Posted in reviews

Trade Secrets by V.K. Tritschler Review

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

A woman’s dream job turns her life upside down as she’s forced to choose between a man who isn’t all he seems to be and a boss who may not be who he seems at all in author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets”. 

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The Synopsis

What happens when your dream job turns out to be a hot mess?

Emily earned a spot in a top Adelaide advertising agency and was excited to be starting her professional career. But on her very first day she gets coffee spilled on her by Meg, her new and complicated co-worker; runs into Jimmy, her wildly inappropriate boss; and gets stuck in an elevator with Harry, who is the hottest guy in the industry and her company’s biggest competitor.

When Jimmy enlists Emily to spy on Harry and his company, things become more complicated.

But Emily finds that her life isn’t as perfect as she’d dreamed. Now, she has to choose between handsome Harry, who may not be all he seems, and bawdy Jimmy, who is exactly what she fears. Secrets and hidden agendas rip apart Emily’s dreams. Will she pick the devil she knows or the one she doesn’t?

The Review

This was the perfect romantic drama read. The author captures the intricacies of young women walking into the world wide-eyed and hopeful about the future, only to see reality making life far more complex than they could have imagined. Blending the modern-day “dramedy”  that fans have come to expect from shows like Netflix’s Emily in Paris or Younger, the novel catapults a healthy blend of love triangles with complicated workplace drama. 

Emily is a fantastic protagonist, pushing herself with an enthusiastic glean in her eyes while fielding a mother who doubts her career goals, a co-worker who makes her life complicated, and two men who pull her heart in different directions. The author’s ability to craft relatable characters while implementing an air of mystery with some heavy emotional beats showcases the fantastic world-building the author has accomplished with this novel. 

The Verdict

A must-read, evenly-paced and engaging read, author V.K. Tritschler’s “Trade Secrets” is a phenomenal novel. Full of romance, drama, and everything young readers love to delve into, this is the perfect winter read for those seeking a romance-filled getaway from reality. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

VK Tritschler is a full-time busy body, and part-time imagination conjurer. She lives on the amazing Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, having moved there from her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. Her family consists of a very patient husband, two rampant boys and too many pets to mention.

She has a wonderful set of amazing writers who support her in the form of Eyre Writers, and in return she offers crowd control services for the Youth section who are the future best-selling Australian authors.

Her first book “The Secret Life of Sarah Meads” was released in 2018 and since then she has participated in the NYC Writing Challenge, the Clunes Booktown, and helped organize and run the Eyre Writers Festival.

Her paranormal romance is “Magic & Mischief” with her story “Vital Impetus” which came out in July 2020. An anthology of magical stories from around the globe.

Her next novel “The Risky Business of Romance” was released in October 2020. Her next novel – Trade Secrets is a rom-com and due out in December 2020. Stay tuned for more details!

Ever available to her readership you can find her at:

www.vktritschler.com

www.facebook.com/vktritschler

www.twitter.com/vktritschler

www.goodreads.com/vktritschler

Posted in reviews

The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge By Chris Stevenson Review

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

A shocking twist on the classic forbidden love theme comes with a dangerous new threat and science gone wrong in author Chris Stevenson’s novel “The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge”. 

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The Synopsis

Wolf girl gone feral…

A DNA experiment gone horribly wrong…

A beast who will stop at nothing.

Seth Anson, a lovelorn forest ranger, never thought that he would shoot the first eligible woman he met after his divorce. Nor did he think that he would fall in love with her after nursing her back to health. But he certainly isn’t prepared to find out that she is the result of a DNA cloning experiment gone horribly wrong and, is in fact, a hybrid human/wolf.

It all comes to a head atop Devils Tower Wyoming.

The Beast of Wheeler Ridge examines the lurid morality issues that are dealt with in The Island of Doctor Moreau, while exploring the theme of forbidden love as can be found in Beauty and the Beast, only with the gender rolls reversed.

Contains mild language and suggestive themes

The Review

A fantastic blend of science fiction and horror thriller, author Christ Stevenson has brought to life a one of a kind reimagining of the classic werewolf tale. Exploring the horrors of genetic experimentation gone wrong, the author does a great job of finding a natural balance between the horror elements of the story with the romance and character growth of the cast of characters. 

It was refreshing to get such a unique take on the werewolf genre, exploring ancient creatures from a long-forgotten age being brought back by science, and evolving from there. The idea of restoring lost creatures back into modern society and the experiments pushing past boundaries to see human and animal hybrids becoming a reality made for a unique twist on the genre, making the story easy to engage with. 

The Verdict

An evenly paced, action-fueled, and tense romantic sci-fi thriller, author Chris Stevenson delivers a powerful story in “The Beast Of Wheeler Ridge”. Discovering the meaning behind what makes someone a monster and what makes them “human” blends with the forbidden love theme in a remarkable tale that will keep readers invested throughout. Be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Check out my blog GUERRILLA WARFARE FOR WRITERS (SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS):

http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blo…

Christy’s Young Adult Fabuliers:

https://christysyoungadultimagineers….

About me

Gender Male

Industry Science

Occupation Novelist and Science Writer

Location Sylvania, Alabama, United States

Links Wishlist

Introduction Been writing for 32 years, publishing novels, non-fiction books, radio horror plays, short stories, reviews, interviews, poetry and thousands of non-fiction automotive articles. I’m on my third agent, and have had 10 books and twenty-two short stories published, beginning in 1988. Writing Credits and History BOOK CREDITS: Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward–Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles–226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning book. Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia–190 pages, non-fiction book—1988. Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007. Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008 Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009 Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009. The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF Books, February 2009

The Girll They Sold to the Moon, Intrigue Books

Blackmailed Bride to Melange Satin Romance. Screamcatcher: Web World by Melange Books.

Interests Hiking, paleontology, Ufos, cryptozoology, bigfoot, astronomy, lake monsters, ancient Egypt, archeology, geology

Favorite Movies Blade Runner, Time Cop, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Logun’s Run, Transformers, The Time Machine, Kickass

Favorite Music REM, Abbaa, When in Rome, Steve Miller Band, SF and fantasy soundtracks.

Favorite Books Icerigger, Virgin Planet, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Lord of the Flies, Black Marble, Close Encounters, The Island, Black Marble, Dune, Riverworld, The Mote In God’s eye

How many books have I published? 10 to date, with three out on agent subs, and five more in the wings ready to go.

Amazon Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Harold-Stevenson/e/B001K8UUBK

Christy’s Website:  https://christysyoungadultfabuliers.com/

Blog:  http://guerrillawarfareforwriters.blogspot.com/

Posted in Interviews

Interview With Author Jessica Leed

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing? 

As far as I can remember I have loved story telling—in all forms. As a child I would spend every Saturday at the library, devouring books like there was no tomorrow! This quickly led to writing short stories wherever that had a surface! I think there is so much beauty in the world with many stories to tell and feel like there are endless possibilities of ways to communicate them. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book? 

I love creating different worlds in my head. There is such a freedom in writing. A lot of inspiration was drawn from real life experiences, lived out by fictional characters, and of course, the fictional town of ‘Aringdale’. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

This book weaves together themes of self-identity and toxic relationships— issues I feel are prevalent in society that many people can relate to. It is my hope that my readers know that who they are is enough, that no battlelife has thrown at them defines them or their worth. We are strong, brave, resilient and capable of anything we set our mind to. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre? 

I have always been a bit of romantic. In saying that I realise that life doesn’t always end in ‘happily ever after’ the way most romance movies and fairy-tale books lead us to believe. Let’s face it, Life is complicated, relationships are complicated. I wanted to create a story that highlights this, but in a way that stirs faith and hope within the reader. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why? 

I think it’s safe to say that there are a few readers that have been frustrated with Sienna’s decision in tolerating a toxic relationship for so long. Instead of asking Sienna why she didn’t leave, I would ask her what she would be most afraid about if she did. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership? 

Facebook has been the most beneficial. I started promotion my book months before its release. I found that Facebook ads have really helped drive people to my website and subscribe to my newsletter which is wonderful. 

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7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there? 

Read, read, read! The more you read, the better you will be able to refine your craft and gain a deeper insight into the genre that most inspires you. Also know that your writing will never be perfect and that there will always be someone who doesn’t like your work. You could be the juiciest, sweetest, ripest peach in the world, but not everyone likes peaches! This is true with writing, too. Understand that your debut book will not be your best, which is actually exciting because it means you will only continue to grow as a writer! 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon? 

I have very recently launched my debut novel NINE YEARS and about to embark on the sequel; HERE I STAND. I will be spending a lot of the summer in hibernation, writing! Stay tuned. 🙂 

About the Author

Jessica is a 30-year-old school teacher, former fitness professional and dancer. She was born and raised in Bendigo, Victoria before moving to Melbourne in 2008. For as long as she can remember she has had a passion for storytelling—in all forms. 

From writing countless short stories as a child to later completing a creative writing course, written by her favourite and best-selling author, Karen Kingsbury, Jessica was adamant to become a published author. NINE YEARS is the first book in the two-part series BENEATH THE CLOUDS.

AMAZON:https://www.amazon.com.au/Nine-Years-novel-Jessica-Leed/dp/0648679721/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?keywords=nine+years+jessica+lead&qid=1573102696&sr=8-1-fkmr3

GOOD READS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48556916-nine-years

Website: http://jessleed.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicaleeda…

Instagram: @jessicaleedauthor  

Posted in reviews

Tormino’s by Yuuki Haneda Review

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

A young teen discovers a unique new cast of characters at his new job, and perhaps even love, in author Yuuki Haneda’s novel “Tormino’s”. 

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The Synopsis

Miles Sonatas’ parents approved for him to get a part-time job during his final years of high school, but he soon learns the family restaurant he works at is anything but normal. He is immediately welcomed by his co-workers, and oddly enough, finds himself accepting of their quirks. Such as the lazy manager, Cyrus who calls everyone by their last name and sits in his closet of an office all day. Or the chefs, Shasta, who is very protective of his kitchen, and Sierra, who has a song stuck in her head. Then there are the other servers, Anita, who is searching for her soulmate, Oliver, a struggling artist who lives in the restaurant attic, and the ever clumsy waitress, Ramona.

When Miles catches Ramona on the first day, everyone believes love in the air. Despite this new habit, Miles and Ramona insist there is nothing between them. Or is there?

A slice of life novella featuring a cast of colorful characters and the hilarity and romance that ensues.

The Review

In this short yet incredibly engaging read, author Yuuki Haneda has done a marvelous job of creating a cast of characters that is both unique and relatable in their quirkiness. Each character in the book delivers funny, real and personable moments that keep the reader invested in the overall story.

The author also does a great job of highlighting the complexities of romance and relationships overall, from young love to those who believe in destiny versus those who believe in their own hearts and more. Its a great story filled with both humor and emotional storytelling that any reader will be able to jump into head first.

The Verdict

Overall this was a wonderfully written novel. Although readers may notice a couple of grammatical errors here or there, the characters are what drive the story forward, and the entire cast is strong enough and interesting to the point where readers won’t want to put the story down. In a fairly quick read, this story shines through as the first in a series of books that readers will not want to miss getting their hands on, so be sure to grab your copy of “Tormino’s” by Yuuki Haneda today!

Rating: 8/10

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https://mailchi.mp/cf15baa4d54c/torminostories

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48915950-tormino-s

Posted in reviews

Nine Years by Jessica Leed Review

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

A young woman struggling internally as she is caught between her family, the man she’s sure she’s meant to marry and her career finds new life in unexpected ways in author Jessica Leed’s novel “Nine Years”. 

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The Synopsis

An emotional, captivating tale about the complexity of relationships, self-discovery and long-lost love. Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Kristin Hannah and Jane Green.

You would think Sienna Henderson had the perfect life. She has a successful career, a loving family and is engaged to be married. From the outside she appears to have it all together, yet on the inside she is coming undone.

Caught inside a dysfunctional relationship and with her work environment intolerable, she finds herself slipping further from the life she has envisioned.

After reuniting with a man from her past, Sienna’s life is turned upside down in a way that has her questioning everything she has ever known.

The Review

An emotional, well plotted and character driven narrative, Nine Years hits every emotional beat that a good drama/romance genre novel should. Highlighting the struggle that comes from trying to make a strained relationship work, the author does an amazing job of showcasing how those types of relationships and how a life that has gone down a road not thought possible can impact a person mentally and emotionally.

Sienna is a relatable, honest and heartbreaking character that readers will instantly connect with. Like many people before her, Sienna finds herself fighting to keep a relationship alive despite a complete lack of effort from the other half of that relationship. Showcasing the struggles she undertakes with that effort and highlighting how the protagonist is affected in her career, her personal life and her romantic life after an old friend with deep emotional roots in her heart comes back into her life suddenly, this novel produces a narrative many people are familiar with, but yet still remains relevant and engaging with readers everywhere. 

The Verdict

This is a a must read novel for anyone who enjoys a good romance/drama book. The author does an excellent job of creating an ending that can easily lead into further books along the way, and showcases how often life is more complex than the fairytale romances other novels often portray. Those novels are an escape from reality, giving life to the hopes we all have in our hearts, yet the author creates a realistic and personal story that many can relate to, and a protagonist fans can not only root for but can identify with easily, making for an engaging read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Nine Years” by Jessica Leed today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jessica is a 30-year-old school teacher, former fitness professional and dancer. She was born and raised in Bendigo, Victoria before moving to Melbourne in 2008. For as long as she can remember she has had a passion for storytelling—in all forms. 

From writing countless short stories as a child to later completing a creative writing course, written by her favourite and best-selling author, Karen Kingsbury, Jessica was adamant to become a published author. NINE YEARS is the first book in the two-part series BENEATH THE CLOUDS.

AMAZON:https://www.amazon.com.au/Nine-Years-novel-Jessica-Leed/dp/0648679721/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?keywords=nine+years+jessica+lead&qid=1573102696&sr=8-1-fkmr3

GOOD READS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48556916-nine-years

Website: http://jessleed.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicaleeda…

Instagram: @jessicaleedauthor  

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:

Harlequin

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Google Play

IndieBound

Kobo

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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.  

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Book Promotion, reviews

Blog Tour: Meant To Be Yours By Susan Mallery

I am excited to share with everyone that I am officially participating in the first of many blog tours in association with Harlequin Books. It is an honor to be working with such a prestigious publisher and I am excited to share the slew of books heading my way over the next few months and hopefully beyond. As always, I want to preface this with the fact that all my opinions in this post are my own, and I received a free copy of this book in exchange for that opinion. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this incredible romance novel, Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery. 


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

A popular author struggling with his past in the military and a wedding coordinator who makes couples dreams come true while rejecting commitment herself find one another in author Susan Mallery’s novel “Meant To Be Yours”.

The Synopsis

In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…

Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?

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The Review

The fifth book in the Happily Inc. series, (sixth if you include book #2.5), author Susan Mallery has done a masterful job of creating a connected storyline across multiple books and characters, while also creating a wholly unique story that allows for anyone to jump into the narrative. While the cast of characters of this novel all stem from previous books, the protagonists take center stage in the story as these two people trying to escape their past come together in ways neither one of them expected.

The complexity of the characters makes this love story bloom much more than the traditional romance tale. Taking the time to explore both Jasper and Renee’s pasts that have influenced how they go about their relationship really depend the readers connection with both the book and the characters. The theme of finding love and overcoming that feeling of being “broken” played out eloquently throughout the novel, and the author did an amazing job of incorporating the atmosphere of love and romance that has become associated with this series into the character’s overall struggles.

The Verdict

Beautifully written, expertly crafted and emotionally driven. Author Susan Mallery has created a wholly original tale that keeps the overall setting and story of the Happily Inc. series in line while giving readers two protagonists that are relatable, honest and emotionally driven, giving readers an evenly paced read that will have them rooting for these two to overcome the odds and find solace with one another. Can two people who feel broken find love and overcome the odds? Find out by grabbing your copy of “Meant To Be Yours” by Susan Mallery today! 

Rating: 10/10

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Interview with Author Susan Mallery

Q&A With Susan Mallery

What was your favorite part about writing Meant to be Yours

Ohhh, that’s a hard question! I love everything about writing romance. The first kiss is still magical to me. The passion, the emotional intensity. It’s a moment that changes the course of a person’s life. When you fall in love, your life is bisected into before and after. Love is transformative, and the greatest pleasure of my life is to write about it.

Jasper and Renee in particular were a lot of fun to write because Renee is just such a mama bear when it comes to protecting her brides. She’s a wedding planner at Weddings Out of the Box, a theme wedding venue in the town of Happily Inc. Jasper is a bestselling thriller writer who wants to set his next book at a wedding. Renee’s response made me laugh so loud that I’m pretty sure I scared my pets.

Jasper continued. “I thought I could follow you around for a few weeks, learn about the business and—”

“No,” she said firmly, as all thoughts of them having another close encounter faded from her mind. “You’re not getting your serial killer cooties on my weddings. I’m a big believer in keeping the energy positive and flowing forward. Do you know what a serial killer would do at a wedding?”

He stared at her, his gaze intense. “That’s what I was thinking. I want the serial killer to be a wedding crasher.”

“No,” she said firmly. “Just no.”

When Jasper goes behind her back to get intimately involved with one of her weddings, Renee vows to keep him from bringing darkness to her bride’s special day.

I also adored the animals in this book. In the beginning, Jasper doesn’t trust himself to let a woman into his heart. His simple but profound act of kindness to a dog who needs a home leads to him finally being ready to fall in love. The dog, Koda, is based on a reader’s real-life dog. I gave Koda the same adorable quirks and characteristics that make him special—and I gave Renee the reader’s last name in her honor.

Did you find out any funny or interesting facts about wedding planning when writing this book?

I have learned that brides and wedding planners are some of the most creative people in the universe. I can’t tell you how much time I spent on Pinterest, looking at pictures from theme weddings. There are some really beautiful themes, and some that are charming and humorous. Every theme uniquely reflects the bride and the groom in the most beautiful way. In Meant to Be Yours, Renee designs several lovely theme weddings with beautiful touches I think readers will enjoy. Here’s a snippet from one:

Jim and Monica Martinez were a sweet couple with a fun firefighter theme for their big day. There was a long tradition of firefighters on both sides of the family and plenty of cute touches in the wedding and reception.

Monica’s dress laced up the back and instead of white ribbon to cinch her gown, she’d used bright red. The centerpieces were ceramic boot vases painted to look like firefighter boots, filled with red, orange and yellow flowers. There was even a walk-through fountain at one end of the reception area, created with fire hoses, a pump and a lot of engineering.

Pay attention to that last sentence because I also discovered that a lot can go wrong when you invite a few hundred people to a party. Imagine a room filled with people who aren’t used to dressing up, plus a fountain made with fire hoses, and a wedding planner who will do anything to protect her bride.

Did Renee or Jasper surprise you while you drafted this novel? 

They did! When I started this book, I thought Jasper was the more wounded of the two. But as I wrote, I discovered that Renee’s scars went deeper than I thought. She’s been keeping a secret from her friends in Happily Inc, a secret about her mother that has cost her jobs, friendships and romantic relationships. Just when she starts to feel safe and accepted in her new home, her mother comes for a visit. . .

Can you share about what you’re working on right now? 

I’m working on revisions on the next Happily Inc book, a Christmas book that will be out next year. No title yet. It has all of the humor and heartfelt emotion readers love in my books—plus Christmas! I invited members of the Susan Mallery All Access group on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/susanmalleryallaccess) to suggest random items for me to incorporate into the story. When the book comes out next year, I’ll share a scavenger hunt list with my readers so they can find the objects as they read. It’s just a fun way for me to stay connected to my readers as I write. 

Who is an author you draw inspiration from?

Years ago, the fabulous Debbie Macomber suggested to me that I stop writing series about families, and start writing series about people who live in the same town. That advice was the inspiration for my Fool’s Gold series, which led to my Happily Inc series, as well. I’ll always be grateful to Debbie for that.

What is your favorite place to read a book? 

At home with my feet up on the sofa and a cat curled in my lap.

Who is a book character you’d be best friends with?

Each of my heroines is someone I’d be friends with—after all, I spend months with them, so I want them to be people I enjoy hanging out with. As for best friends, I’ll go with Ellen Fox, heroine of The Friendship List, which will come out next year. Ellen had me laughing all the way through the book. She’s blunt and smart and would drop everything to help someone she loves.

She’s a single mom who got pregnant in high school. She had sex one time, got pregnant, and then… nothing. She’s basically a virgin with a kid. But when she discovers what she’s been missing, she has no inhibitions. Her lack of filter was a source of constant amusement for me. Every day, I was excited to get back to work so I could spend time with her again. Such a fun book to write!

Pen & Paper or Computer?

Computer. I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts with paper and pen. I type about 120 words per minute, so that’s easier for me. Hard on my wrists and hands, but easier on my brain.

Favorite decade in fashion history?

The 1980’s.

KIDDING!!!!!

I am enjoying the fashion of today. I like that there really aren’t any rules anymore, it’s all about self-expression.

What is your signature drink?

A Starbucks latte. This time of year, pumpkin spice. Even though the baristas cannot, for the life of them, spell Susan.

What do you hope readers will experience or gain when reading Meant to Be Yours?

I hope Meant to Be Yours will be a happy escape for them, an entertaining break from the stresses of their daily lives. This is a book for readers who like to feel the sharp pings of emotion—and the release of laughter with a guaranteed happy ending.

How did you get into writing?

I was in college studying to be an accountant. It wasn’t exciting, but it was practical. I honestly didn’t know that regular people could be professional writers. It seemed so exotic, somehow. I thought writers had to live in France and wear turtlenecks. I think I must have choked to death in a previous life because I can’t stand wearing turtlenecks.

One day, I got a flyer in the mail from an adult education center called The Learning Tree, with evening classes people could take. These classes were not for credit and therefore were very impractical for a young woman carrying a full course load of university classes, and a newlywed trying to learn how to cook. But one of the classes caught my eye: How to Write a Romance Novel. Still, I thought, no time. I threw away the flyer. Eight weeks later, it came again. I threw it away again. Eight weeks later, there it was again, and I realized the woman wasn’t going to teach the class forever.

So I signed up for the class, and I immediately fell in love. By week six, I knew this was what I was meant to do with my life. I made a deal with my then-husband. I gave myself two years to sell a book. If I didn’t, then I would have to get a job. That was in May, and I sold my first book in August of that year. Best decision ever.

What inspired you to write Meant to Be Yours?

I loved the humor inherent in the idea of a thriller writer wanting to research weddings, and a wedding planner who wants to keep his darkness away from her bride’s special day. Jasper is the kind of writer who does his research in tangible ways. Before he writes a fight scene, he blocks it out with his buddies—weapons and all. He wants to get the details right.

So when he decides to set his next book against the backdrop of a wedding, he’s determined to get those details right, too. And the only way to do that is to be involved with a wedding from start to finish. But Renee is determined to keep any hint of darkness away from her bride’s special day. It’s not an intellectual exercise to her—it’s someone’s wedding day, and that means something.

It’s just a humorous conflict that I thought would be a ton of fun to write. And it was!

Oh, and by the way, Jasper also decides that his detective character needs a love interest…so he needs someone to block out the kissing scenes with him, too. (Full confession: I do occasionally ask my husband for help with my research. 😉 )

What drew you into writing romance?

I’ve been a romance reader since I was in middle school, and they’re still the books I enjoy the most. I love everything about them. I still get that intake-of-breath feeling when the characters first kiss. And when they finally overcome their obstacles and admit that they’re meant to be together—there’s just nothing happier or more life-affirming.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would love to sit down with Verity, Renee’s mother. But I can’t tell you what I would ask her or why without spoilers, so I’ll just leave you with this: Verity has a very special talent that gives her an insight few people can claim. I would love to have this talent. Since I don’t, I’d love to ask Verity to tell me what she knows.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—but mostly on Facebook. I share book news on my main page, www.facebook.com/susanmallery. In the Susan Mallery All Access group, www.facebook.com/groups/susanmalleryallaccess, I share personal anecdotes and pictures, hold contests and play games. It’s a lot of fun, and everyone is welcome to join! (Unless you’re some weird spammer guy who wants me to marry you. Ew.)

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Stick with it. The writers who succeed are the ones who don’t give up. Write every day. Experiment with different methods and techniques to find what works for you. Analyze successful books and try to figure out why they work, and then incorporate those lessons into your own writing. I found that screenwriting classes helped a lot with developing story structure.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Always something new on the horizon! In 2020, I’ll release four brand new books: Sisters by Choice (a Blackberry Island novel), The Friendship List (a standalone), A Fool’s Gold Wedding (a Fool’s Gold romance), and the yet-to-be-titled Happily Inc Christmas romance.

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About the Author

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

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Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @SusanMallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Goodreads

Posted in reviews

If Only By Melanie Murphy Review

If you had the power to see what life would have been like had you made a different choice in your life, would you use that power? That is the question for Erin as chaotic life gets turned upside down in author Melanie Murphy’s novel “If Only”. 

The Synopsis

Erin is about to turn thirty and her life is definitely not where she thought it would be. She hates her job, she’s jealous of her perfect flatmate – and she has just called off her wedding.

A trip home to Ireland to celebrate her birthday with her beloved grandmother is exactly what Erin needs, and she’s spent days preparing herself to break the news about her broken engagement. 

What she’s not prepared for is the gift she receives: a secret family heirloom that will change everything.

Could this be the answer Erin has been looking for – the key to the happy life she’s always dreamed of? Only time will tell…

The Review

Wow, what an incredible read. I had to get that out there right away. While author Melanie Murphy has received wide acclaim on my website for her first novel Fully Functioning Human (Almost), the author’s second novel and debut fiction book was a massive success in every way.

The author does a masterful job of creating a cast of characters readers can relate to. From protagonist Erin and her journey of self-discovery while dealing with the struggles of life, to her core group of friend she rallies behind when dealing with these struggles, all the while trying to manage their own lives and issues, each character brings an important element into Erin’s story and makes the reader truly care about these fictitious people. 

The author’s ability to create such descriptive atmospheres truly immerses the reader into the settings of this novel, from the bustling streets of London to the cosy warmth of the Irish countryside and small town villages, readers will instantly fall in love with this novel at every turn. For me personally as a reader, I instantly connected with Erin and her relationship with her grandmother. 

For some of you who know this already, this year hasn’t been easy as I lost my own grandmother in early January. She was one of my best friends and truest supporters, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss her. Reading this story and the close relationship Erin had with her grandmother made me instantly feel closer to my own, bringing a small bit of tears of joy to my eyes as the author’s characterization of the protagonist brought fresh memories into this reader’s mind. 

The Verdict

 This is a must read novel of the year. A top contender for contemporary romance of the year, Melanie Murphy has cemented herself as a not only entertaining author but a writer who creates characters readers will instantly connect with and be entertained by. What the author does best in this novel is use the more supernatural elements of the other lives that could have been lived sparsely, focusing more on the lessons learned from these trips and the life Erin is constructing for herself. It is a fantastic novel that everyone should check out, so be sure to grab your copy of “If Only” by Melanie Murphy today!

Rating: 10/10

After reading a book that deals so much with relationships and finding the right person for you, one starts to think about their own relationships and keeping it healthy and maintained. In that regard, sites like Regain have the resources to help those seeking counseling or advice. Click this link https://www.regain.us/advice/counseling/ to learn more.

About the Author

Melanie Murphy is an author and online content creator from a small village in Dublin.

Her YouTube videos have amassed more than sixty million views online, reaching people with warm personality and her life lessons as well as her views on divisive topics such as sexuality, women’s rights, health and relationships. Also some silly fun stuff, just ’cause.

In 2017, Melanie published her first non-fiction book, “Fully Functioning Human (Almost)” which sold thousands of copies, received many positive reviews and topped the Irish book charts. Her debut novel, ‘If Only’, was released in the summer of 2019. It spent weeks in the Irish fiction chart and was chosen as one of the Diet Coke Book Club summer reads!

She lives in her home country of Ireland with her pilot partner, Thomas, her modern family and her two glorious rescue kitties, Bilbo and Molly Weasley. Her BSc (hons) degree in education & training from DCU catches dust above the fireplace as she writes books and uploads random videos to the internet for a living.

https://www.melaniemurphy.ie/

https://www.melaniemurphy.ie/book/

Posted in reviews

This Pale Mortal Shell by D. Elizabeth Ayers Review

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

A complex story of loss, betrayal, and romance plays out against the backdrop of a magic fueled thriller in author D. Elizabeth Ayers’ novel “The Pale Mortal Shell”. 

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The Synopsis

A magical love triangle of lost souls that pits brother against brother and proves rock n’ roll never dies. 

Live fast, die young…then steal someone else’s body so you can do it all over again. That’s the plan for rock star Tristan Thorn when he leaves a will which states his wife and his half-brother must live together for three months in order to receive their shares of his estate. Tristan knows he will die before his time and he’s certain his little backup plan will be a success. 

After Tristan dies in a car wreck while being orally gratified by a hot groupie, Madison Thorn has no choice but to go along with her husband’s final wishes. She has no money of her own anymore and the $10,000,000 philandering Tristan left her will go a long, long way. Joseph Thorn has no desire to give in to his crazy brother’s whims. He doesn’t trust Tristan or Madison. But Joseph wants the cozy cottage in Cornwall which goes along with the deal. 

When Tristan’s ghost begins turning up at the cottage and starts taking control of Joseph’s body, Madison and Joseph must work together to stop Tristan before he destroys them all. But will they be able to do it before they fall in love? 

The Review

This is quite a powerful story. Jumping into the action immediately, readers are instantly thrust into the complex history of a rock legend who constantly cheats on his wife, the wife who never gave up on the hope of her beloved husband changing his ways until it was too late, and the brother struggling with years of betrayal while still trying to somehow honor his brother’s memory. Yet while these events immediately come to life, Madison begins to discover a whole secret life her husband hid from her, with strong ties to his family that no one will see coming.

This is definitely a book for adults, as the story delves into some pretty intimate moments that make this a passionate romance novel. While the use of ghosts, magic and the paranormal as a whole make the story engaging and intriguing, it is the growing relationship between Joseph and Madison that will instantly hook readers attention, and the complication of Tristian’s ghost drawing out the “will they, won’t they” drama that the author beautifully lets unfold in every chapter.

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The Verdict

This was a fantastic read and one of the best adult paranormal romances of the year. An evenly paced narrative that readers will instantly connect with, the author does a fantastic job of creating memorable and relatable characters that allow the reader to experience the romance and the supernatural elements of the story as if they are there in that situation as well. With twists and turns that will have readers hanging on every word until the very last page, this is a book readers do not want to miss, so be sure to grab your copy of “This Pale Mortal Shell” by D. Elizabeth Ayers today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, D. Elizabeth Ayers set out to be a movie star, but ended up waiting on thousands of tables and brewing gallons of coffee for the tired masses. Her greatest claim to movie fame was being an extra in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (and yes, Virginia, you can see her!). She didn’t even admit that she might be a writer until she completed her first novel. Nowadays, she admits it freely and revels in the fact that she gets to play all the parts now! 

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