Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Special Christmas Treat - The Ring That Binds

This novella is on for only $.99 and worth far more. Get a mug of cocoa, snuugle in and enjoy Linda Carroll-Bradd's The Ring That Binds.

My Review:

It’s almost Christmas and a cold winter in the 1886 mining town of Aspen, Colorado, finds widow, Celina Innes, struggling to run her dress shop and care for her daughter, Keena. Celina’s husband’s poor choices left her in debt and she vows she will not follow another man in his strike it rich scheme.

Mikel Toussaint who owns the general store with his brother quietly watches the woman and wishes he could make her life easier. Mikel loves little Keena and slips her treats when she visits his shop with her mother.

Late one evening Mikel comes to the dress shop and brings Celina a slice of his mother’s cake and a taste of his apple cider. Celina is shocked and surprised as this gesture and realizes she longs for a man’s company.

Mikel notices the Christmas ornaments Celina is making and offers to sell them in his store. She is grateful for the extra income even though she doesn’t know he has hung the first ornaments over his bed.

On the morning Celina must deliver a coat she’s made to crotchety Mrs. Peabody, Keena wakes up not feeling well. With no other choice, Celina bundles her up and makes the long walk across town to deliver her product. Keena only becomes worse and Celina binds her daughter to her back, struggling against the storm to get home. Mikel sees them and picks them up in his wagon. He carries the sick child upstairs.

Mikel goes to find the doctor and when the doctor makes his diagnosis, Celina learns a patent medicine will help Keena, but it is five dollars, far out of her budget. Mikel returns to his store and Celina goes to the general store to pawn her wedding ring, the only thing she has of any value.

Mikel keeps her fires going, chops wood, and does the breakfast dishes all the while endearing himself to Celina. Then he disappears. On her next trip to the general store, Celina asks Daniel, Mikel’s brother, where Mikel is. Daniel tells her he has gone to a larger town to increase the store. Celina fears from this comment Mikel will be moving to find a larger location for the general store. Has she fallen in love with another dreamer?

This wonderful heart warming story takes the reader back to a time when life was much harder. Ms Carroll-Bradd whisks us off to Aspen and engulfs us in an amazing Christmas tale. Mikel is a gentle, caring man who wants to make Celina’s life easier but her first responsibility is her child. She learns she can depend on Mikel to take care of both of them.

A Christmas gift from PRISM Book Group:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bonnie McCune's A Saint Comes Stumbling In

Bonnie McCune credits her tenacity for the successes in her life, and A Saint Comes Stumbling In is proof. Since fifth grade, she has been determined to be a writer. This is her first published novel, but her interest in writing led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization and managed Denver's beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a free lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her main interest now is fiction writing, and her pieces have won several awards. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy.

For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world. McCune lives in Denver, Colorado, where she’s been married to the same man forever, has two children and three grandchildren, and is working on a humorous novel about aging.

My Review
Joan Nelson’s ex-husband, James, drops a bombshell. He needs her to sell their house because his girlfriend is pregnant. This is the final blow to Joan, who wanted a child from her marriage to James, but it never happened. Reeling from the divorce, she learns to cope with doing things for herself. She has no college degree, has a low level job in a law firm, and struggles to exist.

She’s lost in her own world of hopelessness but her friend, Delores, who works in the cafeteria of the building where the firm has its offices, is more than willing to draw Joan into the dating game. They visit art shows, outdoor concerts, and even try a night out dancing.

Joan has an overwhelming crush on one of the lawyers, Scott, who rents space at the office. She wants to appear attractive but cookies and ice cream have been her friends since the divorce. One evening during one of her downward spirals, Joan watches a movie about Joan of Arc and then and there Joan Nelson decides she can conquer anything.

An old friend from high school, Kevin, shows up at her door. Kevin is a realtor. She is always thrilled to see Kevin, but her fondness for him waivers when she learns James has sent him to sell the house. Kevin is James’ friend but he’s Joan’s friend, too.

She lets Kevin help her list house and when he shows her an apartment for rent in his building, they become neighbors. Joan relies on Kevin for everything from exercise classes to overflowing water heaters. She keeps telling herself he’s a friend and she even asks Kevin how she could win over the lawyer she’s lusting over. Kevin is patient and kind most of the time but everyone can see he’s in love with her, everyone but Joan.

Then disaster strikes at the office. Someone is getting into the company files after hours. All fingers point to Joan as she is the newest employee. Her arch rival, both at the office and in the jousting of approval from Scott, Kimberlee, seems to be doing her best to implicate Joan.

With Kevin’s never ending support, Joan has lost weight and even tried out for the company skit. She secured the leading role only to hear rude comments from Scott and Kimberlee during practice. Kimberlee warns Joan she doesn’t know what she’s getting into with Scott.

Even through tight security, the files continue to disappear and Joan asks Davis, a computer geek, who she and Delores met while out dancing, for assistance. With approval from one of the partners in the firm, Mr. Horowitz, Kevin, Joan, Delores and Davis set up a sting operation to catch the culprit.

Will Joan catch the criminal and discover she can stand on her own two feet? Will she understand her experiences with men started long ago when a piece to a childhood puzzle is revealed? Does Joan realize love is waiting where she least expects it?

Ms McCune gives us a soul-searching glance into the lives of many women who have stuck out on love and think they’re mired in unproductive circumstances. Ms McCune brings redemption to Joan Nelson’s circumstances and while the reader fears Joan will never see all the attributes of her long time friend, Kevin, love wins out in the end. Well done, Bonnie.

The book is available at PRISM Book Group


Bonnie's blog:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today I'd Like To Welcome Josie Riveria

Multi-award-winning author Josie Riviera is a mother of three grown children. She spends her days teaching piano, lending an ear to her teenage daughter’s ongoing drama, and, of course, writing. Josie and her family are transplanted upstate New Yorkers, now living in the sunny state of SC. She writes character-driven novels filled with inspiration and emotion.

Her latest release Seeking Patience is currently on the top 100 list at Amazon in both the Kindle and printed book lists.

My Review

When the dowager, Patience Blakwell, is called to find a mysterious Gypsy injured on her doorstep, she welcomes him into her home as any Godly woman would. What she doesn’t ponder to comprehend, she has also welcomed him into her heart.

Within hours of her attempt to hide Luca Boldor, the leader of a group of Roma Gypsies, Marko, Luca’s enemy from another tribe, arrives at Patience’s door. Her boldness and assertiveness is awarded with the back of Marko’s hand and he makes his way to Luca’s bedchamber but Luca is gone. When Marko decides to leave the estate, he burns her barn in revenge vowing to return and render his own justice to those who harbor Luca.

Patience finds the dark, handsome man hiding in her sewing closet. True to her name she nurses him back to health and teaches him a love he has never known. She also teaches him to trust in God.

Luca and Patience lead very diverse lives. One of seeming wealth and fine circumstances compared to that of a nomad who steals for his meager existence. Fiercely loyal to his tribe and those who try to protect him, his angst grows as he longs to be with Patience. He yearns to return to her blaming the infection raging through his system but he comes to understand she is his path to his healing both physically and spiritually. Once in Ipswich, Luca finds Patience dealing with the misfortune of the looming charge of murder of her former husband and a worrisome stepson who insists she return to London and live with him.

Ms. Rivera writes a remarkably powerful novel. While the reader is whisk away to Regency England, from the first page to the last Ms. Rivera captures the mood and scenery of the period. Along with Patience, I grew intensely anxious for Luca’s return; worried he would not survive his injuries and worried for Patience’s safety. The emotions and the underlying problems of the couple are played out with convincing awareness. The attention to detail and Ms Rivera’s approach to informing the reader to truly know the character makes this an extraordinary read.

I commend Ms. Rivera on a job well done and after all who wouldn’t want to find am attractive Gypsy at her doorway. Kudos Josie!

You may follow Josie on her Facebook Page.

Seeking Patience is available at Prism Book Group