Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: Reckless Hearts by Melanie Benjamin

Hi all,

I just read this wonderful short story by Melanie Benjamin and had to share it with you. She is also the author of The Aviator’s Wife, and the upcoming novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue.  Even though it is a short story – it is worth your time to read. I loved it and I hope you do too. Here is more about the story and my five-star review.

Reckless Hearts

Melanie Benjamin

Book Description:

(Please Note: This is a short story, not a full-length book)

Melanie Benjamin introduces readers to the lavish, heady world of her novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue with this exclusive ebook short story! In this enchanting prequel, New York society and Hollywood royalty collide during the doomed and decadent life of Ernest Hemingway.

Spain, 1959. Slim Hawks Hayward likes to think she doesn’t get jealous. But when her dear friend Lauren “Betty” Bacall learns that Papa Hemingway has come to watch the bullfights and insists that Slim make introductions, she can’t help feeling protective. Slim has known Papa for years. He always makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the room—even when his wife is standing right beside him. Truth be told, Slim could have learned to love him all those years ago, in the streets of Havana or the mountains of the American West. Now, Slim is sure that Papa will fall for Betty. What she doesn’t anticipate is the feeling that Papa himself has changed—and their relationship will never be the same.

Buy Now on Amazon:

 Kindle $0.99


My Five Star Review:

Pure and simple – I loved this short story. It is a wonderful teaser to Melanie Benjamin’s upcoming novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue. Having already read the aforementioned novel courtesy of NetGalley, I already knew that this short story would be amazing. Ms. Benjamin’s silky smooth writing style and the way she so skillfully develops characters draws you into the story immediately and keeps you interested. Her ability to take real-life characters and spin a story combining fiction with reality is second to none. This is a story not to be missed.


 About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller. Her first historical novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be published in January 2016.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.




Don’t miss out on this expertly written short story!

You can read my review of The Swans of Fifth Avenue here.




Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hi all,

After having read the novel Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I've become a big fan of this author. So when the opportunity through NetGalley came to read her latest novel, I jumped at it. Here is more about Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde as well as my review.

Ask Him Why

Catherine Ryan Hyde


Book Description:

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

Buy now on Amazon

My 5 Star Review:

10 Years Ago - When Joseph comes home from Iraq after only three-and-a-half months there, the family knows something is terribly wrong. In a matter of days, they find out just how bad things are, and by then, Joseph has disappeared. Over the months, the family endures pressure from the media and ridicule from the entire country. And the glaring question on everyone’s mind remain unanswered. Why did Joseph desert his company and his country?

Told through the eyes of Joseph’s teen siblings, Ruth and Aubrey, this story explores a family that was already broken long before Joseph’s betrayal. We see all that these two young people endure as they come to grips with this life-changing experience. And the question remains—why did Joseph do it—yet no one bothers to ask.

Ten years later, they come face-to-face with their brother again. But will it be easy to forgive and forget?

Ask Him Why is a realistic, thought-provoking story filled with interesting characters. This is no Leave it to Beaver family. It’s a family with real problems which become even larger because of what Joseph did. You don’t fall in love with these characters, you feel for them, and that is the sign of a true storyteller. Catherine Ryan Hyde has created a story and characters that will haunt your thoughts long after you’ve finished reading.



I hope you will pick up this story. It’s one you will certainly think about for a very long time.

See my review of Catherine's other novel, Worthy.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reader Appreciation Holiday Giveaway!

Reader Appreciation Holiday Giveaway!
Giveaway is now over. Thank you for entering.
Congratulations to the Winner Ruth B.
I love my readers! Especially my loyal newsletter subscribers. So, I'm having a giveaway just for them!
The good news is if you aren't a newsletter subscriber yet - you can be by simply clicking the link below and joining. It's that simple! Once you subscribe, you are entered to win!
Are you already a newsletter subscriber? Perfect - you are already entered to win!
What's the prize?
I'm giving away a brand new
Kindle Fire 7" Display Tablet - Wi-Fi capability - 8GB
So join my newsletter now and enter to win!
Contest runs now until December 24, 2015. Open to all U.S. and Canadian residents only.
Winner will be chosen on 12/24/2015.
Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Review: The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

Hi all,

I have just finished the most amazing novel and I just have to share it with you. If you love being swept back in time (well, to the 60s & 70s) and read about the beautiful people – the rich, the famous, the infamous – then you will love this latest novel by Melanie Benjamin. So here it is – The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Melanie Benjamin

Book Description:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York’s “Swans” of the 1950s—and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a prestigious husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.

Publish Date: January 26, 2016

Delacorte Press

Buy now:

Or at a bookstore near you.

My Five Star Review:

Beautiful. Captivating. Spellbinding. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin is all that, and much, much more.

As someone who’s read the biography of Truman Capote (Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke), the writings of Truman Capote, and countless other biographies of the people who appear in this novel, it’s not surprising that I was thrilled at the opportunity to read this fictional novel about these real-life characters. I was not disappointed. Melanie Benjamin brought all these amazing characters back to life and the reader is submerged quickly into a time period of glamour, beauty, and dark secrets.

Truman Capote was able to slip his way into high society by means of his friend, Babe Paley and her powerful husband, Bill. She and her friends – The Swans – all find the outrageous Truman interesting and entertaining. Even before his successes, Truman was first and foremost a storyteller, and the stories he told (gossipy ones) kept the ladies asking for more. But more than that, Truman, who so desired the love that his mother denied him, and Babe, the lonely trophy wife, found between them a connection deeper than physical love – they each found what was lacking within them in each other. What Babe did not ever even once consider is that her dearest of friends – her True Heart – would betray her and her circle of friends with a swipe of his pen.

This is more than just a novel about friendship and betrayal. This novel brings you back to a time when money, power, and titles meant everything, when the beautiful people were put on pedestals and not allowed to be knocked off. They were society’s best and brightest, most powerful and most beautiful, and everyone wanted to be them. No one knew of the dark secrets that stained their lives, because all the world wanted to see was their beauty. And then there was Truman Capote – brilliant, young, promising, and so, so talented. He took their breath away, until he shared their secrets and lost them forever. With a mixture of fact (timeline details) and fiction, Ms. Benjamin was able to recreate these interesting characters and take us deep inside their lives. She tells a story that is so rich, so dark, and so haunting. This book will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.

(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller. Her first historical novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be published in January 2016.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.

Connect with Melanie:




I hope you will give this book a try - I loved it! Pre-order now! :)


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Happy Holiday Giveaway!

Contest is over. Thank you to all who have entered. Winners will be notified.

Merry Christmas!

Hi all,

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone and we are already into the holiday season again. This has been an incredible year for me, and I hope you have all had an amazing year too. To show my appreciation to all my wonderful readers, I’m having a giveaway!

Together with my fabulous book cover designer – Tugboat Design – we are sponsoring the Happy Holiday Giveaway. Starting today and running until December 15th, we are giving you a chance to win one of two $50 Amazon Gift Cards. (U.S., U.K., and Canadian Residents Only.) Enter by using the Raffelcopter below. There are numerous ways to enter. Or – you can enter by leaving a comment below here and/or at Tugboat Design’s site too.

Good luck! And have a wonderful holiday season!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 13, 2015

What I've Been Up To

Hi all,

It's been a few months since my last book release and many readers have asked me when my next book will be out. So, I thought I'd catch you all up on what I've been doing the past few months.

My husband and I moved this past month and have been crazy busy getting settled into our new home. We upsized - LOL - so we have lots of space to get lost in and we have a peaceful view of the Mississippi River. I have a new writing area in the loft overlooking the river, and am very excited about the new space. Once settled - I will go back into writing mode and get all those novels in my head written.

But don't think I haven't been writing - I've been busy working on a women's fiction novel that is finally finished and I am one-third of the way through a new romance. My exciting news - I just signed again with Lake Union Publishing to publish my next two books. The book I just finished is on the way to them and they will work their magic so it will be out in 2016. And if all goes well, I hope to finish up the romance I'm working on and publish that in early 2016. So - there are new books on the way in the upcoming year.

It has been an amazing year for me both personally and professionally. We love our new home and look forward to many wonderful years in it. My novel Maggie's Turn was re-published by Lake Union Publishing in July and has done very well, and paperback copies were also available in Walmarts across the country. I'm looking forward to working with the team at Lake Union again and feel very lucky to have their support.

Most of all, I am amazed and appreciative of all my wonderful readers who've made my success as an author possible. I can't thank you all enough for all your kind and encouraging words, positive reviews, and for getting the word out
to your friends about my books. I love writing stories, and I'm so thankful that you all love reading them. It truly is a dream job.

Looking ahead - Be on the lookout for my holiday giveaway this month. And for my latest novels in 2016.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Maggie's Turn Soon to Hit Shelves at Walmart

Hi all,

I am so excited to share with you that paperback copies of my novel Maggie's Turn have been selected to be placed in 1400 Walmart stores across the country. Thanks to my amazing team at Lake Union Publishing, this next milestone has been made possible. My readers who have bought, read, and reviewed Maggie's Turn have also made this exciting new venture possible.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited when I heard the news. I practically screamed with delight - just ask my husband who was the first person I called to tell the exciting news to. I already felt honored that Maggie's Turn was doing so well on Amazon in Kindle format. This is just the icing on the cake.

Maggie's Turn will hit the shelves at selected Walmart stores on October 20th. At that time, I'll run a contest to see how many people can find my book at their Walmart - so keep an eye out for my contest post around that date.

I can't wait!!!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Hi all,

I'm afraid I've been slow with my reading lately. I have so many books on my iPad/Kindle that I want to read and so little time to do it. But I did finally finish this interesting novel, Crooked Little Lies, and I wanted to share my review with you.
I chose Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel to read from NetGalley for two reasons: the interesting cover and the description. I was not disappointed. Here is more about this novel and my review.

Crooked Little Lies

Barbara Taylor Sissel

Book Description:

On a cool October morning, Lauren Wilder is shaken when she comes close to striking Bo Laughlin with her car as he’s walking along the road’s edge. A young man well known in their small town of Hardys Walk, Texas, Bo seems fine, even if Lauren’s intuition says otherwise. Since the accident two years ago that left her brain in a fragile state, she can’t trust her own instincts—and neither can her family. Then Bo vanishes, and as the search for him ensues, the police question whether she’s responsible. Lauren is terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.

Unable to trust herself and unwilling to trust anyone else, Lauren begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance. But the truth can prove to be as shocking as any lie, and as Lauren exposes each one, from her family, from her friends, she isn’t the only one who will face heart-stopping repercussions.

Buy it on:

Amazon Kindle



My 5 Star Review:

Lauren Wilder nearly hits Bo Laughlin with her car and stops to make sure he is okay. The special needs adult says he is fine, then shows her a roll of money he has in his pocket. As she drives away, she is concerned for Bo’s safety, and calls the police for a welfare check on the young man. A few days later, Bo is missing. Because of Lauren’s shaky memory from a head injury, she begins to wonder if she is wrong about seeing Bo. Or maybe something happened that she doesn’t remember. Unfortunately, the police are wondering the same thing. As Lauren tries to unravel what happened to Bo, the truth begins to show itself, and facing it is the hardest thing she has ever done.

Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel is a drama/suspense novel that will keep you wondering until the very end. We meet an interesting cast of characters between Bo’s family and Lauren’s family, and get to know them intimately. As each chapter unfolds, you become more drawn into the story so that by the time you are half-way through, you don’t want to put it down. And the ending will surprise you. I highly recommend Crooked Little Lies.


About the Author:

Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women's fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. She is the author of five novels, SAFEKEEPING, EVIDENCE OF LIFE, THE VOLUNTEER, THE NINTH STEP AND THE LAST INNOCENT HOUR.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was raised in various locations across the US and once lived on the grounds of a first offender prison facility, where her husband was a deputy warden. The experience, interacting with the inmates and staff, provided a unique insight into the inmate's lives, the circumstances behind the crimes they committed, and the impact on the families that were affected. Her novels focus on the family at the heart of the crime.

An avid gardener, Barbara has two sons and lives on a farm in the Texas Hill Country, outside Austin.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Sizzling Summer $250 Cash Giveaway!

sizzling summer giveaway

Sizzling Summer $250 Cash Giveaway
July 27th to August 16th

Hi all,

It's Giveaway Time again! How much fun is that?

An Awesome Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!!

We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash!

Sponsor List – Thanks to these great authors & bloggers for making this giveaway possible!

I Am A Reader
Ann Swann - Suspense and more
Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author
Suzi Love
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
The Page Unbound
The Discerning Reader
Raven Haired Girl
Author Inger Iversen
J.C. Whyte, author
Glistering Bs Blog
Lori's Reading Corner
The BookBarn
Simple Wyrdings
Stacy Claflin, Author
Caroline Clemmons
Diana's Book Reviews
Kelly's Lucky You
Katie's Clean Book Collection
Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through the Ages
D.E. Haggerty author
Rockin' Book Reviews
B. Kristin McMichael
Chapter by Chapter
Jenny S. Burke
Julia E. Antoine
Jennifer Faye, Romance Author
Heather Gray, Author

Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Gift Code)

Ends 8/16/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Enter now! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hi all,

I have never read one of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books before this, and after having read Worthy, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on. Worthy is such an intriguing, heartfelt story that I am pleased to have had the chance to read it. Here is more about the novel and my review.

(I received a copy of Worthy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Book Description:

They might’ve been a family.

Virginia finally had the chance to explore a relationship with Aaron when he asked her on a date. She had been waiting, hoping that the widower and his young son, Buddy, would welcome her into their lives. But a terrible tragedy strikes on the night of their first kiss, crushing their hopes for a future together.

Nineteen years later, Virginia is engaged, though she has not forgotten Aaron or Buddy. When her dog goes missing and it comes to light that her fiancé set him loose, a distraught Virginia breaks off the engagement and is alone once again. A shy young man has found the missing pet, and although he’s bonded with the animal, he answers his conscience and returns the dog. Before long, Virginia and the young man discover a connection from their pasts that will help them let go of painful memories and change their lives forever.

Buy on Amazon:

My 5 Star Review:

Virginia is on the verge of a new beginning when tragedy strikes and all she’s hoped for is taken from her in one fell swoop. She moves on with her life, but cannot forget the man or the son that could have been hers. Nineteen years later, her dog is missing and she is frantic. She’s engaged, but is learning that her fiancé is not the man she’d hoped he be. When she learns that a shy, young man, who has just lost his grandfather, has her dog, she goes to reclaim him. But the boy has become attached to the dog already, and it becomes complicated. In fact, her whole life soon becomes complicated as she learns of her connection to this boy from long ago.

Worthy is a powerful, emotional, and heartfelt story. Through strong dialogue, we learn so much about each character—their hopes, dreams, flaws, and strengths. I loved the friendship between the outspoken Fern and strong-minded Virginia. The scenes between Jody, the young man, and Virginia are powerful and sometimes intense. You know these characters inside out and feel their struggles and disappointments, as well as their accomplishments. And of course, who wouldn’t love the loyal, sweet-dispositioned dog, Worthy? A wonderful story that will make you think about the characters long after you’ve read the last page.

About the Author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 30 published and forthcoming books, including WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. 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.

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

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

Her best-known 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.

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.

For more information, please visit the author at


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: The Maid's Quarters by Holly Bush

Hi all,

I was first drawn to reading Holly Bush novels with her book Train Station Bride. Since then, I’ve been hooked. She recently sent me a copy of her latest novella, The Maid’s Quarters, and I was thrilled to read it. This story is the third (or should I say 2.5) in the Crawford Family Series which includes Train Station Bride, and Contract to Wedboth novels that I enjoyed very much. Below is the book description and my review.


The Maid’s Quarters
(Crawford Family 2.5)

Holly Bush

Book Description:

 1893 . . . Alice Porterman is released from her duties as a maid and travels home to help her mother care for her sickly brother. But her mother and brother are not in their family home when Alice arrives and she learns the landlord, Albert Donahue, has evicted them into the harsh Boston winter. Alice goes in search of him and is surprised at what she finds.

Albert Donahue, an up-and-coming member of Boston’s elite, made his fortune through hard work and shrewd business deals. But his dreams of a family to share it with have not come true, perhaps until an impertinent young woman enters his home and won’t leave until she speaks to him.

The Maid’s Quarters novella is part of the Crawford Family Series, featuring Jolene Shelby’s maid, Alice.

Buy The Maid’s Quarters:






My 5 Star Review:

Alice Porterman, Jolene Crawford Shelby’s former personal maid, goes home to Boston to help her mother care for her younger brother. When she finds out that her family has been thrown out of their rented home, Alice confronts the man who owns the property. What she doesn’t expect is for the very rich Albert Donahue to become fascinated with her. Can she really believe that such a man would be interested in her—a maid?

Once again, Holly Bush has created fascinating characters who draw you into the story immediately and make you want to keep reading. Without elaborate description, I could visualize the characters, the time period, and even their clothing. Alice is a strong female character, and you like her immediately. Albert is understanding and wise, a perfect match for Alice. And all the minor characters manage to be distinctive in their own right. It is not easy to write a story in a short format and still keep the integrity of the story, but Holly was able to do this with ease. Alice’s story is so complete, I felt as if I’d read a full-fledged novel. An excellent novella! I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance.


Connect with Holly Bush:




More reviews of Holly Bush's books:



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Maggie's Turn is Here!

MAGGIE'S TURN is finally here! 

The new revised and re-edited edition of my women's fiction novel is now available in several formats. Many, many readers had enjoyed the original Maggie's Turn since 2012, and new readers are sure to enjoy this version as well. It is the same great story - just polished up a bit.

If you've already read Maggie's Turn, I thank you. If you haven't, I hope you'll give this novel a try.

Maggie's Turn

Deanna Lynn Sletten

Book Description:
Maggie has always put her family’s needs in front of her own, until one day—without forethought—she drives away, leaving behind her indifferent husband and two sulking teenagers.

As she begins a quest of self-exploration, she meets new people, enjoys new adventures, and rediscovers long-neglected passions. For the first time in years, Maggie contemplates what she wants from life and soon realizes that her deteriorating marriage can no longer continue as it is. Can she and Andrew repair their broken relationship, or is their marriage over?

Left to his own devices, Andrew is forced to take over the household responsibilities and bridge the growing divide between himself and his children. Slowly, he begins to understand what drove Maggie away—and how he can’t bear to live without her. But is it too late? Will Andrew lose Maggie forever?

Revised edition: This edition of Maggie's Turn includes editorial revisions.

Contemporary Women's Fiction
Family Drama

Published by: Lake Union Publishing

Buy Maggie's Turn on Amazon:

Kindle $3.99

Paperback $14.95

Audiobook $14.99 $12.24



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Maggie's Turn Release Party Giveaway!

Update: Contest is over - Thank you all for entering. I will post the winners shortly.

Hi all,

We are only one week away from the July 14th re-release of MAGGIE'S TURN and you can bet I'm getting very excited! To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway. What better way to celebrate?

From now until July 14th, you can enter to win the following prizes:


1 of 5 signed paperback copies of MAGGIE'S TURN
1 of 2 copies of the MAGGIE'S TURN AudioBook
1 of 2 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

Hi all,

Not too long ago The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank was on sale so I grabbed it up. I had already read The Last Original Wife by this author and loved it, so I couldn't wait to read another novel by this author. The Hurricane Sisters didn't disappoint. Here is a description of the novel and my 5 star review.

The Hurricane Sisters
Dorothea Benton Frank
Book Description:

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation, they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Buy The Hurricane Sisters:

Available in stores also.

My Review5 Stars:

The Hurricane Sisters is a novel about three generations of women and how they are coping with their lives as well as their relationship with each other. Maisie, the grandmother, is quirky and fearless. Liz, Maisie’s daughter, is smart, sensible, and strong. Ashley, Liz’s daughter, is young and finding her place in the world. Together, they drive each other crazy, but there is still a bond that holds them together no matter how much they disagree.

Add to that Liz’s shaky marriage, Ashley’s troubled relationship with an overbearing man, and eighty-year-old Maisie’s new boyfriend, and you have more than enough drama, heartwarming moments, and laughter to go around.

Dorothea Benton Frank is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This is the second novel of hers that I've read and I've enjoyed them both immensely. Her characters are always so unique and vivid. I enjoy how she tells the story from each character's perspective - it's a great way to get into the mind of each character. Her writing is fun, sassy, and smart. If you love good women's fiction novels with wit and drama - this is the book for you.

About the author: (From Amazon)

I am the author of fourteen novels placed in and around the Lowcountry of South Carolina and thanking God for my chance to speak. When I'm not writing, I'm reading or gardening or cooking. Love to travel, shoot the breeze with people and most of all, be with my husband, children and dog - not always necessarily in that order. Love to have company so come visit at or on Facebook.

Read my review of The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank.