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/

New Release: DEATH, TAXES, AND A SHOT GUN WEDDING by Diane Kelly

51+F8lZjEWLDEATH, TAXES, AND A SHOT GUN WEDDING by Diane Kelly / Mystery / St. Martin’s Press / Released Oct 31, 2017

As Tara Holloway and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day, along with the RSVPs and well-wishes, Tara has been receiving death threats from an unknown source.  The culprit has to be someone from an earlier investigation, but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow it down.  While she dodges attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself working a rent scam where a crook is ripping people off for thousands of dollars.  Will she be able track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece?  Or will “till death do us part” come sooner than Tara thought?

Diane Kelly has once again written a hilarious, witty adventure that ties up the series in true Tara Holloway style.

DIANE KELLY is a former state assistant attorney general and tax advisor who spent much of her career fighting, or inadvertently working for, white-collar criminals.  She is also a proud graduate of the Mansfield, Texas Citizens Policy Academy.  the first book in Diane’s IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway series, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, received a Romance Writers of American Golden Heart Award.  Book #2, Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte, won a Reviewers Choice award. Diane has combined her fascination with law enforcement and her love of animals in her K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series.

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”

 

 

New Release: SNOWED IN WITH MURDER by Auralee Wallace

SNOWED-IN-WITH-MURDER-COVER2SNOWED IN WITH MURDER (An Otter Lake Mystery Vol 3) by Auralee Wallace / Mystery / Released Feb 2017 by St. Martin’s Press.

Erica Bloom is home again in small town Otter Lake, this time to save her struggling relationship with local sheriff, Grady Forrester.  The timing is perfect:  her mother is away, the retreat is closed for the season, and Erica has just beaten the storm of the century into town.

Erica is determined to make this visit both sleuthing and hijinks free, but when she arrives at the retreat she finds the lodge swarming with guests.  Her mother has re-opened Earth, Moons, and Stars in a last ditch effort to reunite the wealthy but feuding Boatright Family.  To make matters worse, the weather is stopping anyone from making it on or off the island.

When a guest is murdered, Erica once again must muster up some investigative skills to unravel all the Boatright’s twisted family secrets to reveal the clan’s killer … or this proverbial dark and stormy night might well become her last.

AURALEE WALLACE is the author of The Otter Lake Mystery series which includes, Skinny Dipping with Murder and Pumpkin Pickling with Murder.  She has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collection agent.  When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.

Review: THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE by Darynda Jones

511btrrlgplTHE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE A Charley Davidson Book #10 by Darynda Jones

Paranormal/Fantasy Released June 28, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

As you may recall in book #9, learning her true name gave Charlie a healthy dose of amnesia and she took a little side trip to another life for a few months with her entourage in tow to keep an eye on her.

Now Charlie is back and she carries two things: the knowledge that the love of her life is one of three brothers sent to earth to kill her daughter and secondly, the god glass pendant to trap them.

As if that isn’t enough to keep her busy she also has a runaway girl fearing for her life and the task of clearing an innocent man accused of killing his girlfriend. And who on earth is Garrett following?

Things are escalating in the series, powers building, sides are being chosen and then there’s the proverbial line in the sand. But even when it appears that Charlie and Reyes are going in different directions their love is always unwavering.

Ms. Jones delivers another tongue-in-cheek, edge-of-seat adventure flawlessly. I love this series.

51lco4tdzil-_sx326_bo1204203200_Book #11 Eleventh Grave in Moonlight comes out January 24, 2017. While I’m not thrilled with the jump in price ($12.99 as opposed to $7.99 for book #10) I am sure I will eventually add that to my collection.

New Release: OLIVER THE CAT WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS by Sheila Norton

51nereyrurl-_sx351_bo1204203200_OLIVER THE CAT WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS by Sheila Norton / Released October 18 by Thomas Dunne Books

Oliver the cat lives in the Forester’s Arms pub in the village of Little Broomford, with his beloved human, the pub’s landlord, George.  Oliver’s known  to be a timid little cat who endured a traumatic start in life but feels secure and happy with George.  Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub, and George has to move away from the village temporarily without him.  But Oliver is taken in and cared for by two kind human families, and he soon learns to trust again.  At the same time, he learns that humans seem to have their own problems and worries and is determined to try to help those around him and save their Christmases from disaster.

The villagers come to love Oliver and wonder how he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to help them with their difficulties.  Little do they know that, like all cats, he understands every word of their conversations.  However, it isn’t until Oliver wanders a little further from home and discovers the house where a sick little girl named Caroline is in desperate need of a friend, that he makes a very brave decision.  Risking the threat of meeting up with the girl’s over-protective father who doesn’t want uninvited animal visitors in the house, Olive becomes a comfort and companion to Carolina.  All of his actions leading up to and including his friendship with the little girl eventually turn the village’s problems into opportunities for each person to help a neighbor.  If Oliver has his way, he might just be able to save everyone’s Christmas after all.

 

SHEILA NORTON lives near Chelmsford in Essex with her huaband and worked for most of her life as a medical secretary before retiring early to concentrate on her writing.  Sheila is the award-winning writer of numerous women’s fiction novels and over 100 short stories published in women’s magazine.

Interview with Christina Dodd

christina-dodd_credit_marc-von-borstelThank you to Book Breeze for this opportunity to talk about BECAUSE I’M WATCHING and share some interesting insights into the creation and writing process of my newest thriller.

Tell us about your new release.

Veteran Jacob Denisov is dealing with the worst kind of PTSD — he blames himself for the loss of the soldiers under his command. He lives alone in his small, darkened home, sleepless and starving, waiting for the moment when he gathers the courage to kill himself. When neighbor Madeline Hewitson drives her car through the front wall of his house, she breaks his house—and his life—wide open.

She is “Mad Maddie,” the survivor of a college dorm massacre, a woman accused of her lover’s murder, and tormented by a killer only she can see. Dealing with construction and forced to see the world outside his home, Jacob watches Maddie, recognizes a kindred spirit and wonders—is this truly madness, or has is she the victim of cruel abuse? When Maddie’s imaginary killer takes form, will she be strong enough to triumph, or is the assassin she fears no more than a shadow, an illusion … that watches?

What led you to write this book?

because-im-watching_coverA lot of reviews flatter Virtue Falls by using the word, “Hitchcockian” to describe the books, and in this case, that’s spot on. BECAUSE I’M WATCHING is a mashup of Hitchcock’s classic movie Gaslight, about a woman who sees and hears things that aren’t real — or are they? And Rear Window about a man trapped in his house by an injury, watching his neighbors and learning dangerous secrets. I updated the plots and gave them a twist — actually, several — and then sat down to the hard work of fulfilling my vision of the story.

How important is setting to your story?

Creating the town of Virtue Falls, was a challenge from my editor. She said, “Make the town the character.” I live in Washington state where tourists visit to view the most gorgeous mountains, seashores, and forests the world contains. As a bonus, the state is a magnet for intriguing eccentrics. So the town is located on Washington’s wild and stunning Olympic Peninsula, and I hope Virtue Falls becomes so popular every reader in the world drives up and down the Washington coast looking for the Oceanview Cafe.

image-for-interviewDo you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?

I don’t know that you’d call it a quirk, exactly. But I do have a stone circle in my yard. http://www.christinadodd.com/stone-circle-rocks/ I guess you could say I would fit in among the other Virtue Falls eccentrics.

Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Do you people watch for character inspiration?

Ha! When a reader asked this question, I wrote an article: How Many Of My Characters Have Traits Or Personalities Of Real People I Know. The short answer: Real people have moments where they’re brilliant, anguished, fascinating, tormented, humorous, aroused, glamorous, but for the most part, we’re all sort of, don’t take this wrong … we’re boring. I write suspense. I write romance. In my characters I want mystique! Excitement! Adventure! Angst! In other words, no matter what story I’m writing, I need to sell books. So I don’t model my characters on real people. I have a rule against boring my readers into a coma.

You can read the whole article here: http://www.christinadodd.com/christina-dodd-how-many-of-your-characters-have-traits-or-personalities-of-real-people-you-know/

Which book impacted you as a teenager?

Lord of the Rings. Yes, I’m one of those people. I love quests, adventures, different worlds, the hero’s journey. My husband and I named our daughters after the female characters. When my youngest was in college, the movies came out and she was accused of changing her name … from someone who was unclear that the book had, in fact, come first.

Do you read the same genre you write? What are you reading now?

I read suspense, romance, fantasy, paranormal and mystery. Right now I’ve got a couple of books going: BRAIN RULES by John Medina, a fascinating compilation of brain studies and principles you can use to get the most out of your mind, and SHADOW RIDER by Christine Feehan, which is a sexy romp. The standout suspense from the last year was, for me, Gregg Hurwitz’s ORPHAN X. Highly recommended and it’s the first of a series.

Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out?

I’m writing THE WOMAN WHO COULDN’T SCREAM: Virtue Falls #4, and the climax is creepy and terrifying. To complete it, I had to write, then run away to a different, less traumatic scene, then go back, write more, edit, run away again… There’s a bonus excerpt of THE WOMAN WHO COULDN’T SCREAM at the end of BECAUSE I’M WATCHING.

Before my editor read BECAUSE I’M WATCHING, she asked what I thought of it, and I said it was brilliant. Which is the worst kind of self-aggrandizement, but Jacob and Maddie both suffer such mental anguish and yet they are so funny and, in the end, they save each other.

I love these characters, and I believe BECAUSE I’M WATCHING is the best thing I’ve ever written and I’m so excited to put it into readers’ hands and carry them into twisted labyrinth of revenge, guilt … and eventually murder.

What social media do you participate in?

To help readers, I made a list of best ways to get my book news:

-My mailing list: I always always always tell about book sales & new releases + I’m open, friendly, chatty. http://christinadodd.com

—Bookbub: For readers who don’t have time for chatty but simply want a brief notice about new releases. Bookbub always sends. https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christina-dodd

—Goodreads: Sends a monthly notice and highlights the authors readers follow. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12695.Christina_Dodd

—Amazon: Amazon sends notices about new releases AND reprints…sporadically. https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Dodd/e/B001H6TZG6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

— Facebook is, sadly, no longer good for book news. 😦