Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Review: A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

Book Review

A Week at the Shore

Barbara Delinsky

Book Description:

One phone call is all it takes to lure Mallory Aldiss back to her family’s Rhode Island beach home. It's been twenty years since she's been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents' marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with the love of her life, Jack Sabathian. Twenty years during which she lived in New York, building her career as a photographer and raising her now teenage daughter Joy.

But that phone call makes it clear that something has brought the past forward again—something involving Mallory’s father. Compelled by concern for her family and by Joy’s wish to visit her mother’s childhood home, Mallory returns to Bay Bluff, where conflicting loyalties will be faced and painful truths revealed.

In just seven watershed days at the Rhode Island shore, she will test the bonds of friendship and family—and discover the role that love plays in defining their lives.

Buy Now:

My 5-Star Review

I’ve been reading Barbara Delinsky’s books for years and have never been disappointed. In her latest novel, A Week at the Shore, we meet the Aldiss family—three sisters who’ve grown apart over the years and their aging father who is slowly succumbing to dementia. Mallory has stayed away from her family home since the scandal that broke her family apart and since losing the man she once loved, Jack. Now, after years creating a life for herself and her daughter, Mallory is called back home by a brusque phone call by Jack to check on her sister and father. Reluctantly, Mallory returns and is quickly pulled back into the mystery of what happened to Jack’s mother that fateful night everything fell apart, and in doing so, finds she is still attracted to the man she left all those years ago.

A Week at the Shore is a heartfelt family story with a touch of mystery that will keep you reading long into the night. Beautifully written, clever, and touching, you are sure to enjoy this amazing novel by the talented Barbara Delinsky. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

Barbara Delinsky, author of A WEEK AT THE SHORE (May 2020), BEFORE AND AGAIN (2018), BLUEPRINTS (2015), SWEET SALT AIR (2013), ESCAPE (2011), and NOT MY DAUGHTER (2010), has written twenty-five New York Times bestsellers, with many more of her books on other national bestseller lists. There are nearly forty million copies of her books in print, including those published in thirty languages worldwide.

Barbara's fiction centers upon everyday families facing not-so-everyday challenges. She is particularly drawn to exploring themes of motherhood, marriage, sibling rivalry, and friendship.

A lifelong New Englander, Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. As a breast cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease when she was only eight, Barbara compiled the non-fiction book Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes. She donates her proceeds from the sale of this book to her charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Barbara enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She also loves to interact with her readers through her website at www.barbaradelinsky.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bdelinsky, on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/barbaradelinsky/, and on Twitter as @BarbaraDelinsky.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

First Chapter Reveal: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Hi all,

I'm so thrilled to share the first chapter of my upcoming novel: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND. It is an historical women's fiction novel about a woman growing up in the 1930s - 1950s and how her life turns tragic in one terrifying moment. At age ninety-five, she is let out of prison. Her granddaughter finds her and soon learns the details that led up to that fateful night.

THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND can be preordered on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available in paperback and audiobook upon release.

First Chapter

Chapter One


Diane Martin strode down the hallway of the Rosewood Senior Living Apartments, smiling and waving to the many residents she passed. The hallway walls were painted a soothing light grey with dark gray wainscoting on the bottom half. Lovely watercolor paintings depicting lake, river, and woodland scenes decorated the walls, and each door displayed a cheerful flower or autumn leaf wreath. But the calming interior did nothing to soothe Diane’s frayed nerves. It was Friday afternoon, and she’d just come from the high school where she taught history and social studies. She was tired, but she still had to take her mother shopping and out to dinner as she did every Friday. It wasn’t that she minded helping her mother; it was the fact that her mother could be difficult at times and Diane could never gauge when her mother’s mood might change. Diane was eager for the day to end.

Walking up to room 212, Diane steeled herself before knocking twice, then slowly opening the door. “Mom? It’s me,” she called.

“Come in. Come in,” an impatient voice called from inside the bedroom. “I’ll be ready in a minute.”

Diane stepped inside the space and quietly closed the door. Her mother, Joan Hartman, had a two-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and a good-sized living and dining room combination. She’d moved into the senior apartment building a year ago after she’d fallen and broken her hip. Once it had healed, the seventy-year-old had finally decided she could no longer live alone in her house and had moved in here. It wasn’t exactly a care facility—many of the residents still drove and cooked their own meals. But Joan did have the choice of eating all her meals in the dining room, and there were security devices in each apartment so residents could call for help if needed.

“You’ll never believe what Lucy Sutton did at lunch today,” Joan said, coming out of her bedroom. She was dressed in a pair of slacks, a light sweater, and flats. Her gray hair was cut short and styled nicely. “She choked on a cut-up grape.”

Diane’s brows rose. “Is she okay?”

“She’ll live,” Joan said offhandedly. “But it was quite the spectacle when Arnold jumped up and tried to do the Heimlich maneuver on her. He grabbed her around the waist and squeezed, and they both almost fell over backward.” Joan laughed. “If the lunch attendant hadn’t intervened, they’d both be in the hospital.”

“Mom. That’s not funny,” Diane said, pushing her shoulder-length blond hair behind one ear. “They could have been seriously hurt.”

Joan swatted her hand through the air. “They’re fine. It was funny, watching them. We’re all old. It’s nice to have some excitement once in a while.”

Diane shook her head at her mother. Joan wasn’t very tall, and she was petite in size, but she could be a tough one when he wanted to be. She’d always been a tough cookie.

The phone on the end table started ringing and Diane headed over to answer it.

“Leave it alone,” her mother ordered. “Let’s go. I have a lot of shopping to do.”

Diane stopped, startled by her mother’s brusque tone. Diane was fifty-one years old and three inches taller than Joan, but her mother still insisted on talking to her as if she were a child.

The phone stopped ringing, so Diane ignored it. “You should bring a light jacket,” she told her mother. “The fall weather is nice right now, but once the sun goes down, it’ll be chilly.”

Joan nodded and walked slowly toward the closet by the door to get her jacket. She moved slower now since her hip had been replaced. She had other health issues as well, with arthritic knees and hands, and her eyesight wasn’t the best, even when wearing her glasses. Moving into the senior apartments had been a relief for Diane. Living in a place where Joan could get help if needed meant Diane didn’t have to worry about her mother falling and needing assistance. Winters could be harsh in their town of Minnetonka, MN, with the threat of snow and ice causing a bad fall. Having her mother live in Rosewood took a lot of stress off Diane.

The phone began ringing again. Diane watched as Joan turned and glared at it but didn’t move to answer it.

“This is silly,” Diane said, annoyed, heading for the phone. “I’ll just answer it.”

“Don’t!” her mother yelled.

Diane ignored her and picked up the handset. “Hello?”

“Hello? Mrs. Hartman?” a male voice asked, sounding rushed. “I’m from the Sun-Times. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”

Diane frowned and looked at her mother. Joan was waving her hands through the air and saying, “Hang up!”

“I’m sorry,” Diane said into the receiver. “What do you want?”

“I’d like to ask you a question. How do you feel about your mother being let out of jail today after sixty-five years?”

Diane’s mouth dropped open. She looked again at Joan, whose shoulders had sagged in defeat. Hanging up the phone, Diane approached her mother. “My grandmother is alive?”

Joan nodded. “Yes.

The phone began ringing again as Diane’s whole life felt like it was spinning out of control.


Want to read more?


releases on September 8, 2020

Pre-order now!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Review: The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt by C.W. Gortner

Book Review

The First Actress

A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt

C.W. Gortner

Book Description:

From her beginnings as the daughter of a courtesan to her extraordinary transformation into the most celebrated actress of her era, Sarah Bernhardt is brought to life by an internationally bestselling author praised for his historical novels featuring famous women.

Sarah’s highly dramatic life starts when she returns to Paris after her convent schooling and is confronted by her mother’s demand to follow in the family trade as a courtesan. To escape this fate, Sarah pursues a career onstage at the esteemed Comédie-Française, until her rebellious acting style leads to her scandalous dismissal. Only nineteen years old and unemployed, Sarah is forced to submit to her mother’s wishes. But her seductive ease as a courtesan comes to an abrupt end when she discovers she is pregnant. Unwilling to give up her child, Sarah defies social condemnation and is cast adrift, penniless and alone. 

With her striking beauty and innovative performances in a bohemian theater, Sarah catapults to unexpected success; suddenly, audiences clamor to see this controversial young actress. But her world is torn asunder by the brutal 1870 siege of Paris. Sarah refuses to abandon the ravaged city, nursing wounded soldiers and risking her life.

Her return to the Comédie and her tempestuous affair with her leading man plunge Sarah into a fierce quest for independence. Undeterred, she risks everything to become France’s most acclaimed actress, enthralling audiences with her shocking portrayals of female and male characters. Sarah’s daring talent and outrageous London engagement pave her path to worldwide celebrity, with sold-out tours in Europe and America. 

Told in her own voice, this is Sarah Bernhardt’s incandescent story—a fascinating, intimate account of a woman whose unrivaled talent and indomitable spirit has enshrined her in history as the Divine Sarah.

Biographical Historical Fiction

Buy Now:

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/3fhP4Ji

My 5-Star Review:

The First Actress is an interesting novel written from Sarah Bernhardt’s perspective taking the reader on a journey from the famous actress’s childhood through adulthood. Born the daughter of a courtesan and raised in a convent, Bernhardt’s life is quite an interesting one, especially when you consider the time period. Becoming an actress was considered to be a profession lower than that of a prostitute. But the young woman worked hard and persevered, with many roadblocks along the way.

Written to keep you reading, I found this novel intriguing. A wonderful choice for book clubs or lovers of historical fiction.

About the Author:

C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California and a degree in fashion marketing. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced in a Tudor great hall. Half-Spanish by birth, his novels have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of The Romanov Empress, Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books. He lives in Northern California.

C.W. enjoys talking to book groups. To schedule a chat or find out more about his work, visit: http://www.cwgortner.com

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Book Review: The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

Book Review:

The Heirloom Garden

Viola Shipman

Book Description:

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

Buy Now:

My 5-Star Review:

When you pick up a book by Viola Shipman, you know you’re in for a treat. This heartwarming story is no exception. Her novels are always populated with broken, lost characters who have lost their way or purpose and somehow find a way back to happiness. In this one, a woman who has lost everything and has isolated herself from the world soon befriends the family that is renting from her next door and finds there may be more to life than she’d thought.

Iris is a complicated character who has a broken life and has found solace in her garden. She creates beautiful flowers which originated from her grandmother’s garden, and they bring her joy. Abby, her neighbor, is trying her best to keep her family together despite the stress of her husband’s PTSD, her new job, and caring for her young daughter. She is overwhelmed. But upon meeting Iris, she feels a kinship with the older woman and slowly they begin to create a bond. But changing one’s life isn’t always easy.

This is a beautiful story that is sure to touch your heart. Perfect for those who love heartwarming women’s fiction novels.

About the Author:

Dear Reader:

Does your garden tell a story? Mine does. And it’s the inspiration behind my new novel, The Heirloom Garden, which explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose … and flowers.

My grandma was a grand gardener, and many of her original flowers (like her perfumed peonies!) now live in my garden. Each has a memory that reminds me of family. If you love multigenerational sagas filled with hope and history (this explores WWII Victory Gardens, and 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of WWII’s end), love to garden or just love books and flowers, The Heirloom Garden is the spring “pick” for you!

I consider The Heirloom Garden to be my richest, deepest, and most moving work to date. The later Dorothea Benton Frank, who I miss dearly, said of the novel, “Every now and then a new voice in fiction arrives to completely charm, entertain and remind us what matters. Viola Shipman is that voice.”

The Heirloom Garden explores how loss and loneliness affect us, how we cope and – too often – how we don’t. As an author, I always start my novels not with an heirloom in mind, or certain character, but a question. In this novel, my questions were, “What makes us isolate ourselves from the world? And what gives us hope?” In the novel, two women scarred by war – World War II and the Iraq War – are united by loss and a love of flowers. In my case, much of the pain I explore in the novel is real: My brother died when he was just 17, still a child in so many ways, and his loss had a profound impact on me and my family. How we healed, how we came together, how we found faith – and each other – again is a huge part of this novel.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II (on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, with documents signed on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2, officially ending the war). In addition, The Heirloom Garden also explores the history of Victory Gardens and their importance in America and World War II. Thousands of gardens were started in cities, large and small, all across America – women leading the charge – and they helped feed their own families and communities as well as our troops and allies. Today’s resurgence of urban and community gardens is a legacy of those Victory Gardens.

Like my previous book, The Summer Cottage – which was the #1 bestselling novel in Michigan last year – I am honored to be able to write novels that are inspired by my grandmothers’ and mom’s heirlooms, lives, lessons and love. The multigenerational family sagas I write are meant to serve as a universal tribute to our elders, whose stories and sacrifices helped shape us and make us the people we are today. They are meant to serve as a tribute to family and to remind readers of what’s most important in life. And in these turbulent times, my novels are meant to give us hope, something we need more than every right now.

(Viola Shipman is a pen name used by author Wade Rouse)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Cover Reveal: The Ones We Leave Behind by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Cover Reveal

I am so excited to share my upcoming historical women's fiction novel with you


A heart-wrenching story of family, loss, and redemption.

The amazing cover is designed by
Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design

Book Description:

Diane picked up her mother’s phone. “How do you feel about your mother being let out of prison today after sixty-five years?” the reporter asked. Diane stared at her mother. “My grandmother is alive?” That one phone call hurled shock waves throughout the entire family.

1955 – Anna Bergman Craine’s life changes in an instant when she commits a crime of passion and is sentenced to life in prison. Leaving behind two young children, she is left alone in the world, never to hear from family or friends again. Decades later, she is set free, and finds she has a family that has chosen to forget her. What caused this beautiful, intelligent, young woman to commit such a drastic deed that would pull her away from everyone she loved?

2020 – Diane Martin is shocked to learn that not only is her maternal grandmother alive, but she’s just been released after decades in prison. Against her aging mother’s wishes, she visits the older woman and soon hears a tale of the events that led up to that tragic day in 1955. Diane realizes that her own life has mirrored that of her grandmother’s and, had circumstances gone differently that fateful day, she might have experienced the same fate.

A heart-wrenching story of a family torn apart because of a moment in time and trying to put the pieces together after being separated for decades.

Historical Women's Fiction

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Preorder now on:

Will also be available on Kindle Unlimited

Coming also to:

Paperback and Audiobook

I can't wait for you to read Anna's story!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Book Review: Dovetail by Karen McQuestion

Book Review

Dovetail: A Novel

Karen McQuestion

Book Description:

Joe Arneson’s ordinary life is upended by troubling dreams of himself as a different man in another place and time. It isn’t until he visits his estranged grandmother, Pearl, in her Wisconsin hometown that a startling connection emerges.
Drawn into his family’s past, Joe discovers secrets weighing on the old woman’s soul: the tragic death of her sister Alice a half century ago and its ripple effect on all who loved her. Digging into the events of that summer in 1916, Joe is convinced that his recurrent visions relate to Alice’s untimely passing and to the beloved man she meant to marry. With the help of Kathleen, a local woman Joe’s fallen for, the puzzles of the past start falling into place.
As uncovered truths bring Joe and Kathleen closer together, they also reveal a new danger. For Joe’s dreams may be a warning—from one star-crossed couple to another.

Buy on Amazon:

My 5-Star Review:

A skillfully written novel about romance, mystery, and family secrets. Author Karen McQuestion weaves together a story about the secrets a family keeps and the length they will go to keep those secrets hidden.

When Joe is rescued from a mental hospital by the grandmother he’s never met and thought was dead, he is both confused and intrigued. She takes him to her family home and asks him to pack up her house as she is too old to deal with it. Plagued by disturbing dreams he is unable to understand, Joe takes on the job as an opportunity to get to know his grandmother and to clear his mind. What he doesn’t realize is the past will rear its ugly head and place him right in the middle of a family drama.

I really enjoyed this story that takes the reader between two time periods as the family mystery unfolds. The perfect story for those who love duel-timeline historical fiction with a touch of romance and suspense.

About the Author:

Karen McQuestion is the author of more than a dozen novels and has sold over a million books worldwide. Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR and she has appeared on ABC's World News Now and America This Morning. McQuestion’s books share common themes of connection and kindness. She lives in Hartland, Wisconsin.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Book Review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Book Review

Big Lies in a Small Town

Diane Chamberlain

Book Description:

North Carolina, 2018:
Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
North Carolina, 1940:
Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Buy Now:

My 5-Star Review:

An amazing story written by a talented author. Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain takes the reader on a journey through time between 1940 and today. When Morgan Christopher is released from jail to restore an old mural, she is confused as to why she was chosen. And after she sees how damaged the mural is, she wonders how she will do a good job of it with her limited talent of restoration. But others are depending on her to not only finish it, but finish it on time. And as she works on it, she becomes intrigued by the original artist, Anna Dale, who’d created the mural in 1940. Her interest soon becomes an obsession to learn what had become of the artist after tragedy had befallen both her and the small town.

Just like the mural, this story is full of layers about the small town of Edenton, North Carolina and its inhabitants. Mystery, murder, and a touch of a love story all combine to create a story that you just can’t put down. Those who love a good duel-timeline historical novel will love this book.

About the Author:

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.

Please visit Diane's website at www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Finding Libbie ~ Returning March 23, 2020


I'm so excited to share that my novel 
has been returned to me from my publisher and I will be republishing it on March 23, 2020. 
It will be the same beautiful story with a brand new cover designed by Deborah at Tugboat Design. 

Audiobook will be available soon.

Finding Libbie is also available in Kindle Unlimited.

Historical Women's Fiction
Publish Date: 3/23/2020

Book Description:

A love so strong that decades couldn’t tear it apart.

Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.
In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s working-class family and his chosen career as a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.

Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Book Review: The Chocolatier by Jan Moran

Book Review

The Chocolatier

Jan Moran

Book Description:

A young widow. A husband she thought she knew. On the picturesque Italian coast of Amalfi lies a chocolatier's destiny...

San Francisco, 1953: Heartbroken over the mysterious death of her husband, Celina Savoia, a second-generation chocolatière, resolves to take their young son to Italy's shimmering Amalfi coast to introduce him to his father's family. Just as she embarks on a magical, romantic life of making chocolate by the sea surrounded by a loving family, she begins to suspect that her husband had a dark secret--forged in the final days of WWII--that could destroy the relationships she's come to cherish.

While a second chance at love is tempting, the mystery of her husband's true identity thwarts her efforts. Challenged to pursue the truth or lose the life and those she's come to love, Celina and her late husband's brother, Lauro, must trace the past to a remote, Peruvian cocoa region to face the deceit that threatens to shatter their lives.

Buy now:

My 5-Star Review:

Family secrets, romance, and mystery abound in THE CHOCOLATIER, a beautifully written novel by Jan Moran.

When Celina, a young widow with a son, decides to go to Italy to meet her deceased husband’s family for the first time, she has no idea what secrets she is about to uncover. She is welcomed by her husband’s parents, but his brother is leery of her, believing she may be a fraud wanting to claim money from the family fortune. In truth, she has no idea of the lies she’s been told or the secrets that her deceased husband held.

THE CHOCOLATIER takes you on a journey from San Francisco to the beautiful coast of Italy in the years after WWII. You fall in love with Celina and her son as you learn of her past as well as her love affair with her husband. And when she finally makes the decision to meet her deceased husband’s family, you hope for only the best outcome for her. But there is so much more happening below the surface, as you learn hidden truths along the way with Celina. Beautifully written, mesmerizing. Those who love novels by Danielle Steel or Kristin Hannah will enjoy this story.  

About the Author:

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award-winning author who lives near the beach in southern California. She writes stylish, emotionally rich contemporary and historical women's fiction, including The Winemakers and Scent of Triumph from St. Martin's Press. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. Visit her at www.janmoran.com and join her reader's club.

Her books are also translated into German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, and other languages. She studied writing at the UCLA Writers Program, sailed on Semester at Sea, and graduated from the University of Texas and Harvard Business School.

Friday, February 28, 2020

New Cover ~ Sara's Promise!

New cover alert!

I'm so excited to share that there is a brand new gorgeous cover for an old favorite:

Sara's Promise

I just love this new cover created by
Deborah at Tugboat Design.

If you haven't already read this 
heartfelt story,
I hope you will give it a try. 

Book Description:

Do you believe in soul mates?

William Grafton had the perfect life with his lovely wife, Sara, and two wonderful children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and wonder how he would ever get through life without his soul mate. Five years later, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of his late wife, yet he’s drawn to her. But after a few strange occurrences, he begins to wonder–are these just coincidences or has his Sara come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman?  

Annie Paxton doesn't believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn't know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.

Were William and Annie brought together by fate, coincidence, or by Sara keeping her promise.

Buy now on Amazon:

What readers are saying about Sara's Promise:

"With a realistic cast of characters who come alive and jump off the pages; a richly detailed and descriptive setting along the Oregon seaside; and a simply inspirational storyline that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions, Sara's Promise is a tenderhearted story of love that will touch your heart and soul, and will resonate with you long after the last page has been read." ~ Kathleen Higgins-Anderson - Jersey Girl Book Reviews

"Sara's Promise is a wonderful story that I just got lost in. Deanna writes such warm, beautiful words that makes one just keep reading and reading. I did not want to put the book down, I did not want to leave Sara's world." ~ The Book Bag – Susan Schliecher

"A rather charming love story, which should appeal to incurable romantics in search of a pleasant diversion. ~ Catherine Langrehr, IndieReader

I hope you'll give Sara's Promise a try. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Review: And They Called it Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Book Review

And They Called it Camelot:

A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

 Stephanie Marie Thornton

Book Description:

An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…
Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.
But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

Historical Fiction
Publish Date: March 10, 2020

My 5-Star Review:

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was known as a beautiful, educated woman full of grace, dignity, and most of all, who had the strength to survive. From her upbringing in a broken home with a harsh mother, to the debutante, horsewoman, and journalist, the woman who would be known as Jackie married into American royalty when she married Jack Kennedy. What she didn’t know was how that life would take her on a journey of severe heartache, and she’d need all her strength to carry on.

And They Called It Camelot is a wonderful historical novel that follows the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy from her meeting with John F. Kennedy and beyond. The reader sees it all in through Jackie’s eyes; her thoughts and feelings throughout the highs and lows of her first marriage, her heartaches, and her triumphs. Through it all, she displays a strength that helps her carry on for herself, and her children. A well-written and intriguing novel that doesn’t whitewash anything about the lives of the Kennedys. I believe anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this novel.

About the Author:

Stephanie Marie Thornton is the USA Today bestselling author of American Princess and a high school history teacher. She lives in Alaska with her husband and daughter.

Book Review: Eighty and Out by Kim Cano

Book Review

Eighty and Out

Kim Cano

Back in the 1950s, when my younger sister Jeannie and I were kids, we made a pact not to live past age 80.
We'd seen our Aunt Violet waiting to die in the nursing home, and we decided that wouldn't happen to us. We'd live life to the fullest and go out on our own terms.
Little did we know what fate had in store for us.

Buy on Amazon:

My 5-Star Review:

Growing up in the 1950s, Louise and her little sister, Jeannie lived the typical family life with their parents in the busy city of Chicago. But Louise always dreamed of living on a ranch in the southwest and owning horses. She knew that was her destiny. One of the most dreaded things Louise had to do was visit her Aunt Violet in the nursing home. While she thought her aunt was nice, she hated the smell and seeing all the older people just waiting to die. She and Jeannie made a pact: They would live their lives to the fullest and go out on their own terms at eighty. But life doesn’t always go exactly as planned.

Eighty and Out is a well-written novel with interesting characters and a unique storyline. The story begins with the girls as children and follows them throughout their lives. We experience their highs and lows, joyful times, heartaches, and disappointments. Dreams change and sometimes hope fades, but Louise stays strong through it all. It is a heartfelt story that readers of women’s fiction novels are sure to enjoy.

About the Author:

Kim Cano is the author of four women's fiction novels: A Widow Redefined, On The Inside, Eighty and Out, and His Secret Life. Kim has also written a short story collection called For Animal Lovers. 10% of the sale price of that book is donated to the ASPCA® to help homeless pets.

Kim wrote a contemporary romance called My Dream Man under the pen name Marie Solka.

Kim lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and cat.

Visit Kim's website to learn more and sign up to be notified of new releases: www.kimcano.com

You might also enjoy A WIDOW REDEFINED by Kim Cano. Read my review here.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

First Chapter Reveal: Under the Apple Blossoms

Hello everyone!

The release of my romance novel, 


 the 4th book in the Lake Harriet Series, 

is coming up quick! 

I can't wait for you to read this sweet romance featuring 
Debbie Adams from Deb's Bridal Boutique
and a new character, Marc Bennett. 

In anticipation of the release, I'd like to share the
first chapter.


Under the Apple Blossoms

A Lake Harriet Novel

Deanna Lynn Setten

Book Description:

Sometimes the only one standing in the way of your happiness is you.

Debbie Adams has never thought of herself as beautiful or witty. Her short, curvy stature has always made her feel self-conscious. As the owner of Deb’s Bridal Boutique near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Debbie runs the business she’d inherited after her mother’s death. But owning a bridal shop has never been her dream—it had been her mother’s. And as the years go by, Debbie sees friends and neighbors pairing off and building a future while her life remains stagnant. Then, one March day, frantic to get in shape before a friend’s wedding, Debbie forces herself to go biking. As she rides along the icy lake path, she’s startled by a runner and slips and falls. Regaining her bearings, she looks up into a pair of warm, brown eyes and the most handsome face she’s ever seen. Could this tall, extremely fit, and good-looking man be her destiny?

Marc Bennett’s life is amazing. He owns a chain of fitness centers around the Twin Cities and lives in a beautiful mansion that overlooks Lake Harriet. The only thing missing from his life is a wonderful woman to share it with. Not that he’s lacking in applicants for the position. He’s a handsome man with a warm, caring personality, and women flock to him. But at thirty-six, he’s had the shallow relationships, and he’s not in a hurry to commit to anyone. Then one crisp, spring day, as he’s running the lake path with his dog, Bernie, he literally crashes into a woman on a bike. As he attempts to help her up, he finds himself looking into the most beautiful pair of blue eyes. Eyes he can’t seem to get out of his mind.

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Preorder now:

Coming soon to:


Chapter One

Debbie Adams’s leg muscles strained as she pedaled her bicycle through her neighborhood toward the trails at Lake Harriet. It was the second week in March, and snow still edged the sidewalks and covered lawns, and the temperature was a chilly forty-one degrees. Despite the weather, she couldn’t put off exercise any longer. Rain or snow, cold or heat, she had to lose ten pounds by early summer.

Debbie glanced up at the gray sky and frowned, then looked into the blanket-lined basket attached to the handlebars. Nestled under the fleece was her sweet little dog, Chloe.
“The weatherman promised sunshine today,” Debbie complained. “Why are they always wrong?”

Chloe snuggled deeper into the blanket and only stared at Debbie.

“I know, I know. It’s cold. But I have to start sometime,” Debbie said. She probably shouldn’t have brought her little Maltese along for the ride, but Chloe went everywhere with her. The fluffy white dog was her companion at home, at her shop, Deb’s Bridal Boutique, and just about everywhere else she went. But dragging her out on this ridiculous attempt to burn calories riding a bike may have been a foolish idea. It’s definitely feeling like a stupid idea, Debbie thought as her thigh muscles burned. I should have bought an exercise bike instead and stayed inside the warmth of my house. But she knew that hadn’t been an option. She earned enough from her business to keep a roof over her head and pay for necessities, but not for extravagant items like exercise equipment. That’s why she now found herself on her twenty-year-old bike, pedaling through the wet and sometimes icy streets.

By the time she reached the path around the still-frozen lake, her face stung from the crisp air, and her muscles burned. She was bundled up in sweats, a bulky jacket, gloves, and a stocking cap that covered her thick, sandy-blond hair. But her face felt like a frozen popsicle, and her blue eyes watered.

“We’ve made it this far,” she said determinedly, glancing down at Chloe. “We can make it around the lake.” She grit her teeth. “Maybe.” 

As Debbie looked up again, she saw something coming right at her. The bike hit an icy patch and slid, and she screamed as she lost control and the bike hit the ground.


Marc Bennett stared in horror as he watched the bundled-up person on the rickety bicycle nearly run into him. He quickly darted out of the way, tugging Bernie’s leash hard so the dog wouldn’t get hit either. Marc had been running along the path with Bernie as he did most days throughout the year, his earbuds blaring music. When he’d glanced up, there was the bike, nearly on top of him.

The bike hit an icy spot and slid out of control, causing the rider and bicycle to skid and fall near a bush at the edge of the trail. Marc instantly ran into action, hurrying toward the person lying on the sidewalk.

“I’m so sorry! Are you okay? I didn’t see you coming at me,” he blurted out, kneeling beside the person. He heard a groan, then the bundle of clothing turned its head, and big, watery blue eyes fringed in thick lashes stared up at him. Marc was stunned for a moment. They were the most beautiful, expressive eyes he’d ever seen. He hadn’t been expecting the bundle of clothes to be a woman.

She groaned again.

Marc flew into action. “I’m so sorry. Let me help you up.” He reached for her arm.
The woman slowly unfolded and got to her knees. It was at that moment that Bernie decided to help too.

“Ack!” she yelled. “What’s that? A bear?” She fell back against the ground again.

Marc chuckled. “Bernie? No, he’s a dog. He’s a Burmese Mountain Dog, so he’s big.” Marc reached for the woman’s arms. He grabbed a handful of her coat and helped pull her up to her feet. Well, at least he thought she was on her feet. Her entire height only came up to his chest.

The woman stared at her bike in dismay. “The tire’s bent!” she cried, sounding exasperated. “How will I ever ride it home?”

“I’m sure we can fix it,” Marc said optimistically, although he didn’t really believe he could. She needs a new bicycle. This one’s shot.

The woman stared up at him, tears freezing on her cheeks. His first instinct was to wrap his arms around her padded body and comfort her, but he refrained from doing so. That might make matters worse. Suddenly, he saw her eyes grow wide with terror.

“Chloe! Oh, my God! I forgot about Chloe!” she screamed. She fell to her knees again and pulled at the blanket inside the basket on the bike.

“Chloe? Who’s that?” Marc asked, trying to understand what she was looking for.

“My dog! She was in the basket. The fall would have killed her!” She crawled around the wet sidewalk, searching for her dog. “Chloe! Chloe!” she called frantically.

Marc began searching too. He wasn’t sure what kind of dog he was looking for. He ran to the other side of the bush, followed by Bernie. As the big dog stuck his nose into the bush, a high-pitched bark came from inside it. Bernie pushed in deeper.

“Stop him! He’s hurting my dog!” the women yelled. She reached inside and pulled out a small puff of fur. Glaring at Marc, she hugged her dog close. “Your dog tried to kill Chloe!”

Marc stared at her in disbelief. “Dog? That’s a dog?”

The woman stood up taller, well, at least as tall as she could, and glowered at him. “Of course she’s a dog. What else would she be?”

The situation was so ridiculous that laughter overcame Marc. “I’m sorry, lady. But that’s a puffball.” He pointed to Bernie. “This is a dog.”

What little of the woman’s face he could see between the scarf and the stocking cap turned red with anger. “No. He’s a monster. And he was attacking poor Chloe!”

Marc sobered. “Bernie is big, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone your little powder puff. He’s a gentle giant.” To prove Marc’s point, Bernie sat there innocently watching them.

The woman looked as if she were going to argue with him, but then her face crumpled, and tears began to fall again. “I knew I shouldn’t have tried biking today. It’s all useless. I’m never going to lose weight anyway. And now my bike’s ruined and I almost killed my dog. I give up.” She sulked over to a bench beside the trail and sat as best she could in all the clothes she was wearing.

Marc watched, his heart going out to her. He followed her to the bench. “It wasn’t a bad idea; it’s just a little early to be on this trail with a bike. Wait another month, and the ice will be gone.”

“I don’t have a month!” she wailed, hugging her dog tighter. “I need to lose weight now! For once in my life, I want to look good for a friend’s wedding. I’m always the short, chubby one around all the tall, slender girls. I’m tired of being fat.” She rubbed away her tears with the sleeve of her jacket.

Marc sat down beside her. “There’s nothing you can do about being the short one,” he said, giving her a friendly smile. “And, well, I can’t tell with all the clothes you’re wearing, but I’m sure you’re not fat. You’re probably just out of shape. A little muscle-toning and you’ll feel better.”

The woman stopped crying and stared at him, looking insulted. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to insult you.” He reached into the pocket of his sleek workout jacket and pulled out a business card. “I’m a trainer at a gym. I work with people, helping them get into shape.” He handed her the card.

“Oh.” She stared at it. “Fit in 20. Isn’t that a big chain of gyms around the Twin Cities?”

Marc grinned. “Yes, it is. I mainly work at the one on the Nicolette Mall. It’s not too far from here.”

She stared at the card again as she hugged Chloe. Marc saw the dog’s eyes watching him, and it made him smile. He reached out his gloved hand. “I’m Marc Bennett. And I’m sorry I made you fall down.”

Debbie shook his hand. “I’m Debbie. Debbie Adams. I’m sorry I almost ran into you.”

He smiled wider, and she gave him a slight grin.

“It’s nice to meet you, Debbie.”

She nodded, then glanced toward her bike. “I’d better start pushing that home. It’s going to take a while.” She stood and walked toward the bike.

“My car is just across the street. Why don’t you let me drive you and your bike home? Do you live nearby?”

She eyed him suspiciously. “It’s a few blocks away, but I’ll be fine.”

Marc picked up the bike, and Debbie placed Chloe into the basket, fluffing the blanket around her. The dog stared at her with worried eyes.

“I won’t drop you again. I promise,” Debbie told Chloe. She took the handlebars from Marc and pushed the bike a few steps. The tire wobbled and turned with difficulty.

“Please let me help you,” Marc said. “I promise, I’m not a serial killer. I’ll drive you home, safe and sound.”

Debbie stared up at him and looked as if she’d dissolve into tears again. “Okay. Thank you.”

Marc smiled and took ahold of the bike, leading her to his car with Bernie following dutifully behind them.

You can see the entire series on Amazon

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews