Thursday, 11 December 2014

Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske

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Forensic accountant Maggie Martin survives the sudden death of her husband, the charismatic President of Windsor College, only to uncover the secrets of his carefully-concealed double life. Dealing with the financial and emotional wreckage left in Paul’s wake, she is stunned to learn he inherited an estate known as Rosemont in the seemingly-serene Midwestern town of Westbury. Why had he never told her?

Maggie travels to Westbury for the stated purpose of listing Rosemont for immediate sale, but what she really seeks are answers to her all-consuming questions about her sham of a marriage; her sham of a life. She never anticipated the seductive charm of Rosemont. Throwing her trademark caution to the wind, and over the objections of her opinionated grown children, she pulls up stakes and moves halfway across the country, determined to make a fresh start in Westbury. Behind closed doors, however, lurks a cadre of evildoers, playing with multiple wild cards of fraud, embezzlement and arson.

With a quiet, orderly – and distinctively solitary – life in mind, Maggie is instead thrown headlong into a crusade against political corruption, where defeat and retreat are not an option. Still bearing the scars of betrayal, will she find joy, romance and possibility in Westbury?

This fast-paced, smart novel has enough twists and turns to make the reader want to buckle in!

Enjoy an excerpt:

“What do you mean, mom? Fresh start? I don’t get it,” Susan finally replied.

“You know how awkward things have been for me with the College crowd. The new President and his wife are headed in a different direction and don’t want me hanging around. I don’t feel like I fit anywhere anymore. Helen is the only friend that I continue to see,” she said. Maggie raised her hand to hush their objections. “You both have your own lives. I need to have mine. I can run my business from anywhere with a phone and a computer.”

“So you’re thinking of moving there?” Susan choked.

“That’s exactly what I’ve decided to do,” Maggie replied with her best attempt at a firm, confident voice.

“But you don’t know anyone there,” Susan protested.

“Won’t you rattle around in that huge house all alone? Won’t that make you feel more alone?” Mike interjected for the first time.

“You know, that’s the part I’m most sure of. That I won’t be lonely in that house. When the front door closed behind me that first night, I knew I was home. I never told you, but I checked out of the hotel and moved into Rosemont the night I arrived,” Maggie said. Mike and Susan exchanged a skeptical glance. “And you know, the most extraordinary thing happened the next morning. I adopted a lost dog. Or more accurately, she adopted me,” Maggie said, and told them about Eve. “So you see, I won’t be alone there,” Maggie finished.

Both children remained silent. Astonished, Maggie thought with a measure of satisfaction.

About the Author:
Barbara Hinske is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. She has two grown children with her exceedingly kind and good second husband, who died of cancer in 2006. Lucky in love, Barb married another exceptional man and father of two in 2010, and they live in their own Rosemont with two adorable and spoiled dogs.

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Book Review -- Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske

Coming to Rosemont (Rosemont Saga, #1)Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

The tale revolves around Maggie Martin. Getting on to be aged where she can't be considered "young" any more, she is a forensic accountant by profession. Losing her husband leaves her emotionally lonely but learning of his double life leaves her mentally devastated! Shattered and thoroughly broken, she looks forward to moving to Rosemont, where her husband has inherited an estate. While she tries re-ordering her life and finding some peace, she gets caught in a mire of political conspiracy and deceit. Does Maggie manage to win over all odds and find solace, companionship and some much needed peace in Rosemont, is what the story takes us through.

This is a simple and sweet story. Although mildly predictable in a few instances, it still manages to hold the reader's interest for most parts of the book. I wish Maggie's idealogies were discussed more in detail, as I feel this would have added more depth to the character. The pace of the book is just about right. The author does a good job in helping the reader visualise the locales and settings - almost made me wish and yearn for a Rosemont myself. Overall, this was a good read and would serve as a good companion on a day indoors with some coffee.

I recommend this book to lovers of romantic dramas.

My rating for this book: 3.5 stars

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Ignition by Michelle Arrose

Title: Ignition: An Educator’s Journey
Author Name: Michelle Arrose

Author Bio: My name is Michelle Arrose. I am currently a teacher. I enjoy writing and completed a short-novel titled, "IGNITION" Throughout my entire life I have always felt inspired to write. I also am a strong believer in being a teacher advocate. If my novella could help educate people as to the hardships educators face today, then I would be extremely elated. This is my first novella and hope you enjoy it. I also set up a blog which is: Feel free to follow me as I continue to write many more literary works.

Book Genre: Fiction

Release Date:12/21/13

Book Description:

"IGNITION" is about a first year teacher. Karen Woolsworth who was given (in her mind) an excellent opportunity to work in a school and educate the young minds of today. However, little did she know that teaching led to her nightmare rather than her paradise. One troubled student, Kevin Connelly, becomes part of her obsession that she cannot focus on anything else. A teen that has a disturbing past. Kevin is a representation of the typical student that educators face every day around the world. Karen is left feeling alone in the world and fearing for her life with no support from administrators. Ms. Crowe, the Assistant Principal, is a woman who follows Karen's every move like a bird. Instead of a dove she becomes a vulture who eats away at the mental psyche and emotional stamina of Karen's well-being. The only salvation in this pool of chaos is Billy, her husband. However, he has difficulty relating and understanding the educational dilemmas which Karen faces. The constant struggles that Karen encounters to balance her life as a teacher and wife weigh her down daily. This book is a rollercoaster filled with emotional ups and downs until the ride ends. This novella is unique for its alternate endings and you get to choose exactly how Karen's ride ends.

Chapter 1

A New Journey

August 24, was a magical day for me. Not magical in the sense of wizards and sorcerers, but rather in the sense that I, Karen Woolsworth, landed my first teaching position.

I was so excited. I could not wait to go home and tell Billy, my husband, that all that hard work paid off. Two long years of rigorous graduate school, finally over. Taking all those teaching exams and suffering for hours with a proctor staring at you, sizing you up while tapping her pencil, and distracting your every thought when you needed to be in control at that time.

The day started out dreary. I woke up to rain. I spilled coffee on one of my suits and had to go to the interview in my navy blue suit and white blouse. It was not my favorite, but it had to do. I hoped that spilling coffee on my suit did not mean bad luck.

That morning, my curly dark hair stood as frizzy as can be. I felt like a cat that just had gone through a car wash. Imagine how he would look. Well, the spilled coffee delayed me a bit, but I raced for my interview as fast as a jaguar runs and I made it right on time. I was lucky that I did not get a speeding ticket. Billy would have been quite upset if I had. I also would have missed the job interview. Oh, what a shame that would have been!

When I arrived at West Street and Ninth Avenue, my nightmare began. There stood a lonely building called, The Charles Dickens School. This was a five-story building with fifteen-hundred students. The school consists of sixth through eighth graders. I was able to see that this was an old, musty building with no elevator. As I walked into the horrific huge school, I felt so small, but there was an aroma of endearing books, which made me feel quite elated. I was in awe. I grew up in the suburbs. I had never been inside an urban school. This was quite an adventure for me. I was so excited and nervous. As I walked up the three small steps, I was greeted by security, a man in a blue uniform. I gave him my driver’s license as proof of ID and signed in. He told me to turn right at the first door and on the left was the main office. I would then have to meet with the principal. I thanked him and went on my way. As I walked down the long narrow corridor, I remember my heart was beating very fast and my palms felt sweaty. It reminded me of a first date, but much worse. The principal, Mr. Scott, a tall man with a mustache, asked me many questions. He started the interview in a friendly manner by shaking my hand and asking me if I found the school okay. At this point, I remember that his smile turned into more of a serious face, as if to say, “Let’s begin.”

He asked me, “What made you want to go into teaching?” I do not even remember what I answered him, but he must have been pleased with my response. During the interview, there was another person in the room as well. This person happened to be an assistant principal. She was on the large side with curly short blond hair. Her glasses hugged her ears tightly. She was the one who asked some tough questions. She had a poker face on the entire time and did not crack a smile once. Her name, I will never forget was Ms. Crowe. She reminded me of a spectacle-wearing shark staring at a guppy. I guess that you can guess who I was in that scenario: the guppy. I remember Ms. Crowe’s last question was one of the toughest.

How would you prepare your students for the statewide exam?”

I must have looked at them dumbfounded. I could not believe this question. I had just graduated from my master’s program. I had never taught before. I did not know what to say.

At that moment, a magical thing happened. The principal’s secretary came in and interrupted us, saying that he had an urgent call from his wife. He told me that I have the job. Naturally, I accepted the job with alacrity. He then excused himself. If I had had time to answer the question, I believe that I would not have gotten that job. He informed me that I would have to teach a self-contained eighth-grade class which meant that I would have to teach the same children throughout the day. My only hope at this point was that my students would be great and not horrific.

I thanked him and walked out of his tight, stuffy office, leaving him and the shark behind. As I walked out the door, I felt relieved that it was over and my teaching career would begin. The following week I would start and I could not wait. I was overjoyed that I felt like skipping down the block. However, in case the principal should glance out the window, I knew I had to maintain self-control and save that giddy emotion for when I got home.

Author Guest Blog: Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

When I begin my novel, I never know what or who is going to enter into my imaginary world.  I love writing and have never pre-determined the characters within my novel.  However, I generally make my mind up about my main character; his or her name, where she/he is from, what their personality is like, etc.  When I started Ignition: An Educator’s Journey, I pretty much knew my main character was Karen Woolsworth.  I wanted her to have a husband, Billy and an assistant principal, Ms. Crowe.  I also wanted her to have a stressful, challenging student, Kevin Connelly.  However, all my other characters started to slowly come to life.  I think it must be difficult to map out all the characters when writing either a novel or a novella.  For me, I never know what is going to happen next.  I think that is why I enjoy writing so much.  I love to have the power to help characters come to life and when I am truly able to envision them, I know I have done my job.  I only hope that my readers understand and have a certain emotion for my characters.  I am currently writing Part 2 to Ignition: An Educator’s Journey.  I am not even sure as to what the title will be.  I do have two to three characters set in my mind.  However, I have no idea whom I am going to add into the Charles Dickens School.  I am not sure which new characters will join the treacherous world of teaching.  I look forward to creating new lives; new characters that I hope my readers will be interested in learning more about.

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Book Review --Ignition: An Educator's Journey by Michelle Arrose

Ignition: An Educator's Journey by Michelle Arrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

The story revolves around Karen Woolsworth, who lands her first teaching job. Her delight gives way to terror as she realises she has been assigned a group of the toughest kids in the school to manage. The group is made of very violent and disrespectful students, and they are least interested in making a life, leave alone learning. As Karen gets caught up in this whirlwind life, the only support she leans on is her husband. But she soon finds that the horror of her teaching life seeps into her personal life as well, taking a huge toll on her physical and emotional health. Does Karen manage to overcome her challenges, or does she succumb to the pressure? Is there a possibility she would get any help at all? The story answers all points, but with different endings.

I was impressed with the triple ending approach. The book kept me captivated with the hardships faced by Karen. Although a few instances reminded me of another popular story where the protagonist overcomes all obstacles to manage a group of rough children and mould them to be great humans, one has to admit that the resemblances seem more like coincidences. The plot is nicely handled. Karen's characterisation was extremely well done, given the manifold complexity - the turmoil, destructions to her personal life, her disappointment that she is failing at her career that she was so eagerly looking forward to.

I would recommend this book to lovers of reality dramas.

My rating for this book: 4 stars

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Through his Eyes by Deborah Camp

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Someone is stalking women and murdering them in Key West.

Psychics Levi Wolfe and Trudy Tucker join forces to help identify the murderer and stop him. Levi can channel the deceased victims and Trudy can tap into the mind of the killer. As a psychic detective team, they're formidable. As lovers, they discover that they're insatiable.

As they grow closer, Trudy wonders if Levi will ever completely trust her and let her know his heart. Levi struggles with his new, tender feelings toward Trudy and worries that she might be in over her head with him and with the case they're working on.

Because if Trudy can see through the killer's eyes, can the killer see her?


“Are you all right?” Trudy asked, dipping her head to snag his attention.

“Yes.” Levi dabbed at the corners of his wide mouth with the napkin. “Of course.”

“So, were you sent to a psychiatrist when you were young, too?”

“Not really. But I’ve been in therapy for the past six years,” he said, quietly, haltingly.

“You have?”

“Yes.” He looked at her as if challenging her to disapprove. “I have a degree in psychology, after all. Therapy has helped me cope.” He issued a wry smile. “I’m a fucked up mess.”

She didn’t like the flinty expression on his face or what he’d said about himself. “How often do you see a psychiatrist?”

“Twice a month. I used to go at least once a week.”

“That often?”

“Yes.” His smile cooled. “Now you’re wondering if I’m a head case and if there’s hope for me.”

“You’re right,” she said, and smirked when her agreement wiped the smile off his face. “You can’t read minds because that’s not what I was thinking at all.”

He actually looked relieved. “Okay. So, what were you thinking?”

“That you have a lot of ‘No Trespassing’ signs pinned to you. You’re very closed off and hard to get to know.” She drank some iced tea, letting her words sink in and not surprised when he averted his gaze from her. “Trust is something you want, but you’re not willing to give.”

He looked out the restaurant window at the cars zipping past and his tongue moved inside his cheek. She could tell he was choosing his response to her carefully. Finally, he swung his attention back to her.

“You’re right. I trusted someone once completely and I regret it to this day.” He closed his eyes for a few seconds and shook his head. “Trudy, if I dump all my neuroses on you, it won’t help me or you. Can you please just back off?”

She held his gaze for a few heartbeats before looking down at her plate. She didn’t want to tread all over his feelings, but she was also getting tired of running into roadblocks. “I can do that,” she said, quietly, grudgingly. “I do it all the time.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.

Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.

Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans.


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Book Review -- Through His Eyes by Deborah Camp

Through His EyesThrough His Eyes by Deborah Camp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The story revolves around Trudy Tucker, a gifted psychic, who foresees and averts murders, by making herself view the world through the eyes of the murderer. Needless to say, she is in demand with the police and law enforcement. Levi Wolfe is a psychic as well - a slightly celebrated one at that. With millions of women fans and the ability to view things from a murder victim's eyes, Levi has his share of fame by appearing in talk shows. A serial killer on rampage brings a hesitant Trudy and a laid-back Levi together on a mission to stop the killer. Finding themselves irresistibly drawn towards each other, do Trudy and Levi succeed in their quest by overcoming their differences, or do they go their separate ways, is what the book takes us through.

This book was a brilliant read. A superb thriller at the core, the pacing of the narration was absolutely gripping! I finished the book in one go. The characterisation was marvellous. We are shown Trudy, who is completely adorable with her flaws and the flustered demeanor. The flaws in fact make her very easy to relate to and very endearing. Being jittery about her skill and profession is very natural, especially as it makes her become an insane killer for a few moments! Levi's characterisation came as a surprise. He is a lot more than what one takes him to be early on - shallow, womanising and arrogant.

I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of romantic thrillers.

My rating for this book: 4.5 stars

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Return to Sender by Mindy Halleck

Return to Sender
by Mindy Halleck



1955 ~ Father Theo Riley never wanted to be a priest, nor a killer. The former boxing champion and Korean War veteran gave up more than a career when he went into the Army. He lost the only thing he ever wanted: his love, Andréa Bouvre. Friends thought Theo entered the priesthood to mend his broken heart or atone for the massacred orphans he couldn’t save in Korea.

However, the truth is much darker and more damning, tied to a blood debt and family secret that has haunted Theo since he was a boy. He drinks to forget he ever had a life of his own—waits for death, prays for mercy, and hopes for a miracle. He gets all three when a child goes missing, another shows up on his doorstep, and the love of his life drives back into his world; the seaside hamlet of Manzanita Oregon.

Theo’s dream reunion with Andréa becomes a nightmare when a serial killer who considers himself a holy man targets the town and everyone Theo loves. Drinking days decidedly behind him, Theo and some old warriors set out to send evil back to hell and a few good souls to heaven in RETURN TO SENDER.

Excerpt Three:
POV of protagonist, Theo Riley

It rained hard the night we evacuated the children from their orphanage, harder than I’d seen, even on the Oregon Coast. The smell of wet dirt, trees, and napalm. That’s the smell I remembered most, the chemical and petroleum of burning napalm. We scrambled with the kids up Korea’s dominating T’aebaek Mountain—the mountain was nearly the same height as Neahkahnie but had limestone caves tunneled deep within. Massive stalagmites hung heavy throughout the corridors. Ancient bamboo-roped bridges built across chasms linked the vast rooms of the caves to one another. It was otherworldly. But the surviving nun knew the place, the Karst Caves, and said we’d be safe. Water spouted from innumerable cracks and seeps; the sound of rain and falling water was everywhere.

We clawed our way up the hills and out of the valley of death. The CCF had entered the war that week and were as ubiquitous as the rain. The NK were ruthless and bloodthirsty and wanted those kids—and now us—dead. The kids and dedicated nun were too vulnerable for us to abandon for slaughter, so we, my buddy Lieutenant Peters and me, abandoned our orders instead.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest author, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story, The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer’s Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel Return to Sender. Halleck blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community. In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily married, globe-trotting beachcomber, antiquer, gardener, proud grandma, and three-time cancer survivor.
Mindy’s Amazon Page:
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Neahkahnie’s Black Demon: Using History & Local Lore

By Mindy Halleck

My childhood summers were spent in the beach hamlet of Manzanita Oregon. My novel Return To Sender (RTS) takes place in that Manzanita of the 1950’s and 60’s where legends and ghost stories ruled our marshmallow roasting nights.

Manzanita is now a swanky beach town with high end homes and posh hotels. Long gone are the days when we stayed in shanty shacks, trailers and tents. Gone are the sun-splashed days when my cousins and I stood on the windy beach studying Neahkahnie Mountain, pondering the many myths of ghost hauntings, and the pirate’s gold that had eluded an army of treasure hunters, most of whom traveled to Neahkahnie with a lofty hunch, a sharp shovel and a hopeful wheelbarrow.

What we feared most was what the Indians called the ‘black demon’ who guarded that elusive treasure.

We hide in the bushes at the foot of the mountain and looked up through binoculars. We were the gang of summer-kids (Manzanita vacationers) ranging in age from five to twelve. If you ever saw the movie Gooneys (also filmed on the Oregon Coast) then, that was us, but with two scared-ie-cat girls as leaders.

Anyway, that black demon as legend told was left behind one summer afternoon a few hundred years ago. Indians near Neahkahnie Mountain were astounded when two sailing ships approaching their coast –the first ships they had ever seen on the Oregon coast and that they said looked like “great birds” –began to “thunder” and puffs of smoke blustered from their sides. After considerable noise and smoke, one of the ships began to list, and was cast up on the beach near the foot of Neahkahnie. The other set sail over the horizon and was not seen again.

One day at low tide the colorful strangers (pirates) brought their belongings from the “dying bird” ashore, including a huge chest that took eight men to carry. With considerable determination, they hoisted the chest a short way up the mountain, where they then dug a deep hole and lowered it inside. The black giant, whom the Indians supposed was an evil demon, was ordered by a knife wielding white man, to step forward. When he did, he was struck down, and his body flung into the hole with the chest. The men then filled the hole with sand and returned to the beach and their small boats. The Indians watched all night. The men rowed away in the moonlight, never to be seen again. The Indians did not disturb the demon’s resting place, but legend holds that the sand at the end of the mountain then began to turn black in winter and that the black demon is often heard bellowing his wrath across the sea, and that when treasure hunters have gotten close, he has manifested great tragedy in their lives.

So despite that ill-omened info, we summer kids climbed Neahkahnie, pulling ourselves up by tugging on the slopped junipers or jagged rocks of the path. When someone fell or got hurt we claimed they were pushed by the black demon. Eyes bulged. Paranoia set in. Every natural sound had an unnatural effect. We never made it to the top but instead would make it about halfway up the path on the side of the mountain and as if we’d seen something we’d turn and run yelling and screaming back down. The gang of younger kids followed in accord.

I use this black pirate ghost in my story when Theo fills his duffle bag with the black sand and when Solomon reveals what he knows about the long sought after treasure. I believe that adding layers of real legend and folklore enhances storytelling and elevates it to mythical proportions.

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Before the End by JA Pierre

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: November 14, 2014

Nyla was going to spend the summer in Trinidad. Then she'd be off to start her career in the windy city of Chicago. She just wanted to kick back on the beach and, with any luck, run into her first love.
Liam wasn't a big believer in romance. He didn't anticipate falling for the American who walked into his garage. Things heat up on the island as opposites attract. But the sand in the hourglass is dwindling.
Will Liam give Nyla a reason to stay?

J.A. Pierre is a romance author who grew up on the East Coast. Series by J.A. Pierre: The Rich Housewives of Bon Avenue and Before The End.

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