Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver


Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are confronted by the possibility of an eco-terrorist targeting their city.   The use of electricity as a weapon is both frightening and plausible.   In addition to the terrorist, the infamous Watchmaker is spotted in Mexico and Rhyme is collaborating with the Mexican police to finally capture him.

The detailed explanations on how electricity is used as a weapon were sobering.   We are surrounded by electricity and metal a com

bination that can lead to some dire circumstances.

Deaver spends time cataloging the characteristics of his players.   Lincoln’s insecurities, Ron’s fear of irreparable damage to his brain, Amelia’s arthritis are all shown to humanize the characters and provide a target for empathy.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spotlight on Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick



Spotlight on Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick
 
What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat, yet rowing in opposite directions—one clinging to the past, and the other unable to move beyond it?

Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's thirteenth birthday to find his world cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially thinking he can cope on his own, Sam finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist. What he doesn’t know is that Cynthia herself is trying to recover from a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband. In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia's daughter, who harbors a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

Taut with tension and intensity, Dark Blossom explores what lies beneath the surface of the lives of apparently “normal” people.


An excerpt from Dark Blossom
In the Same Boat
I love to stroll in the city but, that day, I had to be brisk. I needed to keep the cold out and didn’t want to miss the next train back home. Stepping carefully on the icy pavement, I planned the rest of my day. I still had a couple of patients to see later in the evening, giving me just enough time to prepare dinner for Lily and myself. I went through a mental checklist of the ingredients that would get us through with minimal fuss. Teens...Aargh! What I wouldn’t give for her to be all grown up? Or for me to be that age again?
As I entered the terminal, the aroma of coffee and sugar-steeped bread wafting through the labyrinth of people took my breath away. My fondest memory—that of my father standing near a pillar almost ten meters away and whispering how much he loves me, and my wonder at being able to hear it all the way across the whispering gallery—is another reason the terminal has that effect on me.
With more than forty platforms, it’s the largest station in the world. That almost three-quarters of a million people pass through it every day doesn’t overshadow its incredible history. The backwards Zodiac with 2,500 stars sprawled across the ceiling, the hocus-pocus the Vanderbilts fed the world about the mural being backwards because it was meant to depict god’s view of the universe, and the hole above Pisces serving as a reminder of the rocket that was housed there during the Cold War era—all add to its grandeur. And these are just parts of the opening act of the gala that is Grand Central.
Descending into New York City’s deepest basement to wait for the train to roll in, I looked down at the tracks running side by side. I couldn’t help but think of the parallels between Sam’s life and mine. While he had lost his family to a tragic accident, I had recently lost the veneer of mine to a debilitating divorce from Connor. My own loss was more bearable than his. Moreover, it was of my own making.
Following the tracks and seeing them criss-cross in the distant darkness, I thought of the paradoxes between our lives. While he couldn’t stop thinking of his family because he missed them and wanted them back, I couldn’t stop thinking of Connor because I couldn’t get rid of the sinister shadow he had cast over Lily and me.
I suddenly found myself in the same boat as Sam. And it was my job to keep him afloat. Only, we were rowing in opposite directions.
Settling into a window seat on the train, I thought of how a fatal crash at the turn of the nineteenth century had instigated a thirty-seven-year-old visionary to recommend the extravagant remedy of razing the existing depot to build the engineering marvel that is the Grand Central Terminal. Although I’m a staunch believer in just one life, I could see how in the passing of the old there is the birth of something new.
But not for Sam. My thoughts slipped back to him.
The loss of a loved one is like an amputation for the bereaved. Even though he may transition from anger to acceptance eventually, the phantom pain may never go away. I wanted to write some notes—all I had from our session was numbness in my index finger and thumb from holding the pen too tight.
I rummaged through my handbag for my Sam-notebook. I keep separate notebooks for each of my patients—they’re pocket-sized and each one comes with its own pen. That one was pastel blue with a darker, more vibrant embossing of Antoni Gaudí’s mosaic-dragon from the entrance of Park Güell in Barcelona. And it had a light-green pen nestled in a matching loop. It was distinctively Gaudí, as were most of my notebooks. He is my favorite architect, after my father of course.
Sam was stuck somewhere between denial and anger but much closer to the latter. He said he had gained weight, stopped socializing, and started smoking again. His work was his panacea but he had lost his mojo even for that—something that had never happened before. He had managed to pull himself together for the funeral, but his grief had exacerbated after the family had left.
The tussle between the past and the present—that of living through the experience and venting one’s emotions—is important for moving on. There is no better substitute than mourning—the lesser he mourned, the more difficulty he would have in letting go.
Yet something about our session didn’t add up. It had been a while since the tragedy, yet his memories had been very vivid, almost fresh. That’s not what piqued me though—what did surprise me was how angry he had been at the start of the session and how quickly he had crumbled. I wondered if he had expressed his feelings and shared the painful memories with anyone since the accident, or if our session was the first time he was talking about them. It mattered less for our therapy but more for his well-being that he had others to talk to as well about such intimate details. It was clear he needed to share and express more.
The announcement for Stamford broke my reverie. Even though it had been a somewhat tentative start with Sam, I was happy to be practicing again and knew I could help.
As I tucked away the notebook, my heart went out to him and then turned to Lily. I was filled with gratitude for having her in my life. She’s my pride and my passion. Even the rewards for helping my patients are a distant second to my gratification from nurturing her. She had gone through a lot but the worst was finally over—Connor had moved out and the divorce had come through.
I was almost at our doorstep as I thought—how could I have not seen it? How could my need to preserve the façade of a family have made me so blind to such a monster?

From Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick © 2019 by Neel Mullick. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spotlight on Sweet Do-Over by Melissa McClone


*•.¸ Sweet Do-Over ¸.*

Indigo Bay Second Chance Romance
Melissa McClone


When architect Marley Patterson goes out with Von Ryan, she never expects her practical, cautious life to be turned upside down by the handsome contractor. Von is the definition of fun until his proposal sends her into a panic. Marriage is too serious a commitment to make after dating for only six months. Even though she cares for Von, they are too different, so she breaks up with him.
Being rejected hurts, but Von blames himself for not reading the signs and Marley better. He finds solace in work; however, his construction company's success isn't enough. He wants to share his life with a woman who'll love him as much as he loves her. She's out there. All he has to do is find her, and, this time, be patient for the relationship to develop on its own.
When Marley is assigned to Von's new project in Indigo Bay, he treats her the same as everyone else—professionally and with respect—though neither can deny a strong mutual attraction still exists. Soon Marley realizes she may have been the problem with their relationship, not just Von's proposal. She wants a second chance, but after breaking his heart once, will he give her a do-over?

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over forty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s a USA Today Bestselling author and has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do!





This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Spotlight on The Final Reveal A SEALs of Steel Novel Book 8 by Dale Mayer


The Final Reveal
A SEALs of Steel Novel Book 8
Dale Mayer



This is a novella tying up the 
SEALs of Steel series.

A prosthetic design engineer, Kat Greenwald is in love with Badger Horley. The former SEALs team leader is the love of her life. But she's seen and heard firsthand of the fears and commitment issues Badger and his closest friends--once part of Navy special operations teams--struggle with on a daily basis. During their weekly get-togethers, the women in love with these former SEALs open up to each other about their longing to tie the knot and start families.
More than two years ago, Badger was badly injured after the truck his eight-man unit were in hit an antitank landmine. While he and his team have finally discovered the truth behind that devastating set-up, Badger sees the reality of his precarious future. His health could decline at any moment and he wants Kat to know exactly where the door to get out is if and when it does. The last thing he wants to do is invite pity, especially where the woman he loves is concerned. In a perfect world, he would have proposed to her the day they met. In the world he lives in, he can only conclude that harboring fears are always better than regrets.
But Kat isn't the type of woman to fear hard times and she's willing to take a leap of faith as far out into the unknown as she can get if it means her most fervent wish comes true.

Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She’s best known for her Psychic Vision Series. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in different genres.
To go with her fiction, she writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system.
She has recently published her Career Essentials Series.
All her books are available in print and digital format.
And then there’s her poetry…

My Path
As I walk forward on my path to the future,
I choose laughter, love, and light as my sutures,
stitching together my lifetime of choices,
as the essential fabric of my being rejoices
in the love, friendships, and faith that follow
the steps I take as I flow into my tomorrow.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Spotlight on Mr. White The Case Brothers, Book 2 by Tessa Layne

 
Mr. White
The Case Brothers, Book 2
Tessa Layne




DECLAN Banished.
Banished for being too good with the ladies, and now I’m stuck East of Nowhere
doing my brother’s bidding as penance.
But the luscious Emmaline Andersson
might just be the silver lining in this nightmare.
Who knew that a sweet mouth could be so wicked?


USA Today Bestselling Author Tessa Layne loves urban jungles, wild places, and writing about tenderhearted tough guys and the smart, sassy women they fall for.

 







This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.