Tag Archives: romance novel

Book Cover Reveal: Broken Perfect Lies by Katie Wismer

Hello everyone! I am thrilled to be able to share with you all today this first look at author Katie Wismer’s latest standalone romance thriller, “Broken Perfect Lies”. Today you get to see the first look at the novel’s cover and learn more about this exciting new story.

She’s everything he hates, but he’s the only one who can keep her safe…

Pop sensation Parker Beck has been living a double life since she was eighteen. Through the disguises and fake name, she’s managed to keep her real identity a secret for the past six years. But she’s always known it was only a matter of time before the tabloids got their hands on the truth.

When the news leaks, it’s even worse than she’d feared. Now unprotected, Parker desperately needs a bodyguard. But with her history, no one is willing to take the job.

Heath Bridgers wants nothing to do with Parker Beck. That one-fifty grand salary they’re offering just to babysit her? Well, that he could use. Especially now that a family emergency has him spiraling into a hole of debt he’s not sure he’ll ever climb out of. 

The job will be easy. All he has to do is dodge a few stalkers and make it through a year. The one thing he will absolutely not be doing is falling in love with her.

Broken Perfect Lies is a standalone romantic suspense perfect for fans of spicy bodyguard romances…with a Hannah-Montana-inspired twist. It contains content best suited for mature readers.

About the Author

Katie Wismer writes books with a little blood and a little spice (sometimes contemporary, sometimes paranormal…and sometimes even poetry.)

Be the first to know about upcoming projects, exclusive content, and more by signing up for her newsletter at katiewismer.com. Signed books are also available on her website.

When she’s not reading, writing, or wrangling her two perfect cats, you can find her on her YouTube channel Katesbookdate.

https://www.katiewismer.com/

Release Date: February 20, 2023

Cover Reveal Date: January 16, 2023

Preorder Links: 

Signed: https://www.katiewismer.com/shop

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3hSFxz0

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/broken-perfect-lies-katie-wismer/1142870783

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3VWcwjV

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/p/books/broken-perfect-lies-katie-wismer/19583489?ean=9781958458020

Letters from Lima by Shaun Randall Review

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

A man struggling with depression and his divorce meets a woman desperate to find her mother’s treasured possessions and discovers a family secret that will take them both into the magic and mysticism of ancient Inkan culture and the culture of Peru in general in author Shaun Randall’s “Letters from Lima”.

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The Synopsis

Collin Allweather, a hard-drinking expat and Lima local, struggles to cope with his divorce and depression, but everything changes when he meets another Chicago native. Carolyn Grant, an ambitious young executive, barges into his life while searching for her grandmother’s treasured possessions. Her journey reveals a dark family secret and unleashes a chain reaction that transforms their lives forever.

Their search to uncover the truth takes them through the awe-inspiring natural wonders and incredible anthropology of Per. Letters From Lima engages with the spirituality and mysticism of ancient Inkan culture and demonstrates how the harsh realities of life weave into a tapestry of transformation.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to friends and family. There is something in it for everyone-romance, mystery, death, traveling, and immersion in new and exciting situations and places.” -Maya S.

“I love the sense of humor both Collin and Carolyn have. Several of their conversations had me giggling from the witty banter.” -Haley H.

“I would absolutely recommend this book. I thought it was a joy to read; it was incredibly emotionally poignant and moving, and it was full of lifelike characters who came alive at every turn. I couldn’t tear myself away from it. Letters From Lima has a strong sense of place, and it’s rooted in Inkan and Peruvian culture in a way that makes it unlike other literature of its type. I also think it could appeal to a wide range of audiences. While it is in some ways a romance, it’s also a story of discovery, loss, grief, and love. It’s not women’s fiction; it’s a standout piece of literary fiction that deserves a spotlight. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I loved it!” -Quinn A.

Shaun Randall’s authorial voice in Letters From Lima is reminiscent of Marisha Pessl and her best-selling thriller Night Film. He shares an intricate grammatical kinship with Sue Grafton. In this work of literary fiction, Shaun’s expressive complexity and tonal quality harken to the award-winning Jodi Picoult and her #1 New York Times best-selling novel House Rules.

The Review

The author did an incredible job of layering this story with a rich culture and powerful imagery that really hit the reader early on. The setting of Peru was truly memorable, as the story found a natural way to explore the diverse culture and history of the land and its people through both a familial and a metaphysical lens. The emotional depth of this novel helps elevate the tone and atmosphere of the narrative, keeping the reader invested in the story overall.

To me, the heart of the novel rested on the shoulders of the two protagonists, Carolyn and Collin. The happenstance way they cross paths at such pivotal moments in their lives and the way they just instantly mesh with one another brought a heavy dose of romance and intrigue into the story and elevated the emotional journey that they go on as they deal with their respective backgrounds. 

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, author Shaun Randall’s “Letters to Lima” is a must-read metaphysical mystery and romance novel. The emotions and depth of culture and rich settings the story employs here will have readers hooked, and the connection between the two main characters helps drive this story forward in a way that draws the reader in further and further as it evolves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Shaun Randall is originally from San Diego, California and spent time as an adolescent in Portland, Oregon; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and South Florida. Growing up in those settings, on the coasts and in the mountains, instilled a wonder and love for our natural world. In 2008, Shaun moved to Chicago, Illinois which has left an indelible mark on his life and work. In early March of 2020, Shaun took a vacation to Lima, Perú where the next chapter of his life began when he met his fiancé Eliet. They currently make their home together in Barranco, Perú.

Shaun Randall’s writing addresses the struggle to find inner peace and happiness amongst the trappings of modernity. Teaching and wisdom from ancient Latin American civilizations and eastern philosophies permeate his writing as he relates modern western experience with a dry sense of humor and zen master deadpan. Shaun uses an unorthodox approach to creating his phrases that challenge readers to think twice and sort through their emotions. To make sure they are deciding what to think and how to feel for themselves, in spite of the inundation of external influences on a minute-by-minute basis. Shaun Randall’s purpose is to help people enjoy their lives to the fullest by choosing their own path in lieu of the many offered by others, in this miraculously unreal thing we call reality.

Please visit www.shaun-randall.com to learn more about Shaun Randall.

For live appearances, podcast and television appearances, or more information email: info@shaun-randall.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BQN8KV7D/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F74954199-letters-from-lima%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DCSuVIdjnKq%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Love & Madness by Athina Paris Review

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

After a father and powerful businessman manipulates his three sons and his empire begins to crumble, three women find themselves falling in love with the brothers and find themselves fighting to find happiness and stability in the wake of these manipulations in author Athina Paris’s “Love & Madness”.

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The Synopsis

Benjamin Powell believes he has begun an empire. He has three sons and owns the most successful construction company. But it all begins to crumble when he chooses to manipulate their lives. Twenty-seven years later, the consequences of his decisions are still being felt.

Three women enter this world and fall in love with the Powell men – Sofia, Christie, and Gloria – they will suffer, fight, win, and lose. Can one or all find their way back to happiness; whether with the man she loves, or with someone else? 

The Review

This was a rich and captivating romance novel. The detailed and engaging story does an incredible job of showcasing the complexities and emotional entanglements that come with relationships. The way author explored not only the romantic side of this narrative but the familial relationships of the narrative as well, showcasing how family relationships and bonds can be tested by everything from who we date to differences in career choices and even the cultural background of those we choose to spend our lives with. 

The character development and rich setting of this narrative added to the depth of emotional development that this story dove into. Immediately readers can feel the tension between Benjamin and his children, especially his oldest Robert. The complex story of how each of the Powell children was affected by both their mother’s passing and their father’s manipulations kept me as a reader invested in the story. The way the author was able to dive into the backstory of each of these characters showcased the depth that the author’s storytelling capabilities were able to reach, including the women who came into these men’s lives.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, emotional, and thought-provoking, author Athina Paris’s “Love & Madness” is a beautiful and epic romance and drama saga that readers won’t be able to put down. The twists and turns in the narrative, as well as the wellspring of emotions the narrative takes readers into, will have the reader enthralled and mesmerized at the same time, and the way the author is able to perfectly showcase the depth of humanity itself was a great storytelling device that will resonate long after the final page is turned. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Athina Paris lives in South Africa but spent her formative years in Mozambique, where she was born. Years in convents and boarding schools prompted a deep curiosity, which quickly developed into an avid interest in reading and storytelling that led to a lifelong obsession with the written word and books. By fifteen she had discovered ancient civilizations and became fascinated with various mythologies; a love she has kept to this day.

She became a spectator of human nature, but quiet and shy, she preferred recording conduct, and so built a treasure-trove of relationship observations from which she eventually drew backgrounds for the characters in her romantic novels.

She studied Interior Design then turned to Creative Writing, and followed that with Script-writing.

Set in faraway and exotic places, Athina’s epic romances take her characters on voyages of self-discovery while dealing with catastrophic love lives in an imperfect world.

A stint as a high school English teacher polished her skills but she now concentrates on her professional goals of writing, editing, and proofreading. 

http://www.authorathinaparis.com/index.html

Awake: A Midlife Romance Series Book One by Lisa Battalia Review/Author Interview/Excerpt

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

A woman struggling to find her way after the end of her marriage and an FBI agent who struggles to be a single father come together to find friendship and love once more as they try to find balance in the bicoastal romance novel “Awake” by Lisa Battalia, the first book in A Midlife Romance series.

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The Synopsis

Awake begins in the shame and pain of a marital desertion. Lori is reluctant to let Brandon into her life, afraid to be hurt again. Once she opens that door wider, Lori experiences an explosive awakening. With Brandon’s help, Lori rediscovers her sexual power and, through that, confidence and hope. Yet three-thousand miles separate suburban Maryland and Seattle. Their intense but infrequent visits are disorienting, particularly as Lori feels pressured towards a more suitable post-divorce life. When Lori makes an impulsive decision to take her kids on a trip to Seattle, she sparks a chain of conflicts that might end their still-precarious romance.

The Review

This was a truly heated and engaging erotic romance novel. The author did an incredible job of capturing the passion and emotional atmosphere that brews between this new couple. The reality of life after divorce or being a single parent was explored thoroughly here and added a level of tension that spoke to the growing relationship between the protagonists.

The heart of this novel was the character relationships that this cast had with one another, as well as the detailed level of romance that the author poured into this narrative. The way each protagonist helped push the other both physically and emotionally after their various hardships were great to see come to fruition, and added a new level of depth to the more erotic moments between them. The theme explored by the author showcased how such passion and romance aren’t reserved strictly for the young but can come at any age, and life doesn’t always begin right out of high school or college, but much later in life.

The Verdict

Emotional, thoughtful, and heartfelt, author Lisa Battalia’s “Awake” is the perfect erotic romance novel and a great beginning entry into the Midlife Romance series. The emotional weight of that romance as the characters try to find a way of staying connected and their passionate encounters grow into something more made this a brilliant story to behold. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lisa Battalia is an attorney in the field of gender equity and a writer. She is the mother of two newly launched young adults; a lifelong east-coaster who recently launched her own new life on Whidbey Island, WA. 

Her other novels and short stories can be found at www.lisabattalia.com.

Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/lisabattalia/

https://amzn.to/3is6zgL

Here is an Excerept from “Awake”

Lori woke, uncertain of the time, in exactly the same position. Brandon was curled around her from behind, still holding her tight. She listened to his steady breath and could feel it blow softly across her shoulder. Tears welled again. When had she last spent the whole night, any part of the night, tucked into someone’s arms?

Lori reluctantly extracted herself, though, because she really needed to pee. She climbed awkwardly over Brandon to get to the open side of the bed. Thankfully, a couple of candles remained lit, and she made her way through the unfamiliar room and into the hallway. She could see through to the living room dimly lit by the glow of street lights, and she noticed Brandon’s t-shirt on the floor.

She went and pulled it on. Passing over her nose, she breathed deeply to smell his smell, just like she used to do with her kids’ clothing. A stolen snuffle as she gathered up miniature shirts and jeans and sundresses, hoping in those whiffs of sweat, spilled food, and grass stains, that she might catch hold of their fleeting joys. Brandon’s scent was different, still familiar, the aroma of deep compatibility. She wondered if smell could reveal such a thing? Her nose detected a trace of Brandon’s cologne, woodsy, leathery, sensual, something almost animal- like that she remembered well. It felt intoxicating that he was so near.

On route back to the bedroom, Lori took a quick glance at her phone to make sure there were no texts from the kids.

Jeanette was inviting her to see a movie. Lori would have to make up an excuse. It was three in the morning, she noted, six in the morning east coast time. That seemed to trigger her appetite, and Lori poked through Brandon’s refrigerator. She spotted a container of Greek yogurt. After several wrong picks, she found the drawer with the silverware, leaned against the countertop, removed the cover, and, half-aware, started to eat. It seemed a sudden recognition, her bare feet starting to feel the cold of the floor, she was three thousand miles away from her kids, just slept in a man’s bed, not her husband, a strange bed, but one that felt, well, kind of like home.

Brandon appeared then as a shadow at the kitchen entrance. He turned on the light. When she flinched, he quickly adjusted the dimmer. He was as naked as in bed, yet she felt like she was seeing all of him for the first time. When they were young, Brandon was tall and very thin. Clearly, he worked out—just the right amount. Not over the top muscles like some boys gave themselves, looking awkward and bulky, arms so thick they no longer rested comfortably against their bodies.

She appraised Brandon, trying not to look obvious, the sculpted shoulders and biceps; slim and strong-muscled legs, relaxed at the moment; a well-defined stomach, no six-pack. Still, there were indents in all the right places, highlighting musculature and triangulating his sweet spot, which, with a quick peek, revealed a three-quarters-erect penis.

“What you lookin’ at?” Brandon asked, smirking.

“I’ll assume that’s a rhetorical question.”

He laughed softly, such a warm, cozy sound in the dark,

early morning. “Have you been up long?” He walked over, tipped up her face, and kissed her on the nose.

“No, just a few minutes. I was suddenly wide awake and hungry.”

“Jet lag can be tough, and we forgot to eat.” Glancing at the yogurt in her hand, he said, “you probably need something more than that.”

“I just wanted a little something. This is perfect. It’s my favorite brand.” Lori took another bite. “Want some?”

“Sure.”

She scooped up a spoonful and fed it to him.

“You look good in my shirt, by the way, very sexy.” Brandon’s mouth was half full, so the words sounded slightly garbled and sweeter.

Lori gave a twirl to acknowledge his compliment, then made a slight curtsy, pulling out the bottom hem. With her bowed head, she could see that her legs were still shapely, bare skin extending down from where the bottom of the shirt hit high on her thighs. She was frowning, though, when she looked back up.

“Peter hated when I wore his clothes.”

“Why?”

“God knows. I told him I did it to look sexy. He said he

didn’t like other people touching his stuff.”

“Wow. Okay.” Brandon leaned back against the countertop

so that they were side by side. “Were you thinking about him right now? About home?”

“Actually, I was thinking about how strange it feels to be so comfortable here, with you, in your bed.”

“Why strange?”

“It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other or even talked. Our “real” lives, our grown-up lives, happened apart. I thought you’d feel like someone I don’t know.“ She glanced sideways, catching his eye. “You don’t.”

“That’s the thing about us,” Brandon said as he put an arm around her. “We knew each other before we started making up shit, before we did all the stuff that was expected of us.” He touched her cheek and turned her face back to him. “I bet I know the real Lori, the one maybe no one else sees.”

“That’s interesting,” she said, shifting from his gaze, “because I’m not sure I know who Lori is anymore.”

“You knew back then.”

“Did I?” She looked at him again fiercely. “I can’t remember it at all.”

“You were so smart, Lori. You were gonna save the world.”

“Wow. Should that make me laugh or cry?” Lori turned away. “It’s funny; I always felt most alive when you and I were fighting some cause, being big fat pains in the world’s ass. In the end, though, you scared me.”

“What? How?” He backed off the counter so he could regard her directly.

“You were uncompromising,” she said, “and restless. I was afraid where you would take me.”

Brandon gazed at her, not understanding.

“I guess I wanted my fights to be manageable, family- friendly affairs.” Lori smiled, even as she shook her head. She’d never quite put those old feelings into words before. “Instead, I’ve managed myself into, what? Boredom? Irrelevance? I don’t want to sound melodramatic. I just don’t feel like there’s much left that’s me anymore.”

“You’re an attorney. You went to one of the best law schools in the country.”

“Yeah. My point exactly. I can hardly call myself a professional these days.”

“Stop that. Education doesn’t just fade away, not unless you let it. You’re a mother too. That’s the most important job, even if our hypocritical society only pays it lip service.” Brandon lifted her chin, forced her to look at him.

“You’re right. Being a mom has been my greatest happiness,” Lori paused, “and my undoing.” She looked down again, and went back to a silent place. After a few moments, she spoke to him with puzzlement. “I still can’t believe you have a kid. You were so adamant you didn’t want that.”

“I surprised myself,” Brandon said, leaning back again against the counter. “I think the reason I said those things was because I was afraid. My parents weren’t great role models. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes.”

“Our kids will say that about us one day; you know that, right?”

Brandon laughed. “It’s true.” He paused as if to elicit a memory. “One day, I’m sure it was more gradual than that; I only remember waking to a sudden, overwhelming need to have a child. It felt like the most important thing, more important than having a wife, though one kind of went with the other.”

“Is that why you married Jocelyn?”

“It was a big part of it. She and I were on and off again for so many years. We either had to break up for good or get married. Never the best circumstances to say, ‘I do.’ Of course, you were already taken.”

“Were you ever happy as a couple?”

Brandon gave a tired sigh. “Yeah. Maybe. Sometimes. Let’s save that conversation for daylight. Do you think you can sleep a little more?”

“I think so.”

“I’ll take you out for coffee in the morning. Have you heard we have a very intense relationship with our coffee in Seattle?”

“I’ve heard something about that.”

The brief banter made Lori feel light on her feet and sleepy. She followed him back to the bedroom. Brandon lifted the covers, climbed in after her, tucked her shoulders inside his own, her head under his chin. Lori was sure she must have tossed and turned, as she often did. Brandon was still holding her just as faithfully when they woke.

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Author Interview

On writing:

How did you do research for your book? 

A: In the bedroom LOL. I wanted to write a romance where a sexual awakening was a key driver of the character’s emotional growth and newfound self-confidence. That meant writing explicit scenes. One of the most challenging aspects was imagining and writing scenes that were “real” and still sexy; and, since there were multiple scenes, that each remained fresh and exciting without resorting to the outlandish.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

A: In addition to my novels, I have written a handful of short stories. The inspiration is often my own life, but the stories are never about me. For example, “The Gift,” involves an adoption triad. In fact, my children are adopted; and I have a joyful and loving relationship with each of their birth mothers but the story is not mine but belongs to the characters that I have created.

There are many books out there about….What makes yours different?

A: In particular, there are a lot of romance books out there; as well as reader’s expectations for books in that genre. That doesn’t mean you can’t expand and challenge readers—particularly if that lets you invite in new audiences. Romance novels often neglect the experiences of women closer in age to 50 than 20; women who have to find the courage to start over in midlife; women who must fit love and romance into lives already filled with responsibilities that accrue from the “unseen” work  women do.

In your book you state….why is that?

A: “I believe more is better when it comes to families.”  I believe this statement reflects one side of a fundamental tension and question facing every family — particularly non-traditional families. If your family is built through adoption, or you are a family recovering from divorce, or thinking about blending families through re-marriage — it is complicated. You can say yes, or no, to new and expanded familial relationships. Do you play it safe; or embrace the complications: more connections, potentially more risk, but perhaps more joy.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Yes, I am an attorney. I work with a collective of STEMM professional societies to help them address sexual harassment in the fields of science and medicine, and to make the fields more equitable and inclusive.

How long have you been writing?

A: For about fourteen years. I did not grow up thinking I would be a writer; it wasn’t really until I was a lawyer working for the US Department of Education that I started to consider writing as an avocation. I was drafting a lot of policy around Title IX, and that particular administration considered it our mission was to write policy for students and educators that was clear, and “real,” and helpful (not filled with government jargon). That got me thinking about writing well, to fit a purpose, as a satisfying puzzle and challenge. I stopped working for a time to raise my kids and I missed that challenge, so once they were both in school I picked up my pad and paper (well, turned on my computer).

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

A: I always find it hard to start a new project; the blank page is terrifying to me; and even though I know how much I will enjoy the writing when a project is underway; it is still hard for me to get started.

What is your next project?

A: My big brother, who was my best friend, took his own life about a year ago. I feel like my next project will somehow be related to that experience of loss and grief; the impact of suicide on a family…. For me writing is a wonderful, creative activity, but also an opportunity to figure sh** out.

What genre do you write and why?

A: I have written a “young adult” novel, The Warming Season; and A Midlife Romance falls in the romance genre. I like that a genre provides a frame or structure to work within, yet gives you plenty of room to make it your own.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

A: I am listening to Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, a book I read a long time ago and thought was one of the best books I had read; we are reading for book club so I’m getting the chance to revisit why I thought so LOL. I love to read, and have lots of favorites. I recently finished The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin and loved it. I’m looking forward to reading Lessons in Chemistry.

Are you similar to or different from your lead character?

A: Both LOL

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

A: I have written both novels and short stories — each is different and challenging in its own way. I love the sparse precision and conciseness required of a short story but then I look forward to the pleasures of length in a novel, to have room for history and backstory; more characters; building context and texture through details; building the arc of a story through individual scenes that feel fluid and necessary. The reward, honestly, comes from reader reviews — a reader you don’t know and might never meet — but who enjoys your story and feels it resonates.

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

A: Not for the faint of heart; It takes courage and resilience. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

A: Read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic”

Which authors inspired you to write?

A: Elizabeth Strout; Elizabeth Gilbert; Ann Pachett

On rituals:

Do you write every day?

A: Once I’m in a project, yes. I would like to get better at writing everyday, just for fun and discipline.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

A: I wonder about this — it’s hard for me to imagine writing a book on pen and paper — my handwriting is sloppy and hard to read and it gets tiring, and yet I’ve read that using a computer allows a writer to get sloppy with the writing — if something feels off, it’s easier to cut and paste than to start from scratch, which may be what is needed…..

If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?

It’s not easy — you have to use the time your kids are at school; but in the end that’s not a lot of time; so you have to say no to all those volunteer requests! And not feel bad about it!

Fun stuff:

Favorite travel spot?

A: I like to travel. Period. So don’t go back to the same spot. I just took my daughter to Morocco — her birth father is Moroccan. It was so different, and eye-opening, and yet simply lovely to be traveling with my daughter.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

A: After many decades living on the East Coast, and weeks after burying my brother, I drove cross-country in my Prius with my 24 year old son for company, my brother’s dog, and my cat, to start a new life in Whidbey Island, WA. When I bought the Whidbey house several years ago, I was dating a man and thought we would be starting a life together there.  He is no longer in my life, but I made the move and feel grateful to have been welcomed by the Island, and proud to have built a community, friends, and — after the disruption of divorce — a place my kids call home.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

A: My life, like everyone else’s, has proven enormously challenging. I struggled with years of infertility treatment; was abandoned after 20 years of marriage; shepherded one kid through addiction and treatment, another through severe dyslexia; I am still grieving my brother’s suicide. But always — doors have opened: the joy of adoption, the beauty of rebuilding a life out of the dreams I thought lost; to witness the courage in my son’s sobriety and my daughter’s resilience; recommitting to a family in need of healing. Remember to look for the openings….

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

A: Bad Sisters — love it! Dead to Me with my daughter. We love to snuggle and binge together.

What is your favorite thing to do in (current season)?

Moving from summer/fall where I love to play tennis into the short, dark days of winter where I love to sit by the fire and read.

What is something that made you laugh recently?

A: I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my immediate, extended family of 25, including my 2 ½ yr old niece. We have a special thing going and playing hide and seek, and making towers that fall and being the tickle monster all had me at full belly laugh!

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

A: If I tell you, I’ll give away my age LOL

Second Chances: A Midlife Romance Series Book Two by Lisa Battalia Review

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

As their heated encounters grow more frequent and tensions rise while struggling to balance exes, kids, and work, a more independent Lori seeks to find her second chance with Brandon in author Lisa Battalia’s “Second Chances”, the second book in A Midlife Romance series.

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The Synopsis

Second Chances continues the story of Lori and Brandon’s bicoastal romance. Their sexy, fun weekends, crisscrossing the country to see each other, are bookended by the challenges back home. For Lori, that’s a new home, job search, divorce proceedings, and conflicts with her teenage kids. With newfound confidence, helped by Brandon’s skills in the bedroom and as handyman, cop, and father, Lori revels in a budding independence. Still, there’s no avoiding that their time together is scheduled around the competition (exes, kids, and bosses). Brandon’s aversion to risk, his loyalty to his daughter, and Lori’s increasingly complicated life in Maryland all loom as potential, insurmountable obstacles, and Lori fears that shuttling between disparate worlds will break her. After a particularly empowering sexual encounter, Lori finds the courage to ask for what she wants-a second chance to build a brave new life with Brandon-but taking that risk could mean losing everything.

The Review

The author did not let up on the passion for this second outing in the series. The heat and romance that the characters brought to life were still very palatable on the page, and the atmosphere was thick with both tension and eroticism to seek the erotic romance fans out there. The coast-to-coast setting was felt even more strongly in this outing, as it came with more emotional weight as the stakes rose to all new heights in this novel.

To me, the heart of this story was not in the character’s passions, but in their growth overall. The author found a way to strike a healthy balance between the eroticism and the emotional romance aspect of their relationship quite evenly and allowed the reader to dive head-first into the hills and valleys of their relationship overall. The way the author honed in on what so many middle-aged people deal with in romances, from ex-spouses and wary children to work details and living arrangements, the story felt more realistic and relatable to a great number of readers out there, and still held onto the passion that made the first book so memorable.

The Verdict

Heated, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Lisa Battalia’s “Second Chances” is a great second entry into the erotic romance duology that the author has crafted and a passionate romance to get lost in. The relatability of the characters grows exponentially here, as does the emotional weight of their journey together. The twists and turns in their love story will have readers hanging onto the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lisa Battalia is an attorney in the field of gender equity and a writer. She is the mother of two newly launched young adults; a lifelong east-coaster who recently launched her own new life on Whidbey Island, WA. 

Her other novels and short stories can be found at www.lisabattalia.com.

Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/lisabattalia/

https://amzn.to/3OMfLZu

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Now, here is an Exclusive Guest Post from author Lisa Battalia

A Letter to My 50 Year-Old Self,

Take a breath; you’re going to survive; it’s all going to be okay. 

I know you can’t even imagine it but your teenage son, at 24, will call you every week, just to chat, and to tell you how much he appreciates you; and your daughter, just like him, will follow her own path. It won’t look anything like the carefully, curated, unyielding path of so many of the suburban kids around them. They will flounder, deeply despair of what they have lost when your divorce rocked their world and left them feeling utterly without control. With your help, though, with their strength your consistent love has nurtured through all the years leading to the brink, they will be fine.

Yes, you will be on your own again. But you have been on your own before. You are competent; more than that you are smart. Someone will hire you even though you’ve been out of the workforce for so many years; meanwhile Obamacare will pass and you will have health insurance. You will re-learn how to pay the bills and buy a car and apply for a mortgage. You will not — that grotesque, irrational, yet encapsulating fear — eat cat food in your old age. You will shepherd what you have — diminished, cut by half, the practical result of a marriage… a family… a life ended formally, properly, the papers and signature lines all lined up correctly, except the one question they left out: Did you want any of this to happen? 

The surprise will come: Your resources will grow as you lean into abundance. The ironic abundance that arises because you are forced to recalibrate: After the earthquake, teetering on that ragged edge left in its wake, absorbing an emotional wreckage that feels so much more diminished than the tidy division by half the lawyers conjured. Can I be more? Truer to my subjugated dreams, values, and deepest desires? What are those anyway after so many years of “being” for others, giving to others?

The shock will follow. You will be happy again. Not right away, and not without loneliness and despair, but happier than you ever imagined. You will have reimagined a new life — literally transporting yourself to a new location, a place of peaceful beauty. A life of Independence, creativity, joyful in its re-connectedness to family, friends, and… love.

None of this is to say you can skip the hard work that lies ahead, but, my most precious advice, strap in and enjoy the ride.

Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mom a Life…and a Man by Reenita Malhotra Hora Review

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

A teenage girl in Mumbai desperate to follow her pop star idol decides to find her mom a man in an effort to steer her mother away from forcing her to meet regular guys and prepare for marriage in author Reenita Malhotra Hora’s “Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mom a Life…and a Man”.

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The Synopsis

Ila, a Mumbai-based teenager, is going nuts with Veena, her controlling, single mother who prevents her from stalking her pop idol, Ali Zafar. Veena wants her daughter to date real guys in the lead-up to finding a husband. But Ila decides that the only way to get her mom off her back is by finding her a boyfriend instead.

The Review

This was such a fun and unique take on the romantic comedy genre. The humor and wit that goes on with the protagonist and the characters around her highlight the unique setting and culture that the author brings the narrative into. The balance of lightheartedness and warmth the author brings into the atmosphere of the narrative was a great addition to the story.

Yet for me, it was the unique setting and powerful character dynamics that really sold this story. The way the author was able to incorporate so much of the culture and passion of the city of Mumbai into the narrative and give readers of this genre a unique location to become immersed in was inspiring to say the least. The emotional journey of a mother and daughter, both trying to do what’s best for the other while pursuing their own dreams, was both a fantastic mirroring of their personal journeys but showed the depth of these characters and how far we are willing to go to help someone we love, even if it doesn’t start off for the right reasons.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, fun, and entertaining, author Reenita Malhotra Hora’s “Operation Mom” is a must-read romantic comedy of the year. The heart of this unique setting and the way the characters and the culture they live in impact the journey they undertake to find love and purpose made this such a compelling story to get lost in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Reenita is a founder, executive-level content, operations & marketing leader, and prolific writer. With multiple years of experience in media, entertainment, communications, tech/innovation and wellness industries in the USA and Asia, she grows organizations, ranging from early stage startups through mid-size businesses, through storytelling, creative marketing and business strategy. Reenita has written seven books – five non fiction and two fiction. She is the writer, anchor and executive producer of Shadow Realm and True Fiction Project podcasts and founder of the Chapter by episode fiction app. She has contributed to The Hindu, South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, Asian Investor, Times of India and National Geographic Kids, Cartoon Network Asia, Disney and more.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BBQ6TPXS/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F62589043-operation-mom&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

An Unforgettable Cruise by Colin Guest Review 

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

A woman who has lost her husband goes on a journey of self-discovery to find love and passion in life again in author Colin Guest’s “An Unforgettable Cruise”. 

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The Synopsis

They say things happen in threes. In Ashley’s case, the main characters, the first to happen was her husband’s death. It released her from what had turned out to be a loveless marriage. The second, while on holiday in Turkey with her daughter Jade, they rescue a man from drowning. When he turns out to be an old flame, Ashley thinks it’s a sign they should get back together. However, she is left shocked and disappointed when informed he is under police investigation. The third occurs when Ashley goes on a luxury cruise. Here she meets Stephen, who not only rekindles her love of sex, but gives her love and makes her content with her life.

The Review

This was such a captivating and heated erotic romance novel. The author takes great strides to utilize imagery and atmosphere in his writing to capture the emotional aspects of the protagonist’s journey. The balance the author found in the more erotic and passionate scenes with the character growth and development was great to read as well, as it made for a more well-rounded narrative overall.

The fast pace of each chapter and the development of each character’s backstory were really strong in this novel. The focus on the evolution of Ashley and Stephen’s relationship, from their shared histories with their late spouses to the struggles to find their voice within a new relationship and the desire to keep the heat and fierceness of their liaisons fresh as time goes on was something so many people will be able to relate to, while the more sexy scenes will be something readers will love to make their new guilty pleasure. 

The Verdict

Hot, romantic, and entertaining, author Colin Guest’s “An Unforgettable Cruise” is a must-read erotic romance novel. The descriptive scenes, rich development of character backgrounds, and passionate romance keep readers invested, this is one novel that erotic romance fans will not want to put down this year. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Colin Guest, AKA Tigerman, started writing after retiring from spending 19 years working in 14 countries on three continents. He has published eleven books, including memoirs, thrillers, and romance stories. His latest novel, , An Unforgettable Cruise, a romance story, is now on presale prior to be published on the 4th of August.

Apart from writing books, Colin has written film scripts based on two of his thrillers, and now working on a script based on his romantic novel, A Dangerous Love Affair. 

Due to Colin’s love of tigers, has adopted a tiger for the past twelve years and, as a volunteer, has worked at wildlife rescue/rehabilitation centres in South Africa and Thailand. 

https://www.instagram.com/tigerman101

https://www.facebook.com/tigerman55

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tigerman77

https://www.amazon.com/author/colinguest

https://www.pininterest.com/colin/john/guest

https://www.goodreads.com/author/edit/9857414.Colin_Guest

https://www.youtube.com/ColinGuest

https://www.turkmed.wordpress.com

https://www.colinguestauthor.com

Ignite: Heart of the Inferno Book II by Nicole Fanning Review

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

A woman struggling with her growing feelings for a powerful mafia don must traverse the bloody underworld of Chicago in author Nicole Fanning’s “Ignite”, the second book in the Heart of the Inferno series. 

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The Synopsis

She never expected to fall in love with a mafia don.

He never expected to fall in love at all.

But will their love be enough?

Four weeks ago, Jaxon Pace, the billionaire “Don Supreme” of Chicago’s underground mafia syndicates, took a bullet.

This bullet was meant for the only girl who stole his heart, the beautiful Natalie Tyler, a simple nurse from Miami.

Overwhelmed by the horrors she witnessed in Chicago, Natalie chose to return home, leaving the broken and brokenhearted Jaxon Pace to recover on his own.

A month after her visit, Natalie’s heart still belongs to Jaxon…And you better believe The Don Supreme is coming to collect HIS woman.

But when he arrives he learns that Natalie has a little surprise for him: She is pregnant.

However, his enemies will give the happy couple no reprieve.

Especially, Jaxon’s presumed-dead ex-girlfriend, Rachel, and her psychotic brother, Michael.

They are the leaders of Chicago’s newest twisted mafia clan, the Two-Headed Dragon.

The Two-Headed Dragon has one goal: the complete destruction of the Pace Family Mafia.

If successful, they will destroy the entire mafia hierarchy that has guided Chicago’s underworld for a century, sending the city into complete chaos.

Will Natalie & Jaxon’s love be enough to defeat the dangers of the present…and the demons of the past?

Filled with exhilarating highs, steamy romance, and heart-pounding suspense, “Ignite” picks up where “Catalyst” left off, and joins our favorite mafia couple as they fight for each other in a world filled with deceit, depravity, and unspeakable darkness.

The Review

This was a truly heated, passionate, and gritty romantic suspense thriller. The way the author was able to weave the tense and engaging romance and heated scenes between Jaxon and Natalie with the haunting action and suspense that the emergence of this Two-Headed dragon gang was so engaging. The fast pace of the narrative will have readers deeply invested in the character’s journey early on. 

What was truly the heart of this read was the amazing character growth and interaction between the main characters. The intimate scenes between the two protagonists were incredibly spicy and the author did a great job of bringing these moments to life on the page. The dual nature that is explored in this book within the characters’ lives is so unique, as readers see the intensity of Jaxon’s mob life clash with his love for Natalie, while Natalie’s caring nature must come to terms with the more violent aspects of Jaxon’s life. It creates some unique drama that pairs well with the suspense of the new gang, led by truly chilling brother and sister gangsters who hold a grudge against Jaxon’s mob family. 

The Verdict

Intense, action-packed, and passionately written, author Nicole Fanning’s “Ignite” is a brilliant must-read romantic thriller! The author’s superb writing style creates engaging and entertaining storylines that help bring this world to life and the city of Chicago feels so gritty and brilliantly realized through the author’s descriptive writing style. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nicole is a smitten wife and super proud dog mom to three rambunctious rescue dogs.

She’s an old-school romantic, with a proclivity for a little mischief, and an obsession with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Her first book, Catalyst-Heart of the Inferno, is an action romance about the terrifying and dangerous mafia lord Jaxon Pace, and Natalie Tyler, the girl who became his only exception.

The Bookshop Rescue (Furever Yours Book 9) by Rochelle Alers Review

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

Two people hurt by the past and brought together by a shared love for animals find themselves drawn together and forced to face the past in order to have a future in author Rochelle Alers’s “The Bookshop Rescue”, the ninth book in the Furever Yours series.

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The Synopsis

Bookshop owner—and recently heartbroken—Lucy Tucker never imagined how dramatically life would change once she started fostering Buttercup, a pregnant golden retriever. The biggest change? Growing a lot closer to the businessman next door, Calum Ramsey, especially after the two of them help Buttercup welcome her five puppies into the world. One romantic night later, and they’re expecting a baby of their own! Stunned at first, steadfastly single Calum is now dutifully offering marriage. But Lucy doesn’t need rescuing. She wants the true-blue happy ending they both deserve.

The Review

The emotional growth these two people shared with one another and their own tragic pasts really made this story shine so brightly. The instant attraction they feel for one another and their hesitancy after a painful past and the fears they brought made this story feel real and alive on the page. The small-town setting and intimate setting really allowed the intimacy of the characters and their relationship to thrive and grow in this narrative.

As a pet owner and pet parent, the shared love for the pregnant Golden Retriever and how they took care of the golden retriever together was so amazing to read. It served as a great metaphor for their circumstances later on, as a surprise pregnancy will put these two on a wild and insane journey of romance and responsibility. The balance found between the whirlwind romance of their narrative and the realities of life beyond the initial romance were great to see portrayed here.

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and heartwarming, author Rochelle Alers’s “The Bookshop Rescue” is a must-read modern-day romance and an emotional story overall. The intimate nature of this romance and the realism and honesty with which their relationship was examined made this story so entertaining, and the natural progression of their romance will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today’s most popular African-American authors of women’s fiction, Ms. Alers is a regular on bestsellers list, and has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing and a Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award.  Visit her Web site www.rochellealers.com

https://rochellealers.org/