Monday, March 18, 2019

Book Review of Abundance, by Shanna Swenson with GIVEAWAY!!

For Natalie Cameron, misfortune came in the most unspeakable way imaginable, now she must try and rebuild her life while fighting her own dark demons, the town speculation, her arrogant brother and her raging desire for the kindest man she’s ever met. 

Natalie Cameron, along with her young daughter, Dallas, is on the run from a past that threatens to destroy her sanity. When her car breaks down on the side of a two lane Texas road, Jack Kinsen, her parent’s ranch foreman, unknowingly comes to her rescue. His kind eyes and sincere charm make him an easy target for Natalie’s trust issues and pent-up aggressions. But it doesn’t take her long to realize that her attitude towards him has a lot less to do with jealousy and a lot more to do with the fact that his closeness sets her on fire like no one else ever has. His sincerity begins to disarm the front she guards so vigilantly. If she isn’t careful, she could find herself lost to him…. 

At first glance, Jack Kinsen is fascinated by Natalie Butler Cameron and her child with her most curious gift. Natalie is the beloved only daughter of Jack’s employers and he’s not only baffled by her indifference to him but mystified by her unwarranted anger. She starts to awaken something primal within him, but will his compassionate nature be enough to break down the walls she hides behind or are her wounds simply too deep to heal? 

Just as Natalie’s fate begins to turn around, unknowing danger lurks on the horizon. Natalie's disturbing past is about to make an unexpected return...and with vengeance. 

Abundance is a charming novel that will sweep you away with romance, drama, and suspense as it expresses the depth of raw human emotion and the strength it takes to overcome tragedy.

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*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review* 

I will admit, I am not a frequent reader of romance so my review might be a bit clumsy (much like hands during passionate lovemaking... amiright?). I enjoyed this story a lot. The focus is on Natalie, the rancher's daughter who moves back home after her ex is ... well, let's just say, he is a terrible person, very much a villain; Natalie's daughter, who is just adorable; and Jack, the kind, sexy horse-training ranch hand.

Shanna does a great job of establishing character personalities and creating a build-up in the story, with nothing being given too early. You get to know the characters, learn how they would react, and what their values are. I liked how they were put in everyday situations and you got to see day-to-day life and it wasn't all based on dramatic events. Oh, and she also does a great job of making you feel awkward reading the word "erection" on a public train (do people know what I'm reading!?, I thought to myself).  

It is full romance - love, hot steamy scenes, sexual tension, hot guy, beautiful woman - and it's a well-told story, heartwarming and endearing, with strong characters overcoming devastating situations. A perfect way to escape for a little while. And if you love it, there are more books coming in the Abundance series!

This review was done by MJ. You can follow MJ on Twitter and Instagram.

I am the author of Abundance and Return to Abundance, endearing adult romance novels that showcase the healing power of love after tragedy. I was born and raised in Georgia, but my heart loves to travel. I spent many childhood summers traveling across the south to my father's home state of Texas, and I fell in love with the difference in scenery there. I read my first romance novel at thirteen and thus began my obsession for dynamic characters. I love to be enthralled in a book and feel what my characters feel. Books help you to dream, and I've always been a dreamer! 

I'm a full-time cardiac sonographer at an outpatient clinic, and when I'm not working on my next novel, I enjoy watching movies of the horror and action persuasion as well as pro football, practicing yoga, listening to the music that suits my mood, hiking, reading many different genres of books, taking photos of nature, especially sunsets, and hanging out with my own "knight in shining armor."

I'm currently working on the third book in the Abundance trilogy, Escape from Abundance. 

I support fellow indie authors, feel free to message/friend me.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Review of Desolation (The Keystone Bone Trilogy #1)

Eons have shrouded the giant dragon in legend. Ancient myths soon become terrifyingly real…
Aea is an outsider. At age six the clan executed her father and when her mother and sister disappeared, Aea’s life spiraled into chaos.

Suddenly staggering out of the woods, broken by the deadly disease the Field Blight, her mother lays a desperate choice on Aea. To leave the protective forest realm and save her sister from mortal danger.

In a race against time, Aea puts the noose of the Field Blight around not only her own neck, but also that of her unborn child.

Before long, Aea discovers that the world of Erisdün is nothing like she imagined. Surviving the Field Blight might be the least of her concerns, as the great dragon dispatches his army to retrieve the Keystone Bone.

The bone of a God is the only component that will prevent the Arch Demon from breaking free. Powers as old as time itself are about to set the world on fire.

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review*

There is so much I enjoyed while reading this story! Who doesn't love a good fantasy? 

This book gave me everything I could crave when it comes to fantasy; dragons, war, intrigue, and beings I hadn't seen before in a fantasy novel. 

This really set the book apart for me, as Aea is a Durian, a people who if they leave their sanctuary forest, become susceptible to the Field Blight. This really was intriguing for me as I hadn't read a novel with this type of character, so I found it as refreshing as discovering Hobbits for the first time. 

The story follows several characters, each with their own mission and journey. As they travel and move, the story begins to become more entwined, drawing the reader in. I will say, it did take me a bit at first to sort out all the information and what was going on in the beginning. As I kept reading though, the big picture came into focus, and I found myself wanting to read more. 

If you enjoy high fantasy, dragons and the like, this book really needs to be on your list.

 Buy Links: Amazon   Goodreads 

Jesper Schmidt is a Danish bestselling fantasy author who also dabbles in non-fiction. 

He is focused on helping and inspiring others, yet the art of writing was something that lived a quiet life, in the back of his mind, for many years. It was a dormant desire and, like so many of our dreams, it was placed on a list of things to do later. It was left there. Half-forgotten. For a long time. 

Every summer (well, almost) he leaves for summer vacation in Finland together with his wife and two sons. There a Finnish sauna sparked his authorship. He picked writing up from that dusty corner of his mind and hasn't stopped since. 

For new release updates, please sign up from here: (at the bottom of the page). In the process, you will also get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Keystone Bone trilogy.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

The Darkness

I think about death a lot. As a mystery writer, it’s part of the gig. I’ve researched the amount of cocaine necessary to induce a seizure in an epileptic (thank you, Chasing Those Devil Bones). Googled how often gunshots heard in the middle of the day are reported to police by neighbors (just for you, The Devil’s Luck). Chatted with an urban EMT about how long it would take for a pregnant woman to bleed out if her placenta took a bullet (did not enjoy that one bit, Until the Devil Weeps). The afternoon I spent looking at bullet wound scars for my current work in progress kept me from sleeping for two days.
In other words, I’ve gone down some dark paths. It’s what I do for fun.
In this Mystery Monday post, I’d like to talk about the unavoidable darkness that comes with being a writer of murder mysteries. Sometimes, when you’re working on a plot for a mystery, it will happen. You will write something so dark, so horrific, that you will have one of three responses:
A)    This would never happen; nobody would do something this evil.
B)    What the hell is wrong with me for having these thoughts?
C)    Why am I more concerned with having a believable plot than I am with     my possible sociopathic downward spiral?
Let’s address point A first. Trust me when I tell you that whatever darkness your imagination has unearthed has been done somewhere to some person somewhere by some monster in some variation if not in the exact manner you wrote it down. Don’t believe me? Spend an afternoon listening to a true crime podcast. Doesn’t matter which one, just pick one.
There is literally no end to the evil that human beings are capable of doing to one another.
This leads me to point B. After listening to a true crime podcast for a few hours, you will probably want to scrub your brain with a brillo pad, but you should also be feeling mildly better about yourself.
You imagined the most horrific thing that you could come up with and it frightened you enough to question your sanity. Bonus points for you.
There is a catharsis in exploring the darkest reaches of humanity. Think about this for a moment, as many people who write murder mysteries and thrillers, the number of people who want to read books in those genres is several orders of magnitude higher.
Because of what I do, I’ve often pondered why this is and here’s what I’ve come up with: As writers, we unleash the monsters that lurk in all of our reptilian brains and let them do their worst on the pages of our novels. But then, we bring in our heroic or, in my case, very flawed detective to put the monster back into its cage.
There are real monsters in this world and no matter what we’d like to do to change that, we can’t. But we can give people hope. We can catch the bad guys and lock them away or give them a satisfying dose of vigilante justice.
In Chasing Those Devil Bones, my main character’s friend and mentor tells her that there are two ways of dealing with ugly things: let them twist you into something ugly, too, or twist them into something beautiful instead.
That’s our job. To explore the dark places and flood them with light.