Archive for the ‘Contemporary Literature’ Category

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Dreaming Sophia

Because Dreaming Is An Art

by Melissa Muldoon

Genre:Contemporary Women’s Fiction

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Synopsis

Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

​Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.

Buy the Book:

Amazon – print

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Author Melissa Muldoon

Dreaming Sophia Melissa Muldoon

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta-the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned”. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Dreaming Sophia is Melissa’s first novel. It is a fanciful look at art history and Italian language and culture, but it is also the culmination of personal stories and insights resulting from her experiences living in Italy, as well as her involvement and familiarity with the Italian language, painting, and art history.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event! Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency-a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways.

Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married and has three boys and two beagles.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Dreaming Sophia. She also designed the Dreaming Sophia website and created the character illustrations that can be found in the book and on the Dreaming Sophia websites.

Connect with the Author:

Website  ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube ~ Pinterest

Dreaming Sophia Melissa Muldoon and Sophia Loren

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Feb 20 – Essentially Italian – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 20 – Leigh Anderson Romance – book spotlight / giveaway

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Feb 21 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight

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40 Something
by Shannon Peel
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
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Five women navigate life while juggling careers, children, family, and the

men in their lives.

Charlie is bored with the family tradition of Sunday Dinner so she brings a

friend her family won’t approve of to spice things up a bit. Will

this friend go too far and cause too much damage?

Rose only wants to do what is right and keep her family safe. How can she

do that when the world is so dangerous and her teenagers so willful.

Will helping a friend invite trouble into her perfect world?

Lindsay loves to have fun and enjoys the company of men. She is a modern

playgirl who will stop at nothing to get a man’s attention. Will she

find what she’s looking for or something unexpected?

Sophie wants to keep the peace and keep everyone happy, especially her

ex-husband, so her children will live with her full time. Will she

lose the children if she can’t afford to take care of them?

Justine wants to escape her perfect life, she just doesn’t realize it. Will

she find the passion that is missing or will she continue to hide

behind her computer screen?

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Shannon Peel grew up in Enderby, BC where her family’s root run deep. Growing

up where television was either non existent or very limited she

relied on books & imagination to escape into the world

beyond.

She went to UBC to study and earn a general studies BA with a

concentration in Political Science and Economics. Macro analysis of

world events, social justice and human motivations became a passion

of hers. This passion is a driving force in all her stories, which

have political, economic, and social justice undercurrents.

After a career in the financial field she decided to stay home and raise

her two children until school age. In 2007 she return to the

workforce as a sales / marketing / advertising professional. She

currently resides in BC’s Lower Mainland with her two teenage

children.

Shannon Peel is a creative, intelligent professional with a 20 year proven

track record in sales, marketing, customer relations, project

management, presentations, and communication.

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Revelations
T. Marie Alexander
Publication date: January 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Have you ever craved something so badly that all reason was just an excuse getting in your way?

Have you needed something so desperately that you didn’t care how you got it or who you hurt in the process?

I have—and not that long ago.

Acceptance.

Acceptance… from family and friends…

Acceptance of the person I am inside and not outright rejection.

It didn’t come easily for me, and now I believe the world needs to know just how ruthless life can be. How that overwhelming yearning for acceptance can mold you into someone you don’t recognize when you look in the mirror. I’m through hiding behind one façade after another—it’s time for the world to meet the real me.

~Antoinette Justice

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

BOOK TRAILER:

 

Author T. Marie Alexander

T. Marie Alexander lives in Arkansas. She can be found sitting at a computer on any given day, usually writing or looking up something to do with fashion. When she is not doing either of those things, she’s reading on her Kindle or binge watching Roswell on Netflix time and time again. She shares her apartment with her husband and some annoying ghost that like to take her belongings. Her dream of becoming an author started around the age of seven when she would glue small pages together and write about her favorite thing at the time, boy band crushes. T. Marie writes Young Adult Science Fiction and Paranormal Fiction.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Warpaint

Warpaint Trilogy Book 1

By Stephanie Smith

Genre: New Adult

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Warpaint is a haunting tale of friendship and rivalry between three women artists, who’ve known each other for years, who must come to terms with imminent mortality and artistic frustration: Liz Moore, born poor in Minnesota, fought her way to New York in the 1920s, but isn’t “discovered” until late in life; C.C. Davis, a well-to-do New Yorker is Moore’s only student, and rival, who, just after WWII achieves some small success, but feels, as she faces cancer in 2002, a failure; and Quiola Kerr, part Ojibwe, once C.C.’s lover, who is caught in the middle, and who, as a painter in the 21st century, has the most doubts about art’s value in an electronic world. In April 2002, all three meet a week before C.C.’s mastectomy at a MOMA retrospective for Liz Moore, but their reunion is tense. Still, they try to cope, until C.C. makes an unexpected and controversial choice, one which nearly breaks the bonds these three took so many decades to forge, and forces Quiola to try to confront Liz, who she believes deliberately sabotaged C.C.’s career.

Warpaint features American women painters, native american or American Indian (Ojibwe) history; it has a lesbian couple at the heart of the story; it’s about trying to survive breast cancer and choosing suicide; it features New York City, Paris, Minnesota and Connecticut. The Indian character, Quiola Kerr, shows up in the next book…

Goodreads * Hardcover on Amazon

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Baby Rocket

Warpaint Trilogy Book 2

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In 1966, a child is found abandoned in a rocket ride on Cape Canaveral. Traumatized, she could not speak when the police found her, only a few yards from her dead mother. So first responders called her “Baby Rocket.” As an adult, this child (Clementine “Lem” Dance) has no memory of this event. She only discovers her past when her adoptive father, James Walter Dance, Jr. has a fatal heart attack. Lem, a women’s historian who is writing a book about the Mercury 9, finds files while cleaning out her father’s apartment that he had been collecting in order to tell her the truth. Without him, she must piece together her story—why was she abandoned? What happened to her parents? How did her mother die? Who is her biological father? Doing so will take her from California back to the Tri-State area, where she now lives; to Florida, where she will find her mother’s roots and her mother’s life-story; and, finally, to Martha’s Vineyard, where she will come to terms with what she can recall and what she has uncovered about the wrenching facts of her early years.

Goodreads * Hardcover on Amazon

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Content Burns

Warpaint Trilogy Book 3

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“Content Burns” chronicles the parallel stories of two women from the same family who bear the same Puritan name, Content Burns, and who are separated by three centuries: One born a Pequot Indian, originally named Ásawanuw (Corn-silk), who converts and marries into the English Burns family in 1637, and one, nicknamed Cabbi, in modern-day New York. They are unknown to each other yet both women must learn how to survive an historical trauma that changed the course of American history, and their lives: the massacre of the Pequot tribe in 1637 and the loss of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Goodreads * Hardcover on Amazon

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stephanie-smith

Stephanie Smith took her PhD from Berkeley (1990), and attended the Haystack Creative Writing Workshop in 1981, with Ursula K. LeGuin. Prior to UF, she worked as a free-lance journalist, an editor for Western Imprints, an assistant at Glamour and Mademoiselle magazines; at Representations and at David Godine Publications, and is presently a consultant for Feminist Studies. A novelist, she is the author of: The Warpaint Trilogy, Warpaint (2012), Baby Rocket (2013) and Content Burns (2014) (Thames River Press); Other Nature (TOR,1995), which was short-listed for the Tiptree Award; The-Boy-Who-Was-Thrown-Away and Snow-Eyes (Atheneum 1985/87), along with a number of short stories, which have appeared in such magazines as New Letters, Asimov’s and SF&F. She has won multiple fiction residencies at the Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency at the Noepe Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, Norcroft, Provincetown and Dorland, and she has been featured in a number of magazines and online blogs.

Examining the intersection of science, literature, politics, race and gender, her essays appear in such journals as differences, Novel, Criticism, Genders, Genre, American Literature and American Literary History. A 1998 Visiting NEH Scholar at UCLA, she is the author of Conceived By Liberty: Maternal Figures and 19th-Century American Literature (Cornell 1995), nominated for the MLA First Book Award; Household Words (Minnesota, 2006) excerpts from both books have been reprinted in several collections. A creative non-fiction “A Meditation on Brit” appeared in Remaking Moby Dick an international multi-modal story-telling performance, both in print as a special edition of Pea River Journal (2013) and online. Currently, she is finishing a new critical book about aesthetics and the publishing industry in the United States, titled The Muse and The Marketplace, a chapter of which, “Union Blues: Melville’s Poetic In(ter)ventions,” is in the spring 2014 journal Genre; she is also finishing a new novel, Strange Grace.

Goodreads * Website * Amazon * Facebook

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Welcome to My Monday Minis Reviews where I share short reviews of books I’ve read. For today I’ll be sharing three books.

Johnny and Jamaal

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My Review

With all of the tragic recent events we’ve seen and heard on the news, this book had a timely release.

Exploring issues occurring today with interracial relationships, coping with racial injustice, and addressing the controversy of punishment fitting the crime, this book will in turn have you cheering characters on, crying out at the inequality doled out, and hoping for a happy ending.

I became quite fond of the characters. They each had a lot of emotional baggage and much to overcome, yet all of them touched me. And I wanted to mention, it’s not all seriousness . There are the fun moments too. And sports. Got a little bit of everything for you.

Having read other books by this author, I knew I’d enjoy his writing, but was a bit worried about this story. Not my normal reading, but it’s trying something new that reveals hidden gems like Johnny and Jamaal. The strong writing of K.M. Beakey captivates you, pulling you along until you reach the end. I very much enjoyed this and recommend you give it a go.

4 Stars

Synopsis

Two athletes from different planets are on the verge of greatness. Johnny’s a carefree Canadian making his mark in the NHL. Jamaal’s set to follow LeBron and Kyrie out of the ghetto. When their worlds collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, and sets them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

As chaos escalates across American cities, an MLK-like voice rises from the ashes. Wilbur Rufus Holmes may be salvation for Luke and Chantal, but can he stop society’s relentless descent into racial discord?

Johnny and Jamaal is awash with sports, violence and political taboo, as America’s seething dysfunction is laid bare.

Amazon

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The Hatching

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My Review

Many of my friends wondered why I read this book. I have an irrational fear of spiders. Even the teeniest ones creep me out.

So, while reading The Hatching, and all the way to the end, I swear I felt something tickling the hairs on my arms, tiptoeing up the nape of my neck, and parting the hairs on my head.

A creepy crawly tale of spiders and how humanity panics and does it’s darnedest to destroy itself while trying to stop the onslaught of spiders.

One part that particularly creeped me out was when the spiders did something called kiting. They attached a strand of silk to something and let out more and more as they flung themselves into the air. Can you picture that. Looking up and thousands of the nasty beasts are falling from the sky to devour you from the inside out. Or perhaps they’ll cocoon you and drink you slowly. Yuck and yuck.

I’m surprised I didn’t suffer from nightmares after reading this book. For all of you fans of horror and monsters, I dare ya to read this one.

4 Stars

Synopsis

Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected.

As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading…
The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

Here’s the alternate cover. Which one do you like best?

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Amazon / B&N

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Dawn Of The Spiders

Special Edition

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My Review

Yep. This would be a good movie. The first thing I though of was some of those old black and white ones. Or maybe something along the lines of Eight Legged Freaks, which was actually scary fun.

It figures that the government caused the end of the world. They act first, never ask questions, and bang! There goes everything and everyone we know and love.

Now, a town struggles to survive as hungry mutant spiders cocoon it.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I sure had fun, even though spiders are a phobia of mine. Perhaps it’s good for me to read about them. Maybe it’ll help me to face down those evil little monsters. Maybe not. I do know it was a thrilling read. And my heart goes out to those that didn’t survive.

Grab this book. It’s a fast thrill ride to a messy ending. Caused by the spiders, of course, not the author’s writing. That was good too.

4 Stars

Synopsis

Brian O’Gorman’s international best seller returns uncut and extended. A virus designed to control the burgeoning spider population causes them to mutate into overgrown, venomous killers. A large hoard of the spiders take over the small village of Newtown, killing all but two of its residents. Laurence Johnson and Chloe Jones have only been together one night after Laurence parted ways with his wife. They find themselves trapped in the house with no way of escaping. Their only hope is to try and stay alive long enough for the army to intervene. Lorna Johnson is on the outskirts of town with nowhere to go and the spider invasion taking control. Her only hope of survival lies with a team headed up by Doctor Michael Briggs. He has a plan to stop the invasion before it gets out of hand. But he is running out of time and he is running out of allies. If he doesn’t move quickly then mankind will face the darkest day it has ever known.

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Here’s the alternate cover. Which one do you like best?

Dawn of the Spiders: Special Edition

Amazon / B&N

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Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB at Books And A Beat.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

My Teaser for this week is from

Shepherd & the Professor

by Dan Klefstad

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Genre: Contemporary

My teaser from pages 33 and 40 in the paperback.

From Page 33

Okay, before we go any further, you need to know that Judy has a thing about purses. Not the typical girl thing, rather it’s an obsession involving high-end handbags that she considers luck charms.Today’s lucky bag is a pink Burberry.

From Page 40

But this part isn’t about me. It’s about a woman who uses her wits and instincts to survive where most people wouldn’t. She’ll need those skills now, as she steps in the shower, because Timothy is heading down the hall towards her room, keycard in hand. And boy is he pissed…

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Read on if you want to know more.

Synopsis

Most people take comfort knowing their family and friends will remember them after they die. For Susan Shepherd, “remembering” is bullshit. She wants an eternal shrine to her sacrifice: a book that never goes out of print.

Shepherd served her country in the Gulf War, got shot while serving her community as a cop, raised an ungrateful daughter by herself — and for what? A diagnosis of terminal cancer and she isn’t even fifty. If you were in her shoes, you might agree that nothing short of national perpetual acknowledgement will do.

She’s glad you feel that way; she just wrote a memoir and sent a flurry of query letters, hoping a publisher will memorialize her with a best-seller. After hitting Send, she waits not-at-all patiently for an editor to decide if her story will sell enough copies — that is, if her life really mattered.

AMAZON

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How about you? Got a tease? Tell me!

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Check out my list of reviews HERE.

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Pork banner

Be honest! Would you buy this book just because of the wicked cover art?! I sure would.

But, never fear, after you read the synopsis and exclusive excerpt, you will want it all the more!

Check out Pork.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Pork

by R S Anthony

Pork cover

Genre: Contemporary Suspense Thriller

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Synopsis

High school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.

Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.

He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable. Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?

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Enjoy The Exclusive Excerpt

“Hello, Mrs. Walthurst,” Sandy said when she saw Steven’s momma on the couch. She thought his momma looked a little tired, but Steven knew she was drunk. At least she was fully clothed in a decent nightie and sitting upright instead of half-naked in a drunken stupor.

“Hello,” his momma replied with a pleasant expression. “How are you, child?”

“This is my friend from school. Her name is Sandy,” Steven said.

His momma rose from the couch and walked over to them with a big smile.“Oh, what a beautiful name, Sandy!” His momma’s voice was high. “And what beautiful hair you have. Fiery,” she said, taking Sandy’s braid in her hand. “Tell me, what’s your favorite color?” he heard his momma ask Sandy just before he rushed into the kitchen.

He decided to make peanut butter sandwiches and slapped the pieces of bread together as quickly as possible before stumbling back into the living room. His momma was still talking to an impressed Sandy on the only other chair in the room.

“And then all the noblemen in the city came to visit Princess Atillia before she was taken by the dragon for a hundred years as promised,” Steven’s momma finished a story he’d never heard before.

“Let’s go, Sandy,” he said, desperate to get her out of the house. His momma’s mood could shift any moment now.

“Where are you two going?” His momma turned her attention to Steven.

“We’re going to study in the library,” Steven lied. Sandy stared at him.

“So you’ve been spending all your time with Sandy?”

“No. Sandy’s only joining me for today,” he said, reaching for Sandy’s hand.

“Well, you two should go on, then. Don’t let this old woman jabber on at you.” She smiled at Sandy, and Sandy returned it kindly. “I’ll see you later, son. Sandy, you have to come again another time and I’ll tell you what happened to Princess Atillia.”

“You mean there’s more?”

“Of course there is, dear. She can’t die in the dragon’s dungeon, can she? She’s a princess.” His momma made the grand gesture of a noblewoman and Sandy smiled.

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Author Rosemary Anthony

Pork author

Rosemary Anthony writes suspense fiction with a twist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Science Malaysia and recently made the jump from writing official documents to writing fiction novels. Blessed with 17 nephews and nieces, she finds the world of young adults to be a thrilling source of inspiration for her books.

Rosemary lives in a small town in Malaysia and travels as often as possible to broaden her cultural horizon. You can find out more about her books, giveaways, and new releases on:

 

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Goodreads

Her debut fiction Pork can be found on:

Amazon

NOTE: “Pork” will be free on Amazon June 21-23, 2016

 

What others are saying:

“Stay with this new author. She’s impressive.” – G. Harp

“The plot is elaborate leading to an unexpected twist in the end which I loved. It is a very good read– you won’t be disappointed!” – D. Mantzari

“…makes for an entertaining read, just prepare yourself to have a few WTF moments while enjoying the experience…” – Book Mafia Blog

“The author has a lovely writing style with clear, sparse prose that allows the story to breathe. Bit by bit each character plays a part in unraveling the mystery…” – The Welshbird

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