Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: "When Darkness Breaks" by Traci Sanders

About The Author

Author and mother of three, Traci Sanders has been composing poetry, songs, and children's stories since the young age of ten. In 2003, she opened her home to young children in her community offering "beyond the basics" teachings. In 2008, she was recognized by the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency as Family Childcare Provider of the Year and was featured in two local newspapers.

In 2010, she furthered her education by earning her Child Development Associates degree and was a recipient of the FIRST (First Incentive for Raising Standards among Teachers) Award presented by the Child Care Commissioner of her state. She continues to shape the young minds of the future through her home-based childcare program. Her daily interactions with these children provide constant inspiration for her writing and she plans to continue on this path until her story has reached "The End."

Traci has two goals in writing books--to help people and/or to make them feel something. 
To date, she has published five books, including her latest foray into adult fiction titled, 'When Darkness Breaks'. She is an avid reader and writer, and finds inspiration all around her.
Currently Traci is writing her second adult novel, a light paranormal romance, titled 'UNSEVERED'.

Please visit Traci's blog: A Word With Traci
Follow Traci on twitter: @tmsanders2014


About The Book
Local news anchor, Amber Woods, seemed to have it all – a thriving career, two beautiful children, and a doting husband named Drake. Life was perfect…until her world was turned upside down in one fateful night.

While the incident caused Amber to renew her priorities; Drake was unable to deal with what
happened, and sank into a deep depression laced with infidelity and alcohol.

Hoping a change of scenery would salvage her quickly deteriorating marriage, Amber agreed to move to New York; but it didn't take long for her to discover that the past is not always left in the past.

Can Amber save her marriage without losing herself along the way? What will she do when darkness breaks her will to keep trying?


My Review
Truly Heartbreaking, Yet Uplifting Story
As the story unfolded, I found myself asking two questions: What makes a strong woman? Is it the woman who stays in a bad marriage waiting for it to turn around, or is it the woman who doesn't take any crap, leaves, and starts her life over. Before reading "When Darkness Breaks," I would've said the latter. However, Amber is a strong woman to whom I can relate, and I think anyone who has been married, husband or wife, especially those in a bad marriage can.

When a marriage is damaged, for whatever reason, it is both hard to walk away and yet, it is hard to stay. One person's answer may not be another's. Amber fought for a marriage she knew had been good and with some faith and effort it could be great again.

I feel this is a well-written story that at times can break your heart, but in other times, lifts you up. It
gives you faith. Once you start reading, you will not want to put it down and could very easy keep you glued to your seat and reading until the very end.

Get "When Darkness Breaks" here.

Next Five books and short stories on my reading list are:
Deadly Secrets (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff (Book of the Month moved up)
What's In A Name? Tales from the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging
For The Sake of a Child by Stevie Turner (Push Book moved up)
The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1) by F. P. Spirit
Finding Kate by Harmony Kent

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: "Murder at Cold Creek College" by Christa Nardi

About Christa Nardi

Christa Nardi is a new author of cozy mysteries. Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in what she hopes will be a series set in a small town in Virginia. She has a background in higher education and psychology, similar to the main character in the series, Sheridan Hendley.

Please visit Christa's blog at http://christanardi.blogspot.com/
You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/christa.nardi.5
Follow Christa on twitter: @ChristaN7777





About the Book
Sheridan Hendley is a professor and psychologist, not a sleuth. When her colleague is murdered and her good friend becomes the prime suspect, her curiosity and logical mind have her putting pieces together. In small town Cold Creek it’s hard to have secrets. As Sheridan tries to connect all the people in Adam’s life, she finds that many women have a motive for Adam’s murder. When Sheridan's tires are slashed and then she is assaulted, it's clear someone is afraid she’s getting too close.

My Review

"Murder at Cold Creek College" is a 'who dunnit' at a small town college. A psychology professor is murdered and all staff, as well as many students are suspects. One of the suspects on the short list is Sheridan Hendley's best friend who she wants to prove innocent.

Sheridan is often thrown into situations beyond her control that cause her to become a prime target for the killer. Adam, the handsome state police detective, is on the job and very attracted to Sheridan. Things really heat up between these two.

This is a story I enjoyed, especially the many plot twists and turns that lead to a very satisfying ending. It is well-written with well-developed and likable characters. There are many characters but not overwhelming to the point where you get lost in the who is who.

The author appeared to either be knowledgeable in the day-to-day of college life or she researched it extremely well. I highly recommend "Murder at Cold Creek College" for an entertaining read. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, "Murder in the Arboretum" and have added it to my to-be-read list. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQ748GO/

Get "Murder at Cold Creek College" here.

Next Five books and short stories on my reading list are:
When Darkness Breaks by Traci Sanders (Book of the Month moved up)
Deadly Secrets (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff (Book of the Month moved up)
What's In A Name? Tales from the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging
The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1) by F. P. Spirit
Finding Kate by Harmony Kent

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Review: "Laurel's Quest" (The Cornwall Adventures, Book 1) by Nancy M. Bell

About The Author

Nancy Marie Bell is a proud Albertan and lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various
critters.  She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. Nancy has numerous writing credits to her name, having three novels published and her work has been published in various magazines. She has also had her work recognized and honoured with various awards, and most recently, a silver medal in the Creative Writing category of the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games in 2013.  Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference in 2012 and 2013, and at the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference in 2014. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Please visit her webpage  http://www.nancymbell.ca
You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/NancyMBell
Follow on twitter: @emilypikkasso

About The Book

A trip to England sounds like a grand adventure, but Laurel Rowan can’t escape from her true reality. Her mother is terminally ill, and her father needs her to go so he can spend his time at the hospital. On a train to Penzance, Laurel meets a new friend, Coll. On the property of her host, she stumbles upon a magical spring. There she meets the White Lady, who offers her a chance at gaining her heart’s true desire, if only she can solve a riddle.

My Review

Filled With Mystical Wonder

Although Laurel is shipped off to stay with a friend of the family who she doesn't really know, during a time when she feels she should be at home with her terminally ill mother, she adapts. She finds fast and true friends who help her in a quest that she hopes will save her mother's life.

Ms. Bell is an artist with words and the computer screen is her canvas. She creates beautiful descriptions of the Cornwall countryside. The legends and mythology are spell bounding. As I read, I found myself wanting to look up the
different places Laurel and her friends traveled.

Overall, I found the story enjoyable and filled with mystical wonder.

Get Laurel's Quest (Book 1 of The Cornwall Adventures) at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012U4YMQ6/ 

Next Five books and short stories on my reading list are:
A Port in the Storm FREE (Only at Amber Quill Press) Short Story by Elizabeth Delisi
Murder at Cold Creek College by Christa Nardi
The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1) by F. P. Spirit
What's In A Name? Tales from the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging
Finding Kate by Harmony Kent

Monday, August 03, 2015

New Release Sneak Peek: The Wedding Crasher

Sharing GOOD News:
  • The Wedding Crasher (Book 3 in the Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery series) is off to the editor and up for pre-order at Amazon and Kobo. It should also be available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and iTunes soon.
  • I've just released a combo book set containing Haunted Hearts and Get Our or Die where readers can save $2 by purchasing the set rather than purchasing the single books.
  • I have a new blog titled Kim's Author Support Page with excellent articles, interviews, book reviews, and author spotlights.
  • Last but definitely not least, Haunted Hearts has been chosen as one of Rave Reviews Book Club's August Book of the Month books. I'm very excited about this. Rave Reviews is a book club for both authors and readers. Check them out at  https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/. You'll be happy you did.

The Wedding Crasher

To Be Released: September 2015
The Wedding Crasher is longer than the previous books in the series at about 35K words and over 100 pages. If you haven't read Haunted Hearts or Get Out or Die, it doesn't matter as it can stand on its own. Below is a blurb and excerpt if you're interested. Unlike the other two, this book has never been published elsewhere--it is totally new.

Blurb:
Lana Malloy is marrying the love of her life, Tony Calabria. The night before, she has a vision of a disturbing wedding and wonders if it’s a premonition of her own. Feeling silly for thinking that, she proceeds with her plans as scheduled.
 
During their honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Lana has visions of a young woman abducted by a madman, who will be forced to marry him if he isn’t stopped. She senses marriage isn’t the worst thing that could happen to this woman as she feels the threads of death circling her. She believes this isn’t the first woman the man has abducted and murdered; he’s killed before.
 
Lana can’t ignore her visions. Will Tony understand this isn’t an obsession, but a calling, and Lana has to do whatever it takes for this young woman? Will she find the victim in time? If she doesn’t, life will never be the same.

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
As Lana walked down the aisle, Tony’s love filled her heart and a tear trickled from her eye. She was finally here after realizing there was nothing to be afraid of—nothing at all. So why did she want to turn around and run—run from the church and run for her life? But she wouldn’t. She couldn’t be a runaway bride. 

Her footsteps slowed. She felt like she was trudging through deep mud.  Then her legs wouldn’t move at all. She looked hopelessly at Tony. The smile left his face and he looked horrified. The look of horror changed to disgust.

She yanked and pulled at her feet without success. What was going on? She tried to cry out, but not a sound escaped. She pulled her long wedding dress up to her knees, and tried to jerk her fashionably heel-clad foot from the carpeted floor. It was impossible. This couldn’t be happening, at least, not on the most important day of her life. She moaned and grunted. She yelled, “Tony!” Her voice sounded as if it came out through a vacuum in slow motion.

Next, she looked around and everyone froze as if paused with a remote control. Everyone except Tony, who gave her a nasty look and walked quickly past her, through the back door, and out of the church. Someone was in his place, but she couldn’t tell who he was. As if someone pressed play again, her feet began to move freely. The crowd became active once more, smiling and whispering. Tony’s brother still stood up as best man to the right of the other man. He smiled at her as she reluctantly made her way to the altar. She couldn’t stop walking; although, all she wanted was to turn around and run after Tony.

When she reached the front of the church where the man she loved should’ve been, the man turned and took her arm, but his face was blank. Who was he? She still had no idea. Lana twisted around to gaze into the crowd. She yelled for help, but everyone just continued to smile at them lovingly—as if this was the most natural thing in the world. Tony even sat with the crowd now, smiling at her. The scene fast forward and it was all over. Everyone rushed to where they stood and wished them happiness.

Tony hugged her and said, “This was the right thing to do. You’ll be very happy with Myles. I won’t hold it against you.”

Lana jerked awake and looked at her clock. It was four in the morning, and she’d slept for an hour. Her bridal shower hadn’t ended until two. This was to be her wedding day and she’d just had the worst nightmare about a wedding anyone could have. What was she supposed to do now? Call it off? Did this mean that marrying Tony would be the worst mistake of her life? Was her life partner supposed to be this Myles person? Who the hell is Myles anyway!

Nerves? Cold feet? That had to be it. And if it weren’t for her psychic ability, that’s all it would mean to her too. But she did have premonitions and her dreams normally meant something but figuring out what they meant always proved to be the hardest part. Lana wished her aunt Lucy would appear.
The windows blew open. A cold draft swooshed the curtains aside. Lana ran to the window and closed it, then pulled the curtains together.

“You called?” Lana jumped. Lucy, her ghostly great-aunt floated around the room smiling. Although Lana had helped Lucy move on a little over a year ago, she still popped back into her life from time to time.

“Lucy … ah, no. I wished for you. You can read my mind now?”

“I always could, honey. So what’s the problem?”

“You don’t know? I thought you could read my mind.”

Lucy floated to the bed, crossed her legs and hovered over the covers as if sitting on the sheets.

“Well, it’s more like a sense. I can sense when you need me sometimes. Your mom and dad say hello, by the way, and they both send their love.”

“You’ve seen them? How are they?” Lana sat beside her.

“They're both well. Better than when they were alive. But back to you. What has you so upset?”

Lana told her about her dream. “What could it mean?”

“Cold feet perhaps?”

“I thought of that already, but I think it means something more. You know how my dreams are. They usually lead to something I’m working on during a job. But I’m not working on anything at the moment.

I put everything on hold until after the wedding.”

“That’s true. I’m happy you’re not backing out of the wedding though.”

“I didn’t say that.” Lana was up and pacing the floor in front of her dresser.

“You’re kidding, right? You’ve dragged your feet on this way too long already. You’re not going to break poor Tony’s heart.”

“Of course not. I’m just wondering if this is a warning. Am I marrying the right man?”

“How can you ask that? Remember your premonition about you, Tony and the baby.”

A few months ago when Lana had completed a job, helping a ghost move on who didn’t want to leave and didn’t want the owners of his house living in it, she touched the door handle of her car and the premonition hit her. She realized what her heart knew all along—Tony was the love of her life and she would be stupid not to set the date for their wedding.

Yes, she did remember. Tony had to be the right man for her, she was sure of it. “But what else could the dream mean?”

Lucy placed a finger to her chin. “I got it. This dream has to have something to do with a case you’re going to work on. It’s another premonition. It has to be.” Then she floated over to gaze at Lana’s wedding dress hanging in the plastic bag outside her closet door. “Gorgeous dress. I bet it cost a bundle.”

Lana watched the white-haired woman and thought how short her aunt’s attention span was. “Never mind that right now. So what should I do? Should I postpone the wedding until I find out what this is all about?”

Lucy flew across the room and stopped in front of Lana. “You’ll do no such of thing. You’ll marry that wonderful man today and be happy about it. Just shut the terrible dream from your mind until you return. You’ll only be gone on your honeymoon for a couple of weeks. Whatever it is can wait until you return.”

“Yeah. You’re right.”

“Ain’t I always, honey.”

Lana laughed. “You bet your …?”

“You bet your what? I’m still your aunt and I won’t hear any nasty words coming out of your mouth.”

“Buns. You bet your buns was all I was going to say?” They both laughed.
The two women, one auburn-haired and the other gray blew kisses and Lucy was out of sight again, leaving Lana to a sleepless night of tossing and turning.

*    *    *    *   *    *

The next morning at sunrise, Lana walked onto her front porch with a cup of coffee, gazing at the cloud-covered sky and hoping the weather would change soon to the predicted forecast of sunshine for their wedding. She sat in her great aunt’s rocking chair where she liked to meditate. Rocking helped her to clear her mind. The thoughts of the dream threatened to return, so she looked for something else to concentrate on.

Her 1972 yellow Volkswagen Super Beetle and her great aunt’s 1965 red Ford Mustang set in the covered carport. She had inherited the Mustang from her parents who had inherited it from Lucy. Her family loved the older car styles, always stating they had more character than the newer ones. Lana had been so excited when she was finally able to restore them to their original glory. She leapt from her chair and walked outside to get a closer look. The restoration had turned out so well.

She ran her fingers over the now bright Saturn yellow hood of the Volkswagen that had all new windows, black vinyl seats, whitewall tires, and chrome rims. The rear engine had been completely rebuilt. The Mustang went through the same upgrades, but she'd had it painted candy-apple red. Her heart filled with pleasure at being able to refurbish them. She made a mental note to put them in the garage before the wedding. Tony suggested the renovations when she'd asked him for his opinion on good investments. Of course this was only one of his suggestions and the most fun. Always the business man, he'd also suggested investing in a 401K and a retirement fund.

As she decided to take a short walk around the block, her train of thought took her to their living arrangements after they married. Of course, she would live with Tony in the Calabria mansion, but she would keep her beach house exclusively for her PI office. She’d already renovated most of it to a more professional level—not too professional though, liking the cozy feel of it.

Before long, she was on the beach front near her home, and her thoughts wandered to the house Tony had purchased for their wedding present—a getaway home on John’s Island—the home to Angel Oak, one of the largest living trees believed to be almost 500 years old. Their new house set on over two acres of wooded privacy with a stunning carriage apartment, dock and boat ramp that accessed Bohicket creek, and shared a community with eleven other homes.

As you approached the front of the house by the winding driveway, you were met by the double-decker, full-length front porches. There was also a large screened back porch. Balconies were a part of all the bedrooms except for the master where a second-floor porch stood. The porches, especially the back porch, and the deck were Lana’s favorites, as well as the in-ground swimming pool for exercise where she planned to swim laps during the summer to relieve stress.

The house had three spacious bedrooms and two full baths. The master bedroom included a large walk-in closet with a separate shower and garden tub. There were three more bedrooms upstairs with ample closet space. Lana also loved the built-in bookcases framing the den/study area. The open kitchen’s roomy design would be an excellent place to entertain friends. There was a downstairs swing space that could be an option for a fifth bedroom, home office, or study. If they turned it into a home office, she and Tony both could work from home when they didn’t need to drive back to Charleston—maybe a wall bed if more beds were needed. Probably not, and it was a bit overwhelming to think about with everything else going on in her mind.

Yes, Lana thought the house was a little too much for a getaway right now but once they had children it would fill up fast. Plus, Tony bought it for an excellent price so she couldn’t really protest too much. And they could live there for extensive periods of time since it was only twenty-three minutes from Charleston. Getting to work would take no time at all. In reality, she preferred this house for everyday living rather than Tony’s family mansion; although, the mansion was more convenient for Tony as it set on the outskirts of Charleston, closer to his downtown office. The new house was much less intimidating, large but still small in comparison.

Perhaps . . . could she . . . should she . . . would she be able to talk Tony into living on John’s Island full-time and use the mansion only for large business parties? That would be so nice.
___________________________________________________

Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery - 2 Box Set (Haunted Hearts & Get Out or Die)
In the LANA MALLOY PARANORMAL MYSTERY SERIES, Lana Malloy is a psychic, private investigator who is on a mission to help the dearly departed even when they don’t realize they need help.

In the first novella, HAUNTED HEARTS, Lana sets out to solve her first case—the twenty-year old cold-case and double murder of her great aunt and her great aunt’s fiancĂ©. If she succeeds, they’ll spend eternity together; if she can’t, they’ll be stuck as Haunted Hearts. With the help of the ghosts and a new love interest, she is able to find the murderer.

In the second novella, GET OUT OR DIE, the success of Lana’s first case has spread throughout the local Charleston area and her business is booming. At one pro-bono job, Lana helps a widow communicate with her late husband where she learns of a frightening new ability—an ability that could give the spirit the upper hand if she’s not careful.

Other Books Coming in the series are:
Projected Titles and Releases
Book 4: Christmas Cruise - November 2015
Book 5: Demi's Serial Case - April 2016
Book 6: Haunted by Her Past - October 2016

As far as I know, that will be the end of this series, but you never know. To find working blurbs to these and other books projected through 2016, check out my Coming Soon page.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

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