Tag: Colleen L Donnelly

Review: DEATH OF AN UNSUNG HERO by Tessa Arlen

51UqRGUZXrL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_DEATH OF AN UNSUNG HERO by Tessa Arlen / Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Minotaur Books

Review by Colleen Donnelly

Let me say first that the cover for “Death of an Unsung Hero” by Tessa Arlen was well chosen for it does indeed fit the mood of this story. And not only does the cover suit the book, but the pace and style this WWI era mystery was written with also seem appropriate for the time period. Not trendy, or in any way resembling contemporary mysteries, this book will be best enjoyed by the person who not only loves to solve a crime, but who also appreciates how a story is told. From the beginning, “Death of an Unsung Hero” feels like a slice of life in a unique and unpopular hospital setting where the invisible wounds of soldiers are treated rather than the bleeding ones. The staff and patients alike unfold in the book’s beginning, their relationships and their dilemmas compounding until one of them is murdered. And eventually another…setting in motion fear for those on site as well as fear the hospital will be closed down. Not willing to risk leaving the institution or its people at the mercy of an incompetent investigator, two older staff women assume the task of solving the crimes themselves, sorting through complex clues while navigating negative social opinion as they do.

Again, this story wasn’t written to be a fast-paced whodunit, jumping from incident to incident, but rather a daily walk in the lives and shoes of the characters. The author does indeed put us into the characters’ day-to-day, and does a good job of sticking to the main plot while resolving minor issues that complicate the crime. The two heroines were worthy sleuths, the investigator easy to despise, and the crime well concealed as clues amassed. There was nothing graphic, no vulgarity, just truly a slice of life story with murder complicating the mix.

I thank The Book Breeze for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. As an author, reader, critique partner, and part time copy editor, I appreciated the literary style of this book, the way the setting and characters helped reveal the tone and mood of the era, and the mystery that stayed a mystery while it was being solved.

Colleen L Donnelly

Amazon #1 Bestselling Author

Book Excerpt: OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES by Colleen Donnelly

thumbnail_OutofSplintersandAshes_w11919_300 (2)OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES by Colleen Donnelly / Historical Romance / Releasing Soon

She couldn’t love her enemy, because he did.

OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES is a pre-World War II story of the disrupted love affair between a German romance author and a US runner in Hitler’s Olympics. She wrote for him and he carved for her until their world exploded, sending him back home to the US, separating them forever…except in her stories and the wood he carved, enough evidence to the families each went on to have that someone else lay in their backgrounds.

The hints, the indications, and the awareness of an absence that family members could sense brought out the worst in everyone, and eventually brought Dietrich from Berlin to the US to discover if the man in his grandmother’s novels was real.

Cate’s grandmother keeps an old mirror on her New York City bookstore’s wall that resembles one in a pre-World War II German woman’s love stories. Both mirrors have been burned, and both hold carved flowers on their frames. Her grandmother believes, but Cate sets out to disprove, that neither the mirror nor the stories mean a thing…and that Cate’s grandfather isn’t the man in the book who at one time carved flowers and attached them to a mirror for someone else.

Dietrich and Cate find themselves the generation called to resolve and experience what it is to love an enemy, but even more so, what it is to become the enemy of the one you love.


Grandma was impossible to stop. She charged around me, into the room, flipping on a light as she did.

“You can go now,” she barked at the soldier still holding the door. “This won’t take long.”

He nodded at Grandpa, then shut us in, us and the mirror.

I saw Amabile’s story all over again as Grandpa spotted the mirror, the deep down flicker I’d noticed before, but brighter now. Grandma and I disappeared as time took him backwards, his face transforming from old and haggard to young and alive—then to terrified, and lastly to nothing, except guilt. Grandma didn’t raise the mirror as I expected her to, and shake it in his face. She let it hang in front of her, between them, the charred frame and lone lily all he could see.

I stared at the trembling finger that stretched and touched the blackened wood, scars this man probably deserved exposed at the cuff of his sleeve.

“I believe this is yours.” Grandma’s voice was low. I’d never seen them this close together before, never seen them face each other. But I’d seen the mirror between them forever without knowing it was there.


thumbnail_me (160x160) (160x160)AUTHOR BIO

Colleen L Donnelly is a US Midwestern author whose first published novel set her on a new course in life by making the Amazon number one bestseller list. Sticking close to historical fiction as her preferred genre, she has broadened her story base to include romance, western, and a little bit of mystery. When not writing, Colleen is outdoors, hiking through the woods, searching for rocks, or observing wildlife.

Colleen’s other books can be purchased through The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Mine to Tell http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S

Asked For   http://amzn.to/1TyflEu

Love on a Train   http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx

The Lady’s Arrangement   http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2

Out of Splinters and Ashes – Soon to be released


Contact Colleen at:

Website: http://www.colleenldonnelly.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColleenLDonnell

Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/colleenldonnelly

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenLDonnelly

Review: LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan

51xSI1ZVj9L._SY346_LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan / YA / Released Nov 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

“Left to Chance” by Amy Sue Nathan is an engaging read, the author’s voice capturing my attention immediately, and the story line holding my attention from beginning to end.

“Left to Chance” is heroine Teddi Lerner’s journey to a past she’s been trying to avoid for six years. Back in Chance, her small home town in Ohio, lay memories of her deceased best friend, her best friend’s surviving daughter and husband, and their joint friends who feel abandoned by Teddi’s six year absence which began before her friend’s funeral even Continue reading “Review: LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan”

Review: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel

51unp28xXlLTHE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Melissa Pimentel • Romance • St. Martin’s Press • Released Aug 22, 2017

Book Review by Colleen L Donnelly 


“The One That Got Away” has the air of the Bridget Jones Diary series – a young woman amidst the complications of family and peers, telling and recounting the story of that one love – Ethan – who was there, and then not, but might be again.

Ruby is a quick-witted and slightly sour heroine, a modern girl fully up to date on who and what’s in, and doing her best to operate both as she navigates her sister’s wedding where the ex love of her life appears also. Because of Ruby’s speed in a generation that insists on it, I was a bit slow catching up with Pimentel’s dive into the story – the jargon, the current trends, and Ruby’s compulsion to stay on top, causing me to flounder before I attached to Ruby and cheered her on. But I did. And it was worth it – for anyone else not of that generation or speed.

I applaud Pimentel. She tells a story of Then and Now without chapters, switching back and forth from third person in the Then, to first person in the Now, sandwiching Ruby’s and Ethan’s happily ever after…or not between past and present events. There was never a lull in the story, the writing keeping pace with the setting, leaving me intrigued and wondering how, why, and if Ruby and Ethan would ever make it.

The characters are real and humorous, Ruby’s biting inner thoughts toward family, friends, and coworkers who deserve those judgments, entertaining. This is a light and fun read with situations and people we can relate to, and a smattering of profanity that like Bridget Jones, suited the characters and their lives.

If you are looking for a humorous romance that includes some of the downsides of love and life and still makes you smile, “The One That Got Away” is right for you.

Colleen L Donnelly http://www.colleenldonnelly.com/

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


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”