Tag: Colleen L Donnelly

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 ended. To escape her hurt and her responsibility in the hurt of others, Teddi has spent her time away from Chance forging a new identity – success as a photographer and in a relationship with a well-known and enviable man. But when she finds herself back in Chance to photograph the wedding of her deceased friend’s husband who has healed enough to move on, she finds herself in an eruption of pain, conflict, attacks, and concessions she must choose to face or run from…again.

This book, with its appealing inner voice of the heroine, contains humor and suffering, insight and conflict, as well as romance and separation. There are moments that seem brutal when the past raises its head against Teddi and she against it, but it is the story of a journey…backward or forward…for her and each character involved.

As an author, Amy has done a clean job of keeping to her plot, moving it at a nice pace, and weaving her characters forward along its line. Her characters are viable, identifiable, and so real that sometimes I wanted to reach into the page and smack them. A couple of them made me groan, and I wondered why Teddi liked them, but if a book doesn’t make me groan then it’s likely missing some human honesty. So Amy has done a good job of giving us a heroine we like and want to see succeed, plus a number of potential heroes who are each on their own journey until at last only one rises above the others.

I thank The Book Breeze for giving me the opportunity to review this book. As an author, reader, critique partner, and part time copy editor I approach any book with a magnifying glass, seeing enough to take me beyond the simple “I liked it” or “I didn’t.” With “Left to Chance” I was pleased at all levels, and commend even the publisher St. Martin’s Griffin for clean editing, formatting, and easy to read sentence structure.

Colleen L Donnelly

Amazon #1 Bestselling Author

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

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.