My Review of ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’

Good afternoon Friends and welcome. Thank you for visiting last week for my ‘Marmalade Martini’ review. It is huge success. Today I’m featuring my review for Tracey Richardson‘s ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me‘. This story caught my interest since it takes place in Windsor, Ont, which is across the Detroit River separating it and Michigan, where I grew up. Let’s go meet our players.

Author photoEllie Kirkland is a twenty something woman doing the best she can. She is a sweet woman with a genuine heart who works hard for what she wants. She isn’t afraid to go after it either. I found her to be more mature and beyond her years. She refuses to be labeled and does what she feels. I really like way this character is developed. She shows a lot of guts in the story and I applaud the author for making her this way. However, she often gets distracted, which led to a not so pleasant place. She is respectful of others and never gets upset over things out of her control. She accepts them and moves on. I liked this quality in her.

Ellie’s family members are overachievers and superficial. Although they gave her lots of love growing up, they exerted ‘Tough Love’. She feels like she isn’t good enough for them. She is always looking up to her twin often feeling left in the shadows. It is obvious her moms favored her twin over her, often making condescending comments to Ellie, which was unfair. But it does add depth to the story.

Claire Melbourne is a newspaper director who is also Ellie’s boss. She has an eye for Ellie, although she is much older than she; in her eyes Ellie is eyecandy. Claire is into Motown music and grew up listening to the old tunes with her mom. Change is her enemy and she is future oriented; she prefers the status quo and predictability and is set in her ways. With certain things, she comes off as a bit possessive, but will surprise you with a few things in the story.

When with others, she listens with genuine interest. Although she doesn’t have much of a social life. Due to her rocky adolescence, she is now unable to accept compliments.  When it comes to work, she is a fearless warrior and will do what it takes to get the job done promptly.
book cover TRI love how the relationship developed between Ellie and Claire. There is some boat rocking that kept me on the edge of my seat. The drama itself will keep the reader engaged. As the story progressed, both characters grew deeper, making them dynamic.

What is cool is the protagonists really get to know each other before they hit the sheets. They go on nice dates that are special for both of them. The author paints a great picture of the Detroit skyline on one of their dates. The way she describes a kiss got me going. Be prepared, though, the romance scenes blew smoke out of my ears from all the fire. It is quite the ride.

There are many conflicts with the secondary characters that also kept me glued. They are well put together and offered great loving support for the main characters. I love how there are dogs in the story and how they had a prominent role in the plot. The reader gets some education about the canines.

The book is moderately paced and it took me about five hours to read. Some of the dialog got me rolling. It is a heartfelt story. The descriptions are excellent and the reader feels like they are in the places mentioned in the book. The reader also gets to look into their heads and learn about their dreams and wishes. This is a great touch. Be warned about some rough language in one part of the book, other than that, it is beautifully written. There is some other conflict that will tug at your emotions.

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Here is an except to get you started:

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She couldn’t lose this dog. And if she did, she’d never hear the end of it from her parents… that she was too immature to look after a dog, that she could never see anything through, that it was so typical of her inability to handle responsibility. Piper’s disappearance was the icing on the cake that was made purely out of shit today.

“Don’t,” she called out weakly to Marissa, as in, don’t answer the door. But it was too late. Marissa was letting someone in, talking in a low voice, and Ellie’s imagination ran wild again with visions of Piper dead or injured, her heart cracking with each dreadful thought. And then came the unmistakable flurry of the click-clacking of dog nails on the tile floor. Piper? “Oh my god, is that you, girl?” The dog, damp from the light rain and smelling of grass and mud, bounded into the living room, practically bowling Ellie over. She dropped to her knees and let Piper lick her face before furiously hugging her. She was wet, a little muddy, but Ellie didn’t care. “You’ve come back! Oh, thank god. You bad, bad cat chaser, you.” She stroked Piper’s curly head and gave her the blackest stare she could summon, which really wasn’t much. “No more chasing cats for you. I’m getting you a harness. And a muzzle. And maybe a ball and chain to slow you down. But a bath is the first thing you’re getting.”

Piper’s ears drooped at the word bath. “A-hem.” It was Marissa, inclining her head toward someone in the foyer that Ellie couldn’t see. The hero who’d brought Piper home. “Oh, god,” Ellie said, jumping to her feet and dashing for the foyer, anxious to thank whomever it was. “I can’t thank you enough for returning my d—” Holy shit! It was her boss, Claire Melbourne, right here in the flesh.

*

Five Stars.

Purchase ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

Doesn’t this sound like a great book or what? I totally enjoyed it and know you will too. Be sure to stop by next week when I’ll be presenting something new.

Until Next Time,

Nameste

Lynn

Photos subject to copyright.

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My Review of ‘Marmalade Martini’

Good afternoon Everyone and a warm welcome to you. Thank you for visiting last week for my guest blog with Suzie Carr. It was a huge turnout.

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Jamie Barker is an architect who immediately caught my attention as I remembered my good days as a CAD drafter for various architectural firms. She has a caring heart and wants the best for others. I found her to be too nice to some people as if she is afraid to hurt their feelings. Jamie’s career comes first and her social life second. She isn’t close with her family and only talks to them rarely. However, she is tired of being single and wants someone in her life.  She cherishes her father and frequently reminisces about the good times she had with him. She is tough and has made her own way in the architectural world where alpha males dominate.

Kate is the other protagonist who is trying to save a failed relationship. She is quick and doesn’t put up with nonsense. She looks out for people even when she is hurting. One of her family members likes to meddle with her affairs.

Alex is Jamie’s best friend but has questionable motives. I found her to be very daring and almost to the point of being obnoxious. Her character created some really good drama for the story. I felt she was a burden to Jamie.

A secondary character is a complete sleazeball. The description of this guy is chilling and his actions concern me. He may disturb sensitive people with some of the things he says.

There is plenty of drama including backstabbing in the book which makes an interesting story. When you learn the truth about Jamie, you’ll be surprised. The reaction from the other party is priceless.

What I like about this story was that the lovers don’t jump into bed in the first part of the book. There is a lot of caring and nurturing going on before the big event happens. I enjoyed watching the friendship develop.

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I love how strong the characters are. They are not the type of women who squeal when they are in danger. These women fight back. I love how they take ownership of their lives instead of blaming any pitfalls on external stimuli. I learned some things as a result of reading this book and I thank the author for providing some words of wisdom.

The book has very good descriptions. In one scene I felt like I was in a gothic church bar. The pace is moderate and is pretty easy reading. It took me about 5 hours to read this and I would recommend one sitting. If you love London as much as I do,  you’re going to be in for a real treat. I am recommending this book for everyone who loves a good read.

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Here is an excerpt to get you started:

*

Jamie scanned the length of the street, searching for a shop doorway in which to shelter. She crossed a narrow, one-way side road. A flashing neon sign caught her eye, so she made a dash for it. Getting nearer, she was relieved to see a luminous ‘open’ sign above the door of a bar called Alchemy. Why had she never noticed this place before?

Chest still tight, Jamie stopped briefly in the dark entryway. She didn’t generally wander into bars alone – much less ones she had never been in before. The splash of running footsteps and high-pitched squeals came up from behind her. Jamie wasn’t the only one caught out by the rain.

“’Scuse us, love,” said the taller of the two women. They manoeuvred past her down a few steps and pulled open the door, wobbling on silly-inch heels.

Jamie stepped to one side. The sticky heat of the bar wafted out from inside. She leaned across the small stairwell and spontaneously grabbed for the door handle before it closed. Decision made! Following in the wake of the two women, she was immediately hit by the heady smell of candles and burnt orange peel.

She entered a dim, vault-like archway. A converted Victorian cellar, walls bare brick and floor of paving slabs and cobblestones. Antique, dark-wood tables were occupied by chattering groups of people, huddled around free-flowing candles in bottles that had left rivulets of white lava on the tables. Wall-mounted church candles continued the theme. They had dripped down the black cast – iron brackets, creating fragile stalactites of wax. 

Various bottles were lined up along glass shelves, spanning the length of the wall behind the bar. They were cleverly backlit to illuminate the range of coloured liquids like an apothecary’s hoard. Behind the shelves were mirrors, creating the illusion of opulence and spaciousness. The bar curved towards the back of the maze-like building and disappeared into the depths of three other dimly lit arches.

It was at least fifteen minutes since Jamie had escaped. Surely, by now, Alex must have noticed that she had left the pub, and be wondering where she had got to? Jamie took out her phone. Useless. The battery was flat. Three more people crashed their way through the door – wet through but laughing and immensely pleased to have found shelter. This wasn’t just a short summer shower, it seemed. Resigned to the possibility that she was going to be stuck here longer than she’d expected, Jamie decided to make the most of it. Besides, after the night she’d just had, she needed.

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Seizing the opportunity, she headed for a newly vacant barstool and reached into her jeans pocket, flinching at a stab of pain from her wrist. She pulled out a scrunched-up ten-pound note and some loose coins. If this was all the cash she had, she wouldn’t be able to afford the cab fare home, as well as a nightcap. What the hell. Home would have to wait. It would be easier to solve the problem of the lost keys later in the day when she was thinking more clearly.

Jamie leant across the bar to pick up a cocktail menu. Pushing her sodden fringe from her eyes, she skimmed down the page in search of the cheapest drinks. Drops of rain from her hair smudged the ink. Wiping the menu with her sleeve only made it worse. Now the print was only partially legible – hopeless without her reading glasses.

The bartender came to the rescue. “Here, use this to dry yourself off.” She offered Jamie the linen cloth over her shoulder. “It’s only been used to polish the glasses. It’s clean.”

“Thanks.” Jamie could feel her usually sculpted, spiked hair was now a flattened, dripping mullet. She quickly rubbed her head and handed back the cloth, catching her reflection in the glass behind the bottles. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but she didn’t want to draw attention to herself by fussing further over her hairstyle malfunction.

To preserve the illusion of composure, Jamie casually peeled off her wet jacket. For the first time, she took a proper look at her recent purchase. Bleach-splashed, augmented with chains, zips and safety pins, patched with badges and odd squares of tartan, it really was dreadful. Jamie gave it a shake and draped it over the seat of her barstool. She sat down on the makeshift cushion. Her comfort, however, was short-lived – damp started seeping into the seat of her jeans. She shifted her weight uneasily, trying to look as though she was concentrating on a replacement cocktail menu.

“Typical English weather,” the bartender smirked. She slid a bowl of peanuts in front of Jamie. “What can I get you?” She made eye contact.

Jamie held her gaze. “Surprise me,” she said, realising she hadn’t yet selected a cocktail. “It’ll have to be under a tenner, though.” She apologetically smoothed out the ten-pound note onto the counter.

“I’m guessing this is hair-of-the-dog time?”

“You wouldn’t be wrong there.”

“Well, now, let me see…” The waitress turned to scan the bottles on the shelves, giving her concoction careful consideration. She took what appeared to be a jar of marmalade from the chiller cabinet. Then the theatre of her art began.

Jamie watched her pour the contents of a bright orange bottle into a shaker full of crushed ice. She lost track after that. A skilfully trained mixologist, this woman provided the full works, and Jamie appreciated the spectacle of her juggling act.

Eventually, tasting from the end of a dipped-in straw, and approving of her creation with a nod, the bartender finally offered a lighter flame to a slither of orange peel, twisted it and dropped it in the drink. Routine complete, she stood back, waiting for Jamie’s reaction.

“I feel like I should be holding up score cards after that performance.” Jamie took a long sip. Still drinking, she gave a thumbs up. “Oh, wow, now that’s good.”

“Excellent!”

“What is it?”

The woman tapped the cocktail menu in front of Jamie. “Call it breakfast.”

Jamie read: Marmalade Martini. She liked this woman’s sense of humour. “Any toast and a mug of breakfast tea to go with that?”

The bartender turned to serve the next customer.

“What do I owe you?” Jamie picked up the ten-pound note and waved it in her direction.

The bartender glanced back. “On the house,” she replied with a smile.

A free drink? Why? Jamie watched the bartender fill the customer’s order, then take a wineglass from the rack before returning to Jamie’s section of the counter.

“It’s okay,” the woman added. “I’m the owner of this place.” She slowly polished the wineglass. “Anyhow, you look like you could do with a nightcap,” she said with a wink. “Heavy night, was it?”

“A free drink? I must really look rough if you thought I needed alcohol that badly.” Jamie noticed the smile lines around the woman’s eyes and mouth – deep and expressive. Jamie was an ‘eyes’ woman, and this woman used hers to communicate. Trying not to stare, Jamie took note of her simple, almost symmetrical, pear-shaped face. She had a strong, strikingly chiselled chin, and a slight Romanesque bump on the bridge of her nose. Her highlighted auburn hair was centre-parted and pulled back over her ears into a short ponytail, barely reaching the base of her neck. Was she wearing makeup? If so, it was expertly applied. For a fleeting moment, Jamie toyed with the possibility of there being a shared chemistry worth pursuing here.

But the woman’s attention had already turned, as a new person’s custom proved more appealing. Jamie watched, mesmerised, as the bartender held the gaze of the next guy at the bar, striking up a similarly attentive conversation with him. There was something about her; he, too, appeared taken in by her charm.

*

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Purchase ‘Marmalade Martini’

Five Stars!

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Be sure to come by next week when I’ll be featuring something new.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

Photos subject to copyright.

Guest Blog by Author Kris Bryant

Good afternoon Friends and welcome. You are in for a real treat today. I am presenting the first of many guest blogs. Today Bold Strokes Books author Kris Bryant is here to share about her new upcoming book, ‘Listen.’

IMG_1642When I first came up with the idea for Listen, it didn’t have anything to do with anxiety. I knew I wanted to write about music, but not the typical rock star falls for a fan or has a love/hate relationship with her new manager scenario. I wanted something different. I love music. I’ve always loved it. I grew up overseas so my choices of musical genres were very limited. The internet wasn’t around so I couldn’t pull up iTunes or Spotify. We had AM radio, 8 track, and some cassette tapes (note: AM radio overseas was worthless). My dad even had a reel-to-reel but finding a particular song on a reel was impossible, so we had to listen to everything until we heard the song we wanted. Elvis, Motown, or country. Those were my options. Let’s just say I know every Elvis song and I’m your girl who can sing and dance to Mary Wells, Martha & the Vandellas, and the Supremes. We didn’t have television, so I read everything I could and listened to music. Music calms me like nothing else. It allows my mind to focus on one or two things only. If my world is crazy, my mind reaches out and finds the sounds I need to hear to feed that part of me. If I don’t have music, sounds like rainfall, a ticking clock, children laughing, the wind blowing, the swoosh of windshield wipers, and even my dog breathing in and out as she sleeps works for me.

My best friend in middle school (junior high when I was growing up) played the piano. I thought she was brilliant at it, but in reality, she was probably average. I’m completely fascinated when musicians play or create music. It never gets old. So, when I thought about the actual storyline for Listen, my best friend popped into my head and I rolled with it. What about a child prodigy who was the best at something in the world? What is the life of a prodigy like? The pressure to be the best has always been a touchy subject in society. I coached YMCA basketball and the parents were out of control. The kids wanted to have fun, but somewhere along the way, fun was forgotten and it was all about winning. I’m guilty at wanting to win, too, but not at the expense of the child physically or mentally. I was called Fun Coach because I tried hard to make it exciting and goofy, while still teaching the importance of teamwork.

IMG_1644Back to Listen. What would happen to a child prodigy if they just broke? Kids are strong, but they are still kids. Life is learned through lessons and time. My godson is a genius. I’m not making it up. He’s so smart that they don’t know how smart he really is. He goes to the University of Tennessee every winter break so they can test him. I asked my friend what it’s like having a genius child. She said he knows so much but has no life experiences to apply his knowledge. How frustrating that must be! The pressure he already faces every day – information swirling in his head with no outlet or way to process it. Pressure leads to anxiety. Anxiety can be a result of dealing with pressure. They kind of go hand-in-hand. Some people are really good at handling both, and some people can’t handle either. I’m somewhere in-between. Anxiety is a very real, very consuming disorder that affects so many people, including myself. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been on anti-anxiety medication for a few years now and it has helped me tremendously. I have a close friend who refuses medicine, but goes to therapy. There’s no right or wrong way to handle it. When I was growing up, my older sister used to call me Mother Hen because I always worried about everything. My mind went to the worse place every time. Late coming home? Missed curfew by a few minutes? Dead. Had to be. I could never shut it off. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood anxiety. My parents, teachers, friends all thought I was quirky, different, painfully shy, and weird. I am all of those things, but I’m not ashamed because I know the source. It’s a disorder that so many people have and I’m so quick to sympathize and recognize the signs in other people.

Listen is a love story. It is a romance. Everyone has a right to love and this journey is about a woman, Lily, who thirteen years ago when she was a child prodigy, had a complete meltdown on stage and never fully recovered. Her life as an adult is one of isolation. She struggles with anxiety every day. Interacting with people is hard and it’s not that she doesn’t want friends, it’s just that she doesn’t know how. She’s socially awkward and blurts out the wrong thing at the wrong time. But she also has so much beauty trapped inside and this story is about her opening up enough to allow love and a different life in. She has to deal with her past to move forward, to have a future. Music was a part of her past and even though she fears being on stage and performing, it’s still a major part of her life. The ending is realistic and I love it.

I’ve been known to write bubble gum floofy floof romance, and lately I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone and writing more heartfelt stories. My last book, Against All Odds co-written with M. Ullrich and Maggie Cummings, is about two women who fall in love after they are victims of a mass shooting. My next book, Falling, is about a woman who survives a plane crash and falls in love with the fiancee of somebody who dies in the crash.

IMG_1641I hope Listen is a success. I hope all of my books are, but Listen is important because it has so much of myself in it. Adding a personal touch makes a writer even more vulnerable. So far, the reviews have been very positive and encouraging. I hope readers enjoy Lily’s journey and understand that anxiety is very real and even if the reader doesn’t experience it, chances are, somebody in their life does.

Thank you for your visit today. ‘Listen’ is now available for purchase. Be sure to stop by next week when I’ll be presenting something new.

Purchase ‘Listen’

Until Next Time,

Lynn

My Review for Rachel Maldonado’s ‘Shelvis’

Good afternoon friends and readers and welcome. Thank you for visiting last week for my bird blog, which I had fun researching and writing. For more information, you can contact the allaboutbirds.org website.

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Today I’m featuring my review for Rachel Maldonado’s new book, ‘Shelvis‘. This is an interesting read and the romance is enticing. Let’s go meet the characters.

Shelvis aka Tammy Jones is an Elvis impersonator who works in a casino.  She loves to flirt especially with those in authority. She is used to being the star when performing. She speaks courageously most of the time, but is insecure on occasion. Tammy appears apprehensive when the very thing she loves is threatened.

Her love life has been on a halt since the passing of her mother years ago. Tammy is so into her career that she doesn’t have time. However, things change when she meets Sheila.

Sheila is a motorcycle sheriff who loves her job. She is protective and doesn’t share much about herself. She tries to act tough, but underneath, she is a sweetie. It is obvious she is looking for love, but doesn’t know when to expect it.

A secondary character needs to be mentioned, Estelle. She is Sheila’s mother. I could see a wonderful mother-daughter bond here between she and Sheila. Tammy takes a liking to her because Estelle reminds her of her own mother; she is calmed  by Estelle’s gentle spirit.  Estelle has a keen ear when it comes to the important things and is very loving and caring to both women.

I found a date Sheila takes Tammy on to be romantic, especially with the location. The story takes place at Christmastime, which is a favorite time for me and gave me a cozy feeling.

This story keeps the reader engaged. A mystery develops. You won’t believe what happens. Be on the lookout for some high drama and a sneaky character who’s causing it all.

This book is fun and took me about 5 hours to read. I would recommend reading it in one sitting. The pace is moderate, but you need to be paying attention to the plot. A few small things seemed confusing, but not enough to deter me from the story. The descriptions are well done, and I was able to visualize while reading the book. I am recommending it.
shelvis coverHere is an excerpt to get you started.

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“I didn’t mean to upset you,” said Lincoln. She began to undress right in front of Shelvis to reveal that she wasn’t wearing underwear or a bra. I didn’t have any clean underwear since my RV was towed, so I was just going to wear the clothes you gave me without any skivvies. I hope that’s okay. I’ll wash the clothes for you before I give them back.”

“I think you can keep those,” said Shelvis matter of factly. “It’s just an old polo and jeans. I have plenty of those.” Now I’m going to have to dry clean that jumpsuit that Lincoln tried on, she thought to herself.

“That’s nice of you. Thanks.” She finished changing and then sat on the chaise pulling her legs up underneath her cross-legged style. She then took out her guitar from her case and began to strum it, playing the introduction music to Jailhouse Rock. She also began to sing along. To Shelvis’s surprise, she sounded really good.

“You have a great sound quality and tone to your voice. You’d probably make a great Elvis. Maybe a street performer or an Elvis at one of the other casinos would be an awesome permanent gig for you.” Shelvis made it a point to try to steer Lincoln toward other job opportunities.

“You think so?” asked Lincoln excitedly. “I’ve never thought about settling down in any one particular place though. Like I said, I’m more of a drifter. I like to go where my heart and my music take me.”

“Well, right now it’s brought you to me, and I think you have potential.”

“If I can learn more of the songs, do you think I can try to perform here a night or two out of the week? It would really help out with getting some cash to get my RV out of the impound. Plus, I’m going to need a place to stay.”

Shelvis sighed. “I don’t normally trust strangers, and this is really against my better judgment, I’m sure. But I guess you can stay here in my dressing room until you can get your RV out of the impound.”

Lincoln was overjoyed. “No joke? Really? You really mean it?” She hopped up from where she was seated and put her hand in Tammy’s, shaking it. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“Yes, but try not to make a mess, stay out of Stan’s way, and as soon as you can earn enough to get the RV out, you will have to relocate. Deal?”

“Sure, sure. Sure thing. Deal. This is great. I can’t believe it. And you’ll help me with the songs, and I can learn the music. I play by ear. I don’t even need sheet music.” Lincoln was talking a mile a minute with excitement. She could hardly contain herself.

“How do you feel about a trial run tonight? I can have Stan play the music and my voice and all you have to do is mouth the words until you learn them yourself. You up for your first gig?”

Lincoln was thrilled. “Sure thing. I’ll look over the lyrics to all your songs all day today.”

Shelvis bit her lower lip in concern as she thought about the decision she had just made. She hoped it wouldn’t turn out to be a bad one. But a few days off couldn’t hurt, could it?

*

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Purchase ‘Shelvis

Five Stars

Thank you for stopping by today. Shevis is available and is doing very well on Amazon. I would like to open a discussion for the book so feel free to start up a conversation in the comments. Be sure to stop by next week when I’ll be featuring an interview.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

Photos subject to copyright

My Review for Victoria Avilan’s ‘The Art of Peeling an Orange.’

Good afternoon friends and a warm welcome to you. Thank you for stopping by last week. This week I’m presenting my review for Victoria Avilan’s ‘The Art of Peeling an Orange.’ This book has received some mixed reviews, but I feel after reading my review you are going to want to read this story. It has two points of view and is told from the third person perspective. Let’s meet our main players, Carly and Anna.

book coverMy life became an open book, and she was turning its pages. Through her fingers I discovered my body anew, saw it clearer than any mirror reflection would allow, from all angles, all at once.
Victoria Avilan The Art of Peeling an Orange

Carly is an artist and the author provides a lot of her lifestyle. I found it interesting what she chose as her blotting material. The way she paints is an art form in itself and I could visualize what she was working on. She likes to paint portraits and landscapes. She’s obsessed with the past and lives her world through Greek mythology, which is plentiful in the story. She is torn between two sides of her heart. One is love and the other is revenge.

Anna is the second player. She is colorblind and is very mysterious and very complex. Carly has an instant love-hate relationship with her. Anna’s vibe was smooth and calm. Never did she raise her voice. She is multilingual, and the author has her speak in these languages throughout the book. I felt that added a nice touch. Anna has the gift of being able to see through loved ones which I felt was beyond words. I learned more things about her as the story unfolded. I felt I was reading about a legend.

In addition, there are a few secondary characters I’d like to introduce, Juliette and Kyra.

Juliette is Anna’s ex-lover and is very much still into her. She does things in the story that will take your breath away as she is sneaky and sly. However, she adds good drama to the story and is a love interest for one of the secondary players.

Kyra is Carly’s sister and can’t be fooled. In fact, her presence makes anyone want to confess what they are hiding if they are indeed doing that. She is a good listener but does hold her own judgments.

The author provides scenes from Southern California and it was fun to read about places I’ve visited. It was exciting to go there in the book. Well done. It will draw you in. I was impressed with how she chose to include Monarch Butterflies in the story, as they are really magnificent insects.

It is easy reading and took me about 4 hours to read. I would recommend one sitting. The pace is moderate, and some scenes will get you tingling. Excitement rises as things unfold between Anna and Carly that you don’t want to miss. There is sex in the book, it is tasteful and hot, but not over the top. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

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Here is an excerpt:

Background music played during dinner, an eclectic blend of Bach, Chopin and techno. Flora was clearing the table, about to serve the second course, when Zoe admired the lasagna and asked for the recipe.

“I cook in Italian,” Flora said, gathering the dirty dishes with Zoe’s help. “Never a recipe, only a lot of love.” She winked at Zoe—an unnatural expression for her pointy, grumpy face—and said, “I’ll write it down for you.”

When strands of Anna’s hair came undone, Robert asked permission to fix it, then did something amazing. He braided a long strand from her nape, looped it up and twisted it. Then he did another. He braided those together and weaved them to hold her hair back. It took only moments. It was brilliant and stylish, and Anna enjoyed being fussed with.

“Are you the Robert who threatens women with manicure scissors?” she asked.

“For fashion atrocities,” he said.

“You’re hired.”

Robert was beside himself. He took out his cellphone and started showing Anna photos of his work, both clothing and hair. I quickly came to her rescue and took the phone away from him, pretending to scroll through the photos while changing the subject of our conversation.

Anna picked up an orange and held it up to the light. A little tremor of her bandaged left hand gave away what I knew already. She couldn’t see even a sliver of her beloved fruit. Then she did her usual sexy peel, and all of them at the table stared, fascinated, having no idea what all of it really meant.

Anna’s longing for the orange, her dead hope of seeing its color—of seeing anything—transformed her moves into a sensual act. What a waste that she couldn’t see the effect of her actions. Kyra, Zoe and Robert were all transfixed by her hands. As was I.

That was the high point of the evening, before Kyra threw a monkey wrench into a perfect, spontaneous gathering.

Five Stars
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Purchase ‘The Art of Peeling an Orange

Thank you for stopping by and thank you Victoria for creating this great story. Stay tuned next week when I will be presenting something new.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

Photos subject to copyright

My Review of Samantha Jacobey’s ‘Christmas Joy’

Good afternoon friends and welcome. Today I’m presenting my review for Samantha Jacobey’s ‘Christmas Joy.’ The 4th book in the series. Candy and Gary are back for a new Christmas adventure. This time it’s a little different than the previous three Christmas’. A surprise happens at the firehouse where Gary works which will change things.

It is told from 2 points of view- Candy and Gary.

Candy is still a bit insecure around Gary’s affluent family and uses her studies to limit visitation. In this book, she has a lot of emotions over something new that comes into her life. Never been in her shoes, I can empathize with her. She shows strength while dealing with a sensitive issue. She is a perfectionist with most things. I found myself rooting for her as the story unfolded. She really wants a good Christmas this year as the past three have had unwanted drama. This year she opens her heart.

The family dynamics are interesting. They go deep, and I could clearly see the love between Candy and her son, Daks. Gary too had a strong fatherly demeanor.

Gary is his sweet gentle self. He is really good at calming his wife when she is feeling emotional. He doesn’t care what others think of him; he is his own person and goes out of his way to help others. He has a heart of gold and is very family oriented. I loved his strength in during the heart of an issue.

There is a sensitive subject in the story which caused discomfort for me. Be advised. You will see as you read along.

It is a cozy read that you can enjoy sitting in front of your fireplace. I read it in about 3 hours, so it is perfect for that snowy day. The pace is moderate. Although this is a stand-alone story, I would recommend reading the first three as they make references to events in them. I know you are going to love this read as much as I did.
Christmas Joy Cover

For my other reviews in the series, you can click the links below:

Christmas Candy Review

https://lynnlawler.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/my-review-for-samantha-jacobeys-christmas-eve/

https://lynnlawler.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/my-review-of-samantha-jacobeys-christmas-carol/

Here is an excerpt from Christmas Joy:

“Oh, Candy,” her mother squealed, unable to contain herself any longer. Fighting her way to her feet, Lanelle shuffled over, wrapping her arms around her only child. “I’m so proud of you,” she whispered against her ear, her forehead pressing against Candy’s.

“I know, mom,” Candy sighed. “I know that you all are, and I appreciate all the love and support each and every one of you has shown me. And next fall, I’ll be ready to dive back in, hopefully with some better results!”

Her confidence filling the room, the gathering cheered for her, with smiles and toast all around. Standing to tower over them, Gary wrapped both of the women in his massive arms, holding his bride against his broad chest.

“I sure do love you, kitten,” he confessed. “I’m glad you’ve decided not to give up.”

“I could never give up,” she giggled. “No matter how scary Christmas can be, I know now that I can face it. Especially now that I have found my Christmas Joy.”

Christmas Joy (Sweet Christmas Series Book 4)
 
Samantha Jacobey
 
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
 
Lavish Publishing
 
142 pages

 

 
Life isn’t always sweet, even for girls called Candy.
Candice Parker married Gerald Ford on Christmas Eve two years ago following a massive blizzard. The year before that her family was left homeless when a fire burned their apartments to the ground. Fortunately, fireman Gary had been on call and led the team that rescued Lanelle and Dakota from the blaze.
Last year it all came to a head when Caroline joined their household as the nanny and housekeeper when she revealed the fire had been arson. Following the discovery, a sinister plot unfolded that almost killed them all.
To say Candy is dreading the arrival of this typically happy holiday would be an understatement.
However, she does have one thing going for her this year.

 

 

Amazon Universal Link: http://geni.us/wCciAB

 

Sweet Christmas Series: 
 
Read as a standalone or enjoy the whole series
❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✮ ❄️ ✶
 
Christmas Candy (Sweet Christmas Series Book 1) 
 
Amazon Universal Link: http://geni.us/eC2V
 
❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✮ ❄️ ✶
 
Christmas Eve (Sweet Christmas Series Book 2)
 
Amazon Universal Link: http://geni.us/bBeZu
 
❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✮ ❄️ ✶
 
 
Christmas Carol (Sweet Christmas Series Book 3)
 
Amazon Universal Link: http://geni.us/JGU7Fg
 
 
❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✮ ❄️ ✶
 
 
Christmas Joy (Sweet Christmas Series Book 4)
 
Amazon Universal Link: http://geni.us/wCciAB
 
 
❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✶ ❄️ ✮ ❄️ ✶
 
Anyone who knows me could tell you, I am a friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations anywhere at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the middle of the night.
I grew up and still live in the great state of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons, my significant other, and many friends as well.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books that are currently available and hope you will enjoy reading them just as much. And of course, there will be many more stories to come.

 

I want to thank all of you for stopping by today. I am wishing you all a very happy holiday season and I will see you again in 2019. May the best come to you always.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Copyright 2018
Published with permission.
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My Review of Anne Hagan’s ‘Loving Blue in Red States – ‘Sweetwater Texas’

Good afternoon friends and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week for my review for Domina Alexandra’s ‘I Belong With Her.’ It was a huge turnout. This week I am featuring my review for Anne Hagan’s ‘Loving Blue in Red States – Sweetwater Texas.’ This is a story you are going to fall in love with.

This story is about a master’s student / teacher, Emmie, who has a little son and lives with her mother in Texas. She is auditing a college class where she is writing her master’s thesis. She is family oriented, but is afraid of love and is blocking a past hurt that is affecting her now in the present. She tends to wear her insecurities on her sleeve.

I liked this protagonist and loved the interaction she had with her son. He is a sweet little boy. She has a kid side to her that I just adore.

Cass is a little bit on the feisty side and could have toned down her demeaner a bit. I really didn’t care for her in the beginning because she was brash and invasive.  As the story goes on, her character grew on me and I was able to see she really does have tender feelings. She is an excellent rancher and can rope a spooked horse and then calm him down. I thought that was another nice touch to the story.

The book is easy reading and can be read in about an hour and is perfect for an afternoon get-a-way. The dynamics between the two protagonists is priceless. It was a tug of war at time, but that is what made the story so fun. That is all I’m going to say so go get the book.
Book CoverHere is an excerpt to get you started.

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Lucius looked around the nearly empty room. He noticed Cass lingering near her seat in the front. “Something I can help you with Miss?”

“Actually, I wanted a word with Ms. Warren.”

“I see.”

Lucius turned back to Emmie. “If you want to give me those forms, I can run them by the administration office tomorrow morning when I’m back here. They’re closed right now.”

Emmie leaned toward him. “I think that’s what she wants to talk about.” She tipped her head slightly toward Cass. “I can drop them off Thursday evening when I get here, if that’s all right?”

“I guess that’s fine. Don’t forget.”

“I won’t.”

“Ladies,” Lucius said, as he turned and stepped backwards to view them both. He tipped a couple of fingers to his head as he dipped it like he was doffing an imaginary cowboy hat.

Cass watched him leave before she approached. ”Sorry to hold you up.”

“No problem. How can I help you?”

“I think Professor Fox has taken quite a liking to you.”

“Pardon?”

“Don’t get offended. It’s just something I noticed, is all. I notice things. That’s my job.”

“Then you’ve missed quite a lot. The Professor is married and I’m…I’m not in the market for dates, flings or anything else of that sort.” If she only knew, Emmie thought.

“Whatever you say,” Cass said. “I didn’t come back here to argue with you.”

“Why did you come back here?”

Cass held up the release form, face out. “This. I need just a little bit more information before I become someone’s guinea pig.”

Emmie did her best to control her temper as she addressed the brash woman. “It’s not a requirement. You’re free to skip participating and just go on your way whenever I’m…well, whenever I’m doing the things I need to do with the class for my research.”

“Not very confident in yourself, are you, Emmie?” She said her name with added emphasis.

Emmie threw her hands up. “I thought you didn’t want to argue? Look, if that’s all, I really do need to get going. I have a little bit of a drive to get home and I have work to do yet this evening.”

“Abilene?” Cass asked, as Emmie gathered her things.

“Other direction. Other side of Sweetwater, here, out a little ways.”

 #

Five Stars

Purchase Loving Blue in Red States – Sweetwater Texas

Winter Hearts CoverThank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed today’s book review. Anne has an announcement to make. She and twelve authors led by Amanda Radley aka A.E. Radley created a compilation of short romance holiday stories called ‘Winter Hearts.’All proceeds are going to two charities, Stonewall and the Trevor Project. You are going to want to read these stories as they will get you into the Christmas spirit. The collection is slotted to be released on November 16, 2018. Nothing beats a nice romance for this time of the year. You are going to fall in love with the authors. Come back next week when I’ll be presenting something new.

Until Next Time,

Lynn
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Awakened by Fate

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Copyright 2018
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#Flashback – Meet author Graysen Morgen

Good afternoon Friends and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week for my review of Breanna Hughes‘ ‘Stunted.’ Today I’m featuring a flashback of my interview with Graysen Morgen. Since then Graysen has been at work. Her book, ‘Mission Compromised‘ is doing very well and is a great read. You can read my review by clicking below:

Mission Compromised Review

In addition, she has been creating a very special writing project which will be revealed soon. More yet, she has very good news to tell the world and we are all looking forward to meeting the newest addition to her family.

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Good afternoon friends and welcome. I want to thank all of you who visited last week for my 2018 Goals blog. Today I have a special treat for you. Graysen Morgen of Triplicity Publishing is here to talk with us. This is an interview you want to read. She is amazing. Come see why.

Author Profile PictureTell us about yourself.

I’ve been happily married to my best friend for 18½ years, and we have a 7-year-old daughter. I went to the University of Florida, which is where I met my wife. I was a Lieutenant in the Navy, working as a flight deck officer on an aircraft carrier. I now spend my time writing books, sports writing for women’s pro soccer, and coaching youth soccer.

      What is your book “Boone Creek” about?

Boone Creek is a western, set in Colorado in 1880. This story is the first in a series about an outlaw woman named Jessie Henry, who leaves her past behind to start anew. She winds up in a small, troubled town called Boone Creek, where after a mishap, she becomes the Town Marshall.

Me: Graysen’s new book, ‘Castor Valley’, is the second in this series and one that you’re going to want to read.

How did you feel the moment you saw your first book published?

I was overjoyed. I’d always loved reading, and once I’d started writing, it sort of took off. I’m still thrilled to see each new book get published. It’s a huge sense of accomplishment.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

I don’t find as much time to read as I used to, but the last book I made time for was Scarlett. It’s a sequel to Gone With The Wind, by Alexandra Ripley.

How has your daughter been an inspiration for you? 

My daughter, Rylie, is my whole world. She looks up to me in so many ways and mimics everything I do. I try my best to be a good role model for her. She makes me a better person. When I first wrote Natural Instinct, my wife and I weren’t thinking of having any children, at least at that time. It’s funny, my daughter turned out very similar in character to the little girl in the book. I don’t write many children into my books, but each one has a piece of Rylie in it for sure, whether it’s when she was little, what she’s like now, or what I hope for her to be like as she gets older.

Graysen and RylieWhat are your daughter’s creative activities?

She loves anything to do with art, and she’s actually written two books about animals, both of which she also illustrated. Plus, an avid reader and has a soaring imagination.

How has your family been supportive of your career?

My wife is the person who first told me I should write my own stories, instead of reading so many books, mostly because after reading a book, I’d tell her everything I would’ve done differently. J When I wrote a couple of stories, she pushed me to get them published. She’s been behind me from the very beginning. The rest of my family is very proud of what I have accomplished. Some of them have read every single book that has been published.

Can you explain more about “#Bekindchallenge”?

Be Kind Challenge is about random acts of kindness. There is so much power in a simple gesture. The challenge is a month of doing one kind thing every day.

What is the cutest thing your dogs do?

Remy and Roxy are Jack Russell Terriers who are just over a year old. They are littermate girls, and they run our lives! They chase each other around the house, watch TV with our daughter, hang out in the office when I’m writing, you name it. I’d say the cutest thing is the way they are always together. The sleep in the oddest positions like yin/yang or on top of each other.

 

Roxy and Remy

Who are you rooting for in the next World Cup Soccer championship?

If it’s the World Cup, then I’m always rooting for the USA. I’m a fan of Canada, Australia, and England so I root for them if they’re not playing the USA.

Where is a good place to hang out with friends?

We do a lot of family stuff, so our hangout this past year was Disney World, literally every month. We have an oasis in our backyard, so hanging out at home is always nice.

What would be the perfect ‘stay-cation’ for you?

We pretty much have a stay-cation every weekend, but the perfect stay-cation for me would be some quiet time with absolutely nothing to do but read a novel or lie in the hammock by the pool.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

I love the holidays. There is just something magical about that time of year. We decorate inside and put up a full yard display outside with a lot of lights and wood cutouts that I make myself. I also look forward to the little bit of cold weather that we get in North Florida.

Would you ever want to co-write a book with another author?

Probably not. I believe all authors have a vision, and everyone’s vision is different.

What puts you in the zone when you are writing?

Music is my muse, so I listen to music when I write. It varies from classical to pop and everything in between.

Soccer Coach

What’s next for you?

I am currently working on a romantic adventure/suspense story that involves British MI6. I’m really hoping to turn it into a series. It’s fun, thrilling, sexy, humorous, all the qualities that make for a good read.

Be sure to check out Graysen’s social media links and follow her:

Instagram: @graysenmorgen

Facebook Page: Graysen Morgen

Twitter: @graysenmorgen

Amazon Author Page: Graysen Morgen

Click on her Amazon Author page to purchase Boone Creek and ‘Castor Valley’.

Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to sign up for Lynn Lawler’s Book Blog on the left panel for more exciting stuff. Be sure to come back next week for an adventure I went on during January.

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Thank you for visiting by today. For more on Graysen, please check out her Fb page for new and exciting news. Be sure to visit next week when I’ll be presenting a new entry.

Until Next Time,

Lynn
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Awakened by Fate

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Copyright 2018
Published with permission.
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My Review of Kory M. Shrum’s ‘Shadows in the Water’

Hello everyone and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week. I appreciate all of your support. Today I am presenting my review for USA Today Bestseller author, Kory M. Shrum’s ‘Shadows in the Water.’ Get suited up because this one will take you for a ride. Let’s meet our players.

ShadowsKindleGraphicB

Lou is a bit of a psychopath who is out to get the dirty business party responsible for her father’s death, a man she was very fond of. She follows her own agenda. The only feeling she feels is fear and you will how she handles situations. She is a strong-willed woman and doesn’t stop until the job is done. I applaud her for her strength.

She shares a disorder with her aunt, Lucy, which she uses to her advantage. The relationship between her and her aunt is strained because she doesn’t find anyone trustworthy, including herself. The only person who ever made her feel safe was her father.

Lucy is very progressive in her thinking. I’m happy the author created her as a lot of what she says is inspiring. You’ll see in the book what I mean. She is family oriented and watches out for her niece. Also, she does things like chanting and affirming and does yoga.

Then there is Mel, whom I really liked. She owns a New Age store and does readings. She gets straight to the point and doesn’t put up with anything from the other players. She has a heart of gold. I’m glad she was put in the story and I loved how the other actors respected her. You can’t hide anything from her, and when she stumbles on something, she doesn’t let go. Her personality had a comical side, which got me laughing.

Author Photo

The author throws in some things about herself into the story, adding to it. Part of it takes place at a vegan restaurant, which I felt was a nice touch.

There is a lot of blood and guts and killing in this story, which for me is a little too much at times. Be prepared from a lot of graphic scenes and some explicit language.

The pace starts out slow in the beginning and then picks up later on. For the most part, it is moderate. Pay attention because some characters are introduced quickly, and their roles are important as the story progresses. There are some bizarre happenings here, including a character whom I didn’t understand until the end. If you like this sort of story, then you are going to love this one. This is creepy cool.
ShadowsKindleGraphicBHere is an excerpt for you to enjoy:

When Lou woke, something was wrong. The light streaming from the high windows was purple. The sun was dipping low behind the trees, its last eye open on the horizon. Under her pillow, her fingers curled around her gun and found the metal warm from the feathers incubating it throughout the day.

She heard a noise again. A small sound jerked her upright, gun pointed.

“Two for two.” Lucy placed a sandwich wrapped in glossy newsprint on the counter and stuck her hand into the brown paper bag again. She gave Lou a half-smile from the kitchen island as she peeled back the wrapper. “One of these days you’re going to blow my head off and save me the trouble of worrying about you.”

“Stop creeping up on me.” Lou lowered the gun. The smell of red onions flooded the studio. Her stomach rumbled its response. When was the last time she’d eaten? She wasn’t sure. Sometimes when she was working, she’d forget to eat. The task distracted her. It was only when she worried her weak limbs or unclear head would cost her that she bothered to make time for the inconvenient task.

The burger, she remembered. She’d eaten a burger at the vegan fast food place about twenty hours ago.

“What are you doing here?” Lou asked.

“Can’t a loving aunt bring her niece a veggie loaf sandwich when she wants to? I got your favorite. Extra avocado, extra oil, and extra oregano. Come eat with me.” 

Lou thumbed the safety back on and disentangled her limbs from the bedding.

“Don’t you get hot sleeping by the window?” Aunt Lucy asked. She nodded at a barstool by the island where she’d spread the sandwich on its wrapper.

Lou slid onto it, placing her gun on the counter beside the wrapper. It clanked heavy against the granite surface. “It’s the best light in the apartment. I don’t have to worry about waking up in Bangkok.”

Aunt Lucy popped open a bag of chips and dumped them onto the paper spread beneath Lou’s sandwich. BBQ. Her favorite. But Aunt Lucy was frowning. “Do you still slip in your sleep?”

“No,” Lou said, stuffing three chips into her mouth at the same time. The oils began melting the moment they hit her tongue. The muscles in her back loosened. “Because I sleep by the window, in full daylight.”

Her aunt plucked a chip off her spread and made a pensive sound. “I thought that was something you’d outgrow. I did.”

“We’ve already established I’m different.” 

Lucy squeezed her elbow. “Different in the most charming ways, my love.”

4 stars

Purchase ‘Shadows in the Water’

I hope you enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and don’t forget to follow this blog.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Purchase Awakened by Fate

Awakened by Fate

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Copyright 2018
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Summer 2018 with Lynn

Good afternoon Everyone and welcome. It is great to see you today. Thank you for stopping by last week to read my review of Nico J. Genes’Lessons in Life.’ Today I’m sharing a few things happening in my life over the past few months.
Picture 3As many of you know, this year I published my book, ‘Awakened By Fate,’ a story about a troubled woman who is forced to walk in another direction after a tragedy one night. Now she is confronted with her fears as she adapts to her new way of life. Things that she used to throw off her shoulders were now in her face. Along the way, she meets new friends. Is romance on the horizon? We shall see.

Summer for all my life has been my favorite season of the year. Not so after this year. In July, we had over 100 degree days with one being 117. Thankfully, we got out of town that weekend and went up to enjoy the coolness of Cambria, which is located on the coast along Central CA. It was really beautiful and we got to see baby elephant seals playing in the ocean. We were in heaven.

We went to another show this year – Tribal Seeds, which for those who aren’t familiar is a Reggae band. We took a road trip out to Riverside, CA to see them. The venue was better than I had expected. What was nice was we were able to sit in our seats up on the balcony and see the show from above. I felt there was too much light action and distracted me from the show. However, the music was really nice and I got into the groove right away.
IMG_1155It wouldn’t be summer without a trip to Dodger Stadium. We went to see the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks. We had great seats and, as usual, had a blast. Unfortunately, they lost that night. There will be next time.

I have been actively at work on two manuscripts. One of them has a mystery element to it as well as a paranormal theme. There is also romance. I really love my protagonist and like what she does in the book. She is kindhearted and gives back.

My other work in progress is fantasy and paranormal. I’m not giving away the location of the story so you are going to have to wait until it debuts. It is told from two points of view. Both of my protagonists are fabulous, each having a different personality. I also have supporting characters who enhance the story. There is plenty of romance. All in all, it has been a fun journey with this one.
IMG_1101My life wouldn’t be complete without me reading a few great books by some great authors. I recently read Nico J. Genes‘, ‘Reverie Series‘ and Jenny Frame‘s, ‘Unexpected.’ Both my reviews are in the archives of this blog. I encourage you to check them out. Nico also invited me to write the forward to her latest book, ‘Lessons in Life.’ This was a huge honor and I thank Nico a thousand times.

Recently I had an interview with Bryan Aiello on what inspired me to become a writer as well as other things about me. It was a fun interview and I thank Bryan for taking the time to talk with me. You can listen to the interview here:

Lynn Lawler’s interview with Bryan Aiello

Thank you for joining us today. It was a pleasure seeing you. Next week I’ll be sharing something new.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Awakened by Fate

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Copyright 2018
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