulled by the belief that he is the night rider of her dreams. Only when she realizes that she has the strength to save herself will she finally be able to open her eyes and walk away.

A lyrical blend of the mythical and the real, White Horses has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as a book that “will reverberate in readers’ imaginations for a long time.”


If you haven’t read any of Alice Hoffman’s books, you need to and this is a great one to start with!

Her writing is smooth and her stories are always unique and interesting.

Beautiful and haunting



That was their instruction.

But fate tripped them up, and they fell in love.

Under the fluorescent sun of ‘80s Hollywood, aging ballerina Peridot “Peri” Jones and her new partner, seventeen-year-old Mark Maroulis, Jr., ignite a chemistry onstage that brings a dying ballet company back to life.

Although wary of their age difference, they begin a highly charged love affair offstage. They keep the romance a secret because artistic director Mr. D considers Peri to be his. When Mr. D discovers their relationship, he wrenches Mark and Peri far apart. Will they be able to dance themselves back together?

Lyrical and poignant, the story unfolds through the structure of a classical ballet grand pas de deux. It delves into themes of toxic masculinity, the sacrifices that art exacts from its practitioners, and the challenges of an inverse May/December relationship.

The Pas de Deux combines the classical ballet setting of Billy Elliot and Astonish Me (Maggie Shipstead) with the upside-down romance of On the Island (Tracey Garvis-Graves). It draws parallels among three genocides of the 20th century—Armenia, AIDS, and the Holocaust—and a suggestion rooted in dance practices to address intolerance.

Author Interview

What draws you to this genre?

Romance embodies the Hegelian dialectic, which is a super fancy way of saying the genre presents two contradictory worldviews (the hero and heroine’s) and then unifies them. This is why some of my favorite novels (from Pride and Prejudice to A Knight in Shining Armor) are romances.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Accurately portraying the ‘80s. While the decade isn’t that far away, it took tons of research to ensure everything from clothing to a Guns N’ Roses show that occurs at a climactic moment was period appropriate.

Why do you write?

Fiction offers access to another person’s headspace, which can broaden our understanding of what makes somebody tick. I consider dance to be my genre, and that allows me enormous leeway in tone, content, and style in all my books.


I requested this from NetGalley simply for the description of the book and the fact I used to dance ballet.

Now, before you go crazy on me because this is a Romance, and I don’t read Romance, this book was not they typical style of Romance that turns me off.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Romance once in awhile and this one really got to me.

Well written, interesting characters and a solid story.



“Can I just be Marissa, please? I want to be hilarious and sexy and smart and insanely knowledgeable about wine.” —Mindy Kaling

A fresh, fun, and unpretentious guide to wine from Marissa A. Ross, official wine columnist for Bon Appétit.

Does the thought of having to buy wine for a dinner party stress you out? Is your go-to strategy to pick the bottle with the coolest label? Are you tired of choosing pairings based on your wallet, instead of your palate? Fear not! Bon Appétit wine columnist and Wine. All The Time. blogger Marissa A. Ross is here to help.

In this utterly accessible yet comprehensive guide to wine, Ross will walk you through the ins and outs of wine culture. Told in her signature comedic voice, with personal anecdotes woven in among its lessons, Wine. All the Time. will teach you to sip confidently, and make you laugh as you’re doing it.

In Wine. All The Time., you’ll learn how to:
   • Describe what you’re drinking, and recognize your preferences 
   • Find the best bottle for you budget and occasion 
   • Read and understand what’s written on a wine label 
   • Make the perfect pairings between what you’re drinking and what you’re eating 
   • Throw the best damn dinner party your guests will ever attend 
   • And much more


I received this from NetGalley and had requested it “Just Because”

Because, wine right?

I am NOT a wine snob by any means.

I have eaten at some very fine restaurants where wine was paired with my meals, but personally I am not that informed.

This is a delightful and fun book if you are a wine lover regardless of your budget or knowledge.


Land’s Maid Tops February Indie Next List

January 4, 2019
By Erin Somers

The ABA named Maid by Stephanie Land its No. 1 pick for January. Sample it now in our Buzz Books 2018 Fall/Winter, along with Elizabeth McCracken’s Bowlaway and Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient, both Indie Next picks for February. The rest of the list:

Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
Go Ahead in the Rain, by Hanif Abdurraqib
The Collected Schizophrenias, by Esme Weijun Wang
Deep Creek, by Pam Houston
The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin
The Girls at 17 Swann Street, by Yara Zgheib
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
The Current, by Tim Johnston
The Age of Light, by Whitney Scharer
Leading Men, by Christopher Castellani
The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict
The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff
Golden Child, by Claire Adam
When You Read This, by Mary Adkins
The Weight of a Piano, by Chris Cander
You Know You Want This, by Kristen Roupenian
The Falconer, by Dana Czapnik



Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!

Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Timesbestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.

A dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men

King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.
     But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day two men and a boy wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?
     A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.

What happens new technology and love for food and cooking come together? Are you ready to find out the answer?
Create many extraordinary moments and share them with your loved ones!
Cooking with Instant Pot in #2019 is a perfect example of a scientific cooking method and you will become a kitchen hero in no time with this Instant Pot cookbook.
In this Instant Pot cookbook you will find lots of ingenious recipes starting from breakfast through lunch and dessert to dinner. Let yourself discover a new world of dishes and turn your kitchen into a home restaurant.

This Instant Pot recipe book consists of the following categories which will introduce you to the Instant Pot lifestyle forever:
Tender & Juicy Beef and Poultry instant pot recipes
Fish & Seafood
The 4Ss i.e. Soups, Stocks, Stews and Sauces
Appetizers & Snacks
Delicious Sous Vide Desserts
….and many, many more

On the top of that you will find an instruction how to use your Instant Pot properly along with a vast cooking variety encompassing the majority of common ingredients, and the time it takes to prepare!
Eating has always been a foundation of cultivating human relations regardless of the epoch and culture. It has never been solely an act of fulfilling a bodily need but a deeply integrating process. Can you imagine the ones you really love joining you at the table celebrating each other’s company with a meal being a pure delight and a benefit for your body?
Actually… you don’t have to imagine it, this Instant Pot cookbook #2019 will do it for you!

Truly, Madly, Guilty…

I bought this book in paperback on a whim during a Target run. I have read “What Alice Forgot” by this Author, and I enjoyed it enough so I thought I would give this one a try.

I’m torn about how I feel about this story.

I did find this book hard to put down, however, I’m still really not into her writing style.

As with “What Alice Forgot,” so much of the book could have been chopped, and you would still have a good story.

In “What Alice Forgot,” one chapter would be about Alice, and the next would be a diary entry, I believe written by Alice’s sister.

In this book, you could honestly just read the chapters titled “The Day of The Bar-B-Q and you would have a good story.

I feel like this Author’s goal is word count.

I hate to say that, but this is the 2nd book I’ve read by Lianne Moriarty and the format is the same as the first one.

This story was too drawn out, but curiosity killed this cat.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I especially appreciated the children having bigger roles in this book than they do in most stories.

Usually they are just background noise, but these children had big roles and important parts of this story.

I don’t know. I may or may not read future books by Lianne Moriarty.

This was a decent read after the rush of the Holidays on a cold Winters night.

After writing my review, I checked out the stars it got on Amazon, and they hit all ranges from 1-4.

I would give this a three.

Consider this for reading on a cold night like I did, or even a beach read when the seasons change.


I came across this book by accident, and immediately purchased and started reading.

Ah, memories of Sebastian Bach and the rest of Skid Row.

I enjoyed this book, but it was rather disjointed and skipped around a lot. It kind of reminded me of sitting at the table with a drunk Uncle. You enjoy listening to him, but sometimes he skips around and you get lost in it all.

Still, a very enjoyable read.

It answered a lot of questions I had.

Sebastian came across as very honest.

It is sometimes, oftentimes, easy to forget that rock stars and celebrities in general are more than what we fans see on the stage or screen.

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Skid Row.



Sexy. Twisted. Consuming. From the #1 New York Times bestselling and award winning author Colleen Hoover comes “standalone romantic thriller that is tragic, creepy, and brilliant!” -Mel Reader Reviews
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. 
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered. 

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. 

Due to graphic scenes and mature content, this book is recommended for readers 18+.


My mind is so BLOWN    away by this book I’m not sure I have any thoughts at the moment!

My understanding is that Colleen Hoover is a Romance novelist, and this was a step out of her comfort zone for her!


I read this book in one sitting and 24 hours later, I’m still replaying parts of it in my mind!

I CANNOT get this book out of my mind!

I seriously don’t know what to think!

Is Verity as evil as we think? Or is Jeremy the bad one? He seems shady to me.

And Lowen? Is she as innocent as we think?

There were some parts of this book that I read with my jaw totally dropped to my chest.

There were times I had to put the book down for a minute and digest what I just read!

I hate to be obscene on my blogs, but the best word to describe this book is MINDF**K!

You really will think about this book for quite awhile.

Days later, you will still be mulling over it.

Now don’t get me wrong, it has an excellent conclusion.

You are not left hanging, however you are left with questions about things in the story simply because at this point, only the Author knows who is truly the evil one. Or…are there evil ONES?

This book does have some parts that may be difficult for some readers. It is suggested for 18 and up.

However, if you were able to handle the book “YOU” by Caroline Kepnes, you can certainly handle this one!

If you read it, let me know your thoughts and join me on Facebook at the Verity Discussion Group!




What would you do if you found out your husband was a serial killer?

Olivia Campbell has the life most women want. A respected husband, beautiful home, and the freedom that only financial security can provide.
But not all is as it appears…
Olivia has secrets, and after discovering a hidden journal in her husband’s study, she realizes that she’s not the only one.

As her picture perfect world starts to fall apart around her, Olivia wonders just how deep the secrets run as she finds herself immersed in the investigation of a young missing girl. 
Some coincidences are just too hard to ignore, but how far is she willing to go to discover the truth?

As Sick as Our Secrets is a dark, fast-paced thriller with strong characters. If you are a fan of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Liane Moriarty, and Caroline Kepnes, and enjoy TV shows and movies like Twin Peaks, The Killing, Law & Order: SVU, and 8MM, then this book might be your next favorite read. 


I enjoyed this book enough to maybe read more by the Author, however I wish it had went through one more round of editing. At one point, I don’t even know who was who as a wrong name was used. 

Also, the Author needed to be a little more descriptive, as I couldn’t picture the scene and sometimes lost track of where a character was exactly in the scene. 

I would not call this a psychological thriller, but it was thrilling in general for the most part.

After you read this book, please get back with me so we can discuss. I believe there is one glaring error in the story, but it might just be me. I may have read too fast and missed it, but I really don’t see how.

Also, the introduction of a new character in the last chapters didn’t work.

The main character and her friends playing detective bordered on juvenile and silly.

The reviews on this book vary between loved it/hated it.

I’m in the middle.

If you are looking for something to read on a cold Winter’s day, I would recommend this book.

Think of it as a beach read type book, but in the Winter, and the sand is snow and everything is cold!






It was a cold and very windy day, and husband was busy and I needed warmed up!

Once in awhile I like (okay, LOVE) to read Erotica.

I browsed Amazon and nothing was getting my attention.

So, as a member of Net Galley, I hoped over there, went under the Erotica section and checked out the books available in the Read Now area.

It’s where you can download and read a book instantly without having to wait for a Publishers permission.

This book is amazing even if you don’t like erotica.

In fact, this book was so well written, that if you want to skip the naughty bits, it will not ruin the story for you at all.

But come on, enjoy those naughty bits!

I am currently getting ready to download more of her books.

Her writing is crisp, clean and on point. She doesn’t waste a single word and she doesn’t put in any filler.

She is so creative! I mean, WOW! 

The entire story is simply amazing! 



He’s sexy as sin and hotter than hell and—oh wait.

What would you do to save a loved one’s life? Make a pact with the Devil?

In Diana Kingston’s defense, it was the middle of the night in the deserted hospital chapel… surely it was just a dream. She hadn’t really sold herself to a brooding stranger to save her father’s life, right? Then she wakes and her father is fully recovered and a mysterious letter arrives from the tall, dark, handsome—um, Devil? Yep, it was right there on the contract, Lucien Star, aka Lucifer Morningstar, that had been his name in the dream… Gulp. What would the Devil himself want with her? Sex. Three months of hot, sweaty, Friday night sex.

Ooookay. Breaking a pact with the Devil doesn’t seem like a smart move. So she’ll do it—but she won’t like it. Not much anyway. But she starts liking it – a lot—and every night they spend together, she likes it and Lucien a little more. Being with him allows her naughty side to come out and play, but Diana starts to see more than just a sexy-as-sin, rock-hard … er…Anyway, he might be Satan, but even he was an angel once. Kind. Noble. And she sees glimpses of that man still inside him… But how in Heaven’s name do you save the Devil from himself?



This review is going to be a little bit different, and there will be some slight spoilers.

I typically do not blog about books I did not enjoy, but this one is different. This falls in that rare gray area of maybe you will like it and maybe you won’t, so I’m going to let you decide on whether you want to give it a try or not.

Let me know if you do!


Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.

Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother, growing up in foster care. But her husband Simon is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France – nothing is too good for his family.

Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline, gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.

In the old days, she’d have distracted herself at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career behind when she got married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.

It’s almost by accident that Marianne begins to learn more about Caroline. But once she starts, she can’t stop. Because what she finds makes her wonder whether the question she should be asking is not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared’?


I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. I only finished it to find out what happened, but I did a TON of skimming.

The main character, Marianne is a weak person. I mean, pathetically weak.

She acted like she had the perfect life, but her twin boys were complete brats, and her daughter (who was from her husbands first marriage & is deceased), had an eating disorder.

Her husband expected a full and complete meal as soon as he hit the door after work, disapproved of her having friends and hobbies, and constantly made her feel as if she were crazy.

He isolated her, and controlled her. He even monitored her phone messages.

When Marianne suspected him of having an affair, she did have a few brave moments, but it never made sense to me why she didn’t print out the e-mails of proof.

Surely she could have found some place to hide them.

Now, the way she got him was worth drudging through the book!

It was EPIC!

Unexpected and EPIC!

Not everything is as you expect it to be, and the ending gives you several surprises, which are perfect!

So, if you want to slog through a lot of “poor me” and many spots of repeat dialogue, go for it.

The premise was good, but the execution was poor.

I may or may not read more by this Author.

If you read it, let me know what you think. The Amazon reviews go from 1 to five stars, so I guess it really depends on taste with this book. 

Right now, the Kindle edition is only 99 cents, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it at this moment.



I hope all of you have a safe and wonderful Holiday, no matter how you spend it.

Regardless of if you will be surrounded by family or spending it alone, I hope you can grab a moment of quiet.

Maybe pick up a book you’ve been wanting to read?

Between life getting in the way, and just being in a reading slump, my TBR pile is ready to topple!

As I posted over on my LipstickZombie ~beauty & brains~ blog, we are having a quieter, non-traditional Thanksgiving in my house, so it looks like I will finally be able to sit down with a book or two, or three…

I have several books from Indie Authors I’m looking forward to reading, along with some of these:



Those are just a few, but it really is hard to tell what I will read.

So many books and such little time!

Tell me what you hope to do and read over Thanksgiving, I would love to hear from you!


Adorable & interesting Children’s picture book!





A great educational tool!



We loved this book so much, that we implemented it into our home schooling program!  Great to use as a learning tool, especially when the weather is nice!

A big No-No, but we do it anyway! (Recipes for snacks to enjoy while reading.)

We all have had it pounded into our heads not to eat while reading. “Do nothing to damage the book!”


I think most of us do eat while reading. Of course being able to read books on a tablet, phone, or computer has probably increased in.

Personally, I do VERY little of the cooking in our household unless it’s something simple like grilled cheese. However, I do make a mean chilli!

I’ve recently started using the Slow Cooker as well, for things such as meatballs or tiny links.

Fall is here, the time will be changing soon and darkness and cooler weather is creeping in.

I thought I would share some recipes that we can all try for our Reading/Eating Autumn season.


italian snack

My husband makes these with a mild Italian sausage instead of the chicken.




I was not much of a Seafood person until I met my husband and we moved to Seattle.

I actually first tried Smoked Salmon at a little Bed and Breakfast we went to in WV.

To me, Smoked Salmon has more of a Smokey flavor than fishy.



We have not tried this recipe, but we have bough similar from Sam’s Club, and they are divine! Perfect for you non-meat eaters. 🙂



We are definitely going to try this one when the Holidays roll around!




Not only are these fun for you to make with the kids, they make a wonderful little gift for neighbors, mail delivery people, etc.

You can decorate them all festive, and even tape a small gift envelope with a Gift Card onto them.

What do you eat/drink while reading?

Happy week to all!


ALICE ISN’T DEAD ~by Joseph Fink

alice isnt dead

Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink

Published by Harper Perennial on October 30, 2018
ARC from Publisher
336 pages


From the New York Times bestselling co-author of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

“Keisha had made the decision that she wouldn’t be afraid no matter how afraid she got.”

Where do you even start with a book like this? Alice Isn’t Dead is incredible, inspiring, and easily one of the best books of 2018. And possibly my life. It’s like nothing you’ve ever read.

Alice Isn’t Dead is kind of about Alice, but it’s mostly about Keisha. Alice is Keisha’s wife, who presumably died months ago. Then, Keisha starts seeing her in the background of new coverage on every major tragedy in the US. Creepy, right? So Keisha takes a job as a truck driver that allows her to travel across the country in search of her supposedly dead wife. Along the way, she gets caught up in a dangerous scheme that threatens her life and the life of everyone she loves.

There are horrors lurking along the highway. These monsters hunt people in parking lots, in bars, in hidden nooks and under motel lights. But no matter how public, no one seems to notice. The ones who do, die next. The first monster you’re introduced to are the Thistle Men, grotesque with flappy skin and a bad smell. There is also the woman, their creator/leader. She has no name, but also many names. The last supernatural being in this book are the oracles, who are on the good guys’ side.

I really love what Joseph Fink did with these creatures – they’re a big plot twist that changes the entire book and makes you read it in a very different way. I can’t say as much as I want to because spoilers, but what you discover makes this book worth reading twice. It makes it worth reading once, in your life, but also twice just so you can read it again knowing what you know.

The last thing I’m going to say about the plot twist is that it’s what makes this novel really scary. In the beginning, it’s mostly a thriller, the Thistle Men are creepy and scary but it’s not exactly nightmare-inducing. And then things get real.

Other than that, I also love Keisha and Alice and Sylvia (a teen that Keisha meets on the road). Keisha’s journey to find her wife isn’t only about finding her wife, it’s about finding herself. Keisha has anxiety, something that Fink – and many other people, all of whom I hope read this book – also suffers from. She learns how to manage her anxiety, that it’s a part of her and not a monster hunting her. Her story is something that I really needed and I’m so thankful to Joseph Fink for writing it.

The post Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink appeared first on Stay Bookish.

A realistic approach to 31 days of Gratitude




AN UNBIASED EAR~Seeking advice in the age of overwhelming opinions~



Sometimes in life, we seek the advice of others.

Oftentimes, this is a very difficult thing to do.

It is hard to let others know we are having problems or have an issue that needs a solution.

It is hard to find an unbiased ear.

I have learned that upon seeking advice, opinions vary greatly, and these opinions often rest on which decision will benefit the person giving the advice.

You have:





They all have specific wants and needs from you, and will unintentionally (usually) try to guide you in the direction that most works for their benefit.

Unless you are dealing with a manipulative person, the advice giver most likely has the best intentions for you, but  self-interests  step in sometimes.

And, sometimes there are too many opinions floating around, too many voices.

So much so, that you might shut down and stop listening at all.


It is difficult to find an unbiased ear, but I urge you to actively seek one.

It is a wonderful thing to have someone you trust, no matter what their part in your life.

Having someone listen to you…REALLY LISTEN, is a wonderful thing.

Even better is when you find someone who is not affected by the choices you make.

They are outside looking in and usually offer the best of advice.

Remember to always consider your options before seeking advice from someone else, and try to have a goal (resolution.)

The person of wisdom you choose, will help you clear the muddy waters.




SEATTLENESS~by Tera Hatfield, Jenny Kempson & Natalie Ross








The thing I appreciate most about this book is that it goes deeper

into the culture of Seattle, just as the title suggests.

This would be helpful to the tourists, but it goes even deeper than

that. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a guide to the best sites in

Seattle and all of the ins and outs, this actually shares charts, graphs

and the history of Seattle.

I highly recommend this book for Seattle natives, tourists who really

want to understand Seattle more, and for those just curious.

Very enjoyable read that gave a lot of details but without being

bogged down.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #Seattleness #SasquatchBooks and the Authors for allowing me to read and review this very enjoyable book!



DRY! A realistic novel for many ages!




When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is

forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of

survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod


The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while

now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn,

don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a war zone of desperation;

neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when

her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened,

Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.


I tried to get this book for review on NetGalley, but I missed it by a day.

I downloaded a sample, and was hooked!

Fair warning, grab a cold pitcher of water before you

start reading!



I am not a big water drinker (I know, shame on me), but I have drank more water the past few days than I have the past three months.

With the environment in poor shape these days, and with Flint, Michigan and other places not having access to water, this book seems way to REAL!

Droughts, water line breaks, water shortages…

Several years ago, there was a leak of a chemical from a tank in poor condition, that leaked hazardous chemicals into our water.

We all had to stop using water from the faucet immediately.

It happened while I was downtown, so I thought I would run into the store and grab a few cases.


Stores were out of stock, the local stop n’ robs…everywhere was empty.

Nothing was available.

I went to my office building, and raided the drink machine for bottled water.

We had a little bit of bottled water and home and a few gallon jugs in our deep freeze, but we didn’t know how long the water would poisoned.

Thankfully, I did find some bags of ice and my cousin who is in the National Guard was able to bring us two cases.

To this day, we still don’t believe the water is clean.

This experience made us think, just as this book will make you think.

We are not full blown Preppers, but we before Winter, we always winterize our cars, and stock it with items in case we would get stuck out unexpectedly.

Since we have harsh Winters here (or used to), we do have a camp cook stove and other supplies to get through a long power outage due to a blizzard.

(We plan to get a generator soon)

But, our supplies would not last beyond a storm.

This book makes you realize how immediate and urgent things can become.

It is well written, fast paced, and very believable.

This book is great for Teens, Young-Adults and us “grown-ups!” 😉

I hope you enjoy!

And remember, have water ready before you start reading!







I highly recommend reading this, along with The Zookeepers Wife. Even if you have seen the movie of The Zookeepers Wife, I highly recommend reading both of these together.
The journey to build from the ashes is incredible!



Are you dreaming of having a She Shed? I am! I browse Pinterest like a hunting lioness!

This book goes beyond Pinterest and gives you full ideas and info.

Author Erika Kotite has emerged as the leading authority in the hugely popular She Sheds movement.Creating a She Shed has become a popular craze worldwide and has received considerable attention in major media outlets.This hardworking book features over 100 creative projects and tips designed specifically to help She Shed owners crete their own style.The follow-up to the hugely successful She Sheds book – which got media attention at print, online, TV, radio – for almost all of 2017

I highly recommend this book! Keep dreaming and maybe one day we will all have our She Sheds!

Here is the link for purchase, available October 16th 2018.



A year of Living Axiously!




A humorous look at serious/and not so serious issues.
I highly recommend!
Very insightful and enjoyable!

This book touched me



This is a great book regardless of your religion/or lack of. Personally, I’m raising my  children to follow their hearts when it comes to religion, but this is a delightful and touching book.





Ok gang, so I have to do therapy for my knee twice a week. It takes two hours but the last half hour is 15 minutes ultrasound treatment, then 15 minutes TENS unit and ice.
It feels longer than that, so I took my Kindle Oasis with me last time I went.
#NetGalley sent me this book and as soon as I opened it, I could NOT put it down!
Great characters, great storyline!
I hope this becomes a movie one day!









A Renaissance woman long before the Renaissance, the visionary Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) corresponded with Europe’s elite, founded and led a noted women’s religious community, and wrote on topics ranging from theology to natural history. Yet we know her best as Western music’s most accomplished early composer, responsible for a wealth of musical creations for her fellow monastics.
Honey Meconi draws on her own experience as a scholar and performer of Hildegard’s music to explore the life and work of this foundational figure. Combining historical detail with musical analysis, Meconi delves into Hildegard’s mastery of plainchant, her innovative musical drama, and her voluminous writings. Hildegard’s distinctive musical style still excites modern listeners through wide-ranging, sinuous melodies set to her own evocative poetry. Together with her passionate religious texts, her music reveals a holistic understanding of the medieval world still relevant to today’s readers.

Honey Meconi is Chair and Professor of Music in the College Music Department and a professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Her many books include Pierre de la Rue and Musical Life at the Habsburg-Burgundian Court. She is a cowinner of the Noah Greenberg Award for “distinguished contribution to the study and performance of early music.”


Sit back and relax while reading this book. Exhaustive research must have been done on it.

Easy to read and simply beautiful!





Around the World in 80 Ways~Children’s book.




Football guide for the new & learning fan!



This is a good book for those trying to understand football. My kids enjoyed it and they learned a lot from it.
Informative, yet doesn’t get bogged down with deep details.

New Release by Jodi Picoult!!”a spark of light”






Do yourself and your children a HUGE favor and buy this book! Amazing isn’t the right word to describe it! It is beyond amazing!
This will stay in you and your child’s memory for a very long time!

Win a Bitter Orange Hamper — Claire Fuller

Bitter Orange is published in the USA a week today (9th October). Tin House, my US publisher is running a competition for US readers to win a Bitter Orange hamper if you pre-order the book before publication day. And you can get a 30% discount off the full price if you order online through Powell’s […]

via Win a Bitter Orange Hamper — Claire Fuller



WATCH THIS SPACE! and Book Lamp Reading Room ( are gearing up to host a Giveaway for Indie Authors!





Writing is hard, and getting professional services is expensive, so keep an eye out on how to enter!










I often write here, in my beautiful office,  sipping a hot cup of coffee while Classical music plays softly in the background.

Everything is neatly organized, and I’m all set to sit down and start writing.

The words flow like a river, uninterrupted…

Later, I will relax on the patio for a light lunch, and then return to writing.

I love being a writer.

It’s a calling, not a choice,  you know.

I’m happy that I was called.

dream office.jpg





It was only a


Alas, it is only a dream.

Yes, I do have an office for writing, and of course, my book reviews. It is not my dream office, but it is nice.

It’s filled with playful kids, a supportive husband, a couple of dogs, and too many cats to count.

It’s filled with cold coffee, writers block, too many ideas and not enough time.

I would like to thank Jason H. Abbott from Twitter, for giving me the idea for this post, with his words below: 

The uninitiated think authors write at grand desks in erudite studies.

But you know the truth, fellow writer.

We write in our pajamas.

We scribe our souls into stories while laundry tumbles, while children are sleeping.

Amid chaos and insecurity, we are warriors with words.

Jason H. Abbott~via Twitter

We write between loads of laundry and kissing boo-boos and applying Minion or Sofia the First Band-aids.



NO! My laundry room is more like this:

laundry pile.jpg

I write in my favorite blue plaid pajamas, or my purple Minions on rainbow unicorn pajamas.

I write between this hug and that crisis.

I write between playing Super Hero and Princess.

I write between being a Sex Goddess and “not tonight, dear.”

It isn’t romantic in any sense. I think tv shows and movies have given the wrong idea about a writer’s life.

And that’s okay.

Because we get to write in our pajamas!

Have a great day, luvs!




that month in tuscany

I am one of those readers, who, even though I have a ton of books to read, will still buy more. Frantically, almost like they will disappear.

I am not doing anything to  improve this condition. 🙂

Amazon suggested this book to me and after reading about it, I wondered why, because I super rarely ever read romance.

Especially the boy-meets-girl-loses girl-will he get the girl back?- type of Romance.

I downloaded a sample, and was semi-hooked as I started reading.

I was afraid with the Rockstar in it, it would give me too much of an 80’s vibe. Now, the 80’s were awesome, but unless it’s the movie Sixteen Candles or Pretty In Pink, I’m not interested.

However, this did NOT give me an 80’s vibe at all.

At the end of the sample, I purchased the rest of the book.

Granted, it was predictable in a few places, but overall it was a very, very enjoyable read.

So much so, that while I was on a conference call that didn’t require much of my attention, I finished reading it on the Kindle app on my smartphone.

ALL of the characters are solid and well rounded.

The story flowed and was beautiful.

This book was originally titled Rock Her, but I feel the new title is so much better! And so much more fitting.

That Month in Tuscany . . .Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper live completely different lives. He’s a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with. She’s a regular person whose husband stood her up for a long planned anniversary trip. On a flight across the Atlantic headed for Italy, a drunken pity party and untimely turbulence literally drop Lizzy into Ren’s lap. It is the last thing she can imagine ever happening to someone like her. But despite their surface differences, they discover an undeniable pull between them. A pull that leads them both to remember who they had once been before letting themselves be changed by a life they had each chosen. Exploring the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany together – two people with seemingly nothing in common – changes them both forever. And what they find in each other is something that might just heal them both.




Virginia author Inglath Cooper is a RITA® Award winner for best long contemporary romance novel chosen each year by Romance Writers of America. “I first fell in love with reading as a little girl, devouring most of the books in my elementary school library. At some point, I decided I wanted to pursue a writing career, creating romance fiction that might do for others what my favorite books did for me. I love character-driven books that leave me feeling as if I’ve really known these people and make me wish I didn’t have to turn the last page.””Romance fiction has always appealed to me because it deals with so many of the relationships in a woman’s life. Not only the love of her life, but often her relationship with her mother, sister or best friend. Romance authors have so much room to explore many of the meaningful moments and transitions in women’s lives. And who doesn’t love a good love story?”When aspiring writers ask her how to be an author, she says, “Everything I know about writing books I learned from reading books.”Outside of writing, Inglath is actively involved in dog rescue, working with The Franklin County Humane Society to place dogs and cats in need of rehoming. She has volunteered her time in every capacity possible: serving on the Board of Directors, fundraising, photographing dogs and cats available for adoption and serving as a foster home. “Helping an abused or neglected dog go on to have a wonderful life with a family who loves them is more rewarding than I can possibly say.“Visit her website at: http://www.inglathcooper.comFollow her on Facebook at: She loves to engage with readers there.



I seriously hesitated before requesting this from Net Galley. I figured this was simply a book added to the already over saturated news of the Menendez Murders.

The author did an excellent job of covering both the Prosecution and Defense sides, and interviewed some Jurors.

It is hard to fathom kids killing their parents, especially when we only look at the outside of a life of wealth and privilege.

But, this book digs deeper and really goes inside to show the full picture.

I highly recommend this book.

Here is the link for purchase in multiple formats.

#TheMenendezMurders #NetGalley

DISGRUNTLED BOOK THIEVES: the case of OceanofPDF book piracy


A couple of weeks ago, it came to my attention that a book piracy site, known as Ocean of PDF, was taken down due to an Author complaining about it.

It is illegal to pirate books, as you are giving away something for free that does not belong to you. 

This Author had EVERY right to complain.

Before I show you some of the appalling tweets, let’s discuss why I, along with my writing  collegues are so very livid over this.




I’ve blogged about the value of an Author’s work before, because I have  seen so many readers asking writer’s to give their books away for free.

Sometimes they do.

I’ve seen new Indie Authors have books available for as low as 99 cents, and then slowly raise it as they grow their audience.

They are giving you a chance to give them a chance, for a very low cost.


when an Author refuses, I’ve seen the readers get very, very angry.


I cannot, for the life of me, make the connection between being a book lover and not valuing the work an Author put into it.

Is it because writing is romantisized in the movies?

Ah yes…

the scene…

the writer wakes up, feeds his loyal, adorable dog, fixes coffee and then sits on the porch of his writing cottage by the lake.

Then he goes in and types, types, types, types,



He’s done! It goes to the publisher tomorrow!


It’s a movie.

Many writers hold steady jobs outside of writing. They have bills to pay, responsibilities, families.

I really wish I could blame it on Hollywood, but in true seriousness, I can’t.

As a writer and reader, when I’m reading an amazing book where the words and story flow perfectly, I often pause to wonder how long the Author agonized over the paragraph I just read.













It covers why we buy more books than we can read, 12 easy ways to support Indie Authors, and much more!

Happy Tuesday!







e-BOOKS: $10-$35 PER PAGE









I have spent most of my life working as a Journalist, and Freelancer for many companies and publications across a wide variety of subjects. I worked under the guidance of many incredible and strict Editors, so I promise you will receive top-notch work from me.

Feel free to e-mail me at:


Thank you, I look forward to working with you.





Yes, dear Authors, you are still waiting on your review from me…


…and waiting

I give you a date and then I miss it. Life has seriously gotten in the way of my reading time, etc…



Starting September 1, 2018, I will be Reviewing, Editing, and Blogging FULL TIME!

So please continue to patiently wait, as I WILL get to your review!

I will also be  giving a discount for my Editing Services for the rest of the year.

I have added a BUY ME A COFFEE button on the right side of my blog.

ALL proceeds will go towards the Editing Discount for Indie Authors, and Giveaways for ALL!

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you soon!







It’s Wednesday, and I thought someone needs a pick me up to help them through the week. So, here is a Giveaway courtesy of January Gray Reviews!

Enter to win a Free Kindle book!

Remember, you do NOT have to own a Kindle to get Kindle books! You can download the FREE App onto your phone or desktop.

All you need is an Amazon account!

Good luck to all!

And to the winner, please share your thoughts on this book with me!


Here is the link! Happy Wednesday, luvs!

If you don’t win (Sorry, but stay tuned as I will be doing more on many books.)

Here is the link to purchase. As of this posting, it is only $1.99 for Kindle.




On a rare day when I was actually watching television, I saw a preview for a new series starting on September 9th on Lifetime.

At the end, the preview told me it was based on a BOOK! YAY!

So, I checked it out on Amazon, downloaded it, and started reading it. It was hard to put down!

There is a link at the bottom of this, where  you can view the trailer.





I enjoyed this book, yet I didn’t. I feel guilty for enjoying it. It’s like passing an accident, and you don’t want to look, but you do.

Every character in this book has major issues. Even the stalking victim, Beck.

Even the Doctor who isn’t a Doctor, has major issues. (Psychologist)

Oddly, at times, I found myself rooting for Joe (the stalker)

He was likable, yet you loathe him as you read further along.

What is unique about this book is the style of writing the Author used.

It is told from Joe’s point of view in a deep and disturbing way.

Although this is Fiction, if you like watching shows on ID, or true crime, you will like this book.

Even though I have already read the book, I’m considering purchasing the Audio version because I’m interested in how this book is read by someone else.

Here is the link to purchase:

It’s available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle and Audio. The Hardback is almost $50 so good grief, Amazon what is up with that?

Please purchase elsewhere if you prefer Hardback!



Happy 4th of July!


<a href=””>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

seattle forth.jpg

I’ve had a blast taking a long vacation. There were a few minor interruptions, but the time away was enjoyable nonetheless.

Soon, I will have a large assortment of incredible books I suggest you get your hands on!

Stay safe this Holiday!



the way he loved me.png



Wow what a read! I stayed up WAY too late reading this from cover to cover, but it was worth it!

Tess is a woman who is dealing with a split with her husband due to the deaths of their two children.

She’s recovering from breaking down and losing almost everything while suffering from depression due to all of these events.

So…the book starts out with her walking home from her job at the garden center, and once she enters her home, she finds a little boy sitting in her kitchen drawing.

He tells her an angel brought him, and that she is his new Mom.

The police are summoned, and due to a an event in Tess’s past, she is accused of kidnapping him.

There are also moments throughout the book where she doubts herself and wonders if she indeed did kidnap the boy.

This is not simply a story about proving herself innocent, this is a story where all of the characters have a solid backstory, a goal…an agenda, and it all intertwines perfectly.

I “kinda sorta but not really,” had the conclusion figured out. I did theory wise, but not who and why.

Totally enjoyable book!

The author made you feel like you were there. You could imagine and feel the cold weather, and the emotions of the characters.

I downloaded this last night, planning on reading it while on vacation starting late next week, but when I opened it to see what the first few pages were like, I was hooked and read it all!

Oh, and I adored the character named Ben.

This is an amazing read and I highly -beyond highly- recommend it!

I’m looking forward to reading more from this Author.

Here is the link for purchase. It is available in several formats, including audio!








I did not love this book, nor did I hate it. I got it because of the title, because I LOVE Def Leppard. (Yes, for that reason.)

This book would make a good Summer/Vacation or “too busy to really read much,” type of read, as in that it is interesting, however, you won’t miss it if you have to put it down for awhile.

It starts with the main character (Amy) listening to her daughter practice piano, and while doing so, reflects back on her life. It is interesting enough, but then kind of wanders, and sometimes it takes you a minute to realize who is nararating.

I think this was intended to be a Girl Meets Boy-loses boy type of book, but I seriously ended up not caring if she and Nick got  together or not.

I realize Amy was fresh out of college, but she was 12 year old love struck/forlorn all throughout this book.

And, there are several characters in this book who are just there. They really don’t have a reason or story line.

But never fear, this IS worth reading. As light as it is, I recommend still giving it a read.

Amy is one of those types of people who will take the road of least resistance. That is fine, however I was left feeling she was left unhappy with her job choice, and unfortunately took a career path that probably wasn’t of her choosing.

But…that is the point of this book. Looking back at choices made, re-evaluating your life, and possibly going after your original dream.

I could have done without Nick’s journal completely.

Again, this is a good book to read when you are just looking for something entertaining, but don’t expect a deep or complete read.

There were a few annoying spelling errors:

Head over Heels was written: Head Over Heals

And several times, it should have read, “An MBA, not And MBA.”

This book is getting mixed reviews, and in full-disclosure, most of you know a book like this isn’t my particular cup of tea, but I still recommend it. Stick it in your bag for those times you are stuck waiting for the doctor, or want something to read on your lunch break.

It’s an excellent book to take outside when your kids are playing and you want to read, but still need to give them proper supervision :). You will enjoy this book, but you won’t mind when you are interupeted.

Here is the link for purchase, and last I checked it is on Kindle Unlimited.

I think more people will enjoy it than not.

I think the author means for this book to be a stand alone, but I wouldn’t mind reading another book of hers telling Nick’s side of the story, or continue Amy and Nick’s story with him telling it.



A Mystery with a Twist! THE FLOWER GIRL MURDER~by Keith Hirshland


Keith Hirshland keeps getting better and better with every book! This is the third book of his that I have read, and I am grateful to him for sending me review copies! 🙂

This book has murder and a bit of romance. Just a bit. Just enough for someone like me who isn’t into romance but likes a bit of it within the story.

There are many twists and turns in this book and you may or may not be satisfied with the ending, but I personally liked it.

I enjoyed the characters and story line, and look forward to reading more books written by Keith.


Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. So why would someone shoot her three times and dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina?

With no witnesses and few leads, Raleigh detective Marc Allen turns to the press for help—specifically, veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart. Heart agrees to broadcast the police department’s plea for information in his nightly newscasts.

Elderly viewer and longtime social worker Blanche Avery is positive she recognizes the photograph on the television as an older version of her friend Daisy— the young, heavily pregnant girl she met years before who made the decision to give her child up for adoption.

When Tanner Goochly Jr.—a member of a notorious crime family—becomes the victim of another point-blank shooting, Allen races to discover the connection between the murders. Could it be that Daisy was somehow involved with an illegal enterprise, or was she hiding something else, another secret to be discovered?

The body count is rising, and the suspect pool is widening. As Allen’s investigation reaches a fever pitch, he realizes that a mother’s choice could have killer consequences.

Below are the links for purchase of all of his books.



Overlooked Voices- Audio book Narrator



I used to loathe the idea of listening to a book. I do not like being read to, even if it’s something as simple as a news article someone wants to share with me.

But…life got busy, super busy, and finding time to actually sit down with a book became more difficult.

I took a chance on e-bay with a Lot for sale of Brad Meltzer audio books.

I am already a huge fan of his, so I thought that would help make the audio book transition easier.

I have tried various audio books throughout the years, but just could not get into them.

One day, on my long drive into town, I put the first CD of his audio book The Zero Game, into my cars CD player…and fell…in love!

The Narrator  is Scott Brick. His voice is amazing! He uses different voices for each of the characters, but doesn’t go overboard.

His inflection is perfect on each point.

My Mother listens to a lot of audio books, so I asked what draws her to certain ones.

She said the narrator. Some audio books she has to give up on because she finds the voice dull or annoying.

I was thrilled to discover that the other audio books I had purchased from e-bay were also narrarated by Scott Brick.

One is done by Tony Goldwyn, so I’m looking forward to that one.

The kids love their audio books, and I love that there are so many that make learning fun for them and stimulate their blossoming imaginations!

The training and coaching that audio book narrators have to go through is quite long. I was impressed.

In the future, I will do a post about my favorite audio book narrators, but until then, I would LOVE to hear who your favorites are and why!


WOW! “THE WIFE BETWEEN US” by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

the wife

I received this book in my first box from Book of the Month at the end of 2017. When I opened the box and saw the title, I went, “BOTM didn’t pay attention to my ‘What do you like to read’ answers at all! (In full disclosure, I cannot remember if they asked those questions or not, but I was initially disappointed. I love BOTM now.)

I assumed. Even after reading the short description inside the front flap, I assumed.

So, I put the book back in the box and set it aside for ‘some day.’

‘Some day,’ turned out to be around 11:30 pm last night.

When starting the book, I assumed I knew what direction the story was going to take.


I do not want to give anything away, so bear with me while I try to tell you a little about this book without ruining anything for you.

First, I finished this book maybe a little after 4 a.m. I only paused long enough to absorb what I read, and then continued.

I stayed up reading this book, knowing I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and had a busy day ahead.

WARNING: Do NOT start this book until you have time to read it cover to cover!

Call out sick from work, call a babysitter, fake an emergency…do whatever it takes to find uninterrupted reading time for this book. (*January Gray Reviews is not responsible for how you choose to find reading time should you choose any of the options above and face consequences. 😉 )

I am SO sleepy today, but it was SO worth it!

First, do not assume you know anything.

You will think this is a story of a jealous ex-wife stalking her ex-husband’s new love.


You will think the ex-wife takes after her Mother and is crazy.


You will think the ex-husband’s new love is simply an ‘upgrade’ from his ex.


Do Not Assume ANYTHING!

You will enjoy  the well rounded characters and  perfectly woven plot.

You will get irritated with certain characters weaknesses, and celebrate their strengths.

At times you will root for all, for some, and none, all in a matter of a few pages.

There were a couple of times I wanted to skim and move on, but only because I was excited about what was coming up. Do Not skim. Every. Word. Is. Important.

That’s what I loved about this book. Every word was important and mattered. There wasn’t any filler.


“Action and reaction propel the scene.”

And that’s exactly what these two authors followed while plotting and writing this book.

Also, if you aren’t into sexual scenes and swearing, this is a perfect read for you.

You will be pulled into the story immediately as you wonder who is who and what are they doing?

I would love to chatter on about this book, but as I said, I do not want to ruin a single bit of it for you, so trust me…you do NOT want to miss this one.

This book was SO awesome, that I wish I could wipe my memory of it, and enjoy it all over again.

I apologize for not telling you more about it, but you will thank me after you read it. Go into it without any assumptions and absorb every single word.

Get back to me with your thoughts about it.

There will be a movie made with the date to be announced in 2019. Read this book first. I have a feeling it will be similar to when The Zoo Keepers wife came out, and those who read the book enjoyed the movie much more than those who hadn’t.

Here is the link for purchase. It is available in several formats, including Audiobook.







Guest Blog by Author Leslie Tate!

Leslie reading Heavens Rage The Studio




When I interview authors on my blog I want to find out what lies behind their latest book. So I avoid exchanges about sales or promotion, asking them instead about the process of writing. One of the questions I ask is, ‘Can you tell me about the beginning, growth and development your book?’ Applying the same question to ‘Violet’, my latest novel, I came up with the following three-part answer.


I don’t plan my novels. I’ve never felt able to find an anecdote that translates neatly into a finished story. So I set off writing ‘Violet’ knowing only that it was about a late-life love affair. I’d a picture in my head of meeting my wife, Sue Hampton, in a West End restaurant, and I used that as my guide. I wanted to capture the fragile immediacy of our first encounter, how important it was, and how quickly it all happened. Beth and James are not like us, so their words and acts were largely imagined, but the feelings they experience were based on ours.

My first few pages are usually the most autobiographical. After that the characters take over and the ‘me’ in the story narrows down to a few borrowed details.

So here are a few examples of real-life borrowings, taken from ‘Violet’:

  • Before our meeting, Sue and I exchanged numerous letters and talked for hours on the phone.
  • On the day I had difficulty finding the restaurant.
  • Like Beth in the book, Sue turned up very early.

But the 3½ hours of intense table talk that followed between us wasn’t going to work in a novel. It was too static and far too long-winded. Even cut, it wouldn’t hold the reader. So I said goodbye to Sue and Leslie and allowed Beth and James to take over.

But I did want to capture the power of the experience. This was the story of two experienced adults diving in and going through a sea change. Translated into fiction, that meant taking risks. So James oversteps the mark, drinking from a glass smeared with Beth’s lipstick, plays mime games, and invites Beth, in the middle of the restaurant, to dance.

You can read this section of the book, together with a commentary describing how it was written, at

I was aware that I was pushing it in the restaurant scene. Of course Beth and James have already had contact, making them more open, but for weeks after writing it I kept revising and re-reading to check for plausibility. In the end it seemed to work, mainly, I believe, because the mind in the act of reading takes things for granted and often jumps ahead.

As an author, I use the selective nature of the novel to foreshorten time and work the changes. The remote is in my hands and I can press ‘hold’, ‘rewind’ or ‘fast forward’. I can also change channels. So the restaurant scene moves quickly from the nervous reality of a conventional first meeting to a lover’s dream. And the dialogue is twofold, mixing short and meaningful quips with going in deep. Everything is imagined: so Beth and James come out with things we’d all like to say but usually keep shtum, while the reported conversations blend author-talk with voices in the head. The aim is to surprise and take a view on life, but not to break the spell.


Once I have a start, the discoveries begin. Mostly I find my direction by writing it, but I also have a long-term feel for what I’d like to happen. If the two are at odds, then the short-term wins. So starting ‘Violet’ with Beth and James meeting at 50 meant I had to find a way to tell their full stories. I’d thought I might be able to flashback during the restaurant scene but found, in the end, I needed to give them separate treatment. And that meant, in James’s case, telling his backstory through his letters to Beth. In her case I began from birth in close third person, using her own juvenile stories to show how she’d changed.

So the book became layered, moving back and forth between present-day romance and Beth’s failed marriage to a born-again minister. At the same time I had an underlying feeling that the story was developing in a direction I had to follow…


Two things happened when I’d finished the book:

  1. a) Despite my resistance, the old, old tale that unconditional love has no place in an uncaring world took over.
  2. b) My wife and author, Sue Hampton, had already noticed that three of the main characters in the trilogy had traits in common. So during the writing of ‘Blue’ (the novel before ‘Violet) we drew up a family tree. This required me to write in passages connecting Matthew Lavender in ‘Purple’ to Richard Lavender in ‘Blue’ and to James in ‘Violet’.

These changes were structural. They showed me that a book is never finished. And of course there’s a ripple effect, every minor change has its repercussions, and it’s always possible to add in links and connections to improve the flow.

In the end, a novel is complex. It has to be so since people and the world can’t be easily summed up. In ‘Violet’ I tried to reflect that complexity by writing in both third and first person and by including letters, stories and Beth’s diary. But the central idea is simple: boy meets girl in later life, they fall for each other, but have to cope with misfortune. In the words of the blurb: ‘The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister.

Telling stories runs in Beth’s family, so she keeps up with her friends, following their efforts to find love in a soulless, materialistic world. But Beth’s own passion for giving and commitment is pushed to the limit as she and James struggle with her divorce problems, each other’s children, and life-threatening illness. In the end, tested by pain, they discover something larger than themselves that goes beyond suffering and loss…’


  1. Anne Williams March 16th




Books are sold in packages. On the outside they are shiny shop windows; inside they’re arranged in sections with signs and labels pointing the way. If the shop’s online then unseen assistants are steering you to the ‘right’ department where the products are neatly set out to help you ‘know what you’re looking for’. So the book shop browser is looking for the titles she/he has heard of, the nerdfighter wants TV books to act as badges, the book group choose from the competition shortlists, and we’re all conditioned to believe that we know what we want and kept safe and happy under the umbrella of brand and genre.

My new novel ‘Violet’ isn’t so easily labelled. If I had to pigeonhole it, I’d call it literary, meaning that it’s cross-genre, character-driven and language-led, with its own distinctive style. It begins with a story written by my main character Beth when she was eight, called ‘The Girl Who Began Again’, before switching to her meeting, at 50, with teacher and garden designer, James Lavender. From then on, Beth’s backstory alternates with her wildly romantic love affair with James. In the words of the blurb: ‘The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister…’

So is it Romance? Not really. It doesn’t have a HEA (happily ever after), strong males, glamour or unexpected plot twists. Yes, there is a dark prince, Beth’s ex, whose lurking presence inspires Beth’s Bluebeard’s-Castle-type story, ‘A Housekeeper’s Tale’; and there’s a teen-talk story, full of vampires and dysfunctional American families, written by Hannah, Beth’s step-daughter. But if ‘Violet’ does belong to a category, perhaps it’s lyrical realism, mainly because the novel is written in close third person, examining the intimate detail of a modern relationship. On the other hand, the book also contains sub-genre writing, including texting between lovers, a parent-teen dialogue set out as a play, dream sequences and sixty pages of Beth’s diary in the second part of the book when she’s ill.

An elegy to Beth wasn’t what I’d intended when I began writing. A doomed lovers’ tale felt like a something out of the past, but in the end it forced itself on me. That’s probably because fiction has its own conventions and adds to life rather than mirroring it. And the ‘overheard’ style of a diary allowed me to enter Beth’s mind, mixing memories with reflections, making it more about a state of being than its physical manifestations.

The final part of the book begins with James’s heartfelt, self-questioning, and ultimately therapeutic letter to his dead wife; continuing with tributes to her from old school friends, work colleagues and fellow-spirits.

But the ending, when it came, surprised me, transcending genre and passing through to the ‘other side’, where Beth sees all the characters from outside and inside, embracing even Conrad, her evangelical ex, with an author’s stereoscopic view. In afterlife she retells her father’s story, ‘The Girl Who Didn’t Like Her Name’, writes a valedictory letter to James and ends with Hannah’s picture-book ‘The little boy looked up at the grey sky’, written for Beth and echoing her own story that started the book, ‘The Girl Who Began Again’.

So the story is driven by the characters passing through extreme states, the vehicle is language in all its hybrid forms, and if ‘Violet’ has a genre it’s Relationships.


  1. Susan Hampson March 20th




I began the third novel in my trilogy, ‘Violet’, on a University of East Anglia writing course. At that time the working title was ‘Beth’. I’d chosen that name for my protagonist because it had several shortened forms, but in the end I only used two: Elizabeth and Beth. When I started the course I had the first chapter written where Beth meets James, but no idea what might happen next, except that the book was about a late-life relationship.

Novels are versions of life where we don’t declare our sources. So the beginning of ‘Violet’ drew upon my first meeting with my wife Sue Hampton in a West End restaurant. Like Beth and James we’d exchanged letters and talked for hours on the phone, but what we shared openly – Sue’s alopecia and my cross-dressing – plays no part in the book. I wanted to write about older people in love, and these issues would get in the way. In any case, according to ‘story theory’, key information like that has to be held back for a later ‘reveal’ – raising the question whether plot-driven novels falsify experience. Because in life, Sue and I knew that it was better to be completely modern, declare our secrets and risk rejection, rather than end up trying to make it work against the odds.

So fact is stranger than fiction, and hidden secrets return to haunt you.

Of course, books have their conventions, but they need to be relevant. So one of the challenges to the modern novelist is that we no longer have extended courtships where the characters can be introduced gradually. ‘Bed first, talk later’ leaves the reader with little to discover and nothing to look forward to. The action has all happened and the author is left picking up the pieces – which often translates to a voyeuristic focus on loveless relationships.

I don’t buy that way of viewing people because it’s narrow and predictable, and I’m more interested in what E.M. Foster called ‘round characters’, rather than ‘flat characters’. So ‘Violet’ mixes light and shade, shifting between Beth’s passionate, crazy relationship with James and her dark past with Conrad, an evangelical minister; Beth and James’s children develop during the story, and Beth’s relationship with her parents deepens – even if her friends Amy and Rachael become ‘flat’ materialists and Conrad, at times, turns into a one-dimensional horror stereotype.

The group on my UEA course met weekly to comment on each other’s writing. Although we’d seen advance copy – an improvement on writers’ groups critiquing pieces they’ve only heard once – I found the discussion limited by the belief that novels must be pacey, always look forward, and intrigue, disturb, impress or thrill. It seemed to me a narrow view, suitable for some genre, but lacking the reflective qualities to be found in character-based and language-led work.

There was, perhaps, another reason for this approach. It could have been a way of preparing us for the rigours of the marketplace. Because writing today is all about marketing. An army of agents, editors, promotional gurus and creative writing tutors filter ‘the product’ to fit the latest fad – leaving the authors to ‘read my lips’ and deliver. So the book trade wants action-filled page-turners where the reader is kept in the dark, and most creative writing courses privilege minimalism, post-modern trickiness, and non-disclosure. I prefer Kurt Vonnegut’s version of writing: ‘Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such a complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.’

So writing ‘Violet’ was about fleshing out everything about my two late-life lovers, including their upbringing, letters, telephone conversations and texts; it also meant following them through a series of wild outings, doing the things lovers do, without ending in cliché. In the words of the blurb: ‘The passionate, late-life love of Beth and James begins in 2003 on a blind date in a London restaurant. Attracted by James’s openness, Beth feels an immediate, deep connection between his honesty and her own romantic faith. From then on they bond, exchanging love-texts, exploring sea walks and gardens and sharing their past lives with flashbacks to Beth’s rural childhood and her marriage to a dark, charismatic minister…’

And the story developed from there, going where it had to and alternating past and future to reveal unexpected sides of the characters – including Conrad.

To quote E.M. Foster: ‘The test of a round character is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way. If it never surprises it is flat. Flat characters … in their purest form … are constructed round a single idea or quality; when there is more than one factor to them, we get the beginning of the curve toward the round.’

My aim with ‘Violet’ was to flesh out those curves.



In the UK you can buy signed copies of ‘Violet’ at

You can buy ‘Violet’ on Amazon USA at

You can buy ‘Violet’ on Amazon UK at


‘Violet is a captivating novel narrated through letters, diary entries, instant messages, poems, and other writings that create a multi-textured depth to the storyline. Leslie Tate’s fluid, musical sentence structure, vivid use of imagery and description, and skilful storytelling bring to life a memorable protagonist in the character of Beth Jarvis, an imaginative and sensitive woman. A pleasure to read!’ – Beth Copeland, Pushcart Prize nominated poet & winner of the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize


‘Leslie Tate has a beautiful turn of phrase and this work is threaded with elegant descriptive passages. The central characters are instantly likeable, and the reader has a quick and affectionate bond that hooks right from the opening pages.’ – Dawn Finch Trustee, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Children’s Writer & Librarian.



Leslie Tate’s Author Page on Amazon USA is at

Leslie Tate’s Author Page on Amazon UK is at


In the UK, you can buy:

  1. signed copies of the first novel in the trilogy, ‘Purple’, at:
  2. signed copies of the second novel, Blue, at
  3. signed copies of his trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’ at


Leslie’s website is



Leslie Tate studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and has been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes. He’s the author of the trilogy of novels ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as his trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film. Leslie runs a mixed arts show in Berkhamsted, UK, where he lives with his wife, multi-talented author Sue Hampton. On his website he posts up weekly creative interviews and guest blogs showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways.

Violet Front Cover.png





CHRISTMAS TREE BOOKSI hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!

I wish you peace, joy, happiness and much reading and writing success!

I hope you get some reading time in!

What books did you receive or choose with a gift card?

What books did you gift?

What are you looking forward to reading in the coming New Year?




CHRISTMAS BIRDS-Art & Inspiration for the Season and Beyond- by Kathleen R. Bates

Are you looking for a unique gift for the book or bird lover in your life? This beautiful book not only has artwork and information about beautiful birds, it also has inspirational messages that will be read and reread during the entire year.

This is not just a Christmas book, but it would make a lovely gift!

Here is the Amazon link:

Duet Review with some spoilers.

I apologize in advance for the spoilers, as that is one thing I do not like to do. I will try to keep them at a minimum.  I recommend these books, however the second book is not near the quality of the first one, and the ending of the two book series is sloppy and rushed.

These are the first two books I have read by this author. I found the first one by accident and was so excited for the second one I went ahead and pre-ordered it and waited three weeks.

Okay, so Lyra is the female main character in these books. She can see the date of when someone is going to die, printed on their eyes. She cannot see her own.

This makes her keep to herself and live a quiet uneventful life, until she meets Tavian and he is an outgoing, adventure seeker who changes her life.

If you like squishy, over the top romance, you will love these books, especially the second one.

The Authors’ use of Tavian calling Lyra, “Buttercup” a bazillion times is over the top annoying.

Lyra was not a well fleshed out character, actually neither character was that well evolved.

Lyra went from being a shy almost girlish , over the top teen crush type of woman, to a sexy, flirty seductress. Back and forth, back and forth.

I love a good sex scene, but these were the typical, “she stroked his long, hard c**k, he licked her juices,” typical scenes we’ve all read a million times.

Okay, to cut down on spoilers, let me put it this way.

The premise is GREAT, unique and original.

The delivery lacked horribly.

That being said, I did enjoy the first book, and I read it in one weekend.

The second book, I skimmed a lot because every three pages was sex, second verse same as the first. Bland. Bland sex scenes.

The ending will not answer your questions, and will literally not make sense. It is like the Author needed to wrap it up, so she rushed it.

I typically do not like to leave poor reviews on my blog, but even though I did not LOVE these books, they did make okay reading if you need a break from books that had more depth.

They can be purchased on Amazon.



Two chances to win a two series six book set!






An unputdownable EMP thriller with a brilliant twist!

Best Selling EMP Thriller author James Hunt, author of “Surviving the Collapse” and “Static”, which have collectively accumulated 200+ five-star reviews come together in this SUPER BOX SET for the first time! That’s TWO complete book SERIES comprised of SIX NOVELS at a discounted price!

Surviving the Collapse:  A Tale Of Survival In A Powerless World

What happens when all means of transportation and communication suddenly vanish? What happens when you can’t call for help? What happens when the only person you can rely on is yourself? Captain Kate Hillman is about to discover those answers after an EMP sends New York City, and it’s nine million residents, back into the stone age.

Static: An EMP Thriller 

The thin thread holding the civilized world together has been severed. Millions of citizens have been thrust into the unknown, breeding fear into the minds and souls of those seeking to survive. Wren Burton, an architect from Chicago, has been engulfed by the chaotic aftermath of an EMP blast. Her family is injured. The enemy is unknown. And help is nowhere to be found.


I saw the sale for these on social media, and immediately went and purchased them. I read all six books in two days!

I could not put them down!

Great plot, especially if you are concerned about the safety of our electricity grid these days.

Solid, well rounded characters with flaws. I always enjoy books when the characters aren’t perfect in their thoughts and actions.

These books have a lot of twists, turns and action!

I promise you will devour these!

And remember, Christmas is right around the corner!

Here is the link. 99 cents for six books as of this posting!



If I owe you a book review, you will get a book review. I pinky promise.

Thank you for your patience, and understanding, and I look forward to reading, reviewing, editing and promoting your books in the coming year!




How I Got a Publishing Deal and What’s Next


It’s a pretty incredible story that I have a hard time believing. I wrote Monsterland and self-published it in 2015. My mom is my publicity manager and she blitzed the bloggers with my book. That fall I was reading a book called Selling a Screenplay by Syd Field. In the book, there was an entertainment attorney named Susan Grode who seemed very knowledgeable about the publishing and film industry. I told myself, when I receive my first contract, I’m going to reach out to her to see if she could help me. About two months later, I received a post on Facebook from an agent in London who asked to represent me. I said sure and asked him to send me a contract. I emailed Susan and introduced myself and mentioned that I had someone who wanted to rep me and I was hoping she could read this contract. She told me before I sign with this London agent, why don’t I meet her friend in Brooklyn, an agent named Nick Mullendore with Vertical Ink Literary Agency. I met Nick for lunch and he signed me that day as his client. That evening, Susan brought me on as her client as well.


Nick began trying to sell my book Monsterland to the big publishers and, as expected, it was rejected. Throughout his attempts of selling, he had a call with a film agent and he was pitching her a romance novel. She said she wasn’t really into romance and was looking for something with monsters. He sent her my book Monsterland, she read it over a weekend, and we had a call that Monday. She told Nick and me if we get the book published, she will get it into a producer’s hands to make into a film. Nick found a publisher called WordFire Press owned by Kevin J. Anderson, who has written all the Star Wars and Dune canon books. WordFire signed me to a two-book deal for Monsterland 1 & 2. After the deal was signed, my film agent did what she promised and got my book into the hands of a billion-dollar grossing producer who is now shopping my book to certain studios.


In two years, I went from a self-published author, to a published author with a literary agent, an entertainment attorney, a film agent, a two-book publishing deal, a publicist, and a producer who is interested in turning my book to a film. It’s been one wild ride, to say the least.


Now, what’s next? Well, one may just sit back and relax, and do nothing. Not I. I’ve already completed Monsterland 2 which comes out May 26, 2018. I’m knee-deep in Monsterland 3. I’ve already started beating out the stories for Monsterland 4 and 5. It seems that the next five years are going to be extremely busy with creating stories centered on monsters. What could be wrong with that?



michael okon headshot



Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat  @IAmMichaelOkon #Monsterland!


YouTube – Monsterland Book Trailer #1:

YouTube – Monsterland Book Trailer # 2:



FRONT GATE public relations. Christy Awards 2017 winners!



For Immediate Release
November 9, 2017
LONG WAY GONE Awarded “Book of the Year” at
2017 CHRISTY AWARDS™ Christian Fiction Gala
Annual Christian Fiction Program gives Awards in Nine Categories that Celebrate the Best in Christian Fiction

November 9, 2017. Nashville, TN – Last night, LONG WAY GONE by Charles Martin was awarded top honors at the 2017 CHRISTY AWARDS™ Gala.  Presented by The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), the 18th annual event was held at Lipscomb University and hosted by a trio of award-winning, bestselling authors in the genre: NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, musician and writer Andrew Peterson, and award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry. Fabry also took home honors in two categories at the event.
The full list of winners in each category are:
Book of The Year: LONG WAY GONE by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
Contemporary Romance: HER ONE AND ONLY by Becky Wade (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
First Novel: STARS IN THE GRASS by Ann Marie Stewart (Barbour Publishing)
General Fiction: THE PROMISE OF JESSE WOODS by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Historical Fiction: THE MARK OF THE KING by Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Historical Romance (TIE): A NOTE YET UNSUNG by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group) and THE LADY AND THE LIONHEART by Joanne Bischof (Mason Jar Books)
Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: WHEN DEATH DRAWS NEAR by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson)
Short Form: LOOKING INTO YOU by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Visionary: THE LONG JOURNEY TO JAKE PALMER by James Rubart (Thomas Nelson)
Young Adult: THE SILENT SONGBIRD by Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)
THE CHRISTY AWARDS™ Gala also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the novel “Christy,” the award’s namesake and now rereleased through Evergreen Farm, an imprint of Gilead Publishing.  The evening capped off two days of events that helped inspire, train and encourage those established in the publishing industry as well as those aspiring to break into the market as writers or business leaders.  PubU: The Art of Curation was held as a training and networking event for Christian publishing professionals. The Art of Writing Conference was created to build community and explore the leading questions and pressing issues facing creators and curators.
“We are thrilled with the tremendous response we received to these three writing and publishing events,” said Stan Jantz, executive director of ECPA. “So many talented writers, along with members of the professional publishing community, have reinforced our belief that the art of storytelling is more important than ever. We congratulate this year’s eleven CHRISTY AWARD winners and look forward to another year of incredible storytelling.”
Sign up for award and event updates for the 2018 program at, where complete information can be found.
The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) is an international non-profit trade organization comprised of member companies that are involved in the publishing and distribution of Christian content worldwide. Since 1974, ECPA has strengthened Christian publishing by building networking, information, and advocacy opportunities within the industry and throughout multiple channels so that our members can more effectively produce and deliver transformational Christian content.
The CHRISTY AWARD™ is the foremost award honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction since 1999, and is named for Catherine Marshall’s novel, “Christy,” which has sold over 10 million copies since its publication in 1967. ECPA assumed ownership and administration of the award in 2017 to focus and grow the unique opportunity of fiction in Christian publishing.
Pictured are the award winning authors present at The Christy Award Gala with ECPA executive director Stan Jantz:
(left to right) Chris Fabry, Tamera Alexander, Jocelyn Green, Becky Wade, Ann Marie Stewart, Melanie Dickerson, Stan Jantz
1. Looking Into You (Short Form) and The Promise of Jesse Woods (General Fiction), Chris Fabry, Tyndale House Publishers
2. A Note Yet Unsung (Historical Romance), Tamera Alexander, Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group
3. The Mark of the King (Historical), Jocelyn Green, Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group
4. Her One and Only (Contemporary Romance), Becky Wade, Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group
5. Stars in the Grass (First Novel), Ann Marie Stewart, Barbour Publishing
6. The Silent Songbird (Young Adult), Melanie Dickerson, Thomas Nelson
7. Stan Jantz, Executive Director, ECPA
Photo credit:  Kristen Fields


Thank you dear one!


Today, I’m delighted to introduce Miss Scruffy.
She’s my own little terrier and the inspiration for ‘Pudding’ – Lady Ophelia’s dog in my 1920s romance, ‘Highland Pursuits’.
If you’ve read the story, you’ll know she’s a feisty little madam, and just as big a character as Ophelia herself.
I’m also excited to tell you that  ‘Highland Pursuits‘ is free today – so please do grab a copy if you haven’t already done so.
(…you can also pre-order the sequel, ‘Highland Christmas‘, for just 99p/99c at the moment)
Also on sale for the first time is my Gothic romance, ‘Italian Sonata‘.
It’s just 99p/99c – but until Friday only.
If you’d like a peek at some kinky short stories, you mustn’t miss out on claiming your copy of the latest anthology in which I feature: ‘The Big Book of Submission Volume 2‘.
As a contributor, I may invite you to receive a free download
(with my toes crossed that you’ll kindly leave a review)
Scroll down to find out more.
Last, but not least, you’ll find a selection of guest authors in my ‘steals and deals’ section.

sending you all warmest wishes

Sent by


            FREE   –  for a few days only 
Defiant debutante Lady Ophelia Finchingfield is banished to the Highlands of Scotland, where a bizarre selection of suitors are soon lining up. Ophelia only has eyes for the castle’s estate manager but he’s already spoken for, and glamorous French coquette Felicité has no intention of letting ruggedly attractive Hamish slip from the service of her bed. Intrigue abounds, as Ophelia discovers that the Castle is a hotbed of illicit cavorting.

A wickedly naughty 1920s romance.

psst – if you’ve read and enjoyed ‘Highland Pursuits’, please do leave a review. xxx
Take me to the Highlands
99p/99c – for a few days only
What dark secrets lie within those walls?
Madness, abduction, imprisonment… murder?
The past does not lie quietly.

Towering above its island of wave-lashed rock is Castello di Scogliera.
Look up at the narrow windows, and you might think yourself watched.
Something, or someone, has been waiting for Lady McCaulay to arrive…

A sumptuous Gothic Romance, filled with mystery, intrigue, and the lure of the sensuous.

Give me the shivers…
       Ready for a
feast of erotic
Another fabulous anthology release, to which I’m a contributing author, and can invite you to receive a copy with an eye to review. Just click through to complete the form (by end Nov) and editor Rachel will be in touch. Fab if you can review by end Feb 2018.
xxx- Em
ps – the story I’ve written for this anthology is one of my all time favourites – all new and unseen
Bring it on !
Sign me up !
Scroll down to find books by my fellow authors.
We love helping each other reach new readers and I’m always happy to play host to some intriguing titles.
Amazon Giftcards and free books
Over 35 authors are offering their books FREE – for a limited time. Even better, we’ve pooled funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards – just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.
Freebie-tastic !  
   Rita Stradling
We’d hated each other since childhood. Now he’s occupying my thoughts, and we may soon step over a line that should never be crossed.
Culter isn’t just irresistible. He’s  my stepbrother.
Bad choices are the most fn !
Scorched Anthology
Thirteen new, exclusive dragon-shifter paranormal romances from NYT, USA Today and other bestselling authors.
 Burn me!
  Janine Ashbless
In rural Italy, a priest keeps a dark secret beneath his chapel. This is a thrilling story of an archangel banished from heaven and the human woman with whom he falls in love.
A stunning romance story – with a personal thumbs up from me!
Janine Ashbless
When Milja released the fallen angel Azazel from five thousand years of imprisonment, she did so out of love and dity. What she hadn’t bargained on was being drawn into his plan to free all his incarcerated brothers and wage war against the Powers of Heaven.
The sequel to ‘Cover HIm With Darkness’ – a stunning romance story with a personal thumbs up from me!
Samantha MacLeod
Six juicy, ruby seeds, staining my lips and fingers. Sealing my fate. Damning me.
Every year, as the seasons turn, I must travel to the darkness of the underworld.
You think you know the story but you haven’t heard the truth.
 Tell us more…
  Maggie Carpenter
Avery has been trespassing on a private beach as payback for a broken promise, but the owner catches her and she must pay the price.
If you go down to the beach today…
Six Holiday Inspired Novellas
From humorous Regency and tender historical to quirky contemporary and gritty urban tales of faerie magic, human redemption, and the power of love.
Ooooh !
      Scarlett Scott
.She’s the American heiress he married for her fortune. He’s the heartless English rake who abandoned her after their wedding night. When they’re thrown together again, their marriage of convenience turns into something much steamier.
 We’re with you Baldr 
      Ellie St. Clair
Lord Joshua Greville, seeks adventure, secretly leading a group investigating criminal activity, the latest affecting the peerage. When Violet becomes entangled in his current case, he must act quickly to protect her.
A mystery to solve…
For Kindle Unlimited Readers
All the tiles listed are ‘free reads’ with Kindle Unlimited.
There’s a giveaway to enter too (to win Amazon giftcards).
Yes please!
More from me towards the end of November.

Miss Scruffy sends you a kiss



GRAMMY-winning Singer/Songwriter/Comedian
Mark Lowry and DOVE-nominated Songwriter/Author
Andrew Greer Launch All-New Film Series Podcast.
Debut Season of “Dinner Conversations with Mark Lowry
and Andrew Greer” Premieres Today.
Presented by Project Beautiful, First Ten Episodes Capture Table Talk
with Thought-Provoking Artists and Authors.
November 7, 2017, NASHVILLE, Tenn.  GRAMMY and singer/songwriter/author and GMA Mark Lowry-winning singer/songwriter/comedian and GMA Hall of Fame member ®DOVE Award nominee Andrew Greer have launched DINNER CONVERSATIONS WITH MARK LOWRY AND ANDREW GREER, an all-new film series podcast.
Dinner Conversations is based on the concept that communion begins with good conversation, and good conversation often begins around the dinner table. The first season, consisting of 10 episodes, finds Mark and Andrew inviting acclaimed artists, authors, and topic experts to gather around the dinner table to weigh in on a broad range of thought-provoking human interest conversations.
“In our modern day culture where we are constantly striving to be ‘heard,’ it is becoming increasingly important to make space in our lives for good conversation,” explains Andrew. “Some of the best conversations I have been a part of began around the dinner table. I keep thinking, If we could really listen to one another, perhaps we might also hear from God. So I am thrilled to host this series of table talks with my friend, Mark.”
Subtitled “Turning the Light On One Question at a Time,” Mark explains the show’s discussion-starter premise, “I love conversations that make me think. My buddy, Andrew, and I first met last year during an interview that inspired new thoughts and new ideas in both of us. I think the trend in podcasts is to provoke fresh thoughts through good conversation. With the help of our guests—some of our favorite good thinkers and table talkers—I am excited to help fire up a new batch of conversations in our homes, in our communities and within ourselves through Dinner Conversations. There’s one seat left … and it’s yours!”
Some of the season premiere episodes of Dinner Conversations include:
“Comic Grief” featuring Chonda Pierce and Ken Davis
“Blessed Are the Blended” featuring Sandi Patty
“What’s the Point of Grace?” featuring Point of Grace
“Adopted, Aren’t We All?” featuring Mark Schultz
“Fear, Forgiveness and Friendship” featuring Patsy Clairmont, Anita Renfroe and Jan Silvious.
The show’s title sponsor is Project Beautiful, an organization focused on human trafficking prevention. By targeting potential victims, Project Beautiful monitors have strategically intercepted 12,000 people from the traps of sex traffickers. The organization also provides post-rescue care for victims and helps prosecute traffickers.
We are thrilled to partner with Mark and Andrew on Dinner Conversations,” shares Doug Dvoak, Executive Director and Sr. Vice President of Project Beautiful. “Slavery still exists in the world, and that is a conversation everyone needs to hear. We love the desire they have to start the conversation and partner with us at Project Beautiful to save lives from human trafficking.”
Dinner Conversations is Produced and Directed by Andrew Greer and Mark Lowry serves as Co-Producer. Celeste Winstead is Executive Producer, and Chris Cameron of Center Street Recording is Assistant Director.
Viewers can subscribe to Dinner Conversations with Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer by clicking here.  Dinner Conversations can be viewed on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud and many other popular audio and video podcast outlets.
Mark is an internationally known singer, storyteller, humorist, As a staple member of the GRAMMY®-award-winning Gaither Vocal Band, Mark has served as the sidesplitting comedic sidekick through Bill Gaither’s best-selling HOMECOMING video series and live tours. His musical recordings have earned him multiple Dove Awards, the highest honor in gospel and songwriter. His world-famous lyric to “Mary Did You Know?” resulted in one of the most loved modern Christmas songs of this century. Co-written with Buddy Greene, the captivating Christmas tune has been recorded more than 400 times by a broad base of music luminaries like Pentatonix, Reba McEntire, Michael English, Sandi Patty and Rascal Flatts.
A deep thinker with an outrageous sense of humor (for which he often credits Attention Deficit Disorder), Mark’s life work consists of a deep discography of gold and platinum recordings.  But it is Mark’s desire to communicate profound truths through songs and stories that keep his multi-generational audience on the edge of their seats. “I leave the lights up in the audience so I can see the audience,” Mark comments. “I love getting closer to the people. And I treasure the serendipitous moments when God shows up, without warning, but very expectedly.”
A native Texan, when Mark is not ping-ponging cross-country on tour, he settles down in Houston. Visit Mark online at
A six-time Dove Award-nominated singer/songwriter and respected author, Andrew Greer is known for his old soul sound and thoughtful prose. His folk-gospel discography displays a deep affection for vintage spiritual songs, instinctively captured on his critically acclaimed Angel Band hymn series, having reached the Top 10 on Amazon and iTunes’ mainstream charts upon release.
“Hymns are as true to my human experience as my own catalog of songs,” Andrew shares. “In fact, if it hadn’t been for the impact of those indelible tunes, I may have never fallen in love with musicor been introduced to God.” Andrew’s 2013 recording, All Things Bright & Beautiful, held the #1 position on Nielsen Christian SoundScan’s Instrumental chart for 25 consecutive weeks.
On tour dates at home and abroad, Andrew has shared the stage with folks like Amy Grant, Andrew Peterson, and Brandon Heath. His songs have been recorded by artists like Jaci Velasquez, Seth & Nirva, and John Tibbs. And his stories have appeared in publications like Christianity Today, In Touch and CCM Magazine. Andrew’s second book – Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth: Spiritual Conversations Inspired by the Life and Lyrics of Rich Mullins – released on Worthy Publishing this fall.
Also a native Texan, Andrew now gladly calls Franklin, Tennessee home. Visit Andrew online at
Project Beautiful is a community of people who give monthly to Love Justice International to save precious lives from sex trafficking and slavery. Since 2004, Love Justice International (formerly Tiny Hands International) has worked primarily in Nepal, Bangladesh,and India, but they have recently expanded into South Africa, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Thailand. Through transit monitoring and interception, they attack trafficking at the most strategic moment—while it is in the process of occurring and BEFORE women and children have been exploited or enslaved. Love Justice staff have intercepted over 12,000 people to prevent them from being trafficked. For more information, visit
# # #

A magical, unforgettable read! THE TRICK ~by EMANUEL BERGMAN

The Trick


Sweeping between Prague during World War II and modern day Los Angeles, this deeply moving debut follows a young Jewish man in 1934 who falls in love and joins the circus as the country descends into war. Decades later, a young boy seeks out the now cynical, elderly magician in the hopes that his spells might keep his family together.
Prague, 1934: The fifteen-year-old rabbi’s son Moshe Goldenhirsch marvels at the legendary circus magician known as the Half-Moon Man. Unexpectedly, he falls madly in love with the magician’s delightful assistant, spurring him to run away from home to join the circus, which is slowly making its way to Germany as war looms on the horizon. Soon, he becomes a world-renowned magician known as the Great Zabbatini, even sought after by Adolf Hitler. But when Moshe is discovered to be a Jew, only his special talent can save him from perishing in a concentration camp.
Los Angeles, 2007: Ten-year-old Max Cohn is convinced that magic can bring his estranged parents back together before they divorce. So one night he climbs out of his bedroom window in search of the Great Zabbatini, certain this powerful magician has the power to reunite his family.
Perfect for fans of All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale, this radiant historical novel is both a deeply moving story of a small boy who believes in everything and an old man who believes in nothing—as well as a gripping and heartfelt tale about the beauty and fragility of life.


This book grabbed my attention from the very first sentence. The writing is beyond anything I have ever read before. I felt as if the Author was sitting in the same room with me, quietly telling me this tale.

Author Emanuel Bergman seamlessly switches between characters, and the story flows seamlessly.

This is one book I look forward to reading again in the future.

It will be available for purchase on September 19, 2017.

AN AMERICAN CAGE w/trailer by Ted Galdi


Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit.

An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn’t who he seems.

Recipes: “Food52 Mighty Salads” by editors at Food52






A provocative new novel by bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers about the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.

Phoebe recognizes fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

When Phoebe learns her husband’s triumph and vast reach rests on an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Was she his accomplice?

While Jake is trapped in the web of his deceit, Phoebe is caught in an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning him feels cruel and impossible.

From penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, Randy Susan Meyers’s latest novel exposes a woman struggling to survive and then redefine her life as her world crumbles.


I requested this book from NetGalley because the description interested me, but I feared it would be too much like the true Bernie Madoff story or even the Trantel true story of Wall Street husband turned bank robber.

I shouldn’t have feared.

This story excels so well on its own that I never gave those two stories a thought while reading.

The pacing is perfect. The Author gives you their life together from teenagers to advanced age without dragging it out.

The main character is Phoebe although both she and her husband Jake tell the story. This too, is handled flawlessly by the Author.

You will love/hate Phoebe because she is so stupid in love, and Jake will make your skin crawl.

But, you will still root for Phoebe as she grows stronger as the story moves along.

I am ignorant at math, numbers and Wall Street, and the Author gives you enough detail about the subject to help understand the story, without confusing you or overwhelming you.

This is more a story of life, love and how we let love blind us to things we should really take note of, and I highly recommend it.

This book will be Available on Amazon April 11th 2017.




tuttis promise.png


Recommended Reading




be back soon


Previous Older Entries


©January Gray and January Gray Reviews, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to January Gray and January Gray Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

January Gray Reviews is an Independent blog and is not affiliated with any Publisher, Agent, Promoter or Book Seller. January Gray Reviews does not make any guarantee to increased exposure or an increase in book sales due to reviewing/blogging and sharing your book(s), Author Spotlights, Cover Reveals, Giveaways and anything else associated with the exposure of your book. January Gray Reviews gives unbiased reviews and does not receive any form of payment or gift from the Author, or anyone requesting the review. Receiving a free book in exchange for review does not influence nor bias the opinions or reviews posted. This exchange of free book-free review (including blog posts and social networking posts), is considered fair and even trade by both the Reviewer and Author (and/or other involved party requesting review.)

%d bloggers like this: