Review: EMERALD COAST by Anita Hughes

51SUPCYoIvLEMERALD COAST by Anita Hughes / Romance / Released Aug 1, 2017 by St, Martin’s Griffin

EMERALD COAST is told in trademark Anita Hughes style – a current dilemma that can only be resolved as relevant past events surface and unfold. “Emerald Coast” is the quest by divorced Lily and Oliver to escape the hurt of mutual betrayal in the past and find happiness apart…until they are thrown together unexpectedly at an exotic resort.

Written with the full flavor of taste, sight, and sound Anita Hughes does so well, the reader is caught up in the sensuality of the setting, feeling every temptation and opportunity Lily and Oliver each does as they forge forward to create new, individual lives and leave the pain of their pasts behind. However, this same environment that entices each toward the new, also churns up unbroken ties still binding their hearts and souls to the old. Not alone in this upheaval, new lovers, old flames, and current family members also get caught in the turmoil. The Emerald Coast becomes the perfect stewing pot of what’s old and what’s new, forcing dross and truth to the top for Lily and Oliver to face in order to discover what their futures really hold.

“Emerald Coast” is a very pleasant read, immediately absorbing the reader into its characters’ situation and lives. Their struggles to escape the hurt of past betrayals heightens the tension, and the fiery furnace of escalating circumstances takes the novel to that “I don’t want to put this book down” level. Free of anything graphic, this book still takes the reader on a very human and relatable journey that I highly recommend.

Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly a #1 Amazon Bestseller

Book Excerpt: THE LADY’S ARRANGEMENT by Colleen L. Donnelly

perf5.000x8.000.inddTHE LADY’S ARRANGEMENT by Colleen L. Donnelly / Released May 31, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Book Excerpt

Ben was tall, and he felt even taller as he took a step closer and leaned my way. “It takes two to bind a contract, and since I’ve just withdrawn, your arrangement is null and void. And just so you know, you can thank your lucky stars I’m not staying to marry you, because I take surprises a lot better than I take orders.” His eyes stayed on mine until his gaze traveled from my face down to my boots. “And wearing trousers doesn’t make you any more suited to giving orders than wearing a skirt would make me fit for giving birth.”

My nails dug into my palms as I rolled my hands into fists. A word I’d heard Ted say when a pail slid off his bad arm came to mind. The word was immoral, but probably not too immoral for Ben Miller. “Just so you know, Mr. Miller, I’ve been running this ranch for three weeks now, in pants. I find skirts get in the way of things you’d probably be surprised I can do.”

The half-smile returned. “I won’t argue that. Skirts surely do get in the way.” Ben straightened and slapped his hat tighter on his head. “Been my experience, too.

Fortunately, neither one of us has to put up with one, since you can keep right on doing things the way you have been. I’m giving you an early parting. I’m leaving.”

Review: ONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline

51KVJDhJL+LONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline / Suspense

Released April 11, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Review

I’ve never been let down by any of Lisa Scottoline’s books I’ve read, and “One Perfect Lie” is no exception to that experience. Lisa’s trademark style of writing isn’t found in a unique flair of prose, but in an immediate immersion into a story that hits the ground running and takes the reader along with it.

Even though I gingerly dipped my toe into a story I worried might have more grit than I could handle, I was happily in over my head within the first few paragraphs and gladly stayed there until the end.

“One Perfect Lie” drops us into the careful planning of a domestic terrorist, only to shock the reader about half way through when unexpected character motives explode on the page. Built upon a quiet community and the close knit members of a high school baseball team and their teachers, Lisa stacks chapter next to chapter, a serial revelation of what makes up each boy, his family, and the teachers around him. The reader knows there is a terrorist plot brewing beneath the unfolding psychology of each person and family, but has to stay on the fast-paced ride of personal betrayal, success, insecurity, loss, and achievement to see these characters through to the end. A race against time and against individual demons, “One Perfect Lie” is a multidimensional story of broken hearts, broken lives, and the individual ways people choose to mend them.

This story is not gruesome or unpalatable for the weak-kneed, but it is gripping from beginning to end. Lisa did an excellent job of tying up every character and dilemma, bringing satisfaction even in heartache. Five stars for “One Perfect Lie.”

Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of “Mine to Tell”

 

 

Review: WHITE SANDS, BLUE SEA

5180-8M3tPLWHITE SAND, BLUE SEA:  A St. Barts Love Story by Anita Hughes

Contemporary Romance / Released April 11 by St. Martin’s Griffin

I fell into Anita Hughes’ story, “White Sand, Blue Sea” from the first paragraph, living and breathing the past and present with each character as this book took me through their individual and family dilemmas. Admittedly, I am a fan of literary and women’s fiction, and Anita Hughes has written this novel in such a style. However, I encourage those who feel hesitant to read such genres to pick up “White Sand, Blue Sea,” for some element of other more common genres – romance, suspense, or historical – will certainly be woven in.

Although this story takes place over only a few days, it spans years as Anita adeptly reveals past events which formed the bases of relationships pertinent to the book’s main theme. She also uses setting as a character, masterfully putting the reader into each character’s shoes as they come to grips with the current tumult in light of what happened years ago.

“White Sand, Blue Sea” is a title that insinuates happiness, and indeed the desire to be happy is a strong theme, even without the promise that this is how the characters’ situations will end. Anita has clashed and fitted at the same time a previously abandoning husband/father back into the lives of his ex-wife and daughter who are twenty years into their new family when he appears. It wasn’t a lack of love that caused Sebastian to walk out on Hadley and their daughter, Olivia, ages ago, and it wasn’t the end of that love which kept him away all those years. Nor did his abandonment destroy their love for him, thus creating outer upheaval as well as inner turmoil for the three of them – not to mention Hadley’s current husband and Olivia’s potential fiancé – when Sebastian unexpectedly shows up for Olivia’s twenty-fifth birthday. With the passion and eye of the true artist he is, Sebastian is not only a reminder of what was lost those past twenty years, but also a naked look at what might currently be missing in all of their lives, especially in Hadley’s and Olivia’s new family and relationships.

I give this book five stars, and intend to read more of Anita Hughes’ stories.

 

Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly, Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of MINE TO TELL.

MINE TO TELL by Colleen L. Donnelly

Amazon #1 Best Seller

 perf5.000x8.000.inddMINE TO TELL by Colleen L. Donnelly / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction / Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Annabelle Crouse is determined to reopen her great-grandmother’s boarded-up house – and her shunned life. Many years earlier, after an unexplained absence, Julianne was relegated to a separate home by a rigidly unforgiving husband, and the Crouse women have suffered the disgrace of her assumed guilt ever since.
Despite her family’s strong disapproval, Annabelle is driven to pursue her mission through cobwebs and dust, finding the clues and the coded story left behind by her great-grandmother – Why did she go? And why did she return? Anabelle has too know.
Only one person, a man she grew up with but never noticed, stands with Annabelle as she discovers the parallels between her story and her great-grandmother’s – two women, generations apart, experiencing what love truly is.
COLLEEN L. DONNELLY
Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen earned a four-year degree in Medical Technology and used it to travel and explore other parts of the country while working in the field of science. Beyond the laboratory world, she delves deeply into literature, both reading and writing, her interest piqued by tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.

Interview with author Colleen L Donnelly

CLDColleen L. Donnelly grew up in a rural environment, but during and after college she began to spread her wings to experience other places and other cultures. She finally realized she could have her cake and eat it too, by buying a place in the country and working for a college where every culture possible passes through. Even though Colleen was born with the creative urge to write, it wasn’t until after college and after kids that she finally sat down to take it on as a semi-career. True to what’s predicted for beginning writers, she had to write about five novels that were rejected, before her sixth was snatched up by a NY publisher. Still working and still writing and still lending a hand to now grown up kids, Colleen believes that life is good.

Your latest release is ASKED FOR. Tell us about it. “Asked For” is built around unraveling family morals, this one told from two points of view, Lana’s and James’, mother and son bound by a man who wanted neither one of them. Lana was a young girl when Cletus asked for her, full of dreams of someday being special when she became someone’s bride. James, Lana’s youngest son, dreamed of playing baseball and making his father proud if Cletus would ever come to one of his games. Cletus wanted only a wife, nothing so foolish as a bride, an uncomplicated woman who would give him sons. As Lana gave birth to more daughters than sons, last of all to James who looked nothing like Cletus, Cletus’ detachment and anger increased until it culminated in him deeming James as “That boy” the one who wasn’t even his. As Lana’s and James’ parts of the tale build from this family’s beginnings to the eventual climax where choices are revealed, we see everyone’s obstacles and the coping mechanisms they chose to survive what nature and nurture had unfortunately given them.

perf5.000x8.000.inddTell us about your characters. In “Asked For” Lana is almost a child when Cletus asks for her. She goes into an arranged marriage with illusions that turn into delusions even before her wedding night is over. Full of determination to do what’s right, the way her grandmother taught her, Lana gets little reward for her efforts. Buoyed by her love for her children, and the gentle reminder of her value offered by two men who see the beauty beneath her worn exterior, Lana marches forward gaining the strength she needs to not only endure, but to survive the life Cletus gives her. James knows the love of a mother, the moral support of a local businessman, and the rejection of the one man that matters – his father. As he grows, James untangles what is truly him from what isn’t. His needs suffer great disappointment, but in the end define who he truly is – whether he is “That boy” or Cletus’ son.

Why is the setting important? I have a tendency to write in the past. I love that setting because it forces my characters to act and grow without the aid of modern conveniences. I want them to get up, travel a path, chart a course through obstacles rather than receive a text message with an easy answer. I’ve been told that my settings become characters, and maybe this is why – so my heroes and heroines are forced to interact with their settings to achieve their goals.

Who were your heroes growing up and how do they affect our storytelling? I have to admit that villains in my life may have more to do with my storytelling than heroes, now that you ask. Hmmmm, that’s kind of embarrassing and I may have to ponder this some more. But I write from dilemmas, and the people who created those situations for me or those around me, have stuck in my mind and are now “types” in my novels. That said, who did I turn to as a child for help from these foes? Family members, a few close friends, teachers, and God – not necessarily in that order. I know that list seems cliché, so let me also say a large cast of fictional characters inspired me also – from movies and literature alike. I did learn, though, that heroes can’t and/or won’t always do what you want, but many times what we want isn’t what’s best. Darn.

Do you have a favorite mystery author? I’ve read Agatha Christie more than any other, but I’ve also read a fair amount from these authors – Wilkie Collins, Poe, Sue Grafton, John Sanford, and Janet Evanovich (when I need some comic relief).

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhat’s next for you? I’m in the final stages of editing my next book. As of now, it’s called, “Love on a Train,” but sometimes my working title vanishes right before I submit it to my publisher, and another, more creative title, takes its place. This tale is a post-World War II story of a young woman who falls in love on a train with a soldier who has recently returned from battle. The intensity of her passion for him causes her to write their story, a work of non-fiction that becomes fiction when she realizes he loves another. Her obstacles are the loss of that love, the family shame she creates by adding a fictionalized happy ending to her story and publishing it as romance, and the “good provider” she finds herself engaged to while her heart still belongs to the man she fell in love with on the train. After this book is out, I have a number of novels on my hard drive from the days I was learning to write. Good stories are buried in there, they just need matured and cleaned up, something I plan to do after “Love on a Train” is out.