Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Review: Just After Midnight by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Just After Midnight

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Book Description:

No longer tolerating her husband’s borderline abuse, Faith escapes to her parents’ California beach house to plan her next move. She never dreamed her new chapter would involve befriending Sarah, a fourteen-year-old on the run from her father and reeling from her mother’s sudden and suspicious death.

While Sarah’s grandmother scrambles to get custody, Faith is charged with spiriting the girl away on a journey that will restore her hope: Sarah implores Faith to take her to Falkner’s Midnight Sun, the prized black mare that her father sold out from under her. Sarah shares an unbreakable bond with Midnight and can’t bear to be apart from her. Throughout the sweltering summer, as they follow Midnight from show to show, Sarah comes to terms with what she witnessed on the terrible night her mother died.

But the journey is far from over. Faith must learn the value of trusting her instincts—and realize that the key to her future, and Sarah’s, is in her hands.

Buy Now:

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Ph5gwJ

My 5-Star Review:

A young girl is coming to terms with a tragedy. A grown woman is running from her husband. A grandmother is fighting desperately to get custody of her granddaughter. When these three people meet, their lives are forever changed, surprisingly by a beautiful horse.

Author Catherine Ryan Hyde creates magic again in her latest novel, Just After Midnight. Hyde is a master at creating down-to-earth stories with characters that you feel you know immediately and want to root for from the get-go. She uses emotion and sometimes humor to keep a story flowing steadily along and knows how to make a reader connect to the real-life characters. Life isn’t glossed over in her stories, and that’s why they are so heartfelt. True, raw emotion comes through and that’s just one of the reasons her stories capture readers.

I enjoyed reading Just After Midnight and recommend it to anyone looking for a story that will touch your heart.

About the Author:


An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013 and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction. 

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Book Review: A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler

Hi all,

If you loved the novel: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fower, then you are going to love her latest novel, too. Read more below.

A Well-Behaved Woman:

A Novel of The Vanderbilts

Therese Anne Fowler

Book Description:

The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

Release Date: October 16, 2018
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction/Biographical

Order now on:

My 5-Star Review:

I loved Therese Anne Fower’s novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so I already knew I was going to read a fantastic story when I started reading A Well-Behaved Woman. And I wasn’t disappointed.

When Alva Smith married William Vanderbilt, in desperation for money to support her family, she did bring something important to the table—her family name and influence. Under her careful leadership, Alva raised up the name of Vanderbilt above the “old money” families and in doing so, made a place for herself in the top echelons of society. But Alva was more than just a society woman. She showed from the beginning that she could make a difference and change social beliefs and opinions, as well as help those most in need.

A Well-Behaved Woman is a powerful story of those at the top, of how women can make a difference, and how making the right choices can lead to the sweetest outcome. I highly recommend this novel to lovers of historical biographical fiction.

(I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher and NetGalley and have given my honest review.)

About the Author:

Therese Anne Fowler (pronounced ta-reece) is the third child and only daughter of a couple who raised their children in Milan, Illinois. An avowed tomboy as a child, Therese protested her grandmother’s determined attempts to dress her in frills, and then, to further her point, insisted on playing baseball even though Milan had a perfectly good girls’ softball league. She was one of the first girls in the U.S. to play Little League baseball.

After a too-early first marriage and a stint as the single mother of two terrific (now grown-up) sons, she went on to earn a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing, both from North Carolina State University.  Her first novel was published in 2008.
A book’s fate is almost entirely outside its author’s control. Some are published with a lot of marketing and publicity support, but most are not. After the publication of three contemporary novels, each of which sold fewer copies than the previous one, Therese faced a hard truth: her career was in a nosedive. Her editor at the time felt she should take on a pen name and try again with the same sort of book, but Therese was not persuaded. She decided, instead, to write a biographical historical novel about Zelda Fitzgerald, Z, which was published in 2013.

Therese’s work has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages and is published around the world. Z is now available as an original dramatic series for Amazon Studios starring Christina Ricci, with Killer Films producing. (Amazon has elected not to continue with its order for a second season.)

What Therese has discovered is that she has an affinity for badass women from history whose stories have been either mistold or are largely untold. Her next novel centers on Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a determined, opinionated, compassionate, often amusing woman from America’s Gilded Age. A Well-Behaved Woman, a kind of homage to Edith Wharton with a dash of affection for Jane Austen for good measure, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on October 16, 2018. A Well-Behaved Woman is in development with Sony Pictures Television.

Therese has been a visiting professor at North Carolina State University and occasionally teaches fiction writing at conferences and workshops. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN America, she is married to award-winning professor and author John Kessel. They reside in North Carolina.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Book Review: The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Book Review

The Little Shop of Found Things

Paula Brackston

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance guaranteed to enchant in The Little Shop of Found Things, the first book in a new continuing series.
An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. She discovers there is an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.
While Xanthe fights to save the girl amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

Release Date: October 16, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

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My 5-Star Review:

I must preface this by saying that I have read all of Paula Brackston’s “witch” books and enjoyed them immensely, so it went without saying that I would read anything new that she wrote. And I’m very happy that I read her newest novel, The Little Shop of Found Things. While this isn’t a novel about witches, it is a story with magical qualities and interesting characters that made it very hard to put down.

Xanthe is a special woman who sells antiques with her mother and has the ability to “feel” certain things about the most special items that come into her life. Moving to a new town to start their life over again, Xanthe and her mother, Flora, buy an old antique shop in need of a lot of love and cleaning. While attending an auction to buy items to fill their new shop, Xanthe is drawn to one particular item and must have it. That item takes her on an adventure through time where she must come to the aid of a young girl or else risk the consequences of a very angry ghost. Sounds intriguing? It is, believe me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters come to life and take you on a journey that you will not soon forget. Once again, Ms. Brackston has created a unique world with interesting characters. It is a story you will not want to miss.

(I received a copy of this novel from the NetGalley and the publisher and have given an honest review.)

About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly. 

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.

Don’t miss my review of Paula Brackston’s novel, The Witch’s Daughter.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Release Day ~ Miss Etta: A Novel

Miss Etta ~ Release Day!

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“This is a fantastic story, a great adventure, and a real joy to read.  I highly recommend this book to all lovers of romance, action, adventure, and history.5-Star Review from Readers’ Favorite

"Sletten’s fast-paced novel is inspired by real history and features historical figures Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The suspense surrounding both real and fictionalized events helps weave the narrative together and lends it an authentic feel—readers soon forget to wonder what is real and what is fiction in this heartwarming story." --Critic's Report - The BookLife Prize 

"Miss Etta is the great novel every writer hopes to pen in their lifetime and the book every reader is dying to find. By mixing known facts with fiction, it tells the story of Etta Place, Sundance the Kid’s wife. The book has action/adventure, with gunslinging bank robbers, brothels, and daring escapes. Friendships that last lifetimes are featured, as is a love triangle, family secrets, and difficult decisions that brought me to tears at the end. If I had to tell people what the book is about in one sentence, I’d say it’s the Titanic of the Wild West. If you love women’s historical fiction, read Miss Etta. It’s a story you will never forget."
--Kim Cano, Author

It's finally here!

Release Day for


This novel holds a special place in my heart. I started writing it
over 25 years ago. I wrote it out by hand in notebooks
while sitting at my children's baseball practices or during stolen
moments in my van as I waited for the kids to get out
of school.

And now it's finally here!

I waited a long time to finish this novel 
because I never thought the time was right to
publish it. But with a renewed interest
by readers in historical fiction,
I set aside all my other writing projects
and finished MISS ETTA.

And now I can finally share it with all of you.

I hope you enjoy this story. I have to say, it's my favorite of all my books.

Book Description:

She rode with the most famous outlaws of her time. Then she vanished.

In the fall of 1895, Etta Place falls in love with Harry Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid. She gives up everything to follow him and his partner-in-crime, Butch Cassidy, in their outlaw life across the continent and beyond. Breathtakingly beautiful and every inch a lady, Etta can also ride and shoot as well as any man. As their fugitive life begins to crumble, she finds herself alone and living in a convent with her newborn son. Knowing she can’t hide away forever, she moves halfway across the country to begin anew. Etta prays her past won’t catch up with her.

In 1911 Emily Pleasants steps onto the train station platform of Pine Creek, Minnesota with a teacher’s contract in hand and a secret life she’s fled. A young widow with a small son, she’s searching for a safe place to raise her child where no one will recognize her. She meets Edward Sheridan, a successful merchant and bank owner, who quickly falls for her beauty, intelligence, and kindness. Still, she worries her notorious past will threaten the one thing dearest to her—her son.

From the deserts of Texas to the sweeping vistas of Wyoming, the refinement of New York City to the lush valleys of Argentina, Etta followed the outlaw men she loved so dearly. And then, she disappeared.

One woman, two separate lives. What became of the elusive Etta Place?  

Buy Now:

Barnes & Noble Nook: http://ow.ly/JOeu30kjekn

Apple iBooks: http://ow.ly/pZUJ30kmk9N

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2PyKgDh
 Audiobook:  https://amzn.to/2Pn12EJ   

If you read MISS ETTA and love it,
please take a moment to review online
and tell your friends!

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews