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Lillian’s Garden

By: Carrie Jane Knowles. Format: Paperback. Read: February 2014.

 

Helen’s mother-in-law, Lillian, has a beautiful garden that Helen likes to take care of, because it soothes her mind. However Helen suffers from bipolar disease and when she suffers a breakdown, her husband commits her to a mental institute. This decision leaves her children reeling from pain and confusion, because they do not understand their mother’s illness. While in the institute, Helen decides to write letters to her children, hoping for forgiveness and understanding, not just from her family, but also from herself.

This is a powerful and poignant tale of how bipolar disease affects not only the patient, but also the entire family. Add in the background of faith and family secrets, and readers will have a hard time remembering that this is a work of fiction. Switching narratives between the young girl and Helen allows readers a more intimate look at the family dynamics. Knowles has created a mesmerizing work of art that captures the human spirit. This is a must-read for anyone looking to get inside of a mind suffering from the wretched disease.

 

 

Why the long delay on this review? Well I had a hard time reading this book, seeing as how I read it during the same time that my family was experiencing the hear-wrenching side effects of Alzheimer’s and mood disorder. Then when it came to write the review, I sat down several times thinking I was ready, but my hands just hovered over the keyboard, as my mind played back the memories of that horrible month. I erased my rough draft twice, before finally writing this version. All I can say is that this is one powerful book, a must-read, but definitely a book that you need to prepare for and schedule time to recover afterwards.  Thank you all for your patience and understanding with this delay… now that I have posted this review up next on the blog will be the subsequent three reviews from The List.

In the meantime, what do you like to do to help focus and bring peace to your mind? Do you tend a garden, color, read, write in a journal, etc.?

Enjoy!
~Ariesgrl

 

Note:

The PR representative provided a copy of this book for me to review. To learn more about her, please visit her website.

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My Sister’s Books Review #47

Bride for a Night

By: Patti Berg

 

Duncan Kincaid was thrilled to marry Cairo McKnight five years ago, but his adventurous spirit forced him to leave her the very next morning and he ended up in jail. Several months later, when he received the annulment papers he was heartbroken and devoted himself to his secretive mission. Cairo McKnight loved Duncan ever since she first met him, when she was a teenager. Being married to him, even for just one night was a life-changing experience…literally. She is a mom to the precocious little five year old boy, but she must decide whether Duncan has matured enough to handle the responsibilities of being a father.

This book is a cute story. There is a secondary romance between Cairo’s aunt and Duncan’s father that adds a different perspective on second-chance love. Overall the story is endearing, but a tad predictable. The author seems to rush through certain emotions and discussions, but as a whole the story is a fun, modern romance. Readers will enjoy taking the journey with Duncan and Cairo as they explore their past and uncover the secrets hidden within Montana’s land.

Notes:

This review was written for My Sister’s Books.

Available only in store.

 

This author recommends:

Millie Criswell, Jenna McKnight, Sheridon Smythe

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My Sister’s Books #45

The Reluctant Bride

By: Leigh Greenwood

 

Tanzy decided to become a mail-order bride in order to avoid a marriage to her cousin, after most of her family was killed in a horrific feud. However, when she travels to meet Russ Tibbolt, she finds him in the middle of a shootout. Distraught over the violence, she refuses to marry him, until they get to know each other better. Just one problem, their attraction for each other puts their lives in danger when the past returns.

This book is a tedious read, since the first half of the book is slow. However, the intrigue picks up towards the end, when Tanzy decides to go undercover to help Russ survive. Greenwood does a good job of describing the details of the western territory and the ‘town.’ Readers will enjoy feeling like they stepped back in time, while they worry for the character’s safety.

 

 

Available in store only.

 

This author recommends Stobie Piel.

Similar Authors: Caroline Fyffe, Cynthia Woolfe

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Filed under Fiction Books, My Sister's Books, Romance Books, Western Books

My Sister’s Books Review #43

Texas Bride

By: Joan Johnston

Despite the fact that Miranda Wentworth lost her parents in the Chicago fire, she has kept her and her five younger siblings safe in the nasty orphanage. Now that she is about to turn 18, she is being kicked out and risks losing her siblings. Her younger sister provides hope, when she tells Miranda that she responded to a mail-order bride ad in the newspaper. Desperate to keep her family together, she sneaks her youngest siblings out of the orphanage to start their new life. Little does she know, Jake Creed has a few surprises of his own, including a young daughter who is in need of a mother.

Joan Johnston gives readers a well-balanced story with this first book in her Mail-Order Bride Series. Readers will appreciate the inner struggles the main characters deal with, while trying to manage the turmoil of the Texas weather.  Though Jake is a cowboy and his ranch is in need of repair, the story focuses on the turmoil of forgiving and accepting the past, in order to open up for future blessings. The ending gives readers closure between Jake and Miranda, while piquing the interest for the rest of Miranda’s family.

Notes:

This review was written for My Sister’s Books.

This author recommends:

Catherine Hart, Sabrina Jeffries, Stef Ann Holm

Available in store and online.

Epub:

http://mysistersbooks.mybooksandmore.com/web1/actions/searchHandler.do?key=BTKEY:0011199396&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12564

Blio:

http://mysistersbooks.mybooksandmore.com/web1/actions/searchHandler.do?key=BTKEY:0009818805&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12564

Paperback:

http://mysistersbooks.mybooksandmore.com/web1/actions/searchHandler.do?key=BTKEY:0009820969&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12564

Hardcover/Large Print:

http://mysistersbooks.mybooksandmore.com/web1/actions/searchHandler.do?key=BTKEY:0010720704&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12564

 

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Filed under Fiction Books, My Sister's Books, Romance Books, Western Books

In Like a Lion, Out like a…

Hi Everyone,

No, I am not planning on discussing the weather. Sadly, this saying has applied to my family’s life for this past month…and so far there is no lamb in sight. So what has been going on in my world that has caused my silence here? Well, where do I begin?

Back in February, I posted that I was recovering from a broken wrist. (Tonight is my first night trying to type without my brace and it has proven to be an interesting journey.) What I didn’t explain during that short post, was that my grandfather had a nervous breakdown and spent 2.5 weeks in a hospital trying to “come back.” Unfortunately, once these nervous breakdowns happen, they will continue and they will become more frequent as the Alzheimer’s progresses. And over the course of the past two weeks, he has been headed towards another breakdown. My Mom and I are doing everything in our power to slow this one down. We know there is no stopping it, but if we could slow it down that would be a relief. He has a doctor appointment Tuesday to see what else we can do.

Needless to say, these past few weeks have been beyond stressful. And that stress has led to Ozzy having two seizures in the past three weeks. So it seems that despite the fact that I wake up each day, hoping, wishing, dreaming and praying for peace… peace is not meant to be for my home. By the time night falls, I am unbelievably exhausted and drained, that even the thought of looking at the computer leaves me cross-eyed. (Oh and don’t let me forget to mention that the season of fireworks officially started last night, with a surprise performance at 11pm.)

I offer you all my sincerest apologies and I hope that you will all understand my absence over these past few weeks. Please take note, over the course of the next 48hrs, I will be posting my 10 reviews that I have for you and answering all of my emails. Then next week, the quotes, author interviews and reviews will all be back as normal.

Due to the overwhelming stress in my life, there will be some changes to the site. The most significant change is that I will no longer be accepting review requests, until I have caught up on all current books from The List. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause authors, but I promise this will only be temporary. Once I have substantially caught up and/or my life has found a routine, I will re-open the Review Requests. Another change was made earlier today, when I updated both Lists and bolded the ‘Started Reading’ next to each of the books that I am currently reading, so it should be easier to see what I am reading. Over the weekend, I will be updating the sidebars to include book giveaways and/or author contests for readers to participate in.

In the meantime, let’s focus on the positive and discuss what everyone is reading. Right now, I am reading The Quest for Juice and Defending Jacob. What are you reading on this fine Friday night and how has your March been?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Enjoy!
~Ariesgrl

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Filed under About Me

Welcome… Author, Kori D. Miller

Good Morning Everyone,

Please help me give a warm welcome to author Kori D. Miller, who kindly agreed to participate in an interview.

Enjoy!
~Ariesgrl

Welcome Kori! Thanks for participating in this interview. Could you please tell the followers here a little bit about yourself and your work?

Thank you for inviting me!

My writing has appeared in Fine Lines Literary Journal since 2007. In 2011, My Life in Black and White: A book of experiences was published. The revised, second edition was released in January 2014. Deadly Sins: A Dezeray Jackson Mini-Series is my most recent book. I host a weekly radio program called Back Porch Writer: The show for writers, about writers, and writing on Blog Talk Radio. I’m the editor of Kori Miller Writes: The site for creative writers and newbie podcasters. (I love helping other creative people share their work.) My husband and I own two other businesses. When I’m not writing, I hang out with my family, and a few close friends. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention that I’m a Hapkidoist — practicing and describing fight scenes are a lot of fun! (My husband doesn’t always feel the same way.)

Which authors inspired your desire to write?

This may seem strange, but I can’t think of a single writer who inspired me to write. Not because I don’t have favorite writers, but more because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. The first story I remember writing and illustrating was while I was in early elementary school. The person who inspires me the most is my father.  As a general rule, I look to my family for inspiration in most areas of my life. They’ve been my greatest role models.  I’m very fortunate in this regard.

 At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think the minute I picked up a pen and started pretending to write cursive words, I knew I always would write. I never gave much thought to publishing until much later, and I didn’t begin to take my writing seriously until about 2010. Writing and public speaking have been a part of my career for many years.

 If you could have lunch with any author or character, who would it be and why?

Theodor Seuss Geisel is one of my favorite writers. He was willing to tackle tough topics and he did it in a non-threatening way.

If your book Deadly Sins was turned into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

I have no idea. Dezeray Jackson is tough as nails. She’s the type of person who simply has no patience for stupidity. She’s also fairly short, and I can’t think of many actresses who could play “short.”

What can readers expect from you in the year 2014?

I’m planning a May release of Deadly Sins II, and a 2015 release of the full-length novel starring Dezeray Jackson. Readers can get sneak peeks, of the first chapters of the novel, at the end of both Deadly Sins books. In addition to this, I’m revising two middle grade novels: Archer Jaxson and the Compass Wars and The Coyote Wars. And, I can’t forget NaNoWriMo! I’ve got my project title: North Downing, and am fleshing out the story. Readers may see bits of my NaNo project, and the others, on WattPad for reader feedback.
Where can readers find you?

Tweet with me @kmillerwrites and @backporchwriter. I also have Facebook pages with those names. And, readers can check out my author site: www.koridmiller.com

 

Thank you for the opportunity to share a little about my work with your readers.

Kori

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Book Blast Carnival Hop

Banner photo BBCBanner_zps20e6ac58.jpg 

Welcome to my stop for the Book Blast Carnival Hop.  Ten authors are presenting their titles, and there is a giveaway where you can enter to win Amazon Gift Card Giveaway for Readers with prizes of $60, $40  $20 and $10 . Many of the titles are on a limited time only sale of $0.99 for the eBook version, and genres include Romance, Science Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, and Literary Fiction.

Irrefutable Proof photo IrrefutableProof_zps004fa5cf.jpg

 

 

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Purchase Now: Amazon


About the Author:

Born and raised in Ohio, Abby L. Vandiver is a former lawyer and college professor of Economics. She holds a bachelor in Economics, a master in Public Administration and a Juris Doctor. These days, Ms. Vandiver enjoys writing and endeavors to devote all her extra time to it.

Her debut novel, In the Beginning, an Amazon #1 bestseller, was written on a whim, put in a box for more than a decade, and finally pulled out, dusted off and published in 2013. It has inspired her to write a sequel, Irrefutable Proof, as well as start a series of books loosely based on her family and a true crime novel.

Ms. Vandiver resides in Cleveland, Ohio and has three wonderful grandchildren, Gavin, Sydne and Riley.

Find and Follow  Facebook  ♦ Website   ♦ Twitter   ♦ Goodreads

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About the Author:

Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, Dianne Greenlay saves lives by day (besides being a writer, she is a physiotherapist in a remote sole charge clinic as well as a retired EMT), and she tells lies by night (as any entertaining fiction writer would do). She is also a playwright and Creative Director of the very successful and long-running community theater group, Darkhorse Theatre.

As an author, she has won multiple awards for her historical action novels, Quintspinner- A Pirate’s Quest and Deadly Misfortune. Straying into the genre of humour/comedy, Greenlay is the author of The Camping Guy, which is also available as a one act comedy (live theater script).

Greenlay began writing her first novel to fulfill one of the items on her bucket list. It was either that or learn to play the bagpipes. Her husband is grateful for her choice. She is fluent in at least her mother tongue and she thanks her fierce English teachers for that.

Find and Follow: Website ♦ Facebook  ♦  Twitter ♦ Goodreads

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About the Author:

 

 

An award-winning author, Jackie Weger has been writing romance novels off and on for thirty years. She’s traveled to many interesting and exotic locales from London and Paris to Panama and Costa Rica. She’s sailed on a twenty-nine foot sloop in the Pacific, volunteered at a Sisters of Mercy Mission in Colon, canoed on the Big East River in the wilds of Canada and lived part of a winter with trappers in the Louisiana swamps—collecting memories, friends and experiences—which oft times make appearances in her novels.

Writing and self-publishing enovels is a new adventure. Says Weger: “I won’t say it’s safe because half the time I don’t know what I’m doing. But, at least I don’t have to carry a machete or keep snake gun handy.”

 

Book Blast Carnival is Jackie’s first blog tour experience.

Find and Follow: Website ♦ Blog ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter ♦  Goodreads

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Purchase Now Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Barnes & Noble ♦ Kobo  ♦ Smashwords

About the Author:

 

Sweet romance author Joanne Hill is a born and bred Kiwi who grew up reading the romance novels of iconic New Zealand author Essie Summers. A founding member and past president of Romance Writers of New Zealand, she began indie publishing her books in late 2012 and now has three novels and a short story collection available.

She works in a heritage research library, and recently completed her Masters in Information Studies (MIS) where she examined readers’ advisory and Mills and Boon romances for her research project.  Although much of her life revolves around the past –  she also edits her local historical society newsletter and has a BA in Ancient History and History –  her reading and writing preferences are firmly in the present.

She lives in the North Island of New Zealand with her family, and like all romance authors, shares life with assorted pets -  including guinea pigs and a bunny who all have free reign of the back yard.

Find and Follow:  Website ♦  Blog  ♦ Twitter ♦ Goodreads ♦ Smashwords Author Page ♦ Amazon Author Page

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About the Author:

I was born in Arkansas, played in Louisiana, and lived in Texas. Mostly in a small border town called Texarkana. It’s just about a mile from here to there. And you still aren’t anywhere. It’s the kind of town in which you can stand on the steps of a Baptist church and lob a rock across State Line Road to hit the front door of the liquor store. No matter how many roads you take to get out of there, it’s the kind of town that just hangs in your soul, coloring everything you do or think or say. Kind of like the small Texas town you’ll read about in A Home for Wayward Husbands. A Home for Wayward Husbands is about people surviving with the odds all against them. There’s some romance, some sex and a bit of mystery. The folks in this book are trying to keep secrets from each other and everyone knows you can’t keep a good secret in a small town. Not in any I’ve ever lived in anyway. I live with a dog and my imagination.

Find and Follow:  Website  ♦  Twitter  ♦ Amazon Author PageGoodreads

 

 

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Purchase Now: Amazon ♦ Barnes & Noble  ♦ Kobo

About the Author:

Ju Ephraime began writing professionally at the age of 19, but her love of romantic literature developed when she was a teenager, where she often found herself dallying with her own tales of love and romance. Two decades later, Ju decided to write novels for women who enjoy a quick spicy-themed read that includes pure pleasure and escape from the real world. With ten romantic novels to her credit, Ju admits her books are part fact, part imagination – but only she knows what’s what.

Ju Ephraime lives in Connecticut with her husband, who blushingly reads every loving tale that she publishes. Her newest release, Complete Surrender, #3 in her LaCasse Series, is set to be released on January 2014.

 


Find and Follow:
 Website ♦  Facebook ♦  Twitter ♦  Goodreads

 

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Purchase Now Amazon ♦ Kobo ♦ Barnes & Noble ♦ Smashwords  ♦ iTunes 

 


About the Author: 

From nine to five, Julie Frayn is a mild mannered accountant. But the rest of the time, her dark, bent, writer alter-ego comes to life. When she isn’t counting beans or making things up in her head, she is mother to the two most perfect adults on the planet. She isn’t biased, just observant. When they were younger, they were perfect muses for silly poetry about smashed peas and birds with gastroenteritis.

Julie has penned two novels (Suicide City, a Love Story and It Isn’t Cheating if He’s Dead) and published one trilogy of short, short stories. Two more novels are in the works. Stay tuned for She’d Kill for Normal, and The Orphan and the Rose, both in 2014.

 


Find and Follow:
 WebsiteFacebookTwitterAmazon Author Page ♦  Google+  ♦ Goodreads 

 

 

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About the Author: 

Linda Lee Williams writes “contemporary romances with a paranormal twist.” After moving to Denver from Chicago, she taught writing classes at Arapahoe Community College and formed a writers group.  Recently, she teamed up with her husband Tim—the artist that illustrated her book covers—to publish her novels on Amazon.

An outdoor enthusiast, Linda enjoys hiking, biking, and birding.  She loves critters of all kinds—domestic and wild.  During her journeys, she’s called Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado home.  Wherever she roams, she draws inspiration from her surroundings.

 


Elsewhere
, her first published novel, ranked among Storm Goddess Book Reviews “favorite books of 2013.”  She also earned the Liebster Blog Award from fellow bloggers.  Her second novel, Old Town Nights, was among the nominees for “best romance of the year” on Critters Writers Workshop – P&E Readers Poll.

 

Find and Follow:  Website ♦  BlogFacebookTwitterAmazon Author Page ♦  Goodreads

 

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Purchase at  Amazon ♦ Audible ♦ Barnes & Noble  

 

About the Author:

A Navy brat and graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Lorrie Farrelly is proud to be a Fightin’ Banana Slug. Following graduate school at Northwestern University, she began a career in education that included teaching art to 4th graders, drama to 8th graders, and finally, math to high school students.

She’s a three-time winner on Jeopardy!, has shepherded wide-eyed foreign exchange students along Hollywood Blvd, and has happily curried and shoveled as a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch. And always, she writes.

Lorrie has won a Presidential Commendation for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. She’s been a Renaissance nominee for Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the Orange Rose Award in romantic fiction. She’s never won the lottery, except where her family is concerned. For her, they’re the ultimate prize.

 


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Purchase at Amazon ♦ Barnes & Noble ♦ Chapters/Indigo See the Trailer on YouTube

 


About the Author:

Sarah Lane’s first novel The God of My Art was longlisted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Her short stories and poetry have been featured in literary journals, including The Antigonish ReviewRoar Magazine, and Quills: Canadian Poetry Magazine, among other magazines.

Sarah Lane was transplanted from California to Canada as a child and grew up in rural British Columbia. As a young adult, wanderlust led her to live abroad in France and the USA, and to travel extensively in Cameroon, Mexico, and Europe. She holds a B.A. in international relations and a M.A. in comparative literature from the University of British Columbia.

Mom to two young children, speaker of accented French, and all around xenophile, she currently lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she is working on her next novel.

 

Find and Follow  WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Giveaway! 

 

Here is where you can enter to be one of FOUR Amazon gift card winners

There is a total of $130 usd to be given away in four  prizes of $60, $40  $20 and $10

This drawing will run through 23.59 EST on 1 March, winners will be notified on 2 March and have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen, Prizes are sponsored by participating authors and will be fulfilled by Bippity Boppity Book Virtual Tours. You must be 18 or older to enter.

 

 

  FOLLOW THE HOP!

 

 

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Welcome… Author, Laura Oliva!

Good Morning Everyone,

Today I am pleased to welcome romance author, Laura Oliva, to the blog. She kindly agreed to participate in an interview today. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing her book, All That Glitters. You can read the review here.

Enjoy!
~Ariesgrl

 

Hi Laura! Thanks for participating in this short interview. Can you please tell the followers here a little bit about yourself and your work?

Hey Nicole! Thanks so much for having me over.  So, about me: I’m a wife and mom.  I have a garden.  I love to cook.  I also write romance novels starring people who would were probably voted “least likely to fall in love” back in high school.

 

I have always dreamed of living in Alaska. Your book, All that Glitters, takes place in Alaska. Have you ever been there? If not, what made you want to use that beautiful setting as the background of the story?

While I have never been to Nome, Alaska (which is where All That Glitters took place), I was lucky enough to cruise through the interior when I was younger. Granted, it was a cruise, so my exposure to Alaska proper was limited at best, but I still fell in love with the harsh beauty and absolute big-ness of the place.  It struck me as the perfect place for a love story.

 

Valentine’s Day was just a few days ago. As a romance writer, do you have any special Valentine’s Day traditions?

As a romance writer, I would love to.  However, as the mother of a toddler, reality often interferes.  I usually make something yummy for dinner, followed by chocolate (for me), and an early bedtime.  Let me say, though, I am lucky enough to be married to an amazing man who spoils and loves me every day of the year.  So Valentine’s Day is really just another day in our life together.

 

Who are some of the authors that helped inspire your desire to write?

I have been influenced by a lot of different writers.  I love Janet Evanovitch for her use of humor.  I love Sue Grafton for the way she spins a character and writes a mystery.  Lately, though, I’ve been exploring more “noir-ish” themes in my work, so I’ve been reading a lot of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.  I know: weird list of mentors for a romance novelist.  But then, I pride myself on not writing “typical” romance novels.

 

If you could live in one of your books, which one would it be and why?

I would probably live in the book I just finished (and the next six I have planned, since it is part of a serialized romance series).  It is set in present-day San Francisco, but not the San Francisco you’ll see as a tourist.  My San Francisco is a steamy maze of burlesque clubs, back alleys, and crime-ridden neighborhoods.  I love it so!

 

Where can readers find you?

God, I’m everywhere.  But if you’re looking for me, you might start here:

On my Website

On my Blog

On Facebook

On Twitter (@writermama)

 

 What can readers expect from you this year?

I have quite a line-up, well, lined up.  I’m publishing the second book in my serialized noir romance series this summer.  The series is called The Devil’s Playthings, the book is called The Devil’s Kitchen.  I am planning to publish Book Three before Thanksgiving, and I also have a holiday anthology starring the series’ minor characters planned for around that same time.  So I basically will be living in San Francisco, even if it’s just in my head.  Anyone who wants to join me is welcome!

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Happy Valentine’s Day and an Update

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are enjoying your Valentine’s Day! I am recovering from a broken wrist right now, hence the reason that I have been a bit scarce here lately. (Today’s my first day trying to type and let me tell you, it is a SLOW process.) However, I am getting caught up on all my emails today and this weekend I will be back with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 reviews. So thank you for your patience and understanding.

I wish you all a delightful Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy!
~Ariesgrl

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A Quote to Begin Your Week

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

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January 27, 2014 · 6:30 am