Book Spotlight:Remnants of Severed Chains #poetry

Remnants of Severed Chains is a collection of over forty new poems by Kyrian Lyndon, author of A Dark Rose Blooms. This book continues with the same intensity as A Dark Rose, running the gamut of complex emotions that resonate with many. The author explains in the book’s preface that Remnants is about the process of healing and recovery, the willingness to learn and evolve. Thus, she embraces life’s astounding and most personal revelations-afflictions, addictions and relationships, the good and the bad, capturing life’s most devastating moments along with its celebratory moments of beauty and joy. Kyrian’s exceptional handling of language to create vivid images has won her high praise. Rest assured, Remnants of Severed Chains is a uniquely moving experience that readers will enjoy. Cover design by Jah Kaine via jerboa Design Studio.com

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What I enjoyed most about reading Remnants is how the poems flow into one another with great conviction. The ebb and flow of innocence begins the book. I felt like I was the child seeing and feeling as what is beautifully described in the poems. But that’s only the beginning. Each poem engulfs a new perspective from the eyes of a young woman who feels darkness, light, and victory. I was so happy the book ended on an inspiring note and I look forward to more poetry by Ms. Lyndon.

Review by Laurie Kozlowski   Goodreads | LibraryThing | Twitter | Amazon

Remnants of Severed Chains is the second poetry book by Kyrian Lyndon. The first book, A Dark Rose Blooms and her most recent publications, events, and blog can be found at kyrianlyndon.com 

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Excerpt from A Dark Rose Blooms

My Review of A Dark Rose Blooms 

Recent Books From Kyrian Lyndon:

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Provenance of Bondage is a YA fiction-suspense novel.

Excerpt from Provenance of Bondage

Review of Provenance of Bondage soon to come

 

 

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@nextbookescape Review of Postcards From The Dead by Laura Childs #Suspense #Fiction Review by @LaurieKozlowski

An entertaining cozy mystery. The pace of the the story picks up after several chapters and each character has interesting aspects that fuels the suspense. Recommended for readers who enjoy mystery and suspense without violence and gore.

Review by Laurie Kozlowski – GoodreadsLibraryThing

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See more books by Laura Childs on Goodreads.

New Orleans is in the throes of another fantastic Mardi Gras celebration when the party gets crashed by a murderer. Now a scrapbooking sleuth is going to have to stop the partying to catch the killer…

There’s a parade rolling through the historic French Quarter, with gigantic floats, silver beads, and dizzying lights—and Kimber Breeze of KBEZ-TV is broadcasting live from a small balcony on the fourth floor of the Hotel Tremain, interviewing locals and capturing the spectacle down below. Her next subject will be Carmela Bertrand, owner of Memory Mine scrapbooking shop. Carmela has never been a fan of Kimber, but she isn’t about to turn down the chance of good publicity for her shop.

But before Carmela’s shop gets its five minutes of fame, a killer slips onto the balcony and strangles Kimber with a cord, leaving her body dangling above the parade. Carmela is horrified, but she quickly discovers the nightmare isn’t over. Because someone is now leaving strange postcards at Carmela’s shop—signed by the dead Kimber. Now Carmela and her friend Ava will have to risk their own necks to find out who’s posing as a ghost—and to expose a killer…

INCLUDES SCRAPBOOKING TIPS

@nextbookescape Review of The Island by Elin Hilderbrand #womensfiction #sisters Review by @LaurieKozlowski

The Island is a heartfelt story of four women who resort to casting themselves away to a private family-owned island of Tuckernuck, Mass. It is a story between two sets of sisters, both sets of separate generations. The women all have their baggage, but it’s the type of baggage you’re intrigued to read about. I hold The Island in high regard because although the book is what I consider to be very long (over 400 pages) it told each of the character’s stories; capturing their triumphs, sadness, elation, and devastation from beginning to end, never missing a beat.
The Island is so many things OTHER than a “light read” in my opinion. It is an ernest look into the lives of very different women. It is a story of love of family, unrequited love that is hard-won and conquered, emotional growth, and surviving trauma. It’s complex concerning the issues woven into this piece of fiction and the ending is well-deserved for all characters. Have I mentioned there are actually FOUR characters’ stories in this ONE novel? It’s well worth the time to read it and will leave readers yearning for more. Good thing Hilderbrand has a solid booklist: I look forward to reading all the rest, too!

-Review by Laurie Kozlowski-   Goodreads | Shelfari | LibraryThing

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View more books by Elin Hildebrand on Goodreads. 

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess’s lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she’s cancelled her engagement.

It’s only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she’s embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store – a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.

But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known. It’s a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her page-turning, bestselling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach.

Buy this book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

Favorite #Books Read in 2015

I refer to winter as “reading season.” It’s one of my favorite times of the year although I admit, I miss the sunshine from early fall. When I’m not curled up reading my favorite book, writing my own books and short stories, or working in overnight retail marketing, I’m an overgrown kid. I watch Garfield and Friends or indulge in Nintendo DS gaming. Recently I’ve been thrilled to try Amazon Prime for a month to see if all the hype is worth it-stay tuned-I’ll let you know!

For now, I’d like share a list of great books (not all books, but my favorites) I’ve reviewed this year. When I began this blog I wanted to stick to books under 300 pages. For the most part, I have. However, as time is becoming more constrained I’ll be reading and reviewing more short stories and novellas than ever before.

Also, I want to remind authors who are seeking reviews to > click here < first.

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*Please note* the list compiled is in no particular order. Some are recent publications, some are not. I lean heavily toward romantic fiction or genres who incorporate romance into the fiction they write. This list will be updated until the conclusion of 2015, as I continue to read and review. 

A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden

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A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey–Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams–Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.

A BIT OF BITE is a short paranormal romance–the story contains approximately 11,000 words. A BIT OF BITE is intended for adults–it includes hot werewolves, a dangerous heroine, and graphic language. Consider yourself warned.

Lumberjack in Love by Penny Watson

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City slicker Ami Jordan was just dumped by her back-stabbing boyfriend, has no job prospects, and can’t find a decent cup of coffee in the entire state of Vermont. The last thing she needs is a sexy, bearded lumberjack complicating her life. Even if he’s smart, talented, and has the hottest ass she’s ever seen. 

Tree house builder, environmental champion, and Bulldog owner Marcus Anderson has no patience for flatlanders with an attitude. But when landscape designer Ami Jordan shows up at his log cabin, he suddenly develops a hankering for a high-maintenance city gal. Now his house looks like a jungle, his recycling is in disarray, and his libido’s on fire. 

He’s a lumberjack in love. 

LUMBERJACK IN LOVE is a 27,000 word novella.

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1) by Colleen Hoover

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At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter’s cheating on her–and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

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Texas Trouble by Kathleen O’Brien

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It all starts with the kid…

Life was better for Logan Cathcart before he crossed paths with nine-year-old Sean Archer. Because now he has to face the kid’s mom, Nora. It’s not that Logan doesn’t like Nora. He does—a lot. Perhaps too much. Even though she’s captivated him from the moment they met, socially he and the wealthy widow next door are leagues apart.

Still, keeping his distance is next to impossible with Nora constantly on his ranch, determined to clean up the mess Sean made. With the kind of sparks that erupt whenever she and Logan are within touching distance of each other, there’s a whole lot of trouble in Logan’s future…the adult, let’s-get-serious kind of trouble.

Home Sweet Home by Candis Terry

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Before Candis Terry’s wild Wilder brothers met their matches, a soldier gets a homecoming in Sweet, Texas

He’s given up … 

Army Ranger Lieutenant Aiden Marshall fought in some of the most hellish corners on earth and survived. Those closest to him, did not. When he returns home to Sweet, Texas, he believes he’s broken and has lost everything—including his soul. The only fair thing he can do to the woman who’s patiently waited for him to come home is tell her to move on with her life—without him.

… but she never will 

Sassy waitress Paige Walker has no intention of walking away from the man of her dreams. He gave his all for his country and served with honor. Now it’s time to pull him from the darkness and give him hope. With a heap of love, the help of the entire town, and a tail-wagging companion, Paige makes sure her hero knows there’s no place like home sweet home.

Accidental Leigh by Melanie James

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A laugh till it hurts paranormal comedy! 
How does a girl become a witch? By accident, of course! 
Leigh Epstein is a grief stricken and lonely elementary school teacher that is devastated by the brutal and unexpected death of her true love at the hands of a careless writer. She overcomes her grief by taking matters in her own hands and takes up a little romance writing to resurrect her vampire-werewolf book-boyfriend. Leigh gets more than she bargained for when she discovers that every steamy erotic scene she creates is magically reenacted by her family, friends and coworkers. 
In her hilarious first diary, Leigh unwittingly sets her parents up for a weekend dinner party that they will never forget. She has two weeks to find out what her new found magic is capable of. Can she prevent a wild erotic encounter that could devastate her sweet parent’s marriage? What and who else will get caught up in her magic spells? 
Read a story so witchingly fun, that you won’t be able to put it down and you will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the Literal Leigh Romance Diaries! 

Perfect Stranger by Nancy Adams

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After a sudden and tragic car accident claims the lives of Miriam’s Uncle and beloved fiancé. Miriam suddenly finds herself as the beneficiary of a sizable fortune. Because of her immense grief, she closes herself off from the world. Only after her best friend, Roxy, wins a trip to a remote resort does Miriam finally decide to come along. After much coercing, the two make their way together to the beautiful resort where Miriam’s life was about to change forever. 

While there, she meets a mysterious stranger, who attempts to win her heart. But what does he truly want? Is he after her heart or her fortune? Otherwise, how else can she explain how he knows so much about her when she’s revealed nothing? In the end, Miriam must decide whether to open up her heart to a miracle or allow grief and suspicion to stop her from finding love that defies even death.

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

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Beneath the glitter of dazzling nineteenth century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil…

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long ago taken control of the world. 

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her dark, dangerous duty. 

And when she comes face-to-face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make a choice between duty and love. 

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Mr. January by Ann Roth

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Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…

Wait for The Rain by Maria Murnane

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Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

Comeback (Portland Storm #6) by Catherine Gayle

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Nicklas Ericsson is an addict. He’s also a star goaltender with the NHL’s Portland Storm, or he was until his addiction changed everything. Now he’s throwing himself into doing all the necessary things to pave his path to a comeback, both in his personal life and on the ice. Nicky’s run out of options, and now his sister and her children are in Portland. They need help he has no clue how to provide, though, and figuring it out might derail all the progress he’s made. 

For a few years now, Jessica Lynch has been running the Portland office for the Light the Lamp Foundation. Between her work and several people from her past, she knows more than she’d like about addicts. One lesson she’s learned is that even when addicts try to turn their lives around, more often than not, they fail. That’s why she takes a hands off approach, keeping her heart well away from the addicts she works with, like Nicky Ericsson. 

Nicky’s recovery efforts put him directly in Jessica’s path, and she can’t ignore his very real need for help. Where Nicky is concerned, she can’t separate her emotions. His niece and nephews further complicate her efforts to guard her heart. The attraction between Nicky and Jessica is instant and mutual, but she’s misplaced her trust too many times before. Can he prove that he won’t fall back into old habits in time to complete the perfect Comeback?

The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

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In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live  

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been. 

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self. 

Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

In The Zone (Portland Storm #7) by Catherine Gayle

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It was supposed to be a single night of fake names, half-truths, and anonymous sex. Neither of them was prepared for it to become more. Keith Burns, star defenseman for the NHL’s Portland Storm, was just looking for a way to pass the time and ease the loneliness of his lavish lifestyle. Brianna Hayden wanted to find herself—and maybe learn to love herself again—after health issues changed everything. Anonymity is the name of their game; the rules were laid down at the outset. But when a chance encounter brings them back together long after the game should have ended, all their initial rules get thrown out the window. 

It isn’t long before partial truths and dancing around the pain of the past gets complicated. Their physical chemistry is off the charts, but it isn’t enough. They both want a future, but Keith has an unspeakable history involving his two brothers that he just can’t share with anyone, not even Brie. She needs the truth if they are going to have any chance at moving forward. If he can’t give it to her, it might land him a permanent spot in her penalty box. If Keith can get In the Zone, he’ll be on the forecheck—but Brie’s heart is the goal he’s seeking.

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Want Me by Cynthia Eden

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She doesn’t play it safe… 

Sophie Sarantos has a weakness for dangerous men. She doesn’t like safe lovers—she likes men with a wild, rough edge. But Sophie may have attracted a lover who is too dangerous, even for her. Someone is stalking Sophie, slipping into her home, watching her day and night. The stranger seems to know all of Sophie’s darkest secrets, secrets that should never be revealed. 

Out of options, Sophie turns to ex-solider Lex Jensen for protection. Lex is part owner of VJS Protection, Inc., and Sophie hires him as her bodyguard. She thinks Lex is one of the “good guys” out there, but she couldn’t be more wrong. 

He doesn’t play at all… 

Lex has his own secrets. Dark, deadly secrets. And as his feelings for Sophie grow, Lex knows that he is going to have to stop pretending to be a gentleman and, instead, he’ll have to show Sophie who he really is. A man trained to kill. A man too used to evil. A man who will take any risk…as long as he can claim Sophie. 

Because there is one thing that Lex wants in this world…one person he desires above all others…Sophie. And no one will hurt her, not on his watch. 

Dying Dreams by Katharine Sadler

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**Urban fantasy, heavy on romance** 

Liza Simmons has just learned she is a banshee who dreams of death. Problem is, the government knows what she is and they want her to work for them, touching dead bodies and dreaming of how the victims died. In 2070, in a world ravaged by climate change, the fae have few rights and Liza doesn’t have any other options than to do what the government wants. 

Agent Sloane Rice works for the supernatural protection agency, or SPA, and it’s his fault the government knows what Liza can do. He convinces her to sign on with SPA as an agent to avoid becoming a government science experiment. Liza works with Rice to find out why several mermaids have disappeared or died in recent weeks. 

During their investigation, they uncover a larger crime and a possible fae rebellion. They both know they need to focus on the job and ignore the mutual attraction growing between them, but trying to fight it may get them both killed. Especially when the fae rebel behind all of the recent violence discovers that they are on his trail. 

Immortal Ever After by Lyndsay Sands

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When Valerie is saved by the Argenau rescue team after being kidnapped by an immortal madman, Anders finds himself captivated by the strong, sultry woman. Engaged in a steamy affair, he promises to do everything in his power to protect Valerie while her abductor is still at large—and on the hunt.

Sexy, fun, and full of passion, Lynsay Sands’s Immortal Ever After delivers a tantalizing adventure and a smoldering romance.

Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey

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Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he’s starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he’s always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn’t help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material. 

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she’s intrigued. When she finds out he’s in the market for a wife, she’s fascinated…and determined to help. 

Molding Max into every woman’s dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori’s plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she’ll have to find a way to show just how she’s fallen for him…the real him.

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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman 

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Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository – a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too – for in the repository’s basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages – handsome Marc, perfect Anjali, and brooding Aaron – are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure.

Throw Like a Woman by Susan Petrone

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Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn’t having a whole lot of fun. She’s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she’s toiling away in a cubicle instead, trying to make ends meet. Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.

When she was a kid, Brenda’s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn’t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a “test your speed” pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband’s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation – and then more than that.

The Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. Soon, she’s standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history – and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of “traditionalists?” Not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage. Meanwhile, Brenda’s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover. As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner – at both baseball and life.

A funny, poignant, and endearing novel from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, THROW LIKE A WOMAN is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.

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BookEscapeReviews

I Recommend ‘The Rest Falls Away’ by @colleengleason–Intense Romance Series #UrbanFantasy #Amreading #BookEscapeReviews

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil…

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

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Book One in The Gardella Vampire Hunters series by Colleen Gleason

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Thrilling and Intense Romance

I cannot believe I’m only beginning this terrific series. How did I miss it?

Wow.

The Rest Falls Way transcends usual paranormal romance. I couldn’t put it down. Max was an incredible character. He was strong and had downfalls. Victoria threw me for a loop. As I continued to read, there was twist after twist. This story moves quickly and is an excellent thriller with intense romance. I loved it, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

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Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski

Buy The Rest Falls Away on Amazon | Apple Store | Kobo | Barnes&Noble

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Books #2-5 of the Gardella Vampire Hunters series

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Book #2

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Book #3

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Book #4

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Book #5

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Colleen Gleason is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who can’t seem to decide what type of book to write…so she writes a lot of different genres!

So far, Colleen has written everything from vampire hunters to dystopian romance, to steampunk, historical romance, and mysteries with a supernatural flair. One element, however, that appears in all of her stories, is that of partnership…whether it be professional, romantic, or both.

All of Colleen’s books feature strong heroines experiencing fast-paced adventures, danger, mystery, and of course, romance. But at the core of each story is the belief that every woman deserves a partner who accepts her for her strengths as well as her weaknesses—and vice versa.

Colleen lives in the midwest United States with her family and two dogs, and is always working on her next book.

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Connect with Laurie on Goodreads | Shelfari | Library Thing | Facebook | Twitter 

This Hunky #Firefighter Is More Than a Handsome Face! My #BookReview of @Ann_Roth ‘s e-book exlcusive MR. JANUARY #BookEscapeReviews #GreatReads

Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…

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A Beautiful Story and Sizzling Romance

The cover of this book piqued my interest, and when I found out it was a firefighter hero romance, I knew I wanted to read it!
Samantha has to decide if she’s willing to take a chance on the very sweet, tortured, and handsome Adam. Samantha had a smart and warm persona. She and Adam were a great couple and worked well together in finding a solution for what has the potential to tear their love apart.
William, Sam’s son, was adorable. It broke my heart how his biological father didn’t care enough to stick around or at least put forth an effort to be a responsible parent.
Adam’s yearning to make his ailing father proud was frustrating, but both Adam and Sam learn how to move past their misconceptions about themselves and those who have hurt them.
Mr. January is a terrific book that focuses on the characters growing relationships and embracing love and forgiveness. It is a beautiful story and sizzling romance.

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted to Amazon, LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Goodreads

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Published: April 3, 2015
Publisher: Ann Roth
Page Count: 284 pages

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Next book of the Heroes in Rogue Valley series:

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Visit with the Rogues at Ann’s Website to learn more about their stories.

If you like the Heroes in Rogue Valley Series, you may also want to check out:

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A Rancher’s Honor – Book #1 of the Prosperity, Montana miniseries

Several other American Romance books by Ann Roth are on her website. Sweet and sexy cowboys. Wonderful, touching, and romantic stories. 

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I’m a bit of a voyeur. I love to stick my nose into total strangers’ business and observe how they deal with life’s hurdles and whatever obstacles fate throws at them. I can’t think of anything more challenging or interesting than delving into a character’s psyche to discover what makes her/him tick. The surprises and insights are amazing!

The people who interest me most are the ones I know will triumph despite life’s problems and challenges. For me, writing their stories is both rewarding and a whole lot of fun.

Whenever I’m deep into a story, I walk around and mutter to myself. I often drift off in the middle of a conversation, grab a pen and paper and madly scribble the amazing sentence or plot twist that just popped into my head. With that kind of behavior, people tend to think I’m somewhat eccentric or even crazy–until I explain that I’m a writer, and that paying attention to that muse is important. (Read more about Ann’s inspirational publication story.)

Romance Meets Addiction Recovery–Review of #CatherineGayle ‘s #romancefiction “Comeback” #hockey

Nicklas Ericsson is an addict. He’s also a star goaltender with the NHL’s Portland Storm, or he was until his addiction changed everything. Now he’s throwing himself into doing all the necessary things to pave his path to a comeback, both in his personal life and on the ice. Nicky’s run out of options, and now his sister and her children are in Portland. They need help he has no clue how to provide, though, and figuring it out might derail all the progress he’s made.

For a few years now, Jessica Lynch has been running the Portland office for the Light the Lamp Foundation. Between her work and several people from her past, she knows more than she’d like about addicts. One lesson she’s learned is that even when addicts try to turn their lives around, more often than not, they fail. That’s why she takes a hands off approach, keeping her heart well away from the addicts she works with, like Nicky Ericsson.

Nicky’s recovery efforts put him directly in Jessica’s path, and she can’t ignore his very real need for help. Where Nicky is concerned, she can’t separate her emotions. His niece and nephews further complicate her efforts to guard her heart. The attraction between Nicky and Jessica is instant and mutual, but she’s misplaced her trust too many times before. Can he prove that he won’t fall back into old habits in time to complete the perfect comeback?

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~ * ~ * ~ Review of COMEBACK — Portland Storm, book #6 ~ * ~ * ~

Romance Meets Addiction Recovery

Nicky (Nicklas), is a recovering substance abuse addict who plays pro hockey. I loved how his character gave insight to the challenges and triumphs of improving self-image issues and staying strong.
Nicky faced challenges and temptations throughout this book where he could have slipped back into his old ways of using pills and booze as a way out. One specific tragedy toward the end almost had me convinced Nicky was going to relapse and lose his family and the love his life…but he didn’t! He didn’t, and that is what I loved most about this story.
It is a book that shows him as a prospective success and less like a past “user-loser.” It breaks the barriers of stereotypes people going through a recovery program often endure. He works hard to mend broken relationships and is honest with himself, even when times are tough. Best of all, he comes through for his team and family when it would have been easier to go back to his old ways and give up. His story is inspiring and beautiful.

— An ARC copy of COMEBACK was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. —

Star Rating: Five of Five Stars * * * * *

Review by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted to Goodreads.

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~ * ~ * ~ Recent / Upcoming Releases by Catherine Gayle ~ * ~ *

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DROPPING GLOVES, Portland Storm Book #7, is available for pre-order at Amazon and Kobo. Release date is *April 23, 2015*. If you’re interested in reading more excerpts and to check out the entire Portland Storm series, be sure to visit Catherine Gayle’s website. She lists all of the books there, including her historical fiction books and short stories. 

A Beautiful Story of Romance and Goodwill–@LaurieKozlowski’s #BookReview of “The Homecoming” by Robyn Carr ( @RCarrWriter )

A Beautiful Story of Romance and Goodwill (Review of “The Homecoming” by Robyn Carr)

Iris works as a florist and Seth is a disabled but active cop, assigned to Thunder Point, a small town in Portland, Oregon. Thier romance blooms gradually though they haven’t seen each other in years, because of a grudge one of them holds against the other one.

I think I’m falling in love with the town as much as the characters. Everyone, every store, everything, has a story…that is why I think I always connect with Robyn Carr’s stories and the characters she writes. It was no exception that Seth completely won me over by being completely genuine and an all around great guy. In any other book, it would seem boring–but his life story is carefully drawn where I wanted things to work out for him. He was a hell-raiser in his younger days and took many things for granted, but in this story, it’s clear he wants to make amends.

I also admire Iris for being smart and careful with her heart after she’d been taken advantage of. She was determined not to be a victim of her past and took every reasonable approach to rise above the pain and loneliness. She works as a school counselor to teens–that I loved–and I liked how her mending heart wasn’t over-exaggerated like in some novels.

I’m glad I kept reading past the first few chapters, though I wanted to put the book down because at first I couldn’t believe Seth did what he did. If I hadn’t had read Carr’s books before I may have done just that, but I knew there had to be a reason for it. And there was.

Nice and easy storytelling, with sub-plots of a mysterious domestic violence case that was solved by the end, makes this novel another hit in the collection of Thunder Point novels.

Star Rating: Four Stars * * * * 

Review by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted to Goodreads and Amazon.

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Thunder Point, Book Six

Thunder Point, Book Six

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At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

RECENT BOOK RELEASES

Thunder Point, Book Four

Thunder Point, Book Four

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Thunder Point, Book Five

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Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

A Steamy Sports Romance with A Powerful Message– @LaurieKozlowski ‘s #BookReview of “In The Zone” by Catherine Gayle #BookEscapeReviews #amreading #hockey

There is something alluring about sports romance fiction series. The heroes are always hunky and strong, the heroines always seem to gravitate less to the “damsel in distress” and more toward equal partnership.

Then when I find out an author of one of these books has more books out like them…I sigh, do a little happy dance, and then Amazon one-click my brains out, regardless of wallet budget, to get my sports romance fix. I’ve found a great new-to-me series that I’m going crazy over.

The Portland Storm series by Catherine Gayle.

It’s a scorching hot hockey sports romance series, with delectable heroes and strong heroines. I love how she kept Brie soft mannered yet showed her kicking ass on the dance floor. If you love sports and romance…hot romance–damn! You’ll love this series.

Here’s my review of “In The Zone” by Catherine Gayle.

"In The Zone" Portland Storm Series, Book FIVE

“In The Zone” Portland Storm Series, Book FIVE

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Steamy Sports Romance with A Powerful Message

By the middle of the first chapter of “In The Zone,” I knew this book would have a sexy edge and important message.

Brie is a plus-sized heroine because she develops a thyroid issue, causing her to continue to overweight despite her diet restrictions. She keeps her insecurities well hidden, under frumpy clothes and a sweet spirit while teaching dance classes. Her former partner dumped her because of her weight (he was an ass) and to say her spirit had been broken by his emotional abuse would be sugarcoating it.

So she puts an ad in on Craigslist to hook up for the night with someone who could make her feel desirable. Most would think this to be “pathetic” or “desperate” behavior. But when you read the story, you’ll see the author’s voice only betrays this act of so-called desperation as a genuine act of Brie proactively dealing with low self-esteem. I thought she was brave.

Kieth (“Burnzie”), is a beast. The magnitude of his character within this book is amazing. He loves his family but deals with doubt from a painful past tragedy concerning one of his brothers. I loved how he took a teammate under his wing, how he gently guided Brie into a better place emotionally by being an excellent friend, and how he’s always thinking of others before himself. He stole my heart.

I probably don’t need to say this book is off the charts hot because there is more depth than meets the eye. “In The Zone” offers great insight into dealing with grief, mental health issues, and recovery. But I’ll let you decide for yourself if this one is a winner. It was for me, for sure!!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted on Barnes & Noble and to Goodreads.

Star Rating: Five Stars * * * * *

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BOOK BLURB FOR “In The Zone”

It was supposed to be one night of fake names, half-truths, and anonymous sex. Neither of them was prepared for it to turn into so much more. Keith Burns, star defenseman for the NHL’s Portland Storm, was just looking for a way to pass the time and ease the loneliness of his lavish lifestyle. Brianna Hayden wanted to find herself again after health issues changed everything. That one night turns out to be so much more than either Keith or Brie expects, but anonymity is the name of their game, and the rules were laid down at the outset. Pushing for the truth might land Keith a permanent spot in Brie’s penalty box, but it’s a chance he’s willing to take. Once he gets In the Zone, he’ll be on the forecheck—but Brie’s heart is the goal he’s seeking.

Read full excerpt of In The Zone.

Upcoming Book Releases by Catherine Gayle

"Comeback" Portland Storm Series, Book Six, **Available January 15, 2015**

“Comeback” Portland Storm Series, Book Six, **Available January 15, 2015**

"Dropping Gloves" Portland Storm, Book SEVEN **Available on April 23, 2015**

“Dropping Gloves” Portland Storm, Book SEVEN
**Available on April 23, 2015**

~*~*~ About The Author ~*~*~

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www.catherinegayle.com

Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.

#BookEscapeReviews – @LaurieKozlowski ‘s Review of “Want Me” by Cynthia Eden ~ Suspenseful and Sexy #eroticfiction #amreading #lawyers #bodyguards

She doesn’t play it safe… Sophie Sarantos has a weakness for dangerous men. She doesn’t like safe lovers—she likes men with a wild, rough edge. But Sophie may have attracted a lover who is too dangerous, even for her. Someone is stalking Sophie, slipping into her home, watching her day and night. The stranger seems to know all of Sophie’s darkest secrets, secrets that should never be revealed. Out of options, Sophie turns to ex-solider Lex Jensen for protection. Lex is part owner of VJS Protection, Inc., and Sophie hires him as her bodyguard. She thinks Lex is one of the “good guys” out there, but she couldn’t be more wrong. He doesn’t play at all… Lex has his own secrets. Dark, deadly secrets. And as his feelings for Sophie grow, Lex knows that he is going to have to stop pretending to be a gentleman and, instead, he’ll have to show Sophie who he really is. A man trained to kill. A man too used to evil. A man who will take any risk…as long as he can claim Sophie. Because there is one thing that Lex wants in this world…one person he desires above all others…Sophie. And no one will hurt her, not on his watch.

PLEASE NOTE: the content and review posted are not intended recommendations for readers 18 or under. If you are under age 18, please DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. Thanks. ~ Laurie.

Full Excerpt of WANT ME.

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🔸🔷🔸REVIEW🔸🔷🔸

Suspenseful and Sexy 

Sophie loves dangerous men and Lex is just the man she needs. Lex is hired on by her as a bodyguard after she has a near death experience. Everyone wants Sophie. She is consistently referred to as a dangerous and lethal female (not in those exact words.)

Lex was a hot Alpha, sexy and protective. The men he worked with had grown up with him in a group home. I liked the brotherhood they shared and would like to know more about them.

I didn’t catch on to Sophie’s character being a pit bull lawyer until a few chapters into the book, but I hadn’t read the first book, so I was a little lost. For the first few chapters, I thought she was an insecure victim. I felt bad for the terrible past she endured, and I’m glad she found justice. I wish her character had been stronger. She was “hardened on the inside” (emotionally), but I wasn’t convinced she was dangerous. Also, Sophie’s male companions kept telling Lex that he didn’t know the *real* Sophie, over and over, and confused me why the hero was doubted around every corner. I’m always sad to see an Alpha character slip into a Beta role as his love for the heroine is discounted. 

The suspense was wonderful, but I’m not surprised because this author has written many suspense books. “Want Me” is a good book for those who love suspense and hot romance, or those who love hot romances and want to read a book with an unpredictable, but great ending.

*** The author and publisher provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted to Goodreads Twitter Pinterest — Facebook — Google Plus

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Star Rating: Four out of Five Stars * * * *

Book Specs

Publisher: Hocus Pocus Publishing, Inc. 

Publication Date: January 21, 2015

Page Count: 168 pages

*~*~ More Books by Cynthia Eden ~*~*

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Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas. Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career. Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.