Review of the Book of Promises by Tammy Bird

Book of promises

 

Thrillers of any kind always pull me in but when I heard that Tammy Bird had a new book, The Book of Promises, coming out I was ecstatic. Her first book Sandman was one of the best I have ever read. I couldn’t wait to get started.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Spencer Price is living her best life in Denver Colorado.

 

But when Jordan Rohan kisses her, and her best friend writes it in their shared book of promises, she suddenly finds herself in a struggle between duty and independence, allegiance and betrayal.

 

Soon, two things become clear: There is far more to the kiss than Spencer first believed, and the person to whom she is most connected is hiding secrets far deeper and more dangerous than Spencer ever suspected. To uncover the secrets, Spencer must question the promises of the past. But doing so could bring death, not only to herself but to those who are her future.

 

It isn’t very often that I find I book that leaves me truly in awe but The Book of Promises did just that. Tammy Bird does not disappoint. I was drawn into Spencer’s life as she fought to discover the difference between love and manipulation. Spencer just wanted the love she gave Molly to be given in return only to be manipulated and used.

Molly is a disturbing character. There were parts of the book that were so intense that I needed to set the book down and walk away. But for me, that is what made this book so great. It kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next and that Spencer would be okay.

 

The Book of Promises is not for everyone. It depicts emotional, mental, and physical abuse. There is also a section in which an animal is injured.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes psychological thrillers.

 

 

The Book of Promises is available on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Review of Death by Desert by A.E. Radley

Death by Desert

I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries so when I saw that there was a new lesfic cozy by A.E. Radley I jumped at the chance to read it. You will not be disappointed by Death Before Desert.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

When she finds herself between jobs and out of her rented accommodation, Clara Harrington decides to take a break and stay with her beloved, yet eccentric aunt in the sleepy village of Picklemarsh, England.

 

Vanessa Harrington is an award-winning crime novelist with an impressive back catalogue. When it comes to crime, and murder, there’s not a lot that Vanessa doesn’t know.

 

Clara’s hope for peace and quiet is shattered when, on her first night at Chadwick Lodge, the local town councillor is murdered, falling face down into his dessert.

 

Finding herself in the middle of one of her books, Vanessa happily takes on the task of uncovering the murderer and drags Clara along with her.

 

Join the Harringtons as they investigate the murder, question suspects, and uncover that not all is as it seems in picturesque Picklemarsh.

 

This cozy mystery is brought to you by Lambda winning author A.E. Radley

 

Death by Desert is a cute cozy focusing on the sleuthing of Clara and her elderly aunt Vanessa. Vanessa is an amazing character. I love how nosey she is. Plus, she isn’t afraid of getting caught. I mean who would believe such a nice old lady would be doing anything illegal.

 

The romance aspect of Death by Desert was cute. I liked the buildup of their relationship with Clara not knowing if her love interest was a murder or not. I can’t wait to see how their relationship will grow in future books.

 

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will just say that I enjoyed the twist and turns in this book. I suspected many people as the killer throughout the book and was truly surprised at the ending.

 

I’m looking forward to reading more books in the Vanessa Harrington mystery series.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone you loves cozy mysteries.

 

Death by Desert is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Coming Home by KJ

Coming Home

Normally I’m not a huge fan of celebrity romances. But Coming Home by KJ was so much more than I expected. The twists and turns kept me wanting more with every turn of the page.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

What would happen if your regular, ordinary, safe, everyday existence suddenly became…not any of those things? When Samantha Markson, Ordinary Person, is thrust into the life of Abigail Taylor, Not At All Ordinary Person, it proves to be an experience like she’s never had before. World famous actress, Abigail Taylor, is in Melbourne filming her new movie, and is accompanied by her nine year old daughter, Grace, because Abigail wants her to experience an Australian education for three months. Sam Markson is a teacher at one of the best schools in Melbourne, and is perfectly happy doing that, thank you very much, when she’s suddenly redirected from the classroom into the job as Grace’s teacher; a move so fast that even blinking would feel like slow motion. Sam has never met anyone like Abigail Taylor, and she starts to realise that her ordinary life might actually be missing something extraordinary.

 

Coming Home is a cute slow burn romance that will have you on the edge of your seat. Sam and Abigail are perfect for each other even though they can’t see it for themselves. They are both so caught up in the fact that their current situation is temporary that neither one is willing to give into their budding sexual tension. Which leads me to the sex scene which are beyond amazing. I will give you all one tiny spoiler, Tim Tam sexy time.

 

The ending of the book is what really set it apart for me. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it had me on the edge of my seat pondering the different ways the situation could end. Personally, I feel like it ended perfectly.

 

The one flaw I found with the book is Abigail’s publicist keeping her job. I really thought after everything she said and did, she would be fired. But that is such a minor detail it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who like celebrity romances as well as anyone who likes slow burn romances.

 

Coming Home is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Mind Games by Cara Malone

Mind Games

As most of you know I’m a huge fan of true crime and murder mysteries. So when I found out about Cara Malones book Mind Games I knew it would be right up my ally. Mind Games is a mixture of murder mystery, forensic files, and romance that will knock your socks off.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book: 

A rookie forensic investigator, a seasoned patrol officer, and a crime scene that just might be the death of them both.

 

 Kelsey Granger is meticulous and careful, determined to turn her OCD into an advantage in her new job at the coroner’s office. There’s just one problem – her boss doesn’t think she’s ready. When Kelsey arrives at her first death scene to find the responding officer contaminating the evidence, she starts to wonder if her boss was right.

 

 Zara Hayes hates death scenes. She’s been on patrol five long years but her chief won’t promote her until she can overcome her fear. So here she is, just feet away from a dead body while a pretty young investigator reads her the riot act because she thinks Zara screwed up her scene.

 

 With a killer on the loose, there’s no time to argue so Zara and Kelsey team up to solve the case. As they get closer to the truth – and to each other – they must confront the mind games we play… in life, in love, and even in death.

 

Mind games is the type of books that you will want to read in one sitting. As I have said before I’m a huge fan of all things true crime and murder mystery when you combine that with romance I’m all in. While the book focuses on the suspicious death of April Messner it isn’t the sole focus of the story. The main focus is on the budding relationship of Zara Hayes and Kelsey Granger who meet at the scene of the crime as members of law enforcement and forensics. Kelsey is not your average forensic investigator. She has OCD which makes her overthink every aspect of her job, it also is what makes her so good at her job. I appreciated how the book didn’t gloss over Kelsey’s mental illness. The book discussed what having OCD meant to Kelsey and her relationship and her relationship with Zara. When boundaries were crossed, they were clearly explained and corrected. 

 

One of the best parts of this book is the inclusion of bigger girls as one of the main characters. It isn’t often in lesfic that there is a truer to life main character. Normally they are rail thin and perfect in every way. It is nice to see a character that breaks the mold. Because everyone deserves to see themselves in a story. 

 

What stood out to me about Mind Games is the sex scenes. While Cara Malone has always written amazing sex scenes this book blew me away. They were on a whole new level compared to her past books. Maybe it has something to do with the amazing chemistry between Zara and Kelsey. 

 

The only flaw this book had is that the romance seemed to develop too quickly. I wish Zara’s rakish ways would have been shown more throughout the book. It seemed to be glossed over. Overall the book was a little low on angst. But that wasn’t a huge deal-breaker for me. 

 

I can’t wait to read the upcoming books in this series which should be coming out early 2020. 

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a steamy workplace romance.

 

Mind Games is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Review of Rising from Ash by Jax Meyer

Rising from Ash

Rising from Ash is the latest book in the new Forged by Fire series by Jax Meyer. Jax’s writing has grown since her debut novel Dal Segno. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed reading this book. Once you get started reading it will be hard to put down.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Phoenix Murray has had enough. Enough of her incompetent boss. Enough of her addict father always asking for money. Enough of the struggle to survive. So when her aunt offers her a job as a cook at the South Pole, she jumps at it. Even when she’s asked to avoid casual sex to keep the peace in the tiny community.

 

 Astrophysicist Ashley Bennett can’t wait for her year at the South Pole. Not only will it allow her to focus on her PhD research, it’s a key step in her plan to become a Mars colonist. Avoiding the complications of dating in a society that doesn’t understand asexuality is a bonus.

 

 When Phoenix and Ash meet, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought.

 

 Rising From Ash is the first book in the Forged by Fire series, a slow burn contemporary lesbian romance that shows the power of intimacy to form a new life.

 

 Note: While Rising from Ash features a character on the asexual spectrum, the story does include physically intimate scenes. However, none are gratuitous.

I was really blown away by Rising from Ash. Phoenix’s character pulled me into the story with her struggle to settle down and commit to one person. When Phoenix meets Ashley Bennett, she is drawn to her in a way that she has never experienced before, even though they push each other’s buttons. Being stuck in a tiny community of the South Pole for a full year Phoenix doesn’t want to ruin her career chances by sleeping around and causing drama. So when Phoenix meets Ash she is forced to take things slowly and develop a deeper connection than she has with any of her past hookups.

Ashley Bennett is an interesting character. I have never read about an asexual character before. It is refreshing to see different types of identities explored in romance novels. Ash’s character helped to give me a better understanding of asexuality from someone on the asexual spectrum. Ash considers herself demisexual which means that she is unable to form a sexual connection with someone until an emotional connection is already in place. Phoenix and Ash snuggle to find a happy medium between Phoenix’s allosexuality and Ash’s Asexuality.

Even though one of the characters is asexual the sex scenes in Rising from Ash stand out. Rising from Ash has one of the most intimate sex scenes I have ever read. While there is quite a build-up to sex once it happens, there is no holding back. Phoenix and Ash have amazing chemistry.

The book ends with more of Phoenix and Ash’s story to be told. I’m excited for the next installment in the Forged by Fire series.

I would recommend this book for people on the asexual spectrum as well as anyone who enjoys a slow-burn romance.

Rising from Ash is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

 

 

 

Review of Forget Me Not By Melissa Tereze

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not by Melissa Tereze is different than most of the books I read for my blog. While it is a romance novel, I would say that it focuses more on overcoming grief and learning to trust again than a traditional romance. I was really pleased with how well it tackled the difficult emotions surrounding loss.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Jess Edwards’ life could be better. Six years ago, her world was turned upside down when she lost the love of her life to London. In the years that followed, she found herself preparing for the inevitability of losing her grandfather, too.

 

Word around town is that her first love is back, leading Jess to question the decisions she’s about to make, but nothing is as it seems. Jess may be known to have a heart of gold, but is she prepared to have it broken once again?

 

Amber Powell has returned home after receiving devastating news from her sister. Now within reach of her ex-girlfriend, she tries to remain invisible. Over the years, that had worked well for her, but with the potential of heartbreak just around the corner, will Amber realise that the only woman she ever needed… is standing right in front of her. A story of life, loss, and ultimately love.

 

Forget Me Not really hit home for me. My grandmother passed away two years ago from complications from dementia. I could really empathize with the grief that Jess and Amber were feeling as they dealt with the loss of their loved ones to Alzheimer. Forget Me Not mainly focuses on Jess’s coming to terms with her life after her grandfather’s death. She is struggling to get back to normal and when Amber comes back into town with a new fiancée. Jess has never forgiven Amber for hiding their relationship and ultimately leaving her.

Amber slowly realizes that she needs Jess in her life. Jess helps Amber though her mothers Alzheimer diagnosis.

 

I thought Jess ability to overcome her own pain as she relives the effects of Alzheimer was moving. It showed that she was willing to overcome her own past to help the person she loves. It was beautiful. At the beginning of the book, Jess seemed very harsh but that was because she was dealing with a lot of emotions and didn’t know how to express herself. I really enjoyed seeing her growth throughout the book.

 

The book also has a very cute dog named Beau. I’m a huge sucker for dogs in books and this book is no different.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys second chance romances.

 

Forget Me Not is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

 

Interview with Caren J. Werlinger

Author-photo-with-dog-300x225

Who or what inspired A Bittersweet Garden?

I have truly loved The Quiet Man for decades (my wife has graciously watched it 26 times with me, 27 coming up for St. Patrick’s Day!). When we finally got to Ireland and Cong in 2015, it was a dream come true for me. Everywhere we went in Ireland, it was as if I could hear the ghosts whispering. This story just grew from that experience.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I was one of those kids who would lock myself up in my bedroom and spend entire weekends writing stories. I continued writing until I got into physical therapy school, and then stopped for several years. When I took creative writing back up in the mid-90s, it was ten years before I was able to get that first novel published… just in time for the recession and the mass closure of bookstores. Perfect timing!

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Oh gosh, that is so hard. All the characters become a favorite (even the not-so-likeable ones) while I’m immersed in their lives, but if I had to choose overall, I would probably pick my two girl characters: Connemara from Miserere and Caymin from The Dragonmage Saga. I loved their spunk, their integrity, and their determination to do what’s right.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

It partially depends on where the story comes from. I keep a book of story ideas and, so far, one or another has always bubbled to the surface to turn into my next book. I let it percolate in my head for a while, jotting down thoughts as they come to me. Every book has an “Ideas” document or an actual physical file, where I keep maps, research articles, lists of names, etc. I refer to it frequently while writing. I just found a page with all of my handwritten notes with Irish translations of terms for the Dragonmage trilogy.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

It varies. Miserere was totally inspired by an abandoned farmhouse we looked at when I was about nine. We didn’t move in, but I always remembered that house and wondered what kind of stories it could tell. Neither Present Timehad two inspirations: another house, an old mansion, and an inscription in an old book.My own experiences in religious life inspired In This Small Spot. Turning for Home was inspired by a note someone slipped to me when I was traveling years ago. Inspiration comes from many sources!

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

I bring my laptop to work with me every day, and take advantage of my breaks to get bits of writing in during the week, but weekend mornings—when my wife and the dogs are all still sleeping—that’s my favorite time! I’m very much a morning writer. My brain is shot creatively by afternoon.

 

What is your writing process?

I used to write my first drafts longhand, but I don’t tend to do that any longer. I still keep a notebook where I can jot down scenes and ideas as they come to me. I am one of those writers who finds it a struggle to get the first draft completed, and then I love editing, rewriting, polishing that draft!

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

When you’re writing your first book, it’s like a secret—just you and the characters. All of your gratification comes from the act of writing. I think that can’t help but change a bit after you publish. I still think I could only write what I love, what I would want to read, rather than write for a market as some are advised to do. But some of the gratification becomes more external, things like sales/royalty figures, reviews, etc. Some authors have said they’re going back to writing fan fiction purely for the love of it, so they don’t focus on those external factors. As to my actual process, I am much more confident now with how to spool out character traits and plot points, and I don’t panic when I realize I need to delete entire scenes because they’re just not working.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I have spent isn’t necessarily related to writing, but to publishing. Hiring an incredible cover artist and a professional formatter who are both willing to work with me to make my books as beautiful as (I think) the words are is one of the best moves I’ve made. I love it when readers comment on those details because I agonize over them!

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Gosh, there have been so many. I’m very fortunate that so many of my books have resonated with readers on a deep level. A reader who’d received a recent diagnosis of cancer told me she found a lot of comfort and strength from Looking Through Windows and In This Small Spot. A couple of readers—single, closeted women living captive lives as dutiful daughters in conservative families—wrote to tell me how much Cast Me Gently meant to them. Year of the Monsoon has connected both with women who gave babies up for adoption and women who were adopted (as I was). In This Small Spot has also touched many women who were in religious life, and they’ve taken the time to write and share their experiences.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

The book that influenced my life more than any was In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. It influenced my own exploration of a vocation and religious life, and Ms. Godden sort of became my writing mentor. I wrote to her when I was sixteen, and she very kindly wrote back. I treasure that letter.

 

Do you have any new books coming out? If so, what are they about?

I’m working now on a book set in 1983 in central New York. I don’t have a working title yet, but it’s flowing nicely, so I expect it to be out before the end of the year if all continues on pace.

 

How do you take your coffee?

Ha, I am a straight-up coffee drinker! No sugar, no cream, no flavors. Just good, strong, and black.