My Year – 2018 – in Books

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!! I am happy to report this year has been better than the last. But it has been far from easy. Discovering and adjusting to my new norm after the accident has been difficult but a consistent theme in my life. Luckily, one thing that has remained a constant is my love for books! This year I read 26 books and around 8,135 pages.

Although I wish I would have read more, I am satisfied with what I did accomplish.


Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
Img rulerIced by Karen Marie Moning
The shortest book I read in 2018 was Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews at 42 pages in length. The longest book I read was Iced by Karen Morning at 520 pages in length.
The average pages I read per book amounted to be 312

The book I read that has had the most popularity in 2018 is Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella with 354,850 other people reading this book. Unfortunately, I only gave this book 1 star. Probably would not recommend it..
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The book I read that has the least popularity is Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars by Codi Cary with 1,313 other reviewers. I gave this book 4 stars and thought it was a good read.  Let me know if you thought the same 🙂
Good Girls Don't Date Rock Stars by Codi Gary

The average rating in book reviews was 3.2 out of 5…. I am glad it wasn’t 2 🙂 I think I am in need of some book recommendations. Any suggestions? 


A book I HIGHLY recommend and has the highest rating on GoodReads is Wildfire by Ilona Andrews. The average rating is 4.56 and I absolutely love this series!!
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Here’s a look at the books I have read this year! Click on the titles to jump to my review 🙂
1    Angel's Blood    Phantom Kiss    Blade Bound  Iced  Forever Black  Silent Blade  Good girls don't date rock stars  1  Priceless  1p
billionaire next door  1  1  1  1  1  1  1    1  2  1     11            1    11
silence_fallen_layout.indd

 


I am looking forward to 2019 and the many books I will hopefully read. Let me know what you think of this years books. Until next time, Happy Reading!!

Hello, It’s me… anyone?

Hello fellow bloggers, book critiques, and lovers of all that is books. Gosh, it feels like it’s been a long time. I am sure you think I have forgotten about you but I haven’t.

I have been so passive with this blog. Not because I wanted to or because I lost interest. No, I just couldn’t juggle everything while my brain healed. I couldn’t be the mother my children needed, the wife my husband deserves, the teacher I know I once was… all the while reading and blogging like I would like. At first, I thought of myself as a failure. But I know that’s not the case because I am still here today and that means something.

2 years after the car accident, I find myself adjusting to my new self and wrapping up all the therapy. Yes, 2 years of therapy is a lot and I am ready to be done. Although being done also means accepting things for how they are. Am I the same after the car accident, NOPE. Will I ever get back to who I was, I’m not really sure.

But I can’t stand in the mirror and wish for something that might never come. I need to start living my life again and move past this accident.

While I am figuring out my new ‘normal’ and trying to see what that means for me, I am learning that the things I used to love doing, I no longer care much about. It’s a weird feeling really. Some days I don’t recognize myself and I wonder if my husband still sees the same woman he married. Luckily, my love for reading and desire to blog has not changed.

So Now What…

I have lost a lot of followers. I know and I am sorry. I hope you haven’t completely given up on me and are willing to give me another chance. I have not been here and I want to change that. So if you’ll have me, I am here! Drop me a line, a book recommendation, anything. I am here and I have decided I am not going anywhere!

Let’s rediscover the magic in books and share in our passion to read

Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Advanced copy of Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)

Yes, you read that right!! I am losing my mind right now!! One of my all time favorite authors, Chloe Neil,  is coming out with a new series and I get to read an advanced copy!! LOSING MY MIND!!

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Wild Hunger is a spin off of an amazing series, Chicagoland Vampires. It revolves around two individuals: Elisa, the only vampire child ever born, and Connor, the future alpha of North American Central Pack. And together they will have to choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, and of course they have to do this all before Chicago disappears.. Um, yes please!!

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Stay tuned for the review of Wild Hunger!!!

Author Spotlight – Khaled Talib: Gun Kiss

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Here’s what people are saying about Talib’s new book, Gun Kiss :

“Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib is an incredibly suspenseful novel filled with twists and turns that left me flipping the pages as quickly as I could!” – GoodReads Reviewer

“Take a deep breath, because Gun Kiss’s special brand of high-octane action is on its way to market, and it’s a hell of a ride especially recommended for thriller readers who like their action not only nonstop, but tempered with a bit of romance and a lot of world-hopping political confrontations.” – GoodReads Reviewer


Author Interview:

When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Around seven I started showing interest in reading, delving into the realm of imagination as far as it would take me. I didn’t have the skills then but I found myself being a good essayist in school. It was not until I was about 15 when I tried to write my own murder-mystery. I gave it up halfway after a classmate mocked at my attempt. I tried again when I was in my twenties and failed miserably. But my little voice told me not to quit, so I tried again and again. I self-taught myself how to write. It was trial and error and with the help of an editor, I got my first novel published in 2014.
Writing is a platform that allows me to explore and express my imagination, and that’s why I write. It offers a sense of adventure. I can be here, there, anywhere without being physically present. You get a kick when you create characters, write scenes and watch your manuscript develop. Who needs opium when writing lifts you up?

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
I had gone jogging that morning. It was the first day after so long. When night time came I couldn’t sleep because my legs began to ache. So I decided to watch an old movie with a famous actress, who also reminded me of an old school friend. It led me to write a thriller about an obsessed druglord who kidnaps the actress. Funny how one finds inspiration for a story. What a stumble!

You mentioned this is the first book in a series, Can you tell me more about this series?
I am thinking of writing a sequel because I enjoyed writing the first one. It’s easy reading, not heavy, and I feel the characters should continue living. But I’m looking for a fresh plot. I might make it more humorous, not sure – it depends. Gun Kiss has a bit of this and that. Bottomline, if I do write another and another, I’d like the reader to finish the book and say, “What a fun read!”

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
Gun Kiss features several themes, but the main one is racism, which would explain why I weave in the Deringer. It carries a message but you’ll have to read the novel to understand. The assassin John Wilkes Booth was a racist and he shot Lincoln because he didn’t like the president’s policy. In Gun Kiss, I resurrected Booth who speaks with a different attitude. I’m not sure if he was brought back from the dead today would he still harbor those thoughts, but he is an interesting character nevertheless.

What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
Depending on the stages in my life, I would say every book that I’ve read. Every author is a teacher. I enjoyed reading children’s books, literature to commercial fiction. They all impacted me one way or another. But I would say George Orwell’s 1984 had a strong impact. Look at the world today: they want to control you, monitor you, and make you decide what you like and what you should dislike. The list goes on.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
There are two ways now to get published: the traditional way, which is a rough road or the self-published way. But make no mistake. you need a skilled editor to help you develop your story. Writing “The End” at the end of the page is just the beginning of your efforts to become a published author. So patience is a virtue and tenacity is a must. Above all, don’t give up.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this Winter?
Apart from the books of authors who have endorsed my own novel, Gayle Lynds, Jon Land and K.J. Howe, check out Carmen Amato’s Emilia Cruz detective series. Also, Jean Rabe’s The Dead of Winter (Piper Blackwell mystery), and Judith White’s Sam Flanagan murder-mystery detective series set in the 1940s.

If you could have dinner with a novelist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Mary Shelley. I’m trying to imagine that period of time when she lived, somewhere between the 1700s and 1800s. This person was deep. I mean to be able to write a story like Frankenstein at that time – what a genius. The novel was horrifying and philosophical at the same time. First thing I’d ask her is, “Who are you, really?”

Do you have any strange antics when you write?
Apart from coffee and chocolates being a must, I talk to myself. Well, it’s more like trying to listen if the dialogue of my characters sound awkward or not. Sometimes, I listen to music to get it going, and it works when I am writing a fast scene. Other times, I hum.

What would life be without coffee?
Zombie-ish. Avoid me at all cost … I’ll eat you. Yikes!


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00069]

Published: December 1, 2017
Pages: 254

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Where to Buy:
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Synopsis:
A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

Excerpt:
The tall buildings around Washington, D.C.’s 10th Street overshadowed the historic Ford’s Theatre. Though the building had undergone refurbishment both inside and out, it still seemed slightly out of place in modern America. However, that didn’t stop the throngs of tourists visiting the building that June morning as wispy clouds threaded through the cerulean sky.

It was a crowded weekend day when Abraham Lincoln, in his overcoat, and two Union soldiers, their faces covered with bandanas, stepped out of the van. They meandered past the theater’s five historic doorways toward the modern glass entrance. Everyone assumed they were part of a promotion taking place at the museum. It was not uncommon to see park rangers and tour guides dressed in period costumes.

The man behind the Lincoln mask was Rick Walker—at least, that was the name he was currently going by. Highly educated, the thirty-six-year-old professional thief had a penchant for the fast life. If the assignment was a success today, he’d promised his girlfriend a nice holiday.

Two female park rangers stepped forward when Rick and his companions reached the front of the line.

“You have to get in line, sir. Also, you need to get tickets. Kindly remove the mask and bandanas before entering,” one of the park rangers said.  

“I do apologize, madam, but I’m in a bit of a hurry,” Rick said. “I don’t think I need a ticket, nor do I have to get in line given who I am.”

“That’s the only way you’re going to get in,” the park ranger said.

“Well, if you insist, madam, and once again, please accept my apologies.” Rick bowed and tipped his hat, then extended a hand to the park ranger, who instinctively took it.

Rick grabbed her wrist tightly and locked it to his own with a steel cuff.

“What are you doing?” the park ranger yelled, trying to jerk her hand away.

“Getting acquainted,” Rick said.

The park ranger reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to her belt, but Rick snatched it away from her. Frantically, she turned to the other park ranger. “Get security!”

One of the two Union soldiers dropped his prop rifle and grabbed the other park ranger’s hand, then cuffed her wrist to his own. He pulled out a real gun tucked under his waistband and aimed it at her.

Rick unbuttoned the jacket of his three-piece suit and brandished the bomb strapped to his chest.

“Bomb! Bomb!” a young teenager in the line shrieked.

Pandemonium broke out as the screams of panic amplified. People ran in every direction. Those who moved slowly were slammed aside, or knocked over.

Rick pulled the ranger cuffed to him aside. “We’re going downstairs, and we’re going to take the Deringer. Obey your president,” he said in a hollow voice.

“Yes, sir,” the park ranger said as beads of sweat formed on her forehead.

They descended by elevator and emptied into an interactive museum. The wealth of history in the dimly lit space featured original artifacts in glass showcases, furniture, statues, murals, and narrative devices. The visitors already in the museum scattered wildly at the sight of a man in a Lincoln mask displaying a bomb strapped to his chest, a park ranger cuffed to his wrist.

“Show’s over, folks,” Rick yelled. “Go!”

The park ranger guided her captors to a section in the museum where the Deringer floated in an oblong glass case capped at both ends with wood. A mural behind it depicted John Wilkes Booth firing a single shot at Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the theater box.

The Union soldier not cuffed to a park ranger took out a glasscutter from his coat pocket and began to cut a circle in the glass. When it popped free, he inserted his hand inside and yanked out the Deringer.

“We’re going to take you with us. Don’t give me trouble. If you behave, you’ll be back home in time for dinner with the family,” Rick said, dragging the park ranger closer to him. “Understand?”

The park ranger nodded once, nervously.

“Excellent,” Rick said.

They exited through the theater’s main door and stepped out into the empty street. The crowd had dispersed. Some had regrouped tensely a few hundred meters away at both ends. “Cheer up—it’s going to be a fun day,” Rick said, walking toward the van.

The park ranger with Rick raised her voice. “Please, please, let us go. I don’t want to die.”

“Well, behave and everything will be fine.”  He opened the side, forced her in and jumped in after her. He shut the door after the accomplice had climbed in with the second park ranger.  

The van began to move off.

“Hallelujah!” Rick yelled in excitement behind the mask as he sat at the back of the van.  He removed the cuff from his wrist and secured the park ranger onto a railing.

“We’ll be arriving in five,” the driver said after a few blocks. “You know what to do.”

“I sure do,” Rick said as he removed the bomb strapped to his chest. Still wearing the mask, he looked at the hostages. “Don’t worry about the bomb, it’s fake.”

He unhooked a tote bag from the wall and began removing the contents. Facing away from the hostages, he removed the Lincoln mask and slipped into casual attire. He hid his face by putting on a red baseball cap and a pair of dark shades then stuffed the costume into the bag and swung it over his shoulder.

Rick looked again at the park rangers. “Look on the bright side—now you get to tell visitors a different story at the museum.”

The Union soldier in the back with him handed over the Deringer, which Rick slipped into the bag.

The driver slowed down and stopped behind a parked car.

“All good outside?” Rick asked.

“Yeah…all good. I parked a few cars behind us,” the driver replied, looking at the side mirror.

“Okay. Nice doing business with you guys.” Rick pulled open a trapdoor in the center of the floorboard, slid out, and slithered under the parked car in front of the van.

The van pulled away from the curb and sped down the street. After a minute, Rick rolled onto the road, got up, and walked toward the park at Judiciary Square on the Red Line and descended into the Metro.

A day later, Rick sat at a café with his eyes glued to the screen of a laptop, drinking a hot latte with his back against the wall. He scanned the faces of everyone who entered. Though he wasn’t expecting trouble, he remained vigilant.

“Is it in yet?” the tall blonde sitting across from him asked.

He scratched the roughness of his stubble as he continued to stare at the screen. “Not yet.”

Moments later, the figures on his account changed. A new deposit had been registered: ten million dollars.

Rick lifted his eyes. “Darling.”

“Yeah?”

“Remember, we’re in a public place, so don’t scream.”

She leaned forward. “It’s in?”

Rick wriggled his eyebrows. “Pack your bags. We’re going on a holiday, as I promised.”


Khaled Talib Photo _KT

A former magazine journalist and public relations practitioner, Khaled Talib has authored three thrillers since 2014.

His work has been praised by NY Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, NY Times bestselling author Ruth Harris, USA Today bestselling author Jon Land, NY Times bestselling author Keith Thomson, K.J. Howe, and Jon McGoran. The author, who resides in Singapore, is a member of the International Thriller Writers.

 

Author Webpage           Facebook          Twitter


Hope you are able to check out this author and his new book, Gun Kiss! Comment below if you’ve read the book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂 

Author Spotlight – Tara Thomas: Darkest Night

Happy Release Day Tara Thomas!! Darkest Night is the first in a brand new series called Sons of Broad. With it’s recent publish, reviewers are already going crazy over this book:  

Sexy and dangerous – a perfect reading combination!” – Cynthia Eden, New York Times USA Today bestselling author

“Thomas delivers a sexy, smart and emotion-packed thriller that will have you begging for her next book.” – Bestselling author HelenKay Dimon


Darkest Night_Cover

Published: February 27, 2016
Pages: 352

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Where to Buy:
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iBooks

Synopsis:
In this first novel in the explosive, brand-new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series from Tara Thomas comes a novel of deadly secrets and hidden danger. In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless enemy is out to destroy them…and everyone they hold close…

SHE THOUGHT SHE’D LOST HIM FOREVER
Tilly Brock has learned—the hard way—how to take care of herself. Once a pillar of Charleston society, her family lost everything in the wake of a shocking scandal. And then Tilly lost the only boy she ever loved.

BUT NOW THAT HE’S BACK IN HER LIFE
Keaton Benedict is Charleston’s most notorious bachelor. But in spite of all his advantages—the money, the women, the family name—he longs for more: the heart of the young woman he still can’t forget.

THE DANGER HAS JUST BEGUN…
When Keaton re-enters Tilly’s life, after all these years, she is torn between feelings of doubt and desire. Can they put the past behind them and learn to love again? Tilly is willing to try. But Keaton is afraid that a vengeful enemy is watching—and waiting to destroy them. Can the rekindled flame of their love defeat the deadliest rival and light their way forward in the darkest night?


Tara Thomas

Tara Thomas’s love of books and writing started as a child and though she wanted to be an author, she decided a degree in science was more practical. After fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry, she returned to her first love and hasn’t looked back since.

She writes erotic romance as Tara Sue Me. Her Submissive Series novels have been on both the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists. Her novel The Master earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was awarded Best Romance of 2016 from Best Book Awards.

 

Author Page          Twitter          Facebook


Keep an eye out for my upcoming review of this book. I can’t wait to read it!! Comment below if you’ve read the book or are just as interested as I am. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Darin Colucci: Everything I Never Learned in School

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Life has really gotten busy for me but I wanted to take the time to highlight this book. This isn’t a book I would typically review but with a new year I thought someone might be looking for a new perspective on life… 

I was lucky and was able to ask the Darin about his book, this is what he said:

I’ve always been interested in “success” and in particular, whether there is a science to it.  I mean, why is one person more successful than another?  Is it education, native intelligence, wealthy parents, luck … what’s the determining factor?  After decades of study, learning, discussion, and application, I felt like I cracked the code.  And much to my amazement, it wasn’t any of the factors previously mentioned.  It was actually a simple formula.  But as I point out in the book, just because something is “simple” doesn’t make it “easy.”    Anyway, once I figured out what had eluded me for so long, I was anxious to explain it to anyone who was interested.  So I decided that the best way to reach as many people as possible was to write a book.  And doing that very thing (sitting down to write a book)  was an example of the main emphasis of the book itself: Never let fear or inexperience stop you from pursuing your dreams.

I had never written anything like this before but just accepted and believed that I could.  So I sat down and wrote page 1 … and then page 2 … and so on.  And that’s something I tell aspiring writers.  The very best thing you can do is come up with your idea, and then sit down and write page 1.

Don’t Give In To Fear. 

It doesn’t matter that you’ve never written before, and it doesn’t matter that you don’t know how to write a book.  The more you give into that the further you will be from writing The End.  When you actually sit down to do it, you’ll find that it’s easier than you thought and all your worries will dissipate. And once you’ve finished, be relentless in pursuit of getting it published.

Dr. Seuss was turned down by 40 publishers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul was turned down by 45.  Just persevere.  Steve Jobs once said that the main difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs is perseverance.

“No” is not a Stop Sign … It’s a Yield Sign.  Look both ways, and then keep going.

 What message or lasting thoughts do you want the reader to take away from your book?  
Of all the wonderful, positive feedback I’ve received, my favorites are: 1.) It all just made sense to me for the first time in my life.  I understood it like I never did before, and 2.) It gave me real hope that I could live a life of my choosing instead of one that just happened.  I couldn’t ask for a better takeaway from readers.  That’s exactly what I wanted people to feel … and then apply.

 What book had the biggest impact on you?
The book that had the biggest impact on me was written 90 years ago by Napoleon Hill, called Think and Grow Rich.  It really is a remarkable book, but it’s dated.  It’s actually difficult to read and understand the first time through.  That book requires patience, dedication and a lot of introspection.  I’m not running it down; I loved it.  But my idea was to write a how to succeed book more simply and in a way that would be more fit for our time.


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Published: April 24, 2017
Pages: 140

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Where to Buy:
Amazon

Synopsis:
There are some lessons that can only come with age and experience; lessons that make us look back and say, “If I only knew then, what I know now.”

And while they’re essential to providing answers about ourselves, how we approach life, and even our professional aspirations, there’s no doubt we wish we’d had those answers long before we got to that point in our lives.

In Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success , author Darin Colucci aims to help new college graduates, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those with an immense desire to be successful, navigate life’s stumbling blocks by sharing a few insights on how to reach your goals and keep happiness along for the ride.

A straightforward, practical guide for every high school and college student in America, Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success is made for the relentless spirit within each of us who yearn to get the most out of life.

Filled with easily understood rules for success, humorous and poignant stories, and life lessons, this book demystifies and breaks down success in a way that anyone can understand, including:

Building a Strong Financial Future Scaling the Corporate (or Career) Ladder Finding Confidence and Letting Go of Insecurities Achieving Goals that Matter to You How Success and Happiness Should Always Be Intertwined And So Much MoreWinner of a 2017 Eric Hoffer Award in the category of Self-Help and Semi-finalist for Book of the Year for the Online Book Club, this is a rare, candid look what life can offer us if we only have a few answers before we get there.

If you’re ready to learn how to be successful, and want to live life to its very fullest, get a copy of Everything I Never Learned in School: A Guide to Success today. You’ll be happy that you had the right answers to help you through the obstacles ahead.


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Passage From the Book:

“Your mind is a powerful tool. Your mind can convince you that you are capable of great feats and that the arrival of success is nothing more than a matter of time – or it can convince you that success will never happen for you no matter how hard you try because in your hear of hearts you believe that success is something that other people attain. In either instance you are correct.  Success is a choice we make.”


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For the past 23 years, Darin Colucci has been a successful trial attorney in Massachusetts, often representing plaintiffs in high-profile personal injury cases. In recognition of his work in this field Newsweek.com recently named him one of the ten best personal injury attorneys in America. He is one of the founding partners of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus, & Flavin and makes his home in Duxbury, MA, where he lives with his wife, Lorna and his son, Jackson. He is a graduate of Bucknell University and Suffolk University Law School where he was a staff member and comment editor of the law review. He has been a commentator on WBZ radio in Boston and, along with his firm, has been recognized numerous times by the publication Super Lawyers.

Darin has also written several works of fiction, been a successful investor, an entrepreneur, and inventor who recently designed a safety mechanism to stop wandering in daycare centers and Alzheimer units. In addition, he spent 12 years as a college football coach. During that time, he gave dozens of speeches to young adults on such subjects as success, integrity, mind-set, and the importance of attitude.

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I think this book would be a fascinating read. Comment below if you read the book or are interested in reading the book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂