Monday, February 24, 2020

Author Interview with Mark Edwards

Alright y'all, I met Mark Edwards on bookstagram when he reached out to me to review his poetic novel Love & Trust. He was also one of the first few Indie authors that I got to know and review for. I am super thankful for him reaching out when my account was just starting out, because not only did I love his book enough to finish it in one sitting but it showed me another side of the book world. So, I am sure you can image how happy I was when he agreed to be my second author interview on here. So, let's dive in and see he responses shall we?

Q: What is your name and where do you live?
A: First, let me say thank you for allowing me to be part of this special blog session featuring the many authors you have come across, I am truly honored. My name is Mark A. Edwards, and I am from New York, the borough of Queens.

Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company?
A: I am an Indie Author. Although I haven't work with a publishing company, I felt being an Indie Author afforded me more control on what I wrote.

Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: My first three books were poetry only, based off of love and romance. My goal was to bring sensuality of love back into the relationship of whoever read my books, but I have since learn to combine my poetry with fictional story lines. Hence my last two books were titled Love & Trust- A Poetic Novel and the sequel book Loves Retribution- A Poetic Novel. So though I considered my genre as Fiction, I like to call it Poetic Fiction.

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: Although as a child I had a love for reading, it wasn't something I thought of actually doing. It wasn't until approximately 6 to 7 years ago I actually decided to write a book, and even then I didn't consider myself a writer. It was something I did only because of people around me at my job kept telling me I should write a book, because they enjoyed reading the poems I had written. Before I knew it, I had over 50 poems stored in my phone without realizing it.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A: Yes I do. As much as I am enjoying this stage of my life, I know that as a self publishing author the income generated is not enough to pay the bills that life throws upon you nor the health and medical bills needed to tend to your own. I currently work for the city of New York as an Environmental Inspector.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: I have self published five books, 3 poetry and 2 poetic novels.

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: Being as I just published my fifth book in January of this year, my intention was to take a break from writing to give my mind time to relax, but I was contacted within the same month by a young lady who wanted to write her first book. After reading several of my books, and taking a liking to my style of writing, she asked me if I would mind co-writing her soon-to-be released book called Cheated Out of Love by Lisa Rene.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: I don't think that I can say that I had a specific scene or portion of my Poetic Novels that was hard to write, but what I can say is that main concern was to write in a manner that kept the reader filled with suspense, drama, love, and romance. While at the same time writing so the reader was one with my personal thoughts and felt that they were part of each scene that I wrote.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: As I previously mentioned, my intention was to take a break, but the way the mind works, when an idea pops into your head you have to begin jotting down the thoughts while they are still fresh. With that being said, I am currently working on another book besides the co-writing venture I am currently part of.

Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: I guess I can say my last two books is my series, I'm not sure if I will add a third addition to this, or just begin anew.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: Naturally, my poetry books ( You, Me, and the Paper, Morning Coffee, and Afternoon Devotion- Two Hearts One Soul) were written to stand on its own. My poetic novels were written to have connections from one to the next.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: The next book to be released is the one that I am co-writing, Cheated Out of Love, and the release date hasn't been locked in yet, but we are hoping to have it ready around April or May 2020.

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: This book took approximately three months. It was somewhat quick, because it was based off of the main authors life even though this is written as a fiction.

Q: What did you do when your main characters (writer's block) to you during the process?
A: That's a good question, because unlike when I write my poetry, I wasn't prepared for the writer's block scenario when I wrote my poetic novels. When the characters stopped talking to me, I just closed the book and returned several days later once a fresh idea came to mind. I never wanted to feel as if I was forcing a story line. I always believed  that the more comfortable I was in telling a story, the more realistic it would be for the reader to be one with my thoughts.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I don't have a specific routine, but I am pretty good at blocking out all outside noise when I write, even if it's music or a TV playing in the background.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: I varied from sprints to long sittings, it all depends on my state of mind and what I am doing at the time... i.e. work or just home relaxing.

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: During the writing process I am neither, but once the book is completed, I honestly can say that I am mentally drained.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: My poetic novels were a brainstorm idea, I wanted to give the readers something different from my previous books of only poetry skits. I decided to tell a story combined with poetry and a fictional novel.

Q: Is there another author you look up to strive to be as successful as?
A: I truly have the upmost respect for all authors, whether they have been writing for years and have many books under the belt, or someone who just completed their first book.

Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: When I was younger, I can say I was an avid reader, but as I got older, my reading slowed down. I guess between working, everyday life concerns, and writing my own books, I do not have the time to read like I used to.

Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: When it comes to poetry, I honestly do not like to read other people's works, because I felt that if I read other people's poetry it may affect my way of writings. When I comes to fictional novels, I do not have a problem reading other people's works it's enjoyable feeling to get wrapped up in another person's world.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: Though I have read books written by authors such as John Grishman, James Weldon Johnson to Stephen King, the books that stands out most to me are books written by Donald Goines. It could be because I grew up in low income neighborhoods, and the street life is mainly what surrounded me. It was easy for me to understand reality behind his story lines.

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: I wouldn't say that I have laughed or cried, but there were times I would chuckle or get the feeling of overwhelming sadness depending on what I was reading at the time.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: I am on Facebook and Instagram.

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A; I do, it helps me stay relevant between what I write and what my followers desire to read. I am constantly taking pictures with them when possible, or asking them if they enjoyed the book. I also ask if they wouldn't mind posting a photo of themselves and the book. It also helps with future sales, as you know self promoting is a major factor as an Indie Author.

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: The support has been tremendous, from friends offering to assist in the proofreading of many of my books to general offers of wanting to help in any way possible.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: The best money I spent as a writer would have been on my book cover. I believe we shouldn't slack on presentation. It is what the reader first sees when choosing to read our books.

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: My family has been truly supportive of all my books, from my immediate family to my distant family. I believe I am the first author in the family, so the support has been phenomenal.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don't know that you would like them to know?
A: I would love for them to know that I am truly humbled and appreciative man. I truly love to help others get started in the business of writing. I am always available whether through my email (which is listed in all my books) or through the social site messaging services if they ever need information on how to get started or someone to just help guide them along the way.

Alright, so there you have it! This is inside the mind of the man who wrote Love & Trust: A Poetic Novel (review also on here). Mark Edwards is a kind and talented poet who is an Indie Author when he is not running around New York. I have to say thank you again to him for agreeing to be part of the first few author interviews. If you want to get to know him a little better, be sure to check out his social media using the links below.



His Books:

Monday, February 17, 2020

Author Interview with Katie J. Douglas

Alright so you may have seen this beautiful lady on the back cover of her two novels Forever Today and  Snowfall. She is an author who was kind enough to agree to answers some questions that I have. She has not only written two books, but she is also part of the amazing community known as Bookstagram. I have gotten to know her over the past year, and now I wanted to dive in big time into her wonderful brain.

Q: Name and where you live?
A: Katie J. Douglas, and Tuscon, AZ (cool fact: I lived in a town just a short drive away during most of my childhood)

Q: Indie Author or Publishing Company?
A: Indie Author

Q: What is the genre that you write?
A: My genre is debatable, but most would say somewhere between women's fiction and romance.

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: I love to read and writing was always a hobby of mine. Although I kept that quiet for many years. It has always been my dream to publish a book.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A:Yes! I am a high school ESL teacher, and I also teach writing at the local community college.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: Two so far with the third in the works right now!

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: Just one. That's all I can handle!

Q: What was the hardest scene to write so far?
A: The most difficult thing I've ever had to write about is the war in Iraq. I researched this a lot before writing, but it was so intimidating since I wanted to get it right.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: I probably have five that I started and stopped before finally finishing my first book.

Q:Do you have a series developing?
A: Yes! I'm on the third and final book now.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: My books are not standalones technically, but I do think they are each their own  story.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: I wish I knew! Probably summer or fall of 2020.

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: My first two took under six months, but the last one is taking me a lot longer. I've  been writing it for a year.

Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer's block) to you during  the process?
A: I try not to force it, so I don't write when I feel like that. I take a break and just think about them instead. They always start talking again.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I meditate before I write which is really great for my focus. I also have to have a candle lit and something to drink.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: Both! I have three kids so I do what I can when I can. (I am pretty sure all the  mamas reading this completely understand! I know I do!)

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: Both! Hahaha! It depends what I'm writing. Most of the time I'm energized and so so content.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: I wish I knew. My crazy mind?!?! Those stories are always influenced by part of the writer's life but not always in a direct way, at least not for me. The spiritual parts of my writing stem from my love of meditation and all things magical.

Q: Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: Diana Gabeldon and Nancy Turner are two of my favorites, and both AZ authors as well.

Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: Big Time!

Q: Are you a beta or ARC reader for anyone else?
A: I do this for anyone who asks! I've done it for Waverly Alexander and Melanie  Smith recently. I love these two amazing Indies! (I completely understand for Waverly! I love her too! I am ashamed to admit that I do not know Melanie's work.)

Q: Do you like to read the same genre you write?
A: Yes, but I read most anything. I love nonfiction as well, especially memoirs.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: These is my Words by Nancy Turner is my favorite book ever.

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: OHHH yeah. If I laugh AND cry- that's my sign of a great book.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Twitter is too much for me. (I know  the feeling when it comes to Twitter.)

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A: Yes! I love it!

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or  just been there for support?
A: So, so many. Melanie Smith, Waverly Alexander, Brooke Ellis, T. Steele, Savannah  Layne, BJ Kurtz, and many more. The Indie community is incredible.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: I think my professional pics for the cover and the cover design were well spent. I   get a lot of compliments about the covers. (I love the covers myself!)

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: They are amazing and so supportive.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don't know that you would like them  to know?
A: Just that I appreciate everyone who reads my books and I love getting messages  from people who finish them!

Well, there you have it people! This Indie author willing told all, and I am super grateful for it. Katie is definitely a one of a kind person and writer. I have both her books currently staring at me on my shelves, but I will be getting to them very soon! I have loved getting to know her on Instagram, and cannot wait to read her books myself. I am going to link her social media below, because she wants to hear from you as well! Yes, she really does respond as fast as she can. Go check out this hard working lady who is a mom, teacher, and Indie author! I am even going to include links to her books so you can go support her!





Friday, February 14, 2020

Photos of You

Alright y'all, so this heart tugging beauty was sent to me by Forever Publishing and the Hachette Book Group. This is a cancer story that just puts you through an emotional roller coaster. Tammy Robinson is an amazing writer, and has admitted that she cried while writing this book. I will admit that I went from tears in my eyes to full blown ugly crying during some parts, and there were moments where I laughed or smiled. Tammy has this set in New Zealand, but you honestly can't tell except for a few key words that are definitely used across the pond. Once I read the ending, I had that moment of wondering what I do in this situation. I am super grateful this isn't my reality, but Tammy Robinson does amazing with her story telling skills to remind us that anything can happen. Let's dive in before I start crying again shall we?

Ava Green is sitting in her oncologist on her 28th birthday for what she thought would be a standard recession check up. She had already battled and beat cancer before at such a young age. However, her doctor says the three words she always dreads "I'm so sorry". Ava only catches a few more words as everything becomes muffled for her. "Secondary, bone, incurable" are the only words that filter through. Her cancer is back and this time there is no hope or cure. Ava leaves the hospital and sits on a bench in the hospital garden, and starts to cry over the fact that she will never get married or have kids. She bends over to hide her face when an elderly hospital patient asks her to scoot over. When the woman sits down, she asks Ava if she just received bad news for a family member, and Ava can only shake her head. The woman asks if it was for herself, and Ava just nods. The woman lights a cigarette while Ava tries to pull herself together. She asks Ava if it's cancer, and then tells Ava about her own cancer story in a few sentences when Ava nods. Ava finally sits up and looks at the woman. The woman finishes her cigarette that she admits she is addicted to despite having cancer herself, and then gets up to go back inside. She tells Ava if there is something she wants to do, she needs to do it before it is too late. Ava decides that the one thing she wants to do more than anything is get married.

Ava arrives at her childhood home to her "surprise" birthday party that her parents are throwing her. She decides not to tell anyone that she won't see her 29th birthday thanks to the cancer returning. Her best friends Kate and Amanda are also there, and think back on a night where the three of them got super drunk. Kate, a General Physician at a local community clinic, and Amanda, a touring rock star, have been there for Ava through a lot. They were even there when Ava battled cancer the first time. Ava has no idea how to tell them or her parents that it's back and terminal. Ava does her best to hide her confusing emotions about the news and just enjoy the party. Her mom makes a speech about how proud she is of Ava and her dad presents her with a travel backpack she had been saving up for. Inside the backpack is also an open return date ticket to Rio, and Ava has to excuse herself from the main room to hide the tears threatening to spill down her face.

Once inside the safety of her childhood bedroom, Ava lets the tears flow for a few minutes. Ava pulls herself together, and is about to walk out the door when she catches her old dream board. It is covered in wedding magazine photos that she has cut out as she planned her dream wedding for as long as she can remember. Her mom opens the door, and tells her to come back out with her guests. Ava follows her back out into the main room. Amanda asks her in a quiet voice if she is okay, and Ava whispers a no before announcing to the whole room that she is getting married. The room goes quiet just before her parents work on sending guests out politely. Once it is just Ava, her parents, Amanda, and Kate, Ava quickly tells them about the cancer news. While the five of them drink some whiskey, Ava tells them everything the doctor said earlier. Her mom decides that they will go back to the doctor tomorrow and get him to repeat everything again. Ava can only nod while Amanda and Kate cry silently. Her dad looks pale yellow while he asks if Ava should be drinking, but she assures him that it can't hurt anymore than anything else right now.

The next day, Ava and her mom are back in the oncologist office listen to the doctor explain everything again about the cancer returning and there being no cure. He says that Ava has somewhere between 12 and 18 months to live when her mom pushes for a timeline. Ava decides that she doesn't want to do any treatment since it will just take away moments she no longer has. Her mom tries to protest until Ava explains that she doesn't want to be weakened to the point she can't live her life. Her mom and doctor accept this despite both of them wanting to have a treatment course.

Ava spends three days straight in her flat wallowing in the same outfit before her mom makes her take a shower and get dressed to leave. They go back to the oncologist office and comes up with a treatment plan of oral chemo that won't require surgery or weaken her to the point she can't get out of bed. Her mom also tries to convince Ava to move back home, but she decides to move in with Kate at her home on the beach. Av makes sure that Kate knows that it is not going to be easy or a house party before moving her stuff into the house.

Fall turns into Winter as the oral chemo does what the box promises to do and drains her completely some days. Ava winds up in the hospital twice due to dehydration and a blood transfusion when a blood test shows a low blood cell count. Ava puts the wedding idea on hold as she focuses on just making it to Christmas time. Spring comes, and the latest scan reveals that her cancer has spread despite the treatment, so Ava decides enough is enough. She refuses to do any more treatments and goes out the hospital door for the last time. She is determined to ever reenter willingly.

Amanda comes for a visit in between tours and stays with Kate and Ava. The night before they all got drunk enough that Ava brought up the wedding idea again. She tried to explain it to her mom until she brings up that there is no groom. However, when she explains it to Kate and Amanda the following morning, they understand that she wants to have the wedding as a goodbye instead of a funeral. Kate and Amanda understand and jump on the idea immediately since it is clear that it will make Ava happy. Once they finally convince her mom, the three of them go over to Ava's parents' house to start planning. Kate has already decided to be in charge of the budget and has made folders to divide up the tasks necessary. As she looks at the folders, Ava realizes that there is a lot involved in planning her farewell to the world.

The following morning Ava is woken up by Amanda who shows her a Facebook page that Amanda created. Ava tries to say that they can't take charity from all these people who have commented offers of money and services for the wedding. Amanda wears her down into accepting wedding goods and services when she makes Ava look at a few of the comments. Ava doesn't want to take any money.

Ava is standing on the back porch watching the sun rise after another night of almost no sleep. Ava is trying to mentally prepare herself for the magazine interview she has just a few hours that her mom, Kate and Amanda talked her into. Kate and Amanda join her just after the sun comes up, and remind her that the article will raise awareness about cancer as well as talk about her. Ava takes a shower and then lets the stylists, Kelly and Sophie, work their magic. Once they are done and show her how beautiful she looks, Ava has to step outside for air. She ends up walking down to the water where she hikes up the dress Sophie puts her in, and walks on the edge of the water lapping the beach. She hears a clicking noise, and sees a man standing on the dune she just walked down taking pictures of her. He tells her that his name is James and he is the magazine photographer for the day. Once Ava gets a better look at him, and finds that he is handsome.

Ava flirts with James a little bit before they both hear the journalist, Nadia, calling for her. Nadia was interviewing Kate, Amanda, and her mom while Ava stepped out. James walks back with Ava and even stops when she has to stop to catch her breath. Even though he is unsure of what to say to her, he waits with her. Ava tells him that she understand why he feels that way because she has come across it a lot with her own family and friends. They continue back to the house with James walking behind her to make sure that she doesn't stumble and fall.

It's been two weeks since the magazine article, and Ava has gone viral on the internet. Which means that there are even more comments on the Facebook page. Her mom, Kate and Amanda tried to talk Ava into doing more interviews leading up to the big day, but it just makes Ava say to cancel the whole thing. Ava decides to end the conversation by saying she needs to take a nap. They leave her be, and she wakes up hours later realizing she slept the whole afternoon. She gets up and goes out on the back porch to see every single person that she has considered family. Her mom tells her that they decided to do this as a way to cheer her up slightly. While they are all sitting around, Ava's dad convinces her to do the additional interviews with Nadia as a way to show people she's living her last days the way that she wants to. He even convinces her to write the advice columns that the magazine editor requested.

Ava struggles to write her first advice column. She even calls her mom who tells her to write about what she wished she knew before being diagnosed the first time. So, Ava writes about how each person needs to be their own advocate when it comes to their health. She says that doctors are humans as well, but no one knows someone's body better than the person seeking medical help. Ava makes it clear that seeking more than one opinion is never a bad thing no matter how upset the doctor gets. Your health and your body should always be your first priority.

Kate and Ava's mom are taking Ava to check out a place called Marmalade Farms that reached out as a possible wedding venue. They are joined by Nadia, Sophie, Kelly, and James who pull up in separate cars. The whole group is greeted by one of the owners named Ruby who shows them where Ava can get changed for the photo shoot. She tells them about the barn that is used for weddings. Once Ava is all made up and dressed in a wedding gown, her and James go to the meadow by the beginning of the driveway. Ruby shows everyone else around the property while telling the story of how the farm got started. James drives Ava up to the spot before they walk a short distance to the place he saw earlier.

During the short walk, Ava and James ask each other a few questions. Hers consist of has he been in love and when did he realize he wanted to be a photographer. His are simply why she is having the wedding and why involve the magazine. They both answer each other honestly, and this makes Ava like him even more. While listening to his instructions about posing, Ava has to remind herself that he is just being professional. When they reach the last few pictures, James has her lay in a spot filled with flowers where she can hear the river flowing below them. Once he finally gets what he considers the perfect shoot as the sun is setting, Ava has him turn his back to her so that she can take off the dress to go swimming without his eyes on her.

Once James realizes that she has climbed down to the water, he stands there looking at her swimming. He has a quick debate about getting in before he has her turn around to give him the same amount of privacy. Once James is in the water with her, they both swim a little ways down the river and watch the sun set some more. Before it gets completely dark, James convinces her that they needed to head back before her mom sends out a search party for them. Back on the shore, James carries Ava back up the hill to their clothes when he realizes that she is physically exhausted. A few days later James emails Ava a few "sneak peek" photos of her in the wedding dress. Once she looks at how beautiful she is in them, she forwards the email to her friends and family. She sits there happy as she thinks about these photos will be around forever.

The next article and photo shoot for Nadia is at Lake Tarawera which means that they have to stay in a hotel overnight. At first it is just Ava, Sophie, Kelly, and Nadia there, but James shows up with the news that he is the photographer again. Nadia seems surprised to see him, but is professional enough to just accept it. They all meet for drinks on the lawn at six o'clock before dinner. Sophie and Kelly are very clearly taking advantage of the business expense account when Ava makes it downstairs. Nadia is busying talking to a gray haired man when Ava walks over to where James is standing. Ava finds him standing at the edge of the lawn where he can see the water below.

They all sit down for a tiny portioned, twelve course meal with Jame sitting next to Ava. They have a few laughs together and talk enough to make her daydream about James. However she is pulled back into the reality that she has loss potential for anything when the waitress openly flirts with James. Realizing that she is living in a daydream, Ava decides to get up from the table talking about going up to her room early. James tries to offer to walk with her, but she walks away before he can get out of his seat. In the lobby, Ava decides to head back out on the lawn instead of going up the stairs to her room. It is pretty much dark out there, so she doesn't see the lawn chess set that she trips on. She messes with it for a bit before she gets bored. She spots four full cushioned lawn lounges near the edge of the light, and decides to lay down on one. She ends up falling asleep while looking at the stars.

She is only asleep for what feels like five minutes when she is woken up by a flashlight in her eyes. It is James who has apparently been looking for her. He admits that he got worried about her enough to have a worker open her hotel room door. When he saw she wasn't there, he started looking around outside for her. She tells him that she is fine and to turn off the flashlight. He does and lays down on the lawn lounge next to her. They are looking at the stars when she points out a group of stars they both recognize. This is when he tells her the story about drunkenly going to get the stars tattooed but it ended up getting changed to Homer Simpson once he was in the tattoo chair.

A few weeks have passed as well as a few more venues being checked out for three more articles. Ava has finally picked a Summer date for her wedding. However she does break the news to Nadia that it will be held on the beach at Kate's house. Nadia tries to say that there won't be enough room for everyone. Ava also breaks the news that the only ones invited are her friends, family, and the team Nadia needs to write the article. This is not a public affair. Later that night Ava is laying on the porch swing that Kate bought her as a late birthday present when she gets a text from James. He is asking her to join him for dinner the following night. Ava says yes.

James takes Ava to the fish and chips takeaway place that is part of the surf club off the beach. They share food while getting to know each other a little better. After eating James admits that he is afraid to hurt Ava if they decide to pursue something together. She calms him down even though she knows that any relationship between the two of them will hurt him more. Her back starts to hurt as the sun starts setting, so they walk back to his car. Before they make it to the car, James asks her to join him for an overnight trip that weekend. She says yes even though she's a little disappointed at his statement that he will book two rooms since he is a gentleman.

Ava is packing her bag for her trip with James while Amanda and Kate talk to her. Kate is telling her not to go because they will both just get hurt as it gets closer to her death. Amanda tells her to go for it because it is obviously what Ava wants. Ava acknowledges both of them, but makes it clear that James makes her feel something she hasn't felt for a very long time. In the end Kate and Amanda agree to let Ava do things her way just as James knocks on the front door. James asks her one more time if she wants to go, and she says yes.

After more than an hour of driving, James pulls up in a place where a helicopter is waiting for them. Ava waits for him to confirm all the details in the office while she debates if she really wants to go with him for the weekend. When he comes out, he gives her one more time to chicken out but she doesn't. They take off and fly for about 25 minutes to a hidden treehouse resort. Ava takes in the beautiful place while they are shown around by a woman named Mary. James admits that he has been here before for a magazine story. Mary shows them to her room first which has Ava speechless. James shows her the deck bathtub, which she starts to fill up immediately, before everyone leaves the room. As he leaves, James tells her that he will see her for dinner at six p.m. Before he can close the door, Ava asks him why they are there. He simply replies that everything will be revealed soon.

James knocks on Ava's door at exactly six and they head down to the restaurant. Ava thinks it is more of a dining hall, but doesn't say so outloud. They start out sitting on opposite sides of a long table, but James quickly moves his chair closer to her. They are waiting for their first course when Ava tries to offer to pay for the trip, but James tells her no, because he wanted to do this for her. Ava has to step out on the deck for a moment because of the blush she has forming on her face. James follows her a moment later and tells her about how his mom died from cancer when he was twelve. James is about to kiss Ava when the waiter interrupts them with the announcement that food is ready.

What is the surprise that James has in store for Ava? Will something further develop between them? Will she really have a wedding party as her goodbye to the world? Will she live long enough for it to happen?

Alright y'all, I am sure I could say a little more, but what fun would that be? Now like I said in the beginning, this book will have you on an emotional roller coaster. Tammy Robinson knows how to pull at your heart strings as well as hook you in immediately! You will laugh, tear up, smile, and ugly cry by the time you get to the ending. The ending is perfect, because of the way the story goes. I have to say thank you to Forever Pub for sending it to me, because I absolutely loved it. If you want to add this beauty to your personal library, head over to my page:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Subject A36 (R&R Book Tour Spotlight)

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Welcome to the blog tour for Teri Polen's upcoming release, Subject A36, the first book in a brand new series called The Colony! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a signed or digital copy of the book!
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Subject A36 (The Colony #1) Expected Publication Date: February 13th, 2020 Genre: YA Dystopian/ Sci-Fi Publisher: Black Rose Writing If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it? Residents of the Colony would. And do. Only the Insurgents can stop them. Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies. He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to. Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war. Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him. Add to Goodreads
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“Asher!” Mom gripped the porch railing and called for me. Her voice cracked and was laced with tears. Dad vaulted over the porch railing, landed solidly on the grass, and frantically scanned our expansive yard. My stomach clenched. Something was very wrong. “Over here!” Dad’s gaze locked on mine. “Code Exodus! Now, Asher. Run!” Was this another drill? We’d practiced twice a week, the times always unexpected, without fail for as long as I could remember. Drills were a regular part of our life, like eating, sleeping, and homework. Protocol was pounded into our brains. There could be no hesitation. But this felt different. Dad’s expression was tight and urgent. Tears streamed down Mom’s face, and I knew. This was no drill. It was real this time. We’d been found. Code Tribe—we leave together. Code Exodus—we leave without our parents. Code Exodus rules. Grab the backpack. Leave immediately. Don’t stop for anything or anyone. Run to the Wallaces. When my sisters could no longer keep up, hide them and keep running
Pre-Order Here! About the Author author photo Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at
Giveaway: You can either win a signed copy of the book (US only) or a digital copy (International)! Click the link below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway Blog Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Six-Week Solution (R&R Book Tour Spotlight)

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I'm thrilled to share a brand new historical fiction called, The Six-Week Solution by Paula Darnell. I have an excerpt for you to read and a giveaway to enter below! The Six-Week Solution_bc1b.jpgThe Six-Week Solution Publication Date: January 1st, 2020 Genre: Historical Fiction Never guessing that their very lives might be in danger, well-to-do women come from all over the country to stay at guest ranches around Reno to establish the six weeks’ residency required for a quickie Nevada divorce in 1955. When a Circle E Ranch guest dies after her Cadillac plunges off Mount Rose Highway, a mountain road between Lake Tahoe and Reno, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron is assigned to investigate the accident. His inquiries lead him to question everyone at the Circle E, where he meets Mary, an attractive prospective divorcĂ©e from New York, who soon has an accident of her own. In the meantime, Ben’s case takes a turn as twisty as the Mount Rose Highway, and when Mary suffers a second accident, he quickly figures that someone is out to get her. Unless Ben can discover who’s targeting the out-of-towners, some of them won’t live long enough to have their day in court.

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Mary and Shirley, each carrying a couple of large shopping bags, emerged from Gray Reid. Mary hadn’t intended to spend so much on her new swimwear, but Shirley’s infectious enthusiasm had rubbed off on her, and she’d purchased two swimsuits, a flowery cover-up, a wide-brimmed sun hat, a couple of beach towels, a bathing cap, and a large straw beach bag. She rationalized that she’d need some way to keep busy for her six weeks in Nevada, and since the Circle E had a nice pool and Shirley had offered to teach her how to swim, it made sense to buy swimwear. “All you need now is some suntan lotion,” Shirley said. “We’ll stop at a drug store on our way back to the ranch and pick some up. Right now, I’m starting to feel hungry. Why don’t we stop for lunch at one of the casino restaurants? By the time we get back to the Circle E, lunchtime will be over. It’s usually just soup and sandwiches set out as a buffet at noon anyway. At the ranch, the big meal of the day is always dinner.” “Casinos have restaurants, too? I thought they were only for gambling.” “Most of them are hotels as well as casinos, and usually they have at least a couple of restaurants. They have big-name entertainment, too. Frank Sinatra played the Sky Room at the Mapes a couple of months ago, and Tony Bennett sang there just last month. Of course, it’s not New York or L.A., but, for a town this size, it’s something.” “I didn’t realize that. Every time I’ve heard about Reno, it’s always been in connection with a divorce, and now here I am to get one myself. I can’t quite believe it.” Shirley and Mary lingered over a long lunch in the bustling coffee shop at the Riverside. Walking through the casino had been like a trip through a foreign land for Mary as she gazed in amazement at the crowd of gamblers playing table games and slot machines. The gambling didn’t stop in the casino, either. It spilled into the coffee shop, too, where patrons could play keno while they were enjoying their meals. Short, stubby pencils and packs of keno forms were on every table in the coffee shop, and keno runners in black and white garb came by the tables periodically to collect the keno forms that customers were going to play or to return them after the numbers had been verified. Shirley, who had played the game before, explained to Mary how it worked. It was as simple as choosing numbers on the form that resembled a bingo card, then hoping that the numbers the house drew matched. Winnings could range from a dollar to several thousand dollars, depending on how many numbers were played and how many numbers matched those that the house drew. In every casino game, losers outnumbered winners, but gamblers’ optimism that they’d beat the house kept the Nevada gaming business healthy. Shirley lost several dollars before giving up, but Mary won enough to pay for their lunch and leave their waitress a generous tip. Gathering up their shopping bags, they left, satisfied with Mary’s small winnings. As Mary and Shirley emerged from the Riverside, they were surrounded immediately by a large crowd of tourists who had evidently just arrived by bus. They sidled their way through the crush—they were leaving while the tourists were clamoring to enter the casino. Finally, the tourists all passed, and the two women paused to recover from the jostling for a moment. The onslaught wasn’t over yet, though, as another tourist bus pulled up to the curb, and its passengers began streaming from the bus. Hoping to cross the street to get away from the throng, Shirley and Mary hurried to the corner where they had to wait for the red light to change. Mary turned to look for Shirley, but she didn’t see her new friend. Somehow, they’d become separated when the big group of tourists mingled with the locals outside the casino. The temperature had risen considerably since Mary and Shirley had left the Circle E in the morning, and Mary thought it must be well above ninety degrees by now. She squirmed in her beige raw silk suit, which was stylish, but too heavy to wear in hot weather. The shopping bags felt like lead weights, and her girdle felt constricting, as beads of sweat popped out on Mary’s forehead. People kept bumping into her, and she began to feel as though the whole world were closing in on her. Assuming that Shirley would catch up to her on the other side of the street, Mary inched her way forward until she stood right on the edge of the curb, and there was nobody between her and the street. Fighting lightheadedness, she took a deep breath. The red light seemed to stay on forever. If only she could reach the other side of the street, if only she could escape from the crowd, if only she could get out of the hot sun. The seconds ticked away, seeming like an eternity to Mary. Suddenly, she felt a blow on her back, and she pitched forward, into the busy intersection. She heard screams, maybe from herself, maybe from Shirley or other people on the crowded sidewalk as a taxi screeched to a halt just inches from her. People rushed to help. The cab driver leaped from his taxi and picked up the scattered contents of Mary’s shopping bags while Shirley and a couple of cowboys held onto Mary as she struggled to stand. Throbbing scrapes covered her knees and forearms, and she had a large bump on her forehead. Her silk stockings were in shreds. “Lady, you’re lucky you weren’t killed,” the cabbie said. “I sure burned rubber trying to avoid hitting you.” Looking as though she might pass out at any moment, Mary moaned and swayed. “Can she sit down in the cab?” Shirley asked. “She’s about ready to faint.” “Oh, sure. Sorry, lady.” The cabbie flung open the taxi’s back door, and the cowboys guided Mary onto the seat. “Lie down, Mary,” Shirley said.“You’ll feel better.” Shirley turned to thank the two ranch hands who had helped, but they’d already disappeared into the crowd. “Where you wanna go, lady? It’s on the house,” the cabbie said. “Maybe we should take her to the hospital,” he said to Shirley. “I’ll be OK,” Mary said. “I felt like I was going to pass out for a few minutes back there, but I’m starting to feel better.” “Are you sure you don’t want to see a doctor, Mary? You have quite a bump on your head.” “No, let’s go back to the Circle E. I don’t want to be a bother.” “All right.” Shirley gave the cab driver directions to her car. When they arrived, she offered to pay him, but he refused to take any money, repeating that the ride was “on the house.” Shirley’s car felt stuffy, but at least it had been parked in the shade. Shirley and Mary rolled down the windows and enjoyed the rush of air, even though it was hot, as Shirley drove back to the Circle E. She whizzed past a drug store without slowing down before she remembered that she’d intended to stop so that Mary could buy some suntan lotion. “Oh, shoot. I meant to stop at the drug store. I guess we’ll have to come back tomorrow. You’ll need to get those scrapes cleaned up as soon as we get back, anyway. I bet they really hurt, don’t they?” “Oh, boy, do they! It reminds me of when I was a kid and fell off a curb while I was roller skating. I was really banged up then, too.” “I’m sorry our shopping trip came to such a bad end, Mary. We were having fun until you fell and nearly got run over by that taxi.” “Shopping was fun, but I didn’t fall. I was pushed.”
Now Available! Amazon B & N About the Author PaulaDarnelAuthorPhoto An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications. She is the author of Death by Association and Death by Design, both in her cozy series, the DIY Diva Mysteries. Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.

Paula Darnell | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

The author is giving away 3 print copies of The Six-Week Solution (US) and 3 digital copies (International). Click the link below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour Schedule

February 10th

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review)

Rambling Mads (Review)

B is for Book Review (Spotlight)

February 11th

Sophril Reads (Spotlight)

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight)

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

February 12th

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight)

Cup of Toast (Review)

I’m All About Books (Spotlight)

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight)

February 13th

My Bookish Bliss (Review)

The Faerie Review (Spotlight)

Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight)

February 14th

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Blog Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Friday, February 7, 2020

Buried In My Past (R&R Book Tours)

All right y'all so this is a super late post, but this spooky beauty came into my possession thanks to another book tour ran by Reads and Reels. Eva Mackenzie was kind enough to send me a physical copy along with some bookish goodies to go with the book. I was supposed to have this done on Thursday, but thanks to the flu and some nasty weather I am a day late. This book took me a little longer to read since I was not feeling good, however once I was fully in and able to focus it just went by really fast. This book was not what I was expecting, and I'm actually super glad that it wasn't. This book is what you would probably call a thriller that also has a story line that ties multiple point of views. I am going to be leaving a couple of them out simply to refrain from giving too much away, but it is a fluid switch between each point of view. So let's get started!

Jamie Kendal is that a therapy session with Dr. Ken trying to piece together flashes of memory she's been having lately. She has been seeing Dr Ken for 5 months but so far she hasn't uncovered much of what happened 18 years ago. Jamie just recently broke up with her boyfriend Alex when she first started seeing Dr Ken, but now Alex is always calling and dropping by unannounced. Jamie just wants to focus on trying to piece together what happened when her brother Trevor disappeared while they were away at summer camp. Once the session is over, Jamie goes back to her office where she is partner of a private polygraph examiner company.

Jamie walks in her office to find another round of Alex's unwanted flowers that she immediately sets by the trash can. She sits down and gets settled to start watching her recorded polygraph session with Roger Morgan, who is being accused of sexually abusing his daughter, when there is a knock at her door. Her boss Butch, who has been like a father figure for her, comes into her office saying that him and the other partner Edward think she needs to take a vacation. She tells him that she will think about it, but he hits her with the statement that her career depends on it. When Butch leaves Jamie gets a call from Arlington PD detective Tia Smith who needs help narrowing down suspects for a serial roofie and rape case she has at least 10 reported victims for. Jaime takes down the details of the case and tells Tia she'll look through anyone that she thinks may be a good candidate.

Jamie is finally making her way back to her condo and is thinking about how Butch told her her career depends on her taking a vacation. When she finally opens her door, she finds that all her lights are on and is greeted with the aroma of food cooking. She finds Alex in her kitchen and tells him to leave. He tries to say that he's seeing a therapist to help him deal with his disease, but she just doesn't hear any of it. When she makes it clear that she's not going to listen to him, he slaps her on the cheek. Before it can get any more violent, Jamie's elderly neighbor Stella knocks on the door to check on her. Alex leaves just then almost knocking over both women in the doorway. Jamie walks Stella back to her condo before going back into her own.

Lillian Kendal is halfway through a bottle of wine staring in her backyard for the umpth time thinking about her children Jamie and Trevor. She's crying when she hears a crash come from the basement. Lillian opens the basement door with the hopes that Trevor finally has come home when she is pushed from behind down the stairs.

After kicking Alex out, Jamie dives into some vodka while thinking about what Dr. Ken said about her mind blocking out that summer. When Jaime and Trevor were teenagers, they were at Kring Camp, Trevor and his best friend Sheldon disappeared one night. Everyone thought that Drew or one of the other camp counselors had something to do with it but no one has been arrested. The police gave up looking in the woods surrounding the camp for both the boys after months have went by with no evidence or lead.

Drew arrives at the Kendal house in response to Lillian's 11-year-old neighbors phone call. Drew gets the quick rundown of what Kyle saw before walking him back next door. Drew goes back to the Kendal house and does a sweep of the whole house to make sure no one else is there. He sees that Lillian kept Trevor's room as a shrine and thinks about that summer. Then he realize that he has to call Jamie and gets a small feeling of excitement at the possibility of seeing her again.

Meanwhile next door, Kyle goes back into his room and locks his bedroom door while he waits for his dad to come home. Kyle's mom took off a couple years ago, so when Lillian hired him to do some chores around the house she kind of became that figure for him. His dad could possibly be gone till late or all night. Kyle thinks about finding Lillian and questions if he actually heard her say a name when he walked down the stairs and if that is why he is locking his door.

Jamie wakes with the start from a dream with her mom and a shadow Trevor at 1:00 a.m. . Jamie gets into a shower to try shake off what's left of the alcohol, and is about to go to bed shortly after when her phone rings. She looks at it and sees as an unknown number but decides to answer it anyway. It's Drew calling to tell her about Lillian's accident and that she needs to come home. The next thing Jamie knows she has packed her bags and is waiting for Stella to come pick up her cat so she can leave at 5:00 a.m.

She reaches Cedar Lake hospital in under 3 hours. On the way there, she called ahead and found out her mom was on the third floor still in surgery. When she makes it up to the third floor nurses station, Jaime sees Nina, one of her childhood best friends, sitting there. Nina goes and tries to find out more info on Lillian, but comes back with no answers. Jamie asked her where the vending machine area is so she can get some coffee and try to wake up. Just before walking into the area, Jamie hears Drew telling someone on the phone that Lillian was drunk when she fell. Jamie comes around the corner saying her mom doesn't drink before listening to him apologize. She grabs her coffee and heads back to the nurses station while Drew follows closely behind her. Jamie has another flash of pain and a memory right before the surgeon comes out. He tells Jamie that he had to stop some brain bleeding. He also tells Jaime that Lillian was placed into a medically induced coma until some swelling subsides. The doctor then takes her to see Lillian in her room.

Later Jamie pulls into her mom's driveway as the sun is setting. She's about to go into the house when she noticed the door is ajar. Before she can think more or go inside, a voice in the driveway gets her attention. It's her other childhood best friend Yvette who apparently still lives at home across the street with her parents. Yvette has to head to work but she tells Jamie she'll come by again so they can catch up. Jamie finally goes inside where she finds Kyle in the kitchen on the hunt for the promised cookies he was looking for when he found Lillian. After he finds the cookies, Jaime asks him a few questions to find out what Kyle knows about Lillian's accident. Then Jamie walks him to the door and tells him goodbye after fixing the thermostat.

Later, Jamie is still thinking about how she saw Drew at the diner breaking up with his current girlfriend. Jamie went to the diner to try to get some food in her but seeing Drew there kind of spoiled her appetite. When Jamie looks at the clock it's midnight but she's not even ready for bed despite her wine buzz she has going on. Jamie steps outside and has a flash that can't be her memory, because she doesn't recognize the voices she hears. It is interrupted when she gets a phone call from her ex-best friend Emily who slept with Alex asking that Jamie to make time for her in Cedar Lake. Jamie goes back inside, locks the door, and goes into what used to be her dad's office. On the desk she finds her mom's living will along with a red folder with Trevor's name on the tab. She opens a folder and sees all the articles about Trevor and Sheldon's appearance. She also finds a handwritten letter addressed to her from Lillian saying Jamie was with Trevor that night.

Jamie wakes up sometime later in the office with the sun shining in the windows. She had a dream / memory of the night she sprained her ankle at Kring Camp, and it doesn't help her as far as figuring out what happened to Trevor. She goes into the kitchen where Kyle is sitting at the table reading a book. Kyle asks if she can take him to go see Lillian, and she says that they need to go ask his parents first. Jamie follows Kyle to his house next door and realizes that Steve, Nina's camp crush, is Kyle's dad. Steve says Kyle can go and invites Jamie over for dinner later. On the way to the hospital, Kyle asked Jamie about her job and she answers him honestly. Jamie also comes through realization that Kyle may be closer to Lillian then she is.

Drew is called to the murder scene of Emily Parker at the Willow inn. It is clear there was a struggle and when he sees her driver's license says she's from Arlington Virginia, he wonders if she is connected to Jamie. Drew watches over the other officers as they process the scene and wait for the M.E. to come pick up the body. Drew also looks at the room, and realizes that there are signs of a struggle which means that Emily was not there alone. Another officer says that he will see about getting security camera footage while Drew and the others finish processing.

Kyle and Jamie are sitting next to Lillian's bed waiting for her to wake up. Kyle tells Jamie that he is sure Lillian wouldn't blame her for what happened. Jamie gets up and says she needs to go to the bathroom to try to hide the tears from Kyle. While she is out, Nina comes in and takes Lillian's vitals while checking on Kyle. Jamie comes back into the room and it is a little awkward between her and Nina as well as Nina and Kyle. A short time later, Jamie is pulled into another memory that places her in the dark woods with a boy yelling at her to run and hide. Once back in the present, Jamie tells Kyle it's time to go while she thinks about how she needs to leave town. Jamie drives Kyle home before going into the house and packing all her stuff. Jamie decides that staying there is doing nothing but causing her pain. On the way out of town, she passes by the Willow Inn and sees all the police cars. Then she is pulled back to the same memory she had before in the hospital. She is jerked back into the present by the jerky feeling of her car crashing. She passes out from the pain is pulled back to Kring Camp to the day she spent the afternoon feeling uneasy in a paddle boat with Steve before flirting with Drew again despite knowing about Yvette's crush on him.

Drew goes to visit his dad, who used to be a cop as well, to try to get more information about the missing file on Trevor and Sheldon. However he doesn't get anywhere with his dad, because his dad is set on just letting the case go. Drew gets frustrated and leaves while thinking about how his mom used to be the buffer between the two of them before she died from cancer. While getting into his car, Drew gets a call to respond to Jamie's accident because she is refusing treatment.

Jamie is sitting on the side of the road fighting the paramedics when Drew walks up trying to calm her down. She tries to fight him too, but ends up passing out. Jamie wakes up sometime later in the hospital with Drew sitting close by her bed. Nina stops by before her shift to see how she is doing, but it is pretty clear to Drew that there is something awkward going on between the two women. The doctor comes in and looks over Jamie before discharging her with instructions to be careful, because she has a concussion. Drew takes Jamie to the impound lot to get her bags out of the wrecked car before taking her back to Lillian's house. On the way to Lillian's house, Drew asks Jamie about Emily before telling her about what he found at Willow Inn. Jamie quickly realizes this is going to be a short interrogation, and answers everything honestly. She is thinking about her answer to a question when her phone buzzes with the fifth phone call from Alex. Jamie feels a few tears fall while Drew sits quietly trying to be somewhat supportive. They pull into the driveway, and Jamie gets out of the car as fast as she can. Drew carries her bags in for her, tells her to not leave town, and then leaves.

An hour goes by and Jamie is still mad at Drew's passive aggressive interrogation. Jamie goes into Lillian's room and snoops around until she finds a box with Trevor's favorite shirt and a letter from LabCorp under her bed. Jamie reads a letter and sees that it's the results of DNA testing saying that both Trevor's and Jamie's blood is found on the shirt. Jamie wonders what it means and wishes she could have some kind of memory come back that could also give her an hour by for that night.

Drew checks in at the station to get an update on the processing of the Willow Inn crime scene before heading home. He tries to recall everything he can about that summer, specifically the night of in the morning after Trevor and Sheldon disappeared. He doesn't get very far though since his dad didn't tell him much during the actual investigation. While having a beer trying to think about anything but Jaime, Drew gets a call from the town prosecutor Ian Nelson asking about Emily. When Drew hangs up a few minutes later, the conversation makes him wonder what is going on since there wasn't an official case to investigate Emily's death.

Jamie is drinking her fourth beer in the hammock behind her house when Kyle comes up, and ask her to join him and Nina for dinner. Jamie asked Kyle about Nina, and he basically tells her that Nina has been like a babysitter for him here lately. Jamie agrees to come have dinner mainly, because she wants to ask Nina about that summer at Kring Camp. Jamie does ask her a couple questions, but doesn't get any answers. Jamie stays an hour before going back to Lillian's house. She ends up taking a short nap on the couch when she tries to work on some case files. The noise in the basement wakes her up just 30 minutes later. Jamie goes down into the basement to see if there's anything there and finds a cot tucked away into the corner near the root cellar. She starts to wonder who has been down there and for how long when a yell brings her back upstairs.

Jamie is going out her front door just in time to see Drew and another officer running towards the woods in the direction that the neighbor across the street Barb is pointing in. Jamie joins Barb across the street and asks her what's going on. Barb tells her that she saw someone in the bushes watching Jamie. Barb also tells Jamie that Lillian stop sitting on the porch about a week ago, and is about to say something else when Drew and the other officer come back. Both men are filthy and slightly scraped but empty-handed. Drew tells the officer that he wants to patrol to come through a couple times during the night despite Jamie's small protest. Before going back inside, Barb tells Jamie to come by to see her tomorrow so they can finish the conversation. Drew walks Jamie back across the street into Lillian's and does a sweep of the house to make sure no one else is there. While he is walking through the house, he presses Jamie for any reason that anyone could be watching her in the bushes. Jamie decides to tell Drew about the LabCorp letter and about the noise she heard in the basement just moments before. Jamie takes him downstairs and shows him the cot that she found before she came outside.

Drew looks over at the letter when they go back upstairs and offers to take her to talk to his dad. Jamie thinks yes after he tells her that his dad was the lead investigator in charge of trying to find Trevor and Sheldon. Drew finishes checking the rest of the house before leaving Jamie wishing that he would stay longer.  The next morning while standing in the backyard, Jaime sees the pile of rocks that Barb said she saw the man crouching behind. Jaime goes over to it and doesn't see anything out of the ordinary except four Three Musketeers wrappers. She decides to come back later and gather them up for Drew. Then she decides to go for a walk into town following the same path her and Trevor took as kids. While on her walk, she goes into Grimmly's store to refill her travel coffee mug and bumps into a man sweeping the floors that creeps her out. After refilling her coffee and is heading to the front counter when she runs into Steve who is looking a little sinister. Before it can get creepier, Drew comes to Jaime's rescue by saying she can't join Steve for dinner tonight because Jaime is going to be with Drew. Drew walks Jaime outside where they see Kyle looking for Steve. Kyle asks if she's coming to dinner, and she tells him no.

Drew drives Jaime back to the house while asking if she met with Emily the night she died. Jaime was happy about dinner with Drew later until he brought up Willow Inn. Now she is trying to figure out what happened and how everything that seemed so important a few months ago meant nothing. When they pull in front of Lillian's, Jaime tells Drew about how Emily was her best friend since college until she found Emily in bed with Alex just six months ago. She also explains that she hasn't spoken to Emily in months until she called Jaime the other day. Jaime then tells him about how Alex has been intruding on her life including being in her house the night Drew called about Lillian's accident. When Drew asks where Alex is now, Jaime says she doesn't know despite his ten phone calls a day. After confirming a time for dinner, Jaime walks inside with the feeling that someone is watching her.

Later that evening, Drew is sitting down having the dinner that Jaime made while they both enjoy a beer. He brings up the fact that he can take her to talk to his dad about Trevor's disappearance and she says yes. Then he asks her how long she is staying in town, and is a little sad when she says at least until Lillian is better. He asks why she hasn't visited, and she admits that she just wanted to leave the town and the memories behind when she headed to college. Jaime then tells him about how she only remembers bits and pieces that come to her in a total takeover dream. When she realizes that it is raining, Jaime runs out to get the candy wrappers she found earlier and comes back in showing him. Drew looks at her with her soaked blouse and decides to kiss her. Jaime lets him until she forces herself to pull away from him. She tries to get him to talk about the wrappers seriously, but it leads to Drew saying that he could stay at her house until the man was caught. This somehow leads to him kissing her again with desire that leads to them laying on the kitchen floor. However Jaime gets pulled back into the woods 18 years ago where she hears Trevor telling her to run while she lays in the mud. Jaime tries to run away but falls back to the ground as she feels blood running over her body. Jamie comes back into the present where Drew is trying to calmly coax her back before pulling her into a hug while she processes what she just remembered...

Will Jaime ever fully remember what happened the night Trevor and Sheldon disappeared? Will Drew find Emily's killer, Lillian's attacker, and finally close Trevor's case? Will Jaime ever figure out who was watching her and who is living in the basement before it's too late?

I absolutely loved this book! It was spooky, terrifying, and had you hoping for something positive to happen! I will admit that there was a few moments I was creeped out because of how well Eva Mackenzie wrote the story, but I just couldn't put it down! This book will have you trying to figure out what happened 18 years ago as well as what is going on in the present time. I have to give a huge thank you to Reads and Reels Book Tours for including me and being so understanding when I was sick. If you haven't added this Indie Pub to your TBR pile yet, what are you waiting for? Head over and get links to buy the book for yourself on my page:

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Love & Chocolate (RR Book Tours)

Alright y'all, so this beauty is about most girls two favorite things: love and chocolate! Obviously right?! This is a contemporary romance that I was able to read thanks to Reads and Reels Book Tours, and I am so glad. I will admit that this was just the thing I needed to break out of my reading funk. With Valentine's Day coming up, this is one that needs to be on your TBRs. It was a quick read, and one that is best for those that like a story line that isn't just about romance. Gail Cleare has obviously earned the title USA TODAY Bestseller. Alright so let's go!

Sarah is working on her laptop when a pop up comes up from the dating website her cousin, Paisley, signed her up for after a night of drinking. Sarah signs in under the screen name CocoLvr, which makes her wonder if it is too obvious for those that know her really well. Paisley convinced her this was the way to help her cope with her recent divorce from her husband and father to her son, Devon, who wants nothing to do with them. Sarah sees it is a message from a guy with the screen name HotNCold with just a picture of abs. She decides to reply back and it leads to a little bit of cyber foreplay until she hears Devon in his room. She gets Devon settled and back to sleep before rushing back to her room only to find HotNCold already signed off. Realizing that her cybersexing wasn't going to happen tonight, Sarah reaches into her bedside table and pulls out a plastic container of brownies Paisley made before trying to fall asleep.

Sarah is working her shift at her family restaurant, the Three Chocolatiers, that she is a Jr. Partner with Paisley while their grandfather Chef Emile is the main partner. Sarah is about to start devouring newly baked chocolate treats that are supposed to go into the dining room display case when the sous chef Jerome gets her attention while the second sous chef Raoul continues to work in his station. Paisley and Emile come walking through the kitchen into the office arguing about new recipes that Paisley wants to try. Sarah is the dining room manager while Emile and Paisley handled the kitchen, but Sarah is also the peacekeeper. Once the conversation is resolved for the moment, Sarah takes a seat on the bar stool in the kitchen.

She is reading the local business news when she is interrupted by Blake Harrison, the manufacturer and supplier of the restaurant's ice cream. Blake is there to confirm that he wanted to take the wedding catering job she emailed him about earlier. Sarah is half listening while string at his crotch until she snaps out of it long enough to make herself walk into the office to get the notes she had made. Blake watches Sarah practically run to the office and thinks about how he has been trying to find a private moment to ask her out. Blake doesn't want anything serious after his ex dumped him shortly after he put down a non-refundable deposit for their wedding. It was for the Bahamas rental she wanted, but then she ran off with all the vacation money and her personal trainer. Now Blake just dates casually to avoid being disappointed again and works constantly to fight off the depression that he can feel trying to take over.

Blake can't figure out why Sarah is so interesting to him since he could have any woman he wants, but he keeps coming to the restaurant when he can to try to get a glimpse of Sarah. While watching her fidget on the kitchen stool she was sitting on when he walked in, he thinks about how he is pretty sure that she is CocoLvr. He is pretty sure that the profile picture of freckled boobs is hers, which he thinks about while she heads into the office. The look on her face when she was looking at the fresh chocolate treats just confirms his theory even more. However, Blake aka HotNCold was still surprised that she would sext a stranger on the internet. Blake knows about Sarah's ex husband, and is thinking about how stupid he was to leave when Sarah comes back out of the office with her notes which Blake knows includes that the wedding gig involves cake, cupcakes, and special flavored ice cream. Watching her walk towards him, Blake decides that he needs to get to know her better online as HotNCold as well as in person as himself.

Blake and Sarah are about to walk out into the dining room when she hears a funny gasp followed by a thump. She turns around to find Emile pale and sweaty on the floor clutching his chest. Blake calls 9-1-1 while Sarah and Paisley try to get Emile to respond to their questions. Sarah watches Emile's face and is pretty sure that he is having a heart attack. A few minutes pass and Emile's color is starting to return to his face, then he asks why and how he got on the floor. The EMTs arrive, assess him, and take Emile to the hospital with Paisley riding with him while Sarah stays at the restaurant. Blake stands with Sarah near the back entrance as they watch the ambulance pull away. He pulls her into a hug and tells her to call him him if she needs anything before he walks away. Sarah goes back into the kitchen and makes a game plan for the night with Raoul and Jerome while switching into manager mode. After Jerome and Raoul assure her that they have the kitchen covered, Sarah walks out into the dining room just as the hostess station phone rings. She answers it and has to inform the caller that the dining room is completely reserved for the night. This makes Sarah question whether or not she can handle the wedding as she hangs up the phone, but she tries to shake it off before heading home to meet Devon's bus.

Meanwhile Blake drives back to his shop in the old shoe factory which hosts a bunch of different stores thanks to Blake and his brother Jordan. They bought the place together, and by sharing resources like bookkeeping makes it affordable for them all. However, this does mean that Blake and Jordan are responsible for all repairs, but it still makes Blake happy to see all their businesses doing well. Blake does a quick check to see if any repairs need to be done on the outside before he hears Jordan calling his name. They go into the office while Blake tells him about what happened to Emile. Once inside the office, they start talking about upcoming orders, events, and promotions but it leads to a debate. In the middle of the debate over dates and times, their little sister Carrie comes walking into the office with Blake's chocolate lab, Kahlua, on leash.

Carrie is currently working in the building as one of the bookkeepers for all the business owners to make some money for college. Carrie asks if they know anyone that will hire her during the summer so she isn't stuck working on the spreadsheets. Blake thinks about Sarah and the wedding gig, and tells Carrie that he will talk to Sarah. Carrie tells him thank you before heading back upstairs while Kahlua settles on his bed in the corner. Jordan starts making phone calls while Blake stares at the mountain of paperwork in front of him. Blake starts thinking about how attractive Sarah looked walking away to get her notes from the office until he makes himself get to work. Meanwhile, Sarah is pulling into her driveway just as school bus drops off Devon.

She watches him drag his feet towards the house and decides to not tell him about Emile just yet. She knows that he has a hard time with his ADHD even though he is pretty smart for a second grader. Devon has recently become obsessed with the TV show Bonanza, and she encourages it for as long as he is. She parks the car and tells him to meet her at the back door. She unlocks the door, and watches him run to the bathroom while her chocolate lab Hershey comes up to greet her before he goes outside to pee as well. While waiting for Devon to come out, she thinks about how much work she has done to the house to restore it. She bought it with her ex, but she done all the work herself. She thinks about how she was even doing some repairs on the night she realized that he truly wasn't coming home. Sarah replays calling him that night just to hear him say that he doesn't want anything to do with Devon beyond paying child support. She shakes herself out of it while she thinks about how she converted the third floor into a mini apartment that she rents out. The current tenant is a college student from Japan named Miki. Sarah made the arrangement with Miki that she could have free room and board in exchange for her watching Devon while Sarah is working.

While Devon gets settled in front of the TV to watch cartoons, Sarah goes through his backpack where she sees a flyer reminding her about the upcoming baseball playoffs. She knows that this is a big game for Devon and mentally prepares herself for him to be extra anxious. Sarah also starts a load of laundry to make sure that his uniform is ready to go before bringing in Hershey. Sarah heads up to her room with a cup of tea. Once she is settled on the the bed for a little bit, she calls Paisley to try to get an update about Emile. Paisley finally answers and tells her that blood tests showed that Emile had a small heart attack, but no major damage. He just has to rest and take a new medicine for it. Paisley also tells her that the doctors were keeping Emile over night just to be safe. Sarah tells Paisley about the plan to get through the dinner service, and hangs up.

Sarah gets ready for work after getting off the phone. While putting on her makeup, she thinks about her father died at his work desk and how her ex not coming home had the same feeling to it. Sarah was scared she was going to have that same feeling again with Emile until she got off the phone with Paisley. Then Sarah thinks about she found out her ex was cheating because an airline called to ask about a ticket for another woman, and how she emptied the joint bank accounts as well as cancelled the credit cards to ensure that there was money for her and Devon. After Sarah finishes getting ready, she heads downstairs and sees that Miki is already settled on the couch with Devon. They are playing a video game together, so Sarah tells them goodbye and heads to work. Later that night, Blake is waiting for Sarah to look at the message he sent her as HotNCold since he knows that she should be home from the restaurant soon.

Blake takes Kahlua for another walk past the restaurant to try to see how things are going while sticking to the shadows. He looks in the windows and sees Sarah standing behind the bar drinking some water. Blake thinks about how she is beautiful with her hair coming out of her updo and stretching from a very long night. The sight of her has his pulse pounding and breath labored, so he turns it to the rest of the dining room where everyone else is cleaning up. Blake continues the walk before doubling back to make it look like he is on the way back to his place instead of coming from it. He knocks on the door and waits for Sarah to come to the door. She comes and unlocks the door before greeting Kahlua first. Blake plays it off as he just wanted to check on Emile on his way home. When Sarah stands back up, Kahlua pulls Blake forward until he is standing beside her. She smells the ice cream on him, and literally waters at the mouth. She invites Blake to come in for a drink, which he accepts after he takes Kahlua home. Sarah watches Blake walk down the road before going back inside to prepare the single drink each.

A short time later, Blake walks in the restaurant just as she is pouring the drinks into martini glasses. They toast to Emile before slowly drinking the chocolate alcoholic drink that fixed both cravings Sarah had all day long. There is a buzzing energy between Blake and Sarah as they have a flirty conversation that most people would have on a first place. Sarah feels like they're in their own world until Paisley walks in from the kitchen with her current boyfriend and restaurant wine supplier, Wayne Gallaway. Paisley answers questions about Emile while Wayne opens the bottle of wine he brought for him and Paisley. Paisley brings up the wedding gig, and this is when Blake decides it is time to leave. Sarah walks him back to the front door while wondering if he is going to ask her out because she flirted with him a little, but he just walks away from her without much more than goodbye.

Finally back at home, Sarah tosses and turns for over an hour before she gets her laptop out. When the start up sound is a little loud, she gets up to check on Devon who was still peacefully sleeping. Back in her bed, she checks the restaurant email before her personal one where she sees a message from HotNCold waiting for her. She logs into the site, and sees a note from HotNCold saying that he had to take a phone call, but he hopes she will give him a second chance. Before she has a chance to send a message back in reply, a window pops up with a chat invite from him. She accepts and they have a conversation that covers their most recent failed relationship. Before the conversation can go back to sexy, HotNCold tells her that he has to be up before dawn and he wants to know if they can continue tomorrow. As much as Sarah doesn't want it to end, she agrees that they would talk again tomorrow.

When Sarah sees that HotNCold is offline, she thinks about the attraction between them mentally. Once shutting down her laptop, she reaches into her bedside table drawer and pulls out a plastic bag with almond bark candy. Just as she is drifting off to sleep, Hershey barks to alert her to a scraping metal sound outside. She hears Miki put her feet down on the floor above her right before Devon calls out to her. Miki comes down the stairs carrying a lacrosse stick while Devon is coming out of his door when Sarah goes into the hallway. Sarah tries to reassure Devon that it is probably just a skunk or a raccoon when a crash is heard at the back of the house. Devon grabs a baseball bat before the three of them head downstairs to investigate. Hershey is begging to go outside, and Devon is about to let him when Sarah stops him. She turns on the outside lights and sees the trash cans are knocked over. She puts Hershey on his leash and hands it to Miki before going outside alone to fix the trash cans while checking for any animals. On the way back into the house, Sarah notices that one of her azalea bushes has a few bent branches, but doesn't say anything. Sarah locks the door, and carries Devon back up to his room while Miki lets Hershey back off his leash and turning off the lights. The three of them go back to sleep without much more fuss.

Blake wakes up a few hours later with a sense of purpose after the conversation with Sarah last night. The heart-to-heart had him wanting for more with her, and he realizes he hadn't opened up to anyone else in a long time. Blake hums cheerfully while he gets ready for his day. He goes to the Downtown Diner to meet his dad and Jordan for breakfast. His dad and Jordan try to get Blake to spill why he's so happy, but he doesn't tell them anything. While eating, their dad tells him that his mom says to get Cassie a new job at the restaurant or Blake will go on the Black List. This makes Blake say that he will take care of it immediately, because he doesn't want to upset his mom in anyway. Blake throws a couple bills on the table before heading to the Three Chocolatiers.

Emile was released from the hospital two days later, and Paisley is bringing him home. Sarah decides that she will go upstairs to clean the apartment up a bit on the second floor of the restaurant. Paisley lives on the top floor in a tiny one bedroom apartment, but Emile had all the room he needed in his. When she takes the trash down to the dumpster, Sarah checks to make sure that Blake wasn't lurking around. Yesterday she hired Carrie to work as the summer hostess. Sarah thinks about her budding relationship with HotNCold which has turned into a nightly ritual even though they still hadn't had cybersex. She climbs the stairs back up to Emile's apartment as she thinks about how HotNCold promised her that tonight was going to be special. She reached the apartment just as she hears the elevator coming up from the ground floor parking lot. Sarah can hear Paisley and Emile arguing about the girls have everything covered so he can get the doctor demanded rest.

Paisley and Emile stops arguing when they see Sarah standing in the hallway. Paisley and Sarah help Emile walk into the apartment to his favorite armchair. Sarah brings out tea and scones for the three of them to enjoy while Paisley tells her what the doctor said. Emile needed to stick to a diet that involved no alcohol, no caffiene, low-fat, low-salt food as well as two new medicines. When Emile starts to complain about not being in the kitchen, Sarah tells him that he can tutor her in prep for the wedding right from his chair. Paisley brings up that he has to walk every day, so Sarah suggests that he take Hershey around downtown. After accepting this game plan, Emile sends Paisley down to the kitchen to get started on lunch while Sarah gets books down needed to give her a crash course on food safety and cocoa cookery.

Sarah takes the books Emile gave her and heads home to get ready for Devon's game in just a couple hours. She pulls into the driveway just as Devon bursts out the front door. It is clear that he is hyper and worried about being late. Sarah goes inside, changes her clothes, and then helps Miki load the cooler with snacks and drinks before they all head out, Hershey included, to the school playing field. They arrive just as the first round of teams are leaving. After getting settled with the other moms and dads who have become her friends, Sarah sees Blake walking towards her in a a purple shirt matching the team he sponsors. She also sees that he is wearing a whistle as she waves at him. He comes over, and Sarah finds out that he is the assistant coach for his team who just finished. Blake sits with Sarah and helps cheer on Devon's team.

Before the game starts, Blake puts his hand on her knee and holds it there until they both have a blush form over their faces. Blake was still talking to her as HotNCold, but it is clear that she doesn't know because last night she mentioned a cute guy she met at work. Blake is pretty sure she means him, but not enough to reveal his secret. They watch the game together, and Devon's team wins which means that they will face Blake's team for the next round of playoffs. Blake walks Sarah, Miki, Devon, and Hershey back to her car. Sarah invites him to her house for chocolate chili, but he has to say no since he has a community meeting for his condo building. Blake helps her load everything up, and then leans into her driver's side window to tell her goodbye. He leans so close that Sarah is sure that he will kiss her, but he places a peck on her cheek. He sees the clear disappointment on her face, and he knows that is a sign that he is getting closer to having her as his girl.

On the drive back to the house, Sarah listens as Miki explains that she knows about her dating profile and can be a good/bad thing. Miki tells her about the time that her friend got stalked by a dude she met online. The guy was able to find her friend's address through an internet search. When they get back to the house, Miki shows Sarah just how easy it can be to find information about someone. After dinner and doing a few household chores, Sarah heads upstairs to get started on the books Emile gave her while Devon watches TV. Sarah reads until her eyes glaze over and she nods off for a little bit. She is startled awake by her house phone ringing, but no one is there when she answers so she lays back down. She decides a little longer nap before putting Devon to bed is needed. Especially since she had another cyberdate with HotNCold later.

Sarah is in the middle of another round of cyber foreplay with HotNCold, and instead of enjoying the pleasure he's painting for her, Sarah's guilt instinct kicks in. Sarah takes out a box of chocolate truffles thinking it will help, and it does. That is until she she pictures Blake's face. With the fantasy ruined, she cuts HotNCold's descriptive conversation short by saying that she feels weird talking like this. He tells her that he enjoys the simple conversation by itself, and asks her for another chance. She thinks about it for a moment before telling him yes. Later Sarah is sitting on her window bench seat watching the storm happening outside. She notices a strange car sitting outside a house across the street that is for sale. She watches the car long enough to see the driver light up a cigarette before starting the engine. She sees it drive down the road without it's headlights until it reaches the stop sign. Before Sarah can think too much about it, a strike of lightening startles her back to her bed. Knowing she won't be able to fall asleep soon, she picks the chocolate cooking books up again.

Blake wakes up all wound up from the cut short conversation with Sarah, and decides to make a stop by the restaurant to see her. However when he gets there, it is clear that he is the subject of an inside joke between Paisley and Raoul. Blake plays it off that he is there to check on Emile before heading upstairs. After asking Emile how he is doing, Blake confirms that the ice cream is ready for the wedding. This leads to Emile asking Blake if he will be sending someone to deal with the ice cream, so Blake volunteers that he can handle it himself. Emile agrees that it would be good for Sarah to have a familiar face, and now Blake has a reason to be there besides his own. Blake leaves and heads back to his office after telling Emile to call if he needs anything.

Sarah is sitting in Emile's office trying to make sense of the massive paper pile on the desk when she sees the papers about the wedding. She decides to use the excuse of needing to give them to Blake and heads out to also enjoy the nice weather. She walks through downtown which is full of other people taking advantage of the nice day until she reaches Blake's ice cream factory. She gets there as he is dealing with a delivery on the loading dock. Once he is done, he takes her on a tour while staying intimately close which sends shivers and goosebumps all over Sarah's body. They go into his office at the end with the tension so think that Sarah wants Blake to make some kind of move until the phone rings. Shaken out of her sexual state, Sarah tells Blake goodbye and practically runs back to the restaurant. She goes into the office and starts to work on the paperwork pile again.

Later Sarah is working the bar section when a man named Alonso comes in. Sarah notices that he looks a lot like the Tarzan figure she usually imagined during her fantasy moments with HotNCold. He makes intense eye contact with her when she engages him in conversation. He scribbles notes in his notebook in between bites and conversation with Sarah. She politely asks what he does for a living, and he tells her that he works in the HVAC area. Sarah hears this, and practically runs to the kitchen convinced that he is HotNCold. She tells Paisley that she thinks HotNCold was sitting in the bar area. When Sarah finally gets Paisley to come out of the kitchen with her, Alonso is already gone after leaving a $100 bill tucked under the dessert plate. Paisley calms Sarah down by convincing her that he was just a random nice guy who found Sarah attractive. Sarah agrees that she was probably overreacting.

Blake heads over to his childhood home where his parents still live for a family dinner. Jordan and Carrie are already there waiting very impatiently to eat. Jordan has already had a few beers and tries to bait Blake into confessing his interest in Sarah. Blake doesn't take it, and makes it through dinner without much more about it. While cleaning up, Jordan tries again but it just makes Blake get defensive until Jordan gets that he doesn't want to talk about it. After Jordan says goodbye, Blake joins his mom near the fire pit and vaguely asks her what to do about Sarah. She tells him to just be himself because that is what any woman wants. Blake realizes his mom was right, and says goodbye. He looks up and sees the blood moon, and contemplates what it means as he decides that he needs to tell Sarah that he is HotNCold.

Sarah finally makes it back to her house after closing down the restaurant and is letting Hershey out back. Hershey growls and stares at the azalea bushes. She takes a few steps closer to the bushes until she hears a stick snap. Sarah runs back into the house and calls Hershey to come to her. He slowly inched his way to the back door until she is able to pull him inside. She bolts the door shut and kills the outside lights. She watches for a few minutes until Hershey starts up the stairs with her close behind. The next morning Sarah gets up and rushes getting Devon ready for school and on the bus on time. Miki comes down the stairs to join Sarah for a cup of coffee when she goes to check the outside thermostat. Miki calls Sarah over to the window because the bushes were completely flattened and trash cans turned over. Sarah assumes that the person who emptied the trash cans is responsible, and calls the company. Miki heads out the door herself.

Sarah trims the bent branches before getting ready for work. As she is going out the door, the phone rings but she doesn't answer when she sees Private ID. Once at the restaurant, Sarah walks in to find a very somber atmosphere. She walks into the office to see Paisley trying to do the bookkeeping. Paisley admits that she has already messed up once as well as burnt some cakes. Sarah comes up with a plan to let Paisley's brother Lucas handled the accounting part every week through FedEx while they do a few specials a week to help boost sales. This helps calm Paisley some, but she reminds Sarah that they need to nail the wedding gig. Sarah heads upstairs for another lesson with Emile. It is after lunch when Emile brings up the fact that the chef that works at the country club the bride chose will not be happy to have them there. Emile calls Paisley to come join them, and they come to the agreement that Paisley would handle the kitchen at the wedding while Sarah worked with the serving staff. Emile gives his blessing that Raoul and Jerome will handle the restaurant.

Emile then tells them the story about he met their grandmother while they fill in the pieces they remember. When Emile falls asleep in his armchair shortly after, Paisley and Sarah head up to Paisley's apartment to relax before getting ready for the dinner rush. While sitting up there, they come up with a plan to talk to Emile about sticking to his new diet better after Sarah saw heavy cream in his fridge. Then they reassure each other that they have the wedding gig handled. They share a hug that makes Sarah want to tell Paisley everything about HotNCold and Blake, but she decides not to before leaving to go meet Devon's bus at home.

Will Blake ever tell Sarah his secret? Will Sarah give in to the attraction between her and Blake? What is the cause of the strange noises and bent bushes outside Sarah's house? Is there a happy ending for everyone?

Alright y'all, I could probably have covered a little more, but I don't want to give away too much. Like I said this was the perfect book to help break me out of the reading funk I was in thanks to having a sick household. Gail Cleare has a wonderful way of writing about a budding romance while making sure that there is an actual storyline. This one even has a slight suspense plot behind it. I have to say thank you to Read and Reels Book Tours for including me into the readers for Love and Chocolate. If you want to add this beauty to your library in time for Valentine's day, head over to my page:

Author Interview with Mark Edwards

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