Book Review: The Secret of Misty Mountain by L. Michelle Bowen

The Secret of Misty Mountain
By L. Michelle Bowen
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

About the Book

When is it right to tell a secret?

When Anne, a young country girl who lives in the beautiful countryside of South Carolina meets Catherine, a pretty and wealthy new girl in town, they become unlikely friends. Everything seems perfect until Catherine confides in Anne a secret too big to keep. When schoolmates learn of her secret, it threatens to tear apart not only her friendship but Catherine’s family as well.

The Secret of Misty Mountain will resonate with anyone who has ever been sworn to secrecy too big for them to bear.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Secret of Misty Mountain is a tale about friendship and keeping secrets. Anne is a girl growing up in the south. During the summer before eighth grade, Anne meets Catherine, a new girl in town and they quickly become best friends.

Anne was brought up by her mother to not judge people by the color of their skin. She told her that you might as well judge people by the color of their eyes. What a sensible woman! So, when Anne meets Catherine’s widowed father, she also meets Virginia who is their black housekeeper. Anne can tell that Virginia is a great substitute for Catherine’s deceased mom, and she immediately considers Virginia a friend.

Then, when school starts, a big secret comes out, and it’s Anne’s fault! Has she just ruined her friendship and Catherine’s family at the same time? The way Anne’s father deals with the secret is perfect. Talk about excellent parenting!

This is a story of secrets too big to keep and the importance of friendship and trusting your friends. I definitely recommend The Secret of Misty Mountain for middle grade readers as well as older readers.

The only thing that I caution about is that the “n” word is used once. It’s used in the context that Catherine is afraid someone is going to call her a vicious name, but only because of the environment we live in right now, I’d be afraid to use it in any context.

Excerpt

“Anne, I need to tell you something. I haven’t told you this because I wasn’t sure how you’d react. The whole reason we moved out of Nashville was because people weren’t ready for what I’m about to tell you. It’s the reason we live in the middle of nowhere. And if you repeat this, I’ll surely die because people just aren’t ready. You hear me, I’ll surely die.”

I was nervous. I had no idea what Catherine was going to say, and I felt a bit sick. “Ok, Catherine. You can tell me. You can tell me anything. You can trust me.”

“Anne, Virginia is family. Actual family. She’s family because she’s…she’s my daddy’s wife.”

Silence. There was no sound to be heard. Absolute silence. I was numb from the top of my head to the soles of my dirty feet. I kept trying to think if I might have heard wrong. If maybe she meant something else. But there were no ways to twist the words. “Virginia is my daddy’s wife.” 

I can’t even imagine how long Catherine and I stared at each other. I kept thinking: Say something, Anne. But no words came.

“Well, are you going to say something?” Catherine asked.

And there it was. I had to say something now.

“Well, I’m not sure what to say. I’ve never known someone married to a colored person before. This is all new to me. You’ve got to give me a second here, Catherine,” I said. My head was spinning. I never really thought I’d have to think about this kind of thing.

About the Author

I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina but I was mostly raised in Greenville, South Carolina. I have a heart for the southeast and all of it’s southern charm. I love the accents, the attitudes and the atmosphere. I was raised between the Great Smoky Mountains and Atlantic Ocean. My childhood consisted of vacations to both. We would climb through the woods and wade the creeks of the mountains and then head to the beach to jump the waves and play at the arcades.

All my life I have been a story teller. Everything I said and did were presented in grandiose fashion and my children were sponges to that. I loved reading books to them (and their friends). I never passed up the opportunity to read to them or tell them about something unique that happened that day, but in story form. One night, while my children were visiting their grandparents for the weekend, I had a very funny dream about a girl who’s mama tricked her one morning to get her out of bed. When I woke up, my first thought was to tell the kids. But they were gone. The story was too funny not to tell them so I began writing it down so I wouldn’t forget.  As I was writing the cute scene, I began to envision the characters more vividly and enjoy their company. When my kids got home, I told them the story and when I finished, my middle child said, “What happened next, mama?” And that was the birth of my first book, The Secret on Top of Misty Mountain. I started pouring myself into knowing more about Anne and Charles and Catherine and falling in love with them and rooting for them throughout their journeys.

In my free time, I like to watch and sing to musicals, have coffee with my daughter, cook and read books. But my favorite thing to do with my free time is to be with my kids!

Links: 

Web: https://www.lmichellebowen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MBowenAuthor/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MBowenAuthor

Book Review: Grinza’s Orchard by Leonard I. Eckhaus

Grinza’s Orchard is the story of a Gypsy girl growing up in the early 1900’s in Romania. At five years old she is gifted her own cherry tree and it becomes the centerpiece of the story as she grows up dreaming of one day having her own full-blown cherry orchard. To deal with some of the problems that she faces such as an unwanted boy who is attracted to her, a terribly hard decision she has to make to save her parents from illness during the coldest winter on record in their village, achieving her life’s dream of having her own cherry orchard and then suddenly losing it, she seeks help with visits to the witch Auntie Angelina and the Guru Sylvanus, who lives in a cave atop a nearby mountain. The story follows Grinza, her husband Clopin, and their children’s lives in the small gypsy village of Cojasca.

You will fall in love with Grinza…

Laugh with her as she is willing to try anything to get rid of her freckles… cry with her as she gives up her greatest possession to save her parents… cheer for her as she reaches her lifelong dream… and follow her as she grows up, gets married and has children of her own.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Grinza is a gypsy born in Romania in the late 1800’s. She has a cherry tree that she received when she was five years old, and she cherishes it so much that her dream is to have an orchard of cherry trees. This is her journey from that one tree to having that orchard as well as being blessed with a loving husband and three children.

Most of the characters in Grinza’s Orchard are good, hard-working people. Grinza and her husband are both willing to sacrifice any of their possessions for the people they love. If only more people were like them, our world might not be such a mess right now.

Grinza’s Orchard is a tale of dreams, love, life and death with just a touch of magic. It’s only 112 pages long, but it’s a sweet tale for children of all ages.

About the Author

Leonard Eckhaus is the founder of AFCOM, the leading organization in the world for data center managers. His comments and opinions have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the cofounder of LL MUSIC LLC and received two Grammy nominations in 2018.

Book Review: Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best TinsleyThings Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

Publisher:  Fuze Publishing (August 30, 2019)
Category: Literary Mystery, Psychological Drama
Tour dates: Sept. & Oct, 2019
ISBN: 978-1733034401
Available in Print and ebook, 289 pages
 Things Too Big To Name

Description

Margaret Torrens trades academia for early retirement and the solitude of a cabin in the Oregon mountains. Four months later, she is locked in a ward for the criminally insane undergoing assessment, and a charge of murder is in the air. Pried out of her by an impatient young psychologist, Margaret’s story features Jane Farrow–a former student, who showed up at the cabin uninvited with an odd, mute child in tow–and Victor–Margaret’s alleged victim, who put his claim on both. As Margaret works to control this narrative of the recent past, she is waylaid by secrets, borne by the ghost of her young husband, lost decades before.

Guest Review by Sol A.

This book certainly kept me on my toes. All throughout reading it I was fascinated to see where the story would go and how everything was going to be explained. Margaret, the main character, is a retired professor who lives alone in the mountains with her dog Brutus and doesn’t care for company. One day, an ex-student of hers, Jane, shows up at her door with her small, mute daughter and asks to stay the night.

Very quickly after that, Margaret’s life seems to fall apart. This story is told via a flashback structure, so, when the book begins, Margaret is in a mental institution talking to her therapist. Gradually, over the course of the novel, we discover why she is there through her remembrances of her past. This may sound kind of bleak, but Margaret’s character is so sarcastic and interesting that she really makes the book shine.

Molly Best Tinsley’s short, abrupt sentences and subtle revelations through remembrances are so unique and compelling. Every time I thought I had guessed what was going to happen next I turned out to be wrong and the well-timed surprises made me unable to put the book down. There are only a few major characters in the book, Margaret, Jane, Sasha (Jane’s daughter), Alec (Margaret’s therapist) and Ben (Margaret’s deceased husband).

All of the characters were well fleshed out and intriguing. I really wanted to stay on the ride with them and find out why Jane needed to run from her old life and what, exactly was different about Sasha’s mind. I also loved the interplay between Margaret and Alec and the sarcastic way she resisted against his prying questions. What happened at the end of this story? You’re going to have to read it yourself to find out, and you should! 5 out of 5 stars.

Advance Praise

“The psychological drama of Things Too Big to Name plunges us into the mind of Professor Margaret Torrens as her plans for rural retirement unravel and she’s forced to confront the life choices she’s made since the death of her musician husband years before. One of her first students, Jane Farrow, appears at her mountain cabin with a strange child and asks to be taken in.  Days later, disruption threatens to explode in violence when Victor Primo barges in looking for them. Molly Tinsley’s distinctive braided narrative offers intense story-telling, studded with surprises, that keeps us on edge until the end.”-Merrill Leffler, poet, Mark the Music and publisher, Dryad Press

“A prickly but appealing narrator unspools events from her recent—and distant—past.  The plot’s gradual unfolding vibrates with the tension of unwilling confrontation and detonates with a satisfying jolt. A fun and absorbing read; I zoomed through it. –Allyson Booth, Postcards from the Trenches and Reading The Waste Land from the Bottom Up

“A recently retired English professor must explain to a Qualified Mental Health Professional the events leading to her arrest and commitment to a mental hospital. The more this brilliant psychological thriller excavates the layers of Margaret’s mystery, the more we understand how we all hide parts of ourselves. Molly Tinsley’s established talent for narrative and her familiarity with classic literature fold into one of the best novels I’ve read.”-Sheila Bender, poet and memoirist, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief.

About Molly Best TinsleyThings Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

In an episode of sanity, award winning author, Molly Tinsley resigned from the English faculty at the US Naval Academy and moved west to write full-time. .

She is the author of MY LIFE WITH DARWIN (Houghton Mifflin) and THROWING KNIVES (Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored SATAN’S CHAMBER (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, THE CREATIVE PROCESS (St. Martin’s). Her more recent books are the memoir ENTERING THE BLUE STONE and another Victoria Pierce spy thriller, sequel to SATAN’S CHAMBER: BROKEN ANGELS.

Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her fiction has been widely published and her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.

Website: https://fuzepublishing.com/authors/fiction/molly-best-tinsley/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/molly.b.tinsley
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbtinsley

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Giveaway

This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends November 1, 2019, midnight pacific time.

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Book Review: Leave no Trace by Mindy Mejia

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Simon & Schuster. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Maya had her share of problems as a teen, but she has turned her life around and is working as a speech therapist in the same psychiatric facility that she was treated in. But when her boss (and therapist) assigns her to work with Lucas, her world is turned upside down.

Lucas won’t communicate with anyone but Maya because he thinks he remembers her from sometime in the past. He just can’t quite remember when. Because she’s the only one he’ll communicate with, she’s asked to get as much info from him as she can even though he doesn’t seem to need speech therapy. To have her, a speech therapist, as his only therapist seemed a bit unrealistic to me, even if he wouldn’t communicate with anyone else. It makes for a good story, though.

I like these characters. Maya and Lucas are both psychologically damaged, but they’re still good people trying to do the right thing. As their bond grows stronger, Maya is determined to help Lucas get out of the facility and find his father.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I love books in which the characters are this well developed. It makes me need to keep reading, although I did have to stop once or twice to cry.

Toward the end of Leave No Trace there is suspense added to the already good story. There are also a couple of twists. This is definitely a book I recommend, and I’m going to have to read Everything You Want Me to Be, Mindy Mejia’s last book, soon.

About the Author

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss).

Website https://www.MindyMejia.com
Twitter MejiaWrites

Book Review: The Friar’s Lantern by Greg Hickey

The Friar's Lantern front cover

You may win $1,000,000. You will judge a man of murder.

An eccentric scientist tells you he can read your mind and offers to prove it in a high-stakes wager. A respected college professor exacts impassioned, heat-of-the-moment revenge on his wife’s killer—a week after her death—and you’re on the jury. Take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And while you weigh chance, superstition, destiny, intuition and logic in making your decisions, ask yourself: are you responsible for your actions at all? Choose wisely—if you can.

Available on Amazon.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

What a fun book to read. It’s like the Choose Your Own Adventure books for adults. I actually read The Friar’s Lantern twice. The first time I made the choices I wanted and the second time I made other choices. Of course, it was the “other choices” that gave me the million dollars.

After reading The Friar’s Lantern a couple times, I can see how the author could lead the reader to make certain decisions; however, he does give different choices with different outcomes so there are always those unpredictable souls who will choose the other path.

I definitely recommend The Friar’s Lantern. It’s a quick read whether you read it once or twice or more. See how your choices affect the outcome.

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About the Author

I started my first novel the summer after seventh grade. It was based on a short story I had written for class the previous school year about the passengers of a shipwrecked cruise liner forced to coexist on a deserted island.

I didn’t get very far. Much as I liked writing stories, I far preferred playing outside with my friends.

Eight years later, I began to find a better balance between writing and life. I wrote the early drafts of my first screenplay Vita during my last two years of college, doing most of my work in the dead hours of Friday and Saturday evenings before going out with my friends. Vita went on to win an Honorable Mention award in the 2010 Los Angeles Movie Awards script competition and was named a finalist in the 2011 Sacramento International Film Festival.

After college, I spent a year in Sundsvall, Sweden and Cape Town, South Africa, playing and coaching for local baseball teams and penning my first novel, Our Dried Voices. That novel was published in 2014 and was a finalist for the Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year.

Today, I still love sharing stories while staying busy with the other facets of my life. I am a forensic scientist by day and endurance athlete and author by nights, lunches, weekends and any other spare moments. After my post-college travels, I am back in my hometown of Chicago with my wife, Lindsay.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Dan Diaries by D.D. Marx

Book Title: The Dan Diaries by D.D. Marx (The Beyond Series Book #4)
Category: Adult Fiction; 200 pages
Genre: Chick-Lit
Publisher: Beyond Dreams Publishing
Release date: April 6, 2018
Tour dates: May 14 to June 8, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (minimal swearing)

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Book Description

Dan Sullivan was the best friend of Olivia Henry when his life was taken in a tragic car accident. Shocked to be on the other side, Dan navigates his way by learning his new role in eternal life. His first assignment is as Olivia’s guardian angel. He has the crucial role of guiding her to her pre-defined destiny. Dan’s death throws Olivia into a tail-spin which causes her to veer way off course. He understands the enormity of the challenge when he hears the mechanism by which he can communicate. He’s only allowed to use signs and symbols to get her attention and cannot interfere with her free-will.

Every time he thinks he’s close, something throws her off track. He’s forced to start over by convincing her to trust in their enduring, unbreakable bond. Olivia can feel Dan’s presence but is still reluctant to believe the messages he’s sending. She is fearful of falling in love again at the risk of losing another soulmate. Can Dan persuade her to trust in his love from afar so she can finally receive the happiness she truly deserves?

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I had read the previous books in the Beyond Series and I enjoyed them so I was looking forward to reading this one.
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Most of the books I’ve read about characters in the afterlife have left a lot to be desired but this story about Dan was great. He becomes his best friend’s guardian angel and although I’d read the story about Olivia (Hank) and Finn  before, it was good to read from Dan’s point of view. I especially liked how God was depicted.
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I like D.D. Marx’s writing style. It flows well and she has a knack at making me cry. The only thing that I had a little trouble with were the nicknames Hank and Frank. Both being such good friends to Dan, I had to keep reminding myself which was which. This wasn’t an issue in the first three books but both of them being such a big part in this book made it more of an issue.
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In the first three books, it is obvious that Dan was supporting Hank from beyond. In The Dan Diaries, we learn just how much Dan, Frank, and God help Hank and Finn reach their destiny. This book is a good fourth book in the series but it could also be read as a stand-alone. 
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About the Author

 

D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger. Marx is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always had a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

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Ends June 16, 2016

1st Prize: Win the complete Beyond series (4 ebooks total / open int’l / 2 winners)

2nd Prize: Win the complete Beyond series (4 paperback books total) and a Shine Bright Journal (open to USA only / 1 winner)

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Book Review & Giveaway: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Book Title:  Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
Category:  Adult Fiction,  560  pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks
Release date:  January 2018
Format available for review: print (USA only)
Tour dates: Jan 15 to 31, 2018
Content Rating: G (For general audience. Depictions of violence are minimal. No bad language, religious expletives, sex scenes, drug use or underage drinking.)

Book Description
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From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativity—the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.
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It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the first book I’ve read by Adriana Trigiani. I like her writing style because it flows well and she gives good descriptions. They can be a little too detailed at times for my taste, but that’s a personal preference. I especially liked the descriptions of Italy, it was almost like I was there.

Kiss Carlo is about one family with many characters. There are so many characters and so many plots that it’s difficult to get attached to the characters. It was slow at times but it did have a good ending. 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this author so I plan on trying another one of her books.

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About the Author

Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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Giveaway

Prizes: ​ Win a paperback copy of Kiss Carlo (USA only / 1 winner)

(ends Feb 7, 2018)

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Book Review & Giveaway: Beyond Love by D.D. Marx

Book Title: Beyond Love (Book #2)
Author: D.D. Marx
Category: Adult Fiction; 184 pages
Genre: Chick-Lit
Publisher: Beyond Dreams Publishing
Release date: November 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Dec 22, 2017
Content Rating: PG 13 (Light sex scenes/not explicit; language (couple f bombs)

 

Description

After trusting in her beloved friend Dan’s guidance from the beyond, Olivia is finally on the path to realizing her destiny. Staring at a blank canvas after ditching her raucous corporate life and meeting the love of her life, Finn McDaniels, a hot, widowed celebrity chef, she is ready to begin anew.

Arriving back in Chicago, she receives more frightening news further delaying her future journey with Finn. Unable to control the outcome, she begins questioning her trust and faith in Dan once again. She distracts herself the only way she knows how, by diving head first into a new project. What seemed like a time-killer may actually be the thing that saves her and catapults her into a world she never dreamed of.

When Olivia and Finn finally reunite, a looming secret is uncovered threatening to ruin the relationship she has waited for her entire life. Olivia is forced to decide whether to tell Finn or let it live in the past forever. Is their relationship strong enough to weather the storm or will it cause them to part ways for good?

To read more reviews, please visit D.D. Marx’s page on iRead Book Tours.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Beyond Believing a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so I was looking forward to seeing what happens in the next stage of Olivia and Finn’s journey.

Olivia and Finn have decided that she’s going to sell her condo in Chicago and move to California to live with him. They’re deeply in love with each other and are sure that his deceased wife and her dead best friend have had a hand in bringing them together. They do have challenges along the way but surely their love can keep them together…

Olivia does not do well when she is faced with a crisis. If someone she loves may be in danger, she falls apart so it’s a good thing she has a strong support system. Being able to call upon Dan also helps her. She seems so mature in some ways but her reaction to crises is rather immature, especially since she’s been through so much.

Olivia is keeping a secret that seems so trivial to me that I can’t believe she’s kept it for so long and has blown it so out of proportion. Finn’s reaction is not what I expected at all.

Beyond Love is full of interesting characters, close friendships, and love of all kinds. I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens with Olivia and Finn.

 

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About the Author

D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always had a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.

Connect with the Author: Website  ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

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 Giveaway

Ends Dec 28

 

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Book Review: Little Mocos by John Paul Jaramillo

Southern Colorado is home to “little mocos” Manito and his cousin Bea, both curious and sensitive, both tragically doomed and longing to live anywhere else. United in their agreement to escape onion fields and Ortiz family ghosts, the two stumble into their teen years with a stubborn brand of bad decisions and petty crimes. Against the cold and gray backdrop of the looming steel mill, Manito and Bea eventually piece together the unbending reality of their multi-generational family trauma, including an unanticipated close connection to local murderer Raymond “Cornbread” Vigil. 

The Ortiz family stories are minimal and elliptical in Little Mocos and reflect heartbreak and bleakness, but they also mirror strength and resiliency. Manito does not simply recover painful memories from his family; he begins to re-envision them. It is how Manito finds his own way to manhood and a glimpse of life outside of the county of orphans. 

John Paul Jaramillo, the award-winning author of this novel in stories, was listed as a Top 10 Young Latino Author to Watch and Read by Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature in 2013.

Available on Amazon.

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Little Mocos is a novel in the form of short stories about Manito and his cousin Bea. They live in the Southwest and are both orphans who are shuffled from one family member to another. They have a depressing life and a severely dysfunctional family.

The author has a good writing style but there didn’t seem much of a point to the overall story. It seemed more like just a bunch of short stories about the same sad family.

I did learn quite a few Spanish words as I read. I kept my laptop ready so I could look them up as they came along.

 

About the Author

John Paul Jaramillo’s stories have appeared in numerous publications, including the Acentos Review, Palabra, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art and Somos en Escrito. He is the author of the story collection The House of Order, which was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and the novel in stories Little Mocos from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read.

Contact Information

Website: http://www.johnpauljaramillo.com

Twitter: @johnpjaramillo