Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Loved it


LISTENER

Shaylah


 Loved it 

Overall  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️    
5 out of 5 stars
Performance  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️    
5 out of 5 stars
Story  
 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️   
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-20

Amazing, loved the audio delivery as well, kept my attention to the end, didn't want the story to end.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Well-written suspense!

Jan Romes is the author of witty contemporary romance books and a part-time fitness trainer. She also enjoys growing pumpkins and sunflowers. I am honored to find her review of my thriller, Overkill:

Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2020
This is an incredible thriller from beginning to end! The author set up the suspense right away when Ashley (who left California for Florida to recover from sexual assault) rents a beach house that is in dire need of repair and reeks with a powerful stench that her mother says smells like a decaying body. From there, Ash is stalked and annoyed by an admiring teen. She finds a hidden room in the beach bungalow that the landlady doesn't seem to know about. Every day something happens to add to the mayhem, until the whole situation literally explodes with atrocities. This is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but it will also tear at your heart.

Into the oven...

I sprinkled sesame seed over my challah bread and into the oven it went...


It's coming out of the oven now -- can you smell it?



Ashley Takes A Break In Florida To Regroup. Trouble Follows!

An in-depth review from Vine Voice reviewer B. Roscoe for my thriller, Overkill:

Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2020
This is book two of the Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance series.

Ashley Winters, twenty-two, needs time alone to regroup after surviving her brutal rape and the coma that nearly left her defenseless against her would-be killer. Over winter break from the University of California Irvine, where she is working on her master’s degree, she decides on impulse to rent a dilapidated beach house in Clearwater, near her father’s Florida home with his new wife, Heather. Michael, her boyfriend and a brilliant software developer, will miss her but is supportive and understanding. He doesn’t know that she is clueless about her future plans – she may end up staying in Florida and starting over. Her overbearing mother flies out to Florida and stays just long enough to assist with her move.

Ashley begins to question her decision as soon as she enters her rental. The odor is unbearable and the landlady resists taking responsibility for it. Mrs. Gore avoids answering questions about the home and is difficult to deal with, but she finally concedes and agrees to replace the carpeting.

At the same time, Ashley acquires a young stalker. Paul, roughly seventeen and in high school, hates girls and hates his mother. He asks Ashley out in spite of their age gap, and doesn’t seem satisfied with ‘no.’ Ashley’s mother even spots him watching the home from across the street.

When the carpet is replaced, the installer draws Ashley’s attention to two matters. First, an unusual stain underneath the old carpeting. And second, a blocked off stairwell leading to a hidden upstairs room. When Mrs. Gore plays dumb and denies its existence, Ashley’s suspicion that something bad had happened in that home grows.

Four issues immediately occupy Ashley’s thoughts as she tries to settle in and get away from her recent trauma. First, the suspected blood in the carpet begs the question – did someone die in the home? Second, why was the upstairs room closed off and hidden? And why had Mrs. Gore denied its existence? Third, how much trouble would her apparent stalker cause? And lastly, is it possible that the awful odor wasn’t the only thing causing her nausea? Could she be pregnant? The suspicion that her rape had resulted in pregnancy added to Ashley’s despair. She and Michael hadn’t gone so far as to make it possible that the baby was his. It was easier to ignore the problem, however, and hope it went away rather than face the difficult possibility.

As Ashley deals with these new concerns, she meets several people. Heather, her father’s new bride, wears tight dresses that flaunts her cleavage, but a nurturing quality prevents her from outright hating Heather. Tracy, a newly divorced mother, hires Ashley to help with her thirteen year old son. Tracy is terrified to leave his side after her older son’s disappearance three weeks earlier. Timmy is a sweet boy that misses his older brother, Brian. His father, Ed, is a Sheriff officer but has been asked to step back from his job due to getting emotionally involved in the case. And Marcia, Paul’s meek mother, turns out to be a distant relative of Mrs. Gore.

When a shooting occurs, leaving Ashley and Timmy in the crosshairs, Timmy suggests it is overkill – that there had only been one intended target in spite of all the melee. Ashley finds herself enmeshed in a crime once again, and having a genius boyfriend that develops virtual reality applications comes in handy. It implies a happy ending in the romance department.

Ashley’s second thriller is a suspenseful quick read. Unlike the first book, this one is serious in tone. She once again shows incredible courage and fortitude in the face of danger. The story is well-written. It is plot-driven. I rate this book 4.5 stars.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Flashback Takes The Couple Back To When They Met

Here's an in-depth review of my WWII Romance novel, The Music of Us:

Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020
A Flashback Takes The Couple Back To When They Met Shortly After Lenny’s Draft Into The Marines During World War II. Fans Of The Notebook May Enjoy This Book!

This is the third book in the Still Life with Memories series, a five book series with a sixth brief book bite. The books are interconnected, spanning various periods of time from World War II through the 1970’s. Different characters within a family tell their stories, but the underlying story revolves around Lenny and Natasha. Each can be read as a stand-alone. Fans of The Notebook may enjoy this book, as some aspects are reminiscent of that story.

This is the story of Lenny and Natasha. It opens and closes in 1970 when they are somewhat older. Natasha is forty-five, Lenny is probably about forty-seven. Lenny has become the caretaker of Natasha, whose memory has been slipping for some time. Lenny has had an affair, but he longs for Natasha to recognize him. She struggles to play the piano and has few lucid moments, and it weighs heavily on Lenny. They do not yet have a diagnosis for her condition. After attempting many tests and medications, he isn’t optimistic they will find a cure. Lenny longs for his teenage son Ben, who quit high school and bought a ticket to Italy, to return home to him. They have a complicated relationship, however.

The bulk of the book is a flashback to the time when Lenny and Natasha met. In October of 1941, Lenny was recruited into the Marine Corps. The story covers his time at Camp Upton and then Camp Lejeune before he is shipped overseas and joins the London Detachment. He receives commando training in Achnacarry, Scotland before being shipped home to visit his ailing father. It is when he is at Camp Upton that he first sees Natasha, who performs nearby. They begin exchanging letters, and over time they become attached to one another. But temptation abounds on both sides of the ocean during the war, and relying on the postal system proves frustrating. The young couple faces early challenges, but the greatest challenge is the approval of Natasha’s mother. At just sixteen, Natasha relies upon her mother to manage her career as a brilliant young classical pianist. Lenny haphazardly decides upon a career as a writer, which does nothing to impress Mrs. Horowitz.

Lenny and Natasha’s story is serious in tone. It is a reflection to their best days, and it is those memories that carry Lenny forward through the difficult challenges he faces nearly thirty years later. The war story is filled with details that take the reader back in time. It is nicely written. The plot is complex. The characters are unique and authentic. The story is written in first person in Lenny’s POV. I rate the book 4.5 stars.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The child and I must survive, somehow, for at least that long.



Tied to the back of the chair by a rope that cuts into one shoulder, Timmy draws his knees to his chest and wraps his free arm around them. His face is awash with tears. 
Being shackled to the closet rod, I itch to put up fight, but if I do, Paul will retaliate—as he’s threatened to do—not only against me but against the child, too. 
So instead of resisting I pray, as fervently as I never did before, for someone out there to pay attention, to listen to the distress call I sent earlier. It should have gone not only to my boyfriend, Michael, who is on the airplane now, but also to the sheriff’s officer, Joe Miller, who is on the case. Did he get my call? Why isn’t he here already?
Paul tugs at my chain, making sure I’m tightly restrained. I breathe through the pain, through the sharp stings caused by having my elbow twisted behind me in an unnatural way. 
Clearly basking in the demented pleasure of seeing me suffer, “I can smell you,” he says. “What have you done, Ash darling, what have you put on to turn me on like that? Some kind of deodorant?”
There is nothing I can say to that. What he smells is fear.
“It goes right to my crotch,” he adds, now in a hoarse voice. “What a zinger!”
I ignore him, but not the suffering. How can I take my mind off it? 
I tell myself, you’re not here. Go elsewhere. Drift off. 
Focus on something else. 
No, that doesn’t work.
Help. 
Yes, focus on that.
Right now, my boyfriend is on his way. Airplane mode blocks the connection to cellular networks. With no internet access, he won’t be able to even notice my call till he lands. 
The flight time LAX to Clearwater, Florida is about four and a half hours. Add to that a cab ride from the airport to my place. So, in the best-case scenario, Michael may arrive about five hours from now. In the meantime, if no one else comes to rescue us, the child and I must survive, somehow, for at least that long.


(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audible: US UK FR DE
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UK iTunes
Paperback: Amazon

The last thing Ash expects when she lands in Clearwater, Florida is to be stalked by a troubled teenager. If that's not bad enough, she is caught in a shooting spree next to the nearby elementary school. The cops think it’s an attempt at mass killing, but Ash wonders if the only victim was specifically targeted by the killer. Will she manage to identify him and have him arrested before he comes after her?


"I had to keep reading because the action was continuous and the conflicts kept popping up - hurdle after hurdle." 
~ Mimi Barbour, USA Today bestselling author

Saturday, July 18, 2020

With every footfall, I tell myself that it’ll be all right



My pulse is hammering in my ears as I swing away from the car and take my first step across the road. There’s no reason why I should tiptoe my way back—after all, the so-called Dr. Patel is expecting me—but I do, out of fear. 
With every footfall, I tell myself that it’ll be all right. Nothing bad will happen to me. My boyfriend will watch over me. Even if I find myself in some kind of trouble, he’ll see it on his cellphone and call the police at once. Yes, it’ll be all right.
As I pass under the lamppost, steps come rasping over the asphalt behind me. Here comes a tap on my shoulder. I turn around. Michael looks pale, but somehow he manages a faint smile.
“Wait,” he breathes, handing me a pair of my elegant high-heels, which he must have found in the back of his car. “You must look your part. Better change into these.”
Standing on one foot, then the other, I take off my ballerina flats. “You make me feel like Cinderella, only in reverse.”
My attempt at humor is a bit clunky, but we both laugh. 
Nervously.
Despite being aware of how dangerous Kabir is, Michael makes no attempt to stop me. Nor does he even warn me against going forward with this ill-advised date. Saving our friend, Karishma, is now our top concern. It has overridden both his caution and mine.
He wraps my shoulders with my red scarf. “Scared?”
“Who, me? Of course not,” I say.
Both of us know that’s a lie.
He kisses me, long, hard, desperate, as if that’s our last moment together. “My mother used to say, ‘If your path demands that you go through hell, walk like you own it.’”
“That’s what I’ll do.”
Another kiss, and he sinks back into the shadows. 


(Volume III of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audible: US UK FR DE
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UK iTunes
Paperback: Amazon

Months after recovering from coma, Ash discovers that the man who performed her brain surgery has a questionable medical experience and a dark past. Should she expose him, at the risk of becoming vulnerable to his revenge?


"About halfway through reading Overdose I got to thinking that it would make a great movie, a thriller to match anything that Alfred Hitchcock ever put on the screen (except maybe Vertigo). And then I thought 'If only Hitchcock were alive now. He would love this novel. It has all the ingredients he'd need.'" 
- Colm Herron, Author