Tag: St. Martin’s Griffin

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

New Release: LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan

LEFT TO CHANCE by Amy Sue Nathan / Women’s Fiction / St. Martin’s Griffin / Release Nov 21, 2017

Amy Sue Nathan shows just how strong the bond in female friendships can be with poignancy and wit.

After losing her best friend, Teddi Lerner runs away from everything she has ever known.  When she finally makes her return, Teddi tries to come to terms with the loss and heartache she’s been experiencing and rediscovers all of the little things that truly make life worth living again.  Amy’s heart-healing and passionate novel dives headfirst into what it means to live after loss.

No one knows why Teddi left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.

Twelve-year-old Shayna – talented, persistent, and adorable – persuaded “Aunt Tee” to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding.  Even though it’s been six years since Shay’s mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend’s husband marrying someone else.  But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.

Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same.  That’s when she truly sees the hurt she’s caused and – maybe – how to fix it.

After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her.  As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself.  And she’ll finally see what she overlooked all along.

AMY SUE NATHAN is the author of three novels and the founder of WomensFictionWriters.com, named a Best Website for Writers by Writers Digest.  Amy lives in Philadelphia and has a grown son and daughter.  You can find her online, often when she shouldn’t be.  Visit AmySueNathan.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

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.

Book Excerpt: DREAM FOREVER by Kit Alloway

Dream Forever_cover imageDREAM FOREVER
Dream Walker #3 By Kit Alloway

YA Fantasy / Released March 28, 2017 by Griffin Teen

“Sometimes people give me special access because I’m Peregrine’s granddaughter.”

That was only part of the truth. Josh had a reputation among dream walkers as a prodigy, and they were usually more than happy to bend over backward for her.

“Ironic,” Feodor said, but he smiled at her in a way that made her feel like he saw right through her. “Unfortunately, triangulating the bodies will give us, at best, a rough idea of where Peregrine might be.”

Not to discount the lives of the five men Peregrine had killed, but Josh had a larger concern. If he found a way back into the Dream, he was likely to hurt a lot more people.  “What are the chances he’ll figure out how to deactivate the symbol?”

Feodor considered. “I could do it. But then, Peregrine is not me.”

“Well, that’s reassuring,” Josh said.

“However . . . the power of obsession to propel a man to acts of which he might not otherwise be capable should not be underestimated.  I believe Peregrine will continue until he finds a way.”

That was not reassuring.

 

Kit Alloway CREDIT Fusion PhotographyKIT ALLOWAY writes primarily for young adults, having always had an affection for teenagers. In addition to writing, she plays various musical instruments, decorates cakes, mixes essential oils, and studies East European languages. She lives in Louisville, KY with her family and four very tiny dogs.

Book Excerpt: A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi

 

ACROWNOFWISHES_cover imageA CROWN OF WISHES By Roshani Chokshi

YA Fantasy / Released March 28, 2017 by Griffin Teen

Skanda’s knife was pressed to her throat, sharp and close enough that beads of blood welled onto her skin.

“I know what you want,” said Skanda.

I closed my eyes, shuttering the memory. I looked around the room, wondering which corner was the best position for attacking. At one end, a trellis of roses covered the wall. My chest tightened. I used to grow roses. One trellis for every victory. I had loved watching the blood red petals unfurl around thorns. Looking at them reminded me of my people’s love: red as life. A month before Skanda had me thrown over the Ujijain border, he had set them on fire in a drunken stupor. By the time I got there, it was too late. Every petal had curled and blackened.

“You think these flowers are tokens of Bharata’s love for you,” he had slurred. “I want you to see, little sister. I want you to see just how easy it is for everything you plan and love and tend to go up in flames.”

I’ll never forget what burning roses look like. All those scarlet petals turning incandescent and furious. Like the last flare of the sun before an eclipse swallows it from the sky.

“You think they love you now, but it doesn’t last. You’re the rose. Not them. They are the flames. And you’ll never see how quickly you’ll catch fire until you’re engulfed. One step out of the line I draw, and they will set you on fire.”

I turned my back on the roses.

I chose a corner of the room, and then sank my teeth into the insides of my cheek. It was a habit I’d picked up on the eve of my first battle.

Nerves had set my teeth chattering, so I brought out a mirror and glowered at myself. The glowering didn’t help, but I liked the way my face looked. The small movements made my cheekbones look as sharp as scimitars. And when I tightened my lips, I felt dangerous, as if I were hiding knives behind my teeth. Biting my cheeks became a battle tradition. Today I went into battle.

A door in the distance creaked. I ran through what I knew about the Prince of Ujijain. They called him the Fox Prince. And given the way some of the soldiers had jealously said his name, it didn’t seem like a name given because his face had animal features. He spent part of every year at an ashram where all the nobility sent their sons. Reputedly brilliant. Not good. Weak with weapons. Excellent. The guards were fond of retelling the story of his trial with the council. Prince Vikram had to submit to three tasks in order to be named heir of Ujijain—give the dead new life, hold a flame that never burns, and deliver the strongest weapon in the world. For the first task, he whittled a piece of bark into a knife, proving that even discarded things could be given new life in purpose. For the second task, he released a thousand jars of fireflies and held the small insects in his hand, proving that he could hold a flame that never burned. And for the last task, he said that he had poisoned the council. Desperate for the antidote, the council named him heir. The Fox Prince then revealed that he had lied and proved how belief itself was the strongest weapon in the world.

I rolled my eyes every time I heard the tale. It sounded like something that villagers with a restless imagination would spin beside a fire. I’d heard another rumor about him. Something about his parentage.  That he was an orphan who’d moved the Emperor to pity. But I doubted the vicious Emperor would be moved in such a way. The guards told me that the Emperor kept great beasts at his side thatcould tear the throat out of anyone who dared to cross him.

Footsteps shuffled down the hall. I clutched the silk bag of pearl dust. The Prince might be clever and eloquent, but you can’t talk your way out of death and I wasn’t going to give him a chance to speak. All my intelligence told me that he was no match for me. I’d have him on his knees and begging for his life in a matter of moments.

A final door opened.

The Fox Prince was here.

NewRelease:DREAMWORLD by Kit Alloway

51p4v2hbcwl-_sx341_bo1204203200_DREAMWORLD / Two books in one:  DREAMFIRE AND DREAMFEVER by Kit Alloway / Fantasy / Released Jan 10, 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty.  She’s the celebrated daughter of the dream walkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and batter nightmares.  If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream would boil over and release nightmares into the world.

Despite Josh’s reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she’s haunted by her mistakes.  A lapse in judgement and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence.  Now she’s been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she’s almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.  But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn’t just Will that Josh has to protect – it’s the whole World.

Coming March 2017 – DREAM FOREVER, the final book in this trilogy.