#FridayReads ‘The Good Girl’ by Mary Kubica @Audible #BookReview


I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.


My Review

I’ve had this novel on Audible, waiting to be read, for a few weeks. I was looking forward to reading it after reading the blurb and reading the first few pages. The 4.2/5 stars on 4,300 reviews on amazon.com and over 14,000 on Audible, also convinced me I couldn’t go wrong! I was not disappointed.

The Good Girl is about a rich and dysfunctional American family whose dissenting daughter, Mia, is kidnapped by a ruthless gunman who is subcontracted for the job.
Everything goes haywire when the kidnapper, Colin, decides to save Mia by kidnapping her from the kidnappers who recruited him, because he believes their ultimate aim is to murder her.

Mia and Colin, two of the narrators, spend months in hiding in a remote and freezing cabin, with barely enough to eat, while her mother, Eve, and Detective Hoffman, the other two narrators, try to find them.

The story is told by four narrators in two time periods, before and after the kidnapping, so we know from the beginning that Mia was recovered. In spite of this, I was intrigued to find out how she was able to escape, who had ordered her kidnapping her and why.

It may seem that the author included a spoiler or that going  backwards and forwards in time would be confusing, but it isn’t, quite the opposite, the narrative is greatly enriched by these alternating perspectives.

The first and final thirds are the most gripping, while in the central chapters, I did wonder where the story might be going, but as I read on, I realised it was all part of the suspense.

The four narrators were believable. My favourite was Colin, because, in spite of his reserved and sometimes evil nature, I felt I knew him better than the rest and because his character developed the most throughout the novel. Colin is the real protagonist. His decisions guide the plot. He’s the catalyst and the most interesting character.

I didn’t care much for Mia or her mother. I thought they were too full of self-pity and too self-righteousness. The father was the archetypal villain and the detective, was the proverbial honest and thorough investigator and good guy.

The climax was unexpected and devastating, and the end, narrated by Mia in the epilogue, was surprising and sad, but plausible and satisfactory. I’d recommend it to lovers of psychological thrillers and I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.

By the way, the audio version with the four different narrators was fabulous.

Link to The Good Girl on Audible


#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Her Dear and Loving Husband’ by Meredith Allard @copperfield101

I read Her Dear and Loving Husband, a few months ago and realised I hadn’t yet posted my review on my blog, so here it is.

 Sweet, well – written Vampire novel

I didn’t realise it was part of a vampire trilogy when I started reading, so it was a surprise, and I don’t usually read this type of novel, but I’m sharing it today because enjoyed it very much.

I wrote ‘sweet’ in the headline because there’s nothing gory or shocking in the novel, which often puts me off vampires. It’s not a typical vampire novel for teenagers either, as it includes well-written, situations and a mature love story intended for adults.

It was easy to feel sympathy towards Sarah, who has moved from California to Salem after her traumatic divorce, as she starts having disquieting dreams and feeling a strange connection to places and people in the small town.

The plot gradually weaves between present and past, until the mystery is finally revealed. There’s a lot of historical information about the Salem witch trials, and the novel leans heavily on 19th century literary accounts of vampires such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The title is taken from Anne Bradshaw’s poem, My Dear and Loving Husband, which ties in with the touching love story spanning hundreds of years.

If you’re in the mood to suspend belief, you’ll easily be immersed into a world of loving vampires and friendly witches (although there is also a villainous vampire trying to sabotage their love story), because it’s very well written; the prose style draws you smoothly into another world.

It’s the first book in the trilogy, which is free at the moment, and although there’s no cliff hanger ending, you’ll need to read the next two novels to complete James and Sarah’s story.

I listened to the audible narration, which was beautifully read.



Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling novels The Loving Husband Trilogy, That You Are Here, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle (Copperfield Press). Her newest release is the historical novel When It Rained at Hembry Castle, a great read for fans of Downton Abbey. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit Meredith online her blog.


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21 Ingredients for a Great Novel #MondayBlogs

I’m a writer, but, as I’ve so often said, I’m more of a reader than a writer, because I admit that I prefer reading to writing.

I’m a great reader, which means I read a lot, much more than most people.

I’ve always read a lot, but in the last three-four years, I’ve been reading between eight and fifteen books a month, depending on weather I’m writing or not. Most of the books I read are kindle ebooks, but I also read some paperbacks and a few audio books a month, too.

I read contemporary fiction, especially independent authors, debut authors and some bestsellers.

I especially enjoy reading psychological thrillers, romantic suspense, crime fiction, paranormal (but not vampires etc.), women’s fiction, Chick lit, historical romance, and contemporary romance.

I finish and review almost every book I start, unless I don’t enjoy it. Reading is a pleasure, and life’s too short to read books that aren’t for me.

As a result of all this reading and reviewing, I’ve decided to write a very personal, and therefore totally subjective, list of ingredients that make a great novel.

Here are my ingredients, in no particular order.

  1. Good editing is basic. I don’t mean random typos, which I may not even notice, I’m talking about grammar, syntax, register, clichés, repeated words, too many dialogue tags, and punctuation.
  2. Not too wordy. I don’t enjoy reading too much information, which adds nothing to the plot or characterisation. I don’t mind an occasional ‘red herring’, but I’m not keen on plots that go all over the place and confuse me.
  3. Good writing, which means it’s pleasant to read. This ties up with the previous points. I really appreciate, clear and precise prose, which gives me the information I need to feel I’m part of the setting and get to know the characters, like Girl in the Ice. 


  1. Short chapters and short paragraphs are easier to read. I’m very busy and sometimes tired, as most readers. I read for a few minutes here and there, often while commuting or travelling, on a lunch break, between chores, at the end of the day, etc. I don’t enjoy rereading long paragraphs to try to understand what the main point is.
  2. Not too long (although it can be part of a series). In general I prefer books between 70 and 80 thousand words, which can be read in a few afternoons or evenings. I don’t mind occasional cliff hangers, as long as part of the story is complete, otherwise I feel frustrated. I don’t mind reading part of a series either, I fact I quite enjoy it, as I’ve become invested in the characters and want to know more about their story, such as The Detective Jack Stratton books. (There are exceptions, by exceptional authors such as Ken Follet. I don’t mind how long his novels are!)


         6. Not too short (unless it’s a book of short stories). Most short novels I’ve read feel incomplete. I prefer a longer story.

          7. Engaging characters. Characters don’t have to be likeable, in fact I’m attracted to flawed characters, but I need to be interested in what’s happening to them and what they’re doing. Ideally, they need to be having a hard time, and I need to care about how they cope with their issues, such as ‘I Let You Go‘ in which a woman is coping with the results of a tragic accident she was involved in. i-let-you-go

           8. More than one viewpoint. Life isn’t monochrome, and although I have nothing against stories told from one point of view, I prefer at least two distinct voices. It makes the story more complex and I feel as if I have all sides of the argument. One person’s vision or viewpoint is necessarily limited. I love two first person narrators as ‘Gone Girl’.


          9. An overall meaning or message. It’s especially rewarding to read a novel when the events or feelings are part of something bigger than the story itself, for example a universal event, in which we could all experience, such as the overcoming the pain of the loss of a child, or a divorce such as ‘The Ladies Room.’


          10. Surprises or plot twists every 6-10 minutes. Sometimes novels drag because nothing much happens for pages on end. I need things to happen constantly to keep me turning pages. This needn’t big huge plot twists, it can be a change of scene, character, some news, anything that moves the action forward and stops the slow or dragging sensation, like Matt Cairns, Cold Blooded, which wastes none of the reader’s time in this gripping thriller.

Cold Blooded 2 (1)

          11. Unexpected big twist right before the end. I love this. When you think everything’s sorted out and there’s another unexpected turn, which makes you sit up. The last 10% is as important as the first 10%, because it’s what will stay in my mind and convince me to buy another book by the writer, such as ‘The Sister’.


          12. Not too many main characters. Two main characters are often enough, although I prefer a few more, but too many can be confusing, unless it’s a complex family or historical drama.

        13. Defined secondary characters. I dislike lifeless secondary characters. All characters in the novel should all come to life, even if their role is secondary. Imagine watching a film where only the protagonists are good actors, but the rest are amateurs. The film wouldn’t be much good, would it? The secondary characters need to support the main characters, and they’re often entertaining and vital for moving the plot forward, like The Photographer’s Wife.


         14. Concentrating the present-time action (narrator time) in a short period, for example a few days, helps me to focus on the plot, even though back story will also usually be included in flashbacks or conversations, such as The Ventian, which takes place over a weekend in Venice.


         15. Gradually including back story. The back story is usually necessary for the plot to develop and to get to know the characters, but the way in which it is gradually told will build suspense and add unexpected plot twists.

         16. Surprising angle to an old story. Most plots are familiar. So many stories have been told in so many ways that it’s hard to be original, but when it happens, it’s riveting! For example murder from the dead child’s point of view as in ‘The Lovely Bones’, or telling the story of a millionaire falling in love with a poor girl, set in the early 20th century between a fake medium and a railway baron, as in Baron.


            17. Romance. Love is an important part of everyone’s life, falling in love, staying in love, overcoming relationship crisis, moving on, second chances, are all situations I love to read about, such as The Hollow Heart.


         18. Humour. I enjoy reading comedies, occasionally, but a touch of humour is often enough. A humorous situation or character, lightens the drama, and it makes the story realistic; we all come across witty people, who liven up our daily lives. I love romantic comedies told from the point of view of men, which are often very amusing, such as Emma Chase novels, especially, Sustained.

Sustained cover

        19. Drama. I love reading about events which make me feel strong emotional reactions such as anger, fear, sadness even. I cried at the end of Who We Were Before, but I loved that the writer was able to provoke that emotion.


          20. Extraordinary things happening to ordinary people. I love it when what happens to the characters could happen, or could have happened, to me or people I know. It’s credible so I feel drawn into the story. For example a computer programmer who is targeted by the Russian mafia, as in Kissing my Killer.

Kissing My Killer 600x900

        21. The setting. I love it when the setting or a specific place in the novel becomes as important and unique as the plot or characters, not just the background. This can happen if it’s a city, village, or an idyllic landscape, or country house, such as in ‘Eclipse Lake.


Do you agree with (all) of these ingredients?

Can you suggest any other ingredients to include?   

 Let me know, I’d love to hear what you think!


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#Author Spotlight Jennifer Theriot & #BookReview ‘Out of the Box Awakening’ for #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today the Spotlight is on Jennifer Theriot, whose novel Out of the Box Awakening I recently reviewed as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.



Olivia is a good woman, a good mother, a good wife. She’s got it made. She doesn’t want anything to change.

Of course, it does…

Swept from her perfect paper-doll life in Houston, Olivia finds herself in Chicago, alone, betrayed, and far from home. Soon everything she thought she knew about herself and her life will be challenged. She has only courage, love, and her passion for music to carry her through the maelstrom—or draw her further in.

Ash is the man who has everything—everything except healing from the losses of a lifetime. His only peace lies in the sweet flow of music pouring from his guitar.

What happens when the married woman and the sexy handsome widower are thrown together by fate?

Out of the Box Awakening is a story about second chances, shared passion and shared joy. Jennifer Theriot has written a compelling book about what happens when two people find new life and new love for themselves and for those around them.

My Review

Out of the Box Awakening by Jennifer Theriot is a contemporary family drama with a hopeful ending.

Olivia, who is in her late 50s, is faced with making major life changes. Her children have grown up and left home, and she has to move from Huston to Chicago due to her husband’s new job. Her husband, Alan, is staying with his friend, Ash, who becomes Olivia’s supportive friend as her life unexpectedly falls apart.

We will follow Olivia through the discovery of betrayal and her traumatic divorce, as she gradually falls in love with Ash. She realizes she hadn’t really been in love with her husband for a long time before their marriage ended. For example, she loved music and dancing, while Adam didn’t, so she had abandoned her hobby until Ash and his son, who is a musician, open up a new world of music and dancing. The realization that she has been drifting through life with Alan, who had never really appreciated her, comes as a shock. For instance, there’s a scene when she’s in hospital and Ash phones Alan to ask about her medical history to fill in a form, but he doesn’t know the answers.

‘Alan, tell me you actually know something about your wife? I’ve got to get these forms filled out and I goddamn need your help.’

Alan replies: ‘I honestly don’t know.’

It’s devastating, but at least Olivia is fortunate enough to have found Ash, who is supportive emotionally and helpful from a practical point of view too. He teaches her to value herself, her body, her hobbies and her freedom. He encourages her to find a part-time job, to keep herself busy, motivated and independent.

Most romantic novels have young main characters, so it was refreshing to read a novel about a more mature love story including characters who were my age. There are also plenty of young people in the novel, such as Olivia and Ash’s young adult children, who liven up the story.

Although it can be read as a standalone because there is no cliffhanger ending, and the ending is happy, there’s still a story to be continued. I was thrilled to discover that there are two more books in the series. How will their new life together work out? They both have families and personal baggage, will they be able to start again? Life with Ash will be better than life with Alan, because at least Ash respects and supports Olivia, but Ash also has his secrets. His job in government security, which we know little about and keeps him away for periods of time, is intriguing. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, Out of the Box Regifted which is already on my kindle!

Out of the Box book 2

Interview with Jennifer Theriot

1- Most romantic novels are about young couples, what were the challenges you faced writing a romance involving a mature couple?

There really were no challenges, per se. At first I wasn’t sure how well the readers would take to it though. Here you have a middle-aged couple, young at heart, still sexually active,falling in love and doing silly things.

2- I’ve read and reviewed book 1, Awakening, but there are two more, Regifted and Everlasting, what inspired you to write the ‘Out of the Box’ Trilogy?

When I finished Out of the Box Awakening, my characters wanted to go on – there was more of the story to tell, so I went with Out of the Box Regifted (where Olivia was ‘regifted’ to Ash by Alan). This one has a lot more ‘steamy romance’ in it, as Ash and Olivia’s relationship flourishes and he encourages her to be more spontaneous and uninhibited. The characters wanted to go one more, so I left a little ‘cliffy’ at the end of Regifted. In Out of the Box Everlasting, the story comes full circle. I have a little political conspiracy theory in Everlasting – with this being an election year and all. I figured why not throw in a little Trump-esque scenario 😉

The trilogy is complete and the order of it spells ARE (Awakening, Regifted, Everlasting)

My thoughts: I know what you mean when you say, my characters wanted to go on, because I had the same feeling as I wrote and even now that I’ve finished my trilogy! Some characters seem to have a mind of their own!

3- What’s your writing process like? 

By all means, non traditional! I live outside the box, so don’t follow the rules. I don’t use an outline, I’m pretty unorganized  and I wait for my characters to guide me. I write at night and on weekends, because I have a full-time day job crunching numbers.

Unwrapping Noel

4- What are you working on now?

Last Christmas, I wrote a little novella called Unwrapping Noel. It’s about a full-figured thirty something year old woman who was in a tumultuous and toxic marriage. She owns a PR firm and goes to the Silicon Valley on business during the Christmas holidays, where she meets a sexy silver fox named Leon Hallas who falls head over heels for her. (Did you catch the palindrome?)

I’m now working on the sequel to that, called Finding Joy. I love writing this couple!

5- What would you like readers to know about you?

I love connecting with new readers and I love to hear from them. I’m a people person by nature.

Here’s my author biography:

USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Theriot (pronounced Terrio) hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas-based real estate investment firm by day and does her writing at nights and on weekends. In her limited spare time, Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. She’s mom to three grown children and ‘MiMi’ to four grandkids – all of whom she adores!

Jennifer took a chance that there could be an interest in romance with middle-aged couples who are finding themselves at a crossroads and wrote her debut novel Out of the Box Awakening, which centers on the hope of finding happiness and passion through unexpected heartache. It emphasizes the need for family and friends as Jennifer has learned in her own life. Grownup romance from the other side of 30 is how she characterizes her books. The books have also been described as “Mature Sexy” by one reviewer…


6- How can readers contact you or find out more about you?

As you can see below, Jennifer is very active on social media, so take your pick!

GOOGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/102404514817870981129/posts

WEBSITE: http://www.jennifertheriot.com

BLOG: http://jennifertheriot.com/blog/

AUTHOR FACEBOOK:   Jennifer Theriot, Author https://www.facebook.com/JenniferTheriotAuthor

TWITTER:  @ JenTheRiot https://twitter.com/JenTheRiot

BOOK BUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-theriot

GOODREADS AUTHOR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082754.Jennifer_Theriot

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Theriot/e/B00D8SW61C

AUTHORGRAPH: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/JenTheRiot

Book Trailers




7- Where can readers buy your books? buy links.









Thank you so much for your visit, Jennifer. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing more of your novels, which I’ll be sharing on this blog with my readers at a future date!


#Author Spotlight Mandy Lee & #BookReview of her Novel ‘You Don’t Know Me’

You all know why I love Romantic novels and Byronic heroes. If you don’t remember, check this post!

To sum up, they simply are tantalising, because the reader knows that this disgusting frog will become an irresistible prince, with the heroine’s invaluable help, by the time the novel / trilogy is concluded. To quote myself:

‘Byronic heroes are brooding, darkly handsome, and they have a secret, hidden past, which makes them behave antisocially. They are usually worldly, rich, cynical, destructive, and resentful. They have difficulties identifying and even expressing their emotions, and women find them extremely alluring. They are idealized yet flawed characters, who need to be recovered and repaired by the perfect heroine.’

But what are the heroines like? What kind of a woman can fall in love and transform this semi-monster into a cuddly teddy bear?

Answer: A feisty, intelligent, strong-willed, generous and loving spirit, who also has issues of her own to deal with, just like Maya.

Fishing for Hyenas and looking for sleeping Penguins: A story of


I loved ‘You Don’t Know Me’ right from page one. It is a well-written, well-plotted, fun and enjoyable, romantic and erotic read. When I started reading I thought, ‘This is the novel I’ve been waiting to read for months.’ I love romance, and I also enjoy an erotic twist, if the characters and plot are enticing enough, and Maya and Dan are an enthralling couple to follow.

Our heroine, Maya Scotton, is an artist with a severe case of painter’s block, who takes on an office job at a construction company in order to pay the bills. She meets the seemingly heartless and mysterious owner of the company, and they both embark on a steamy and complex relationship, which will keep you turning pages impatiently.

Maya is a friendly, funny and loveable young woman, who is denying her artistic talent, by running away from herself. She desperately needs the love, reassurance and security that Dan offers.

Yet Dan has dark demands and a shocking secret. Dan is not who he seems. You don’t know me ends with a revealing cliffhanger, and I’m impatiently waiting for book two.

There is suspense as well as romance, building up to a final shocking secret, which both links them painfully yet threatens to keeps them apart forever.

I love character driven novels, and all the characters in You Don’t Know Me are so well-crafted that I felt as if I could see and hear every one of them. Everyone who appears is valuable to the reader, because they have a specific role in the plot, which moves on with every page.

The big plus, at least for me, is that it takes place in London, mainly around the South Bank, which happens to be one of my favourite places! I’ve walked near and around GabrieI’s Wharf many times, but now I can’t wait to go back and have a coffee there, Dan’s favourite place! There are many more places to look out for. Mandy Lee has drawn me into the characters’ fictional world, and I loved it!


                                             Dan and Maya’s London

One of the great things about being a writer, being a reader and reviewer, and having a blog in the 21st century is that you can meet and speak to other writers on Social Media. I ‘met’ Mandy on Twitter, by chance. I’m always interested in debut authors and romance, so I decided to give her book a go a few weeks ago. I was so impressed that as soon I finished reading it, I contacted her for an author interview and spotlight on my blog. I’m also telling everyone I know to give it a try. For less than the price of a coffee you get to meet a lovely young painter, fall in love, and visit London!

Here’s the interview:

Your author profile on Amazon says you work in the field of education. This means you have a full time, demanding job. I know first-hand because I’m a teacher! How did you manage to find time to write at the same time and what’s your writing routine?

Teaching is a demanding job and it’s been tough trying to fit it all in. When I get home from work, I generally take an hour or so to wind down, walk the dog, and get the dinner ready. Then I switch on the laptop and write for as long as I can. At the weekends, I do about six hours a day. In the holidays, it’s the same. I’m looking forward to giving up the full time job at Christmas, after which I’ll be taking five months off to finish the trilogy. After that, I’ll do a little supply to help pay the bills, but I’ll be able to focus a lot more on writing. I’m lucky. My family are very supportive.

What would you say to a reader to convince them to read your novel?

If you love a good story, then you won’t be disappointed! I’ve been told more than once that it’s a real page turner. Readers also tell me that they love the steamy sex scenes, and that they get thoroughly involved with the characters. It’s also pretty funny in places!

You don’t know me has romance and suspense, right to the end. You could have written a more traditional type of romance with a similar storyline, why did you decide to write an erotic instead of a more traditional type of romance?

I’m a big fan of erotic romance. I started off by reading the 50 Shades trilogy because all of my friends were reading it. I really didn’t think I’d enjoy it but I was hooked! I then went on to read other erotic romances. In particular, I loved Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series and I also lapped up the This Man trilogy by Jodi Ellen Malpas. I guess I just enjoy a good sex scene. On that level, it’s pure escapism. But the additional challenge with erotic romance is to weave the sex into the storyline so that it’s absolutely essential. I started You Don’t Know Me as an experiment to see if I could do it. Along the way, I think I finally found my genre!

Your novel has been compared to 50 Shades of Grey, I know you don’t mind this comparison, but in what ways would you say it’s similar and/or different to 50 Shades?

I’ve read quite a few erotic romances and there are similarities between all of them, the most obvious being the idea of the rich but damaged alpha male who’s unexpectedly brought to his knees by a woman. There’s nothing new in this. I think Charlotte Bronte might have got in there first with Jane Eyre, only without the sex! Having said that, I consciously worked to make my book different to 50 Shades. For example, my heroine isn’t an innocent ingénue. Maya’s a little older, definitely sexually experienced and she’s got demons of her own to deal with. She’s more than capable of giving Dan a run for his money, and while she’s willing to give him control in everything sexual, she won’t let him walk all over her outside of the bedroom. I wanted my male lead to be different too. Yes, he’s an alpha male with a shady past and kinky sexual preferences, but he wants to leave behind the hard core BDSM. Although it’s partly about the need for control, his interest in BDSM is more about escaping from who he really is. He doesn’t want that escape any more. As you get to know him, you also discover that he’s not a power-hungry control freak at all: there’s a much softer side trying to get out. And as I was creating my ideal man, he also needed a damn good sense of humour!


You say in your biography that you are in the shadows and prefer not to share an author picture due to your job. I presume that if your wrote a more mainstream type of fiction, you wouldn’t be in the shadows. Why do you think there’s a stigma in being an author of erotica?

If I weren’t a teacher, I’d be more than willing to share a picture! In fact, I’d love nothing more. Generally speaking, I don’t think that there is a stigma attached to writing erotica, not any more. In my case, it’s just that some parents might have an issue with their children being taught by someone who writes explicit sex scenes. And more than that, I’m pretty sure that if the students found out, some of them would end up reading it, and that could cause all sorts of difficult situations!

What are you writing at the moment and what are your plans for the future?

At the minute, I’m working on True Colours, the sequel to You Don’t Know Me. The second draft is done and I’m now editing and revising. It should be ready for publication just after Christmas. Then I’ll be finishing the trilogy. Before I wrote You Don’t Know Me, I wrote a comedy trilogy set in the world of education. An agent showed interest in it at one point, but couldn’t offer representation. I’m having that edited at the minute and I’ll be self-publishing it under another pen name in the New Year. But the plan is to continue with erotic romance. I have notebooks full of ideas for future stories!

How can readers find out more or contact you?
Twitter – @mandylee2015
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Mandy-Lee-424286884398779/?ref=hl
Website (including blog) – http://www.mandy-lee.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14125711.Mandy_Lee

Where can readers buy your book?
Amazon UK

Amazon US

#Author Spotlight Gloria Antypowich & #BookReview of her Novel ‘Full Circle’

This week’s Author Spotlight features  Gloria Antypowich and her novel Full Circle.


My Review

One of the reasons I read is to travel, and another is to encounter events beyond my daily routine. In Full Circle, I was alternately shocked, surprised, upset, and cheerful. I also travelled to Canada and found out what life on a ranch is like! So it was a satisfying read. I especially enjoyed the dialogues and the descriptive scenes which transported me to another continent.

The four main characters are very well-developed, which made me care about what would happen to them, and plenty of things happen! I read about many life changing and dramatic events in their lives, such as loss of parents and children, neglect, fear of commitment, divorce, betrayal, marriage, pregnancy, falling in and out of love, depression, as well as disturbing events such as child murder.

It is a romance, so it is not a spoiler to say that there is an optimistic ending. However, it is not an ordinary or simple romance, the story gradually unwinds and becomes more complex as the plot grows and the characters develop.
At the start of the novel Shauna Lee Holt is a successful accountant with her own business in a Canadian town, who promiscuously enjoys the company of men. We will learn that there is more to Shauna Lee than lust when Brad appears in her life, like a catalyst, and turns her world upside down, as he discovers (with the reader) the traumatic secrets of her past.

Brad is generous and supportive and helps her discover the healing power of love, instead of (or as well as) lust, and helps her face the truth and discover who she is and what she wants to make of her life.

Although Full Circle is part of a series, this can be read as a stand-alone novel. I have not read book one, The Second Time Around, but now I’m curious to find out more of the back story of the lives of Colt and Frank Thompson, the happy couple who seem to have everything, but are also struck by dramatic events in Full Circle.

There are two more novels in the series, The Hand of Fate and Second Chance, which I look forward to reading.


I read and reviewed this enjoyable novel last summer and asked Gloria to answer some questions to get to know more about her work and her writing routine.

1- What would you say to readers to convince them to buy Full Circle?

If you are looking for something more than a traditional romance, you will enjoy Full Circle. Your first impression of Shauna Lee Holt could easily be disdain because, while she is a successful business woman, in her personal life she is promiscuous, sleeping with different men on a regular basis. When Brad Thompson arrives on the scene she hits on him immediately, but he is different from the other men she knows. He is attracted to her, but he is not willing to play her game. He makes it clear to her that he will not have sex with her until they have gotten to know each other and established the beginning of a truly monogamous relationship. He’s determined not to be another one in a string of guys in her bed, but she certainly does test his resolve.

Behind the façade she has created, Shauna Lee is a tormented person who feels unworthy of love and she doesn’t know how to be with a man like Brad. As he gets glimpses of her tragic past he begins to realise that she may never be able to give him what he wants. When they begin to make headway, shadows from her past come forward, like ghosts slipping through the cracks that Brad has pried opened in her armor. Will Shauna Lee let Brad stand by her side and help her like he wants too, or will fear overrule and cause her to slam all her emotional portals shut again?

This story is filled with drama. It revolves around betrayals, hatred, infanticide, regret, revenge, strong friendships and unconditional love. Bring your box of Kleenex when you sit down to read. There will be times when you may laugh, but I’m certain there will be more times when you will feel like crying.

2.What inspired you to write the Belanger Creek Ranch Books?

The Belanger Creek Ranch Series has been a long journey for me. Over 30 years ago I was fortunate to be able to attend RWA conferences in the USA for a few years in succession. Then one year I decided to go to a writer’s workshop in Regina Saskatchewan. That would have been a long two day drive for me, and my husband didn’t want me to go by myself, so he went with me. I had romanticised about the Cypress Hills. They are a high point of land that straddles the SE corner of the province of Alberta and the adjoining SW corner of the province of Saskatchewan: an anomaly in the otherwise flat land of the prairies. Exploring them was on my agenda for that trip. On our way back home to B.C., we detoured off Highway 1 and visited Loch Levan, then drove through the Center Block of the Interprovincial Cypress Hills Park, and across the Gap Road to historic Fort Walsh in the West Block. Among other things, I saw the biggest grasshoppers I have ever seen in my life on the Gap Road! I made notes and took pictures—we talked to a couple of ranchers and that was research for my first book. I wrote the book, had an agent who presented it to Harlequin, who in turn gave me a polite not-now letter, so I went on to other things. I published that original book as “Hearts at Risk” in 2011, and after a few people said they wanted to know more about the characters I decided to write a second book, “You Can Run,” in 2012.

Then my husband decided to write and publish his hunting memoir and his personal memoir, so I put my writing aside and dedicated my time to editing and revising his manuscripts. As well, there were 350 pictures in his personal memoir and 150 in his hunting memoir. I had to prepare those pictures for the publisher by converting them to black and white, editing them with Photoshop Elements where necessary and resizing them. Then I had to number them according to where they would be placed in the individual manuscripts and create place holders in 3 separate files for each book. It was a major project!

In 2014 I settled into my own writing again. I still loved and believed in the characters and story of my first two books (even though they were total flops) so I did an extensive rewrite of “Hearts At Risk,” and it became The Second Time Around, Book One of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series. Then I tweaked the manuscript for “You Can Run” and it became Full Circle, Book Two of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series.

I like a series of books if they relate to each other, but can be read on their own, and by the time I started writing again I knew I wanted to do a book that included a surrogacy. That book went through 3 title changes—at first I was going to call it “The Bastard and The Barren”. My husband has no input in my books (in fact I don’t think he’s even read books three and four), but one day he when he came into my office and when he saw the file name on my computer he was disgusted!! Any way as the book evolved—(or possibly I was the one who evolved) I decided the title was going to be “The Gift” Then when I did the very final edit—I knew there was so much more to that book than just the gift of surrogacy, and after I changed the last paragraph, I decided to call it The Hand of Fate. Two new characters had been introduced into the “Belanger Creek Ranch family” and the idea for A Second Chance, Book Four was spawned.

I choose to call the series The Belanger Creek Ranch Series, because thirty years ago when we drove through that country I had made a note about a small creek named Belanger Creek. I have no idea what the area is like now, but there was not a ranch there then.

glorias larger author photo

3. What’s your writing routine?

Insane!! I’m a total “pantster.” I’ll have an idea and I’ll do thorough research as background material. Then I’ll just jump right in and start writing—for hours and days and weeks and months.

Since my husband also writes, that is OK when he is settled in front of his computer, but when he isn’t, I think not having “a wife” for weeks on end gets frustrating. He doesn’t say much…although sometimes actions speak louder than words! My kids rag on me for living an unbalanced life—no exercise and sitting at the computer non-stop. Our oldest daughter and her family live upstairs (we live on the ground floor of the same house) and if she looks out of her bathroom window at midnight and sees the glow of the light from my office, she will go into their spare bedroom just above where I am working and stomp on the floor to let me know that she doesn’t approve! Our children and grandchildren are proud of my accomplishments—I have to correct myself here-they are proud of both of our accomplishments—but they just don’t get what it’s like to be a writer!

4-What are you working on now?

I am not writing right now—I am marketing, marketing, marketing!

But I have many ideas simmering on the back burner. I have done research for a possible rodeo series—I know a stock contractor, a bull fighter, a chuckwagon owner, a chuckwagon outrider and a bull rider, as well as a tie down roper. I do much of my research on line, but I like to get a feel for what characters would think and do from real life people if possible. Most of what I learn never makes it into a book, but it makes me feel that I can write with authenticity.

I also have a “series” that’s been on my mind for a few years—one book would be titled Too Little Too Late, another Meant to Be and the third would be The Ties That Bind. They are all about married couples whose relationships face challenges. Too Little Too Late and The Ties That Bind are not actually “happy ever after” books. Meant To Be has heartache but ends happily. They all deal with harsh realities of things that do happen in life. I have thought about them for so long, but am not certain that I want to go down that road yet.

I have also thought about doing a series about girls who arrived on The Bride Ships in the 1800’s—that’s more historical—but there is such fascinating, and yes, horrible stories to be gleaned from that time in the US and when the gold rush was in full swing in the Cariboo area of British Columbia, where I live.

Also I wrote another book years ago that was about a surrogacy contract that fell apart when the intended mother died. More than once I have thought about bringing it to life. I loved that book and still remember it clearly—it had a paranormal element to it.

So as you see, I have plenty of ideas to work on—and in honesty, undoubtedly less than 20 years to write—if I’m very fortunate. Oh mortality!! And the hand of fate! One never knows what will come into your life in a given time. So I choose to live one day at a time!

Lucy, Thank you so much for featuring me in your Author Spotlight!

It was a pleasure having you on my blog, Gloria.


If you’d like to contact Gloria, here are her social network links:

FaceBook: http://tinyurl.com/Gloria-Antypowich-Author-Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/glantypowich
My webpage is http://gloriaantypowichauthor.com/home/
My Blog: http://gloriaantypowich.com/blog/
GoodReads: http://tinyurl.com/goodreads-Gloria-Antypowich
Linkedin: http://tinyurl.com/Linkedin-Gloria-Antypowich

Purchase link:

My books on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/Gloria-Antypowich-Amazon

Buy One Get One Half Price At Gatwick Airport

Or What Motivates Me To Buy A Paperback…

I rarely buy paperbacks anymore, as I mostly read on my kindle, but there’s one place I always buy tactile books (I refuse to say ‘real books’ all my ebooks are real!), and that’s at airports.

Yesterday I returned home from London after almost a week away from home with my children and grandchildren. Our short stay at Gatwick Airport wasn’t easy with three buggies, three grandchildren under four, six pieces of hand luggage three stressed parents, and two bewildered grandparents, but I managed to get away for ten minutes and run to the nearest bookshop.


Three Generations in Rainy London Last Week


The dilemma, how to decide which of the hundreds, no thousands, of books available to choose? Buy one and get one half price, good idea, so I’ll get two, but which ones?

Half the fun is looking for them. I don’t know if everyone does it the way I did, but my process was the following. First the front cover: the title, the cover art, the author’s name, prizes, bestseller component, all counted. Secondly, the back cover for the gist of the story. Thirdly, the first few pages (I mean before the novel actually starts), and fourthly the first page for the feel of it. Amazingly, all this happens in a matter of minutes.


I had various books in my hand and went through the above ritual, until I finally settled for two novels. The first was the latest by Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride. I’m an incurable romantic, I loved The Notebook, so after going through the four stages mentioned, I knew I’d love this book. I loved Mr. Sparks five pages of acknowledgements. He thanked almost seventy people, from his wife to his agent, editor, publicist, friends, family, accountant, readers, etc. for their support in writing this, his seventh novel. Everyone who has ever published a novel knows this is true, there are too many people to name, but he did so, and that says a great deal about the man who wrote the book.

I managed to read about a third of The Longest Ride on the plane, and I’m very glad I bought it, because I’m dreading putting it down, but I’m afraid I’ll have to put it on hold for a couple of days because tomorrow it’s back to work and back to A-Z Blogging Challenge!


The other book I chose was Miss Carter’s War, by Sheila Hancock. I loved the cover, the red dress and those red peep-toes, so irresistibly vintage. When I realised that it was about a teacher in postwar Britain, and saw it compared to the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the decision was made. Muriel Spark was my literary idol for years, and the 1950s have always fascinated me. My parents arrived in London in the 1950s and used to tell me about life at the time. I was born in 1959, on Seven Sisters Road, in North East London, so I feel almost a postwar baby, and certainly a fifties baby! The swinging sixties, also bring a melancholic smile to my eyes: the Beatles, the mini, Twiggy, Mary Quant. I’ll never forget the shock of seeing my friends get short bobs a la twiggy. I was so proud of my long hair, I would never go that far, but I did wear mini skirts and hot pants in the seventies!


British Model Twiggy 1966


If you know what you like and what you want to read, it’s easy to choose and hard to get it wrong. I was lucky enough to find two great books. There were several others, including crime novels, which caught my eye and were actually caressed by my longing fingers for a few minutes, but in the end I chose something less stressful and closer to my romantic and melancholic heart.

I’ll let you know how my reading progresses shortly.

What motivates you to buy a paperback?