Christmas in Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts (Romance/Small town life)

I thought I’d offer some holiday warmth in my review this month. It’s been rainy and cool in the Pacific Northwest. I hope your weather is mild and not causing you problems. And I wish you all a peaceful holiday season filled with laughter and love.

Sheila Roberts Christmas in Icicle Falls

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. Ms. Roberts seamlessly weaves multiple characters’ lives and growth into a heartwarming holiday tale. I especially love the ugly-tree project. It’s got me looking at things differently. Muriel’s angst was spot-on, and Sienna and her son wrapped their lives around my heart. I’ve been a fan of Sheila Roberts for a long time and this story reminded me of the reason why. It’s a highly recommend from me.

What the story’s about (author blurb):

When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She’s thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off—until she gets it out of the box and realizes it’s a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there’s a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who’s loved her for years. Except, she’s not the only one seeing Arnie’s potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel’s ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she’s adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the “ugly trees” in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet.

Click here for more information about Sheila.

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Dewey the Cat

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron (All ages, but there’s a circle of life aspect that parents should consider before reading with children.)

This was a book that I knew my husband would want to be part of, so I read this story out loud, one chapter at a time, my voice choking up at moments and one laugh or tear shed each evening. Dewey (as in “Dewey read more books”) grabbed hold of our hearts. It is a true story and is profound in its depiction that all earth’s inhabitants are sacred. I highly, highly recommend this story, but be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy.

 What the story’s about (author blurb):

Dewey’s story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

 

Click here for more information about Dewey.

Fool’s Gold by Cari Davis (historical romantic suspense)

Where did October go? It usually goes by slowly for me, mostly because Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. But it went. For me, it was full of edits and blurb-writing. Oh, and a cover for the first in my fantasy series, releasing February, 2019.

Ryan-Survival-400x640

I’m so, so grateful to the graphic artist who designed this. Thank you, Bethany Maines of liltdesign.com!

I picked up a historical story a while back and got pulled right into it. Fool’s Gold is the debut story for Cari Davis and I’ve clicked that “Follow” button on Bookbub so I can grab her next story when it comes out.

Cari Davis Fool's Gold

I was completely entertained by this story. It feels well-written, well-researched, and like the author has a good grasp of the 1800’s. Honestly, it completely distracted me. Melissa Bertrand is a strong, passionate woman in an era where that is not looked kindly on. And Sebastian’s protective instincts hit high gear when she’s put in a dangerous position. I loved the progression of their relationship and the plot grabbed me from the beginning. Honestly, I loved this story. There’s a lot at stake for a lot of people and I had to know how it turned out.

Here’s what the story is all about (Author blurb):

Penniless and estranged from her wealthy family in New Orleans, Widow Doña Melissa Bertrand de Cabrillo must barter her way from California to Louisiana in order to save her niece, even if it means posing as the wife of a perfect stranger.

Gold miner and banker Sebastian Henderson needs to find a wife soon . . . or at least a woman willing to play the role. Doña Melissa provides the perfect solution, but sharing a cabin with the tempting southern belle proves more challenging than their bargain—and more dangerous—after a passenger aboard their steamship is murdered. Melissa is convinced the death is connected to her family’s events in New Orleans.

Thrown together by necessity, united by love, Melissa and Sebastian must unravel a murderous scheme threatening to tear them apart.

Click here for Cari’s website

Captivated By Love by Brenda Jackson (Romance)

This month has been a flurry of activity getting ready for some 2019 releases. And getting outside when the sun shines, which is happening less and less as Fall gets a firm hold on the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been doing some marvelous reading, including story I’m showcasing here by Brenda Jackson.

Brenda Jackson Captivated By Love

Here’s what I wrote in my review of this story:

I’m not sure how I missed Brenda Jackson before this, but this story made me a fan. Not only do I want to read her past stories, I need to check out the next ones in this world. Captivated by Love was an emotional, sensual journey through the lives of characters that felt real and well-defined to me. I completely bought into the love between Sheppard and Carson. I loved how they met, how their attraction was immediate an beyond their ability to ignore, yet fraught with insurmountable odds. The story brought together the lives of all the characters from the prior stories in this series and set up the next series so well, I HAVE to read them. So yep, I am officially a fan.

Here’s what the story is about (author blurb):

After being locked up for a crime he didn’t commit, Sheppard Granger is back to take over the reins as CEO of Granger Aeronautics. On top of that, he intends to totally romance his wife Carson and make up for the time they couldn’t share together. When their idyllic marriage is threatened by someone from Carson’s past, the Grangers unite and prove that when it comes to protecting those they love, they are more than prepared to meet trouble head on.

Click here for Brenda’s website.

Caelan’s Captive by Faye Avalon (Sexy Romance/Otherworld)

My windows are open as I type this blog, but I feel like this may be the last opportunity I get for that. Rain is returning to the Pacific Northwest and the mornings now are quite a bit cooler. Life is insane with three writing projects going on at the same time. And tv is back. I can’t believe the fall schedule has started. That means my evenings are more relaxing, though, especially Tuesdays, when NCIS is on. I miss Abby, but I like her replacement. And, well, to be honest, I’ll watch anything with Mark Harmon in it. (Summer School, anyone?)

I read a romance a while back that really stayed with me. I think it was because the world was rich and unusual. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Faye Avalon Caelan's Captive

Here’s what I wrote in my review of this story:

I was captured from the beginning, when Lahna is adrift, then rescued by Caelan. Both have strong reasons to distrust, but their attraction for each other is impossible to resist. I love this richly described island world, it’s strong characters, and the story. In fact, I want more… Of the world, of the secondary characters, of everything. This story is emotional, sensual, and one of my personal favorites.

Here’s what the story is about (author blurb):

Escaping the king’s harem, Lahna finds herself at the mercy of a warrior prince who holds her captive and makes no secret of his desire to have her. Lahna hasn’t fled from one tyrant only to become the captive of another, and she certainly has no intention of warming the bed of the fearsome prince … even if he does make her body burn and her senses reel.

Caelan suspects his voluptuous captive may have been sent to spy on him and discover his plans to liberate his land from the tyrannical rule of the king. But her arrival provides him with the perfect opportunity to set those plans in motion. First, that means making her his, and in doing so he might just satisfy the craving for her that heats his blood and fires his loins.

But can Caelan really trust her? And can Lahna trust him to keep her safe when it matters most?

 

Click here for Faye’s website.

Exile (The Faarian Chronicles) by Karen Harris Tully (YA/SciFi)

Well, the season’s are changing in the Pacific Northwest. The nights are cooler, the rain has returned, and the sun sets earlier each day. I consider myself a transitional season lover. I enjoy Fall and Spring, the heralds of change. Okay, I like summer and winter, too. There’s just something about change, when rain turns to sunshine or vice versa, that makes me smile. I know. I’m very strange. Lol.

I’m also hard at work on both a romance story and my forthcoming fantasy series (coming in early 2019). So I’m in revisions and final edits and working on a first draft of the fantasy prequel. Which basically means I’m pulling my hair out. It will be worth it in the end, though.

In the meantime, here’s another story I really enjoyed. Series, actually, which I’m prone to reading. A YA/SciFi story that is rife with social and political conflict.

Karen Harris Tully Exile

This is the review I posted after reading book one:

I love fresh new ideas and this one was awesome. A whole new world for me to explore. It’s well-explained, well-rounded, and, well, I honestly loved it. Sunny is believable and real whether she’s teenager or ninja. The world is rife with conflict, as are the characters. I just picked up book two. Guess I’ll be reading more Faarian Chronicles tomorrow.

Since that review, I’ve read the entire series and the same thing I said in this first review still applies. The social and political structures are in depth and the characters full of complications. I loved their journeys and their resolutions both.

Here’s what the first story is about (author blurb):

Fifteen-year-old Sunny Price dreams of being an Olympic gymnast, but thanks to the worst custody agreement in the universe, she finds out she’s half-alien and is exiled to her absentee-mother’s home planet. She has to give up her friends and elite gymnastics career to live with a mother who only wants to give orders? This. Sucks.

When Sunny arrives on environmentally ravaged planet Macawi, her green, chlorophyll hair is the only thing keeping her alive as she tries to adapt in a huge clan of female warriors in the desert country of Afaar. Between her bullying Faarian cousins, water rationing, ravaging alien birds, and racial tensions with the nearest (but kind of cute) neighbors, Sunny just wants to get home to Earth. But when her unique DNA makes Sunny the target of blood-sucking kidnappers, her mother saves her and is arrested for murder. As much as she wants to go home, can Sunny just abandon her dictatorial mother, even if staying means risking her own life? Can Sunny accept who she really is in time to save her mother and herself?

Embrace the Alien Within.

Click here for Karen’s website.

Shark’s Instinct by Bethany Maines

August is almost gone. I can’t believe it. Wow. It’s been a tough month because of all the wildfire smoke. I’m not complaining, because those on the front lines of these fires have it much worse than we did, but it was weird to have no blue sky for two weeks, people wearing masks outdoors, and hazardous air quality readings.

That’s hopefully behind us now and a new month is almost upon us. I always think of turning over to a new month as new organizational opportunities. Lol. For me, it’s gearing up on the fantasy series I’m working on. Survival, the first book in my Guardian Druids: The Royan Legacy series is with the editor now. Covers will be next. I’m looking forward to it.

I thought I’d showcase a story…actually, two stories that I read recently. They aren’t YA, just so you know. But they are very entertaining.

Bethany Maines Sharks Instinct

My review:

I love being surprised and this book did exactly that. Who knew I liked mobster stories? And I loved this one. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be character, character, character. Each one is diverse and well-defined. Shark and Peri are two completely different peas in the same pod. Both strong, Both with their own agenda. Peri is her own person and has a lot of good moxie in her. But Shark? I fell for this guy. And he’s a mobster! I never expected to like him, but I definitely did.

There’s a solid story to go along with these characters. The author made me care about them (even the bodyguard.) So I will anxiously await more in this series.

FYI – I’ve now also read the second book in this series, Shark’s Bite. I read it in a weekend, I got so into it. The action is awesome, and so is the dialogue and characterization. Heck, I loved it all, especially Peri. Talk about kick-ass! We learn more about Shark and Peri in this story. And I’ll be waiting for the third one in this series.Bethany Maines Sharks Bite

Here’s what the first book, Shark’s Instinct, is all about:

Seventeen-year-old Peregrine Hays has a boyfriend, a 3.8 grade point average and a double life as her high-school’s resident “fixer.” From the creepy ex who won’t leave a girl alone to blackmail sexts, Peri can help. But when Peri finds herself facing down Tall Jimmy, the local drug dealer, her only solution leads straight to the gorgeous, deadly, and way out of her league, Shark Santoyo.

Twenty-something Shark has a prison-earned college degree, a rap sheet a mile long, and a job working as an enforcer for The Organization. But when Geier, his mob boss, sends him to the suburbs to find out who’s been skimming the take, Shark realizes he’s going to need more than his gun and an attitude to succeed. He’ll need Peri, the mysterious teen with the fast mouth and faster knife.

With the clock ticking, will Peri and Shark be able to walk the knife’s edge between instinct and attraction, to not only succeed, but to survive?

Click here for Bethany’s website.