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Contemporary

Review: Saving Paradise by Mike Bond

Saving ParadiseWell I think on a simple ecological level that the diversity of this planet is important for our survival, that all of our different cultures, people are important to the health of the whole the same way that a species of animal should be saved and at a simple ecology level. -Richard Gere

First, I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did. The author has some great insight into the destruction of the world’s ecology, especially as it pertains to Hawaii. And the story was well thought out, the mystery was well done, and overall the whole idea of the book was good.

What I didn’t really care for was the writing style. Some books, no matter who you are, and no matter how much you want to like a book, just don’t ring true in the mind. The writing just doesn’t keep you enthralled. Sad to say, this was the case with Saving Paradise. The thought was there. The execution, not so much. This is not to say that another reader wouldn’t find the writing style totally enthralling. It is written in First Person, which really doesn’t bother me. The first person narrator is an ex-con, apparently with a good heart, but the “voice” is not one I found appealing. I do think it would appeal to a more testosterone-laden audience, but I could be wrong and there are millions of women out there who would find the “rough-around-the-edges” voice to be absolutely perfect. Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge action/suspense fan. This one just didn’t do it for me, personally.

I was offered this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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You Know I Am A Sucker For Military Heroism….

While trolling around on Pinterest (yes, I am procrastinating…. so?) I found the following on Me Me’s site (http://www.pinterest.com/mmberry2/)

I had to share this with you. So many of our warriors are ignored while we get our panties in a twist about the latest celebrity gossip . . . This is from 2008, but so pertinent to today….

https://i0.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/9b/d8/32/9bd83246d2e1c946ef137da3e75c3cbd.jpg

noam

The Fourth Of July

On this Fourth of July, let us not forget the true cost of our freedom.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. – George Orwell

soldierandson
Click for the PetaPixel website. Image credits: Photographs by David Jay/The Unknown Soldier http://www.unknownsoldier.org/
marine
Portrait of Marine Staff Stg. John Jones by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2008 http://tinyurl.com/qz5j7ng
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Two Victims of War. Photo by Bill Stones http://tinyurl.com/k6evxte
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.Martin Luther King, Jr.

The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919

Dowser Series Cover Reveals

If you haven’t read The first two books, pick them up today and prepare yourself! The cover reveal will be on my site on MAY 1 and I would love for you to drop by and see it.
These new covers are beautiful!

Made by Meghan

I’d been thinking about rebranding the Dowser series for awhile, and knowing I was about to publish the third book in the series this seemed like the perfect timing. I adore Irene Langholm, who has done ALL of my book covers up to this point, but together we thought another cover designer might bring some lightness or playfulness to the covers.

And so entered Elizabeth Mackey.

We went with simple, strong branding – chocolate hues, of course – and I really, really love them.

Cupcakes _2nd book cover          Trinkets_2ndbook cover

I know, I know you want to see the third book!! How about a teaser and a cover reveal date to tide you over?

treasures_coverreveal_taste

Please feel feel to share, share, share!!

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April Kindle First – A Choice Of Upcoming Books

April Kindle First

It’s time for The Kindle Firsts Again!

This month’s Kindle First books are available to download through April 30, 2014. Don’t have a Kindle? Read it on our free Kindle reading app.

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Young Adult/New Adult
Young Adult/New Adult

In sunny Southern California, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died, she’s also got a few killer secrets.

To cope, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal). But after six months of therapy and pathetic parenting by her mom, the District Attorney, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

When Ruby ends up killing a murderer to save his intended victim, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up swapping Valentino red for prison orange.

With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

iamlivia
Historical Fiction

 

At the tender age of fourteen, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset—and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military officer. Her mother tells her, “It is possible for a woman to influence public affairs,” reminding Livia that—while she possesses a keen sense for the machinations of the Roman senate—she must also remain patient and practical.

But patience and practicality disappear from Livia’s mind when she meets Caesar’s heir, Octavianus. At only eighteen, he displays both power and modesty. A young wife by that point, Livia finds herself drawn to the golden-haired boy. In time, his fortunes will rise as Livia’s family faces terrible danger. But her sharp intellect—and her heart—will lead Livia to make an unbelievable choice: one that will give her greater sway over Rome than she could have ever foreseen.

hometostay
Romance

Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.

Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.

plastercity
Thriller

Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves are back at it, two years after the events of Dove Season—they’re not exactly the luckiest guys in the Imperial Valley, but, hey, they win more fights than they lose.

Settled on his own farmland and living like a true family man after years of irresponsible fun, Jimmy’s got a straight life cut out for him. But he’s knocking years off that life thanks to fun-yet-dangerous Bobby’s booze-addled antics—especially now that Bobby is single, volatile, profane as ever, and bored as hell.

When Bobby’s teenage daughter goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a misadventure that starts out as merely unfortunate and escalates to downright calamitous. Bobby won’t hesitate to kick a hornets’ nest to get the girl to safety, but when the rescue mission goes riotously sideways, the duo’s grit—and loyalty to each other—is put to the test.

 

 

 

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Kindle First is a program that offers customers early access to new Kindle books across popular genres from Amazon Publishing.

  • Prime members are automatically eligible for Kindle First.
  • Every month Prime members can enjoy one of the four books selected by Amazon Publishing editors for free.
  • Kindle First books can be read on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading app and become part of customers’ permanent libraries.
  • Prime members can sign up to receive a monthly e-mail announcing new Kindle First picks.

Please also note:

  • Kindle First is available to US customers only.
  • Prime invitees are not eligible for free downloads.
  • Kindle First books downloaded for free cannot be returned.
  • Customers who have previously opted out of all Amazon e-mails will not receive the monthly e-mail announcing new Kindle First picks. If you would like to update your E-mail Preferences, you can do so by visiting Your Account.

 

 

Review: All for You by Jessica Scott – Very Highly Recommended

 
Some Army families who recently lost members to suicide criticize the branch for failing to aggressively shake a culture in which soldiers believe they’ll be deemed weak and denied promotion if they seek mental health aid. They also blame Army leaders for focusing more heavily on weeding out  emotionally troubled soldiers to artificially suppress the branch’s suicide stats versus embracing and helping members who are exhibiting clear signs of trouble. – The Enemy Within: Soldier suicides outpaced combat deaths in 2012
Thursday Jan 3, 2013 5:23 PM Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

allforyou
Very Highly Recommended. A romance, yes, but also an extremely well written call for compassion and assistance for those soldiers who are in deep and abiding pain.

Write what you know. It is a simple rule, a pillar of “How To Write A Good Book” and probably one of the most misunderstood. As Nathan Englander, the critically acclaimed author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank once said, “Write what you know” isn’t about events. It’s about emotions. Have you known love? jealousy? longing? loss?

In her new book, All For You, A Coming Home Novel Jessica Scott takes that advice and builds upon it, writing a heart wrenching story which left me sobbing on the floor, my heart broken for all those soldiers who return from war broken and lost, and just how badly they need our help – help that the unremitting machine of the military and government would rather deny them. As K. Lang from Las Vegas put it in her Amazon review, no matter the branch, there are raging morons who don’t care and people with flaws trying to fix things in spite of those same raging morons. And the raging morons are thick on the ground at Fort Hood, Texas. (Having done a job there many years ago, I can tell you – I met my own fair share. And that was in peacetime.)

For all of you romance readers out there, this is indeed a romance, never fear. And an extremely well written one. If you don’t like romance? Just skip through those parts, but you HAVE to read this book. What is says is too important not to.

Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli is a broken and deeply damaged man, a leader of men with a long-time alcohol problem and a broken soul. He has had to live within a shell of alcohol and brutality for so long, he truly doesn’t know any other way to be. Captain Emily Lindberg is the psychologist who has left behind a life of privilege and familial control, striking out on her own in order to do good for the soldiers who truly need her services, leaving behind the spoiled, rich kids of privilege looking for excuses for their own bad behavior.

What Emily walks into is far from what she expects. Fort Hood is a place of systems and procedures that don’t work, that are devastating to the very people they are supposed to protect. Those soldiers, both men and women, who have come back from war, from death and dirt, blood and insanity – actions that are beyond the normal person’s comprehension. Scott lays it out in all its brutal simplicity – get EM’ in, get EM’ back out into the field. No matter what. And if they are damaged? Get EM’ all the way out, back into society, no matter what the war has done to them, no matter how the blood and gore has broken them. No matter how much they have given and suffered for their country. They are coldly thrown away, like so many broken, irreparable tools.

Jessica Scott knows of which she speaks. A career Army officer and wife of a career Army NCO, Scott has written for the New York Times’s At War blog, PBS’s Point of View Regarding War, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice. So, yes, she does know that of which she speaks. And what she knows is horrifying.

Scott is careful to point out in her Note From The Author, “This book is not meant as an indictment of our men and women in uniform or the military that we serve or the thousands of leaders who do the right thing every day and try to take care of their soldiers.” And there are those who do try every single day to do the right thing. Who try their best, despite a broken and uncaring system that rolls right over the top of them in a heartless march to simply fill out the paperwork, follow the rules, and move on to the next thing – which, in too many instances, is gaining their next bar or pip or stripe no matter the cost to their own soldiers, those very soldiers whom their very purpose should be to protect and honor.

Yes, Jessica Scott has written a brilliant story of romance between two people who, no matter how different they may be, not only learn to love one another, but also need one another in order to do what they need to do, who need one another to do good and to provide the strength that not only they need, but also those around them need in order to stay sane, focused, and safe. But she has also written a story which points out just how badly our soldiers need our help. How the pain, death, and the horrors they face every day can often be more than even the strongest among them can bear, and how more often than we would like to admit, the uncaring military machine simply throws them under the bus, leaving them to lives of drug abuse, alcoholism, homelessness, and ultimately suicide.

Buy the book. Read it. And then take a look around you. In Jennifer Scott’s words, if you know someone who is hurting, if you suspect someone is having a hard time, ask them. Don’t be afraid. Speak up. Ask the question. Because you never know what someone else is going through. And you might just make a difference.

I would go beyond that. Take the time to check out the heart of her story yourself. Talk to veterans and their families. If you are a family member or friend, be there for them, ask the right questions of your Congressmen and Senators. Write letters and give your support. These men and women give their lives and their souls in order to ascertain that you can stop at Starbucks for your latte. The least we can do is help to make sure that they get the help and support that they richly deserve.

VERY Highly Recommended. This book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Amazon Kindle First: The Line by J.D. Horn

theline
The Line by J.D. Horn
Expected publication: January 7th 2014 by 47North

Who would that old woman have accepted her death from? That’s the Question you need to be askin’.” Mother Jilo, The Line

An atmosphere of lies like that infects and poisons the whole life of a home. In a house like that, every breath that the children take is filled with the germs of evil.

HENRIK IBSEN, A Doll’s House

The allure of having unlimited access to power is too hard to resist. If Mercy Taylor had remembered that, had truly thought about it? Well, who knows what pain could have been diverted. What truths could have been uncovered. But when you are just about to turn twenty-one, and power has never been within your grasp, it is understandable, maybe even admirable, that the true brutalities of power are outside your comprehension. But given a bit of power, what will even the most innocent among us reach for? And given unlimited power, what atrocities might one commit in the name of that power?

Mercy Taylor is in that most uncomfortable of positions. A magical dud in a family of some of the most powerful witches in the world. Mercy is happy however, enjoying her life leading “The Liars Tour of Savannah,” getting her customers a little buzzed, telling ‘some black and wicked lies about the people of her hometown,” and basically enjoying her life. It’s simple, and it is all hers. Well, mostly happy, except for the fact that she is loved by a good man, yet loves the man who belongs to her twin sister – the twin sister who is in line to take a place as one of the ten who control The Line, the magical wall between this world and the others.

And so, Mercy makes a mistake. A mistake with the best of intentions, but with deep and unforeseen consequences. And yet – is the mistake really her own? Or is her mistake simply a smokescreen, misdirection for something much deeper and more twisted, betrayal upon shocking betrayal?

I received this book through Amazon’s “Kindle First” program. I get the opportunity to choose one of four books featured for free each month in advance of the release date. I love these opportunities to meet new and upcoming authors and get a peek at their books before anyone else. And, yes, the opportunity to brag about it, and to help a new author as much as possible to get the word out about their works. To be honest, this is one of the better “Kindle First” books I have read, and I am happy to have found this bright new author.

Review: Christmas Heroes – Anthology

christmasheroesThe first two stories in this five story were actually quite wonderful. Especially the first one.

1) Career military attorney, Captain Tracy Keener is low on the JAG totem pole, which is hard enough. But to be fingered to actually DEFEND the man who caused the death of his entire team? It is career suicide, one that will destroy all of the hard-won traction she has gained in her career since the deaths of her husband and baby daughter – a daughter she didn’t even get to see when the car wreck caused by her drunk husband killed her daughter before she was even born. Captain Adam Burke, a Special Operations officer, has to be guilty – everyone knows it. Or, is he?

Filled with mystery, suspense, and a high level of military knowledge, DUPLICITY By Vicki Hinze has guaranteed that I will add her to my read list. Her writing was tight, story line exceptional for what it is, a military suspense/romantic thriller, and the editing was good. Worth the price of the book in and of itselhappyf, even  at the original $6.99 price.

5 stars

2) SAFE WITH HIM by Rita Herron is another suspenseful mystery/suspense novel with a frightening premise. Kaylie and her daughter CeCe are awoken in the night by her husband, Joe. There is a man in the house . . . a man with a gun, and a determination to slaughter Kaylie and CeCe while Joe watches. When Joe gives his life to save his family, Kaylie and CeCe are pushed into the witness protection program, running, changing homes often, and never knowing what will happen next.

On the run, her last WitSec protector dead, Kaylie seeks desperately for a place where they will be safe, where CeCe can enjoy a short period of rest, and a quiet Christmas day. As expected, things are not what they seem, and there is no way to know where they can be safe . . . and who they can trust. IMAGE happy_face_team

A well written story, though not as good as the previous story it was still exciting and kept my interest. The little daughter was a sweetheart.

4.25 stars for the forced ending

3) And now, they blow the whole freaking collection. The third story . .. Can someone please put a ZERO STARS rating in these reviews?

TvomitAMING MAGGIE by Peggy Webb, was, in a word, VOMIT worthy. The “heroine” goes from being a strong, determined, honorable woman, an animal rights activist with a good heart and a wonderful soul, to being a weak willed, whiny, oversexed second grade teacher with no backbone, no will, and a mind wrapped around falling into bed with a totally useless spoiled rotten rich boy. A rich boy who is not only determined to put Maggie in her place, to “tame” her (what, is she some kind of illiterate savage to be ‘tamed’?), but is also a hunter. A man who rants about how “noble” hunting is, how “manly” while hiding in blinds, sneaking around downwind, and then shooting defenseless animals from far away with high powered rifles. Oh, yea. Manly” and “powerful” and “noble”….. wow. Sort of like holding down children and beating them to death is! Yea! If hunting is so “manly” why doesn’t her little rich boy get himself a knife and go stalk his prey and take it down with knife and his teeth? Now THAT would be manly. What this guy and all his little buddies do is cowardly – and she laps it up like a dog licking his privates.

So. No matter how well she was raised by her widowed father to be a strong, independent, loving woman with principles, we get her panting after the guy like a mindless bitch in heat – even though he stands for everything she hates and is determined to fight against. She might as well have laid on the ground and let him wipe his feet on her. Actually, that is exactly what she does in this disaster of a book.

It was actually disappointing in that I really thought, at first, that she was going to be a character I could like – until she rolled over and showed her belly. Ugh. There were multiple opportunities for her to state her case in a reasonable, logical manner. Instead, the author makes her ‘heroine’ basically illiterate. Instead of standing up on the check writing table in the little rich boys bank and stating her case after he humiliates her in the paper, she blathers and goes all weak in the knees over “Oh, he’s so hot!” God. 12 much? Oh, I am sure there was an HEA at the end, but I couldn’t make it even a third of the way through before wishing it was in paper so I could rip the book up and use it to line the cat box. Come on – – – how, in anyone’s universe, did this particular piece of trash end up in a collection about “Christmas Heroes”????

Ruined the whole collection for me. 0 stars, and can someone hand me a trash can so I can toss my Christmas Cookies??

4) Sorry. I was so pissed about the previous bucket of garbage I couldn’t force myself to read any farther.

5) Ditto.

Overall? I will check out more of Hinze’s stuff, and possibly Herron’s work,  but someone hand me a blowtorch – I have an appointment with Barnes and Nobel to find the Web listings and light a little Christmas bonfire. . .

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