A Very Good Life is the first book in an exciting new series by successful business woman now author Lynn Steward.
In this story, which crosses over from the literary to women’s fiction to romance, Steward takes us to 1970s Manhattan, home of the sophisticated and the elite. There, we meet Dana McGarry.
Dana has everything — a successful job at a prestigious department store, a handsome lawyer husband, a beautiful home, and loving family and friends. But things aren’t always as perfect as they appear to be, aren’t they?
When Dana’s husband begins to drift away, and demands at her job require that she behaves unethically, her world begins to crumble. She finds herself at a crossroads. Will she make the right decisions and stay true to herself and her vision of what a ‘good life’ should be?
This was a wonderful read! It reminded me of novels I read years ago by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Female readers will no doubt empathize with Dana as she struggles to keep her career and marriage together. She is strong, but also caring and sensitive. Readers will also be swept away by the setting. With vivid detail, the author brings Christmas in 1970s New York City alive in all its splendor. I really felt transported in time and place, felt the snowflakes and smelled the holiday trees. The characters are sympathetic and interesting and, of course, the antagonist is just one of those persons the reader will love to hate.
Steward has created a wonderful world of drama in this new series. Book two is supposed to come later this year and I’m really looking forward to reading the new installment. If you love women’s fiction and are a fan of strong female protagonists, I recommend you pick this one up. It won’t disappoint.
Find out more on Amazon.
Visit Lynn Steward’s website.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics.
Overall, I thought this was a great read. I liked Bret's character and feel his story is one that a lot of people can relate to. Bret is struggling with a life he thinks he should live, but when unexpected people enter his life, they help him evolve. This is a great coming of age story, and from a person who isn't exceptionally musically inclined, I enjoyed that aspect of the book immensely. Beyond The Precipice is definitely worth the read.
ABOUT BEYOND THE PRECIPICE
publisher: Ashby-BP Publishing
A YOUNG MAN WITH A DARK SECRET MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN HIS FAMILY AND THE GIRL HE LOVES.
For six years Bret Killeen is trapped by the wishes of his dead father, blackmailed by his brother, and rejected by his uncle. Meanwhile, he watches his mother descend into the depths of poverty.
As Bret wrestles with guilt over the death of his father, he is helped by Nicole, a young cello player with big dreams. She stirs the embers of his longing both for music and for her - and ignites a fire he can't extinguish.
But can he brave his past in order to seize his future?
The award-worthy debut novel by Eva A. Blaskovic is a riveting blend of suspense, dark humor, and compelling inter-personal drama. Once you engage this roller coaster read you won't be able to stop.
About The Author
Eva Blaskovic was born in the Czech Republic, grew up in Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where she raised four children. Eva has worked in science labs and has taught literacy, writing, math, and science. She is both an accomplished writer and editor of non-fiction articles on business, education, how-to, parenting, and travel. She is also an author of short fiction. Beyond the Precipice is Eva Blaskovic's first full length novel, but it has already received rave reviews from literary professionals and aficionados the world over. When Eva hasn't buried herself in writing or editing, she may be found taking her teenagers to Taekwondo, exploring the Farmers' Market, listening to Celtic music, or sipping a latte.
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**Tour sponsored by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours – Follow the rest of Eva’s tour HERE**
Knight Blindness is the third installment in Karlsen’s The Knights in Time series. I have read the first two books and, as always, the author doesn’t disappoint.
The story begins at the Battle of Poitiers, France, in 1356. English knight Stephen Palmer charges into battle when he is suddenly struck by the enemy. In that instant, he plummets through time and when he wakes up, wounded and confused, he finds himself in a hospital in 2013. Not only that, but blind due to his wound. His manner of speaking, questions and claims force people to believe that he’s mad.
In a twist of fate, old friends of his who have also secretly traveled through time before, from earlier books, come to help. They assign him a tutor to help him adjust to the modern world: beautiful and warm-hearted Esme Crippen who, unfortunately, thinks Stephen adorable but also mad.
But unbeknown to Stephen, the man who struck him, French knight Roger Marchant, was also sucked into the vortex and ripped through time…and he has his own agenda and will stop at nothing to hunt his enemy down and bring him back to 1356.
This was a thoroughly entertaining and compelling read. Romance, adventure, intrigue, mystery and a touch of humor await you in Knight Blindness. With her close attention to historical detail, Karlsen brings the story to life. Stephen is a riveting hero, brave, loyal and stubborn, yet with a vulnerable, sensitive side; Esme is as sympathetic as heroines go, and I had fun watching their romance evolve. Roger is a character not many will like, but Karlsen gave him some redeeming qualities as well, making him a more comlex and realistic villain. I should mention that although this is third in a series, it is also a standalone book, and the author does a good job in providing some light backstory that doesn’t get overwhelming. If you’re a fan of time-travel and historical romance, you’ll want to add this one to your shelf.
Purchase from Amazon.
Visit the author’s website.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics.
** Don't forget to check out the Giveaway below**
TSR Says... At first glance, the cover for this novel and the blurb are intriguing. But from the moment I started to read PHOENIX, I realized that a pretty cover and smart blurb were not the only things great about the book. From the prologue, I was hooked. I loved the opening scene with Phoenix. It was so strong, dark, masculine, and made you want to read more. The rest of the book was every bit as good. The love story between Phoenix and Eve was great, making for a really nice, quick read. The voice in this book really captivated me and overall I was very impressed with this author and her writing style. I would certainly pick up another Raine Anthony novel.
In a small town in Cornwall, a fighter and a schoolteacher meet.
Dangerous. Bad News. Killer. This is what Phoenix sees when he looks in the mirror.
Shy. Timid. Afraid. This is what Eve sees in her own reflection.
But when Eve looks at Phoenix she sees a strong, handsome, sensual man. And when Phoenix looks at Eve he sees a beautiful, untouchable, heavenly creature. Together they will help each other to escape the labels they have lived with for so long.
Will the ghosts of their pasts return to hinder their happiness?
Or will true love lead to freedom?
Phoenix is a story of two lonely souls trying to find solace in one another’s hearts.
**Suitable for readers 18 years and over.**
**** Get the ebook for ONLY 99 Cents for a limited time!! ****
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
**This tour was brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours**
This is a guest review from our friend at What Are You Reading For? Read reviews like this and more at their site!
Back from my holiday in the south of France – tanned in places, burned in others, but otherwise well-rested from 10 days spent paddling in the Med. I also managed to get plenty of reading in – I’m currently halfway through Denise Mina’s Gods and Beasts, but want to concentrate in this post on my other choice, Bad Blood.
I went for John Sandford thanks to Ken Bruen, who references him in The Guards. When I visited my local library Bad Blood was the only book of Sandford’s they had, which as it turns out was a terrific place to start. The novel is pacy, exciting and unpredictable, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into more of Sandford’s work.
Bad Blood features investigator Virgil Flowers, attached to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (which sounds fictitious – at least to me – but isn’t: check out theirwebsite and learn, as I did, that they were the first US agency to identify a suspect based solely on DNA evidence. Impressive, non?). Flowers was originally created as a supporting character in another series of books, but Sandford liked him so much he gave him a promotion. There have been seven Flowers novels so far, and Bad Blood sits slap bang in the middle of the series.
I liked Flowers immediately – he’s a terrific creation. Determined, charming and quick-witted, he’s also a man with a past – the son of a church minister, he’s as ready with a Bible quotation as in applying pressure in more direct ways (throughout the book, he’s referred to more than once as ‘that fuckin’ Flowers’). There’s more than the touch of the cowboy about him – a stereotype he plays up to, especially in his developing relationship with the local female sheriff, Lee Coakley. ‘She had a glint in her eye,’ Flowers thinks at one point. ’And she carried a gun. He liked that in a woman, because it sometimes meant that he didn’t have to.‘
Coakley is investigating a murder, which has been dressed to look like an accident. When the suspect in turn dies in jail, and one of her deputies appears to be responsible, Coakley realises she needs some outside help. She approaches Flowers and, working together, they uncover a series of crimes which quickly blossoms into a much wider (and darker) conspiracy.
In contrast to its complex plot, Bad Blood is very economically written – it’s a very lean book, largely thanks to Sandford’s extensive journalist experience. He rarely repeats himself, and also keeps nothing deliberately hidden; everything that Flowers learns is laid open for the reader, so we see the investigation progress alongside him. Indeed, this is made explicit through a recurring scene, where Flowers visits the local diner and updates the locals on how the investigation is progressing. Coakley is initally sceptical of this approach – ‘What? You’re a talk-show host?’ - but Flowers sticks to his guns.
He said, ‘What good does it do to keep the information private? The killers know everything we do. Why shouldn’t the tax-payers know it?’
She said, ‘Well.’ Thought about it, then said, ‘It doesn’t seem law enforcement-like.’
‘That’s a problem for law enforcement,’ Virgil said. ‘You can get a lot more done if you ask around, and spread the joy.’
All of this has the effect that we’re looking over Flowers’ shoulder, which of course draws you deeper into the story. Bad Blood is one of those rare novels that I put down only very reluctantly. When I wasn’t reading it, I spent a good amount of time thinking about it, and where it would take me next. And yet, in spite of his (and Flowers’) openness, Sandford still has plenty with which he can surprise the reader. I raced through the book, keen to know how it would finally turn out.
At times, this eagerness was in spite of the subject matter. The subject of the investigation in Bad Blood is extremely dark, and concerns child abuse within the context of an organised religion – although there’s nothing remotely religious or spiritual about the crimes Flowers uncovers. As someone with my own children, there were several occasions where I had to put the book down, and take a breath. Sandford doesn’t dwell on these crimes but they are still shocking, and again have the effect of increasing the reader’s empathy with Flowers’ ongoing investigation.
Sandford paints the rural setting extremely well; I have to confess that I had no idea where Minnesota was before I started reading the book. Early on, Sandford describes the landscape Flowers is driving through on the way to meet with Coakley – ‘The countryside was nothing but farms: corn and beans and corn and beans and corn and beans, and over there some wild man had apparently planted wheat or oats, judging from the stubble; the countryside all black trees and brush and white snow and houses and red barns.‘ There’s a lonely, apocalyptic feeling to the book, heightened by the religious undercurrents; and whilst Flowers does eventually get his perpetrator, the resolution is neither straightforward nor wholly reassuring. The end of the novel is lit up with fires burning across the empty Minnesota landscape, and neither Flowers nor Coakley escape completely unscathed.
But I’m glad that they do, and also that they are another six Virgil Flowers novels for me to work my way through. I’d recommend Bad Blood - or indeed anything else by Sandford – in a heartbeat, and I’m hoping there’s more of his work in the library when I pay them a visit with the kids tomorrow.
John Sandford’s website is at johnsandford.org
Review of Muskie Attack
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