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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Betrayed Hearts by Susan Anne Mason




Blurb
Lily Draper comes to Rainbow Falls in search of her biological sister, the only blood relative she has left. Emotionally scarred by her preacher father, Lily avoids religion at all cost. Her new landlord, an aspiring minister, soon has her questioning her views. Can she learn to trust Nick's heart or will her sordid past destroy their love?
Nick Logan hopes to take over for the retiring minister who has groomed Nick for the job. But Reverend Ted seems to feel the position requires Nick to marry an upstanding woman, namely Ted’s niece. When Nick finds himself falling in love with Lily Draper, the woman least likely to become a minister's wife, his problems escalate. And when Reverend Ted gives him an ultimatum, Nick faces an impossible choice.
Can he accept God’s will and still find a place for Lily in his life?

Extract
“Hey. You’re bleeding.” Nick took hold of her arm where a trail of blood dripped from a gash in the fleshy part of her thumb. He turned her hand over to inspect the wound. “You’ve got a piece of glass in there.”
She stared at the jagged shard in disbelief, amazed she hadn’t felt any pain.
Nick scooped her up and deposited her on the counter beside the sink. “I have a first aid kit in my toolbox,” he said. “Don’t move.” He returned seconds later with a white plastic box and flipped open the lid.
The pain had set in now, roaring to life like a fire-breathing dragon. She sucked in deep breaths to cope with the searing heat shooting up her wrist.
Nick turned on the cold water and reached for her hand, his expression apologetic. “Sorry. This is going to hurt.” 
She squeezed her eyes shut at the initial burst of pain. When she opened them a second later, the stinging receded as she focused on the face so close to hers. The intoxicating scent of his spicy cologne surrounded her. Nick turned off the tap and examined the injury, tiny ridges of concentration creasing his forehead. When he raised his head, their noses almost touched. The air backed up in Lily’s lungs.
For a moment, he simply gazed into her eyes. “I’m going to take the glass out now. Let me know when you’re ready.”
“Got a bullet to bite?”
He chuckled. “That’s one thing I don’t have in my toolbox.”
Then with one quick jerk, he pulled the shard out of her thumb. Lily bit her lip to smother a cry of pain. Blood spurted down her wrist, and though she tried to be brave, her body rebelled with tremors that raced through her torso.
Nick’s hand clamped down hard over the gash to stem the flow. Lily fought the longing to lay her head on his shoulder and let the warmth of his body ease the chill that made her teeth chatter. Was it the shock of her wound or Nick’s gentle touch that caused her trembling?
When the bleeding slowed, Nick patted the area dry with a towel, applied salve with careful skill and wrapped a gauze bandage around her hand. The warmth of his steady fingers sent soothing tingles up her arm. It had been a very long time since anyone had treated her with such kindness. No one, except her beloved mother, had ever made her feel so cared for. The bittersweet memory caused hot tears to burn behind her lids. She blinked hard to keep them at bay.
At last, he looked up. “Do you have any aspirin? Because this is going to throb like the dickens later on.”
Her throat, thickened with emotion, made speech impossible. She could only nod.
He peered at her, apparently noticing the dampness of her eyes. “Is the pain that bad?”
She shook her head, hating this display of vulnerability. Despite her efforts, a lone tear escaped and trickled down her cheek. Nick reached over to brush it away, his thumb a whisper over her skin. The absolute tenderness of the gesture undid her. She couldn’t pull her gaze from his.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Lily, I—”
On impulse, she jerked forward and cut off his words with a kiss. His lips were incredibly soft and warm, tasting of coffee and peppermint. She stilled, shocked by her own recklessness, but Nick folded strong arms around her and pulled her closer to deepen the kiss. She fisted her hands in the soft cotton of his shirt as waves of pleasure flooded her system. Nick’s gentle fingers moved to caress her cheek, as though she were something infinitely precious.
Which of course she was not.
Lily stiffened as reality crashed in, returning her to sanity. Hadn’t she promised herself not to get involved with another man? She flattened her hand against Nick’s chest, aware of his heart beating hard against her palm, and pushed him back.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” Her gaze fused to the blue buttons of his shirt, unable to look at him for fear of the disgust she might see there.
“Why not?” His voice was husky. “I’ve wanted to do that for a while now.”


My Review:
This is one of those books that grabs you and pulls you in from the get go. From it's action packed start to it's heart stopping end, it's a page turner like no other. The characters are real people with issues that get in the way of their faith, but ultimately it's that same faith that sees them through.
Definitely one to curl up on the beach or by a roaring fire with.

I received a copy from the author in return for a review.

Links to buy my book:

http://tinyurl.com/kqk6wdt  - For Softcover




Character Interview:

1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?

I’m Lily Draper. My adoptive mother died when I was 10, leaving me with my bitter father who never really wanted me anyway. I left home at 18 and have been scraping my way through life ever since. But recently I found out that I have a biological sister and I’m heading to Rainbow Falls to find her.

2. Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?

I grew up in a small town called Fielding, North Dakota. When I left my father’s house at age 18, I moved to Bismarck—to the anonymous city where no one knew me, and I’ve been there for several years. But now, for some reason, Rainbow Falls feels like home.

3. What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?

I wear a locket that my mother gave me with a picture of my biological mother inside. Whenever I’m stressed or afraid I touch it to give me courage.

4. Name two things would you hate people to know about you?

My shady past with men. And that I’d do anything for someone to really love me for me, not just for my looks.


5. Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special?

Nick Logan is my landlord and a handyman, and is studying to be a pastor. He is kind, honest and trustworthy, traits I have never found in any of the men in my life. I have to wonder if he’s too good to be true. Certainly too good for the likes of me.


6. The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?

Of course, I was attracted to him right away — he’s very handsome. But when I learned he wanted to be a pastor, I knew I had to forget about him. After life with my hypocritical preacher father, the last person I want to be involved with is a religious fanatic. The kind that says one thing and does another.

7. What would he hate people to know about her?

Nick would hate for people to know that he’s too nice for his own good. And a bit of a pushover for his young cousin, Chloe.

8. What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?

Pizza and diet Coke! I know, it doesn’t make sense. J

9. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?

Sword! I’m a bit of a female warrior inside!

10. Pepsi or coke — Coke!

11. tea or coffee — Coffee, but I won’t turn down a good cup of tea.

12. elephant or tiger — Tiger, fierce but cute.

13. roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)

 
I’m a burger and fries type of girl!

14. classical music or pop — Definitely pop music. Classical reminds me too much of my father, Tobias.

15. sunrise or sunset — Sunrise! It’s the hope of a new day, new beginnings.

16. walk or run — Walk. Running reminds me of running away. I’m done with that.

17. chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers) Definitely chocolate! Chocolate makes everything better!


Bio
Susan has recently been blessed with contracts from White Rose Publishing, Love Inspired and Bethany House. Betrayed Hearts is Susan’s debut contemporary romance, which releases on August 8, 2014. Book 2 - Wayward Hearts releases in December 2014.
Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website http://www.susanannemason.com.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Killer Field Trip by Susan Lyttek


blurb:
Jeanine, drafted to co-lead a homeschool field trip to walk in the footsteps of the young George Washington, looks forward to a fun spring excursion with Justin's history class. Unfortunately, she has to coordinate with Susan Perry, a woman so obsessed with our first president that she comes to their class dressed like him and drives a red, white and blue car. Susan proves hard to rely on. Even so, Jeanine mourns to find her dead and Ann under suspicion. To make matters worse, a sudden blizzard traps them in the area with the killer. Jeanine must overcome her squeamishness about snow to uncover the truth about Susan’s death and learn what young George Washington prized above gold.

My Review:
In this book we catch up with Jeanine Talbott from Homeschooling can be Murder and her two children. This time they're all off on a field trip in the sunshine to go camping and learn about George Washington. Sounds fun, huh? Well... not really. Not when snow and a murder and kids who just can't stay put are involved.
I loved this book. Read far into the night on a couple of occasions and just couldn't put it down. The scenery is so brilliantly described, that I was transported from an overheated UK to a spring mountainside in the US. The heroines love, or rather make that NEED for coffee and hatred of snow was hilarious to read.
Definitely one to pick up and read.

(I was given a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review)

Buy Link

Character Interview:
Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Jeanine Talbott. I live in Gentle Springs near the Army post. I'm married to Captain James Talbott and have two delightful (usually) and homeschooled children: Justin and Josie.

Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
Well, I didn't choose to live here. Wouldn't choose it in a million years. But God knew what he was doing when he got us transferred here. The people and the place have grown on me.

What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know? 
If I'm alone, I talk aloud to myself to help process what's going on.

Name two things would you hate people to know about you?
I really didn't do that well in college. That's a bad image for a homeschooling mom. I never really figured out my career path. That makes loving what I'm doing now all the more special.

Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special?
James is good at bringing out the best in me or finding good qualities of me that I didn't know I had. He works hard and he's a great dad to our two. It doesn't hurt that I think he's gorgeous!

The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?
The first time I saw him, I still thought him handsome, but I didn't trust him. He had to prove himself to me.

What is your favourite thing to eat and drink? 
a fancy brunch--coffee, a tailor-made omelet, fresh fruit and a croissant

If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
Probably a baseball bat or broom handle. Why? Because I'd be able to grab it quickly.

Pepsi or coke 
Neither. I pretty much drink sweet tea for my cold drink if I'm not drinking water.

tea or coffee
Do you have to ask? After God and the people in my life, my next love is coffee.

elephant or tiger
Tiger

roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers) 
Roast dinner... but that's hoping I didn't have to make it. If I have to do the cooking, it will be the burgers.

classical music or pop 
I listen to both, but I'd give classical the edge.

sunrise or sunset 
Sunrise. I don't see much of either, but at sunset I'm usually too busy and distracted to notice. If I'm up early, I will see the sunrise and enjoy it because I'm still quiet and somewhat focused on God and what he's made.

walk or run 
Walk. I used to run, but having kids took that desire away.

chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
That depends on what kind of chocolate. I'm not much on candy, but if it's cookies or my brownies, that would beat out the chips.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

DIFFERENT by EA West


Tag line:

Anything can happen when the rules change.

Back Cover Blurb:

Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned upside down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.

Excerpt #1:

The distant drip of water echoed off the rocky walls as Jezebel Smith wandered through her cave. Pungent fumes from her kerosene lantern stung her nose, and she wished for a flashlight. But her family would miss a flashlight. They never noticed when she took the old lantern from the barn.

Turning her face away from the lantern, she caught a whiff of the familiar scent of the rocks around her. She loved the fresh, earthy smell of her cave. Through countless hours of careful practice, her hiking boots barely produced a whisper on the bumpy path leading to her special cavern. If she swung the lantern on its creaky handle, however, she could fill the cave with a creepy echo that reminded her of Halloween.

She passed through an opening in the wall and entered a large cavern with several ledges in one end. As she approached the lowest ledge, the glow from her lantern touched an unfamiliar lump on the floor below the rocky shelf and she froze. She knew every inch of this cavern — every rock, ledge, and bump in the floor. No one ever came here. Nothing ever changed unless she changed it. The cave was the only thing she could count on to always stay the same.

This time, however, there was something new. The cave had broken its own rules, adding a boulder where one didn’t belong. She crept toward it, fighting tears of hurt that the cave would trick her like everyone else, and the golden light of her lantern revealed it wasn’t a boulder after all — it was the still form of a man. Her pulse pounded in her ears, so loud it threatened to drown out her own thoughts. Where had he come from? Why wasn’t he moving? Her heart skipped a beat. Was he dead?

Excerpt #2:

Fear shivered through her that he was sleeping so much. One of her brothers had fallen out of a tree once and hit his head, and the doctor said they had to keep him from falling asleep for a while. Jezebel didn’t know if falling off a ledge and hitting his head made the man have to stay awake or not.

After worrying for a while longer, she finally decided she’d have to risk a beating from her parents and go get the doctor. She didn’t know if he’d come, but she had to try. Daniel was the only person to ever treat her kindly, and he needed help.

She put a couple more sticks on the fire so it would keep burning while she was gone, and then she lit the lantern and headed out of the cavern. As she neared the cave entrance, the flame went out. She slowed her steps and followed the faint glow of daylight. Hopefully the doctor had a flashlight. When she stepped into the woods, she set the lantern by the cave entrance and ran toward town. She practiced saying Daniel’s name while she ran, praying the doctor would come if she told him the injured man’s name.

As she neared the edge of town, she slowed down to catch her breath. She hesitantly stepped onto the main road, terrified at the thought of trying to convince the doctor to go with her. She’d learned a long time ago that no one believed her about anything, and since she couldn’t talk, people didn’t understand what she tried to tell them anyway.

A lot of strange cars and people clogged the main street through town, and Jezebel wondered who they were. Unless Reverend Brown was holding one of his many revivals,  the town rarely had many visitors. As she continued toward the doctor’s office, a woman carrying a stack of papers walked toward her with a smile. Jezebel stopped, her mind whirling with uncertainty, and the woman handed her a paper.

“We’re looking for this man. He went hiking in this area a couple of days ago and didn’t come back.”

Jezebel studied the sheet in her hands, and her heart skipped a beat. A picture of Daniel stared back, and some words had been printed across the bottom in black ink. She pointed to the photo. “D-Dan... Daniel.”

“That’s right, his name is Daniel,” the woman said, her tone changing a little. “Have you seen him?”

Jezebel nodded and looked back the way she’d come. “C-c-cave.”

“You saw him in a cave?”

She nodded again, excitement rushing through her. For the first time in her life, someone understood what she tried to say. She touched the photograph on the paper, indicating where the cut on Daniel’s head was. Before she could see if the woman understood, she heard her older brother spit out her name. She cringed and felt herself shriveling inside.


Buy Links:




Author Bio:

E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Where to Find Me:

Website: http://eawest.mcphitty.com
Blog: http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617
Twitter: http://twitter.com/eawest
Google+: http://plus.google.com/107709864908331978411/posts
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authoreawest

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/eawest

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

World Blog Tour - from a small corner of the UK

This was originally going on my FB page but it's way way too long for that... And this way I can put pictures in :)

So....

1. I was tagged by friend and fellow Pelican author LoRee Peery who asked me to join her world blog.

2. I write romantic suspense - usually including cops, terrorists, people dying, serial killers, but always with a love story front and centre.

3. So now I have to tell you all a little about my writing process.

What am I working on? 
Currently that's my 12 book series. I'm currently writing book 8 - Gladioli in August. In this one the 'bad guy' is more of an erupting volcano than a maniac with a gun or a knife as in other books in the series.


Blurb well right now this is it, but it could well be changed before publication next year:
Jael Stevens ignores her brother’s warning not to go to volcanic island Tiampu—it’s got to be safer than living in Headley Cross, right? Wrong.
Micah Norris is convinced his heart is safe. He’s arrogant, conceited and no woman would ever want him, right? Wrong.

And Tiampu is an extinct volcano, right? Wrong.

Sneak peek:
“Are you mad? Is it safe?” Her older brother Kyle held out the potatoes, shock etched on his face. Considering he was one of the top hairdressers in the country, having just won an award for some hairstyling contest, his own hair was a mess. For a moment Jael wondered if that was fear flickering in his eyes.
“Is what safe, Kyle?” she asked.
“A volcanic island?”
Jael laughed. “Besides it’s gotta be a darn sight safer there than it is here.” She glanced around the dinner table. “I mean there was that explosion at the Riverside where fifteen people died, the bank raid last week. Oh and don’t forget the prime minister was assassinated here. You and Holly went to Sicily last year and Etna is constantly erupting. Tiampu hasn’t erupted since the 1700’s.”
“Volcanoes and August don’t mix,” Kyle said. “Krakatoa erupted on August 26, 1883 killing 36,000. Vesuvius erupted on 24 August, 79 killing 16.000.”
Jael rolled her eyes. “Did you eat an encyclopedia for breakfast? Kyle, don’t worry. It’s only a six month posting. Nothing is going to happen.”

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
Maybe I kill a few more people, I don't know. My books always contain a strong faith angle. They are all based in the same town, or most of them are, so you always get old friends popping in and out. For example Kyle is the hero of my first ever book, Season For Miracles. The Prime Minister gets assassinated in Tuesday's Child (yeah I really went there)
  

and i so wish i could get the pictures to fit neatly next to each other. Sigh.


Why do I write what I do? 
I love crime and mystery and romance. So this is putting all of them together in what I hope is an action packed thrill ride. I have been known to make myself cry, sleep with the light on, and so on while writing.

How does my writing process work?
It varies. Sometimes the plot comes first. Sometimes a picture inspires a story. Like the picture of Hugh Jackman in a truck inspired Violets in February. See what I mean?

August came from a conversation with my editor who said she's always wanted to read a love story set on an island with an erupting volcano...
But I digress.
I have a cast list - I trawl the net picking actors  to play each character. I then pull out my card index and list the characters full name, age, job, likes, dislikes, allergies if any, family members, best friend. Some of this may never be needed. But hey, when I wrote Season for Miracles and wrote down Kyle's sisters name - who doesn't get a mention in the whole book, I didn't know I'd one day need it. I then come up with a basic 700 word layout for a contracted book, or if I'm just writing because, I literally set off and see what happens.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Harte's Peak by Maria Michaels



Blurb:
Vera Carrington loves her newly renovated home and her cafe, The Bean, but with a balloon mortgage looming over head and a man from her past ready to bounce on her misfortune, she may have to face the agonizing decision of keeping one and selling the other.
Deputy Sheriff, Ryan Colton, is a new man in Christ. His days as a flamboyant pro-circuit skier are behind him, but to help Vera keep her home and her business, he agrees to coach her for an upcoming open ski tournament. He even agrees to hand over the purse if he should win.
Can Vera beat the odds and win the tournament? Will Ryan save the day, or will they both learn to trust God, no matter the outcome?

Extract:
“Hey, Vera. Do you have any idea how fast you were going?” Ryan had his flashlight out but avoided shining it in her eyes.
“I’m sorry about that. Hit the snooze too many times. I overslept.”
He took out his ticket pad, expertly balancing his flashlight. “I know what that’s like.”
“I’m not a morning person and I would assign the shift to Annie, but I can’t afford the payroll right now.” Maybe with his newfound religion, Ryan might have a little compassion for a hard working girl.
“Especially with Maggie on maternity leave. You know, Jack’s wife?”
“You wouldn’t be trying to talk me out of writing this ticket, would you?” He was clean cut now, having shaved off his beard a few months ago, though it didn’t take away from his rugged good looks. He’d always been difficult to ignore and now he was so darned nice.
“Who, me?” Vera tossed her hair back and hoped she wasn’t too obvious. Ryan was not as gullible as the younger officers.
“Because I do recall the last time I let you go I reminded you it would be the last time.” He flashed that disarming and cocky grin.
Stop it; stop smiling at me like that. “I do remember that.” She tried not to melt under his penetrating stare. His expressive brown eyes had a way of untangling her frayed nerves

My Review:
A gripping read. And when I say I read this in one sitting, I'm serious. All 204 pages of it. I read way past my bedtime. This book made me grin and chuckle. Vera loves speeding, but she doesn't like the speeding fines and tries to talk her way out of them. That doesn't work this time with Ryan, who happens to be one of the best looking cops in the small town she lives in. They have a past, but once he got religion he stopped asking her out. Which was probably just as well, as Vera knows he would want nothing to do with her if he knew the truth.

Tackling the issue of falling behind on the mortgage and foreclosure, this book pulls no punches. It also has plenty of action on the ski slopes as well as twists and turns that I didn't see coming.

Buy links:

Character interview:
1.      Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?

My name is Vera Carrington and I own the charming little café on Main Street, The Bean.

2.      Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?

I live in the Sierra Mountains – Harte’s Peak. I landed here several years ago after a difficult time – and I stay here because of the people.

3.      What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?

I love Christmas lights, even in July. Sue me.

4.      Name two things would you hate people to know about you?

I love to break the speed limit, a habit I’m trying to break. I also wish people didn’t know how much I hate the gym, but around here it’s hard to keep a secret.

5. Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special? 

I could say it’s his brown eyes, which remind me of melted chocolate, or maybe his smile- a cross between a Boy Scout and Dennis the Menace – but it’s really Ryan’s heart that makes him special to me.
I would tell you more about his heart, but that might embarrass him. Let’s just say that he knows how to love.

6. The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?

The first time I saw Ryan, he’d stopped traffic to help a little boy catch his dog. I did not like him because he made me late for work, but secretly I thought it was sweet. It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.

7. What would he hate people to know about her?

He will watch girly movies with me.

8. What is your favorite thing to eat and drink?

Red velvet cake (Ryan’s favorite) and milk

9. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?

It would be a knife, because I know my way around the kitchen.

10. Pepsi or coke

Coke

11. tea or coffee

Coffee

12. elephant or tiger

Tiger

13. roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)

Burger and fries

14. classical music or pop

Pop

15. sunrise or sunset

Sunset (Ryan can tell you why)

16. walk or run

Walk – I don’t run unless there is someone chasing me. (see #4)

17. chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)


Chocolate – I’m a woman.



Bio
When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Maria Michaels tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave.
She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

Maria lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say ‘hello’ and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows. 

Precious Embrace by Donna B Snow


Blurb:
Laura Senton has found peace and happiness, knowing she’s right where she belongs, running her own kitchen at A Piece of Heaven, a Christian coffee house in Pingree, MD. Being partners with her dear friend, Trina, she has carved out a niche and counts her blessings daily for being able to do something she loves doing. When the sins of her past are brought to mind by the appearance of Sean Laylor, her teenage crush, Laura tries to hide from Sean, as well as her own feelings.

At first not recognizing Laura because she changed so much, Sean is at a loss as to why she tries to avoid him. He has no idea of what Laura went through years ago, or how she felt toward him, but he still feels a share of the guilt for her past once he learns  some of the choices she made.

Both covet the memories of their time together, but sins of the past can be a tough hurdle to get over.

Extract:
Trina’s voice carried in over the sounds of the crowd.

Laura set four salads onto the tray to fill the next order while she hummed along with the song. She loved this version. How amazing God’s grace really was. Not even a year since they opened the doors to A Piece of Heaven and already they were talking about expansion. Well, Jared was talking about expansion, probably because he would be doing the construction. But Trina, as usual, was dragging her feet. Getting that girl to commit to change was about as quick as tapping sap from a maple tree.

And Laura knew just how quick that was. After growing up in Vermont with forty maple trees to tap, she had learned patience when she was young, patience she had needed as she grew up.

Lise swept into the kitchen next and grabbed her dressings out of the fridge. “Can I have the bowl of chowder now, please? They want it with their salad.”

“How are you holding up tonight?” Laura asked as she ladled chowder into a bowl and turned to set it on the tray, placing a sprig of parsley on top and a crust of bread beside it.

Lise had only been with them for a few weeks and this was definitely a trial by fire.

“I’m OK,” she answered. “I’ve seen worse. The last place I worked was like this almost all the time, but I had to dodge grabbing hands while I delivered meals. That was the worst.” She laughed as she lifted the tray and headed for the door. “So, as long as I don’t have to worry about that part, I can handle busy, no sweat. Plus it’s not like this all the time, so—piece of cake.”

“No, silly. A Piece of Heaven,” she said and laughed.

My Review:
As Ms. Snow once again opens the doors of A Piece of Heaven she gives us another glimpse of life in a small town where everyone knows everyone and what everyone is doing. But when Sean walks back in he doesn't immediately recognise Laura who has changed over the years. But she knows him, and knows that she's changed more than he realises. After he left, in her mind spurning her all those years ago, she fell into a downward spiral from which she thought there was no recovery.

A wonderful read, this one kept me gripped to the pages wanting to know what happens next. A lovely example of how God keeps us all in His care and how second chances are never beyond our reach.


Monday, 16 June 2014

Moon over Maalaea Bay by H.L. Wegley





Blurb:
In an instant the Maui honeymoon of Lee's dreams morphs to a nightmare when Jennifer disappears on their wedding night. Were the abductors the trafficking ring Jennifer crippled or does an even a more sinister organization want her for other purposes.
With the clock ticking toward Jennifer's impending sale, Lee, accompanied by their fifteen-year-old foster daughter, Katie, and Jennifer's grandfather, begins his own search of the island. As the search by Lee and the authorities intensifies, he fears beautiful Katie might end up in the crosshairs of the traffickers.

Can Lee save both his bride and his future daughter? What if he has to make a choice? If Jennifer is sold, could she kill herself to avoid a life filled with degradation and horror? If she did, would God forgive her?

Extract:
In light of recent events, she should be dead. Jennifer Akihara should no longer exist.
And now she doesn’t.
The thought brought a smile to her lips.
Nearly nine hours ago, in another world three thousand miles away, Jennifer Akihara became Mrs. Lee Brandt. “Jennifer Brandt,” she whispered. It sounded right. It was right. And the dangers that nearly prevented her from taking Lee’s name were gone, either locked away in a federal prison or dead.
Spending her wedding night with Lee in a tropical paradise would be the perfect start to their life as man and wife. But the perfect start had been delayed.
In the fading twilight, under a purple sky, Jennifer glanced up at Lee’s brilliant, blue eyes as he walked beside her in his cargo shorts and muscle shirt, looking—she hated clichés, but there was simply no other word for him—hot. Tonight, on this island, extremely hot. And the warm, humid trade winds, which caressed her skin and ruffled Lee’s hair, cooled nothing.
Lee seemed unusually quiet. Maybe he was disappointed about their room not being ready.
She moved close to him, gently brushing against his side with each step as they strolled through the menagerie of colorful Kihei shops. The fragrance of pineapple, mango, and coconut mingled with those cloves and cinnamon near the kiosks selling soaps, candles, and lotions.
She looked up at him, wondering what was on his mind. It was time to probe. “If someone hadn’t broken into our room just before we arrived, right now we would be—”
“We’d be watching the moon over Maalaea Bay out that big window. I know.”
“If someone hadn’t insisted on that room, maybe we could’ve gotten another room, and we could be—”
“I know, sweetheart. But when you see the sunset from our room tomorrow evening, you’ll understand. That room is special. We can eat dinner here at the shops, and by 7:30 our room door will be fixed and the electronics that were stolen will all be replaced, just like the manager promised. And…we get a free night for our inconvenience.”
“Inconvenience? That’s hardly the word for what I feel.” She met his gaze with love and longing in her eyes.
Thoughts of being alone with him filled her mind. She touched her face. Like Lee, it was hot. 

My Review:
If you thought the first two books in this series were a whirlwind of activity, you ain't seen nothing yet. This book starts on a honeymoon, so you expect flowers and candles and... Wrong. What you get is heart-pumping nail biting action as Jennifer is kidnapped and thrust back into the nightmare of the traffickers. Definitly a kindle keeper, this book will keep your attention gripped from beginning to end.

I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for a fair review

Interview with Jennifer – done at SeaTac Airport before they leave on their honeymoon:
Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
I'm not sure why you wanted to do this interview at SeaTac Airport. I've only got a few minutes, because Lee and I are headed for our Maui honeymoon. You see, about 2 hours ago, I became Jennifer Akihara-Brandt. I'm Japanese-Hawaiian, raised in the islands, but attended college and graduate school at the University of Washington. I dropped out of my PhD program to work for NSA. I work in big-data analysis, Internet forensics, and wireless communications analysis. My graduate work in computing security is what brought Lee and me together.
Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
Lee and I just bought a house in the foothills, southeast of Seattle. It's close to our work and the high school Katie wants to attend—why are you looking at me like that? I know… I'm not old enough to have a 15-year-old daughter. She's a foster child, but Lee and I plan to adopt her, even if I am only 11 years older than Katie.
What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
My personality… The burning question. Burning … that used to be my personality, acrid, temper hovering near 212. But that was before Lee introduced me to God … to Jesus.
Name two things you would hate people to know about you?
First, I would hate for people to know that I almost always think I'm right. It's been that way since I was a kid. For some reason, God gave me a double portion of intelligence … you're looking at me that way again. Look, if you multiply your IQ by two, you get … yes, I can see now that you understand.
I would also hate for people to know about my drug addiction. Caffeine. I can't function without it, and Lee says I get really grumpy if I don’t get enough.
Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special? 
Lee has been my husband now for a little over 2 hours. He was my fiancé for 8 months prior that. He loves me and thinks I'm special. But most of all, he saved my life several times, and he introduced me to the one true God who saved my soul for eternity. And… I think Lee's cute, in a rugged, superbly handsome, hunky sort of way.
The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?
The first time I saw him? Not good. He reacted just like the guy who stalked me. Well, his eyes did. He went gaga on me. But I soon found out Lee was considerate. He tried to protect me when danger came. I'd say he grew on me for about 6 hours. That’s how long it took before I knew there was something special between us.
What would he hate people to know about him?
Lee would hate it if anyone thought he was a typical computer geek. I mean he is, but he isn't. He does computer work, but he loves athletics, competition. He has a genius level IQ, but he doesn't flaunt it. His 90 mile-per-hour fastball … that he flaunts.
What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
My favorite thing is, hands down, coffee. Not the black, bitterer stuff, but creamy light brown, macchiatos or dark brown mochas … and 2 shots of espresso in a tall, 3 shots in the grande, and always 4 shots in a venti.
If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
Fighting isn't something I like, but I've done my fair share. I know a little karate, but I prefer my .38 special, because I hit what I aim at with it. There are 3 notches on that gun, but I’m only responsible for 2 of them. Enough about guns. This is my honeymoon, in Maui no less. So, I'm not bringing my .38. Who needs a gun in a tropical island paradise?
Pepsi or coke
Coke. Pepsi tastes better, but Coke has more caffeine.
Tea or coffee
Coffee. It tastes better and has more caffeine.
Elephant or tiger
Elephant. I don't like dangerous things, or people, who can sneak up on me. It's hard for an elephant to do that.
Roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
Don't tell Lee, but burgers and chips. At 26, I can still get away with eating junk food.
Classical music or pop
I have a mathematical mind. I can hear what Bach and the other classical composers are doing—their systematical variations on a theme, but I prefer pop—simple, pleasant, relaxing and with words that actually say something.
Sunrise or sunset
Lee’s a meteorologist. He loves sunsets and would shoot pictures nearly every evening, if I let him. But I love sunrises. Everything is beginning fresh and new, just like God’s love and mercy. Another day and another chance for everyone and everything.
Walk or run
Run. Lee taught me about running. Let the endorphins flow! I love that runners high.
Chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)

Chocolate. It goes better with coffee than chips.

Buy links:
Amazon
Pelican Books

Review of book one HERE
Review and overview of book two HERE