Posted in reviews

Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A decade after he broke her heart, a young Princess must put herself on the line once more in order to save her kingdom by working with the rockstar she fell in love with in author Angelina M. Lopez’s “Hate Crush”, the second in the Filthy Rich series.

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The Synopsis

A fake relationship could help Princesa Sofia save her kingdom. Only problem: She’ll have to fake it with the man who broke her heart.

Ten years ago, wild child Princesa Sofia Maria Isabel de Esperanza y Santos fell in fast crazy love with heartbreaker Aish Salinger during one California harvest season. Now, all grown up and with the future of her kingdom on her shoulders, she hates him as passionately as she once loved him.

Even if her body hasn’t gotten the hate memo.

Faking a relationship with the now-famous rock star for the press and public will ensure the success of her new winery and prosperity of her kingdom. All she has to do is grit her teeth and bear his tattooed presence in her village and winery—her home—for a month.

Trying to recover from his own scandal, fallen superstar Aish Salinger jumps at the chance to be near Sofia again. Leaving her was the biggest mistake he’s ever made, and he’s waited ten years to win her back.

He never counted on finding a woman who despised him so much she didn’t want to be anywhere near him.

A war of wills breaks out as the princess and rock star battle to control their fake relationship. She wants to dictate every action to keep him away from her. He wants to be as close as he can be. She’s already lost so much because of Aish—e won’t be the reason her people lose even more.

But he also won’t make her break her life’s most important vow: To never fall in love again.

Read Filthy Rich Book One, Lush Money, available now from Carina Press!

The Review

A fantastic read! The author does an amazing job of creating a narrative for readers new to the series and fans of the first novel as well. The characters are well-rounded as they are filled with rich history not only between one another but by themselves as well, making their story shine even brighter. 

The story does a great job of bringing readers fully into the romance aspect of the narrative, making the tension and pain of their history together that much more engaging as a reader. However the inclusion of mystery and intrigue surrounding aspects of their shared past make this a good little mystery as well, giving an added layer of connectivity to the characters overall. 

The Verdict

A truly wonderful and engaging read, author Angelina M. Lopez and her novel “Hate Crush” is an evenly paced, heart-pounding read that readers will not be able to put down. A wonderful and rich cast of characters and entertaining story make this a must-read contemporary romance, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hate-Crush-Filthy-Angelina-Lopez/dp/1335459502

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hate-crush-angelina-m-lopez/1135551929

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hate-crush/id1491603901

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hate-crush

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Angelina_M_Lopez_Hate_Crush?id=hDTEDwAAQBAJ

About Angelina M. Lopez

Angelina M. Lopez wrote “arthur” when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she’s been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. Finally, she found her way back to “author.”

Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it’s not true. She’s a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn check boxes. She checks them with glee.

You can find more about her at her website, AngelinaMLopez.com.

Connect with Angelina M. Lopez

Website: http://www.angelinamlopez.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaMLopezDC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelinaMLo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelinamlo/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19213274.Angelina_M_Lopez


And now, an excerpt of Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez…


Aish pulled the bud out of his ear and straightened, never taking his eyes off her as he held it out. When she took the bud from him, she let her fingers linger. His fingertips were warm and that tiny touch sent a frisson down her arm.

She unwrapped the headphones from around her neck and stuffed them into her back pocket. But she didn’t move back.

“I’m a musician,” he said, voice low.

“I know.”

A corner of his mouth went up. “What else do you know?”

That he made every millimeter of her skin buzz. That he smelled like boy and sweat and ocean salt. She hated the nose-clogging scent of cologne. There was nothing fake about the way this boy smelled.

She pulled her long braid over her shoulder and tugged on it. “You’re from LA, your father designs clothes, your mother is a famous fitness instructor. Y…you’re very good at surfing, singing, partying, working harder on less sleep than everyone else and…oh, , ménage à trois.”

Shock, mortification, and humor created a palette across his expressive face. “Who said I’m good at threesomes?”

Sofia ran a hand down her braid and shrugged, all Spanish cool. “No sé. I keep my nose to myself. It’s everyone else who talks.”

When he grinned this time, he looked like he might lean down and taste her. “And what does everyone say about you?”

Sofia worked to maintain her smile. She wanted to be no one to nobody. She wanted to have nothing said about her. But even if she’d lived a cloistered life in a high tower, her story would be marred with her parents’ dramas and affairs and fights, ugly public episodes that stripped Sofia of dignity without her involvement. And Princesa Sofia hadn’t lived a cloistered life. Maintaining her dignity hadn’t been high on her list when she’d mooned the crowd from atop a Semana Santa float in Cádiz or when she’d waved drunkenly to the paparazzi from a movie star’s hotel balcony when she was supposed to be presented to the Queen of England. She’d been neither drunk nor sleeping with the star. But her humiliated mother had abandoned the duke’s bedroom she’d been occupying to drag Sofia back to the Monte.

She didn’t want to think about her scandalous past. She didn’t want to think about the demands of her future. All Sofia wanted right now was to be a dirty, half-naked girl wrapped around a beautiful boy in a wine tank.

“I know some stuff about you,” Aish said quietly.

Sofia focused on the air in front of his face and ran her hand down her braid.

“Your name’s Sofia. That’s…really fucking pretty.” He hadn’t said Princess Sofia. He hadn’t said Sofia de

Esperanza y Santos. Just Sofia. And he thought it was pretty. She focused again on his eyes.

“You’ve got a great accent.” The air between them felt like it was warming up. “You like grunt work, which is so hot it kinda hurts.”

Nothing about her royal status. Nothing about her reputation. He’d just arrived; perhaps none of the interns had told him about the princess in their midst. Perhaps his uncle had just said, “Make sure the new intern hasn’t passed out. Her name is Sofia.”

“You’re not wearing a bra.” Her mouth opened at that, surprised, as his eyed gripped shut. “I noticed and if you noticed I noticed, I’m sorry ’cause I don’t want you to think I’m a total fucking creeper and scare you away…”

“I don’t think you’re a creeper,” she said, reaching to brush her fingers over his clenched fist. Her breasts were so small she seldom wore a bra. But this boy acted like they were an irresistible temptation.

Aish opened his eyes. “Are you for real?”

Sofia smiled up at him, feeling helpless and foolish and floating.

“I mean, am I having some weird acid flashback?” His urgency seemed to express that it was a real possibility.

“Wouldn’t I be having one, too?” she asked. “And I’ve never done acid.”

“No, no.” He was a lit fuse aimed in her direction. “This could be my own personal hallucination. Because, what the fuck. My uncle tells me to go check on the new intern and inside a tank is a kick-ass, bare-skinned fairy girl listening to elf music. I feel like I’m tripping. Am I?”

With amazement beaming from her, Sofia shook her head.

He reacted like she’d punched him. “Fuck. Your smile. Can I kiss you?”

Copyright © 2020 by Angelina M. Lopez

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody Book & Software Review

I received a free copy of this book and software in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In a first here on my site, I have the unique opportunity to share my review of not only a book on writing that is considered to be a must-read for many aspiring writers and screenwriters, but to test out the amazing writing software that many use in their modern projects. Here are my thoughts on Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. 

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The Synopsis

SAVE THE CAT!® by Blake Snyder is a popular screenwriting book series and storytelling methodology used by screenwriters, directors, and studio execs across Hollywood. Now, for the first time ever, bestselling author and writing teacher, Jessica Brody, takes the beloved Save the Cat! plotting principals and applies them to the craft of novel writing in this exciting new “workshop style” guide, featuring over 20 full beat sheets from popular novels throughout time.

Whether you’re writing your first novel or your seventeenth, Save the Cat! breaks down plot in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method so you can write stories that resonate! This book can help you with any of the following:

Outlining a new novel

Revising an existing novel

Breaking out of the dreaded “writer’s block”

Fixing a “broken” novel

Reviewing a completed novel

Fleshing out/test driving a new idea to see if it “has legs”

Implementing feedback from agents and/or editors

Helping give constructive feedback to other writers

But above all else, SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL will help you better understand the fundamentals and mechanics of plot, character transformation, and what makes a story work! 

The Review

What really spoke to me about the book was as a novelist it was great to see how the process of storytelling from a more modern lens looked and felt. Applying the pattern that was discovered and applied to successful novels and screenplays to our own works was unique, and showcased the things that worked and the things that didn’t.

On top of that, the author takes readers through the important steps of developing and nurturing a story, from identifying the “hero” of the story to the genres being explored, the pitch that you’ll want to sell the story to readers, and the beats that can be touched upon throughout the narrative. The novel is thorough, detailed, and does an amazing job of not necessarily declaring one writing style over another to be “superior”, but instead guiding the writer in the process of discovering their own voice while still following a pattern of success.

As for the software itself, the ability to utilize the program for screenplays, television shows, and novels was a treat, and could even divide the novel into larger series overall. I decided to utilize my novel “The Legend of Electric Fusion”, a book I wrote years ago I am in the process of rewriting and utilized it for this software. 

The technology allowed me to start breaking down my characters more fully. Not only getting into more detailed descriptions of the characters, but their overall motivations and goals moving forward. This helped me to see a more clear path for the narrative to take moving forward. It is a truly organized, structured, and detailed path for those who follow the plotter style of writing than anything else. 

The Verdict

A must-read book and fantastic software that writers and readers alike will fall in love with. Motivating and inspiring, the book helps foster creativity and bring stories more fully to life than ever before. It is a great step in helping to hone the writer’s craft and give readers a chance to see into the complex process of developing an engaging novel. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About Save the Cat!®

Save the Cat! provides writers the resources they need to develop their screenplays and novels based on a series of best-selling books, primarily written by Blake Snyder (1957- 2009). Blake’s method is based on 10 distinctive genres and his 15 story beats (the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet). Our books, workshops, story structure software, apps, and story coaching teach you everything you need to unlock the fundamentals and mechanics of plot and character transformation.

Find out more about Save the Cat! by visiting their webpage at www.savethecat.com.

About the Save the Cat Structure Software

Save the Cat! Story Structure Software is adapted from the Save the Cat! methodology to help screenwriters and novelists unlock the fundamentals of plot and character transformation. The Story Structure Software is a virtual writer board with digital index cards to help map out your story against the 15 beats or plot points to your story. The software enables writers to track emotional shifts of characters from scene to scene, develop profiles and edit and version your story with ease.

You can purchase a subscription to the Save the Cat! Structure Software at Save the Cat’s website.

About Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

An Amazon #1 best seller with over 500 reviews, it’s the first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success.

In this revolutionary novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! series, novelist Jessica Brody demystifies each beat, making it simple to learn the complexities of storytelling. The best-seller also reveals the ten universal story genres to help you drill down into what makes your type of story work. Featuring sample “beat sheets” for hits from the likes of J. K. Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, and Stephen King, this practical guide also includes real-world advice on pitching your novel, plus the quirky, original insights (like the eponymous tip to “Save the Cat”) that make this series unique. By the end of this book, your own imaginative beats will combine to create a story that thrills readers from start to finish.

Print Length: 320 Pages

Genre: Writing References

Publisher: Ten Speed Press/Random House Publishing LLC

ASIN: B078VWDNKT

ISBN-10: 0399579745

ISBN-13:978-0399579745


Save the Cat! Writes the Novel
 is available as a print and e-book at 
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

About the Author, Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody worked for MGM Studios as manager of acquisitions and business development before becoming an internationally best-selling author of more than fifteen novels for adults and teens including The Geography of Lost Things, The Chaos of Standing Still, A Week of Mondays, and Better You Than Me. She travels the country teaching Save the Cat! workshops to novelists.

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Blog Tour Dates

April 27th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Visit the Muffin today and you can read an interview with the Save the Cat team as well as enter to win a copy of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and a one-year subscription to their software Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

April 28th @ Pro Writing Aid

Make sure you visit Michelle’s post over at Pro Writing Aid and read her review of the save the Cat Structure Sofware.

https://prowritingaid.com/en/Blog/Author/183/Michelle-Cornish

April 29th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Make sure you visit Karen Brown Tyson’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

April 30th @ Karen Brown Tyson

Visit Karen’s blog again and you can read a guest post about the impact of Save the Cat! on creative culture.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 1st @ Sunflowers & Bluebirds

Visit Jess’ blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://sunflowerstobluebirds.wordpress.com/

May 2nd @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog

Make sure you visit Jessica’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://jessicasamuelsauthor.com/

May 3rd @ Help me Naomi

Visit Naomi’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software. Just in time for CampNaNoWriMo!

https://helpmenaomi.com/blog/

May 4th @ Her First Mile

Visit Alyshia’s blog today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://herfirstmile.com/

May 5th @ Halfway to It

Visit Jeanna’s blog (and Instagram!) today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://www.halfwaytoitblog.com/

https://www.instagram.com/halfwaytoitblog/

May 6th @ Editor 911

Make sure you visit Margo’s blog today and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://editor-911.com/

May 7th @ Brooke’s Reviews and Sweeps

Visit Brooke’s site today and make sure you read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://www.brookereviewsnsweeps.com/

May 7th @ Sandy Kirby Quandt

Stop by Sandy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

www.sandykirbyquandt.com

May 8th @ Quill and Books

Stop by Katheryn’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://quillandbooks.com/

May 9th @ Choices Blog

Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a fantastic Save the Cat! guest post about how to choose the best idea to write.

http://madelinesharples.com/

May 10th @ Margay Leah Justice Blog

Visit Margay’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://margayleahjustice.blogspot.com/

May 11th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Beverley’s blog and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 12th @ Reading Whale

Visit Caitlin’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel and of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://readingwhale.com/

May 13th @ Mint Miller Writes

Visit Mint Miller’s blog today and you can read a review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

May 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today and you can read his review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 15th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat Structure Software.

http://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

May 16th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and make sure you stop by Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

http://www.coffeewithlacey.com

May 17th @ Leslie L. McKee’s blog

Visit Leslie’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software and the Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://leslielmckee.com/blog/

May 18th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today and you can read her review of Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

May 19th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again and you can read a guest post about how software can help organize and plot your story.

http://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

May 20th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 21st @ L. M. Harley’s Blog

Visit Laura’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://lmharleywriter.com/blog.html

May 22nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and you can read her insights into the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

May 23rd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

May 24th @ Tyrean Martinson’s Blog

Visit Tyrean’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

May 25th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog and you can read his interview with the Save the Cat! team.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 27th @ Amanda Zieba’s Blog

Visit Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://amandazieba.com/

May 28th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by the Save the Cat team about writing genres vs. audience genres. Don’t miss it!

http://itsalannajean.com/

May 28th @ Shayla Raquel

Make sure you stop by Shayla’s blog and read her review of the book Save the Cat! Writes the Novel.

https://shaylaraquel.com/

May 29th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Mason’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

May 30th @ Make Me a Success

Make sure you stop by Kirsten’s blog and read her review of the Save the Cat! Structure Software.

https://www.makemeasuccess.co.uk/blogs/

Posted in reviews

The Faithful (#2) – A Mimosa Tales Adventure by Linda Thackeray Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The folks of Mimosa must endure a harrowing journey as they face a shocking enemy in an attempt to save lives in author Linda Thackeray’s “The Faithful”, the second novel in the Mimosa Tales Adventure series. 

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The Synopsis 

“Well, she’s the greatest pig alive. About a month ago, she saved my wife and kids and me from our burning house by waking us up in the middle of the night just in time to escape without any harm! She’s like one of the family. A couple of weeks ago, our youngest fell into the river, and the pig dang fished him out just in time to save him from drowning! She’s one of a kind.”

“Okay,” the travelling salesman accepted the accomplishment of this particular porcine but hadn’t had his question answered. “But that don’t explain what happened to her legs?”

“Well now,” the farmer declared. “When you got a pig that great, you don’t eat her all at once.”

These are the words ringing in Marshal Kris Jensens’s mind when he and the lawmen of Mimosa, led by Winn Tuner follow the trail of missing homesteaders, thought to be lost deep in Apache Country. Driven to the ominous Owl Valley where not even the Apache dare walk, they discover the homesteaders may have met a fate worse than death by a monstrous evil festering within its deepest reaches.

Now it’s up to Kris and his men to reach civilisation and warn everyone, that what lies in Owl Canyon has been there for almost 300 years and is hungry…

The Review

A grittier tale that ups the ante of the first novel, author Linda Thackeray has crafted a shocking tale that blends history, horror, and the old west into unique narrative readers will instantly fall in love with. The story puts sheriff Kris Jensen and his allies in the clutches of a dangerous threat, one that defies human morality in ways none of the characters thought possible. 

The author does an outstanding job of using the narrative and story to highlight the cultural differences between so many different civilizations, and how savagery exists on all sides, as well as empathy. The conquests made by Europeans is felt deeply as the results of their conquest is felt in what befell a specific group of people fleeing their bloody invasion, and what those events drove them to become. 

The novel’s greatest strength comes in the character development, especially between Kris and Winn, who have endured a rift in their friendship since the events of the first novel. The chemistry and pain between them are put to the test when faced with the unspeakable horrors waiting for them on this rescue mission. 

The Verdict

A must-read novel, this is a fantastic sequel to an addicting Old West-style novel series. A fast-paced, engaging and one of a kind read, author Linda Thackeray’s “The Faithful” is a powerful follow-up narrative and heightens the character’s growth overall moving forward. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in a village in Malaysia and delivered by underpaid midwife, and Ann, an irritable new mother (who wouldn’t be after 48 hours in labour?), X was named by a deranged grandmother with too much creativity for her own good. Once out of her pain-induced stupor, Ann decided to give her new daughter a proper middle name to avoid the risk of being put into a home later in life.

And so, she was called Linda.

Linda was an unremarkable child, save a few notable incidents, the discovery that a pot lid is not a substitute for Wonder Woman’s tiara (five stitches), four-year old don’t need to shave (no stitches but lots of toilet paper) and utility truck drivers are not necessarily qualified operators of their vehicles (seventy stitches).

At eight, Linda received religious enlightenment when she saw Star Wars at the Odeon Theatre and hence began her writing career.

For many years, the cages of various pets in the Thackeray household were littered with pages from Linda’s scribblings. Subjects usually ranged from whatever science fiction show was on television or at the movies. There was lots of Star Wars.

At 17, Linda moved to Sydney, Australia and was disappointed it was not occupied by Paul Hogan types with big knives and croc skin jackets but pot-bellied blokes with zinc cream and terry towel hats. Linda’s father (also known as that bloke who buys me stuff to piss mum off when she’s mad at him) settled in the town of Young, a community of 6000 people with no movie theatre.

Linda survived this period in the wilderness by raising kangaroos and writing original works but eventually got saddled down with the necessities of life and though she continued to write, work came first. Work, HBO, comic books and rent. It’s a kaleidoscope.

Even the kangaroos left out of boredom.

In 2014, Linda decided to start writing seriously again. Mostly because Australia’s strict gun laws make it very difficult to ‘go postal’ in the workplace. Moving to Woy Woy, which is Aboriginal for ‘Big Water’, she’s dipped her toes into the Indie pool and found she needs a pedicure. Her books are labours of love and championed by her friends on Facebook.

Eventually Creativia Publishers, appalled by Linda’s inability to conduct any marketing, offered to publish her books out of sheer exasperation.

Supported by two cats named Newt and Humphrey, she spends her days trying to write novels while having unclean thoughts about Michael Fassbender and Jason Statham, sometimes together.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0867RKWG5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Author Site: https://lindathackeray.wixsite.com/authorsite

Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest by Ted Karpf Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One man’s journey to accepting himself and facing the world as not only a gay man, but a gay priest as well, comes to life in author Ted Karpf’s book, “Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest”. 

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The Synopsis

In 1980s America, coming out as gay as a father and husband was a significant journey for anyone to make. Coming out as gay as a priest guaranteed immersion into controversy, contradiction, and challenge. This book tells of the Reverend Canon Ted Karpf’s navigation of new social and romantic journeys, all within the context of his priestly vocation in the Episcopal Church. Covering from 1968 to 2018, Karpf recounts his vivid memories, life-changing dreams and resonant reflections on living a life of faith in a socially and politically tumultuous period. His narratives are crafted as poetic meditations on enduring values and meaning, which can remind any reader that we are neither abandoned nor alone, and that forgiveness is a fulfilling way of living in a world of contradictions.

The Review

A heartbreaking and honest journey takes form in this one of a kind read. The author relays the difficult journey of coming to terms with the abuse suffered as a child, the painful process of accepting who he truly is while married to a woman with two children and finding clarity for his religious beliefs in relation to his own personality and sexual identity. 

What stands out to me as a reader is a journey the author takes to accept himself. Personally, as someone who isn’t religious, it was fascinating to see the author’s path to acceptance and finding his place in the world throughout his life. What also stands out is how religion is not as cut and dry as most think it to be. There are so many different paths and avenues of thought in that regard, and there is a place for those who choose to believe in a higher power. You just have to be willing to look and find it for yourself. As someone who isn’t religious, it was refreshing to see the way believers could still integrate acceptance and love for the LGBTQ community. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, heartfelt and emotional read, the author has crafted a unique journey for the reader to follow. From finding forgiveness for an absent parent to the hardship of a gay relationship after accepting oneself and more, this book is an honest read that people need to read. A one of a kind book, be sure to grab your copy of “Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest” by Ted Karpf today!

Rating: 10/10

Print Length: 233 Pages

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Toplight Books

ASIN: B081Y8LHZN

ISBN-10: 1476679592 

ISBN-13: 9781476679594

Acts of Forgiveness is now available to purchase on Amazon.comTarget.com, and Barnes and Noble.

Praise for the book Acts of Forgiveness:

Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest is a beautiful work reminding again that there is no future without forgiveness; there is no faith without love. This book animates these truths through a poetic documentary legacy.” – Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus Anglican Church of Southern Africa

“In the tradition of the rabbis, Father Ted Karpf calls upon both his heritage and experience to bring the reader into a place of sensitivity and compassion. We literally “suffer with” in order to achieve healing and activate a more hopeful future; not because of the suffering, but in spite of it.” – Joel Thorp Katz, MD, MACP

“Karpf has written a difficult and important book, a social justice memoir that challenges secular readers with its religious language, abusers with its painful analysis, and activists with its stories of good deeds punished. He also conducts a rigorous accounting of his own shortcomings, what in Jewish tradition is called a cheshbon hanefesh. In so doing, this Methodist-turned-Episcopal-priest models the very trans-religious values he holds so dear, and honors the memory of his Jewish grandfather in the process.” – David I. Schulman, Supervising Attorney, AIDS Descrimination Unit, Los Angeles City Attorneys Office

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About the Author, Ted Karpf

Ted Karpf is a priest, public servant, international diplomat, journalist, university administrator and educator. He was educated in New York, Texas and Massachusetts. A gay man, Ted is a father and grandfather. He has been and remains a man who reflects the times in which he has lived while offering a hopeful vision for the future. Ted watches clouds and tests the winds and prays while residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

You can find Ted at his website https://www.tedkarpf.com/

— Blog Tour Dates

March 9th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by the blog today and read an interview with author Ted Karpf. You can also win a copy of his book Acts of Forgiveness.


March 10th @ God vs. The Patriarchy

Stop by Annie’s blog and read her review of Ted Karpf’s book Acts of Forgiveness.

http://www.godvsthepatriarchy.com
March 11th @ Reading Whale

Stop by Caitlin’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

https://readingwhale.com/

March 15th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog and catch her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

March 17th @ Bookwoman Joan

Visit Joan’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

March 19th @ The Frugalista Mom

Come by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

March 23rd @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Make sure you go by Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also win a copy of the book!

March 24th @ Amanda Diaries

Stop by Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also enter to win a copy for yourself!

https://amandadiaries.com/

March 28th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and you can read his review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

March 31st @ The Revolution Continues

Visit the blog The Revolution Continues to catch Cindy’s review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://bernie2016.blogspot.com/

April 3rd @ Words from the Heart

Visit Linda’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 7th @ No Sushi Tuesdays

Stop by to catch Cindy’s review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://nstbookreviews.blogspot.com/

April 11th @ Joyful Antidotes

Visit Joy’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/

April 11th @ Style Wise

Visit Leah’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://www.stylewise-blog.com/

Posted in reviews

I know When You’re Going To Die by Michael J. Bowler Review

 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man living life as the social outcast finds himself fighting to save his best friend after he is given a haunting power in author Michael J. Bowler’s “I Know When You’re Going To Die”. 

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The Synopsis

Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death.

His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike.

Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all.

The Review

A brilliant read, the author does an amazing job of capturing the raw nature of fear that grips us all when staring into the face of death while also delving into the hardships and struggles modern day teens face from peers and adults alike. 

The story weaves together a tale of suspense and horror into a modern day high school drama setting, bringing together the problems teens face all too often, including the process of finding one’s place in the world. As protagonist Leo sets out to save his friend, secrets and relationships are revealed, and highlight the heartbreaking process many teens face when forced to conceal their true selves in the face of cruelty from both students and teachers alike. 

The Verdict

An amazing read, I Know When You’re Going To Die by Michael J. Bowler is a must read. A story many can relate to while telling a gripping tale of suspense and thrills, this novel really weaves together multiple genres well, and will leave readers on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this novel by either pre-ordering your copy today or getting your copy when it releases on February 25th, 2020!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.

You can find Michael at:

Website: www.michaeljbowler.com

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Michael-J.-Bowler/e/B0…

Facebook: www.facebook.com/michaeljbowlerauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/BradleyWallaceM

tumblr: michaeljbowler.tumblr.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/michaelbowler

Instagram: www.instagram.com/stuntshark

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2NX.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z48BHH4?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1484221699

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/i-know-when-you-re-going-to-die

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-know-when-youre-going-to-die-michael-j-bowler/1134221152;jsessionid=ACEF0B8A8DBF47B8C52210F233FF2F1F.prodny_store01-atgap15?ean=2940163679256

Posted in reviews

Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge by Steve Bassett Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two homicide detectives in the late 40’s find themselves in over their heads when three victims tied to Hitler sympathizers are found with their bodies mutilated, and tensions begin running high both personally and professionally for the detectives in author Steve Bassett’s novel, “Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge”. 


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The Synopsis

Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge, the second book of the Passaic River Trilogy, is a drama so intense that it would be improbable anywhere but 1946 Newark. Across the country millions were dealing with the loss of loved ones, and horrible memories were being buried for the greater good. But not in Newark. Two mutilated bodies were pulled from the putrid Passaic River, and the sawed-off arm of a third man was found neatly wrapped and tied at the city dump. The three victims were members of the German-American Bund, Hitler lovers who had to pay the price for supporting a murderous madman. Someone was sending a message that only revenge could clear the mind and free the soul.

It didn’t take long for Police Lieutenant Nick Cisco and his partner, Sergeant Kevin McClosky, two veteran homicide cops [first introduced to readers in “Father Divine’s Bikes” the first book of the Trilogy], to realize they were in over their heads as they grappled with ambition, greed, racial tension, international intrigue, and a powerful church on the take. The three murders could not have come at a worse time for Cisco. His wife, Connie, had left him, and his close-knit Catholic family had disowned him because of his affair with his lover, Grace.

To add to the chaos, Cisco learned that he could have another homicide on his plate. Father Terry Nolan cornered Cisco at the city morgue and demanded his help. The senior counsel for M.L. Kraus, manufacturer of the poisonous gas Zyklon B, and his German wife were severely beating a Catholic orphan they were seeking to adopt. The Archdiocese had weighed Kraus’ huge cash contributions against a helpless girl’s plight and did nothing.

Kraus, facing a host of war crime indictments in Germany, was fighting for its massive pre-war chemical holdings in New Jersey. A federal court in Newark would soon decide Kraus’ fate. The outcome of the case would have a bearing not only on the company’s future, but Europe’s as well. Watching it all from the banks of the Passaic River was the dark specter of a murderous madman seeking further revenge.

The Review

A phenomenal story of grisly murders, tensions from a long fought and gruesome war, and so much more take center stage in this truly wonderful novel. The story echoes the great days of crime fiction and noir style storytelling, highlighting an era of upheaval and change in the United States and around the world in the wake of the Second World War. 

The novel focuses heavily on story through characterization. The book is filled with rich and diverse characters, each bringing their own set of problems and history that enhance the overall story and make the ongoing investigations and actions of other characters have much more emphasis on the overall story. Combined with the theme and genre of the story, this characterization draws the reader in immediately and gets the reader hooked on the action of the novel throughout every chapter. 

The Verdict

This is a must read crime fiction read of 2019. A high octane drama with in-depth character development and edge of your seat thrills, this novel is the perfect winter read for any fan of the crime thriller genre. Those who love the classic noir style storytelling will absolutely love this novel, and despite it being the second novel in a series, the reader will find this novel stands on its own and is easily able to be absorbed. An evenly paced read overall, be sure to grab your copies of “Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge” by Stephen Bassett today!

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Born and raised in Newark’s crime-ridden Third Ward, although far removed during a career as a multiple award-winning journalist, Steve Bassett has always been the proud sobriquet Jersey Guy. He has been legally blind for almost a decade, but having this hasn’t slowed him down.

Bassett has written two nonfiction books, The Battered Rich and Golden Ghetto: How the Americans and French Fell In and Out of Love During the Cold War. Continuing with his newest fiction release, Father Divine’s Bikes (a Finalist in the 2018 International Book Award in the Cross-Genre Fiction category), readers share in his insights that earned him three Emmys for investigative documentaries, and the California Bar Association’s first Medallion Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice. He now resides in Placitas, New Mexico with his wife, Darlene.

https://mobile.twitter.com/SteveBassett19

https://www.facebook.com/stevebassettworld/

https://www.instagram.com/stevebassettauthor

Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

The Last Affair By Margot Hunt Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A beautiful and beloved housewife is found brutally murdered, and the seemingly perfect life she was seen leading soon proves to be a mere disguise over a more tragic and cruel reality in author Margot Hunt’s novel “The Last Affair”. 


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The Synopsis

Gwen Landon—poster woman for perfect wife, mother, and suburban bliss—is found brutally bludgeoned to death behind her Floridian McMansion. Beautiful and beloved by her community, Gwen makes an unlikely victim. But just a scratch below the surface of her perfectly curated world reveals one far more sinister. When looking back over the six months leading up to her death, the question of, “who would do this?” quickly shifts to, “who wouldn’t?” 

Commercially successful food blogger and mother of three, Nora Holliday never imagined she would have the nerve, let alone time, to get involved an affair. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she does whatever it takes to keep it all together. But when Nora runs into Gwen Landon’s husband at a hotel in Orlando, his easy kindness and warmth proves too tempting to resist. As their affair spirals dangerously out of control, it seems things can’t get more complicated—until Gwen turns up dead.


The Review

One of the most intriguing murder mysteries of the year! Margot Hunt has done a fabulous job of creating a narrative that showcases the mystery of the murder while exploring the intimate lives and decisions of these families in a local community. Expertly crafting the tale to present the crime first, then spending the majority of the book showcasing the various individuals and acts that could lead to who committed the crime, the author creates a story that draws readers in instantly. 

The story showcases that the world is not as black and white as most like to believe, and sometimes the path some take towards affairs come from troubled lives themselves, and their desperate need to find solace can start a chain reaction that leads to dire consequences. A complex cast of characters help drive this narrative forward, with each suffering from their own internal and external problems that continue to help the situation spiral further and further out of control. In this story, no one is innocent, and even the victim herself hides a dark side to herself that could lead to who took her life. 


The Verdict

This was an amazing read that fans of murder mysteries, dramas and thrillers will absolutely love. With thematic and tonal qualities reminiscent of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, this new thriller is something fans will not want to miss out on this holiday season, so be sure to grab your copy of Margot Hunt’s The Last Affair today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Margot Hunt is a critically acclaimed author of psychological suspense. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

SOCIAL:

TWITTER: @HuntAuthor

FB: @AuthorMargotHunt

Insta:@margot_hunt

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BUY LINKS:

Harlequin

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Amazon

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Target

Walmart

Google

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EXCERPT 

The Last Affair, Margot Hunt

Prologue

Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard.

There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine.

Again, except for the dead body.

The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death. The responding officers called the sheriff, who responded by sending in a full investigative team. The medical examiner was now doing a preliminary examination of the body, while police officers combed the area for additional evidence. Two detectives, Mike Monroe and Gavin Reddick—separated by twenty years and sixty pounds—were overseeing the operation, standing at the edge of the patio under the shade of the pergola. It was the third week in April, but this was South Florida and the temperature had already climbed into the low nineties.

“The paving stone came from the stack out in the front yard. They were delivered last week by the company who’s installing the driveway,” Detective Reddick said. He was the younger of the two men and had a wiry frame and angular face.

“Weapon of convenience. Suggests it wasn’t premeditated,” Detective Monroe said. He had a ruddy complexion and a full head of thick dark hair, swept back off his face. A strand never moved out of place, even in a strong wind.

“Plus he dropped the weapon, rather than taking it with him. Probably panicked.”

“Could be a she,” Monroe said mildly.

Reddick shrugged. “Blunt force trauma to the back of the head? You know the stats. Overwhelming likelihood that it’s a man, and probably someone the victim was intimately involved with. Husband, maybe a boyfriend.”

“The husband was with the daughter when she called it in.”

“Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, and then had her place the call.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

The family had been sequestered indoors, both to keep them out of the way, and so that the officers waiting in the house with them could observe anything they did or said. Other than the husband, there was a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son. The daughter was reportedly distraught, while the husband and son had both been eerily quiet. It was possible they were in shock.

“Do we have an ID on the victim?” Reddick asked.

“It’s her house,” Monroe grunted.

“Yeah, but I like doing things the official way, you know? I’s dotted, t’s crossed, all of that. Building a case, basic detective work.”

Despite the chilling scene in front of them—the woman’s body still sprawled on the grass, the back of her head a pulpy, bloody mess—the corner of Monroe’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. “Sure, kid, tell me all about basic detective work. I’ve only been doing this for, what…thirty-two years now? The husband ID’d her. Victim is Gwen Landon, age forty-nine. Married, mother of two. Husband said she hasn’t had any recent conflict with anyone.”

“Other than the person who caved in the back of her head with a paving stone,” Reddick pointed out.

“Wouldn’t be the first time a husband didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did.”

“Possible. But there’s another possibility, too.”

“What’s that?”

Reddick turned to look at his partner. His eyes were small and dark, and he had a habit of squinting when he concentrated intently on something.

“The husband is a liar,” Reddick said.

Posted in reviews

Red Road Across The Great Plains By Chandra Lahiri Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Chandra Lahiri takes readers on a journey through the history of the Native American people and showcases both sides of that history in an honest and incredible way in the novel “Red Road Across The Great Plains”. 


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The Synopsis

A life-changing solo voyage of discovery across the blood-soaked Great Plains. A pilgrimage to momentous sites of Native American heritage. Meet the amazing “invisible warriors” fighting impossible odds to reclaim their heritage and share in the American Dream without losing their unique identity, much as their ancestors fought on the battlefields to save their way of life.

Nurturing a half-century obsession with Native America and the Old Frontier, this now-retired corporate CEO takes the reader along on his astonishing solo road-trip through haunting places of intense tragedy and stunning triumphs, through Native American spiritual experiences that shook the atheist in him, plunging into the rough and tumble worlds that were Deadwood and Dodge City, chuckling gently over modern American idiosyncrasies. Neither a “white historian” nor a “red commentator,” he visits both sides of the Native American experience and, in the most depressed Native Reservations, discovers exciting sparks of a brighter, more hopeful future emerging – a very different take on the usual Reservation stereotypes and stories of misery. This is an unusual and enthralling odyssey effortlessly plaiting space and time, easy to read, without pompous sermonizing.


The Review

Part history, part travel, author Chandra Lahiri’s novel does an amazing  job of creating a narrative that showcases the authors real life journey to these iconic, historic and sometimes tragic locations in the West and Mid-Western United States. The evenly paced read delved deeply into the violent, heartbreaking and blood-soaked history of the Native American tribes and the impact on both their culture and the white settlers as they expanded their territory further and further westward. 

From the genocide that was the Trail of Tears to the Civil War and more, the author lays out the history behind the Native American people and highlights the struggles they endured. However this history is broken up naturally by the travel aspect of the author’s journey, showcasing the modern day experiences the author had while seeing first hand the locations and the history of the United States as it settled westward. 

The novel is expertly written, with a voice and tone that speaks of personal experiences the author had on this trip with historic facts that are both known and tragically some that are overlooked or forgotten, for as the author points out in the book, history is written by the victors, but often history is only half true or inaccurate if only written by the victors. 


The Verdict

This was a brutally honest, emotional and well written historical/travel novel. An even mix of historical research, graphs and statistics that really put the history of the Native American people and culture into perspective, with the natural observations and personal stories brought to life while on a life-changing trip like the one the author experienced, this novel has something for everyone, and is not to be missed. So if you are a fan of travel stories or are just a major history buff like myself and want to experience the emotional journey of the Native American tribes of the United States, then be sure to grab your copy of author Chandra Lahiri’s “Red Road Across The Great Plains” today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding #1) by Julia London Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A visit from royalty turns into a tragic mystery as the stubborn Prince of a visiting nation teams up with a driven young woman who runs a local gazette in London society in author Julia London’s novel “The Princess Plan”, the first in the A Royal Wedding Series. 

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The Synopsis 

Princes have pomp and glory—not murdered secretaries and crushes on commoners

Nothing gets London’s high society’s tongues wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefitted from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater one in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.


The Review

A well written, character driven narrative, author Julia London soars as this novel brings historical fiction, romance and mystery to life. The chemistry between Eliza and Prince Sebastian was the immediate draw of this romance tale, as Sebastian’s temper and Eliza’s independence clashed immediately, but soon led to a friendship and something more as time went on. 

What the author did an excellent job of however was expertly exploring the roles of men and women in society, those that are expected versus the roles we seek to create for ourselves. Also exploring social class and how status can sometimes impede life choices, it was fascinating to see the characters struggle against these roles thrust upon them by others when trying to find their own way themselves. Something quite difficult when caught up in a murder mystery, pending trade agreements and a brewing romance that puts Sebastian in the hot seat as he must choose between love and his duty. 


The Verdict

Engaging, entertaining and explosive, author Julia London has created a smash hit with The Princess Plan. A story of society’s expectations versus our own, love and overcoming the odds to maintain that love, and battling those who conspire against you behind your back, this was a truly tantalizing read that readers will not be able to get enough of. A lengthy read, the book is equal parts mystery, romance and historical fiction, creating a book that many different readers can enjoy. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of Julia London’s “The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding #1)” today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub’s Best Historical Novel.

SOCIAL LINKS:

 www.julialondon.com/newsletter

 www.facebook.com/julialondon

 www.twitter.com/juliaflondon

 www.instagram.com/julia_f_london

BUY LINKS:

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The Princess Plan Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

London 1845

All of London has been on tenterhooks, desperate for a glimpse of Crown Prince Sebastian of Alucia during his highly anticipated visit. Windsor Castle was the scene of Her Majesty’s banquet to welcome him. Sixty-and-one-hundred guests were on hand, feted in St. George’s Hall beneath the various crests of the Order of the Garter. Two thousand pieces of silver cutlery were used, one thousand crystal glasses and goblets. The first course and main dish of lamb and potatoes were served on silver-gilded plates, followed by delicate fruits on French porcelain.

Prince Sebastian presented a large urn fashioned of green Alucian malachite to our Queen Victoria as a gift from his father the King of Alucia. The urn was festooned with delicate ropes of gold around the mouth and the neck.

The Alucian women were attired in dresses of heavy silk worn close to the body, the trains quite long and brought up and fastened with buttons to facilitate walking. Their hair was fashioned into elaborate knots worn at the nape. The Alucian gentlemen wore formal frock coats of black superfine wool that came to midcalf, as well as heavily embroidered waistcoats worn to the hip. It was reported that Crown Prince Sebastian is “rather tall and broad, with a square face and neatly trimmed beard, a full head of hair the color of tea, and eyes the color of moss,” which the discerning reader might think of as a softer shade of green. It is said he possesses a regal air owing chiefly to the many medallions and ribbons he wore befitting his rank.

Honeycutt’s Gazette of Fashion and Domesticity for Ladies

The Right Honorable Justice William Tricklebank, a widower and justice of the Queen’s Bench in Her Majesty’s service, was very nearly blind, his eyesight having steadily eroded into varying and fuzzy shades of gray with age. He could no longer see so much as his hand, which was why his eldest daughter, Miss Eliza Tricklebank, read his papers to him.

Eliza had enlisted the help of Poppy, their housemaid, who was more family than servant, having come to them as an orphaned girl more than twenty years ago. Together, the two of them had anchored strings and ribbons halfway up the walls of his London townhome, and all the judge had to do was follow them with his hand to move from room to room. Among the hazards he faced was a pair of dogs that were far too enthusiastic in their wish to be of some use to him, and a cat who apparently wished him dead, judging by the number of times he put himself in the judge’s path, or leapt into his lap as he sat, or walked across the knitting the judge liked to do while his daughter read to him, or unravelled his ball of yarn without the judge’s notice.

The only other potential impediments to his health were his daughters—Eliza, a spinster, and her younger sister, Hollis, otherwise known as the Widow Honeycutt. They were often together in his home, and when they were, it seemed to him there was quite a lot of laughing at this and shrieking at that. His daughters disputed that they shrieked, and accused him of being old and easily startled. But the judge’s hearing, unlike his eyesight, was quite acute, and those two shrieked with laughter. Often.

At eight-and-twenty, Eliza was unmarried, a fact that had long baffled the judge. There had been an unfortunate and rather infamous misunderstanding with one Mr. Asher Daughton-Cress, who the judge believed was despicable, but that had been ten years ago. Eliza had once been demure and a politely deferential young lady, but she’d shed any pretense of deference when her heart was broken. In the last few years she had emerged vibrant and carefree. He would think such demeanour would recommend her to gentlemen far and wide, but apparently it did not. She’d had only one suitor since her very public scandal, a gentleman some fifteen years older than Eliza. Mr. Norris had faithfully called every day until one day he did not. When the judge had inquired, Eliza had said, “It was not love that compelled him, Pappa. I prefer my life here with you—the work is more agreeable, and I suspect not as many hours as marriage to him would require.”

His youngest, Hollis, had been tragically widowed after only two years of a marriage without issue. While she maintained her own home, she and her delightful wit were a faithful caller to his house at least once a day without fail, and sometimes as much as two or three times per day. He should like to see her remarried, but Hollis insisted she was in no rush to do so. The judge thought she rather preferred her sister’s company to that of a man.

His daughters were thick as thieves, as the saying went, and were coconspirators in something that the judge did not altogether approve of. But he was blind, and they were determined to do what they pleased no matter what he said, so he’d given up trying to talk any practical sense into them.

That questionable activity was the publication of a ladies’ gazette. Tricklebank didn’t think ladies needed a gazette, much less one having to do with frivolous subjects such as fashion, gossip and beauty. But say what he might, his daughters turned a deaf ear to him. They were unfettered in their enthusiasm for this endeavour, and if the two of them could be believed, so was all of London.

The gazette had been established by Hollis’s husband, Sir Percival Honeycutt. Except that Sir Percival had published an entirely different sort of gazette, obviously— one devoted to the latest political and financial news. Now that was a useful publication to the judge’s way of thinking.

Sir Percival’s death was the most tragic of accidents, the result of his carriage sliding off the road into a swollen river during a rain, which also saw the loss of a fine pair of grays. It was a great shock to them all, and the judge had worried about Hollis and her ability to cope with such a loss. But Hollis proved herself an indomitable spirit, and she had turned her grief into efforts to preserve her husband’s name. But as she was a young woman without a man’s education, and could not possibly comprehend the intricacies of politics or financial matters, she had turned the gazette on its head and dedicated it solely to topics that interested women, which naturally would be limited to the latest fashions and the most tantalizing on dits swirling about London’s high society. It was the judge’s impression that women had very little interest in the important matters of the world.

And yet, interestingly, the judge could not deny that Hollis’s version of the gazette was more actively sought than her husband’s had ever been. So much so that Eliza had been pressed into the service of helping her sister prepare her gazette each week. It was curious to Tricklebank that so many members of the Quality were rather desperate to be mentioned among the gazette’s pages.

Today, his daughters were in an unusually high state of excitement, for they had secured the highly sought-after invitations to the Duke of Marlborough’s masquerade ball in honor of the crown prince of Alucia. One would think the world had stopped spinning on its axis and that the heavens had parted and the seas had receded and this veritable God of All Royal Princes had shined his countenance upon London and blessed them all with his presence.

Hogwash.

Everyone knew the prince was here to strike an important trade deal with the English government in the name of King Karl. Alucia was a small European nation with impressive wealth for her size. It was perhaps best known for an ongoing dispute with the neighboring country of Wesloria—the two had a history of war and distrust as fraught as that between England and France.

The judge had read that it was the crown prince who was pushing for modernization in Alucia, and who was the impetus behind the proposed trade agreement. Prince Sebastian envisioned increasing the prosperity of Alucia by trading cotton and iron ore for manufactured goods. But according to the judge’s daughters, that was not the most important part of the trade negotiations. The important part was that the prince was also in search of a marriage bargain.

“It’s what everyone says,” Hollis had insisted to her father over supper recently “And how is it, my dear, that everyone knows what the prince intends?” the judge asked as he stroked the cat, Pris, on his lap. The cat had been named Princess when the family believed it a female. When the houseman Ben discovered that Princess was, in fact, a male, Eliza said it was too late to change the name. So they’d shortened it to Pris. “Did the prince send a letter? Announce it in the Times?”

Caro says,” Hollis countered, as if that were quite obvious to anyone with half a brain where she got her information. “She knows everything about everyone, Pappa.”

“Aha. If Caro says it, then by all means, it must be true.”

“You must yourself admit she is rarely wrong,” Hollis had said with an indignant sniff.

Caro, or Lady Caroline Hawke, had been a lifelong friend to his daughters, and had been so often underfoot in the Tricklebank house that for many years, it seemed to the judge that he had three daughters.

Caroline was the only sibling of Lord Beckett Hawke and was also his ward. Long ago, a cholera outbreak had swept through London, and both Caro’s mother and his children’s mother had succumbed. Amelia, his wife, and Lady Hawke had been dear friends. They’d sent their children to the Hawke summer estate when Amelia had taken ill. Lady Hawke had insisted on caring for her friend and, well, in the end, they were both lost.

Lord Hawke was an up-and-coming young lord and politician, known for his progressive ideas in the House of Lords. He was rather handsome, Hollis said, a popular figure, and socially in high demand. Which meant that, by association, so was his sister. She, too, was quite comely, which made her presence all the easier to her brother’s many friends, the judge suspected.

But Caroline did seem to know everyone in London, and was constantly calling on the Tricklebank household to spout the gossip she’d gleaned in homes across Mayfair. Here was an industrious young lady—she called on three salons a day if she called on one. The judge supposed her brother scarcely need worry about putting food in their cupboards, for the two of them were dining with this four-and-twenty or that ten-and-six almost every night. It was a wonder Caroline wasn’t a plump little peach.

Perhaps she was. In truth, she was merely another shadow to the judge these days.

“And she was at Windsor and dined with the queen,” Hollis added with superiority.

“You mean Caro was in the same room but one hundred persons away from the queen,” the judge suggested. He knew how these fancy suppers went.

“Well, she was there, Pappa, and she met the Alucians, and she knows a great deal about them now. I am quite determined to discover who the prince intends to offer for and announce it in the gazette before anyone else. Can you imagine? I shall be the talk of London!”

This was precisely what Mr. Tricklebank didn’t like about the gazette. He did not want his daughters to be the talk of London.

But it was not the day for him to make this point, for his daughters were restless, moving about the house with an urgency he was not accustomed to. Today was the day of the Royal Masquerade Ball, and the sound of crisp petticoats and silk rustled around him, and the scent of perfume wafted into his nose when they passed. His daughters were waiting impatiently for Lord Hawke’s brougham to come round and fetch them. Their masks, he was given to understand, had already arrived at the Hawke House, commissioned, Eliza had breathlessly reported, from “Mrs. Cubison herself.”

He did not know who Mrs. Cubison was.

And frankly, he didn’t know how Caro had managed to finagle the invitations to a ball at Kensington Palace for his two daughters—for the good Lord knew the Tricklebanks did not have the necessary connections to achieve such a feat.

He could feel their eagerness, their anxiety in the nervous pitch of their giggling when they spoke to each other. Even Poppy seemed nervous. He supposed this was to be the ball by which all other balls in the history of mankind would forever be judged, but he was quite thankful he was too blind to attend.

When the knock at the door came, he was startled by such squealing and furious activity rushing by him that he could only surmise that the brougham had arrived and the time had come to go to the ball.

Excerpted from The Princess Plan by Julia London, Copyright © 2019 by Dinah Dinwiddle. Published by HQN Books.